Friday, August 03, 2012

More on reductios and the AFe

I'm Skeptical wrote: 


If I understand Victor's position, a skeptic can't defend the argument from evil unless he concedes that there are objective moral values. This is a parlor trick. It's equivalent to saying that if I want to make the statement "If A then B" I must first concede that A is true.

If you accept Victor's position, why not take the same logic one step further and demand that the skeptic concede that God exists before he can defend AE?



VR: No, you don't understand my position. I admitted that reductio versions of the argument from evil are possible, even for those who don't believe in moral objectivity.  The problem is going to arise when the atheist/subjectivist tries to defend the moral premise of the argument. The subjectivist can't appeal to his own value theory to argue about what it is for God to be good. 


Let's take this statement from Rowe:


An omniscient, wholly good being would prevent the occurrence of any intense suffering it could, unless it could not do so without thereby losing some greater good or permitting some evil equally bad or worse.


Now, does  theist necessarily have to believe this? And if they do believe it, do they have to agree with the atheist about what would be a greater good or the prevention of some evil equally bad or worse? If there are any value-theoretic conflicts, someone committed to objective moral values can argue that the theist's value system is faulty. They can argue that the theist has some misplaced values, and in particular, perhaps, undervalues the prevention of intense suffering and makes inflates the legitimacy of other values which, he argues, are not sufficient justifiers for intense suffering. A subjectivist can't do that. The logic of his argument forces him to concede the value-theoretic position of his theist opponent at every turn, since he cannot


The most serious objection to this line of argument comes in the Mark Nelson  post, from Thrasymachus. I will need a separate post to respond to that. 





62 comments:

Crude said...

They can argue that the theist has some misplaced values, and in particular, perhaps, undervalues the prevention of intense suffering and makes inflates the legitimacy of other values which, he argues, are not sufficient justifiers for intense suffering.

I get what you mean here, I think. And I agree.

The attempts at a reductio puts the critic in the theist's court - what the theist has to provide is a consistent (not emotionally palatable) account. That's all. The critic can explain awe or outrage (Thrasymachus seems to go for awe in his own response), but contra T, I don't think that's much of a reductio. It's too cheap, and I don't think it's got the support he suggests.

I'd also disagree with his claim that "if moral realism is false, God can't exist". That's using a real idiosyncratic definition of God. Maybe some God(s) can't exist, but God, period? It doesn't fly.

Ilíon said...

As I keep pointing out -- who rightfully cares?

All such arguments are simply red-herring distractions from the fact that atheism is false and is easily seen to be false. For, if atheism were the truth about the nature of reality, then, among other things, we could not know truth nor reason about truth nor learn (new) truth. If atheism were the truth about the nature of reality, then we could not and would not exist. Yer, we do exist, and we do know truth, and we do reason from truth to truth, and we do learn new truth.

Atheism is false: God is. Until the so-called atheist admits this, he doesn't even have a place at the table, and it is wrong -- not just misguided, not just unwise, but morally wrong -- for 'theists' to let them worm their way into the centerpiece.

'Atheists' are not simply mistaken, they are willfully mistaken; for they refuse to reason correctly, they refuse to admit the clear deliverances of reason. And, any 'theist' who refuses to recognize and admit this about them is likewise willfully mistaken.

BenYachov said...

>An omniscient, wholly good being would prevent the occurrence of any intense suffering it could, unless it could not do so without thereby losing some greater good or permitting some evil equally bad or worse.

As Brian Davies points out Rowe explicitly understands "wholly good" to mean "wholly morally good".

That is the basic mistake at the heart of the POE. God is ontologically good, metaphysically good or rather Goodness Itself. But given His Nature of Subsistent Being Itself (ipsum esse subsistens) one can no more say he is perfectly morally good then one can say he has perfect muscle tone.

He is the source of Goodness but He own neither you nor I anything.

Thus I tend to start with the presupposition if only for the sake of argument that all Theodicies fail. If only because I don't need them.

OTOH I am open to the idea maybe some theodicy can be justified.

But like I said I don't need them to believe in a good God and I have found the POE becomes a non-problem.

Maybe if I feel like it I will pick on some of Loftus weak criticisms of Davies.

B. Prokop said...

"Atheists' are not simply mistaken, they are willfully mistaken."

Oh my gosh! I need to run outside and see whether or not the Moon has fallen out of the sky! I actually agree with something Ilion has posted! Oxygen, I need oxygen!!!

BenYachov said...

>Atheists' are not simply mistaken, they are willfully mistaken; for they refuse to reason correctly, they refuse to admit the clear deliverances of reason. And, any 'theist' who refuses to recognize and admit this about them is likewise willfully mistaken.

Then tragically Bob we are not on the same page. IIion is wrong.

I don't see how the above grants us total access to the cognitive processes of any individual person that moves their will in order for us to render that judgment?

How can mere flesh and blood judge hearts and minds & have knowledge Holy Writ says belongs to God alone?

All we can say is they are wrong and we may warn them they might be in danger of divine judgment for willful bad reasoning but by definition we can't know for certain and therefore can't judge.

BenYachov said...

As to the problem of morally judging God I agree even if we grant the heterodox view that God is subject to moral evaluation without an objective moral standard to bind God & the rest of us there is no basis for forming a Problem of Evil.

Of course the original problem of Evil had nothing to do with "morals" it was an ontological metaphysical problem.
It would roughly go like this.

Good and Evil are opposed to one another. If God is an All Powerful Good Substance then how can any evil substance that was not equally all powerful exist alongside God without Him destroying it?

Sort of like how could matter and anti-matter exist together?

The solution to this problem. Evil is not a substance but a privation of substance. God can exist alongside nothing.

Problem solved.

B. Prokop said...

Ben,

Faith, Hope, and Charity are the Three Theological Virtues. How can we call something a virtue, unless it involves the will? I cannot call my height a virtue - I have no choice in how tall I am. Neither can I claim any other morally neutral attribute a virtue. Also, how can Paul (or Jesus, for that matter) praise a person for their Faith or upbraid someone for their lack of it, if it was not in some manner an act of the will?

Just askin' here...

BenYachov said...

Bob
I am commenting on the statement of IIion with emphasis on the phrase "they refuse to reason correctly,
they refuse to admit the clear deliverances of reason. And, any 'theist' who refuses to recognize and admit this about them is likewise willfully mistaken."

IIion particular brand of Protestant heresy restricts him from believing in the concept of invincible ignorance.

I am up holding that belief surely you do too?

BenYachov said...

>Also, how can Paul (or Jesus, for that matter) praise a person for their Faith or upbraid someone for their lack of it, if it was not in some manner an act of the will?

Jesus is the God-Man & thus can & does know people's hearts and minds perfectly.

Paul was addressing people who are already believers & giving them pastoral council as befits a clergyman to do.

B. Prokop said...

Ben, good points all. But I was restricting my agreement with Ilion to the precise words that I quoted (perhaps out of context). As far as the 99.999% of the rest of Ilion's insanities... well, we'll just give them the exact amount of attention that they deserve.

//crickets//

BenYachov said...

No worries then Brother.

Ilíon said...

"... Oxygen, I need oxygen!!!"

It's the same with socialists and other leftists, so you may be off the hook.

Walter said...

Bob,

You appear to be saying that deep down all atheists know there is a God (in particular the Judeo-Christian one) but they are willfully repressing that knowledge for whatever reason. I disagree. Further, this would be just as offensive as an atheist saying to you that deep down you know that death is final, that there is no happy, clappy afterlife, and you are repressing this truth to stave off nihilistic despair.

Ilíon said...

B.Prokop: "But I was restricting my agreement with Ilion to the precise words that I quoted (perhaps out of context)."

But then, you are ever the fool ...

Son-of-Confusion: "IIion particular brand of Protestant heresy restricts him from believing in the concept of invincible ignorance."
... and (and, as is Son-of-Confusion) the liar.

Of course, that's redundant: a fool just is a liar, though a liar is not necessarily a fool.

=========
B.Prokop: "But I was restricting my agreement with Ilion to the precise words that I quoted (perhaps out of context)."

No doubt out of context ... for the context is an act of reasoning which also, in the end, indicts you, as all leftists, for your steadfast refusal to reason correctly/logically about a differnt subject matter. Hell, I have serious doubt that you reason correctly about "the God question".

It is *reason* which tells us -- and not mere assertion -- that God is; it is *reason* which tells us that the denial that God is is an absurd denial, for the denial directly spawns innumerable absurdities, which are easily seen on their face to be absurd ... including the absurdity that we do not and cannot reason. Thus, when a person denies the truth that God is, we know (again, via reason) that there there are only three logical possibilities that might explain that denial:
1) Inability to understand the truth of the matter (or the reasoning which shows it to be true): that is, 'invincible ignorance', which concept a certain lying liar lying claims my Protestantism prevents me believing might be a real factor. Or, to put it crassly: stupidity.
2) Honest error, that is, misunderstanding: the person is capable of understanding the truth of the matter, and is sincerely attempting to do so, but, possibly due to some more fundamental error-of-understanding, hasn't yet correctly understood, but mistakenly thinks he has. Or, to put it bluntly: ignorance.
3) Dishonest error: the person is capable of understanding the truth of the matter, but in one way or another and for some reason or another (though, typically, it is emotional, rather than rational), he declines -- he refuses -- to acknowledge, and incorporate into his thinking, the truth of the matter.

Now, generally, when a person denies truth and asserts error, one should, for as long as one reasonably can, assume that that error is an honest error -- reason, and charity, and one's knowledge of one's own fallenness, demand this. At the same time, once the erroneous person's behavior makes that interpretation of his error reasonably (or logically) untenable, it is unreasonable, and it may be immoral, to continue to treat him, and certaily to demand that others do likewise, as simply mistaken.

As applies to so-called atheists -- and to Walter -- honest error cannot adequately explain their refusal to admit the truth of the matter. That leaves only stupidity or dishonesty as viable explanitory options.

BenYachov said...

IIion is so high right now.........

It must be some premo shit.

B. Prokop said...

"You appear to be saying that deep down all atheists know there is a God (in particular the Judeo-Christian one) but they are willfully repressing that knowledge for whatever reason."

Walter,

I wouldn't word it as simplistically as that. I do think that everyone ultimately chooses what they believe, whether it be Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, or atheism. Yes, there are cultural factors involved, as well as parental influence, peer pressure, fitting in, etc. But these factors are equally present in the decision making processes of atheists as well as believers. This is where Loftus has it so completely wrong with his so-called OTF.

I actually don't know that many atheists personally (face to face, that is). One that I know claims to be an atheist due to the church's recent abuse scandals (but he may just be mad at the Church, and this is his way of expressing it). Another seems to be one as a way of getting back at his parents for some unresolved unpleasantness in his childhood. A close relative of mine is a rather belligerent atheist, apparently just so he can be an ass. (If you ever met him, you'd readily agree with me.) But I honestly (and I really do mean this) do know not one single person who identifies as an atheist due to reason, logic, science, or what have you. It always comes down to some messed up thing in their upbringing.

I don't know you personally, so maybe you're the exception to the rule. But even on the internet, the norm for atheism seems to be a reaction to some personal pain or anger. Papalinton is clearly angry at someone, and takes it out on God. Loftus is equally clearly in it only for the money. He's no different than the most offensive of televangelists. Steven Carr has an obvious chip on his shoulder a mile wide. There are several others who post sporadically to this website who are screamingly obviously afraid of Christianity being true, and are using every desperate trick in the book to avoid having to admit this.

Ilíon said...

^
In contrast, I don't need to freakout when Prokop says something with which I can agree ... even if I do note the the absurd time that passes between any two true statements he makes.

Crude said...

Walter,

You appear to be saying that deep down all atheists know there is a God (in particular the Judeo-Christian one) but they are willfully repressing that knowledge for whatever reason. I disagree.

Bob's answering for himself here, but for my own part, I will say this.

Have you ever been to lesswrong? My impression there is that you have a lot of atheists who believe in God/gods there, or who at least think the existence of God/gods is very likely, but who would rather chop out their tongue than admit as much. So they use another word: "simulators".

Further, this would be just as offensive as an atheist saying to you that deep down you know that death is final, that there is no happy, clappy afterlife, and you are repressing this truth to stave off nihilistic despair.

I'll just point out the obvious and mention that this comes up, repeatedly, with atheists. I have trouble thinking of one who frequents this site who wouldn't get behind that statement.

Ilíon said...

"IIion is so high right now.........

It must be some premo shit.
"

I wonder: will that little non-entity who recently falsely asserted that the ad hominem is my preferred form of argument say something now that there actually has been a ad hominem "argument" put forward?

Naaaaaa, I'm teasing! I know that's not in the offing.

B. Prokop said...

At least I use my real name, "Ilion".

Ilíon said...

^
That's certainly putting me -- along with innumerable persons who have used pseudonyms -- in my place.

Yet, I cannot but wonder, a propos of what?

'Ilíon' is "the name of my name" ... and has been since the late 1970s.

BeingItself said...

This book

http://www.amazon.com/Philosophers-without-Gods-Meditations-Atheism/dp/019974341X

Has a chapter by Georges Rey called 'Meta-atheism' that argues that nobody really believes in god. It's worth reading.

im-skeptical said...

Thanks for your response, Victor. Sorry for the delay. Please forgive my uneducated approach to this discourse.

So I can't judge whether God's behavior is right or wrong because my moral values are subjective? I'm not sure that's true. But I'm not the one who claims that God exists, and his behavior is perfectly moral in accordance with objective moral values. If I'm not mistaken, that is your claim. What I don't hear you say is what those objective values are. I know that I wouldn't choose to abide any God that allows so much gratuitous suffering, but maybe it's all acceptable within your objective moral framework. Until you state what your moral values are, we don't really know what you think is right or wrong. We can only take hints from statements like, "What's wrong with permitting gratuitous suffering?".

If you find yourself abandoning your instinctive morality in order to defend your theistic position, perhaps it is you who is falling into a trap.

Crude said...

Walter,

And BI arrives on cue to prove my point.

Crude said...

I know that I wouldn't choose to abide any God that allows so much gratuitous suffering, but maybe it's all acceptable within your objective moral framework.

What you "choose to abide" has no effect on what does or doesn't exist. Feel free not to recognize Obama's presidency until he produces the right birth certificate paperwork. Don't be surprised if Obama is still president regardless of your view.

Until you state what your moral values are

Victor is explaining the terms of the debate. It's not as if Christians are afraid of providing their "moral values", or defending a moral system or theodicy. They do it all over the place, without any skeptical prompting.

If you find yourself abandoning your instinctive morality in order to defend your theistic position

"Instinctive" morality, to the degree it exists, copes with dealing with other human beings, with human limitations and powers. God, particularly the God of both the classical theists and theistic personalists, differs in obvious ways.

Not to mention, since when is "instinctive morality" held in high regard by New Atheists? (Answer: whenever they think it's convenient, never when they think it's inconvenient.)

B. Prokop said...

"Instinctive morality"???

So now the purveyors of Reason Above All are telling us to go by our gut?

Walter said...

I do think that everyone ultimately chooses what they believe, whether it be Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, or atheism.

That may be true to a point, especially when dealing with beliefs where there can be no apodictic level of certainty. One must take a leap of faith (yes, even with atheism, since I disagree with the idea that atheism should be considered the default position). I cannot, however, consciously will myself to believe something that I strongly don't believe. An example for me would be my rejection of Jesus' ascension. Try as I might, I cannot will myself to believe the story as it is written.

I went atheist for about a year in 2005-2006 and I can tell you that I truly did not believe there was a God(s) of any kind. I was not repressing a belief because I was angry at God or because I wanted to sin without guilt, I just did not believe, nor could I have forced such a belief. I had to be slowly convinced by a laundry list of arguments put forth by Victor, Ed Feser, and Randal Rauser, to name a few.

rank sophist said...

So I can't judge whether God's behavior is right or wrong because my moral values are subjective? I'm not sure that's true.

How can a moral relativist offer objective criticism of another moral agent? (Of course, this assumes a personalistic conception of God--but let's just roll with it for the sake of argument.) It simply can't be done coherently. As Victor keeps saying, the best that one can do is to provide a reductio of the opponent's system. That is, the opponent's system must be shown to result in incoherence.

Until you state what your moral values are, we don't really know what you think is right or wrong. We can only take hints from statements like, "What's wrong with permitting gratuitous suffering?".

I don't think it's much of a stretch to assume that a Christian philosopher will appeal to something very much like virtue ethics.

im-skeptical said...

"Victor is explaining the terms of the debate"

Exactly. That was my original objection. Here's another example.

theist: Everything must have a first cause. Therefore, God exists.
Skeptic: But what is God's first cause?
Theist: Did I say everything? I meant to say every contingent thing. And God is non-contingent because that's the way I define him. Ha ha. I win. Neener neener.

BeingItself said...

Crude,

I don't find Rey's argument persuasive.

Crude said...

Exactly. That was my original objection.

Nah. Your original objection betrayed some considerable ignorance of these discussions. Similarly...

theist: Everything must have a first cause. Therefore, God exists.

...just shows you don't understand these discussions at all. Really, "the theist says everything must have a first cause" translates to "DERP! I'M A CULTIST OF GNU! DERP!"

"Everything must have a cause" was never the theist argument. "Everything must have a first cause" is, amazingly, inanity beyond the norm. So congratulations, I didn't think it was possible to present a more mangled understanding of cosmological arguments, but darnit, you found a way. ;)

rank sophist said...

theist: Everything must have a first cause. Therefore, God exists.
Skeptic: But what is God's first cause?
Theist: Did I say everything? I meant to say every contingent thing. And God is non-contingent because that's the way I define him. Ha ha. I win. Neener neener.


Considering that this argument is an idiotic strawman proposed by New Atheist writers, it's understandable that you'd find it lacking.

In any case, care to explain how someone who holds a relativist position can criticize someone else? Moral relativism requires that one acknowledges even the Holocaust as a relative event. How can one call God immoral from that perspective?

Lapa Pinton said...

“They can argue that the theist has some misplaced values, and in particular, perhaps, undervalues the prevention of intense suffering “

Boy isn’t that the truth, Victor. It is the deepest psychological fear of any Bible crazy that someone might actually disagree with, or (heaven forbid) openly challenge their pious blithering on the subject of morality. How many woman and children must die by the hand of the Soldiers of the Cross before you wake up to the fact that you’ve embraced a hateful, useless ideology which saps your empathy for others?

Wikipedia:
“ A value system is a set of consistent values and measures.”
Thankfully, those of us who are heirs of the Enlightenment have at least attempted to construct a value system which is consistent. Can the same be said for the Christians who frequent this site?

Crude:
“ I didn't think it was possible to present a more mangled understanding of cosmological arguments, but darnit, you found a way.”

A far richer quantum of knowledge is produced by physicists than the windbags which inhabit the intellectual doldrums which are theology departments. With regards to the so-called “more sophisticated” versions of the cosmological argument, it seems theologians will indeed sometimes try to scrounge a few scraps from the physicists table to defend their particular brand of ridiculous superstition. As for the “logic” involved, this largely seems to consist of what Dan Dennet has rightly called, “ingenious nitpicking about the meaning of "cause".

As Dennet has also aptly noted, ““If you can approach the world's complexities, both its glories and its horrors, with an attitude of humble curiosity, acknowledging that however deeply you have seen, you have only scratched the surface, you will find worlds within worlds, beauties you could not heretofore imagine, and your own mundane preoccupations will shrink to proper size, not all that important in the greater scheme of things.”

In terms of real explanatory power, arbitrarily adding in a “magic man” to touch off the Big Bang makes no contribution to human knowledge whatsoever. It might be psychologically shocking for some of the more superstitiously inclined to accept this, but all the learned treatises by hacks like Craig and Swinburne can be entirely explained as being yet more examples of the human race tendency to perceive agency where none exists.

Ilíon said...

^
One good thing about having a blog which garners few comments is that at least there are no sock-pupptes.

BeingItself said...

Crude,

im-skeptical has not mangled the argument. Rather, he is showing how the theist constantly adjusts either 1)the wording of the premises or 2)the meaning of the words.

Robin Le Poidevin does a great job of showing how the cosmological argument has changed over time.

Suppose you observed this behavior in another context, what would you think?

This is what it makes me think: the arguer does not believe the conclusion based on the argument. Rather, she believes the conclusion, and then manufactures an argument to give here belief a veneer of respectability.

But the constant shifting of meanings exposes the fraud.

B. Prokop said...

"But the constant shifting of meanings exposes the fraud."

Rather loaded language here, don't you think? I could just as easily write, "The constant refinement of terminology shows how attentive the arguer is to the counter-argument, and how the presentation of the case is improved over time".

No fraud - just a healthy byproduct of honest debate.

cl said...

Crude,

Here's a real gem:

Robin Le Poidevin does a great job of showing how the cosmological argument has changed over time.

Suppose you observed this behavior in another context, what would you think?


LOL! It's been observed in several other contexts. Namely, evolution. Darwin's gradualism has been falsified. It's, ahem, evolved into "punctuated equilibrium." Does the changing meanings for "evolution" expose it as a fraud?

Of course not. It's easy to see how BI's "logic" unravels taking the very gauntlet thrown.

BeingItself said...

cl,

Again, you are profoundly confused.

Let's suppose 'gradualism' has been falsified. Then an analogous situation would be that the defender of gradualism equivocated the meaning of gradualism or manufactured a sophistical argument to support her belief in gradualism.

But that is not how science works.

That is how theology works.

The essence of science is that it is always willing to abandon a current idea for a better one; the essence of theology is that it holds its truths to be eternal and unchanging.

But because of the hammer blows of science, the theologian must constantly cobble together a new argument. The good ones do it that way, anyway. The bad ones bury their heads in the sand.

Either way, it's a fraud.

rank sophist said...

im-skeptical has not mangled the argument. Rather, he is showing how the theist constantly adjusts either 1)the wording of the premises or 2)the meaning of the words.

Robin Le Poidevin does a great job of showing how the cosmological argument has changed over time.


This is rich. BI, there are tons of cosmological arguments--and some people consider some of them more powerful than others. For example, I think Aquinas's first three Ways are better than Craig's kalam.

In any case, there has never been a cosmological argument that starts from the assumption that "everything has a cause". They start from the assumption that some things have causes, and then they work backwards to find what could possibly end the regress of causes. Even kalam works this way.

BeingItself said...

"there has never been a cosmological argument that starts from the assumption that "everything has a cause""

That's just empirically false. It was the first argument I heard for god when I was 8 years old. It was told to me by Johny Johnson.

It's obviously self-refuting, so less clumsy believers manufacture more sophistical versions. Regardless, all the arguments fail miserably.

But that is not the point I am trying to make. It is rather that the methods of theology are an epistemic disaster: start with what we "know" (God exists or whatever), and then cook up an argument to shore up the belief.

When the argument is shown to suck, the theologian goes back in his hole and gerrymanders another argument. And so on.

rank sophist said...

That's just empirically false. It was the first argument I heard for god when I was 8 years old. It was told to me by Johny Johnson.

So someone butchered an argument? How surprising. I challenge you to find me a cosmological argument that starts from the premise "everything has a cause". It cannot be the interpretation of Joe Nextdoor or of some Gnu writer.

Crude said...

cl,

LOL! It's been observed in several other contexts. Namely, evolution. Darwin's gradualism has been falsified. It's, ahem, evolved into "punctuated equilibrium." Does the changing meanings for "evolution" expose it as a fraud?

Of course not. It's easy to see how BI's "logic" unravels taking the very gauntlet thrown.


Holy shit, no kidding. Talk about a stupid move.

For one thing, the cosmological arguments haven't "changed over time". What's happened is various other kinds of cosmological have been developed - but not because, "Oh crap, the argument was refuted!" Leibniz's cosmological argument is still around. The First Way is still around. Kalam is still around. Etc, etc.

But worse... yeah, what you said is right. Evolution as taught and conceived by Darwin? Shown to be false - this is non-controversial. How about materialism itself? Changed, repeatedly, to the point where even "materialists" openly speculate whether it's right to call themselves materialists anymore (hence the physicalist discussion, and the problems that come in there.)

So yeah, it's an idiotic move. It doesn't strike at the cosmological arguments or traditional theistic arguments. It does strike at most of the atheist's favorite arguments and positions.

So naturally, BI makes this move. ;)

BeingItself said...

"The First Way is still around"

Is it? Want to run that argument for me? And don't equivocate "move" or "motion". Good luck!

rank sophist said...

Is it? Want to run that argument for me? And don't equivocate "move" or "motion". Good luck!

I already demonstrated the emptiness of your facile objections to the First Way in a past debate.

Crude said...

rank,

I remember everyone, including GRod, tearing BI apart on that subject. He's basically Linton with brevity, complete with the "not even understanding what he quotes" bit.

But the brevity is convenient at least.

BeingItself said...

Cowards.

rank sophist said...

Cowards.

Says the guy who never responded to my challenge in the post at 1:22 PM. Get over yourself, BI.

But the brevity is convenient at least.

True.

BeingItself said...

Rank,

Sorry, I did not record my conversation with Johny Johnson those decades ago.

cl said...

Crude,

Holy shit, no kidding. Talk about a stupid move.

I know, the thing is, BI is too blind to see. What's the saying? None so blind as those who wish to see? For more evidence of blindness, I submit these three:

Regardless, all the arguments fail miserably.

Naked assertion that no serious academic would ever make.

Again, you are profoundly confused.

Yet, BI just asserted that "changing meanings of words" entails that the claim in question is a fraud. Yet, the meaning of "evolution" has been changed considerably over time, as has the meaning of "materialism" and countless other things which BI doesn't cast a shadow of a doubt on. In short, BI is wholly confused, yet, the only retort is, "Nuh-uh, you are!" Totally sophisticated, right?

...the essence of theology is that it holds its truths to be eternal and unchanging.

1) The cosmological argument is philosophy, not theology, and it invokes scientific premises from which empirical conclusions are drawn.

2) Just a bit ago, BI told us the cosmological argument was changing, therefore a fraud. But now BI implies this "theology" is eternal and unchanging. See that? When BI wants to dis the cosmological argument, he says it's a fraud because it changes. Then, when BI wants to dis the cosmological argument, he says remarks that it is eternal and unchanging.

Behold, we are witnessing atheist genius at work, complete with name-calling. Pure brilliancy.

cl said...

rank,

Cowards.

Says the guy who claimed "all" the arguments "fail miserably" but somehow has never managed to show the failure of even one argument on this blog.

Says the guy said Craig, McDowell, Strobel, Hamm and Hovind "made careers out of lying over and over and over," yet, when challenged, defered to Chris Hallquist and somebody on YouTube WRT Craig, and didn't even defend the other claims.

[source, July 28, 2012 8:39 AM]

What is it with atheists and this seemingly total lack of integrity, by which they freely accuse anyone who disagrees with the of being a "liar?" It strikes me as a sort of psychological thing, cognitive dissonance perhaps.

Syllabus said...

"Says the guy said Craig, McDowell, Strobel, Hamm and Hovind "made careers out of lying over and over and over," yet, when challenged, defered to Chris Hallquist and somebody on YouTube WRT Craig, and didn't even defend the other claims."

Lumping Craig in with those other four is unfair, at the very least. Craig, quite aside from being an apologist, is a fairly respectable academic in his own right. The other four are popularizers at best, and hucksters at worst.

kilo papa said...

And then Jesus came upon his disciples and said, "Brethren, regarding the rumor that I am to be a human sacrifice for the sins of humankind. May I asketh, who in the goddamn hell came up with that Neanderthal bullshit!!!!!? What are we, living in the fucking Stone Age!!? Blood sacrifice!!!!!? Art thou all fucking insane!!!?

Listen, brethren, as I tell you something of utmost importance. Stop with the blood sacrifice bullshit. It's a ridiculous, disgusting, sickening, vile, wicked, evil, irrational bunch of Cro-Magnon donkey shit. And it makes us all look like a bunch of ignorant, deranged lunatics. For fucks sake, stop it!"--Jesus Christ, the Thinking Man's Gospel.

Cale B.T. said...

Kilo papa, I have seen you post this same complaint on many different websites. You rarely seem to post any follow-up comments, though. Are you genuinely interested in having a discussion on the doctrine of the atonement?

Crude said...

Cale,

Pay him no mind. He's a vegan who gets laughed at by other atheists for his veganism - this is how he copes. Pretty sure his real name, youtube account, etc are public knowledge.

kilo papa said...

Cale B.T. said "Are you genuinely interested in having a discussion on the doctrine of the atonement?"

Should any thinking human being be interested in having a discussion on a piece of superstitious, irrational, stupid, inane, asinine Stone Age bullshit?

Thanks for asking, though!!

kilo papa said...

And Crude, thanks so much for taking time away from masterbating in order to comment!

Oh, and how's that gonorrhea treatment working out?

Crude said...

And Crude, thanks so much for taking time away from masterbating in order to comment!

Masturbating, my boy. The word is masturbating.

Hey Kilo. How's the whole "human beings aren't supposed to eat meat! our digestive tracts can't handle it!!!!!!" anti-scientific crap going?

Oh, still getting laughed at by everyone? Oh well, them's the breaks for vegans.

Anyway, could you settle something for me? Is this you?

Because, well - there's the kilo papa nick. There's the vegan links. And, let's face it - you're pretty dumb, so it'd make sense that googling for "kilo papa vegan" would turn up your RL profile right at the top.

So, please. Confirm/deny?

Crude said...

By the way, you know what is literally stone age?

Dietary restrictions. The idea that "nature" gives two shits whether I have a steak tonight. The idea that it's somehow wrong to eat meat because of some pulled out of the ass pseudoscientific speculation about how animals are "just like us!!!!" and other such nonsense. The idea that it's somehow immoral to enjoy a nice, tasty piece of chicken because. The idea that scientific research shouldn't ever use animal testing.

And, really, that's what all this is about. But guess what? You can whine about Christians all you like - but at the end of the day, even the Cult of Gnu level atheists think you're pretty goddamn dumb, and your special religious dietary restrictions are silly. Even the ones who say "oh yeah, sure, that's nice and liberal of you" roll their eyes and laugh once you leave. Because your bizarre crypto-teleology is pretty damn asinine.

But anyway, is that you? Again, confirm/deny. ;)

Cale B.T. said...

Kilo papa, you wrote:
"Should any thinking human being be interested in having a discussion on a piece of superstitious, irrational, stupid, inane, asinine Stone Age bullshit?"

But surely these are just the questions that a "thinking human being" could discuss? Is the doctrine of atonement superstitious? Is the doctrine of atonement wicked?

I don't endorse his philosophy wholesale, but surely Karl Popper was on the money when he said "I may be wrong and you may be right, and by an effort, we may get nearer to the truth"

im-skeptical said...

At this point, the discussion seems to be over. Thanks to everybody for your inputs. This is a topic that I'm really interested in, and I want to learn about various perspectives. My question for Crude is: What is the criterion for achieving membership in the cult of gnu? But mostly, I would like to have heard especially an additional response from Victor.

To restate what I have said (in a somewhat different way):
1. To say that I have to work from inside your moral belief system is just a red herring that serves to divert attention from the real argument. It's a technicality that sounds good to you, but it's based on a faulty premise.
2. My position is that the natural world is morally neutral - it is neither good nor evil. I don't have to pass judgement on it, and I don't have to argue from within your moral framework. (And no, I don't really think I misunderstood your original post, even if I'm not familiar with all the jargon and the existing arguments. I would admit, however, that the way I express my opinions and ideas may be somewhat lacking in clarity.)
3. Your position is that God is morally perfect. You should be able to defend that in light of all the apparently gratuitous suffering that goes on. I think there should be a reasonable moral standard that you can articulate (since you believe that moral values are objective), and then show that that standard is not violated by God's behavior.

I believe that you will have a difficult time defending your own position. If you set a low bar for your moral standard, I don't see how you could possibly make the case that these standards are objective, since most people would disagree with you. If you describe some scenario where the outcome justifies the suffering, then I can contrive an alternate scenario where the equivalent outcome would be achieved (by an omnipotent God) without the gratuitous suffering. On the other hand, if you try to tell me that we just can't comprehend God's mysterious ways, then I must insist that you haven't adequately addressed the problem.

Perhaps sometime we can continue this discussion.

BenYachov said...

>Your position is that God is morally perfect.

To claim God is "morally perfect" is like saying God is "physically fit" or that He has "perfect muscle tone".

It's an oxymoron.

In Classical Theology God is not portrayed as a moral agent. God is metaphysically and ontologically good and thus the ultimate origin of good things. But God is not "morally good". Only humans can be morally good just as only humans can have something like muscle tone.

Category mistake.

Enough of this Theistic Personalist bullshit already.

Ilíon said...

You know, it's really too bad that Son of Confusion wasn't available to school God that he isn't a moral being when Abraham asked him, "Will not the Sovereign Lord of the universe do the right thing?"

Think of all the misunderstandings that could have been avoided had Son of Confusion been able to get the point across to God that the correct response to Job wasn’t “You don’t understand enough of what’s going on to judge what I am doing … but, if you say you trust me, then trust me”, but rather, “Dude, seriously! I’m amoral, so I’m way beyond these petty concerns about right and wrong.”

Still, I can’t but wonder, how does Son of Confusion’s never-did-exist religion of “classical theism” differ in substance and theology from Islam?