Saturday, August 11, 2012

Attention Gnus (you too Loftus): The appeal to ridicule is a fallacy

See here.

65 comments:

Keith Rozumalski said...

For many Gnus I’ve dialogued with the appeal to ridicule accounts for 95% of their comments. Of the course, the other 5% is a combination of the ad hominem, appeal to ignorance, tu quoque, straw man and weak analogy fallacies, as well as claims that scientifically proven facts are the only source true knowledge which, as we all know, is the incoherent and self-refuting belief known as scientism.

unkleE said...

I think ridicule is the logical, though unfortunate, outcome of many atheists' views. After all most believe something like this:

1. Science is the most/only reliable way to know things.
2. Science & logic have shown that theism is unnecessary and wrong, so wrong it is ridiculous for anyone in the 21st century to believe it.
3. This is so clearly true that anyone who believes otherwise must be either deficient in their thinking or selling something.
4. We have been patient in explaining our viewpoint, but we can do nothing against such obvious wrong-headness, and we hold the theists culpable for their idiocy.
5. Since reason can't, won't and doesn't work on these idiots, ridicule is all we have left, and it sometimes works. Besides, it's fun.

You can see the logic, even if it has so many flaws in it. And you can understand the frustration.

Interestingly, I observed a conversation on a internet forum that followed more or less that line, and ended up with the militant atheist expounding how christians were delusional and didn't merit anything more than ridicule. But then another atheist, who worked in mental health care, pointed out that mockery is one of the worst responses to mental illness, and generally makes things worse. So if atheists really care that theists see the truth, mockery would not be a tactic they would use.

I realise my outline is a broad generalisation, and of course I have met courteous atheists who don't follow that line, but it describes many others I have discussed with.

Crude said...

unkleE,

I think your description of how and why atheists think the way they do is way too generous.

rank sophist said...

New Atheism is a bourgeois sentiment. It makes sense that its followers would consider a fallacy like this "solid argument", since, in the end, these so-called rationalists are just jumping on the latest bandwagon. They have no more philosophical sophistication than did their forerunners, the fundamentalist Christian Right. It always depresses me to see them toss around empty catchphrases like "REASON", "FREEDOM" and "EQUALITY". They don't understand any of it. They're parrots.

erik said...

The gnus I've bumped into usually respond to this with that annoying Thomas Jefferson quote.

Morrison said...

I have found it ironic that lately Loftus has been calling out people like PZ Myers and others in his gang for ridicule and insult, while he at the same time Loftus has had more and more denigrating posts about Christians featured on his blog.

Is it possible that Lofuts does not see that?

Could he be...delusional?

(And lest I be accused of using ridicule, just remember that Johnny says the use of the term "delusional" is not meant to denigrate but to describe a mental condition...snicker...)

John W. Loftus said...

Why's everybody always picking on me?.

Poison the well all you want Vic (a fallacy). It won't stop me from steamrolling over your faith.

rank sophist said...

I thought Loftus was "totally over" fighting Christianity?

Victor Reppert said...

Hey, I love the Coasters.

But you have bought in on Carrier's views on ridicule, which are taken almost word for word from Dawkins.

I think you are in an unstable halfway-house position on this. You still say you want respectful dialogue with believers, but you accept the Dawkins-Carrier line on ridicule. That won't work. I'm not trying to poison the well, I'm trying to get you to get back to your earlier views. What you don't see is that mockery as a systematic tactic of persuasion poisons debate. You have to commit to the process of dialogue, do your best, and leave it at that. If you believe that the arguments are on your side, you can't say that, if your arguments don't persuade people, we have to give them a little peer pressure to shove him the right way.

Crude said...

Loftus, the only way you'll steamroll anything is if you get a job with the Department of Transportation - which you won't, because just as with philosophy, theology and science, you don't have the credentials. And you apparently don't know what poisoning the well is - what a surprise, one more area you're clueless on.

Regarding Morrison's comment...

I have found it ironic that lately Loftus has been calling out people like PZ Myers and others in his gang for ridicule and insult, while he at the same time Loftus has had more and more denigrating posts about Christians featured on his blog.

I don't find it ironic. I find it typical.

His latest gimmick: billing himself as "the nice atheist". That it doesn't even track to reality doesn't matter - this is supposed to be an advertising thing for John. A big "come listen to ME, not the dozens of other atheists out there, who are all better at rhetoric, more entertaining, smarter, and have better credentials!" move. Nothing he hasn't done before - the man is a living gimmick.

Morrison said...

It is even more ironic that Loftus claims he is being picked on when, if you look at his post about how he built his blog up, he decribes how he made a point of going to other blogs and making provocative comments, while linking back to his own blog.

This built his blog traffic up.

Face it...the man is an admitted liar; he has been caught creating an entire fake blog about an apologist, altering posts (not just deleting them)and riding on the coatails of William Lane Craig while calling Craig delusional.

Hes not a good guy by any standard.

Eric said...

"I think you are in an unstable halfway-house position on this. You still say you want respectful dialogue with believers, but you accept the Dawkins-Carrier line on ridicule. That won't work. I'm not trying to poison the well, I'm trying to get you to get back to your earlier views. What you don't see is that mockery as a systematic tactic of persuasion poisons debate. You have to commit to the process of dialogue, do your best, and leave it at that. If you believe that the arguments are on your side, you can't say that, if your arguments don't persuade people, we have to give them a little peer pressure to shove him the right way."

That about nails it.

Many of John's arguments are certainly worth dealing with on their own, but let's be honest -- if I preface a great argument with "Now I know that you're deluded, and that you're blind to reason, but here's a great argument I don't think you can refute," and if I object to a reasonable response to my argument on the grounds that those responding to it are deluded, then I am, as Vic says, in a decidedly unstable position. I can't have it both ways. Minimally, I might treat people of a certain sort as if they are deluded and blind to reason (if they give me cause to do so, of course), while treating others who respond to my arguments with reasonable objections as worthy respondents, but what I cannot do, if I wish to be consistent, is treat those in the latter category as if they are in the former. In my judgment, this is John's greatest failing as an atheist apologist -- he has to learn to treat people in different categories differently. Some Christians, I concede, are worthy of ridicule -- as worthy as Dawkins and Harris are when they feebly attempt to deal with theistic arguments. But others clearly are not. Let's try to keep this straight, shall we?

Eric said...

"Hes not a good guy by any standard."

Morrison, if you're a Christian, then you must realize that neither you nor I nor anyone else is a 'good guy' by any standard that ultimately matters. Maybe some of John's failings are more public than those of the rest of us; so what? Give him some credit for putting his real name out there, for making his case with passion, and for at least attempting to engage those who disagree with him. We're all deeply flawed, my friend; my list of vices could probably top John's, and I doubt that I'm the only one here who could honestly say that. Let's focus on the issues first, and try to support one another when it comes to our respective virtues and vices. Christian love isn't about feeling; it's a matter of will. You don't have to like someone to love him. But then we're not commanded to like our enemies; we are, however, commanded to love them!

Crude said...

Eric,

Morrison, if you're a Christian, then you must realize that neither you nor I nor anyone else is a 'good guy' by any standard that ultimately matters.

No. A million times no. Let's not play this game.

The fundamental problem with John is that his behavior, his track record, removes him from the realm of respectful debate. It's not as if Morrison brought up mere moral failings of John - he brought up failings that directly weigh against the idea that John is someone who should be taken seriously, as an individual, in a formal conversation.

It's like refusing to hire someone as a writer because they have an established track record of not just plagiarism, but brazen, unapologetic plagiarism. Saying "Well, we all have our moral failings. Let he who is without sin cast the first stone! We shouldn't let his sins keep him from being hired" is ridiculous. Likewise, we shouldn't pretend that John is some kind of guy who deserves to be treated as some serious, respectable intellectual opponent just because "well, we all sin".

Maybe some of John's failings are more public than those of the rest of us; so what?

So, his failings are relevant given the context. Back to the plagiarism example.

Give him some credit for putting his real name out there, for making his case with passion, and for at least attempting to engage those who disagree with him.

Funny thing: he doesn't 'put his real name out there' all the time. Remember the fake blog incident? Remember others like it?

He'll lie about his name if he thinks he can get away with it. Which he usually can't, because he's not very swift.

Not to mention... that is some low, low credit. I mean other than the glory of "getting his real name out there", which isn't all that impressive considering the man wants desperately to have some monetary gain and fame from his works, the "credit" you're awarding him could be equally doled out to any schmuck on Facebook who trolls a thread. Some credit.

We're all deeply flawed, my friend; my list of vices could probably top John's, and I doubt that I'm the only one here who could honestly say that.

Eric, this is just a bad thing to say. Again, no one has even brought up John's 'vices' - what has been discussed so far has been his behavior in terms of debate and discussion.

Or are you really making the argument here that, if a Christian was looking to hire a writer, they should seriously consider hiring a known, flagrant plagiarist who doesn't even see anything wrong with plagiarism, on an appeal to forgiveness?

You yourself said that sometimes people deserve, on a case by case basis, to be treated as deluded or unreasonable. I suggest that sometimes, on a case by case basis, some people deserve to be regarded as unworthy of debate due to their tendency to lie, insult, and frankly, be pretty damn dull. And I further suggest it's quite reasonable to say Loftus has reached that point, long ago.

Eric said...

"No. A million times no. Let's not play this game.
The fundamental problem with John is that his behavior, his track record, removes him from the realm of respectful debate."

Whether he's removed "from the realm of respectful debate" is quite different from the question of whether he is or isn't "a good guy." I think you're quite free, and perhaps justifiably so, to disagree with me on the former point, but not on the latter.

"he brought up failings that directly weigh against the idea that John is someone who should be taken seriously, as an individual, in a formal conversation."

Right, but again, that's not the issue; the issue is whether adding "he's not a good guy" to the end of those reasons adds anything meaningful to the discussion; it doesn't.

"It's like refusing to hire someone as a writer because they have an established track record of not just plagiarism, but brazen, unapologetic plagiarism. Saying "Well, we all have our moral failings. Let he who is without sin cast the first stone! We shouldn't let his sins keep him from being hired" is ridiculous."

I agree; thankfully, that's not what I said! What I did was agree with Vic: pre-ridicule Loftus had arguments worth dealing with, but post-ridicule Loftus has placed himself in a position in which it's difficult to deal seriously with his arguments. Like Vic, I'm prodding John to move back to his pre-ridicule days.

"So, his failings are relevant given the context. Back to the plagiarism example."

Again, the point was that the "he's not a good guy" jab at the end added nothing to the conversation.

"Funny thing: he doesn't 'put his real name out there' all the time. Remember the fake blog incident? Remember others like it?"

I've heard about the incident, of course, but let's get real -- even if it's all true, it's still undeniably the case that his real name is attached to thousands and thousands of comments, blog posts, etc. all over the web.

"Eric, this is just a bad thing to say. Again, no one has even brought up John's 'vices' - what has been discussed so far has been his behavior in terms of debate and discussion."

No, this is clearly false -- "he's not a good guy" is *clearly* concerned with much more than his behavior.

"You yourself said that sometimes people deserve, on a case by case basis, to be treated as deluded or unreasonable. I suggest that sometimes, on a case by case basis, some people deserve to be regarded as unworthy of debate due to their tendency to lie, insult, and frankly, be pretty damn dull. And I further suggest it's quite reasonable to say Loftus has reached that point, long ago."

And again, I have no problem with this. I just don't see the need to append such a conclusion with, "he's not a good guy." It adds nothing to the discussion, especially if you're a Christian, for according to Christian theology, none of us are.

I think that (as is usually the case) we're fundamentally in agreement here (since I doubt you'd deny the theological point), and that I perhaps didn't make myself clear enough in my earlier posts. (Note, I'm not saying that I've reached the same conclusions that you have vis-a-vis whether John is worth taking seriously, but that we agree that the issue is whether he is or isn't, and not whether he's a good person.)

Crude said...

Eric,

Whether he's removed "from the realm of respectful debate" is quite different from the question of whether he is or isn't "a good guy." I think you're quite free, and perhaps justifiably so, to disagree with me on the former point, but not on the latter.

Alright, that's fair. Judging on whether or not John is a good guy gets into a whole other thing. I was wrong, oversight on my part.

I've heard about the incident, of course, but let's get real -- even if it's all true, it's still undeniably the case that his real name is attached to thousands and thousands of comments, blog posts, etc. all over the web.

I don't deny that. My comment is back to "so what?" on that front. Hooray, he's like millions of people on Facebook. It's just not very much of a compliment to him - and that's before we start looking at his track record, which sucks.

No, this is clearly false -- "he's not a good guy" is *clearly* concerned with much more than his behavior.

Again, you got me. My bad. I didn't think of it that way, but that's fair.

I think it was a non-seq from Morrison, and a minor point, but it's still there.

That said, I maintain that your response on this one was in error. There's this habit among Christians to try and win the Biggest Repentant Sinner award in conversation, and I think saying, "Hey, for all his sins, I'm worse than him. Hell, I bet a lot of us are!" is not only incorrect most of the time, but actually kind of prideful. It starts to reek of "Look at how humble I am, I won't even judge this sad-sack, because I judge myself to be more morally bankrupt than he is!"

John W. Loftus said...

Hey Vic, put up or shut up!

rank sophist said...

Loftus, you're just sad. Victor feels sorry for you, as we all do. The difference is that he's trying to show you the error of your (depressingly sophomoric) ways, while the rest of us are content to forget about you when you aren't around.

Cale B.T. said...

But how can his thinking be sophomoric, rank sophist? He rarely tells anyone about it, but he actually took a Master's Degree under William Lane Craig.

Crude said...

Man, this is what I mean by Loftus not being very bright. I love the bit about how Victor is "poisoning the well against me, a known fallacy" - which may as well be Loftus saying "I, John Loftus, am a freaking rube who doesn't know what fallacies are or when they've taken place."

But you know what? This is a great opportunity.

Victor, for a long time some of us have been telling you that Loftus is fundamentally a dishonest guy. Shamelessly so. All I ask is that you take one look at this simpleton's post and ask yourself: does he seem to be behaving honestly to you? And if he's not, do you really think he's worth your time, much less your respect and defense?

I said years ago, if you find his arguments in need of answering because idiots can't see the problems with them, engage them by all means. Just omit his name, because the guy feeds on any attention he can get. Let this guy continue his steady fade into obscurity, and move on.

And by the way, Randal, if you're reading this? This is exactly why people counseled you against co-writing a book with this freaking charlatan. You can do better. Much better.

Crude said...

By the way, if we're using Loftus' stupid metric, the sheer volume of posts Loftus has that are devoted to or mention Reppert should be evidence that the guy is terrified of Victor. (And, I suppose, if there happen to be apologists Loftus writes more about, those just happen to be guys Loftus is even scared of more.)

John W. Loftus said...

rank sophist and Crude, you don't even understand my argument enough to answer it, since your comments are irrelevant and neither one of you even knows it.

What annoys me is that there are ignoramuses whose names aren't made public who get to act like our equals. Hint: you're not, not by a long shot.

John W. Loftus said...

I do ridicule ignoramuses and sites like this one that repeatedly cater to them.

So?

Crude said...

you don't even understand my argument enough to answer it, since your comments are irrelevant and neither one of you even knows it.

You didn't offer up an "argument", you halfwit. You made an asinine, bungling post insisting that Reppert equates you with Ray Comfort (he doesn't), whining that pointing out your use of ridicule is well-poisoning (it isn't), and then insisted that the fact that he's commented on your site fairly often shows he thinks you're a threat (it doesn't).

With regards to the last, I pointed out how many times you've mentioned Reppert in your posts, and noted how - if we're treating volume of references as indicating fear - the evidence indicates you're wetting your panties over Reppert and others. Which is why you were an idiot to make the claim you did, even judging it from a self-advertising perspective. It just blows up in your face.

But it's par from the course for you because, as I never tire of pointing out, you're not that bright. You're bad at rhetoric, mediocre at thinking, and while you've got something going for you in terms of sheer energy - you've been at this for years, I grant you - you're also living proof that all the effort in the world can't help a man who fundamentally lacks talent or skill.

Let's face it, John: the only memorable move you've ever made as a wannabe atheist apologist is putting on that hat. That's what you'll be remembered as: "You know, that guy... what's his name... man, I forget. The atheist, always wore that hat. Yeah, anyway, he was pathetic."

What annoys me is that there are ignoramuses whose names aren't made public who get to act like our equals. Hint: you're not, not by a long shot.

Finally, John, you show some sense. It's nice to know you recognize we're not equals.

You're our inferior. ;)

Just like you were the inferior to everyone over at Freethoughtblogs, despite it being a gaggle of the Internet's Lamest Atheists. Just like you're an inferior to PZ Myers and Jerry Coyne, who have never been anything more than internet Dawkins wannabes.

And the best part is? You know it. Which is why, every now and then, a cloud of sense descends upon you and you toy with the idea of giving this up and getting a real job. Maybe at Denny's, John - I hear they're hiring. You could handle Denny's. Hey, work there six months and they may even trust you to make a Moon Over My Hammy every now and then.

That'd be an upgrade for your memory. "Who was that guy? You know, the guy in the hat? Anyway, he made a decent Moon Over My Hammy."

That could be your legacy, John - far better than what you've earned for yourself now. Think about it.

Papalinton said...

C'mon crude. Enough is enough. There isn't much mileage in showing how ugly christians can get when they go insanely ballistic. It really isn't a good picture to portray yourself as, even with masquerading under a pseudonym.

Eric said...

"That said, I maintain that your response on this one was in error. There's this habit among Christians to try and win the Biggest Repentant Sinner award in conversation, and I think saying, "Hey, for all his sins, I'm worse than him. Hell, I bet a lot of us are!" is not only incorrect most of the time, but actually kind of prideful. It starts to reek of "Look at how humble I am, I won't even judge this sad-sack, because I judge myself to be more morally bankrupt than he is!""

I agree in general, but I think I was speaking sincerely in my post (though pride, which you rightly identified as the sin behind the humble boasts you decry, is a subtle critter...).

My post was addressed to Morrison primarily, and not to Loftus critics in general. For example, you, Crude, and many others, often raise excellent logical and factual points when addressing John -- points which he often fails to address properly, if at all, falling back as he is wont to on his 'ridicule' mantra (which Vic is calling for him to drop) -- but the same can't be said, as far as I can tell, for Morrison, who only attacks John's character, both here and on numerous other sites. There's something a bit odd and frankly a bit creepy about it all -- John posts on site X, and there's Morrison, with the same charges, the same attacks, and the same lack of argumentation.

Crude said...

Eric,

I agree in general, but I think I was speaking sincerely in my post (though pride, which you rightly identified as the sin behind the humble boasts you decry, is a subtle critter...).

Fair enough. It's just something I see very often - this tendency for Christians to engage in spontaneous self-flagellation (so to speak) when this sort of thing comes up, as if there's a contest to be the most morally destitute guy around. Or at least to admit one's such.

As for Morrison, I don't know what history he has with John, but frankly I think more people should be made aware of John's history, at least the stuff that's relevant to debate and discussion. The man's track record blows, and he's unapologetic about his past dishonesty, which is less in the "accused" category and more in the "proven". I don't like seeing that get blown off.

To use a media comparison, it's like watching analysts get to pontificate about their predictions on TV. These guys can, and often do, have terrible track records of prediction, but that goes down the memory hole. The world would be a better place if there was a guy who'd regularly show up on the air pointing out their list of failed predictions.

Eric said...

"As for Morrison, I don't know what history he has with John, but frankly I think more people should be made aware of John's history, at least the stuff that's relevant to debate and discussion."

If it's relevant, I agree entirely.

Morrison said...

Eric, John is a bad guy.

You know why I think so? Because he claims to be a feminist, but really despises women.

Why would I say such a thing?

Look at the first chapter of WIBA...he admits he had an affair with an employee.

O.K., he was tempted and fell and others have done the same...but then he smears her in his book, in fact in every edition of his book. That is what is contemtible.

And not just her...his ex wife; he blames his affair on her "lacking passion". Thats pathetic; he denigrated the mother of his children in edition after edition.

Only someone with contempt for those women would mention them that way in his book.

physphilmusic said...

C'mon crude. Enough is enough. There isn't much mileage in showing how ugly christians can get when they go insanely ballistic. It really isn't a good picture to portray yourself as, even with masquerading under a pseudonym.

Oh you should shut up, Papalinton! Seeing your disastrous performance in the McCormick faith thread, you have effectively obliterated any claim you have in judging someone's image to be "good" or "bad". It's clear that your own picture is as follows: whenever someone confronts and tears apart your comments head-on with direct replies, you retreat into one of the two following strategies: 1) Simply proclaim the reply as "nonsense", add obligatory irrelevant detour about Christians being delusional in general, or 2) Attempt to change the topic by making an unrelated claim against religion (remember that "atheists commit less crime" stuff??). Your credibility has plummeted.

physphilmusic said...

Poison the well all you want Vic (a fallacy). It won't stop me from steamrolling over your faith.

Whenever Loftus trots out a self-congratulatory sentence like this, I try to interpret it as half tongue-in-cheek - like trash-talking before a boxing match. However, the frequency of such claims makes me start to doubt that interpretation. The shared megalomania of a Carrier contributes to that even more. Poe's Law comes into mind.

Papalinton said...

"Oh you should shut up, Papalinton! Seeing your disastrous performance in the McCormick faith thread ..."

Oh dear!. Still smarting over the manner you were comprehensively rolled in that discussion. It must be so bruising to the ego and the emotional side of one's persona. But one only brings it upon oneself if one cannot distinguish between fact and fantasy. But then again you know and have much more experience in fantasizing that I do, what with your strange existential grounding in anomalous superstitious supernaturalism. There is none better in the training of imagined fantasies than the christian mythos. I mean, your claim to 'biblical infallibility'. Give me a break. Walking on water, walking through walls, rising into the atmosphere to lazily float off to who-knows-where? This stuff is the grease in the wheel of fantasy. One need not 'appeal to ridicule' in response to these imagined fantasies. They are themselves ridiculous writ large. I have no need to resort to an 'appeal to ridicule'. I go straight to ridiculing because they are by their very nature, ridiculous.

Morrison said...

Ridicule presented as an argument.

I think Papalinton really does not realize that his whole method here is relying on a logical fallacy.

Crude said...

You guys should keep taking the Linton challenge like myself. Leaves more time for pointing out how lame Loftus is, and having productive conversations. ;)

You still out there, John? You filling out that Denny's resume yet? Think of the tips, man! Or even the marketing opportunities!

You could do the Outsider's Test for Denny's, wherein you challenge customers to objectively evaluate the deliciosity of a Grand Slam Breakfast. And if they say another breakfast is better you can lay into them about how they're totally dishonest because NO HONEST MAN has yet been able to deny that the Grand Slam is the most tasty breakfast option! These people are just AFRAID of your breakfast challenge. Otherwise, why would they be eating at the International House of Pancakes?

Papalinton said...

unkleE
"Interestingly, I observed a conversation on a internet forum that followed more or less that line, and ended up with the militant atheist expounding how christians were delusional and didn't merit anything more than ridicule. But then another atheist, who worked in mental health care, pointed out that mockery is one of the worst responses to mental illness, and generally makes things worse. So if atheists really care that theists see the truth, mockery would not be a tactic they would use."

From your observation recounted above and what you rightly say, religiosity is a mental health issue and therefore mockery should not be a tactic in dealing with theists because of their mental illness. I know psychology of course, has long known and understood that, but I didn't know it was that prevalent.

Morrison said...

When Papalinton goes on about mental illness, could he be PROJECTING?

physphilmusic said...

Oh dear!. Still smarting over the manner you were comprehensively rolled in that discussion.

LOL Paps, if I'm still really "smarting" over being rolled in that discussion, I would never have brought it up - I would slowly and silently leave the thread, just like you did. I note that I answered EVERY SINGLE claim and argument which you put forward, even irrelevant ones such as that Christianity was the main culprit for slavery and that atheists have a low representation in prison populations (a claim which I debunked via statistics, for which you even asked the source, and after which I hear crickets chirping about what you think about that claim, having seen my rebuttal). However, you have some outstanding intellectual debts left:
1. Justification for premise 1 of the syllogism which I helped form for you: i.e. that "If a religious claim is true it must be present in all religions",
2. Reply to my full argument explaining how atheists have a belief system like all any religious person,
3. Reply to my argument that it is possible to accept or reject a religion based on apparently rational, empirical reasons,
4. Admit that you've lost the argument for:
a. That Christianity was the main cause of slavery
b. That the "doctrine of the fall of man" is the "foundation" of my, i.e. physphilmusic's, worldview.
c. That there is a disproportionately low number of atheists in prisons.

These are your intellectual failings: in none of these issues have you "steamrolled" me, as in most cases you simply made the claim, I rebutted it, and you didn't bother to answer back. So claiming that I got "steamrolled" is ridiculous.


It must be so bruising to the ego and the emotional side of one's persona.

You obviously have no idea how the ego and emotions of a Christian works.


But one only brings it upon oneself if one cannot distinguish between fact and fantasy. But then again you know and have much more experience in fantasizing that I do, what with your strange existential grounding in anomalous superstitious supernaturalism.

In other words: Christians are just delusional, mmkay?

This is exactly what I talked about.

One need not 'appeal to ridicule' in response to these imagined fantasies. They are themselves ridiculous writ large. I have no need to resort to an 'appeal to ridicule'. I go straight to ridiculing because they are by their very nature, ridiculous.

Do you know how vacuous and meaningless paragraph is? You basically said, "I don't even need to show A is wrong, people can see that it's wrong." There, I did it in a single sentence for you.

And I don't need to show it, people can see that such an attitude is a non-starter for a healthy intellectual debate.

It's amazing that you were a former schoolteacher. No wonder public education everywhere is so screwed up.

physphilmusic said...

From your observation recounted above and what you rightly say, religiosity is a mental health issue and therefore mockery should not be a tactic in dealing with theists because of their mental illness. I know psychology of course, has long known and understood that, but I didn't know it was that prevalent.

Meanwhile, we have evidence that there is a link between atheism and autism.

BenYachov said...

Crude is right. Paps has nothing to offer you. He is too weak minded.

Papalinton said...

Oh Dear! physphilmusic. You are on a real winner here aren't you? Now I am autistic. Oh Dear. You had better clear the decks with Yachov before you trot out your misconstrued nonsense, physphilmusic.

From your claim then, the 97% of the scientists of the Academy of Science are autistic. And obviously you have the proof to back that up. And for the balance of the science community,
"Given their much lower levels of belief in God or a higher power, it is not surprising that the percentage of scientists who are unaffiliated with any religion is much higher than among the general public. Nearly half of all scientists in the 2009 Pew Research Center poll (48%) say they have no religious affiliation (meaning they describe themselves as atheist, agnostic or nothing in particular), compared with only 17% of the public. Thus, it follows that most faith traditions are represented in smaller numbers in the scientific community than in the public as a whole. For instance, the scientific community is far less Protestant (21%) and Catholic (10%) than the general public, which is 51% Protestant and 24% Catholic. And while evangelical Protestants make up more than a fourth of the general population (28%), they make up only a small slice (4%) of the scientific community." http://www.pewforum.org/Science-and-Bioethics/Scientists-and-Belief.aspx

So according to your reasoning and the evidence you present to back up your claim, half of American scientists are autistic. Now isn't that just dandy? Methinks you latched on to the first thing that could be easily misconstrued in defense of the indefensible nature of the christian mythos. Not surprising, because that is the core of apologetics; a belief in search of evidence.

This recent little episode of yours on this thread simply underscores the abject paucity of any substantive basis for your overall argument. Sorry, physphilmusic, someone who guides their life on a myth forfeits what semblance of credibility may be gleaned from experience. Especially if that experience if founded on magic and superstition.

"I rebutted it, and you didn't bother to answer back. So claiming that I got "steamrolled" is ridiculous."
Yes, that is your spin. And I can understand how you feel. But you are as with Cool Hand Luke:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8n0mgkaEGQc

Morrison said...

"atheist scientists"...sounds like an appeal to authority to me.

More logical fallacies from PapaL.

Seriously, though, I really believe he doesnt' see it. What's Loftus call that? Oh yeah, "delusional".

physphilmusic said...

From your claim then, the 97% of the scientists of the Academy of Science are autistic. And obviously you have the proof to back that up. And for the balance of the science community,

Now, Paps, there's no need to drastically simplify my claims to pure crudeness just so that your little mind isn't overwhelmed with subtlety. What I was saying was simply: since atheists have often depicted religious belief as a kind of virus, mental illness, or psychological defect, I'm simply giving you an interesting link which has some evidence (not "proof" my dear, we don't use that word much in science and research) that the opposite end of the spectrum (atheism) is similarly linked to a mental handicap, i.e. autism/Asperger's. In other words, it is now also possible to take a potshot at atheists by saying that their inability to perceive God is perhaps because of a mental defect, not some form of enlightened intellectual superiority.

If you could control your mind from immediately jumping to black-and-white conclusions, autism is a spectrum. Yes, it is entirely possible that many of the world's greatest scientists have a touch of Asperger's in them - have you ever seen Sheldon Cooper? If you've actually met some, a disproportionate number of scientists are socially more inept and reclusive.

Methinks you latched on to the first thing that could be easily misconstrued in defense of the indefensible nature of the christian mythos. Not surprising, because that is the core of apologetics; a belief in search of evidence.

Nah, Papalinton, that was meant to just be a sideshow. It has little bearing on the truth or falsity of theism. And even if it did, it would hardly be the "first thing". As you can see from my interactions with you, I am not a newbie in the study of these issues, though I am also far from being an expert.

This recent little episode of yours on this thread simply underscores the abject paucity of any substantive basis for your overall argument. Sorry, physphilmusic, someone who guides their life on a myth forfeits what semblance of credibility may be gleaned from experience. Especially if that experience if founded on magic and superstition.

There is substance. There is basis. There is a defense. It's all there like writing on the wall, which you refuse to turn your head to acknowledge. I'm just exposing them so that you'll be reminded of your outstanding intellectual debts. A shining example of your hypocrisy and cowardice. You can't pretend that people have never tried to engage you. It's you have refused to answer their arguments. Everybody can see that the emperor has no clothes.

And look at this! You've even managed to focus on my little comment about atheism and mental illness, completely refusing to acknowledge clear evidence of the destruction of your credibility. I've dealt stinging wounds to your arms and legs, Papalinton, and yet you just cover them up with clothing and try to keep on fighting with your nose as if nothing has happened.

Papalinton said...

PL: "This recent little episode of yours on this thread simply underscores the abject paucity of any substantive basis for your overall argument. Sorry, physphilmusic, someone who guides their life on a myth forfeits what semblance of credibility may be gleaned from experience. Especially if that experience if founded on magic and superstition."

PPM: "There is substance. There is basis. There is a defense. It's all there like writing on the wall, which you refuse to turn your head to acknowledge. I'm just exposing them so that you'll be reminded of your outstanding intellectual debts. A shining example of your hypocrisy and cowardice. You can't pretend that people have never tried to engage you. It's you have refused to answer their arguments. Everybody can see that the emperor has no clothes."

PL: There is substance? Like walking through walls? Walking on water? 5 fishes and loaves feed 5,000 with some left over? Like manna falling from the sky to feed 600,000 plus over forty years? A talking burning bush? Shriveling a fig tree because he was pissed? Virgin parturition? Floating off up into the blue beyond? Yadda-Yadda.

There is basis? A world view predicated on a superstitious mythos? Hardly a basis in reality?

There is a defense? But which one? Judaism? Christian Mythicism? Islamic Sharia? Hindu Polytheism? Baha'i Universalism? It is not a case of not turning my head, it is a case for where it ought to turn? The one thing you are exposing, PPM, is the abject paucity of any substantive basis for your overall argument. And you are correct, I "can't pretend that people have never tried to engage you. " I don't pretend. The purveyors in superstitious supernaturalism on this site have generally not sought to engage in discussion. Rather, they have howled, striving to bludgeon with dulled theology, edgeless apologetics, and folk philosophy.

B. Prokop said...

physphilmusic,

Eventually you're going to realize that reasoning with Papalinton is like trying to nail jello to the wall. Just a few days ago, I did something I've never done before - I checked out his "commentary" on other websites. Was that ever eye-opening! Here on Dangerous Idea he's merely incoherent and a big fan of the non sequitur. Over on the debunking site, he's batshit crazy.

My advice to you: set him straight once (if you really feel the need to), but don't attempt to engage him in dialog. There's no "there" there.

im-skeptical said...

physphilmusic,

I looked at your link to the autism article. It is in a site called Mail Online, which appears to peddle tabloid trash-news/gossip in the style of National Inquirer. I hope you don't believe what you read there.

Papalinton said...

physphilmusic,

Eventually you're going to realize that attempting to dupe people through superstition and magic is really a no-gain game. The progress of humanity will become unhindered when reasonable people of reasonable intellect and reasonable courage are able to discern all that which is universally acknowledged, do not murder, look after your family, be kind to your neighbours and treat them as you would yourself, don't lie, etc etc, and separate all those classically humanist ideals from the superstitious malarkey and supernatural bunkum. There are many didactic fables, legends and stories known to us that have told what is right and good. And we have been able to understand and appreciate the moral lesson they are telling us without having to swallow the story as fact or truth.

This is the conundrum that circumscribes christian theism. Believers are incapable of distinguishing the grain from the chaff. Some say Adam and Eve were 'real' people, many don't. Some say the resurrection is allegory for triumph over adversity, many don't. Many say jesus actually walked on water, many don't. And the reason this nonsense has plagued humankind for millennia [any cursory reading of contemporary Apologetical literature will bear this out. Just look at the Jesus Seminar still trying to work out what jesus did or did not say some 2000 years after the purported event]? Because believers have no tools of scrutiny, or critical examination for distinguishing fact from fantasy.

Crude said...

I looked at your link to the autism article. It is in a site called Mail Online, which appears to peddle tabloid trash-news/gossip in the style of National Inquirer. I hope you don't believe what you read there.

You know, I see this kind of thing go on over and over. Like, if you give a link that you got off the Drudge Report, people will say "oh god that's Drudge he's not a real journalist so that link can't be trusted and..." The fact that the link goes to, say, cnn.com and is just relinked at Drudge is hard to sink in.

In this case, phys's study - if you google for autism atheism link, you get the Daily Mail first.

The study is legit. The fact that the Daily Mail was commenting on the study doesn't undo that - they comment on everything.

physphilmusic said...

There is substance? Like walking through walls? Walking on water? 5 fishes and loaves feed 5,000 with some left over? Like manna falling from the sky to feed 600,000 plus over forty years? A talking burning bush? Shriveling a fig tree because he was pissed? Virgin parturition? Floating off up into the blue beyond? Yadda-Yadda.

There is basis? A world view predicated on a superstitious mythos? Hardly a basis in reality?


These are all IRRELEVANT, Papalinton, because I have never tried to attempt defending Christian theism itself with you. I have never attempted to defend Christian miracles also - why? Because it wasn't part of the topic. Now, unlike you, the stuff which I actually try to defend (e.g. that atheists have belief systems) seems to have a very strong basis in reality, because you keep running away from answering it. You're like the guy who proclaims how he can beat everyone up but never actually dares to fight. You're a despicable loser and coward, Papalinton. And not because your arguments are bad. I would respect an astrologist more if he were to at least try to engage in argument.

The purveyors in superstitious supernaturalism on this site have generally not sought to engage in discussion. Rather, they have howled, striving to bludgeon with dulled theology, edgeless apologetics, and folk philosophy.

Papalinton, if for you "discussion" means people submitting to you and proclaiming that you're right, yep, you aren't gonna get that anywhere. How can you accuse me of engaging in folk philosophy? I've actually argued in syllogisms. I've assisted you in making your thoughts more coherent. LOL.

The progress of humanity will become unhindered when reasonable people of reasonable intellect and reasonable courage are able to discern all that which is universally acknowledged, do not murder, look after your family, be kind to your neighbours and treat them as you would yourself, don't lie, etc etc, and separate all those classically humanist ideals from the superstitious malarkey and supernatural bunkum.

WOW Paps! How INSPIRING! Patriarchy and enslaving people has more or less been universal across cultures, too - how about that as one of those "classical humanist ideals"?

And the reason this nonsense has plagued humankind for millennia [any cursory reading of contemporary Apologetical literature will bear this out. Just look at the Jesus Seminar still trying to work out what jesus did or did not say some 2000 years after the purported event]? Because believers have no tools of scrutiny, or critical examination for distinguishing fact from fantasy.

LOL, Paps, the Jesus Seminar isn't "apologetical literature" - in fact it's the opposite. And this is just so stupid that I don't need to show it.

physphilmusic said...

This is the actual journal paper.

Crude said...

physphilmusic,

Hey man. I'm not sure if you're new around here, but a quick heads up. Linton's kind of famously clueless. The man looks up to John freaking Loftus of all people. At this point most of us blow him off entirely, because really, he's extremely dumb. I mean we're talking about a guy who routinely doesn't understand the very links he himself cites in 'defense' of his positions and so on. He's an ex-teacher who tries really, really hard to sound intelligent, and fails miserably.

You can spend time on him if you like, but really, most of us consider him a kind of unintentional joke and don't bother. Just trying to save you some time, if you weren't aware of just what you're dealing with. (Really, it should be clear to you by now, however.)

physphilmusic said...

Hey Crude, that part about Papalinton being clueless has been pretty clear for a long time. The problem is that there are thousands of people out there (those who follow Loftus, Myers, etc.). I was just looking to see how far such a person could be engaged, because you have to eventually. So far my experiment seems to have disappointing results. It seems that people of average intelligence are simply incapable of true rational exchange. I'll probably abandon it in a while. But thanks for the heads-up anyway :)

im-skeptical said...

Crude, physphilmusic

Fair enough. But I still wouldn't trust things I find on a site like that ... alongside the photos of ghosts, etc. And I wouldn't believe anything reported by Drudge either, because it's mostly lies and distortions, even though he might occasionally say something that isn't a lie.

Crude said...

im-skeptical,

And I wouldn't believe anything reported by Drudge either, because it's mostly lies and distortions, even though he might occasionally say something that isn't a lie.

Are you aware that 99% of what Drudge puts up is just links to other sites, typically to respectable news sources? I just said this. If you don't believe me, actually go to his site. Look at the headlines. Find how many are just links to other sites.

im-skeptical said...

Reading through this page, I see a few examples of ridicule:

"Attention Gnus"
"I think your description of how and why atheists think the way they do is way too generous"
"They're parrots"
"Johnny says the use of the term "delusional" is not meant to denigrate"
"the rest of us are content to forget about you"
"Oh dear!. Still smarting over the manner you were comprehensively rolled in that discussion"
"I thought Loftus was "totally over" fighting Christianity"
"No wonder public education everywhere is so screwed up"

And some cases of poisoning the well, also:

"reasoning with Papalinton is like trying to nail jello to the wall"
"Hes not a good guy by any standard"
"don't attempt to engage him in dialog"

Crude said...

im-skeptical,

In all of those cases, the ridicule is directed at people who themselves love to deploy ridicule, on a regular basis. That was rather the point.

As for the "well-poisoning", you should really read up on what that actually is. Hit the wikipedia for a primer.

im-skeptical said...

I know exactly what it means. What do you think it means?

By the way, here's another one:

"And I wouldn't believe anything reported by Drudge either"

B. Prokop said...

"reasoning with Papalinton is like trying to nail jello to the wall"

Sorry, Skeptical, but that was neither ridicule nor poisoning the well.

Firstly, the metaphor of nailing jello to a wall is a rather accurate description of what an actual "dialog" with Papalinton is like. (I put dialog in quote marks, because truth to tell, he doesn't ever really engage in such. If he did, he might now and then actually respond to what others say, rather than forever going off on wild non sequiturs, while utterly ignoring (Sometimes I think without even reading) other peoples' points.

Secondly, it is in no way Poisoning the Well. A better characterization of the phrase would be one's reaction to taking a sip from an already poisoned well, and grimacing from the foul taste.

Papalinton said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Papalinton said...

"Now, unlike you, the stuff which I actually try to defend (e.g. that atheists have belief systems) seems to have a very strong basis in reality, ..."

But you haven't. You say so. You claim so. You think so. You opine so. You imagine so. You wish so. But you haven't substantiated so. If one were to be labelled, something bible crazies have a pathological propensity to do, I have recounted on a number of occasions on this site that methodological naturalism is the closest that best describes the reality of existence. It is my reality system. It easily and seamlessly accommodates not only understanding and appreciation of the cultural and social drivers of religious superstition, it equally embraces the exponential capacity of scientific methodology, the greatest of investigatory tools known to humankind with unparalleled explanatory power. As a comparator in explanatory power, christian theism is but a perpetual intellectual toddler. Atheism is simply a position on the continuum, a point at which the psychotypal proclivity for imagined live entities is both irrelevant and unnecessary.

I happen to agree with you, PPM, all those elements that so characterise the christian mythos are indeed irrelevant. But what is the point of perversely hanging onto christian mythicism if it cannot be used as a basis for argument? Your attempt to sequester it [to protect it from scrutiny] from the argument about 'atheism', the very reason about which the claim to an 'appeal to ridicule is fallacy' of this OP is fundamentally focused, is unconvincing. To argue otherwise, that christian theism is irrelevant to the discussion is duplicitous and insincere.

In matters of syllogism as a basis of logic, the welter of counter syllogisms I provided clearly dispenses any support you may have imagined from the exercise. A syllogism does not a proof make. It must be supported with, you know, evidence.

You say, "WOW Paps! How INSPIRING! Patriarchy and enslaving people has more or less been universal across cultures, too - how about that as one of those "classical humanist ideals"?"

No. They weren't classical humanist ideals. Patriarchy and enslaving people were a function and a product of the prescribed religious worldviews that underpinned those societies. And as we have witnessed, they have changed over time. No longer is religion powerful enough to mandate slavery and patriarchy. No longer is religion powerful enough to mandate against homosexuality, women's personal health issues such as contraception etc. One must not misconstrue or conflate those universal humanist ideals with what happens to be the convention or 'traditional wisdom' on the day. One example of the many long standing religious-based mandates that is currently in vogue, is the disgraceful barrier to the ordination of women in the catholic church. It is not a universal humanist ideal. It is a piss-ant convention of a male-only club mentality that will over time crumble to the humanist universal ideal that all, both women and men, are recognised and acknowledged equally. So, go back over those few that I alluded to and see if you can make sense of the difference.

CONT

Papalinton said...

CONT
You Say, "LOL, Paps, the Jesus Seminar isn't "apologetical literature" - in fact it's the opposite. And this is just so stupid that I don't need to show it."

You got me there. I was not clear enough in the way I structured my sentences. They are indeed two different sources of the current state of religious discourse. And I did not make that clear. However, the stupidity is not in the mis-construction of the sentence, rather it is the attitude of failed recognition that even in the 21st century, two thousand years after the myth first begun to be fabricated [a process itself that spanned four centuries in the making], sycophants remain no closer to resolving any of these glaringly unfounded, unproven, unjustified, unreliable, unverifiable and specious issues. I simply cannot be any clearer on this matter.

im-skeptical said...

B. Prokop,

"Sorry, Skeptical, but that was neither ridicule nor poisoning the well"

I understand that these things are very much subject to interpretation. The way I saw it, you are telling people that they will not be able to have a reasonable dialog with him, thereby influencing their opinion before any discussion begins. I see that as a case of poisoning-the-well.

My point in making that post was not to pick on anyone in particular, but to point out that we often criticize others for the very things we are guilty of.

physphilmusic said...

I have recounted on a number of occasions on this site that methodological naturalism is the closest that best describes the reality of existence. It is my reality system…Atheism is simply a position on the continuum, a point at which the psychotypal proclivity for imagined live entities is both irrelevant and unnecessary.

That’s good enough, Paps. You, an atheist, have admitted that you have a belief system (i.e. “methodological naturalism”). That is all what I originally wanted to argue for anyway. From my very first reply to you I have affirmed that atheism simpliciter, just like theism simpliciter, cannot comprise of an entire worldview by itself. However, what you have described (I think more accurately termed “scientism” combined with “secular humanism”, as methodological naturalism is just that – a method, a tool, not a statement about metaphysics, and one which I subscribe to myself) is indeed a worldview or belief system. I think most atheists have belief systems, just like you have shown here, and these must be defended as well, as things such as scientism are far from being self-evident. I am not interested in seeing you defend it now, though.

But what is the point of perversely hanging onto christian mythicism if it cannot be used as a basis for argument? Your attempt to sequester it [to protect it from scrutiny] from the argument about 'atheism', the very reason about which the claim to an 'appeal to ridicule is fallacy' of this OP is fundamentally focused, is unconvincing. To argue otherwise, that christian theism is irrelevant to the discussion is duplicitous and insincere.
No, I believe I can defend its rationality in a debate. However, I pick my battles wisely. I am not concerned with defending an entire belief system, which can comprise of tens of propositions with chains of reasoning, each of which is far from self-evident, many of which are controversial. I am quite aware of which bits of the Christian worldview can be directly presented with justification in a debate with a non-Christian, and which bits can only be justified as the logical outcome from the prior acceptance of several of the aforementioned assumptions.

In matters of syllogism as a basis of logic, the welter of counter syllogisms I provided clearly dispenses any support you may have imagined from the exercise. A syllogism does not a proof make. It must be supported with, you know, evidence.

Indeed, a syllogism does not a proof make. If you’ve actually bothered to follow the debate, Paps, this has been my running assumption all along. I condensed your argument into a syllogism, and I contested one of its premises. I call upon you to defend that said premise. The stack of unrelated counter syllogisms you offered are unfortunately completely irrelevant, and the time you spent typing (or copy-pasting) them wasted.

physphilmusic said...

No. They weren't classical humanist ideals. Patriarchy and enslaving people were a function and a product of the prescribed religious worldviews that underpinned those societies.

The problem with your statement, Paps, is not that it’s a bad reply – but it’s inconsistent with what you said earlier. I quote you once again:

The progress of humanity will become unhindered when reasonable people of reasonable intellect and reasonable courage are able to discern all that which is universally acknowledged, do not murder, look after your family, be kind to your neighbours and treat them as you would yourself, don't lie, etc etc, and separate all those classically humanist ideals from the superstitious malarkey and supernatural bunkum.

What I got from this was that you seem to believe that:

1. A moral value which is universally taught in all/most religions or cultures is actually true.

2. The collection of such universally taught, true moral values are part of “classical humanism”

To defeat proposition 1), I simply offered the counterexample that moral values such as “Patriarchy is to be upheld and promoted” and “Slavery is permissible in some circumstances” are more or less taught in all religions and cultures, but you would obviously not accept them as true. Hence 1) is wrong. Now as for 2), I don’t really have anything to say about that, unless you will actually attempt to explain how “classical humanism” can provide a viable moral framework.

However, the stupidity is not in the mis-construction of the sentence, rather it is the attitude of failed recognition that even in the 21st century, two thousand years after the myth first begun to be fabricated [a process itself that spanned four centuries in the making], sycophants remain no closer to resolving any of these glaringly unfounded, unproven, unjustified, unreliable, unverifiable and specious issues.

So you’re mad because after two thousand years, people are still debating these issues? That sounds immature, Paps. How about you accept, and TOLERATE the fact that some people obviously have different belief systems which compel them to accept the possibility that such issues are worthy of discussion? There are a bunch of atheists and agnostics, Paps, who don’t think that the Gospel is “obviously fabricated” to the point that it is not a worthwhile issue of discussion. Even if you disregard the supernatural bits, the Gospels are still historical documents. They were written in the 1st century, and have historical value, for example if one wants to trace the origins of Christianity, even if one doesn’t believe that Jesus was anything more than an ordinary man.

Papalinton said...

Ahh! I love that word 'scientism', the religious charge when bible crazies deem themselves and their superstitious belief system to be under existential threat. Methodological naturalism is now 'scientism' according the PPM.

"Even if you disregard the supernatural bits, the Gospels are still historical documents."

I couldn't agree with you more. They are historical, not for their content but for the fact someone [we don't know who to this day and there is plenty of speculation] wrote them. But so is the Iliad and the Antiquity of the Jews, but we don't live our lives by them. They are a recording of how people thought and lived millennia ago. No one lives by these historical accounts. The Egyptian 'Book of the Dead' is equally filled with material from which the gospels and the bible borrowed. We don't live by that historical account either. It is utterly perverse that there still are people, in this 21st Century, that want humankind to be corralled into 1stC thinking. When one looks at competing religious perspectives, it is utterly perverse that people should lead their lives by a book written some 1400 years ago in Mecca or Medina or wherever it was written. The question one must ask oneself is, why are there people so afraid of the unknown of the future that they are willing to forgo any attainment and accomplishment of growth and development at both a deep personal and societal level, clinging to the umbilical cord grafted to 100 CE. A gestational period of 2,000 years is simply too ludicrous for words. This is stuff ripe for ridicule by any measure. It is its own perpetual ridicule machine. I simply help by pointing it out.

"No, I believe I can defend its rationality in a debate. However, I pick my battles wisely. ..."

You can't and you haven't. Indeed you have assiduously avoided in defending the significant representations that uniquely characterize the christian mythos, to name a few, Like walking through walls? Walking on water? 5 fishes and loaves feed 5,000 with some left over? Like manna falling from the sky to feed 600,000 plus over forty years? A talking burning bush? Shriveling a fig tree because he was pissed? Virgin parturition? Floating off up into the blue beyond? Evil spirits hightailing down to the sea to drown themselves [as if] in the form of pigs, the 3-in-1 personality complex more commonly understood today as Dissociative identity disorder (DID), or multiple personality disorder, Yadda-Yadda.
And your reason for not doing so? They are irrelevant. And yet this OP is about the supposed 'appeal to ridicule' being a fallacy. How is it fallacious to ridicule that which in their very essence are ridiculous? Clearly you have a view about Ganesha the Elephant god, and Muhammad riding off to heaven on a winged horse. Why are these any less credible than the 3-in-1? Why accord any special pleading to the 3-in-1 imagery, a creedal construct manufactured by committee in 325CE. You know that. I know that. And we both know that this stuff was not made in heaven. So why the pretense?

CONT

Papalinton said...

CONT
"What I got from this was that you seem to believe that:
1. A moral value which is universally taught in all/most religions or cultures is actually true.
2. The collection of such universally taught, true moral values are part of “classical humanism”
To defeat proposition 1), I simply offered the counterexample that moral values such as “Patriarchy is to be upheld and promoted” and “Slavery is permissible in some circumstances” are more or less taught in all religions and cultures, but you would obviously not accept them as true."


I don't think you are even aware of the subtle sleight of hand contained in this statement. The misconstrual would be missed by the majority of readers. Whether it is deliberately obfuscatory or ignorantly inadvertent is unclear. But misconstrual, nonetheless. No one, least of all me, said those elements that are 'universally taught' are synonymous with 'classical universal humanism'. Whatever is universally taught, or as you phrase it, "are more or less taught in all religions and cultures, ..." has nothing to do with eliciting the universal humanist ideals from the garble of religion. What is universally taught under the rubric of religion is an indiscriminate mish-mash of folk-tales, stories, truths, superstition, magic, new and old-age mysticism, mythicism, humanist ideals, faery tales, ghost stories, zombies rising out of their graves, yadda, yadda. And yes, your Proposition 1 was defeated, by an own goal no less, because it was not a proposition I advocated.

"So you’re mad because after two thousand years, people are still debating these issues? "

No, for jesus h christ's sake, no. Not mad. Just gobsmacked by your responses. And finally, you say. "How about you accept, and TOLERATE the fact that some people obviously have different belief systems which compel them to accept the possibility that such issues are worthy of discussion?" I do accept the fact that people can live their lived on the deluded premise of superstition. Wikkens and Satanists do too. And I am happy for them. In the matter of 'TOLERATE', do you mean that in the sense of how christians reciprocally tolerate atheists, or do you mean that atheists are in a minority and should shut up about superstitious supernaturalism? It is unlear. I add this survey for discussion on tolerance:

http://www.religioustolerance.org/atheist5.htm

http://www.christiantoday.com/article/study.reveals.christians.strong.distrust.towards.atheists/28981.htm

The balance of your final paragraph seems OK to me.