Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Propaganda, Mockery, and Following the Argument

An important distinction has to be made about the whole mockery issue. If we are talking about mockery in and of itself, I don't see the harm in that. When I watch Life of Brian, for example, I see things within Christianity that no doubt deserve to be mocked. However, I don't think people should be making decisions about something as serious as religion based on mockery. You can mock, for example the theory of evolution with no trouble. And you can certainly mock people who have a quasi-religious devotion to the theory of evolution. The trouble is that perfectly good ideas can be made to look ridiculous.

Usually when I hear people mocking what I believe, it makes it seem less likely that they understand what they are mocking. I could be wrong, the could be capable of taking the time and effort to engage in a serious critique. But evidence of mockery points the other way. Of course, the mocker can come back with the Courtier's Reply: Your position is so ridiculous that I don't even have to understand it to critique it." I think there are difficulties inherent in the situation when you want to criticize something, but you don't want to give it a place at them table of dialogue. If atheists want real dialogue with believers, they have to treat them with respect at least in the interests of the discussion. If they just want to engage in propaganda, they can do that, but they should at least have the honest to call it what it is.

In philosophy we do have a argument method called reductio ad absurdum. But if absurdum doesn't involve an actual contradiction, then it's always possible to just say "So? Not that there's anything wrong with that!," and just reject the reductio. That's just life in the world of thought.

But I have a real problem with mockery as a strategy of persuasion. It functions pretty much like peer pressure, which is always a lousy way to decide what to do. I also think it undercuts dialogue and drags discussion down. It is tempting to think that what we believe is so important that whether someone comes to believe it for good reasons or bad, the important thing is that they believe what we agree with. But that is a huge mistake.

Real dialogue just follows the argument where it leads. What someone does with the argument once you are done is up to them. I think Lewis had a point when he separated apologetics from evangelism. These are two different operations, whether you are on the theist side or the atheist side.

I think Dawkins' strategy also leads to something else--people treating the person with whom they are engaging the discussion almost as if they weren't there, and shouting over them to possible "fence-sitters" who will be somehow peer-pressured into accepting atheism through the display of naked contempt. The message is "You're a hopeless faith-head who won't listen to reason. But maybe if I express enough contempt for what you believe, people who are thinking of agreeing with you will tip my way instead, since they don't want to be laughed at." The process matters, and if we are engaged intellectual dialogue, we have to respect that process. Propaganda is essentially anti-intellectual, regardless of what propositions are being supported by it.

C. S. Lewis was the first president of the Oxford Socratic Club, dedicated to following the argument where it leads. His time there led to two things that might be regarded as setbacks: his exchange with Elizabeth Anscombe, and the launching of Antony Flew's career as an atheist philosopher. But, in neither case was the setback the end of the story.

I think we have to face the fact that the most intelligent people in the world are divided on these religious issues, for whatever reason.

54 comments:

unkleE said...

I think a good general rule is this - make fun of things that you aren't deeply concerned about, but be serious about the things that are important.

We don't mind Monty Python's mockery because we know it's mainly fun, but we dislike when someone makes fun as a way of hiding serious intent. When divisive and important issues are at stake, we need more understanding and humanity, not less.

Dawkins' apparent approach echoes the evangelism he hates, and will generally tend to create ill-feeling and return responses. Maybe that's what he wants, but i don't think that's what our world needs.

Crude said...

An important distinction has to be made about the whole mockery issue. If we are talking about mockery in and of itself, I don't see the harm in that. When I watch Life of Brian, for example, I see things within Christianity that no doubt deserve to be mocked.

Except Dawkins specifically said he wasn't talking about mere humorous mockery. He was pretty explicit: the goal is harm and social ostracization. He wants religious believers regarded with contempt, period.

But I have a real problem with mockery as a strategy of persuasion. It functions pretty much like peer pressure, which is always a lousy way to decide what to do. I also think it undercuts dialogue and drags discussion down.

How is it UNlike peer pressure? Dawkins is calling for precisely that: vicious, nasty, 'hurt that person personally' mockery, and having their peers regard them with contempt.

Propaganda is essentially anti-intellectual, regardless of what propositions are being supported by it.

Sure, but at what point did you suspect that the cult of Gnu was very big on being intellectual or reasonable? Because they yell about reason and intelligence so often? Creation scientists go on at length about scientific validity. Do you ever suspect maybe these groups aren't all that concerned about what they say they're concerned about, but are using that as a cover for another agenda?

Again, it's not all atheists. But one problem I have with many Christian approaches to this topic is they're acting as if, with the cult of Gnu, they're dealing with people who really value reason and intellectually rigorous arguments and all the hostility is all just a big misunderstanding. Some people are beyond dialogue, and the problem is on their end, not yours.

This seems like nitpicking, but here's the biggest point of disagreement I have:

If atheists want real dialogue with believers, they have to treat them with respect at least in the interests of the discussion.

Your standards are too low. There's no such thing as being able to respect a person or the topic being discussed merely for the course of conversation, and outside the conversation you can go right on back to the bullying and hate and outrage. It's a bit more holistic than that.

There's no shame in saying 'This person is unworthy of dialogue based on their behavior' and shutting them out, banning them from the conversation, etc, at times. In fact, I'd argue that the failure to do that is actually ethically shamefully.

Steven Carr said...

'You can mock, for example the theory of evolution with no trouble.'

Victor has already done that.

he quoted with great approval, A.N.Wilson's mocking of evolution 'Do materialists really think that language just "evolved", like finches' beaks, or have they simply never thought about the matter rationally?'

Theists can mock science all they want.

Makes no difference.

Until they produce their god, all they have is mockery.

Meanwhile, atheists can have a lot of fun making TV programmes about the Christian god.


No wonder religious belief is declining among the young in Britain.

Fewer and fewer people want to be associated with something that can only be defended if you don't think too much about what you are preaching,

Lapa Pinton said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lapa Pinton said...


Crude said "Sure, but at what point did you suspect that the cult of Gnu was very big on being intellectual or reasonable? "

Crude, on being intellectual, wikipedia says the following "An intellectual is a person who primarily uses intelligence in either a professional or an individual capacity". Here, Gnus have the advantage of not being defenders of the decaying memeplex of superstitious superfluous supernaturalism.

For example, there still remain those who are sufficiently intellectually jejune to construct apologetical efforts defending the springing of rotting corpses back to life.

Steven Carr said...

VICTOR
Usually when I hear people mocking what I believe, it makes it seem less likely that they understand what they are mocking. I could be wrong, the could be capable of taking the time and effort to engage in a serious critique. But evidence of mockery points the other way.

CARR
Hence Victor's posting with huge approval, A.N.Wilson's mocking of scientists who think that language evolved. (Scientists, what do they know?)

And Dawkins mocking of Mitt Romney for believing that Joseph Smith really was given Golden Plates to translate.

The difference is that atheists mock religious beliefs by telling people what religious people actually believe, while Christians , like Wilson and Reppert,mock scientists for believing what their research tells them.

BenYachov said...

>he quoted with great approval, A.N.Wilson's mocking of evolution 'Do materialists really think that language just "evolved", like finches' beaks, or have they simply never thought about the matter rationally?'


Wow Steve you just confused a philosophical position(i.e. Materialism) with a scientific theory & or biological process(i.e. Evolution).

What do you do for an encore?

Are you going to call an attack on Sting Theory an attack on Conceptionalism? Perhaps you will call an attack on Idealism an attack on Quantum Gravity?

Category mistake much?

Wow dude you really are a fucking idiot aren't you?:-)

(You see one can combine intelligent critique with savage insult. Dawkins and Gnus like Carr are too stupid to do the former so they rely exclusively on the later)

David B Marshall said...

Carr: "The difference is that atheists mock religious beliefs by telling people what religious people actually believe, while Christians , like Wilson and Reppert,mock scientists for believing what their research tells them."

Why has the word "materialists" in your quote, now morphed into the word "scientists?"

Isn't this a form of lying?

And who said anything about research telling anyone anything?

But I see Ben caught this, already.

Morrison said...

Just try mocking someone like John Loftus and see if he doesn't take it personally.

Tony Hoffman said...

VR: "In philosophy we do have a argument method called reductio ad absurdum. But if absurdum doesn't involve an actual contradiction, then it's always possible to just say "So? Not that there's anything wrong with that!," and just reject the reductio. That's just life in the world of thought."

It appears that you are arguing that if an idea doesn't involve a contradiction it should never be ridiculed -- that those ideas being proffered are therefore best argued against with dignity and respect. But many ideas that are not contradictory are worthy of ridicule -- the idea that women should be stoned for being raped does not involve a contradiction, but I think you would agree that it is worthy of ridicule (and scorn).

If we believe that an idea is both wrongheaded and harmful, and ridicule is the fastest way to prevent that idea from being spread and effected, then again I think you would agree that ridicule is an appropriate response.

Of course, ridicule is a double-edged sword. And I don't just mean that both sides of an argument can ridicule the other, but also that a side that it's determined has falsely ridiculed the other position is usually held in the lowest regard -- much less so than a respectful approach.

So, the opportunity is always yours, to turn the table and show why ideas you hold dear are not worthy of the ridicule you say they have (wrongly) received. That, I think, is the ultimate response, and the best one.

Victor Reppert said...

I never thought that Wilson had presented a good argument against evolution. However, I do think the pointed to a very silly case of someone coming up with a ridiculous use of Darwinian explanation. What reason could there possibly be to believe that we have trouble remembering names because our anthropoid ancestors didn't need to use names to identify one another. Why should anyone think that this is the result of good science? Someone who is a naturalist, of course, thinks there has to be some Darwinian explanation, but why in the world does anyone think that this is the explanation. There is a cottage industry of producing Darwinian explanation for items in human psychology, all with the flimsiest of evidence. Unless someone can produce some real research supporting this kind of claim.

Tony Hoffman said...

Right. Someone else's thinking appeared silly to you. You pointed that out. So how do you exclude your ridicule from the criticism you leveled in your OP? It seems to me that you agree that ridicule of beliefs has a place, but it appears that you are arguing that it is never appropriate when leveled against some of your beliefs. I say, goose, gander, and all that.

Steven Carr said...

Victor is allowed to quote A.N.Wilson's mockery of scientists for thinking that language 'just evolved'.

What's wrong with that? It is a free country and Christians are free to mock scientists with their (I quote Fox News)'scientific gobbledegook'

Steven Carr said...

VICTOR
However, I do think the pointed to a very silly case of someone coming up with a ridiculous use of Darwinian explanation.

CARR
That isn't what Wilson said.

I repeat your post 'Do materialists really think that language just "evolved", like finches' beaks, or have they simply never thought about the matter rationally? Where's the evidence? How could it come about that human beings all agreed that particular grunts carried particular connotations? '

I'm truly baffled.

How did all these Germans come to agree that 'bitte' meant 'please'?

I only have a little brain, and I'm baffled that Germans agreed that 'bitte' means 'please' and 'Danke' means 'Thanks'.

Only a God could have got all those human beings to '...agreed that particular grunts carried particular connotations'


Wilson has pointed out the hand of God at work...

Of course, Wilson thought he had made a really good point, and Victor lapped it up.

W.LindsayWheeler said...

You wrote: "Antony Flew's career as an atheist philosopher."

Let me repeat what I posted on KJB's blog:

I have unfinished manuscript about the impossibility of an Atheist to be a philosopher. The word, and connotation of the word "philosophy" has its origins in the God-fearing Dorians of Crete and Sparta. Sparta was known for its deep piety. Plato in his Laws talks of the death penalty for atheists. It may be an actual law from Sparta. The term sophia in the word philosophy is about the Wisdom hidden in the Natural Order. Wisdom in the Natural Order is outside man but in a type of being. Only a God can create the world. The Natural Law is this Wisdom that is embedded in the Natural Order, or Cosmos. So, philosophy is the Love of Wisdom that built the natural order. That is its original meaning by the people that created the science of philosophy. That Wisdom that is embedded in Nature came from God. You can't, it is impossible, to be a philo-sophier and then not believe in God. That is an oxymoron.

Atheists may be thinkers/intellectuals/writers but in no ways can they be philosophers. No atheist ever, at any time, can be a philosopher.

Anthony Flew, David Hume and such others are not philosophers. Stop calling them that!

WilliamM said...

"Right. Someone else's thinking appeared silly to you. You pointed that out. So how do you exclude your ridicule from the criticism you leveled in your OP?"

The difference is that they have nothing in common.

Victor didn't just write off the position he critiqued with "HAHA, look how stupid that is. Clearly this isn't worthy of being discussed." This type of thing is what he objected to and he isn't doing it. Instead, as seen by his last post, he is asking legitimate questions such "What evidence is there to support this conclusion?" and if the proponents of the position he is objecting to fail to answer is then they have failed to support the rationaly of their position and he is therefore justified in rejecting it. Notice that this is an argument that enables a discussion, other than the mockery that Victor objects to which has the opposite results. This also means that his means of persuasion isn't mere ridicule (which is what he objected to), but demonstrating problems with the positions that make it so that it cannot be rationally believed.

physphilmusic said...

Crude,

There's no shame in saying 'This person is unworthy of dialogue based on their behavior' and shutting them out, banning them from the conversation, etc, at times. In fact, I'd argue that the failure to do that is actually ethically shamefully.

You should be careful with this though. Shutting out people from the conversation based on certain "offensive" behavior is a familiar technique of leftist statists. Feminists do it all the time. The problem with it is who gets to decide which kinds of behavior are "acceptable" or not? You have to make very strict yet neutral rules for this.

Dan Gillson said...

Thankfully, the real world doesn't bend to LindsayWheeler's misguided arbitrating. (And I say 'thankfully' because in LindsayWheeler's world, atheists would be put to death and black people would still be slaves.) There are atheists who are real philosophers, and who are so by vocation, training, and/or profession. LindsayWheeler, however, is nothing more than an uneducated, racist hack--far from the type of person who should be deciding who is and who is not a philosopher.

physphilmusic said...

But many ideas that are not contradictory are worthy of ridicule -- the idea that women should be stoned for being raped does not involve a contradiction, but I think you would agree that it is worthy of ridicule (and scorn).

The problem with this is that "ridicule" and "scorn" is called upon by playing on feelings and emotions, based on our shared revulsion to a certain idea. This is not good for a purely rational debate. You should just end the argument by saying that you as a person, as an assumption, that stoning women for being raped is morally wrong, while your opponent may not, and that's that.

Scorn and ridicule may be "justified", but they're certainly not part of rational discourse, even in the case of propositions such as "It is wrong to torture an innocent baby for fun". The acceptance of that proposition may be rational, but the shaming of persons who don't accept it is a societal phenomenon, not a rational one.

W.LindsayWheeler said...

Dan Gillson. All your ad hominem attacks do nothing, answer nothing, rebut nothing. Does the charge of "racism" change anything I said? If I as a "racisssss" said 2+2=4, is that not the truth? So what I am everything you said is true, does that change anything about the logic and truth I presented?

I presented the meaning of the word sophia in the term "Philosophy" as coming from the Natural Order. The definition of wisdom is "The knowledge of divine and human things and their causes". That is the definition of Wisdom. Despite being a "racissss" in your words, doesn't change the definition of Wisdom. Wisdom is the Knowledge of Divine and Human things and their causes. Now if you are an Athiest, you automatically refuse to acknowledge or know "Divine things" that means in no way can one be a "lover of wisdom". You can not Love Wisdom as an Atheist for Wisdom includes Divine things. If you refuse to love Divine things--you don't have Wisdom!

All your ad-hominem attacks are nothing. All your ad-hominem attacks do not undermine anything I said because YOU NEVER address the logic or the reasoning of what I said.

Dan Gillson, you don't know the history of Philosophy. You don't know the connotation of the word and word study is the First thing all Philosophers engage in. And then to use ad-hominem attacks to trying to disprove something just adds that you don't know how to reason and can not refute what I have said.

No Atheist ever, at any time, can be a lover of wisdom.

Tony Hoffman said...

"Scorn and ridicule may be "justified", but they're certainly not part of rational discourse, even in the case of propositions such as "It is wrong to torture an innocent baby for fun". "

Yeah, I agree that ridicule in place of reason would be an unacceptable technique. I am pointing out two things: one, it's disingenuous and hypocritical to have employed ridicule against some ideas but then decry ridicule when the same technique is used on one of your treasured beliefs; and two, we are not entirely rational robots, unaffected by biases, etc, and in cases (all of them?) where ideas have consequences it's probably negligent to not bundle our rationales in packaging that increases the likelihood that they should be more effectively spread.

Dan Gillson said...

If you could read, LindsayWheeler, you'd have picked out the rebuttal among the ad hominems. (You do deserve to be ostracized, by the way, for your inane racist views.) Firstly, your criterion for what makes a philosopher doesn't apply; it is your own personal, inapplicable idea of who can and cannot be a philosopher. Like I said, the world doesn't bend to your misguided arbitrating--and thankfully so. You don't get to pick who is an who isn't a philosopher. Secondly, philosophers are philosophers by vocation and/or education. That is to say, there is a process by which people become philosophers, a process which you yourself have not gone through, and thus you can't claim to be a philosopher.

Rebut that, you hack.

W.LindsayWheeler said...

First, "...deserve to be ostracized...for your inane racist views". Political Correctness was a term coined in the Soviet Union. It is Cultural Marxism. Marxism was known by another name, International Socialism because it sought to destroy nations and states in order to build a One World. John Kiang in his book One World acknowledges the fact that Karl Marx wanted to do away with nations and states. Rosa Luxemburg wrote a treatise on The Nationalities Question. In order to have a Jewish messiah, you must have the Messianic Age where all men are united and race is destroyed. That is both in Freemasonry and in Marxism.

But God created Race. Race is part and parcel of the Natural Order. In Fr. Seraphim's judgement, in his book, Nihilism, The Root of Revolution in the Modern Age, the destruction of all aspects of the Natural Order, the Old Order, is Nihilism.

Political Correctness is existential genocide. To engage in Political Correctness, which you do Dan, is to engage in Marxism and you are a genocider.

As for me, I obey God. God destroyed the Unity of Man that was the Tower of Babel and called it evil. The United Nations and Globalization is evil. Racism as you portray, Dan, is there to preserve Race. To deconstruct that is to engage in existential genocide.

It is either, or, Dan. Either you are Marxist and engage in Genocide or you preserve Race and all of its functions. So we must follow Marxist ideology? Marxist propaganda? or follow Biblical truth and the Natural Law?

So Dan, do you really know what you are doing? Who should be banned, the man who engages in Marxist propaganda and is decieved into political correctness or a defender of his people and the defender and teacher of Biblical teachings and the Natural Law? Who is on the side of Right? What is the Will of God? The Tower of Babel shows the Will of God. The Unity of Man is an evil. The Unity of Man is a Judeo-Masonic-Bolshevist conspiracy of evil.

BenYachov said...

Tony & Dan,

In the past I have bagged on both of you for illogical thinking & I have been very mean about it.

I don't regret it but that having been said I feel I would be doing you both a grave disservice if I didn't warn you both Wheeler is a nutcase & likely a White Supremacist. I also suspect he might be an anti-Semite to boot.
He openly said on Feser blog he believed allowing persons of color the right to vote was the "liberal" position. Indeed he was spamming Feser's comment box with so much racist shit Feser finally told him to cut it out or he would start deleting his psycho nonsense.

Here is some sane advice everybody here with an IQ above 2 can agree on.

People who seriously advocate holocaust denial, rascism, or NAMBLA are unworthy of civil discussion.

You guys would be better off arguing with a YEC who is also a geocentrist as I would be better off arguing with some neo-Positivist anti-philosophy Gnu then to have to deal with this psycho shit.

In short gentlemen don't waste your time. For the sake of your own sanity.

W.LindsayWheeler said...

Ben Yachov with the Kosher police.

Divining who is Kosher and who is unclean--meaning who is politically INcorrect. We all must follow PeeCee. We can't think otherwise.

You shall not challenge the orthodox Marxism. We all must obey our Marxist Handlers.

I thought Jews and atheists hated the Inquisition. Yet, the Inquisition has been reborn under the red flag of Marxism, the red flag of Political Correctness. Ben Yachov engages in a form of the Inquisition.

Resistance is futile.

Notice that Ben Yachov does not dispute anything I have said but like Dan engages in ad-hominem and character assination. I'm not running for a seat in the legislature. Why are they engaging in character assination for? It is quite funny that very few people engage in what I say but many people attack me for who I am.

Truth is Truth. There is only one place to be, On the side of Truth.

Who is Kosher and who is Unclean?

BenYachov said...

Wheeler,

Your not a real conservative who hates race baiting & or justly looks down upon scumbag commie liberals who call non-racist people "racists" as a means of silencing them because they disagree with them(like Obama & His gang).

You are in fact objectively a Racist by you own admission.

So as I told you in the past.

Fuck off!

All this spamming is likely cutting into your Hitler Youth meetings anyway.

Dan Gillson said...

1.) LindsayWheeler is engaging in some stupid, petulant naïveté: "Why do people attack me for who I am when it's who I am?" Well Mr Wheeler, it's because when you're an odious sort of person, semi-reasonable people, like me and BenYachov, will probably notice. Here's a tip for free: don't be an odious person. If you do that, then people will probably stop with "assassinating" your character. (Just to be clear, we aren't "assassinating" anything. You're racist beliefs deform your character. Ben and I are pointing out your monstrosity.)

2.) To get back to the argument, LindsayWheeler assumes that he has the credentials and the credibility to tell professional philosophers whether or not they are 'real' philosophers. He can complain about my ad hominems all he wants, but they are relevant to this argument because he is appealing to his character. My argument is twofold: 1.) He doesn't have the credentials, viz., he is uneducated; 2.) He doesn't have the credibility, viz., he is a racist.

You're move, Linds.

BenYachov said...

Dan,

I still think you would be better off telling him to "fuck off". But hey it's up too you buddy.

Cheers.

Dan Gillson said...

Yeah, I know Ben.

BenYachov said...

Can an Atheist be a Philosopher?

Well Catholics correctly believe via the teachings of Alexander VIII, Pius IX, St Pius X, Pius XII, Vatican II, John Paul II and Benedict XVI invincibly ignorant non-believers who follow the Light God gives them can be saved.

Logically all saved persons in some sense love Sophia(aka Divine Wisdom) that would include Atheists who are non-believers by negation and follow the Light gives them etc..

Ergo it is possible even by Racist Boyz standards for Atheists to be philosophers.

Problem solved.

It's not fucking hard.

I can do this easy shit in my sleep.

BenYachov said...

Additional:

Any Atheist also might have a mere natural unconscious love of Sophia(as opposed to one animated by Divine Grace which is necessary for salvation).

Even an Atheist who might be be "unsaved" can love Truth or Sophia with his mere natural powers alone.

Thus on the mere natural level be a Philosopher by fruitbat Racist Boyz standards.

It's still not hard.

W.LindsayWheeler said...

Dan writes: To get back to the argument, Lindsay Wheeler assumes that he has the credentials and the credibility to tell professional philosophers whether or not they are 'real' philosophers. He can complain about my ad hominems all he wants, but they are relevant to this argument because he is appealing to his character. My argument is twofold: 1.) He doesn't have the credentials, viz., he is uneducated

You know my name is in blue because there is a link that you can go to find out something about me. I know Dan's name is in blue to. Now, click on my name and you go to the Wordpress page on me. You get a cursory view. But on the left hand side it has "Webpage". Anyone can click on that and look at my "credentials". Not only do I have a small autobiography there but also a list of my published works.

Dan asserts that I don't have any credentials? But who doesn't do the research? Did Dan click on any links and look at my bio, or the published works 4/5 of those he can read online for free, just one of them requires a subscription in order to access. Three of those articles were published by a peer reviewed journal in England.

Dan asserts that I have no credentials. Those papers are my credentials. Each one of those papers overthrows everything that has been written on the subject! All the books you pick up call Sparta an Oligarchy. All the reference books you pick up. I prove them all wrong. All the commentators of Aristotle consider his mentioning of "mixed government" and "Ideal" government that never existed in history. I prove that wrong. Aristotle's recommendation of mixed government and his use of mixed government and study of it comes from a real historical reality, that of Sparta. No Academic with a PHD wrote that article.

Even Paul Cartledge who is acclaimed this "Spartan scholar" does not know this. His works are so faulty it is beyond pathetic. Yet he is "Acclaimed". He doesn't know anything.

Here Dan, I don't know anything about philosophy--who wrote this Doric Crete and Sparta, the home of Greek philosophy? I did. NO ACADEMIC wrote this! I just overturned 400 years of nonsense. Athens is NOT the birthplace of philosophy, never was.

How do you know a subject if you don't know its origins?

Socrates said himself that Crete and Sparta is the home of Greek philosophy. Every Academic has dismissed that!

So who is a philosopher? I have written on the true origins of Philosophy. I ought to know what it means. The Natural Law is "Thief knows Thief". You don't know the origins and so you can't know what it means.

Who has the credentials?

Come on Danny-boy? You should do the research before you open your mouth. Compare my webpage with Dan's webpage. Dan has nothing of significance on his webpage.

(And by the way America was never a "republic". The FFofA did not create a true classical republic. So who is ignorant? Who is fooled?)

W.LindsayWheeler said...

Charles H. Cosgrove, wrote an article: "Did Paul Value Ethnicity", published in The Catholic Biblical Quarterly, 68,2006. pg 270.

In there he states: Many ancient people in Classical Antiquity were ethnocentric; i.e. the Ancient Greeks, the Hebrews (or Jews) and the Romans. Furthermore, they did not think it wrong to view their group as superior to others.

It was NORMAL to think like that. Let's expand that around the globe. Is this Nazi? Is this some kind of Aryan junk, Aryan ideology? (as Ben Yachov would like you to think.)

As Charles Cosgrove points out, it was NORMAL, Ubiquitous in Classical Antiquity to think you and your race were superior to others. Let's see...how about Japan and its Samuraii culture. Did they not think they were superior to all others?

What about the Zulu? Did not the Zulu think and act like he was superior?

What about the Aztecs? Did they not think they were superior?

The whole existence and essence of the term "goyim" in the Hebrew Language like the term "barbarian" in the Greek connotes a superiority.

Are the Jews Nazis? Are the Greeks Nazis?

Now, St. Thomas Aquinas calls Aristotle "The Philosopher". Aristotle is the quintessential philosopher. Aristotle is truly a philosopher if there ever was one.

Has Dan or Ben Yachov read Aristotle? Aristotle repeats a common Greek proverb, "Tis meet that Greek rule barbarian".

Aristotle writes this 4."...for because the barbarians are more servile in their nature than the Greeks, and the Asiatics than the Europeans, they endure despotic rule without resentment." (Politics, Aristotle, Book III, 9, sec.3; 1285a 20; Loeb, pg 249 )

Is not Aristotle a racialist? If Aristotle, who is "The Philosopher" writes racialist stuff---are you condemning him? Do you strip him of the title of philosopher? Does not every body read Aristotle?

Is Aristotle and the Greeks nazi? NO. Racial superiority was throughout Western Classical Antiquity in the Romans and in the Greeks. It was in the Middle East with the Jews. It was in Asia with the Japanese. In Africa with the Zulus and in Central America with the Aztecs who are the furtherest removed from the "Aryans". Are all these people Nazis?

Or is it NORMAL human behavior? And is what PeeCee crowd engaging in social re-engineering? Is not social re-engineering immoral and unethical? Is not social re-engineering that attempts to undo or remake the Natural Order evil?

Who is the real evil here? The Normal people, real philosophers that acknowledge this like Aristotle, or the Marxists and their propaganda of existential genocide?

W.LindsayWheeler said...

Hey Ben Yachov

"Tis meet that Greek rule barbarian"

Makes me a Greek, not a nazi.

Why does the word "goyim" exist in your language for?

Hypocrite anybody? How about the Double Mind? "Don't look behind the curtian with the man pulling the levers".

BenYachov said...

Wheeler,

What part of "fuck off" do ya not understand?

WilliamM said...

"Yeah, I agree that ridicule in place of reason would be an unacceptable technique. I am pointing out two things: one, it's disingenuous and hypocritical to have employed ridicule against some ideas but then decry ridicule when the same technique is used on one of your treasured beliefs;"

Simple question:
Has anyone here engaged in ridicule against some ideas and then decried ridicule against his or her own ideas solely for the reason that ridicule isn't okay?

Because pointing out a hypocrisy that no one is engaging in is sort of pointless.

Dan Gillson said...

Surely, such a stand-out, self-trained scholar as Mr Wheeler would have attracted the notice of other big name intellectuals in his field. His work, however, has not attracted the kind of attention that someone who "overturned 400 years of nonsense" would have. The reason he is published at all probably has more to do with the lack of a real vetting process over at Markoulakis Publications, not because he is a stellar scholar. I hardly think he could publish in more prestigious academic journals, like Greece and Rome. He is, in effect, a meretricious, delusional nobody--clearly jealous of the academic establishment--and the credentials which he touts so highly are collectively worth less than a steamy pile of shit. However, I'll gleefully continue on, because I'm having fun thumping this racist scumbag. Get ready for round two, you miserable piece of shit.

So far, I exposed Mr Wheeler as hack and a racist, and I have successfully defended my charges. He is rightfully ignored by the academe, and I rightfully point out his stupidity. He is thus in ruins. However, he still maintains this piece of bad argument: "I have written on the true origins of philosophy, therefore I can arbitrate who is and is not a philosopher." He has invented some lame-ass criterion to help him pick who is and is not a 'real' philosopher. That is to say, he thinks that his criterion--'believing in God'--is necessary to the idea of a philosopher. But is it? No, for the same reason that 'playing the cello' isn't necessary to the idea of 'being a musician', or even necessary to the idea of 'knowing music'. Just as there are many ways for one to be a musician (Can you play the guitar, compose, or sing? Well done! You're probably a musician), there are many ways for one to be a philosopher.

I have demonstrated that Mr Wheeler's exclusionary criterion is baseless and stupid. Coupled with the fact that he is also a disreputable, racist nodoby, he has no legs left to stand on. Ben: now I can tell him to "fuck off."

W.LindsayWheeler said...

In all my comments, look at all the books I've quoted in this thread. Does any of my detractors quote or reference from a book, or a scholarly journal article?

No.

Compare and Contrast is a great learning technique. Compare and contrast my posts with Dan's and Yachov's. Compare and Contrast my "credentials" with Dan's and Yachov's "credentials". They quote nothing and reference nothing nor profer any proverb nor maxim. Who has the learning here. I have referenced three books, referenced a scholarly journal. Referenced my own published work. I have quoted from Antiquity, and pointed to historical reality around the Globe. I know the real, original natural law and can quote maxims and proverbs from memory.

Dan wants to critique but he doesn't quote anything. Does he prove what I have said or written wrong? No.

I have not published in a "prestigious" journal. Because I have not been published in a "prestigious journal", on that basis I am a hack. Wow. Has Dan referenced any article refuting any bad scholarship on my part? No. Any article refuting my conclusions? No. But I'm a hack. On what basis does Dan critique? Has he had any article published talking about philosophy?

When philosophy is so interconnected to politics has Dan written any article on politics? He has not proferred anything nor has he presented his credentials for the basis of his judgements.

I have published both in the realm of political science and philosophy and in the Natural Law. The consistency between the three show the Truth in which I speak. I can speak truth because I am not decieved in Political Correctness. Modern Academia is full of Polical Correctness and can NOT write the truth.

Like begets Like.

Let the readers of this thread judge aright. Who has proved himself. My two detractors have not quoted from any person of stature nor have referenced any book or article. I, on the other hand, have done it all. My examples of my writings and my posts show my expertise.

W.LindsayWheeler said...

From my unpublished treatise on "Why no Atheist can be a philosopher":

At the end of the Phaedrus, Socrates says that "...the epithet [of wise] is proper only to a god". (278d) Socrates continues that a man who pursues this wisdom, who seeks a "knowledge of truth", "would be a "lover of wisdom", a philo-sophier. Wisdom belongs to God only! Men who are seekers of truth, seek this Wisdom, hence, borrow it from God. They in a sense, do not make philosophy, but borrow wisdom from God himself.

Heraclitus said, "Only Zeus is wise". (DK B32, quoted in Wikipedia article "Heraclitus") Only a God has wisdom for 'god' by essence is a perfect being and therefore a perfect being would be all-knowing, would have all knowledge. Heraclitus is a philosopher for he holds that only God has wisdom. In this line, Heraclitus amplifies this point when he says "Law involves obeying the counsel of one." (Harris, #83) And in this line, he elaborates, "Listening not to me but to the Logos, it is wise to acknowledge that all things are one." (Harris, #118) Right here, Heraclitus denies that a man has wisdom. Wisdom is outside man. A man must listen to the Logos; which is "…the intelligence which steers all things, through all things." (Harris, #120) There is one Logos which Heraclitus does not make up, is not created by him, but where one must adopt that which is hidden in the cosmos. In these quotes, Heraclitus is making the same case that Socrates makes.


Philosophy is the seeking of the Wisdom of God. That wisdom of God is found in Nature, (q.v. Christ the Logos the font of Greek Philosophy)

I stand by my words. No Atheist ever, at any time, can be a philosopher. A philosopher is literally a "Lover of the Wisdom from God".

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

>Has anyone here engaged in ridicule against some ideas and then decried ridicule against his or her own ideas solely for the reason that ridicule isn't okay?

Is there a moral difference between believing in YEC or Positivism on the one hand vs Racism, Holocaust denial & or NAMBLA on the other?

I think there is.

I have no problem with Dawkins ridiculing "Scientific Young Earth Creationism" & defending Evolution using both good science and reason. More power to him. But of course ridiculing all religion without reason & ignoring or dismissing philosophy is irrational. Which is why Dawkins is such a twonk.

I personally have no problem with ridiculing a Gnu Atheist's incoherent Positivist arguments against religion or their uncritical unexamined materialism using reason and philosophy to point out their errors along with some ridicule.

But of course Rascism, Holocaust denial and NAMBLA are nutbag beliefs by definition.

Dan Gillson said...

1.) Wait: In order to critique, I need to quote something? Once again you think that something ('quoting', in this case) that isn't necessary to a concept is indeed necessary to that concept (in this case, 'critiquing'). I can critique without quoting, just like I can exercise without running; I needn't run to exercise, just like I needn't quote to critique. Someone as "learned" as you should certainly know that.

2.) Yes, I did prove you wrong. Remember when you said that atheists couldn't be philosophers, and then I said that 'believing in God' isn't necessary to the idea of 'being a philosopher', just like 'playing the cello' isn't necessary to the idea of 'being a musician'? That was me proving you wrong.

3.) You're a hack because you don't know anything. What's more, you don't know that you don't anything. You can tout your publishing record all you want, you're still delusional.

W.LindsayWheeler said...

In order to judge whether your critique is justified or not, one needs to look at the critiquer. Dan attacked my credentials. I posted my credentials. I then pointed out my use of learning through the years by my referencing good outstanding books, and a scholarly journal. Dan has shown nothing. He has NOT shown his credentials nor has he proven himself in his posts.

Plato talked about people like this, constant debaters and disputers who really have no real knowledge. Dan and Yachov are in this class of men.

But in order to take Dan's critique seriously, Dan has to show gravitas in his posts and his wealth of learning to back up his conclusions, his critique. He has shown neither; he has no substance. If you are going to talk the talk, you should be able to walk the walk. He has no substance.

"Believing in God' is necessary because it is in the word "sophia". Dan is comparing apples and oranges. True not playing the cello does not automatically mean one is not a musician....if he is playing another instrument. And here is Dan's mistake, in order to be a musician, one must play some kind of instrument competently. There are many people who are not musicians because they do not play a single instrument. Dan's logic of analogy is flawed.

To believe in God is a necessary condition to doing philosophy because Sophia, in the word philosophy, means borrowing the wisdom of God. Furthermore, why don't Philosophers just call themselves "Wise" or Wisemen. Because the "philo-" in the word philosophy means to love something outside oneself. So in both cases of the connotation of the word "philo....sophia", requires a God who is the holder of Wisdom outside of any human being.

BenYachov said...

Maybe Dan is right & I should have a little fun too?

>Plato talked about people like this, constant debaters and disputers who really have no real knowledge. Dan and Yachov are in this class of men.

It's like listening to Paps blather on about the Dunning-Kruger Effect.

Wheeler BTW defended Paps as an "intelligent" poster.

Just saying.........

Dan Gillson said...

This is too funny. It is premisses, dear Watson, that back up conclusions, not one's "wealth of learning". (I am, by the way, far more learned than you, having actually completed university, knowing more languages, and being far better read.) And it is evidence that backs up premisses. You have presented 'evidence' for your expertise, and I have trashed it. You haven't published anything worth noticing by the academe; so, so what if you're published? Anyone could publish in some no-name-not-even-second-rate-journal too, but that doesn't mean that they're a qualified expert. You're credentials (the premise of your supposed expertise) come crashing down and thus, so does your "knowledge." You are a hack, sir. You aren't even worth my time.

My credentials, Mr Wheeler--my "wealth of knowledge"--are inherent in my ability to out-argue you. You have proven yourself to be a rank amateur, unable to keep up with the discussion. It is you who are lacking in substance. I doth bring real meat for the chili, you don't even bring onions.

Strangely, you captured part of the point of my analogy, viz., that one can be a musician and not play the cello, and yet you failed to understand it. (By the way, what does "Dan's logic of analogy is flawed" mean? Did you perhaps mean "the logic of Dan's analogy is flawed"?) And you call yourself a scholar! If I were to transpose your argument into my music analogy, your argument would be: 'believing in God' is necessary to 'being a philosopher', just like 'playing the cello' is necessary to 'being a musician'. You're argument confuses sufficient and necessary conditions, and is thus a fallacy. My analogy is meant to demonstrate that point.

Mr Wheeler, you have proven yourself to be an incapable opponent. I'm through with trashing your pathetic arguments. Fuck off.

W.LindsayWheeler said...

Ben Yachov, if you look in the Oxford Dictionary of twenty volumes, the authority on the English language, you will find that originally racism only meant

"that there were differences amongst the races".

Now, let us take the opposite. Let's us, with logic, look at Yachov's statement "Racism is a ...nutbag belief". So what Yachov is saying is that there is no such thing as racial differences.

So we have "There are racial differences".

And we have "There are NO racial differences".

Which statement is true?

Now, what is the definitiono of Truth? Apostolos Makrakis, an Orthodox theologian, states, "Truth is the Faithful representation of reality".

---A Faithful Representation of Reality---That is Truth.

Who has the Truth? Now, I've been attacked for being a "racist". A racist is one who "knows that there are racial differences". Only black skin is on an Sub-Saharan African. Slant eyes are only the property of Asians. You don't have Swedes showing up with slanted eyes do you? Are there not physical differences?

So to acknowledge physical differences makes one a racist? That is the Truth is it not?

A philosopher ONLY concerns himself with Truth---ONLY with reality. What is the reality?

And so who are the commentators here attacking the "knowledge of racial differences"?

What is Philosophy? Or is philosophy just ideology? Is there a difference between Philosophy and Ideology? There is. On a philosophy blog, we are calling atheists philosophers and we have commentators attacking others for "knowing that there are racial differences". Wow, how intelligent do we look.

physphilmusic said...

and two, we are not entirely rational robots, unaffected by biases, etc,

Indeed we are not, but why make it worse by engaging in ridicule when doing rational discourse? In rational debate we try our best to act like "rational robots". In theory, this means sometimes having to abandon certain philosophical positions or maneuvers if they're found wanting.

in cases (all of them?) where ideas have consequences it's probably negligent to not bundle our rationales in packaging that increases the likelihood that they should be more effectively spread.

This is a dangerous move to make. If the ends justify the means, why even bother to follow rules of logic in debate? Why bother with reason when emotional rhetoric is orders of magnitude more effective in persuading people and getting the consequences you want?

All ideas indeed have consequences, but the chamber of rational analysis, argument and debate should remain sacrosanct. If people want to engage in propaganda, they should be honest about it. Although I suppose dressing up your propaganda as something which isn't propaganda is a great form of propaganda as well.

BenYachov said...

>Ben Yachov, if you look in the Oxford Dictionary of twenty volumes, the authority on the English language, you will find that originally racism only meant

>"that there were differences amongst the races".

Dude you don't believe black people should be allowed to vote because of their race.

Nuff said.

Fuck off!

Papalinton said...

Just as a follow-up, Victor:

1. The revivification of a three-day dead putrescent corpse,
2. Virgin birth
3. Talking snake
4. Water to wine
5. Physical bodily levitation into the blue beyond, etc etc

you have to admit, they really are exquisite candidates for parody, satire and mockery. That is why the 'Life of Brian' was such a resounding success. It was really funny because the material it worked with was so out there, really preposterous and was ripe for lampooning. That is the nature of religious belief in the current post-Christian context.

Have you seen Bill Maher's 'Religulous'? It is truly revelatory in the truest sense of the word. Indeed, Maher's review of religion is mostly a serious one, posing many questions about why it manifests in the community in such bizarre and curiously incongruous ways that it does; from snake handling in the Appalachia's to drinking blood at the eucharist.

The sum of the believer commentary on this thread does not for one moment advance the notion that one should take seriously any discourse about religious content with theists.



Victor Reppert said...

Are you telling me that God, if he existed, would not have the power to cause all of these things?

physphilmusic said...

1. The revivification of a three-day dead putrescent corpse,
2. Virgin birth
3. Talking snake
4. Water to wine
5. Physical bodily levitation into the blue beyond


1. The idea that we are related to all living things, including cockroaches and bacteria (sounds like some New Age feel-good shit),
2. The idea that the universe began from a tiny little speck (what?),
3. The idea that all matter is ultimately composed of infinitesimally tiny, vibrating strings (strings? Why not loops? Why not triangles?),
4. The idea that Anna thinks Bob's passing spaceship is shorter, and Bob thinks Anna's spaceship is shorter, yet both are right (are you kidding me? You just said two contradictory things!),
5. The idea that the presence of a massive object curves the space around it (are you saying that space curves around this soup can in front of me).

All of these, are, at face value, ridiculous ideas. It doesn't matter a tiny bit that there's "evidence to support them". Clearly many Christians believe that your list of ridiculous facts have evidence to support them also. So what's your point?

W.LindsayWheeler said...

Furthermore, not too many people have been reading Plato clearly for in his dialogues, Socrates and Plato make a distinction between True philosophy and what was going around them. The sophists were not philosophers. Protagoras can be said to be an atheist when he states that "Man is the measure of all things". Socrates and Plato take Protagoras to task. Socrates and Plato both emphasized the difference between true philosophy and faux philosophy.

So there is such a thing as charlatanism in the field of philosophy. True philosophy is done by God-fearers. This was part of what Socrates and Plato were getting at by placing the adjective "true" before the word philosophy. (This is also part of my unpublished work "Why no Atheist can be a philosopher".)

Socrates and Plato make that distinction. A lot of people "think" they are engaging in philosophy, but they are nothing but charlatans.

Papalinton said...

"Are you telling me that God, if he existed, would not have the power to cause all of these things?"

But that's my point. .... if he existed..... if, if if ...an unhinged presupposition with no founding in actuality, with no founding in "the world or the state of things as they actually exist, as opposed to an idealistic or notional idea of it" [All Reference Libraries]. No one has demonstrated one scintilla of evidence of its existence. [Theists are extraordinarily quick to rationalise its non-appearance for any number of reasons, all unsubstantiated.] And as we go forward from here, the concept of the 'supernatural' becomes ever more increasingly unlikely. It was fine, as a placemarker, when there were no other or alternative forms of explanation. But that is no longer the case, and religion is being shown to be less and less about the reality of supernaturalism together with the existence of spectral numens, to being so much more as simply a purely cultural phenomenon and social artefact.

The crux of this discourse is that nothing, nothing of an evidentiary nature has been offered, let alone discovered [heaven forbid], that supports the likelihood of what it is that precedes the preposition, 'if'. All of the stuff after 'if' is philosophically possible, like your, "... [if] he existed, would [he] not have the power to cause all of these things?". But this only works 'if' there were a reasonable, supportable and widely acknowledged proposition for a spectral numen on the table. Only christians think the 'if' is a jesus the christ, others think the 'if' is a giant water serpent or python of the Dreamtime; still others think it is Cthulu and to others, Allah; still yet many others avow with their lives that the 'if' is Ganesha, the elephant-headed god. I'm not sure if we bundled up all these spectral numens and lumped them together, that it would constitute proof of a supernatural being. And if it was, the next question then would be, which of all these representations is the correct and only true manifestation?

Surely Victor, you can appreciate the reason, logic and substance of the position I put.

So in responding to your query, I would simply say that your question is moot. It is unconditionally hypothetical. A hypothetical is not a good hook on which to hang one's whole life. Belief in a hypothetical phantasm is jejune and a great waste of human intellect. You are clearly a very intelligent man but your belief in such ideas is not predicated on your intelligence. It is driven either by visceral emotional need, or is a product of unbreakably strong social and community allegiance. It is akin to Newton, having discovered the laws of motion, and great contribution to humankind, then squanders the rest of his life in the pursuit of alchemy.

WilliamM said...

Papa: Victor, you have to admit, the claim that your God, if he would exist, would have done such and such?
Victor: So even if God existed, he couldn't do that?
Papa: Well that's the thing Victor,, your God doesn't exist. And another thing. This argument isn't circular. Because if it were circular, well, it isn't.

I am so glad you continue to give us new insights in the mind of an idiot.