Friday, February 08, 2013

More on circumstantial ad hominem

Here's what I put in the last post. 

"You think you have reasons to believe in God. But actually, you only believe it because you can't stand the idea of going out of existence when you die. You don't have reasons, just rationalizations."

In other words, this response is addressed to a believer who thinks he has reasons for being a theist.

Now, I am perfectly willing to point out that there are POSSIBLE non-rational motives working in both directions. But to think that we know that actual motives of other people assumes powers of mindreading that I am afraid we all lack.

Walter said: It's also quite annoying when we skeptics are told that the only reason we refuse to believe is because we love our sin and autonomy too much to bend the knee and submit to Jesus as our master.

Of course it is. It is also annoying when skeptics assert that they couldn't have psychological motives undergirding their beliefs.

I'm skeptical wrote: Please tell me about this empirical evidence regarding wish fulfillment. I always thought the atheist based his beliefs on evidence.

Well, we all think the evidence is on our side. We all at least try to believe based on evidence. How well we do it is precisely what's at issue. I don't know if he was thinking this, but sometimes atheists really talk as if atheistic naturalism is so emotionally repulsive that only evidence could persuade anyone that it is true. That strikes me as extremely naive. If you'll buy that, I've got some oceanfront property in Arizona, from my front porch you can see the sea.

15 comments:

Walter said...

But to think that we know that actual motives of other people assumes powers of mindreading that I am afraid we all lack

I wish all Christians were as charitable as you. But my own experience has been that most Christians are taught by their church that unbelief is due to wickedness. So often times "nefarious" motives are attributed to me before a conversation even begins. I think what happens is that some of us on the skeptic side of the fence get tired of being accused of immorality so we fire back by impugning the motives of the religionists.

It would be better if we would all accept that the other side is rational in their belief, even if we think that they are honestly mistaken.

Ilíon said...

In the Walter quote in this OP, Walter seems to be bitching something very different from the point of the prior post.

The prior post is about the "motive-mongering" (aka 'Bulverism') so frequently deployed by (ha!) 'skeptics', wherein they "explain" that a believer holds his belief for some psychological reason (frequently less than noble), and thereby "explain" why the belief is false, all the while utterly ignoring the reasoning and evidence the believer has attempted to present for the belief.

On the other hand, what Walter seems to be be bitching about is something very different --
1) the believer has presented a rational case for belief;
2) the unbeliever has not;
3) to the extent that the unbeliever even attempted to make a rational case, the believer has demolished it;
4) the unbeliever not only does not abandon his disbelief as being rationally untennable, but generally doubles-down, a al Papalinton, in his mockery of belief.

In such situations, it is *not* an invalid move to engage in amateur psychology in an attempt to explain or understand *why* the unbeliever confirms himself in his unbelief.

=======
Walter: "I wish all Christians were as charitable as you."

Translation: It really pisses me off that any Christian calls me on my bullshit.

Walter: "But my own experience has been that most Christians are taught by their church that unbelief is due to wickedness."

Because, of course, not one single Christian could be basing his interactions with anti-Christians upon the empirical evidence of experience.

Walter: "So often times "nefarious" motives are attributed to me before a conversation even begins."

Silly little man, Christians attribute "nefarious motives" to simply everyone, including themselves.

Walter: "I think what happens is that some of us on the skeptic side of the fence get tired of being accused of immorality so we fire back by impugning the motives of the religionists."

Let's really go out on a limb here and pretend that Walter is the pure little lamb he portays himself as being, and that those mean old religionists started it.

Does Walter seem to be saying that he (or "skeptics" in general) engage in "motive mongering" so as to shock the religionists into abandoning that rationally invalid line of "argument"? Or, does Walter seem to by justifying his own "motive mongering" on the sacred principle of tu quo quo?

Walter: "It would be better if we would all accept that the other side is rational in their belief, even if we think that they are honestly mistaken."

That assumption can be rationally sustained only so long. When "the other side's" behavior makes it clear that he/they are not honestly mistaken, but rather willfully refuse to reason correctly, then it is error/sin to refuse to take that information into account.

Papalinton said...

" I don't know if he was thinking this, but sometimes atheists really talk as if atheistic naturalism is so emotionally repulsive that only evidence could persuade anyone that it is true."

What was that you were saying about using an ad hominem?

If you buy into Victor's statement, I have a phial of actual sacred sand gathered on the day Jesus actually trod on it as he was carrying the cross along the Via Dolorosa, lovingly and carefully handed down in the family generation after generation since the time of the crucifixion. I am not really willing to part with it but I might be persuaded under the right conditions.

unkleE said...

Ilion,

It is indeed unfortunate that in the attempt to 'slam' Walter, you prove what he is saying and work against what Vic is saying.

I wish to say as politely as I can that I think your words are making it far easier for people to reject christianity and embarrassing for people like me who wish to try to follow the NT commands on how we treat people that I have pointed out to you many times, but which you persistently laugh off. When you are willing to admit to the copious teachings of the NT on behaving with love, sensitivity and kindness, then perhaps your intellect might be better used by God.

May I plead with you again to hold in check your bile and follow the NT teachings?

Walter, my apologies for being treated in that way. I do not agree with you, but not all christians wish to be nasty to you as Ilion seems to choose to be.

Walter said...

Walter, my apologies for being treated in that way. I do not agree with you, but not all christians wish to be nasty to you as Ilion seems to choose to be.

No worries, UnkleE. I pay little attention to Trollion because I realize that he is not quite all there. I appreciate Christians who wish to have a civil discussion about our differences -- Christians like Randal Rauser for instance:

http://randalrauser.com/2013/02/does-one-sin-when-one-doubts-a-response-to-pascal/

B. Prokop said...

Ilion professes Christianity in his postings, but nevertheless has repeatedly espoused Hell's governing constitution (see prior threads on this subject). I mostly pay him no attention, because it's not polite to mock insanity.

And in a rare response to Linton, I'll see his Holy Sands and raise him a genuine stone trod upon by the goddess Aphrodite as she arose from the sea foam onto the shores of Cyprus. I managed to get hold of it on a trip to that beautiful island, and it rests in a place of honor on my nightstand. Top that!

Ilíon said...

apologist for mass murder. past and future: "Ilion professes Christianity in his postings, but nevertheless has repeatedly espoused Hell's governing constitution (see prior threads on this subject)."

For, as simply everyone knows: Hell is all about human liberty and justice under God, with fixed/known laws that apply to all, and minimal government that lives within its means; whereas Christianity (and Heaven) is all about the enslavement of all humans to the dictates and ever-changing whims of some small cadre of Our Betters, who know themselves to be wise enough and good enough to run the lives of everyone else, and indeed to rule in God's stead, and who know that justice is whatever they say it is today, and that laws are for the little people, and who know that you can always find enough money if you kill enough people.

Ilíon said...

"... and work against what Vic is saying."

When VR is incorrect, he's incorrect.

Ilíon said...

"May I plead with you again to hold in check your bile and follow the NT teachings?"

May I plead with you to actually read the NT, with particular emphasis on That One Guy? You know, that fellow whom you claim is your Lord and Master and yet seem not to know very well, for you seem to think he is as the Victorians depicted him, being a passive-aggressive woman in a male body, whereas in truth he was all man.

Or, if you can't manage to actually get to know Christ, can you at least learn the difference between 'bile' and 'blunt/unwlecome truth'? Can you learn the difference between "tickling the ears" and speaking the truth that others don't want to know?

Papalinton said...

Bob
:o) Cheers

Papalinton said...

unkleE
"
I wish to say as politely as I can that I think your words are making it far easier for people to reject christianity and embarrassing for people like me "


No. Don't be embarrassed. It is not of your making. I say this sincerely. Those of us on the this side of the fence, and Walter on the other other side of your fence, would not follow up his ideas or words as reasons for rejection of the christian mythos.

Victor Reppert said...

Ok, I'll bite, Papalinton. Are you going to tell me, with a straight face, that atheism is so emotionally repulsive that only evidence could persuade someone that it is true? That there are no emotional reasons for being an atheist?

Why was my statement ad hominem? I think a certain claim is absurd and contrary to the evidence.

Ilíon said...

"Ok, I'll bite, Papalinton. Are you going to tell me, with a straight face, that atheism is so emotionally repulsive that only evidence could persuade someone that it is true? That there are no emotional reasons for being an atheist?"

Oddly enough, I find atheism to be very emotionally appealing -- but I'm a man who distrusts emotionalism to his very bones; plus, I know by reason that God-denial is false.

So, as with everything the Mad Dingo asserts, the idea that God-denialism doesn't garner its rhetorical appeal by means of emotionalism seems, at best, risible.

im-skeptical said...

Victor,

In case you didn't see it, I replied in the previous thread.

Papalinton said...

"That there are no emotional reasons for being an atheist? "

Heavens to Betsy no. And it ain't so much about 'emotional' reasons for atheism either, but rather the emotional sense of feeling comfortable as a consequence of learning, understanding and appreciating the neutral stance of atheism from which to survey the myriad of contradictory, conflictive, exclusionary and competing religious claims made since the dawn of time. It is only now, today, that we have the tools, the skills, experience and means to investigate the role of religious belief as a persistent and tenacious artifact, an expression of cultural identity. We have come a long way in understanding the psychological and sociological imperative of religious belief and its various manifestations within a cultural group and its operant conditioning, both in reinforcing and inhibiting behaviour. We can, only now, investigate the pathology of religious belief in a more clinical setting that looks at: (1) the cause, that is, 'the investigation or attribution of the cause or reason for something, often expressed in terms of historical or mythical explanation' [All References Library], in other words, its etiology; (2) the mechanisms of development of religious belief, its origins and propagation, from a historical perspective; (3) the structural alterations or changes of particular elemental components of belief within that belief system, that is, the morphological changes to the forms of words and ideas expressed today that are significantly different to their original intent and meaning; and (4) the consequences of those changes, their manifestations, some recent examples being the equivocal religious position on homosexuality and gay rights/marriage, science and the scientific endeavour and its impact on theological certainties and religious absolutism, women's rights both personal and institutional [eg. women's health/birth control, and the ordination of women].

I contend your statement ad hominem because of the form of words carefully selected, the express purpose of which is to associate atheism = repulsion. A not too unsubtle ploy that feeds on and into what can only be construed as endemic religiously-inspired irrational prejudice that the vast majority of christians subscribe to, as demonstrated HERE. It is as I read elsewhere, that god-belief stands as a proxy for trustworthiness. This is simply religious deceit. In part the survey notes: "The research shines a light on the oft-overlooked issue of prejudice against atheists," an issue Mr. Gervais fears could become more of an issue as their populations grow. "The fact that we’re still finding fairly large and shocking results, such as morally equating rapists and atheists, is pretty remarkable,” he said.

Dr Reppert, you are an enabler in fomenting this untruth. That is regrettable.