Tuesday, June 11, 2013

The Dawkins Model: A response to Keith Parsons as part of a dialogue on ridicule

This is the original thread.

But you have to realize that in the atheist community today, following what I call the Dawkins model, any kind of religious belief is open to ridicule. Remember Dawkins' famous speech at the Reason Rally. There the example he used was the doctrine of transubstantiation. Now, I don't believe in transubstantiation myself, having decide against becoming a Catholic way back in 1975. But I know plenty of intelligent, serious people who do believe exactly that, going all the way to two of my best friends as an undergraduate. If you attempt to show that the doctrine is evidently self-contradictory, then you have to face some very serious work aimed at showing that this is not the case, from Aquinas in the 13th Century to philosopher of science Frederick Suppe in our time. Refuting such positions is hard work, but resorting to ridicule has all the advantages of theft over honest toil.

Part of the Dawkins model involves presuming that committed religious believers are impervious to reason, but by showing how much contempt you have for their beliefs, you might peer pressure "fence-sitters" to think twice about believing as they do. That's what I mean by talking over people, and I find it reprehensible.
This is the statement I have in mind:

Dawkins: Michael Shermer, Michael Ruse, Eugenie Scott and others are probably right that contemptuous ridicule is not an expedient way to change the minds of those who are deeply religious. But I think we should probably abandon the irremediably religious precisely because that is what they are – irremediable. I am more interested in the fence-sitters who haven’t really considered the question very long or very carefully. And I think that they are likely to be swayed by a display of naked contempt. Nobody likes to be laughed at. Nobody wants to be the butt of contempt.

You probably aren't going to persuade real hard-core Gishites that there is something wrong with YEC by ridiculing them. So, what is the point? What do you hope to accomplish? Winning over low-information "fence-sitters" through what amounts to little more than peer pressure isn't going to cause anyone to become a genuine critical thinker. So, ridicule of this sort has little value over and above entertainment.
So long as all you have to do is quote them to generate the ridicule, that's one thing. But there is an occupational hazard that everyone who uses ridicule faces, and that is misrepresentation and straw-manning. Dawkins, for example, is frequently accused not only of failing to understand the arguments he criticizes, but of not  even trying to understand themAnd his response was provided by P. Z. Myers in the Courtier's Reply.

The trouble with this is that theists do have arguments for their position, not just theology which presumes the truth of their position. And if you put ridicule in place of a serious attempt to understand your opponent, then once again, you are taking a path that has all the advantages of theft over honest toil.

194 comments:

Crude said...

Winning over low-information "fence-sitters" through what amounts to little more than peer pressure isn't going to cause anyone to become a genuine critical thinker.

Why, it's almost as if they don't care about critical thinking. Or reason. Or, for that matter, science.

Imagine if you delivered that criticism to a political party: 'Sure, your commercials may sway people to vote for your project. But they'll still be uninformed, opposed to a strawman, and their confidence in their new position will be based on nonsense.'

Would you think for a moment that your admonition would discourage them?

'Misrepresentation and straw-manning', if they actually get more people to support or attack the desired ideas, are not occupational hazards for people who care about nothing more than results. They are tools.

And if you tell me "but they talk about the importance of reason, so surely they care about it", I'll just ask whether you the Cult of Reason was very concerned with reason at the end of the day.

B. Prokop said...

If all we're concerned with here is a numbers game, then Dawkins just might have a point. He could conceivably gain a few converts through intimidation and ridicule. But do such "victories" really get anyone closer to The Truth?

For even if atheism were true (God forbid!), being an atheist for all the wrong reasons is surely no better than believing in an untruth (for example, Mormonism) for all the right ones.

I would wager that anyone who abandons his faith because of being ridiculed would just as easily regain it when he falls in with a better crowd.

Dawkins is building a castle of sand on a foundation of the same.

Crude said...

For even if atheism were true (God forbid!), being an atheist for all the wrong reasons is surely no better than believing in an untruth (for example, Mormonism) for all the right ones.

'No better' nails it, on a materialist atheism.

But do such "victories" really get anyone closer to The Truth?

Though normally doling out bible quotes isn't my style...

“You are a king, then!” said Pilate.

Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.”

38 “What is truth?” retorted Pilate.


grodrigues said...

As long as we are quoting, here is T. S. Elliott:

"The last act is the greatest treason. To do the right deed for the wrong reason."

B. Prokop said...

Only in Dawkins's case, it's the wrong deed for the wrong reason!

BeingItself said...

VR says that he knows "plenty of intelligent, serious people" who believe in transubstantiation, and alludes to the allegedly sophisticated defenses of same.

Don't you see what is going on here? It's what I find so vile and revolting about apologetics. Some 'philosopher' is taught some dogma he must believe, and then confects some idiotic metaphysics to defend his idiotic dogma. As if larding over the dogma with additional fairy tales somehow makes it intellectually respectable. It does not. It's a dog and pony show, and VR knows it. At least he should.

VR is impressed by this silly game? I find it pathetic. It's exactly the opposite of how philosophy ought to be practiced.

Crude said...

How dare people believe in things BI dislikes! Why, they offer arguments and reasoning in favor of their beliefs. The height of offense! That they believe in something he rejects is bad enough, but to offer intellectual defenses - especially those he's incapable of comprehending, much less arguing against?

BI angry! BI RAGE!

im-skeptical said...

"How dare people believe in things BI dislikes!"

I mean, seriously! How dare they?

B. Prokop said...

BI,

Leaving the combative tone of your posting aside, you have quite misconstrued the entire issue of Transubstantiation. It was no "philosopher" who said you must believe in some "idiotic dogma" - it was Christ Himself who said (with no equivocation, no "idiotic metaphysics" whatsoever, in the clearest possible language so there could be no possibility for misunderstanding), "unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you; he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed.", and Paul who confirmed this when he wrote "the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, "This is my body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me." In the same way also the cup, after supper, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me."

And when, after saying this, John records that "After this many of his disciples drew back and no longer went about with him.", you don't see Jesus saying, "Hey, wait guys! You got me all wrong! It was all just a metaphor! Come back!" No, He instead turns to his remaining disciples and asks, "Do you also wish to go away?" Peter gives the best of all possible replies, "Lord, to whom shall we go?"

So you see? No "dog and pony show" - just the facts. No embellishment, no "larding over".

BeingItself said...

Bob,

Your reading comprehension is particularly bad today. Even for you.

B. Prokop said...

BI, Huh? How?

Papalinton said...

" ... unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you; he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, ..."

I understand this practice until very recently, the last couple decades, was still in use by tribes in Papua New Guinea. And for exactly the same reasons. They affirm that cannibalism, a religious ritual through which those that ate the flesh and drank the blood of their erstwhile leader, or their fearsome enemies, were imbued with extraordinary strength, great bravery and immortality.

So if the Papua New Guineans have done it for thousands of years and know that it's true, heck, why not the Christians. Why should the Papua New Guineans have all the fun and be the only ones that know the truth?

These days, cannibalism has ceased not only because it is no longer kosher [ :o) ]but also of the danger contracting Creutzfeld-Jakob disease:

"Cannibalism has also been implicated as a transmission mechanism for abnormal prions, causing the disease known as kuru, once found primarily among women and children of the Fore people in Papua New Guinea. While the men of the tribe ate the body of the deceased and rarely contracted the disease, the women and children, who ate the less desirable body parts, including the brain, were 8 times more likely than men to contract kuru from infected tissue." Wiki

However, I'm not sure, so I am open to correction here, but they do continue the practice in a fashion by lancing a vein, dribbling the blood it into food, and eating it.

Now this is what I call A REAL MUSCLE MAN'S Transubstantiation, using real blood to attain the nirvana of immortality, not a wussy wine and cracker.

B. Prokop said...

Mr. Linton has only confirmed the accuracy of John's account and the truthfullness of the Doctrine of Transubstantiation. I thank him for this new evidence that I had not yet heard.

As I have said repeatedly (and at much greater length than I will repeat here), every instance of a similarity between Christian doctrine and other religions, mythologies, creation stories, primitive practices, and even modern urban legends is a confirmation of that doctrine's reasonableness and reflection of its Reality. For this is exactly what one would expect.

I have elsewhere compared the Incarnation to tossing a huge stone into a pond, where ripples from the splash spread out to the furthest ends of the water and all is affected. In the same manner, "echoes" of the Gospel crop up in the wildest times and places - even in New Guinea.

RD Miksa said...

Oh, the irony here from BI is so rich that I simply had to write a drive-by comment.


BI said:

“Don't you see what is going on here? It's what I find so vile and revolting about apologetics. Some 'philosopher' is taught some dogma he must believe, and then confects some idiotic metaphysics to defend his idiotic dogma. As if larding over the dogma with additional fairy tales somehow makes it intellectually respectable. It does not. It's a dog and pony show, and VR knows it. At least he should. VR is impressed by this silly game? I find it pathetic. It's exactly the opposite of how philosophy ought to be practiced.”


And the irony is, of course, that this type of claim from BI can be so easily reversed in the other direction.

Consider the following:

Don't you see what is going on here? It's what I find so vile and revolting about naturalistic apologetics. Some “naturalist philosopher/scientist”, who became a naturalist as a teenager or child (clearly the age where rational thinking is at its peak—see Richard Dawkins, Lewis Wolpert, and the late Christopher Hitchens for quick examples), is taught by other naturalists to believe in some dogmas—that Darwinian evolution is unquestionable, that free will is just an illusion, that scientism is the way to go, that morality is relative, etc.—and then confects some idiotic metaphysics (see naturalist Alex Rosenberg for a good example of not only idiotic but actually incoherent metaphysics) to defend his idiotic dogmas. As if larding over the dogma with additional fairy tales somehow makes it intellectually respectable. It does not. It's a dog and pony show. I find it pathetic. It's exactly the opposite of how philosophy ought to be practiced.

So BI, the lesson for you is simple: watch these types of claims, for they can readily be turned right back on you and your ilk.

RD Miksa

im-skeptical said...

"watch these types of claims, for they can readily be turned right back on you and your ilk."

Yes, BI, all that talk of "science" and "evidence" - just dogma fed to you from early childhood by a bunch of witch doctors, so you are incapable of seeing the truth. Just drink the kool-aid and believe, and all that is worth knowing will be revealed to you.

ingx24 said...

im-skeptical,

You're just proving his point. You guys seem to think that only scientific evidence is relevant for supporting any given claim, and that there is nothing that can be known through pure reason without reliance on empirical evidence. If all you accept is empirical evidence, of course atheism/materialism is going to seem like the obvious truth - science by definition can only deal with what can (at least in principle) be observed and measured. But if you allow that there might be truths about reality that can only be known by pure reason and not by empirical inquiry, it's not so obvious that atheism/materialism is true.

im-skeptical said...

"You're just proving his point."

Exactly. Why should we think that evidence matters when we have pure logic to refute it? I understand. If logic tells me that I have a ghost who experiences the world on my behalf and does my thinking for me, how could any mere scientist make a case to convince me otherwise? We all know that science isn't in any way based on logic. And since logic is infallible and irrefutable, it is pointless to venture beyond the confines of our own thinking.

Papalinton said...

And still you keep banging on about it, having not yet articulated what the difference is between 'ordinary reason' and 'pure reason'.

Is 'pure reason' a euphemism for 'on the basis of unprovable subjective personal introspection' or the unsubstantiated, 'other ways of knowing'?

Is pure reason like the statement: “God is that, than which nothing greater can be conceived” SEE THIS .

So much for 'pure reason'.

Dan Gillson said...

The only way one can justify ridicule (as in, "give an honest reason for doing it", not justification in any kind of ethical sense) is if the intention is to make the recipient of ridicule feel worse about him- or herself, or his or her beliefs. It's magnificently dishonest of Mr Parsons, John Loftus, Stephen Law, or Richard Dawkins to say that ridicule serves any other purpose than that. They want someone to be the butt of a joke, and not in the way that counts as an affable ribbing. But I don't know: if I actually thought that the way to get an overweight, second-rate philosopher of religion on a Stairmaster three times a week was to ridicule him, I might say something snarky about Keith Parsons; but I don't think you can ridicule someone into exercising, just like I don't think you can ridicule someone into changing her beliefs.

ingx24 said...

Why do I even bother trying to argue with these nutjobs? Seriously? It's like I'm talking to a brick wall.

RD Miksa said...

Dear im-skeptical,

First, as an aside, and as I’ve mentioned before, you really need to change your moniker, for given the constant content of your repeated commentary it is clearly the case that you are far from skeptical.

But anyway…

For, in this particular case, if you were skeptical, then instead of making your asinine and besides-the-point comment, you would realize the following: BI was claiming that apologetics is vile, revolting, and pathetic because it follows a path of first believing a dogma, than creating a stupid metaphysics to justify the dogma, whereas, in BI’s opinion, this is the opposite of how philosophy should be done. My point was to articulate the obvious fact that many naturalists engage in the exact same type of reasoning that BI calls vile and revolting. And this is indeed an obvious fact, for it is obvious that many naturalists were brought up in an unbelieving house-hold, thus learning the dogmas of naturalism before having reasons for them. Or, at the same time, many naturalists become naturalists as children or teenagers, clearly when their rational knowledge of the relevant facts cannot be anything but partial and weak, thus meaning that they first believe the dogmas of naturalism and then later try to justify them. And finally, many naturalists, even as adults, have—as naturalist Quentin Smith has stated—an unjustified belief in naturalism, for they have no idea of the relevant arguments justifying naturalism, thus meaning that even these adults first believe the dogmas of naturalism and then only later try to argue for them, if they try to argue for them at all. Yet in all three of these cases, the naturalist is following the very intellectual path that BI calls vile, revolting, and pathetic.

So, your comment about “science” and “evidence” utterly misses the point, for both sides offer evidences and arguments for their positions, but BI is claiming that apologists only do so to justify some dogma that they already believe and that they are vile for following this methodology. I am simply pointing out the bloody obvious point that naturalists do this as well, so if BI is to be consistent, then he should find many naturalist apologists just as vile and revolting as he finds Christian ones.

RDM

RD Miksa said...

As an aside, I might point out that BI is even wrong from a factual perspective. After all, in many cases, Christian apologists have employed Platonic and/or Aristotelian metaphysics to support their positions, and these metaphysics were created well before any Christian dogmas were around. So BI’s claim that apologists just invent a metaphysics to suit their dogmas can be countered from a factual/historical aspect as well.

RDM

Papalinton said...

"It's exactly [ie. metaphysics practiced by those other than woo-meisters] the opposite of how philosophy ought to be practiced."

Now that Miksa has entered the fray, perhaps it is timely to remind him of the historical context by which his form of philosophy has been reduced to the art of sophism.

"The Enlightenment begins with the scientific revolution of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. The rise of the new science progressively undermines not only the ancient geocentric conception of the cosmos, but, with it, the entire set of presuppositions that had served to constrain and guide philosophical inquiry.

The dramatic success of the new science in explaining the natural world, in accounting for a wide variety of phenomena by appeal to a relatively small number of elegant mathematical formulae, promotes philosophy (in the broad sense of the time, which includes natural science) from a handmaiden of theology, constrained by its purposes and methods, to an independent force with the power and authority to challenge the old and construct the new, in the realms both of theory and practice, on the basis of its own principles. "
From the STANFORD Encyclopedia of Philosophy, no less

He need only read my bolded sections to get the drift of what constitutes *genuine* philosophy. But then he was introduced to supernaturalism and immaterialism not on the basis of fact, evidence or proofs, but rather through the childhood inculcation of folkloric fables. The tradition of cultural inculcation was evidence, facts and proofs were never important considerations in the first instance, and is therefore highly unlikely that they ever will. So his form of philosophy is and remains the pre-enlightenment form, a continuing handmaiden to theology. Period.

BeingItself said...

"So BI’s claim that apologists just invent a metaphysics to suit their dogmas can be countered from a factual/historical aspect as well."

I said confect, not invent. I'm aware that Aquinas borrowed substance theory. But that does not make the belief in transubstantiation any less idiotic. It's putting lipstick on a pig. I realize for those of you who grew up believing this infantile garbage that the sophistical spit shine gives you comfort. But my point is that it ought not give you comfort. It ought to make you ashamed.

BeingItself said...

Also, the belief in transubstantiation along with substance theory makes the belief unfalsifiable. A perfect example of a rent-free belief.

http://lesswrong.com/lw/i3/making_beliefs_pay_rent_in_anticipated_experiences/

Crude said...

I realize for those of you who grew up believing this infantile garbage that the sophistical spit shine gives you comfort.

I'd wager that most us here didn't 'grow up' being aware of these philosophical reasons. We discovered them in adulthood, learned the arguments and reasoning, and found them credible.

You, meanwhile, have just been flailing like crazy with what amounts to 90% righteous rage, 10% ignorant parroting of atheist arguments you don't understand but you googled up when cornered.

And that's what drives you bonkers. There's that typical Cult of Gnu attitude of 'emotionally I feel CERTAIN that I'm right, but in practice I get in arguments and look like a freaking rube. UNFAIR.' But really, you should stop lashing out at those darn evil Christians who bothered to learn, study and understand what they believe in. Accept your ignorance, your limitations, and adjust your behavior accordingly.

Or, don't, I suppose. You can keep on with the RAGE and ANGER on the internet, all because of your track record of derpin' it up whenever your try to argue with most theists. For all the good that does you.

im-skeptical said...

"Why do I even bother trying to argue with these nutjobs? Seriously? It's like I'm talking to a brick wall."

I'm with you, brother. A brick wall.

Crude said...

Skep, having been spanked one too many times on thie site, has decided he won't be made to feel quite as stupid if he keeps all of his aggression to the 'passive' variety. ;)

im-skeptical said...

Crude,

You keep trying to speak, but nothing comes out.

BeingItself said...

Crude,

You have given yourself away as an intellectual abortion one too many times now.

"But really, you should stop lashing out at those darn evil Christians who bothered to learn, study and understand what they believe in."

You have philosophy backwards. One should learn, study, understand . . . and then only believe. And only provisionally.

But of course, as a dogmatist, you believe first. And then confect 'reasons'.

RD Miksa said...

Oh my dear BI…


You said:

“But that does not make the belief in transubstantiation any less idiotic. It's putting lipstick on a pig. I realize for those of you who grew up believing this infantile garbage that the sophistical spit shine gives you comfort. But my point is that it ought not give you comfort. It ought to make you ashamed.”


To see just how utterly foolish this whole line of reasoning is, let me use your exact same methodology with a different example, thus hopefully enlightening you to the overarching weakness of your approach. After all, imagine the skeptic saying the following:

But that does not make the belief in the existence of the external world, the existence of other minds, or the existence of the past, etc. any less idiotic. It’s putting lipstick on a pig. I realize for those of you who grew up believing this infantile garbage that the sophistical spit shine gives you comfort. But my point is that it ought not give you comfort. It ought to make you ashamed.

My approach here was no different than yours, and yet it leads to absurd conclusions. And what this clearly demonstrates this that, when it comes to such beliefs as belief in the existence of the external world, the existence of other minds, the existence of the past, etc., every single human being engages in the type of apologetic reasoning—belief first and reasoning for those beliefs second—that you claim is vile, revolting, and pathetic. And that is why your whole point in this thread is essentially hogwash, for there is nothing intrinsically wrong or unique about the approach that apologists employ. In fact, it is an approach identical to that used not only by everyone else, but by naturalists themselves.

BeingItself said...

My dog believes in the external world, other minds, and the past. Does he need to defend those beliefs? No. And neither do you. But belief in fairies or bread turning into god when a priest mumbles an incantation? Yes.

Crude said...

BI,

You have philosophy backwards. One should learn, study, understand . . . and then only believe. And only provisionally.

First off, that's inane. You cannot do philosophy without having some beliefs to begin with, period. Go ahead, try to pull it off without axioms or otherwise.

The point is, BI, most of us here have gone through all four steps - including the 'provisional' belief. You've gone through exactly none of them. Instead you substitute attempting to parrot (not understand, but parrot) arguments you heard somewhere but didn't grasp. And then you wonder why you do so poorly in these discussions.

Some of us were skeptical of religious claims, particularly ones specific to Christianity or Catholicism, so we did research. An again, that's what drives you nuts: we did learn, study and understand, so when you rant and rave, all it really accomplishes is you look all frustrated and ignorant. But actually learning about what you're attacking would be so damn hard - so, you skip that part. At best, you do exactly what you did in this thread: give a link to a (in this case, budget) Cult of Gnu rep, in place of learning, understanding, and thinking.

It's not helped you, BI. If you want to be effective, you have to learn and think - as difficult as it is for you. Parroting will just result in exactly what you've experienced so far: disappointment.

Crude said...

My dog believes in the external world, other minds, and the past. Does he need to defend those beliefs? No. And neither do you.

And in the space of a single thread - really, the space of the same hour? - BI goes from talking about how horrible it is to have rent-free beliefs, to defending a rent-free belief.

God, it's glorious.

Crude said...

And just to make it better, BI wraps up the Problem of Other Minds with his external world hypocrisy re: rent-free beliefs.

If Yud was watching this thread, he'd be distancing himself from you right now, BI. Crappy thinker as that guy is, he at least knows when to ditch a sinking ship. ;)

RD Miksa said...

BI:

You said:

“You have philosophy backwards. One should learn, study, understand . . . and then only believe. And only provisionally.”

First off, do you only provisionally hold that one should learn, study, and understand, and then only believe…or are you dogmatic about that? After all, if you only hold that belief provisionally, then maybe you are wrong about it and Crude, who might know more than you, is right in his alleged dogmatism. On the other hand, if you hold that belief dogmatically, then you just contradicted your own point in less than a few sentences, which shows your rational thinking on this matter to be questionable at best.

Next, please answer the following question: did you first learn, study, and understand the arguments for and against such things as the existence of the external world, the existence of other minds, the reality of the past, etc. before you believed in them. If so, please enlighten us as to what arguments thoroughly convinced you that radical skepticism was false, because I am not aware of any such successful arguments. Or are you still a radical skeptic?

Oh, in addition, when you were a child, did you first learn, study, and understand the argument for the reliability of your senses/cognitive faculties, or did you just believe in those things first and then discover the arguments for these beliefs later.

Answers to these questions would be greatly appreciated, as I am very interested in seeing how you actually applied your own stated methodology to your daily life….if you actually did, that is.

RD Miksa said...

BI:

You said:

“My dog believes in the external world, other minds, and the past. Does he need to defend those beliefs? No. And neither do you. But belief in fairies or bread turning into god when a priest mumbles an incantation? Yes.”

Oh, I see. You are moving the goalposts. Very convenient! It makes your methodology rather flexible and malleable, doesn’t it? In fact, it seems that your approach is to use your methodology when it suits you, but reject it when it works against you. Now, if I may say so, this type of latter approach truly isn’t philosophically sound, and it is indeed the application of a vile and revolting double-standard.

However, let me give you a chance: please provide the clear and objective criteria that you use to determine which beliefs are subject to your methodology and which are not.

I await your response.

Oh, and as an aside, not only do you have absolutely no idea what your dog believes, but comparing yourself to a dog is not a winning point when discussing philosophical argumentation.

RD Miksa said...

And another point.


BI said:

“I realize for those of you who grew up believing this infantile garbage that the sophistical spit shine gives you comfort.”


Paps said:

“But then he was introduced to supernaturalism and immaterialism not on the basis of fact, evidence or proofs, but rather through the childhood inculcation of folkloric fables.”


What is it with all these commentators telling us what does and does not give us comfort and/or how we were introduced to our beliefs! I thought atheists were supposed to be clear rational thinkers basing their beliefs and comments only on evidence. And yet I ask you: did BI, for example, first learn, study, and understand as to whether having a philosophical “spit shine” over the “infantile garbage” that I believe gave me comfort before he believed that it did? Did he ever ask me about it? Did he produce any evidence for this claim? Any arguments? Anything at all apart from assertion?!

Or rather, did BI just assume this to be the case without evidence or basis in fact?

Once again, I think it is clear just how flexible and malleable BI’s methodology truly is.

im-skeptical said...

This is fascinating. We have seen in this thread the art of winning an argument by means of turning the tables. Accuse your opponent of all the things of which you are guilty, and you can make him out to be illogical, intellectually laze, and dishonest.

I suspect I'm like most other atheists. Having grown up in a religious household, and then coming of age, beginning to question the things I was taught, coming to realize that there were too many things about it that just didn't make sense. Perhaps many Christians had the same kind of thoughts, but managed to suppress them by doubling down on the teachings of the church, convincing themselves that it really does make sense, even studying theistic philosophy, which they think provides intellectual cover for all the bizarre beliefs they doggedly cling to.

Meanwhile, the atheists found something that makes more sense to them. They decided that in order to believe something, they should have good reason for that belief. The bible isn't it, since it is so full of contradictions and obviously concocted stories. But science refutes church teachings, and replaces them with factual information based on real evidence. It's not a religion, it's just a better way of understanding our world.

Now we hear that acording to theists, exactly the opposite is the case. It isn't theists who were raised with dogmatic beliefs, is is atheists. And we never had any reason for adopting our atheism, like they had becoming confirmed theists. We weren't skeptical - they were. We didn't question what we believed, they did. And our logic is incoherent because we reject the supernatural woo, having found no evidence to support it. Their logic is unassailable, because it confirms what they already know: that the woo is true.

And so they win the debate.

BeingItself said...

Crude: you do not understand the concept of making beliefs pay rent.

Miksa: concerning the epistemology I am advocating - we all are forced to accept that our senses give us generally reliable information about the world. Try navigating the world otherwise. Here is a test. Find a busy street. Then decide your senses are giving you false information. Try and cross the street. Good luck!

I have seen VR make the same kind of move you have here. Demanding that if you are expected to defend your belief in Transubstantiation, then I must defend my belief that the past is real. This demand is unreasonable.

It's like saying "since you cannot prove you are not a brain in a vat, then I can believe any stupid thing I want."

grodrigues said...

@ingx24:

"You guys seem to think that only scientific evidence is relevant for supporting any given claim, and that there is nothing that can be known through pure reason without reliance on empirical evidence."

In a sense, it is worse than that; it is thinking that the scientific evidence *actually* supports their *own* naturalistic claims . But this just shows how ignorant and confused they are about science.

word captcha: govern rforeva. What the...

BeingItself said...

Miksa, here is how it works.

Do you believe in other minds? Great! Me too. Do you believe the past is real? Great! Me too! Do you believe bread turns into a god after a priest mumbles an incantation? Really? I do not. Tell me why you believe that.

im-skeptical said...

"In a sense, it is worse than that; it is thinking that the scientific evidence *actually* supports their *own* naturalistic claims . But this just shows how ignorant and confused they are about science."

Oh, master of theistic wisdom, please enlighten us with your superior understanding. If scientific evidence doesn't support a naturalistic worldview, just what does it support? Perhaps it really does explain transubstantiation, and we're simply blind to it. I eagerly await your explanation. Do tell.

RD Miksa said...

BI:

You said:

“Miksa: concerning the epistemology I am advocating - we all are forced to accept that our senses give us generally reliable information about the world.”

Actually, no, we are not forced to accept that, which is why skepticism is still a challenge within philosophy after so many centuries of being argued against. Indeed, it is entirely possible for my philosophy to be that I trust my senses for pragmatic reasons while simultaneously making no claims as to whether they give me actual objective information about the world or not. So, as it stands, your assertion is false.


You said:

“Try navigating the world otherwise. Here is a test. Find a busy street. Then decide your senses are giving you false information. Try and cross the street. Good luck!”

Wow, what a challenge! It’s not like skeptics haven’t dealt with such challenges for over two thousand years.


You said:

“I have seen VR make the same kind of move you have here. Demanding that if you are expected to defend your belief in Transubstantiation, then I must defend my belief that the past is real. This demand is unreasonable.”

Actually, what I am asking you for is an objectively consistent standard, not some subjectively flexible and malleable methodology that you employ whenever it suits you and which you discard when it doesn’t. After all, being consistent with one’s own methodology would actually be good philosophy, while not being consistent in this respect smacks of hypocritical sophistry.

RD Miksa said...

BI:

You said:

“Miksa, here is how it works. Do you believe in other minds? Great! Me too. Do you believe the past is real? Great! Me too! Do you believe bread turns into a god after a priest mumbles an incantation? Really? I do not. Tell me why you believe that.”

Really, that’s how it works? By a type of inherent consensus? If that’s the case, then you have some serious problems. Why?

First, because it seems that all I have to do is disagree with you, and then you must tell me why you believe what you believe. For example, what if I actually don’t believe in the existence of other minds? By your standard, that means that you need to explain to me and justify why you believe that.

Second, if the above ‘consensus’ methodology is “how it works”, then naturalists have a serious problem, for seeing as naturalists make up only a tiny fraction of the human population, then it seems that most people do not share the beliefs that naturalists have, and thus, by your own standard, the ‘supernaturalist’ can sit pretty and it is the naturalist that must explain his strange, uncommon, and not generally accepted beliefs.

Third, and as with the second point, the same type of point can be raised in the debate between theism and atheism. After all, most people believe in the existence of some type of God or gods. So again, if your methodology is indeed “how it works”, then it seems that the atheist has some serious justification and explaining to do, while the theist can simply wait until he does so.

So again, if you really wish to claim that this is “how it works”, then as a theist, I am quite fine with that.

Papalinton said...

"The point is, BI, most of us here have gone through all four steps ..."

Ha hahahahahahaha! Now that was funny.

Step 1: Childhood inculcation
Step 2: Sunday school, bible classes, church, Jesus camps/faith weekends
Step 3: Sectarian school/denominational school/homeschooling
Step 4: Study apologetics/bible/theo-philosophy in search of exegetical interpretation that best matches childhood inculcation.

Catholic children grow up to be ..... catholics. Calvinist children become adult Calvinist Triabloguers. Childhood Episcopalians become .... well something. Muslim children grow up to become ....... Muslims. Hindi children --> Hindus.

I do enjoy a spot of parodic humour.

ingx24 said...

Oh, master of theistic wisdom, please enlighten us with your superior understanding. If scientific evidence doesn't support a naturalistic worldview, just what does it support? Perhaps it really does explain transubstantiation, and we're simply blind to it. I eagerly await your explanation. Do tell.

Scientific evidence doesn't support either view - naturalism and theism are metaphysical views, and scientific evidence is irrelevant to them. All of the scientific evidence we have is compatible with theism, atheism, dualism, idealism, materialism, Russellian monism, nominalism, Platonism, etc etc etc. To establish which (if any) of these views is correct, we need more than scientific evidence. This is where philosophy comes in.

RD Miksa said...

Dear “I’m Not Skeptical”:

You said:

“If scientific evidence doesn't support a naturalistic worldview, just what does it support?”

Good lord, seriously? Well, you asked for enlightenment, so I will provide it for you.

First, science appears to support a naturalistic worldview not because it actually does, but rather because the game is rigged. Indeed, given that today, science is a practice that is seen as being intrinsically linked to methodological naturalism, then is it any surprise that science seems to support metaphysical naturalism, for under such a methodology, no explanation can be scientific unless it is a natural one. And so a Catch-22 is created: no explanation is scientific if it is not a natural one, but then it is claimed that science supports nothing but naturalism—as if any other outcome was ever even possible given such a biased methodological approach. Indeed, when you have some scientists saying that even if a non-naturalistic explanation were true, they would still need to look for a naturalistic explanation over and above the true one in order to practice science, then it is clear that the game really is rigged.

Second, scientific evidence can easily support a theistic worldview through its support for the premises in certain theistic arguments. For example, the scientific evidence for the beginning of the universe and for the fine-tuning of the universe can be seen as potentially supporting theistic arguments, thus supporting theism over naturalism.

Third, scientific evidence, in principle, can ultimately never support a naturalistic worldview. Why? Because all scientific discoveries/evidences, no matter the type, are always, in principle, just as compatible with deism or a mere form of theism as they are with naturalism. And so, given this fact, science, in and of itself, cannot, in principle, support one of these worldviews over another. It takes additional philosophical argumentation on top of the science in order to do that.

Hopefully that was enlightening.

B. Prokop said...

Piggybacking on a thread previous to this one (the one about whether dialog is possible), one "ground rule" ought to be that no one gets away with accusatory put-downs not backed up by reasons to make such.

Examples:

BI says about Crude, "You do not understand the concept of making beliefs pay rent." But he tells us nothing about why or how Crude is supposedly guilty of this not understanding. Why should anyone take BI's un-backed-up word that Crude is not understanding something? Tell us how! Where is his error?

BI says about me: "Your reading comprehension is particularly bad today. Even for you." But (even after being asked) provides no explanation whatsoever of exactly what it is I am supposedly not comprehending. (I went back over this thread, and still have no idea what BI is referring to.)

Orphaned, non-contextual put-downs do nothing to advance the conversation (except maybe the one within someone's own head).

B. Prokop said...

Perhaps instead of my previous posting, I should have just written:

Cum loquebar his qui oderunt pacem, impugnabant me gratis, and left it at that.

Says it all.

BeingItself said...

Miksa,

I did not offer up my "how it works' comment as some sort of unassailable bullet-proof epistemology. Rather, I was telling a historical story about myself in response to this comment:

"in addition, when you were a child, did you first learn, study, and understand the argument for the reliability of your senses/cognitive faculties, or did you just believe in those things first and then discover the arguments for these beliefs later."

Just like you, I believed in those things first. Just like my dog. And even today, I do not have a bullet-proof argument for it, and neither do you.

I have never demanded that everyone have a bullet proof argument for everything they believe, or even an argument of any kind, for that matter.

But I do expect arguments for some things people believe. As I have stated elsewhere, I think the biggest difference between skeptics and believers is that skeptics are very conservative, whereas believers are promiscuous.

You are using radical skepticism as a suit of armor, in an attempt to immunize your silly beliefs. It's not working.

I'll give you the last word.

BeingItself said...

Bob,

In my original comment I said "Some 'philosopher' is taught some dogma" and you turn around and say "It was no "philosopher" who said you must believe in some "idiotic dogma""

No shit. I never said that was the case. I don't have time to correct all your mistakes. But since you asked twice, I will correct this one.

RD Miksa said...

BI:

You said:

“I did not offer up my "how it works' comment as some sort of unassailable bullet-proof epistemology. Rather, I was telling a historical story about myself in response to this comment:”

Fair enough. But then, may I suggest that instead of using general terminology like “here is how it works”, you use more subjective terminology like “here is how I personally believe it works.” Indeed, you can understand my confusion given this lack of clarity, especially since I was asking for a clear and objective standard from you. But any way, this is all beside the point…


You said:

“Just like you, I believed in those things first. Just like my dog. And even today, I do not have a bullet-proof argument for it, and neither do you.”

Excellent! So now you admit that your “learn, study, understand and only then believe” methodology is not only flawed, impractical, and literally impossible for human beings to employ as a universal standard, but also that you yourself, in certain cases, do not use the very methodology that you espouse. This is progress!


You said:

“I have never demanded that everyone have a bullet proof argument for everything they believe, or even an argument of any kind, for that matter.”

Really…so then, by what criteria do you demand that I, or any other Catholic for that matter, provide an argument for transubstantiation? Or for theism, for that matter? Or for supernaturalism? What is your criterion for when an argument is required and when it is not. Please explain.


You said:

“But I do expect arguments for some things people believe.”

Again, as above, then please explain your criteria for which beliefs require arguments and which do not.


You said:

“As I have stated elsewhere, I think the biggest difference between skeptics and believers is that skeptics are very conservative, whereas believers are promiscuous.”

Wait…do you mean actual skeptics or self-described skeptics who are really nothing of the sort? Because most of the self-described skeptics that I have dealt with swallow endless ideas without pause or reflection if those ideas seem to support their own espoused worldview.


You said:

“You are using radical skepticism as a suit of armor, in an attempt to immunize your silly beliefs. It's not working.”

Actually, that is not what I am doing at all. What I am doing is showing that your methodology is poorly thought-out, apparently endlessly malleable to suit your needs, and is inconsistent in numerous ways. And please note that I have done all this without once claiming that this approach supports or negates my own beliefs. Indeed, it is readily feasible to admit—for the sake of argument—that my own beliefs are “silly”, while at the same time exposing your own methodology to be the ill thought-out mess that it ultimately is.

And please, how can you, with a straight face, call my beliefs “silly” when you yourself just admitted that you do not even employ the very methodology that you claim apologists are vile and revolting for not employing. After all, putting apologists down for not using your methodological standard while at the same time admitting that you don’t even use it in many cases is about as silly as you can get.

im-skeptical said...

OK, so a recap on the enlightened views of science:

- Scientific evidence is irrelevant to one's metaphysical views.

- It is compatible with any kind of woo you choose to embrace.

- It appears to support a naturalistic worldview.

- It is intrinsically linked to naturalism.

- It can easily support theistic arguments.

- It cannot support one worldview over another.

Forgive me, but this is all a bit confusing. Nowhere in there does the theist admit that the things we observe in our world have some bearing on our understanding of things. Perhaps the enlightened one himself can help clear this up.

Let me pose a question. If we observed that a piece of bread actually transformed itself into the body of Jesus so that his followers could eat his real flesh, what would Christians say about that? Would they insist that we need to ignore what we see because it is irrelevant, or would they claim that it constitutes powerful evidence for their faith?

John Mitchell said...

Why does it even matter what people like PZ Myers and Keith Parsons think about anything?

They're not interested in serious open-minded discussion. Ridicule is all they have to offer.

BeingItself said...

"Let me pose a question. If we observed that a piece of bread actually transformed itself into the body of Jesus so that his followers could eat his real flesh, what would Christians say about that? Would they insist that we need to ignore what we see because it is irrelevant, or would they claim that it constitutes powerful evidence for their faith?"

LOL!

So true. Just like those prayer studies. After the epic failure, the creduloids whine "but you cannot test prayer, our God's ways are myterious!"

But what if the studies had shown the effectiveness of prayer? They would have sung a different tune.

The metaphysics of creduloids means they can always spin the story so they win.

B. Prokop said...

" If we observed that a piece of bread actually transformed itself into the body of Jesus so that his followers could eat his real flesh, what would Christians say about that?"

Oh, skep, you are beating up on a strawman! When a policeman walks up to me and says, "You're under arrest!" my appearance doesn't change one whit, but my circumstances very much does. By the power of a legitimately authorized person's word (heck, he could even have "mumbled" it, to use BI's expression) I am changed from a free man to one under arrest.

In like manner, by the power of a legitimately authorized person's (an ordained priest's) word, the bread and wine of the Eucharist are changed from bread and wine into the literal (NOT symbolic, or figurative) Body and Blood of Christ.

Just as one does not expect a change in the arrested man's physical appearance, there is no change in the Eucharist's physical appearance.

No one, and I mean NO ONE, from me to the Pope to St. Thomas Aquinas to Christ Himself ever said, implied, or hinted that a physical change takes place in Transubstantiation. So in answer to your question, "[What] if we observed that a piece of bread actually transformed itself into the body of Jesus so that his followers could eat his real flesh?", we do observe this - every time we go to Mass.

im-skeptical said...

So Bob artfully dodges the question: What if you DID see it happen? Any others?

B. Prokop said...

That should have read: "my circumstances very much do".

B. Prokop said...

No dodge here Skep. I did see it (many, many times). I believe I was as clear as possible in my posting.

RD Miksa said...

Skep:

In the most basic way that I know, let me recap for you.


“Scientific evidence is irrelevant to one's metaphysical views.”

Scientific evidence, just as is and without an addition of philosophical argumentation, is indeed irrelevant to one’s metaphysical views. That is why ingx24 clearly stated, at the end of his comment, that philosophical argument was required to make scientific evidence relevant to change one’s metaphysical views. Without added philosophical argument—even if only of the most basic form—there would be no way to show that the scientific evidence, whatever it might be, had any bearing on one’s metaphysics.


“It is compatible with any kind of woo you choose to embrace.”

First, may I suggest that you talk like a man and stop using this idiotic term “woo.” It makes you sound infantile. Now, to your point. Yes, scientific evidence is compatible with a number of metaphysical views. Consider blind, neo-Darwinian evolution. This scientific theory is compatible with theism, deism, atheism, naturalism, monism, dualism, Platonism, and so on and so forth.


“It appears to support a naturalistic worldview.”

Yes, but only because today’s scientists rig the game so that only what they consider to be a natural explanation counts as a scientific explanation, thus obviously appearing to support a naturalistic worldview even though only doing so due to a methodological bias.


“It is intrinsically linked to naturalism.”

Oh boy Skep, you do seem to have some trouble reading. Look at what I said: “Indeed, given that today, science is a practice that is seen as being intrinsically linked to methodological naturalism…”

Notice the difference between my actual point and your caricature of it. I stated that ‘today’ science ‘is seen as being’ intrinsically linked to ‘methodological’ naturalism, not that it is intrinsically linked to naturalism. Notice the subtle difference between the two. Those differences are important.



“It can easily support theistic arguments.”

No, it can support a particular premise within a philosophical argument that may support theism. Again, those subtle differences, they are important.


“It cannot support one worldview over another.”

Not without the addition of at least some type of philosophical argumentation. Hopefully you get that by now.


“Forgive me, but this is all a bit confusing.”

Sheesh, given your summation of the points, I have no doubt that you are confused.


“Nowhere in there does the theist admit that the things we observe in our world have some bearing on our understanding of things.”

Ummm, you do know that there is a difference between mere observation and science, right?

Furthermore, you do realize that given that science can support a premise in a philosophical argument that can ultimately lead to a total change in worldviews—a point which I clearly made above—then it is obvious that science can have bearing on our understanding of things. Again, perhaps you need to think about the points provided rather than just lashing out against them.


“Perhaps the enlightened one himself can help clear this up.”

Hopefully I just did.


“Let me pose a question. If we observed that a piece of bread actually transformed itself into the body of Jesus so that his followers could eat his real flesh, what would Christians say about that? Would they insist that we need to ignore what we see because it is irrelevant, or would they claim that it constitutes powerful evidence for their faith?”

Ummm, again, you do realize that there is a difference between mere empirical observation and science, right? Because your above example is nothing more—as described at this point, at least—then an empirical observation, which, though potentially providing some support for the faith, would again only do so in the context of a philosophical argument (probably an inference to the best explanation type argument in such a case) and would also be a weaker form of evidence than a philosophical demonstration would be.

BenYachov said...

Transubstantiation merely means the Essence of the Bread changes not the accidents/properties of the bread.

Since Science can't directly observe a thing's essence there is no way to empirically tell a consecrated host from one that has not been consecrated.

>" If we observed that a piece of bread actually transformed itself into the body of Jesus so that his followers could eat his real flesh, what would Christians say about that?"

I reply: Then we would be witness to something THAT WAS NOT A CASE OF Transubstantiation. Since we would have a change in accidents/properties & also the Host becomes Christ's resurrected Flesh not his Earthly flesh.

Wow skep you are a right idiot now aren't you?

ingx24 said...

- Scientific evidence is irrelevant to one's metaphysical views.

Not quite. Scientific evidence can certainly help to "flesh out" a metaphysical view by filling in the details of how things work under that view. For example: If we, somehow, establish dualism by metaphysical argument (I have no illusions that this will be done any time soon), neuroscientific evidence can help to clarify how the interaction between the mental and the physical works given that dualism is true: how tightly the two are connected, how mental events affect brain events (if at all) and vice versa, whether it is plausible that a mind could exist without a brain (believe it or not, this question is far from settled in favor of the negative - I remain agnostic about it), etc.

On the other hand, some metaphysical views make empirical predictions about what we should expect to find if the view is true. Materialism, for example, predicts that things like ESP, telekinesis, and life after death should be impossible. If conclusive evidence in favor if these things were found (and some maintain that it already has been found, but that's very controversial), materialism would essentially be falsified, as these things are incompatible with a materialist worldview. Dualism in general, on the other hand, because it multiplies entities rather than denying them, is not subject to the same kind of falsification: if it were somehow shown beyond a shadow of a doubt that the mind cannot exist apart from the brain, this would not prove that the mind just is the brain; only that it depends on it for its existence. No amount of mind-brain correlations or functional dependence can falsify dualism, as they are all compatible with the mind being ontologically separate from the brain. And if we have independent reason to believe that they are ontologically separate (because of logical arguments), we should not doubt that they are ontologically separate just because the empirical evidence is consistent with them being the same thing.

Now, despite what it sounds like, dualism could potentially be falsified, although it is hard to see what the evidence doing so would look like. If a conceptual link were found that made it transparent as to why brain processes necessitate experienced mental states, dualism would likely go the way of vitalism. For example, if the ontology of physics were (somehow) expanded so that mental properties were found to be the intrinsic nature of the dispositional properties discussed in contemporary physics, there would be no reason to believe in a mind distinct from the brain, as it would make sense how mind and brain could be identical - the brain would end up being what the mind looks like from the outside. But again, it is hard to see how something like this could be established empirically.

im-skeptical said...

RDM also dodges the question. Who is brave enough to answer?

B. Prokop said...

Ben,

Whether or not Skep is an "idiot" I will make no comment. But he clearly hasn't the faintest idea of what he's talking about. He apparently has glommed onto the crudest, most ignorant (mis)explanation of Transubstantiation out there, and thinks that by ridiculing something that NO ONE believes in, he's scored a point. And when you correct him of his error, you're accused of "dodging".

Hmmm... I guess that Copernicus (a Catholic bishop, by the way) was "dodging" when he told people that the Earth was not the center of the universe.

BenYachov said...

I don't believe in Transubstantiation because of science. I believe in it because of the authority of the Church & witness of Tradition. I believe in the Authority of the Church because of the authority of the resurrected Jesus & I believe in the resurrection because of the various arguments for the resurrection.

Also I believe this is all the more plausible because I believe in God. I believe in God because of the strong philosophical demonstrations of his existence.

I disbelieve in materialism because I find the arguments for this view incoherent and contradictory. As I do other forms of philosophical anti-realism.

It is a waste of time appealing to science to "refute" Transubstantiation to me. I could care less. Make a philosophical argument against the existence of God or f##K off!

If God doesn't exist then Transubstantiation....is still possible but trivial, since I would have no means to know if anything has been so changed or not & into what or not.

You Gnus are a bunch of idiots.

Fundies chuckleheads without "god" beleif.

im-skeptical said...

OK, Ben says we should ignore what we see (I think).

BenYachov said...

>RDM also dodges the question. Who is brave enough to answer?

I didn't dodge I took you head on you Gnu coward.

Now let us watch you dodge!

BenYachov said...

>OK, Ben says we should ignore what we see (I think).

No I didn't you just can't read Her Majesty's English.

Now dodge for me Gnu!

im-skeptical said...

Incidentally, my question was not about whether transubstantiation is provable by scientific evidence. Pick any of the supernatural claims made by theists. It doesn't matter. If you saw something happen that directly substantiates the claim, would you ignore it, or would you cite it as evidence? It's really a simple question. I'm only trying to establish whether or not you really believe that evidence is irrelevant.

B. Prokop said...

Ben, Ben,

I agree with 99.9% of what you say, but how can we complain about the gnus' tone if ours is no better?

"The Lord's servant must not be quarrelsome but kindly to every one, an apt teacher, forbearing, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant that they will repent and come to know the truth." (2 Tim 2:24-25)

And now I am off to see my granddaughter (and will be away from my computer for several hours). Have at it, everyone - I've said my piece, and I've said it clearly (and without any "dodging")!

BenYachov said...

Don't any of these Gnus have any pride whatsoever?

They are farming objections to Transubstantiation that are all but verbatim identical to objections made by anti-Catholic Fundamentalist Christians.

The same people who reject Evolution & say the Cosmos is only 10,000 years old and the Earth was literally created in 144 hours.

How can Dawkins or the rest of them tell us with a straight face they are not fundamentalists?

BenYachov said...

>I agree with 99.9% of what you say, but how can we complain about the gnus' tone if ours is no better?

>(2 Tim 2:24-25)

Yes brother but that depends on the situation.

You are citing the same St Paul who called the Galatians "stupid" and wished the Judaizers among them would cut off their own man parts.


If BDK or Jesse Parrish asked me Skep's question based on my interaction with them I would assume it was a question made in good faith & respond accordingly.

But since Skep,BI and Paps have proven to be uncivilized dicks they can expect no civility from me nor do I owe it to them anymore then Paul owed it to the Galatians.

I understand what you are saying brother but I must respectfully disagree.

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

Let's put it on more practical terms.

If you follow Dawkins you deal with me & you have no right to bitch if I make your little emo Gnu ass cry.

If you are civil then you get Bob.

Choose your fate & it will be given you!

grodrigues said...

@ingx24:

"Not quite. Scientific evidence can certainly help to "flesh out" a metaphysical view by filling in the details of how things work under that view."

Your answer does not tell the whole story. The point is not whether metaphysical views are or are not informed by what science tells us; of course they should be, but this is a rather trivial acknowledgment because the aim of metaphysics, in the traditional sense, is to give an account of the most fundamental structure of reality, of those "categories of being" that *must* be presupposed for science (in the modern sense) to do its work in the first place, and as such, metaphysicians must take into account the *whole* of human experience not just the tiny corner constituted by the modern empirical sciences.

Zach said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
BeingItself said...

"Transubstantiation merely means the Essence of the Bread changes not the accidents/properties of the bread."

So what does this mean exactly? Do the hydrogen atoms switch from being bread hydrogen atoms to god hydrogen atoms? What is the difference between a god atom and a bread atom?

BenYachov said...

>Incidentally, my question was not about whether transubstantiation is provable by scientific evidence.

????????

>If you saw something happen that directly substantiates the claim, would you ignore it, or would you cite it as evidence?

??????????

I reply: How has Skep not contradicted himself here?

He says he is not asking for the "scientific" evidence for transubstantiation yet he refers to hypothetical direct observation, which is scientific evidence?

>It's really a simple question. I'm only trying to establish whether or not you really believe that evidence is irrelevant.

It is not a simple question it is an incoherent one.

Also we here all know you are a dogmatic practical positivist.

You only believe in Scientific evidence even when you turn around and claim you don't.

Philosophy, history, authority & mere thinking mean little too you.

Your version of "Atheism" is for losers.

BenYachov said...

>What is the difference between a god atom and a bread atom?

The "essence" or whatness of the atoms would change but it's properties would remain the same.

That means a Carbon atom in a consecrated host would look like a Carbon atom in a regular one.

I already explained "why" I believe in Transubstantiation.

Now make a philosophical case against God & for materialism or F*** off.

im-skeptical said...

grodrigues,

The enlightened one deigns to speak again, and after having said that my view of science was ignorant, he gives his own enlightened view, which is 100% consistent with what I have said numerous times. I wonder if he thinks his own view is ignorant. Nah, if an atheist says the same thing as a theist, only the atheist is ignorant.

Since you agree with me that metaphysics should be informed by science, I assume you also deny that evidence is irrelevant, right?

BeingItself said...

"The "essence" or whatness of the atoms would change but it's properties would remain the same."

You are playing word games. What exactly does this mean? If the atom's properties are identical in every way, except their 'whatness' has changed, then what has changed?

BenYachov said...

>You are playing word games. What exactly does this mean? If the atom's properties are identical in every way, except their 'whatness' has changed, then what has changed?

The essence has changed. The metaphysics of Aristotle as formulated by Aquinas tells us things have essence and existence.

You no doubt are channeling a post Humean mechanist metaphysical view that says that things in general are only properties and have no real essences.

So for you nothing changes because there is nothing to change.

Of course you would know all this if you actually did the reading.

But we all know since you first Trolled Feser's blog you have not read anything he wrote. Nor have you read Oderberg or anything on philosophy.

We also know you can't even begin to argue why things must have or must not have real essences.

Even now you are just too lazy to do the reading.

BeingItself said...

"The essence has changed."

What does this mean exactly? That was my original question. Do all my atoms have my essence while all your atoms have your essence? When I eat a hamburger, at what point do the atoms change from being hamburger atoms to my atoms?

ingx24 said...

Honestly, it's kind of difficult being in the position I'm in on this blog. As a non-theistic reductionist dualist, I'm essentially in the middle of two sides that both disagree with me. On the one hand, there's the materialist atheists. Since I'm a dualist and believe that there's more to the mind than what can be observed in the brain, they see me as a superstitious "woo-meister" who childishly and irrationally clings to unscientific rubbish. To them, I'm too close to the religious side. On the other hand, there's the Catholic Thomists. Since I'm a reductionist regarding the material world, they likely see me as too scientistic and as buying into the same modernist crap that led to secularism, naturalism, and the Gnus. And since I'm not a theist (much less a Catholic), they probably see me as being overly skeptical and as conceding too much to the Gnus. In a way, I'm kind of in the same boat as libertarians: I take some beliefs from one side and some from the other, and therefore end up having disagreements with both sides.

BenYachov said...

>What does this mean exactly?

I already answered you. If that doesn’t help then go look it up for yourself in a philosophical dictionary.

Maybe for once you could actually do some reading on the subject instead of faking it. See REAL ESSENTALISM by Oderberg.

Merely repeating yourself while ignoring my answer is an old troll trick.

Plus my services don't come free Gnu.

$100 dollars in advance if you want me to do the research for you.

im-skeptical said...

Ben,

What exactly is your definition of "uncivilized dick"? Anyone who doesn't agree with you?

BenYachov said...

@IM

$100 dollars please!

Civilized dicks will have their fees waved. Gnu's must pay up front.

BenYachov said...

@ingx24

>Honestly, it's kind of difficult being in the position I'm in on this blog.

The only thing I have against you is I thought you where once rather unfair to me on the issue of animal "suffering".

Other then that I merely disagree with you & I could respect you.

BeingItself said...

What does it mean to say the essence has changed?

"It means the 'whatness' has changed."

Well, what does it mean to say the 'whatness' has changed?

"It means the essence has changed."

That's some real good work, Ben.

Zach said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
BeingItself said...

For Ben to beat a quick retreat behind some obscure metaphysical doorstop such as Oderberg's opus is a technique he learned from Feser. In his book, instead of confronting legitimate objections to his feeble arguments, he waves his hands at his bookshelf. I am not being metaphorical: he literally mentions the vast number of books on a nearby shelf rather than answer the objection.

Astrologers write plenty of books too.

BenYachov said...

>Astrologers write plenty of books too.

So do Physicists, biologists, Evolutionists, Math Professors, Chemists as well as Philosophers.

Persons who are truly interested in those subjects can do the back round reading.

Persons who are not really interested can merely mock & show their profound ignorance trollishness.

Specifically persons called Papalinton, BeingItself, IM-Skeptical or Zack.;-)

BTW Zack for you my prices are double.

BenYachov said...

>In his book, instead of confronting legitimate objections to his feeble arguments,

How is asking for a clarification (i.e. What does it mean to say the essence has changed?) an objection?

Also why is it so hard to use google with keywords such as "philosophy" or "metaphysics"?

Answer: None of you really wants an answer. You just want me to expend energy giving you answer you will ignore.

Well my time is valuable so make with the cash.

B. Prokop said...

"Well, what does it mean to say the 'whatness' has changed?"

BI, I'm surprised at you. Here I have a brick. It is nothing but a brick. But lay in a wall, and presto! It's now part of a house. Here I have a tube of oil paint. It's just paint, but smear it on a canvas and hang it in a frame, and voila! you have art.

I already gave you the example of being put under arrest with nothing more than a word as the operative of change, and your "whatness" has changed from "free man" to "arrested man".

The "whatness" of things changes all the time, even in the absence of any physical change.

Skep's demand for the physical properties of the Eucharist to change is at best irrelevant.

BenYachov said...

@Bob

Be quiet I really think I get these clowns to pay me & here you are giving it away for free!:-D LOL!

Cheers!:-)

im-skeptical said...

Bob,

"Skep's demand for the physical properties of the Eucharist to change is at best irrelevant."

I'm trying to be reasonable, but you insist in seeing things in my words that I never said, while ignoring the things I am saying. Please read and understand what I was trying to ask. If you, of all people here, can't converse with me in a reasonable manner, then there's no point in trying. I've already given up on several folks who have shown nothing but hostility, no matter what I say. Sometimes I mock, sometimes I'm sarcastic, but you may notice that when people choose to converse with me, I try to carry on a reasonable discussion (even if we don't agree with each other).

B. Prokop said...

I know, Ben. Sorry to upset your business model. Problem is, when I see egregious error, I just can't help myself - I have to correct it!

(I can see you like Lucy in Peanuts with a stand saying "Philosophic Help - 5 cents!")

B. Prokop said...

I'll bite. What am I seeing in your words that you haven't said?

im-skeptical said...

Bob,

What I quoted. We were discussing whether evidence is relevant to what you believe.

BeingItself said...

If I use on old T-shirt as a dust rag, has the essence of the atoms in the cloth changed? If so, is this really the trivial claim of transubstantiation?

B. Prokop said...

No, there is nothing "trivial" at all about Transubstantiation. In the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, when the priest pronounces the words "hoc est enim corpus meum" (or the equivalent in the vernacular), the bread and wine of the Eucharist are transformed into the very Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ. Nothing trivial about that!

William said...

Meta-comment: it's not clear to me when humor and sarcasm becomes ridicule. I see a lot of put-downs, including ones using sarcasm and humor at this blog, but is this the ridicule Victor means, or something else?

Regarding transubstantiation: it's about the meaning of what "is" it. If I drink a glass of water, when does the water become me, and when does the part I later urinate out stop being me?

These are vague questions and deal with what "is" is, and I'd like those solved before I deal with the obvious question for Catholic theorists:

Just how do the natural laws concerning what accidents MUST go with a given substance (think Kripke on necessity) get suddenly put aside because of a ritual?

B. Prokop said...

" If I drink a glass of water, when does the water become me, and when does the part I later urinate out stop being me?"

The water becomes "you" the moment it passes your lips. It ceases to be you the moment it leaves your body (through breathing, evaporation, urination, etc.)

joesmarts said...

The Courtier's Reply in Brief: I am ignorant. I know I'm ignorant. I choose to remain ignorant. You're still wrong, and you're an idiot.

Who can argue with that line of reasoning? :/

Zach said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
B. Prokop said...

"We were discussing whether evidence is relevant to what you believe."

Skep, that's actually a good question. Unfortunately, the example you chose to illustrate your question derailed the discussion. Why? Because of all that we've been talking about here, to the effect that one shouldn't expect physical changes to accompany every change in what BI calls "whatness".

As for evidence being relevant to my beliefs, it very much is. I have examined all the evidence available to me in the present time as to the historicity of the Resurrection, and have concluded from the evidence that the event actually occurred - literally, not as some metaphor or allegory, but in the crudest possible terms. Jesus, after being thoroughly executed and definitively dead from Good Friday to Easter Morning, got up out of the tomb and walked out alive forever.

BeingItself said...

"got up out of the tomb and walked out alive forever."

Where is Jesus now? Up above the firmament?

Papalinton said...

The religious ant nest has been disturbed big time. Beingitself and I-M have dragged a stick over the nest and the madding crowd spill out swarming in defense of their Queen Jesus.

The result of this little fracas? Out comes the hidden real and deeply held beliefs and thoughts about science and its role as an explanatory tool, viewed through the distorting prism of a concatenation of superstitious dogma, supernaturalist conviction, and magic thinking, as explanations.

Here are some classics:
CONSPIRACY:
"Yes, but only because today’s scientists rig the game so that only what they consider to be a natural explanation counts as a scientific explanation ..." Courtesy of Miksa

INFALLIBLE SCRIPTURE:
"Cum loquebar his qui oderunt pacem, impugnabant me gratis" Courtesy of Bob
A spot of direct quoting from the Bible, Psalm 119, if I recall.

THE CONVENIENCE, EXPEDIENCE AND FLEXIBILITY OF MAKING PERSONAL INTERPRETATION AT WILL TO FIT THE CIRCUMSTANCE:
"Transubstantiation merely means the Essence of the Bread changes not the accidents/properties of the bread." Courtesy of Yachov

But official sources are clear: "In Roman Catholic theology, transubstantiation (in Latin, transsubstantiatio, in Greek μετουσίωσις metousiosis) is the doctrine that, in the Eucharist, the substance of the bread and the wine used in the sacrament is literally, not merely as by a sign or a figure, but in actual reality as well,[1][2] changed into the substance of the Body and the Blood of Jesus,[3] while all that is accessible to the senses (the physical[citation needed] appearances - species[4][5][6] in Latin) remains unchanged.[7][8] What remains unaltered is also referred to as the "accidents" of the bread and wine,[9] but this term is not used in the official definition of the doctrine by the Council of Trent.

But I love this absolute pearler from the Catholic Encyclopedia: "Finally, Transubstantiation differs from every other substantial conversion in this, that only the substance is converted into another — the accidents remaining the same — just as would be the case if wood were miraculously converted into iron, the substance of the iron remaining hidden under the external appearance of the wood."

Wood miraculously converted to iron? A plead to alchemy? And they want us to take them seriously? Seriously?

MAGIC SHAMANISM WRIT LARGE:
"No, there is nothing "trivial" at all about Transubstantiation. In the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, when the priest pronounces the words "hoc est enim corpus meum" (or the equivalent in the vernacular), the bread and wine of the Eucharist are transformed into the very Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ." Courtesy of Bob
There is so much of Harry Potter in the Catholic corpus. A wave of the hands, a magic incantation and, Poof!, a rare [of the lightly cooked variety] fillet-and-blood meal.
And they want us to take them seriously? Seriously?

RELIGION Vs SCIENCE
"I don't believe in Transubstantiation because of science. I believe in it because of the authority of the Church & witness of Tradition. I believe in the Authority of the Church because of the authority of the resurrected Jesus & I believe in the resurrection because of the various arguments for the resurrection." Courtesy of Yachov.
This really is the bottom line isn't it? Whatever the 'truth' believers subscribe to it is not predicated on verifiability of any sort one would normally understand in general discourse. It is a truth attesting to convention, of tradition, not a truth of any substantive kind. I guess that is why the religiose are so adamant that science can never work in the religious mindframe. The irony though, is nor can it work in proving mythology.

Crude said...

Some passing comments.

"Gnu atheist" was a term embraced by the Cult of Gnu themselves. It was akin to that "Bright" thing they were going on about years ago - some thought it would be a good term for them. So hey, I apply it.

As for Derp's question of "If we observed that a piece of bread actually transformed itself into the body of Jesus so that his followers could eat his real flesh, what would Christians say about that? Would they insist that we need to ignore what we see because it is irrelevant, or would they claim that it constitutes powerful evidence for their faith?"

It's irrelevant to transubstantiation; even in the Bible, with Christ saying outright 'this is my body', no one mentioned any sudden transformation. It may not be irrelevant to the faith - it could be considered a miracle.

It's a little along the lines of accepting communion. If an AIDS patient took communion and was immediately cured of all illness, that could be a miracle. But it's not what anyone expects from the normal act of accepting communion.

Of course, this question has already been answered - but hey, there's my additional response.

Putting aside for a moment 'beliefs must be made to pay rent, oh shit!!!, except all the ones I like but can't defend' BI and 'DERP' Skep for the moment...

William,

Meta-comment: it's not clear to me when humor and sarcasm becomes ridicule. I see a lot of put-downs, including ones using sarcasm and humor at this blog, but is this the ridicule Victor means, or something else?

I think Victor may be talking about ridicule as a means to change people's minds, along with failing to actually understand and therefore really engage arguments.

I see philosophers who mock materialist philosophers (generally guys who have it coming due to their own behavior), but who then go on to charitably represent and argue against the views said philosophers present. I don't think they're quite what Victor has in mind.

William said...

Bob:

"
The water becomes "you" the moment it passes your lips.
"

Actually, it's trickily vague. To start, when I put the cup to my mouth its brim passes my lips, yet not all the fluid at the brim is drunk. And that is just the start. The more precise one gets the harder the "is me" becomes.

B. Prokop said...

Mr. Linton: "Cum loquebar his qui oderunt pacem, impugnabant me gratis" Courtesy of Bob.

I wonder if he even bothered to translate that passage. It wasn't presented as a "proof verse" (Catholics don't go in for that sort of thing in any case), but rather as a commentary on the quality of dialog on the internet.

Rough English translation: "When I conversed with those that hate peace, they attacked me without cause." Hmmm... I guess it's "infallible scripture" after all!

Papalinton said...

"I think Victor may be talking about ridicule as a means to change people's minds, along with failing to actually understand and therefore really engage arguments."

A couple of things:

1. We're not, well at least I'm not, about helping change people's minds. Only people themselves can effect that change. I am deeply interested in ensuring ancient mythologies remain just that, mythologies, and provide strong advocacy against attempts to peddle primitive thinking and practice as a substitute for empirical research and evidence and knowledge in resolving contemporary issues and challenges, be it social, medical, scientific, historical, even cultural. The direct use of ridicule serves that deeper and serious purpose. It is to unequivocally demonstrate what abject nonsense underpins theological supernaturalism and superstition.

No matter how contorted the effort, how value-neutral theists try to make the exercise, or user-friendly, logic-friendly or bland the rhetorical flair, towards presenting supernatural superstition as a reasonable proposition, the bottom line is, it is in substance, primitive and unsophisticated crock that simply raises more questions and complexity to the hypothesis than needed or necessary. A resort to supernaturalism cannot be construed as any kind of answer, solution or remedy.

Therein lies the proper and rightful use for ridicule. As Professor Keith Parsons notes insightfully:

"“A single belly-laugh is worth a thousand syllogisms” said H.L. Mencken. Fundamentalism and fundamentalists should be ridiculed in the media, by comedians, or wherever. You don’t have to worry about fairness, since, as Poe’s Law famously notes, no satire can possibly be more absurd than the real thing. Come on. You just can’t come up with anything more ridiculous than someone who honestly thinks that all human woes stem from an incident in which a talking snake accosted a naked woman in a primeval garden and talked her into eating a piece of fruit. Again, most ridicule would consist of pointedly drawing attention to what they really believe. Nothing could be fairer than that. As a sign admonished on The Simpsons, put the fun back in fundamentalism. Laugh it to death."

2. Failing to understand? There is no failure of understanding. There is only failure [an informed decision] no less in not going along with the religious charade. Most, if not all atheists and agnostics, are recovering ex-christians. We've been there, done that, taken the photos, kept a diary, wrote home to Mum, bought the T-shirt, and have the Certificate of Attendance to prove it. Trotting out the " ... failing to actually understand.. " trope simply doesn't cut it.

3. The recourse to ridicule, satire and parody is a direct consequence of actually understanding not only the arguments but the Apologetics that prosecute those arguments.

4. We've seen the mythos from the inside and we have seen it from the outside. The one common and invariable feature during this period of transition? It remained a myth. It was a myth believed. Then it became a myth not believed.
As Dr James A. Lindsay notes at Loftus's DC site, ".. [T]he underlying philosophical points that support faith, .... those epistemological supports are illusory. I think of them now like ornate but functionless false columns holding up a roof, where the real support comes from an ugly (or at least unadorned) steel structure inside. The epistemology, ontology, metaphysics blah-blah forms the facade, but inside are deep psychosocial needs that are actually holding up the faith--an inabilty to evaluate evidence correctly."

Papalinton said...

Bob
""Cum loquebar his qui oderunt pacem, impugnabant me gratis" .

I wonder if he even bothered to translate that passage. It wasn't presented as a "proof verse" (Catholics don't go in for that sort of thing in any case), but rather as a commentary on the quality of dialog on the internet."

Yes I did. First thing. Then with a little further search triggered by an old and partial memory of early days of learning Latin I also knew it had a biblical connotation, IIRC. And lo and behold! Psalms.

And with your ardent penchant for quoting biblical passages as a source of authority, it would have been derelict of me not to make note of it in my comment.

Cheers

Papalinton said...

Bob
Incidentally, my name is Linton Wilson.

:o)

B. Prokop said...

Thanks,

That'll save me the trouble of typing "Mr."

And as thoroughly wrongheaded as you are in your Weltanschauung, you at least have the guts and the courtesy to use your (almost) real name.

im-skeptical said...

"The recourse to ridicule, satire and parody is a direct consequence of actually understanding not only the arguments but the Apologetics that prosecute those arguments."

One would wonder why the theists don't use this approach to dealing with atheists more often. Instead they tend to favor the angry admonishment with accusations of failure to understand. I think it's because it is easy to ridicule a position that is seen as ridiculous (as Parsons noted), but Christians don't see atheism as ridiculous so much as sadly lacking in understanding (because only a stupid person would fail to buy whole Christian system of beliefs, they tell themselves). Otherwise, I'm sure they would relish the opportunity to heap ridicule upon us. As it is, they carry on with their angry exhortations, and they have the added benefit of perceived moral superiority. The holier-than-thou Christian can claim that he would never stoop so low as to engage in all this ridicule - only a lowly atheist would use tactics like that.

Zach said...

Crude I didn't know they coined Gnu atheist, so I am wrong about that, indeed quite wrong because they seem to actually embrace it, much like many fundamentalists embrace the term fundamentalist (though of course that doesn't make it not ridicule in some contexts...if people using it in that way don't see it, that may be part of the problem, people are often tone-deaf about how things will come off on the interwebs).

B. Prokop said...

"but Christians don't see atheism as ridiculous"

Not trying to be insulting here, but just revealing my actual thoughts... I don't personally see atheism as "ridiculous" so much as I find it incoherent. When you drill down into the implications - for me at least - it always ends up with contradictions and bet-hedging. And it's necessary to just elide over things such as meaning, purpose, good and evil, and objective truth. For the life of me, I cannot understand how any of those are compatible with atheism. (And I've tried hard to understand.)

im-skeptical said...

Bob,

"For the life of me, I cannot understand how any of those are compatible with atheism."

I think it's a matter of perspective. You buy into a mindset that is built around the notion that God is the source of all those things. You can't see it any other way. But it is entirely possible to eliminate God from the picture without being incoherent. It is your failing that you aren't able to see it - a form of blindness. In fact, if you could manage to see this other perspective, you might even be drawn to the conclusion that this dependency on God is incoherent, because it doesn't mesh with reality - it requires acceptance of fundamental principles that are based on nothing more than belief, but entirely unsubstantiated.

B. Prokop said...

As you say, perspective. But I think you've got it backwards, like looking through the wrong end of a telescope. I've said this previously (and some of you took umbrage at it), but from where I sit it appears to take an almost willing blindness to not see the presence of God absolutely everywhere. It takes far more "unsubstantiated belief" to look around and think that everything you see "just is".

So you are correct in saying that it is a matter of blindness. The problem is you're pointing your finger in the wrong direction. This is my honest opinion here (since we're trying to have a dialog, it's important to not be deceptive), but I actually agree with you that one of us is "blind" - we just differ on which one it is.

im-skeptical said...

Zach,

"I didn't know they coined Gnu atheist"

I think the term was first used by atheists, but it was very quickly adopted by theists as a derisive term (dare I say, a form of ridicule?). These days, that's where you mostly see it.

Dave Farquhar said...

I noticed that Dawkin's is ridiculing transubstantiation. One or two strata of Christendom embrace this idea. Therefore, disproving it does not disprove the validity of Christianity.

Dawkins needs to begin his critique at the core of the faith: does God exist? This is where I begin my dialogues with atheists and agnostics.

Crude said...

"Christians don't see atheism as ridiculous" is patently untrue, in part because it's way too broad. Atheism based on reasoning like "evolution shows there is no God!" is tremendously ridiculous. Likewise, "science shows there is no God!" or other varieties. The number of atheists - CoGs, typically - seems considerable.

Mere irreligion typically isn't seen as ridiculous, nor is simple disenchantment from organized religion, or even sincere agnosticism that questions the possibility of much certainty in either direction. But that's also off in a different direction from CoGs.

So yeah, both theists and agnostics can see atheists as ridiculous and... well, let's go with this alleged Sagan quote:

An atheist has to know a lot more than I know. An atheist is someone who knows there is no god. By some definitions atheism is very stupid.

Crude said...

And yes, Gnu can be used as a derisive term - I should know that more than anyone - but the Cult was the first to embrace it. It was a little like the Bright thing.

Remember that gem? It's hard to believe they didn't realize how obnoxious it would sound. Or how ripe for ridicule they were while using the term.

The funny thing is, in Dawkins' little diatribe about using ridicule to persuade others, one of the things he says is that the plan is foolproof, because he doubted anyone could ever really mock or ridicule atheism/atheists effectively?

B. Prokop said...

"One or two strata of Christendom embrace this idea [Transubstantiation]."

One or two strands??? Let's see... there are the Catholics, who all by themselves comprise a plurality of Christians (It is the largest religious grouping on Earth, larger even than the whole of Islam). Followed by the various Orthodox Churches, who I believe by themselves also outnumber all the protestants combined. Oh, and many protestants also "embrace this idea", among them the High Church Anglicans and many Lutherans. So what does that leave us??? Oh, I'd say "one or two strands" that don't "embrace this idea".

Sorry, Dave, but for the most part, faith in Christianity almost always means belief in Transubstantiation (and thank God for that!).

Papalinton said...

PapaL: Incidentally, my name is Linton Wilson.
Bob P: Thanks, That'll save me the trouble of typing "Mr."

The name Papalinton was given me by my first grandson. Now the name has stuck for all the grandchildren.

B. Prokop said...

Fantastic! Hope they're giving you as much joy as my granddaughter!

B. Prokop said...

Not that that makes your Weltanschauung any less wrongheaded, Mr. Wilson!

BeingItself said...

"Dawkins needs to begin his critique at the core of the faith: does God exist? This is where I begin my dialogues with atheists and agnostics."

No, there are probably not any gods. Now what?

Papalinton said...

Zack
"Crude I didn't know they coined Gnu atheist ..."

New Atheists seem to have coined it originally: SEE HERE, AND HERE, AND HERE.

Papalinton said...

Bob
"Fantastic! Hope they're giving you as much joy as my granddaughter!

Not that that makes your Weltanschauung any less wrongheaded, Mr. Wilson!"


They are my reason for living, the light[s] of my life. In respect of my Weltanschauung, you are entitled and have a right to your opinion.

Crude said...

Dave,

Dawkins needs to begin his critique at the core of the faith: does God exist? This is where I begin my dialogues with atheists and agnostics.

I have to ask - just how far do you get with that? Because my own experience is that quite a lot of atheists become deists or complete agnostics when the discussion focuses on God or gods fundamentally - and the rest cut and run immediately unless you agree to only talk about the specific God they want. Which is usually a YEC, biblical literalist, etc God. Or they say 'No!' and want to change the topic immediately anyway.

Granted, that's Cult of Gnu. Non-cult irreligious can be a bit better about it. But non-cult often are far less certain about their beliefs, or interested in a long dialogue about such things anyway.

BenYachov said...

According to the COPTIC ENCYCLOPEDIA the Coptic Orthodox Church also believes in transubstantiation.

Urlich Zwingli invented the "It's just a symbol" nonsense to many Evangelicals believe today.

Martin Luther himself told Zwingli he would "Burn in Hell" for calling the Eucharist a mere "Symbol".

Ironically thought on the doctrine of Justification Zwingli was closer to the Council of Trent then to either Luther or Calvin.

Funny thing you can reconstruct Catholic teaching from what each Reformer still held on to but his confederates ditched.

BenYachov said...

@Crude

How do you turn an Atheist into an Agnostic?

Challenge him to prove his view.;-)

B. Prokop said...

"They are my reason for living, the light[s] of my life."

Now on that, you and I are in 100% agreement!!!

Crude said...

I'll momentarily stop ignoring Linton to ask him a simple question.

They are my reason for living, the light[s] of my life.

Are your reasons for living, the lights of your life, aware of your online posting habits? I don't mean 'aware that you're an atheist' or the like. I mean do you tell them where you're commenting, do you show them your comments? Were they aware of your bald-faced lying and plagiarism?

Or do you make sure to hide all this from them? If so - is it out of shame?

BeingItself said...

"How do you turn an Atheist into an Agnostic?"

Most atheists are agnostics.

B. Prokop said...

Crude,

That was completely uncalled for. Mr. Wilson, who is about as wrong as wrong can be in nearly everything he posts, at least posts under his real name (as do I). He's not hiding from anybody.

You, on the other hand, post under a pseudonym. Who are you hiding from?

Crude said...

Bob,

That was completely uncalled for. Mr. Wilson, who is about as wrong as wrong can be in nearly everything he posts, at least posts under his real name (as do I). He's not hiding from anybody.

Sorry, Bob, but I disagree. I think it's a cutting question, but it's a fair one. His moniker is a nickname.

Ask me the same question. In fact, I'll answer it: I have no grandkids, so that's moot. The people I know and care about are well aware of what I post, and what I think. I write nothing on these forums that I would be ashamed of their reading. Well, now and then there's some foul language - minor stuff.

You, on the other hand, post under a pseudonym. Who are you hiding from?

I'm a complete nobody. But I come from an age where anonymity was an important part of the internet, and writing under one's real name was the exception, not the rule.

More than that - you've had your account hacked before. I think that alone should show you one of the pitfalls of deciding to comment under your name. Now, it's an acceptable one for you. Me? I like pseudonyms, and I don't hold that act against anyone.

So long as they are, at the end of the day, really willing to stand by what they write. And I am.

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

Crude
Thanks for asking.
My grandchildren are yet too young, 2+ -->9 to make decisions about whether they accept theism or atheism. My daughter as do I have never demonstrated or categorized people, even people and friends we know, as them Christians and Us atheists. To each their own, we say, and the children can decide for themselves when the time arises.

As parents and grandparents we have found no amount of coercion or blackmail or pressure, even implicitly applied, works. Well not without unintended consequences. It usually will be a dismal failure. That form of coercion is both wrong and unproductive when one has to use reason to make the assessment.

Of the few questions that we have had to field, our responses have tried to be fair and even-handed. Recently we were asked a question by my eldest grandson, about a friend of his at school who believed in God and why? My daughter's response was to say yes, some people belief there is a God because it is important to them to believe so. And when asked did she? She replied, No, because such a belief is not important in her life. When asked, "should I believe in God?" My daughter responded, I hope not, but remember It's not up to me about what you believe. You have to make your own decision when you're ready to.

They know I blog regularly. I have read out responses,[ even the plagiarism one [and my apology]], I have made while they were in the room. Whether they understood or knew what I was talking about I have no way of telling. Their presence has been largely co-incidental. No, I haven't hidden anything from them, ever. My Christian friends know full well my thoughts on religion and I theirs, but that has not been an impediment in making great relationships, up to this point anyway.

I was surprised by a request from my sister-in-law, who is a strong, wear-her-heart-on-her-sleeve devoted, tithe-paying Christian of the Church Of Christ denomination a few years ago. She asked my wife and I, that should she and my brother ever meet an unfortunate end, would we become legal guardians to their children, even knowing how strong atheists we were. We asked about her mother, [the kids grandmother] who happened also to be a devoted Church of Christ member. She said, "Dean and I know that our children will have the best chance at life in the care of you two." And of course we said yes. How could one morally and ethically refuse? And so we are.

No crude. We are still human with all the wonderful attributes that goes with being human, just as you are, though I can't vouch for your behaviour. I just don't give a toss about the primitive crap you believe in.

Crude said...

Linton,

My daughter as do I have never demonstrated or categorized people, even people and friends we know, as them Christians and Us atheists.

You realize that this runs completely and entirely against your online track record - where you do, demonstrably, categorize people into "them Christians/theists" and "us atheists"?

So already we have some discord between your online persona and your RL persona.

When asked, "should I believe in God?" My daughter responded, I hope not,

Here's a fun question. Let's say the child did believe in God. Madelyn Murray O'Hair had a response when this happened with her son.

Let's quote: "One could call this a postnatal abortion on the part of a mother, I guess; I repudiate him entirely and completely for now and all times. . . . He is beyond human forgiveness."

Would you endorse a similar reaction?

My Christian friends know full well my thoughts on religion and I theirs, but that has not been an impediment in making great relationships, up to this point anyway.

Again, that's fascinating. Do you call them 'faithheads'? When you talk to them in person, do you mock them and their beliefs?

This is what you do online. So I suppose it's fair to say you act very differently online than you do with your friends and family in person. If so, Linton - why is that?

We are still human with all the wonderful attributes that goes with being human

And you wonderfully set up my final question.

Are the attributes intrinsically wonderful? Or are they wonderful only insofar as you subjectively judge them to be wonderful?

You say your grandchildren are your reason for living, the light of your life.

Do they have any value or worth apart from subjective judgments? Is their value or worth intrinsic, objective? Or is it at the end of the day dependent entirely on how you or others happen to regard them at the moment?

B. Prokop said...

Linton writes, "We are still human with all the wonderful attributes that goes with being human."

And what he says is true - for the very simple reason that even atheists remain God's creation (whether they acknowledge it or not), made in His image (which, naturally, includes all of those "wonderful attributes"). This is what I find so amusing when an atheist objects, "But you don't have to be a Christian to be a good person." My answer: Of course not! Denying god has no effect on what He has done for you (though it does make it a lot harder to appreciate it). Linton enjoys it when I quote the Bible, so I'll play along: "Ut sitis filii Patris vestri, qui in caelis est: qui solem suum oriri facit super bones et malos: et pluit super justos et injustos."

Papalinton said...

Bob
Matthew 5:45
But it is not 'bones' but 'bonos', and depending on the version quoted sometimes 'justos et injustos' is spelled 'iustos et iniustos'.

In classical theism I cannot be in God's image. Because he doesn't have an image, only essence. ;o)

Papalinton said...

Give over, Crude.

Crude said...

Give over, Crude.

Whatever that means.

The fact that those questions are too painful for you to look at, much less answer, Linton... may actually educate you.

I'm not going to count on it. But I think we had some actual progress here.

Chris said...

I often hear atheists define their view as a "mere" lack of belief in God/s. That's all fine and well, but it strikes me as being purposely elusive. I've never met a self identified atheist who wasn't also a materialist. I suppose Buddhists, Taoists, and spiritualists of all stripes are "atheists" in a strict sense, but such folk never seem to describe themselves as such. I think this is the case because most people understand atheism as being customarily synonymous with metaphysical naturalism. Why not just show your cards and say that?

Crude said...

Chris,

I often hear atheists define their view as a "mere" lack of belief in God/s. That's all fine and well, but it strikes me as being purposely elusive.

It's because many of them have it ingrained that those who make claims have the burden of proof, and evangelical atheists are absolutely allergic to proof burdens. That's part of the 'ask them for evidence for their atheism and, boom, watch them become agnostics before your very eyes' deal.

Lapa Pinton said...

Regarding ridicule, those who restrict their reading to apologetically-predisposed material [my own library contains a cornucopia of variegated volumes] may not be aware of this controversy, but I once put forward the suggestion that practitioners of woo resemble stunned and speechless primates [or “Primates” for those who follow an Episcopal system of woo-governance] caught up in the raging watery cascades of their own false agency-detection. Mute apes in water. Period.

Unfortunately, when I first presented this designation in my scholarly articles, I was met with outcry. As Catholic scholar Dennis Bonnette summarised " “Defenders of apes’ linguistic abilities engaged in immediate counter-attack.”

But, bolder members of the reality-based community will continue to rigorously defend our right to point out superstition and bad thinking wherever it rears its head. For example, take Victor Reppert’s plainly anti-scientific statement “The onward march of science will discover extensive correlations between physical and mental states but will leave the logico-conceptual distinction between these two categories unchanged.”

And he knows this how? Does he even have a doctorate in neuroscience? Does he even know that alcohol causes DECREASED COGNITIVE FUNCTION. [I wonder where this leaves the “mind”, no?]? Believers can no longer expect the educated to mumble a scintilla of deference or respect for their superstitious mythemes of “sophisticated theology” and arbitrary shamanistic postulations of ectoplasm. Nor can they expect us to put up with demands to try and make sense of such material by reading it thoroughly. Ectoplasm/soul/mind is old-time, ancient thinking. I, for one, refuse to lay down in abject deference and submission and refrain, out of politeness, from committing such works to the flames [as David Hume put it]!
Sheesh.

Lapa Pinton said...

But, returning to my original comparison, as my able defender Daniel Dennett said at the time “[Pinton’s point] in raising the aquatic-ape theory is not to defend it against the establishment view, but to use it as an illustration of a deeper worry.”

The deeper worry for apologetically-orientated efforts to defend supernaturalism in modern times is that continued polling, statistics, vox-pops, data, movies, tweets, cultural trends etc. indicate that the juggernaut of supernaturalism is running out of steam as a cultural force. More are finding that supernaturalistic netherworlds no longer form a substantive basis for ethics, art, government, cuisine, etc. Whereas, [insofar as materialism offers a tenable standpoint] materialism offers a tenable standpoint. Superstition is increasingly seen by an ever more educated public as a callow, wollac, primitive, nonsensical woo and oow. Period. Materialism seems to be [for the Enlightened, at least] the predominating state at which we are awoken from our dogmatic slumbers.

Without even a scintilla of comprehensive compelling evidence to lend it support, one suspects that supernaturalists are in agony [in their brain-cages] over their own decaying and callow memeplex of an ethereal world of supernatural insubstance and that their rationalisations particularise a great many surfactants to engage in Agency Detection. After all, what the superstitious call the mind is just what the brain does. As Richard Dawkins once styled it, the vast Leviathan of metaphysical speculation is an “argument from personal incredulity” and it is this predisposition [as opposed to that of a more sceptical kind] to detect agency where none exists which has progressively somatificated the more obdurate varieties of sub-lunar euphonic tremulousness.

Lapa Pinton said...

Us Gnus don’t claim that science is infallible, just that the evidence-based rational approach has the potential to crystallise surficientian knowledge-based inquiry as demonstrated by the best successes of modern science, and moreover, it has a potency and pertinency to an-apologetically investigate claims without primitive recourse to age-old patterns of supernaturalistic old-time thinking [particularly in the reduction of false detection of agency i.e. our “selves”] for our age which seems to be tipping the scales.
This ongoing shift of public consensus away from apologetical nonsensical medieval supernaturalistic superstition of immaterialist netherworlds might also be encapsulated in the bon mot of noted biblical scholar [best known for his blog posts] John Loftus:

“Buy my book[s].”

The ongoing public education efforts by scientifically-informed philosophers [e.g. Dennett, Rosenberg, Hovind, Loftus, my compatriot in prose style Gene Ray, Stenger, Coyne] is a breath of fresh air in a world which tolerates such woo. The mythos/mytheme of belief is just superstition. Period. And if that makes me a Gnu, so be it. Sheesh.

Papalinton said...

Sheesh!

B. Prokop said...

"But it is not 'bones' but 'bonos'"

You are absolutely correct! What was I thinking?

B. Prokop said...

Chris,

I guess Buddhism differs from place to place. All the Buddhists I know personally are either Koreans or Vietnamese, and they worship the Lord Buddha as Creator of the World, and they pray to him. Sounds kind of like "God" to me. (Perhaps just from my Western perspective?)

BenYachov said...

Is it me or is Lapa Pinton getting even more funny?

Of course the real joke is watching Paps take his satire seriously.

It's the little things I love.....

B. Prokop said...

No, the real joke is that Papalinton has come out in favor of using ridicule as a debating tactic, and is then himself the target of some of the best and most effective ridicule I've seen in a long time. But then again, "Omnes enim, qui acceperint gladium, gladio peribunt." (And this time, I've triple-checked the spelling!)

Zach said...

Ben methinks u missed the joke there that Papalinton made...he did not take it seriously...

im-skeptical said...

"the real joke is that Papalinton has come out in favor of using ridicule as a debating tactic, and is then himself the target of some of the best and most effective ridicule I've seen in a long time."

So Bob comes out in favor of using ridicule as a debating tactic. As do several of his fellow theists, as evidenced by the fact that they do use it. My question to Victor is: what's the beef?

B. Prokop said...

Irony, Skep, irony. Do you know what the word means?

I wasn't approving of Lapa Pinton's use of ridicule. (For the record, I don't.) I was pointing out how ironic it is that one of ridicule's most ardent proponents is himself the victim of his own weapon of choice.

Thus my very apt quotation.

Chris said...

B Prokop,

You're quite right about those forms of Buddhism. I suppose my point was that the atheist "mere lack of belief" business sounds broad and open when (on the ground) it amounts to some kind of scientism.

BenYachov said...

>Ben methinks u missed the joke there that Papalinton made...he did not take it seriously...

That is one interpretation. But he has taken Lapa Pinton's satire seriously before.

BTW I was merely making a general comment to tweak his nose..

im-skeptical said...

"Irony, Skep, irony."

OK, as long as it's not ridicule, because only a gnu would do that, right?

Crude said...

If you think the problem with the Cult of Gnu is 'any use of mockery ever', then you're being either intentionally or unintentionally slow-witted.

B. Prokop said...
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B. Prokop said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
B. Prokop said...

"OK, as long as it's not ridicule, because only a gnu would do that, right?"

I must be confused here. Are there two im-skepticals posting to this website? Because on this very thread, someone else using the same moniker posted this: "One would wonder why the theists don't use this approach [ridicule] to dealing with atheists more often. ... Christians don't see atheism as ridiculous so much as sadly lacking in understanding." Later in the same posting, he actually acknowledges that Christians do not employ ridicule, when he writes, "Otherwise, I'm sure [Christians] would relish the opportunity to heap ridicule upon us." (indicating that he realized they don't).

But in this most recent posting, a different im-skeptical appears to be claiming that gnus are not the only people to use ridicule. Will the real im-skeptical please stand up?

im-skeptical said...

Bob,

"Will the real im-skeptical please stand up?"

Sure. I never said that theists don't use ridicule. In the earlier, I was referring mainly to those who prefer to chastise or admonish atheists as a first first resort. People like Ben or grodrigues, for example. There are certainly others who don't fit that category, as you well know. You, on the other hand, seem to be interested in picking nits.

B. Prokop said...

Amusing how Skep, when caught in talking out of both sides of his mouth, even while backpedaling, accuses others of "picking nits".

Sorry, but I'm not letting you get away with this one. You were hoping to score some sort of point in your earlier posting - heavily implying that, since Christians do not ridicule atheism, atheism is not ridiculous (as is, in your mind, Christianity).

But later, when someone posting under the pseudonym Lapa Pinton, skewers Papalinton by copying his over-verbose writing style, you then claim "see, gnus are not the only ones using ridicule, so what is Victor complaining about?" or words to that effect.

(For the record, we have no idea where "Lapa Pinton" stands on the Big Issues. He could very well be an atheist appalled by Paplinton's postings, which for the most part give atheism a bad name.)

When called out on this contradiction, you deny ever having said the first, despite the fact that anyone can read your own words for themselves. But anyone who dares to set the record straight is "picking nits". That is why you, Skep, are one of the most infuriating people on this website to attempt a conversation with. You are as slippery as an eel, and you treat everything as a zero sum gain contest with winners and losers. You stick with a statement only so far as you think it will score you a point. But the moment you feel the "game" going against you, you'll abandon everything and say the reverse.

And you don't do this with trivia like what we're discussing here. You routinely do it concerning the most fundamental issues.

Crude said...

I will say, I admire Lapa Pinton's skill with the imitation. Someone's very attention to communication patterns.

And you don't do this with trivia like what we're discussing here. You routinely do it concerning the most fundamental issues.

Why, it's almost as if reason or science or even sincere skepticism isn't the point after all.

im-skeptical said...

Congrats, Bob. You have graduated to the status of crude. I suspect that the reason you don't comprehend what I say is that you don't bother to pay any more than cursory attention to what I say. And that's what makes it so difficult to carry on a conversation.

Papalinton said...

Skep
Construal, misconstrual, shapeshifting, mis-shaping and morphing have been bread-and-butter of Apologetics for over two millennia. The religiose are the artful dodgers that have made Apologetic 'scholarship'[?] the slipperiest of the snake-oil merchandise. Remember the bit from Dr Parsons:
"Come on. You just can’t come up with anything more ridiculous than someone who honestly thinks that all human woes stem from an incident in which a talking snake accosted a naked woman in a primeval garden and talked her into eating a piece of fruit."

Now ain't that the truth. You just can't come up with anything more ridiculous. No matter how one tries to squeeze this actual belief through the prism of reality, it comes out as redolent of a dog's breakfast as it entered. And *we* are demanded to take them and their beliefs seriously. Seriously? But the irony of ironies here is that one *can* come up with heaps more ridiculous, juvenile and asinine beliefs that add to the cacophonous din of cognitive dissonance; talking burning bushes, talking donkeys, walking on water, strike a rock with staff and water flows, pillars of cadaverous salt, zombies from the grave, etc etc etc etc etc.

The best that Christian Apologetics can be characterised as 'truth' and 'reality', is demonstrated so accurately demonstrated HERE, but you must watch and listen to the video too.. This is the state of conversation that reflects contemporary community sentiment about religions more broadly. It's a wake-up call to Christians.

Lapa Pinton may well be parodying me. I have no way of telling. But I am pleased that I have that degree of influence. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. And I do love a good laugh, even if it is on me. The bottom line is that the message remains the same honest message.

As much as the 'Immaterial Essence Brigade' have attempted to impugn and sully your character, Skep, its integrity remains untroubled and composed.

There is no going back to the good old days of old-town religion. That option died in the Enlightenment.

Crude said...

Yes, Bob, you've graduated to the status of Crude. You've pointed out that Skep can't go a single thread without contradicting himself or exposing himself as clueless.

Welcome to the club!

grodrigues said...
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grodrigues said...

@B. Prokop:

FWIW, when discussion changes direction from the arguments to the character of the interlocutors -- *because* of their behavior, say patent intellectual dishonesty -- it is as sure a sign as any that it is time to cut off dialogue, as it is just a waste of time and a cluttering of the combox.

If one is feeling particularly uncharitable, there will be ample opportunities to have a good laugh at the expense of their foolishness, but this too soon gets old, as it is a rather coarse form of entertainment, and it is not exactly conducive to a well-formed character.

B. Prokop said...

What does FWIW mean?

Not being a texter, I'm not fluent in Text. Maybe it means "Future War Is Wisdom"? or maybe "Fast Women in Wabash"? or even "Flatulent Wombats Impugn Wobblies"?

But I have to agree with everything that follows the acronym.

Crude said...

For what it's worth.

im-skeptical said...

For what it's worth, go back and read what I said.

im-skeptical said...

For what it's worth, I don't expect crude to ever admit he's wrong, because there is no honesty in him. But Bob, I'm sorry for you if you sink to his level.

Crude said...

For what it's worth, I don't expect crude to ever admit he's wrong, because there is no honesty in him.

I admit I'm wrong plenty of times, and there are plenty of times I'm wrong. I'll even admit I'm wrong to someone like Ilion, which is a distasteful thing, believe me.

The difference is, I actually strive to tell when I'm wrong, and I try to avoid being wrong in the first place. You? You go out of your way to actually numb yourself to the possibility. It's too scary to contemplate.

Which is why, intellectually, you're easy pickin's. Other atheists, not so much.

im-skeptical said...

OK, point out where I contradicted myself in this thread, or admit you're wrong. I predict you will do neither.

Crude said...

I predict you will do neither.

You already had your contradiction pointed out by Bob, and you've already bullshitted about it after the fact. What's the point?

By 'I predict you will do neither' you mean 'I predict I will say you did neither'. But your ability to judge anything reliably has already been shown as defunct. Remember when you discounted and article critical of the Gnus by saying 'It's a conservative paper!!!' and that was the end of your refutation? That's emblematic of how you think - and why you're a lightweight. ;)

im-skeptical said...

"You already had your contradiction pointed out by Bob, and you've already bullshitted about it after the fact."

Here's what I said: "One would wonder why the theists don't use this approach to dealing with atheists more often." Note the last two words. That is an explicit acknowledgement or what you and Bob both insist that I denied, only to contradict myself later. The only bullshitting is on your part. You don't get to make up your own meaning for my words unless honesty doesn't matter to you, which is clearly the case for you (having done the same sort of thing over and over again). Crude will be crude. So be it.

Crude, you did exactly as I predicted. That's sheer dishonesty, and I expected nothing else from you. But I did expect more from Bob.

Crude said...

Skep, you said that Christians don't see atheism as ridiculous but merely lacking in understanding. You talked about how "Christians would relish the opportunity" to heap ridicule on atheists - which is a damn clear indication that you think they can't do it.

And then you whined about the ridicule being heaped on atheists.

As usual, Skep, when you're cornered, you bullshit. That's not the surprise - but the worst part is, you bullshit poorly. For once, please... sharpen your thinking a little after a situation like this. If you can, anyway.

im-skeptical said...

So now your story changes. First I contradicted myself about whether Christians use ridicule. I showed that you were lying, so the story morphs into my whining about it. Nice try, Crude, but you are still as dishonest as the day is long.

Crude said...

First I contradicted myself about whether Christians use ridicule. I showed that you were lying, so the story morphs into my whining about it

Skep, my story didn't 'morph'. I stayed consistent, and pointed out exactly where you denied that Christians could use ridicule on atheists. Hence the 'and then'.

You may want to go back and reread what you wrote - your comprehension ain't inspiring here. ;)

im-skeptical said...

Let's see if I can follow your contorted logic.

I proved that you were WRONG. Unequivocally, undeniably WRONG.

You now claim that in a single comment, after saying Christians use ridicule less frequently than the so-called "gnus", in giving examples of those who prefer to take a different approach, that erases the first part of my comment, as though I never said it? And you go on to claim that I don't understand my own words?

Wouldn't it be easier to stop squirming, stop your incessant lying, and just admit it? You are WRONG. And if you had any integrity at all, you might be more interested in truth than just trying to score cheap points in an argument.

B. Prokop said...

Crude,

You might as well give it up. You're never going to get the champion squirmer to ever admit to his squirming. Note that even in his denial of changing his story, he changes his story! Now that's quality squirming!

The reason you're getting so frustrated, Crude, is because you regard language as a means of communication, not of obfuscation.

im-skeptical said...

Bob,

My story hasn't changed. I NEVER denied that Christians use ridicule, and I went to the trouble of clarifying my remarks, I showed what I said that directly contradicts YOUR assertion, yet you still hold to this stupid attack on my integrity. It's precisely what I expect from the likes of crude, but I am greatly dismayed to find that you refuse to admit you're wrong. You said you wouldn't let me get away with it - well I'm not letting you get away with it.

ingx24 said...

As much as it kills me, I'm going to have to side with im-skeptical on this one. He did say "more often" earlier: he never denied that Christians do sometimes use ridicule. Maybe he was a bit unclear about it, but he clarified it later and the principle of charity says you should give your opponent the benefit of the doubt when it comes to interpreting his words. There have been plenty of cases where me being unclear in what I was saying created apparent contradictions, and when the contradictions were pointed out I clarified what I meant and showed that the contradiction was only apparent. We should assume, unless we have independent reason not to, that im-skeptical is doing the same.

B. Prokop said...

Sorry, but I ain't lettin' up. Call me a mind reader here, but the original intent of his first posting was crystal clear. He was trying to sneak in the idea that faith was "ridiculous" but atheism wasn't. He was subsequently tripped up in his own argument, and has been backpedaling furiously ever since.

Note his similar behavior on the thread two above this one, where he by clear implication disqualifies any "religious" person from serving on a school board (or at the least, disapproves of their presence). When I call him out on this, he runs for cover using a hyper-literalist parsing of his language as his only defense, denying he meant any such thing.

But if that was the case, then why did he ever mention it? There is no plausible positive motive for his doing so, and much reason to believe it was intended as a slam.

(Now watch him deny this.)

im-skeptical said...

"But if that was the case, then why did he ever mention it?"

Why mention it? Because those religious people are trying to push their religion on the public schools, that's why. Nothing more to it than that. Stop reading words into my mouth that I didn't say.

B. Prokop said...

OK, I'll stick to your own words. "Those religious people" - sounds like a pretty broad brush to me. And just what makes a person one of "those religious people"? Is it believing in God? Maybe going to church? Perhaps it's OK as long as you "keep religion to yourself"? (In other words, take everything you hold most dear in the world and every value you recognize, and be damn sure no one else knows anything about them, and be doubly sure you don't actually make decisions based on what you regard as Ultimate Reality.)

So just who are these "religious people", Skep? Are you going to ask candidates for the school board whether or not they are (let's say) Christians, and if so, would you oppose them on those grounds?

Note this well - I am not putting any words in your mouth. What I am doing is giving you the opportunity to repudiate the possibly wrong impression your words have given. 'Cause what I just wrote is very much the impression I'm getting from your words. If I'm wrong, then here's your chance to correct me.

im-skeptical said...

Just to make it clear, I will try to clarify my remark in the other thread, since you insist on interpreting my words in a way that I didn't intend. See if you can follow what I'm trying to say now.

1. School boards are generally composed of elected community members who have little or no qualifications in public education.

2. A large fraction of school board members are also religious. No implication is made or intended that being religious is what causes them to have no educational qualification.

3. The religious membership of public school boards across the country are attempting to insert their religious agenda into public education. (This has been going on for decades, with varying degrees of success.)

Bob, I shouldn't have to do this. You should be reasonable enough to take my words the way they were intended, without inserting your own additional meaning into them. If I didn't say something and there's a more reasonable interpretation of what I DID say, what right do you have to claim your own (less charitable) version what I meant? That's what I call intellectual dishonesty.