Thursday, July 25, 2013

Lowder on Dawkins not debating Craig

I had missed this. Lowder offers real reasons for Dawkins' refusal to debate. I'd take it a step further, and say that even a philosopher of religion can do a disservice to his position if he doesn't have the ability to operate within a debate format. There are good philosophers of religion, both theist and atheist, who would fit in this category. 

However, Dawkins a) has gone away from actual science to doing philosophy of religion, however amateurishly, b) engages in a intellectual crusade while systematically avoiding genuine engagement with people who take the  position he's crusading against. It isn't Dawkins' failure to debate, it's the way he refuses to debate that I find objectionable. 

136 comments:

Crude said...

I wonder how people would react to the claim that, say... a popular but uncredentialed creationist who consistently attacks (and in the process, gravely misrepresents) evolutionary theory shouldn't be expected to publicly debate an actual evolutionary biologist over his claims, on the grounds that the creationist just didn't have the right education so it wouldn't be fair.

I suppose we could add onto that the creationist in part defended his misrepresentations by saying 'he's just attacking the most common, public conceptions of evolutionary theory'.

B. Prokop said...

Having watched (online) WLC debate various people, and having similarly observed Dawkins in interviews, etc., to me it's obvious why Dawkins refuses to debate Craig. He knows he'd get his clock cleaned!

And this has nothing to do with which one is right and which one isn't - it has everything to do with speaking and debating skills, or lack of them. Having seen them both in action, I'd have to say that Dawkins and Craig going toe to toe would be like my Prius trying to race against a Ferrari.

Dawkins has got to know that the result would be a foregone conclusion. It's just too bad he feels it necessary to come up with blatantly bogus reasons for why he won't debate. His protestations are as transparent as glass (and not the shatterproof kind).

John Moore said...

The big problem with public debates is the audience, including those who watch or read about it online. The problem is that the audience decides who wins and loses. This is a problem because the truth isn't a democracy, and the opinions of deluded masses don't change reality.

If there is a debate, it should be in writing. That way there's no time limit and no circus atmosphere where one side can sway the audience with charismatic rhetoric. It would just be a calm, patient and thorough examination of the facts.

Crude said...

If there is a debate, it should be in writing. That way there's no time limit and no circus atmosphere where one side can sway the audience with charismatic rhetoric. It would just be a calm, patient and thorough examination of the facts.

That sort of attitude doesn't just skunk 'debates'. It condemns everything from billboard advertisements to conventions.

B. Prokop said...

"If there is a debate, it should be in writing."

I think we call that "books". Both Dawkins and Craig have written books. Is that what you mean?

Crude said...

Not only that, but where's this idea coming from that you can't 'sway the audience with charismatic rhetoric' so long as the discussion is written?

Dan Gillson said...

Speaking of debates, I downloaded God or Godless to my kindle. (I picked it up when it was being offered for free.) I think it would make some good discussion fodder, if anyone is interested.

Crude said...

Rauser, who I disagree with often, is damn interesting. The other side of that equation, not so much.

Cale B.T. said...

Well, now that Victor has made the post, let's all say "Steven Carr" three times whilst looking into a mirror.

Papalinton said...

I don't think debating Craig at any time would add much if anything in the way of additional information to humanity's commonwealth of knowledge.

In terms of the greater interest and impact of the two protagonists' best books in the general community it is interesting to note the following:
"Reasonable Faith: Christian Truth and Apologetics":
Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #9,848 in Books

"The God Delusion":
Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #943 in Books
#2 in Books > Religion & Spirituality > Spirituality > Atheism
#6 in Books > Science & Math > History & Philosophy
#16 in Books > Politics & Social Sciences > Philosophy

Debates are spectacles, public performances of competing rhetorical style. Clearly, Dawkins is not a match to the well-practiced Craig. But the substance, societal impact and degree of international influence, together with the content and intellectual expertise conveyed in their authorship, draws out a narrative of a very different order than a spot of oratorial jousting.


Papalinton said...

"I don't think debating Craig at any time would add much if anything in the way of additional information to humanity's commonwealth of knowledge."

should read

"I don't think debating Craig at any time would add much if anything in the way of additional information to growing humanity's commonwealth of knowledge."

Cale B.T. said...

"But the substance, societal impact and degree of international influence, together with the content and intellectual expertise conveyed in their authorship"

You haven't actually read Reasonable Faith, so how would you know whether it is substantive or not?

Or do you stand by your previously held position that you "just know" that is has nothing of substance because

*skeptic sense is tingling*

it's just apologetical woo and superstitious supernaturalism?

Papalinton said...

"You haven't actually read Reasonable Faith"

Relying on Christian prophesying again to read the tea leaves, your noodly soothsayership?
I'm glad you asked the question. Ask me also about Feser's The Last Superstition, Lennox's Gods Undertaker, Has Science Buried God? Answer: Yes to all three of them [plus many more] as it happens.

Have a gander at this tripe:
p. 50 Reasonable Faith:

”Someone might say, “But can’t neuroscientists artificially induce in the brain religious experiences which are non-veridical and yet seem to be like the witness of the Holy Spirit?” In fact this is not true. The sort of religious experiences which have been artificially induced by brain stimulus have been more akin to pantheistic religious experiences, a sense of oneness with the All, rather than Christian experience of God’s personal presence and love.”

Well, whoopy fucking-doo! How convenient. Pantheism rather than monotheism. And Craig knows all this? How? His expertise in neuroscience?
Here's another pearler:

”Just because a neurologist could stimulate my brain to make me think that I’m having an experience of God is no proof at all that on some occasion when he is not stimulating my brain that I do not have a genuine experience of God. So the objection to a self-authenticating witness of the Spirit on the basis of false claims to such an experience does not undermine my rationality in the deliverances of the Holy Spirit’s witness.”

Ya gotta love him. He's got you guys down pat.

I know it is hard, inconceivable and inordinately uncomfortable for you to be charitable, to acknowledge and appreciate that atheists do read apologetical gumph on the odd occasion. And even buy them what's more. I have all three. I'll bet you will now prophesy that I don't own the apologetical primer that goes with it, "Reasonable Faith : Study Guide."

In true Apologetical fashion, Craig's Great Opus of Irony, "Reasonable Faith", [just like the Bible] cannot of itself unqualifiedly explain its own content according to its own merits without the use of a primer to channel the reader into how it ought to be interpreted. It cannot leave or trust the content to speak for itself without the compelling need for a series of targeted and intentioned questions to guide the reader into the 'right way to think' about the content, according to Craig's apologetics.

And you are absolutely correct in your observation, 'it's just apologetical woo and superstitious supernaturalism?' Anyone who trashes evidence and facts and proofs in light of revelations from the inner witness of the holy spirit simply underscores the real basis on which Craig believes. Unchecked Faith.

The End

Cale B.T. said...

"Relying on Christian prophesying again to read the tea leaves, your noodly soothsayership?"

On the thread "God and the Big Bang" you wrote:

"Can you recall the totality of WLC's argument in support of the Kalam is? Here it is:

"William Lane Craig argues that the first premise is strongly supported by intuition and experience. He asserts that it is "intuitively obvious", based on the "metaphysical intuition that something cannot come into being from nothing" Wiki

Intuition? Experience? And you think Craig's rationalizing is a sufficient candidate for proposition logic based on intuition and personal experience?"

"In the matter of the totality of WLC's arguments[?], for what they're worth, they are aptly summarized in the Wiki report. Why go to read his nonsense at the source of nonsense? "


You claimed that the totality of Craig's argument are summarised on wikipedia and then, when I recommended that you read Reasonable Faith you said "why go to read his nonsense at the source of nonsense?" and so I concluded that you hadn't read the book.

Also, I didn't know that books that have study guides are all worthless. Thanks for the tip.

HyperEntity111 said...

Paps posted: Here's another pearler:

”Just because a neurologist could stimulate my brain to make me think that I’m having an experience of God is no proof at all that on some occasion when he is not stimulating my brain that I do not have a genuine experience of God. So the objection to a self-authenticating witness of the Spirit on the basis of false claims to such an experience does not undermine my rationality in the deliverances of the Holy Spirit’s witness.”

Ya gotta love him. He's got you guys down pat.''

I assume you think Craig has just said something false. Would you like to explain where he's gone wrong?

Papalinton said...

Sometimes we have to make small personal sacrifices to better the pursuit for truth. I bought it. I also bought Feser's book not for its misguided harking back to the 'good old days of Aquinian Scholasticism but for its interesting polemical assault on the new atheists, its egregious assault on homosexuality and more broadly his obvious discomfort and misfit with contemporary philosophy because it does not treat his "ol'-time philosophy" with the respect and due deference he imagines it deserves. Little does he realize that the field of philosophy has travelled with the times, has by-passed his brand of philosophy, and now no longer draws its sustaining force from theology.

It interests me how far homophobes will go to disguise their extreme and irrational aversion to homosexuality and homosexuals as christian virtues, the extent of which knows no bounds in the scramble to debase common decency, civility and charity towards those who through no fault of their own were born with a different sexual orientation than he [and the Church], as if it were a choice for the making.

But back to Craig. As early as the Introduction in this 3rd edition Craig furiously backpedals on the tradition of apologetics:

"As a theoretical discipline, then, apologetics is not training in the art of answering questions, or debating, or evangelism, though all of them draw upon the science of apologetics and apply it practically."

Notice the artful and charming weasel words, 'science of apologetics', a 'theoretical discipline' only, while concurrently according it the special warrant of practical application. Jesus H Christ on a bike! And there really are people out there that swallow this stuff whole.

Incidentally Cale, just out of curiosity, inform the readers the next sentence immediately following:

"The ludicrous idea that believing is something you decide to do is deliciously mocked by Douglas Adams in 'Dirk Gently's Holistic Dectective Agency, where we meet the robotic Electric Monk, a labour saving device that you buy 'to do your believing for you'." It can be found in a moment in The God delusion at Chapter 3 Arguments For God's Existence, in a very short one-and-a-half page entry under the sub-title: Pascal's Wager.

or complete the first sentence from Reasonable Faith, Part Four: De Creatione; 5 The Problem of Historical Knowledge:

" "The uniqueness and the scandal of the Christian religion," writes George ...... " "



Papalinton said...
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Papalinton said...
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Papalinton said...

Hyper
"I assume you think Craig has just said something false. Would you like to explain where he's gone wrong?"

Firstly, to be fair, how do you characterize Craig's statement?

Incidentally, have you read the two books at issue?

Dan Gillson said...

Crude,

I started reading God or Godless, but I need some sort of incentive to finish it. It's not very good, but some of the topics are at least worth discussing.

HyperEntity111 said...

Paps:

1.Craig is saying that just because scientists can artificially induce certain kinds of experience it does not follow that non artificially induced instances of that experience are not genuine. Do you disagree with this?

2.Yes I've read the God Delusion. No I haven't Craig's book. But I've seen enough of his debates and read enough of his other stuff to know that he'd school Dawkins in a debate.

B. Prokop said...

" Little does he realize that the field of philosophy has travelled with the times"

I find this statement fascinating, considering how many times Mr. Wilson has slammed religion for supposedly not having changed over the millennia.

"homophobes"

Excellent debating tactic there. No need to go into any sort of reasoning, just attack someone with a smear, and voila, you've won! (By the way, when it comes to being labeled "homophobic", I like comedian Lewis Black's classic response: "? Me?? I fear no man... no matter how buff!")

"And there really are people out there that swallow this stuff whole[?]"

Yes, there are - the people you're addressing on this website. Just like we "swallow" the definitions of countless other words and phrases. What is your problem here?

"The ludicrous idea that believing is something you decide to do" (Craig)

Hmmm... Now I'm going to have to go out and read Craig's book (which I haven't - I don't often seek out books that I expect to be in agreement with. I prefer to be challenged.) But I do think that we decide upon what we believe in. Why else would Faith be listed amongst the Virtues? (But perhaps Craig and I are using the phrase in quite different ways?)



Papalinton said...
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Papalinton said...

Hyper
"1.Craig is saying that just because scientists can artificially induce certain kinds of experience it does not follow that non artificially induced instances of that experience are not genuine. Do you disagree with this? "

Let's dispense with the emotive notions of artificial and non-artificial. Is an externally induced kind of neural experience less genuine or less real than an internally induced kind of neural experience? How so? Does or can the neural functioning of the brain know the difference of the source of the stimulation?

Is an unknowingly deliberate trick of visual illusion any less perceived as real than a naturally occurring inadvertent visual illusion? We know of the problematic nature of witnesses in legal cases

Hyper, in trade for your Point 1 [we both agree on your second point, though I would counter that Craig would be equally gauche on matters of science], your right and wrong dichotomy is not appropriate or relevant to substance of the issue? It seems to me his objection to the genuineness or otherwise of the stimulated perception [vis-a-vis natural stimulation] by the neuroscientist is substantively predicated on the "self-authenticating witness of the Spirit", and does not "undermine [his] rationality in the deliverances of the Holy Spirit’s witness”, whatever these mean. I would be interested in your perspective about the "self-authenticating witness of the Spirit" and the 'deliverances of the Holy Spirit's witness', as claims of indisputable substantiation

BenYachov said...

Uranaphobia is the irrational fear of homosexuals.

Homophobe is a popular term but it is not technically or grammatically accurate.

Crude said...

I find this statement fascinating, considering how many times Mr. Wilson has slammed religion for supposedly not having changed over the millennia.

Actually a supremely common bit of hypocrisy. Religion is nothing but un-updated millenia old thought and that is TERRIBLE... but if the thought has developed since then, they're just showing religious people will change their views in line of new information and that's TERRIBLE.

im-skeptical said...

"Craig is saying that just because scientists can artificially induce certain kinds of experience it does not follow that non artificially induced instances of that experience are not genuine. Do you disagree with this?"

The artificially induced religious experience is every bit as genuine as any other. What is not genuine is the notion that these experiences are caused by god. They occur naturally, or they are induced, but Craig is in no position to assert that one is "genuine" and the other one isn't.

B. Prokop said...

The notion that religious experiences can be replicated by artificial means is a red herring. The brain can be artificially stimulated to make it believe it is seeing light that is not there. But this in no way means that when the brain does reacts to actual light, that the light is not real. Yet this is the sort of reasoning that Skep (and others) use when they say things like "What is not genuine is the notion that these experiences are caused by [G]od." For that to be automatically true, then light also does not exist.

HyperEntity111 said...

Paps: Craig is attacking the following argument: ''Scientists can induce religious experience. Therefore, no religious experience is genuine.''

He is pointing out that the conclusion does not follow from the premise. To see why it does not follow, consider the following argument:

''People who take DMT sometimes imagine that they are talking to an Irishman. This proves that everyone who has ever spoken to an Irishman was hallucinating.''

This would be a stupid argument. The fact you can artificially induce experiences of Irrishmen, sunlight or God does not give you licence to conclude that anyone who had ever experienced these things is hallucinating.

skep: You haven't given an argument that no religious experience is caused by God-only an assertion.

Latenter said...

Catholics channeling their inner Victor Reppert with an AFR post here:

http://catholicdefense.blogspot.com/2013/07/the-single-best-argument-against.html

Thoughts?

B. Prokop said...

"their inner Victor Reppert"

For some of us, it's not so "inner" - we proudly wear our Reppertism on our sleeves.

B. Prokop said...

Just read the article - one of the most cogent presentations of the AFR that I've ever seen. Nice and tight.

By the way, love the name of the blog, Shameless Popery!

Karl Grant said...
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Karl Grant said...
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Karl Grant said...

Well, this isn't surprising. Neither Paps or Skeppy understand that they need a second premise that both links and restricts the illusionary capability of the brain to religious experiences for the assertion that they have to even be an argument. Of course, neither one have it. But this reminds me of a quote from Alpha Centurai:

We are all aware that the senses can be deceived, the eyes fooled. But how can we be sure our senses are not being deceived at any particular time, or even all the time? Might I just be a brain in a tank somewhere, tricked all my life into believing in the events of this world by some insane computer? And does my life gain or lose meaning based on my reaction to such solipsism?

Because solipsism is the logical end game of the line of thought they are pursuing. Though I doubt either one of them know what that term means.

B. Prokop said...

Karl,

The best portrayal I've ever seen of the inevitable consequences of Linton and Skep's thinking is the final scene in the much-underrated SF movie Dark Star, where the starship captain has to tutor the bomb that is about to explode inside the ship in phenomenology. (I won't give any spoilers here, but things do not turn out well!)

Karl Grant said...

Bob,

Yeah, that is a good example come to think of it (been a while since I saw that movie).

Let there be light.

im-skeptical said...

"skep: You haven't given an argument that no religious experience is caused by God-only an assertion."

I'm not the one making the assertions. We observe that people have these experiences. We observe that they can be induced without the aid of any gods. Craig asserts that some of them are genuine (ie - caused by his god) and others aren't. Let him make his case. Let him show that this religious experience is genuine, while this other one isn't.

Papalinton said...

Hyper
" He is pointing out that the conclusion does not follow from the premise. "

That's true. But what are his conclusions? To refresh the premise he does make:

”Just because a neurologist could stimulate my brain to make me think that I’m having an experience of God is no proof at all that on some occasion when he is not stimulating my brain that I do not have a genuine experience of God. So the objection to a self-authenticating witness of the Spirit on the basis of false claims to such an experience does not undermine my rationality in the deliverances of the Holy Spirit’s witness.”

Are you concurring with Craig that the inner witness of the Holy Spirit has a bona fide authenticating role in his claim. Equally, would you agree that the first sentence is a non-sequitur? I don't think the neurologist example makes the claim anywhere that such stimulation is proof that a self-induced experience is not genuine, or is hallucinating. That is a bit of Crag overreach embedding an element of polemic. What it does clearly inform is that an externally induced source can just as effectively trigger an experience of God as an internally-induced stimulation. Craig does not address that curious evidence at all other than to invoke the 'inner witness of the Holy Ghost' mantra as the authenticating rationale for his position. Would you agree?

' ... does not give you licence to conclude ....' Que?


Cheers.

Crude said...

I'm not the one making the assertions.

Yes, Skep, you are. The fact that you don't admit it doesn't mean you aren't. Or are you going to say you're not asserting that Craig's experience is false?

You probably shouldn't play the game of thoughtful rewarding on a blog surrounded by people who love philosophy. You won't win.

We observe that people have these experiences. We observe that they can be induced without the aid of any gods.

No, the only thing we observe are reports, and our own experiences. We don't 'observe people having these experiences' in a true sense.

Let him make his case.

He's made his case: he reported his experience, and his reasons for attribution.

Now, if you'd like to make the claim that he's wrong, that's going to involve you admitting A) you have a case to make, and B) presenting your evidence.

So far your evidence is, 'We observe people report what sound like similar experiences in artificial situations.' and that's it. You're making a claim - so defend it.

It's ironic that you clearly don't know how to be a skeptic. ;)

Crude said...

And, just to remind everyone about the limitations of science.

Skep: please explain how the activity and influence of God/gods was ruled out, even in the most controlled of these experiments. I'd love to hear how scientists go about controlling for God's influence. No doubt you can quote me the portion of the research paper where they managed this.

Note that I'm not saying that God was responsible for these experiences in controlled situations. But it's being bandied about as a fact - and assertions need to be defended. I think this is a defensible claim. But it's not a scientific claim, nor will the defense be so.

Karl Grant said...

Skeppy,

I'm not the one making the assertions

Yeah, you are. What is not genuine is the notion that these experiences are caused by god is an assertion. You have not provided any evidence to back that statement up or even offered an argument. Of course, when Bob, Crude and Hyper pointed this out your response was simply to double down.

We observe that people have these experiences. We observe that they can be induced without the aid of any gods.

As Crude just said, not exactly. We perceive these experiences through our mental filter; which, as you so graciously pointed out, can be fooled. And as what I quoted said, how are you aware that your mind is not being deceived and your senses fooled right now or all the time? But hey, we also observe scientific studies and experiments can be faked (In fact, the National Academy of Sciences says the percentage of scientific articles retracted because of fraud has increased ∼10-fold since 1975.) So if you think what you are saying is such a killer argument then let's use the same argument against your position. We know that scientific studies can be faked, test results fudged. We know cases of scientific misconduct and fraud are on the rise. So how do we know that the scientists actually managed to artificially induce these experiences? Did you take part in the experiments yourself or are you relying on the testimony of the scientists that they did so(which is anecdotal evidence, ohhh, I can have a lot of fun with that by copying and pasting from your old posts there and using your own words against you)?

William said...

Actually there is reason to believe that the so called God helmet cortical stimulator said to induce a feeling of the divine was at least partly a placebo type effect-- since the study was nonreplicatable and subsequent studies seemed to show that a feeling of the divine presence activated our varying cortical regions used in social relationships and not a single God zone. There is therefore empirical evidence for what Karl says above.

Crude said...

Karl,

So how do we know that the scientists actually managed to artificially induce these experiences? Did you take part in the experiments yourself or are you relying on the testimony of the scientists that they did so(which is anecdotal evidence, ohhh, I can have a lot of fun with that by copying and pasting from your old posts there and using your own words against you)?

That's a good point. If testimonial evidence is judged as inadequate, then these tests and tests like them are blown out of the water. I never observe someone else's experience, much less their 'feeling a divine presence'. Testimony is just about all I've got.

Steven Carr said...

'...b) engages in a intellectual crusade while systematically avoiding genuine engagement with people who take the position he's crusading against. '

In other words, Dawkins chose to debate Craig in a Public Newspaper which cowardly refused to print Craig's response

Papalinton said...
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Papalinton said...
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B. Prokop said...

I don't think we've reached an impasse here - I think rather that we started out with one.

To the materialist, all mental states are reducible to physical phenomena that can in theory by observed and measured. So such experiments attempting to replicate "religious experience" are for such thinkers proof that they too are simply one more physical reaction in the brain. End of story.

To the (someone please supply me with a word here) person who believes otherwise, who regards the mind as more than just the sum of chemical reactions and energy transfers within the brain, the results of such experiments are largely irrelevant. To repeat once again my analogy of the eye, just because we can describe in intricate detail the structure and operations of the eye, the optic nerve, and the brain centers that process stimuli resulting from light striking the retina, this in no way means that light itself does not exist.

In like manner, simply because we can register the manner in which the brain responds to "religious" stimuli, this has no bearing whatsoever on whether or not such stimulus exists.

After all, it is not unreasonable to conclude that if God wished to communicate with us, He would provide our brains with the physical mechanisms by which to process said communication.

So I predict that no one is going to change anyone's mind (wow, another mental process!) with arguments on either side of this issue.

Papalinton said...

Case #1:
Comment: "So how do we know that the scientists actually managed to artificially induce these experiences? Did you take part in the experiments yourself or are you relying on the testimony of the scientists that they did so(which is anecdotal evidence......?"

The epitaph of the archetypal science denier and woomeister extradorinaire, schizotypal purveyor of the 'inner witness of the holy spirit', the voice of the homunculus living in his head. Displaying his prodigious level of abject ignorance and insuperable incomprehension out there for all the world to see, little does he understand his complete belief system was fabricated thousands of years ago, in an age when widespread and unchecked superstition was the norm. Yet he has the jejune impudence to ask,"Did you take part in the experiments yourself or are you relying on the testimony of the scientist that they did so?"

Delusional? Of that, there is no doubt. Psychotic? Who can say the degree of mental disorder one possesses in which thought and emotions are so impaired that contact is lost with external reality? It is clear this person lives in an existential bubble in which he is not only unable but is incapable of distinguishing the natural from the delusional.

Case #2:

Comment 1: "If testimonial evidence is judged as inadequate, then these tests and tests like them are blown out of the water."

This person imagines these tests [neuroscience] are akin to testimonials. He knows as we all know that this claim has the hallmarks of the argumentum ad ignorantiam, blithely and conveniently expunging the fact these investigations incorporate and take account of :
formulation of question
hypothesis/theory
experiments
observation
test controls
double-blind tests
placebos

repeatability/reproducibility
peer review
publication

open to falsification
control cognitive bias/confirmation bias
account for narrative fallacy
apply utility function/simplicity/ principle of parsimony
account for instrumentation/instrument function effect.

If the research or test doesn't pass muster it gets chucked out. As was pointed out earlier by the commenter in Case #1, attempting use it as a put-down, "But hey, we also observe scientific studies and experiments can be faked (In fact, the National Academy of Sciences says the percentage of scientific articles retracted because of fraud has increased ∼10-fold since 1975.)" But I say, the beauty of self-correcting scholarship. Scientists chucking out their own if they cross the line.

Compare with Apologetical research:
Interpretation of a re-interpretation of an interpretation of a previous re-interpretation. [This is a bit of persiflage, but many a true word said in jest]

Self-correcting? ;o(

Comment 2:"Testimony is just about all I've got."

How right he is.
Professor Scott Atran, Director of Research at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Paris, notes the results of these tests and puts it succinctly:

“The problem is, the more you look inward toward your religious group and its claims of virtue, the less you look outward and the more distrustful you are of others.”

The illustration of both these cases is not an exercise in pychpoloigizing, but a review of their comments. Whatever the logical and reasoned foundations are on which their comments are anchored they are indiscernible. Indeed they are as ethereal and as ineffable as the superstitious supernaturalism to which they both subscribe and around which they live their lives.

B. Prokop said...

That should have read "that can in theory be observed".

ingx24 said...

To the (someone please supply me with a word here) person who believes otherwise, who regards the mind as more than just the sum of chemical reactions and energy transfers within the brain, the results of such experiments are largely irrelevant.

I believe the word you're looking for is "dualist".

B. Prokop said...

Thanks, Ingx, I must have had a Rick Perry moment there!

David B Marshall said...

By Linton's criteria of book sales, Richard Dawkins should debate Dan Brown. And I, for one, would buy popcorn for that debate.

B. Prokop said...

"Richard Dawkins should debate Dan Brown."

My head hurts just thinking about that!

HyperEntity111 said...

skep: ‘’We observe that people have these experiences. We observe that they can be induced without the aid of any gods. Craig asserts that some of them are genuine (ie - caused by his god) and others aren't. Let him make his case. Let him show that this religious experience is genuine, while this other one isn't.’’

Compare: ‘’It has been observed that people see what they believe to be sunlight and Irishmen. We also observe that their experiences can artificially induced. Now prove to me that all your experiences of sunlight and Irishmen are not hallucinations.’’

Well I would say that in the second case there is still an external cause of the experience (the scientists stimulating the brain). We already know this. I’d also say that when experience something we assume that our experience is genuine unless there is some reason to think we suffering from some sort of cognitive malfunction. So if you’re going to claim that someone’s experience is internally caused, the onus is on you to show why this is the case.


Paps: ‘’... would you agree that the first sentence is a non-sequitur?’’

The first sentence reads: ‘Just because a neurologist could stimulate my brain to make me think that I’m having an experience of God is no proof at all that on some occasion when he is not stimulating my brain that I do not have a genuine experience of God. ‘

I don’t think that’s a non sequitur.

‘’What it does clearly inform is that an externally induced source can just as effectively trigger an experience of God as an internally-induced stimulation. Craig does not address that curious evidence at all other than to invoke the 'inner witness of the Holy Ghost' mantra as the authenticating rationale for his position. Would you agree?’’

If Craig thinks that there are no circumstances under which an experience of the holy spirit can be shown to be false, I think he’s wrong. Nothing you’ve said so far shows that he thinks that.

Steven Carr posted: ‘’In other words, Dawkins chose to debate Craig in a Public Newspaper which cowardly refused to print Craig's response.’’

Says Dawkins chose to debate Craig. Links to an article where Dawkins says he won’t debate Craig. You really are fucking stupid.

B. Prokop said...

Is this the same Steven Carr who used to go on and on and on (and on) about us supposedly not having any evidence for who wrote the Gospels?

David B Marshall said...

Hyper: If you're going to call someone "fucking stupid" (not me), why do I not find it ironic that you do so in such a way as to reveal how dense you are?

Obviously, Carr is referring to Dawkins' nasty, underhanded jab at Craig as part of a "debate" in a loose, but valid sense. He is "debating," but not debating. If you are incapable of reading subtly varying uses of the English language, why don't you get off the damned Internet? (Wait a minute -- stay on the Internet, just keep using a pseudonym so such stupidity won't come back to haunt you.)

With wooden English like that, it's a wonder you passed the "prove you are not a robot" test.

David B Marshall said...

Plus, of course, there is no conflict at all between saying someone claims to refuse to do something, and saying that person actually does it.

David B Marshall said...

Bob: Sorry. It is, admittedly, a painful thought. Here's an even more painful one: they could correct one another's history.

im-skeptical said...

Hyper,

I still haven't made any assertion, except to point out that Craig's assertion is unsubstantiated. I made no claims about the cause of the so-called religious experiences, but noted that they can be induced artificially. Craig claims to know that certain instances of these are caused by his god. It's up to him to prove his position, not me to disprove it.

Your analogy is useless. People don't have experiences of sunshine and Irishmen without those experiences being caused by things that are well within the realm of natural explanation. It is not unreasonable to postulate that all experiences, including religious experiences, are naturally caused, especially in light of the fact that they can be induced without any godly source.

If a ray of sunshine falls upon me, there's a perfectly good explanation for the experience I have. Sometimes we have emotional feelings. Most of those have natural explanations, too. But if someone claims that certain emotional experiences are caused by god, I am well within my right to point out that that claim is not supported by facts or evidence, and need not be taken seriously unless substantiation is provided.

B. Prokop said...

"It's up to him to prove his position, not me to disprove it."

Not so. The ball has been in your court ever since you wrote the following: " [I] noted that they can be induced artificially." So it was you who attempted to establish a supposed link between artificiality and religious experience. It is therefore your responsibility to explain why your statement is relevant. (I've already explained above (at 5:42 AM) why I feel it is not.)

Karl Grant said...

Skeppy,

I made no claims about the cause of the so-called religious experiences, but noted that they can be induced artificially.

So you are saying you insinuated instead of asserted? Oh, that is so much better.

Your analogy is useless. People don't have experiences of sunshine and Irishmen without those experiences being caused by things that are well within the realm of natural explanation. It is not unreasonable to postulate that all experiences, including religious experiences, are naturally caused, especially in light of the fact that they can be induced without any godly source.

So...you are saying that one case of a person tricking another person's mind into perceiving an experience that is not real is fundamentally different from another case of a person tricking another person's mind into perceiving an experience that is not real is because the simulated experiences of different things? That is kind of like saying one man is not a thief because he only stole a twenty dollar bill as opposed to another man who stole a twenty-thousand dollar car. It is a completely meaningless and irrelevant distinction.

But if someone claims that certain emotional experiences are caused by god, I am well within my right to point out that that claim is not supported by facts or evidence, and need not be taken seriously unless substantiation is provided.

Note the grand circularity of this argument:

Skeppy: There is no evidence for God/gods.
Opponent: People have religious experiences, which can constitute evidence for religions.
Skeppy: These religious experiences can be artificially induced, therefore they don't count.
Opponent: But we can induce illusionary experiences in a person's mind of other things, such as light, sex, seeing other people, etc...
Skeppy: Those are different because there is natural evidence for them while there is no evidence for God.

Oh yeah, he also still keeps ignoring the point that he filters those natural, everyday experiences like sunlight through his mind and the implications of said point.

HyperEntity111 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
HyperEntity111 said...

David Marshall: ‘’Obviously, Carr is referring to Dawkins' nasty, underhanded jab at Craig as part of a "debate" in a loose, but valid sense. He is "debating," but not debating. If you are incapable of reading subtly varying uses of the English language, why don't you get off the damned Internet?’’

It’s cute that you think Dawkins was ‘debating but not debating’. But are you really so dense that you couldn’t see that I deliberately chose a literal and uncharitable reading of Carr’s statement in order to ridicule him?

skep: The explanation for your seeing light is that it is caused by the object of your experience-light. Craig is using the same principle. The explanation for his experience of God is that it is caused by the object of his experience-God. You seem to be claiming that the inference in the former case is acceptable but the inference in the latter case is unacceptable. However, in the absence of an argument which shows that some kind of cognitive malfunction has occurred in the latter case, both inferences are justified. So the onus is on you to make that argument.

im-skeptical said...

"The explanation for your seeing light is that it is caused by the object of your experience-light. Craig is using the same principle. The explanation for his experience of God is that it is caused by the object of his experience-God."

The object of Craig's experience is in question. He asserts that it is caused by a supernatural entity. It's not at all the same thing as a sensation caused by physical stimulation of my sense organs, so I am rightly skeptical. As far as I know, all sensations have physical causes.

B. Prokop said...

Hilarious that Skep follows this statement "I am rightly skeptical" with this one "as far as I know". In the very next sentence, no less!!!

Skep, you seem to never be "skeptical" about your own preconceptions. And worse (and I really do mean "worse") you appear to be completely oblivious of this fact. You really need to change your moniker to something like "I-m-skeptical-about-you-but-never-me", or something like that.

HyperEntity111 said...

Skep: Can you not see that you’re simply begging the question? Look at how the discussion has progressed so far:

S: I know physical entities exist because my sensory experience tells me so.
C: I know non physical entities exist because my sensory experience tells me so.
S: That inference is unjustified. But I am justified in concluding that physical objects from my sensory experience.
C: Why? We’re justified in accepting the existence of entities that we experience with our senses (unless we know there is something wrong with our senses). What’s wrong with my senses?
S: I won’t say what’s wrong with your senses. I will say that a) your experiences can be artificially induced and b) we only experience physical entities.
C: But lots experiences can be artificially induced. It’s absurd to conclude from this that all cases of such experience are not genuine. And b) is just question begging. I’m disputing your claim that only physical objects exist and I’m using my experience of a non physical entity as evidence against your claim. At the very least my experience shows that I am justified in rejecting your claim that only physical entities exist. Unless you can give a reason to doubt the validity of my experience you have begged the question by insisting that people only experience physical things.

Papalinton said...

"By Linton's criteria of book sales, Richard Dawkins should debate Dan Brown."

That would indeed be a more entertaining debate given that Brown really does know that Catholicism is fiction and has written his story in the proper genre. There would be no change in the substance of Dawkins' argument changing from one to the other. Dawkins demeanour and approach would remain the same knowing that he is arguing against fiction just as before but perhaps be a deal more light-hearted. The religiose have yet to come to that realization. At the release of Brown's 'The Da Vinci Code' the Vatican went into frantic hyperdrive:

"With sales of over 18m copies in 44 languages, topping bestseller charts all over the world and earning its author more than £140m, Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code is a global phenomenon. And now it has become the first book ever to have an archbishop dedicated to debunking its contents." READ HERE

And then come up with their own spin to counter the unseemly scramble they exhibited.
SEE HERE

So paranoid are they in the halls of the See that :
"Vatican accuses media of trying to imitate Da Vinci code author Dan Brown."
SEE HERE

The result of which comes the ultimate and justly-earned prize, to be front and centre of hilarity and parody on a philosophy site:
"Pope Francis Hires Dan Brown To Plan The Ultimate Vatican Easter Egg Hunt"
SEE HERE.

And the Vatican earned the accolade fair and square on the merits of its own hard work protecting the boundaries of its own Catholicⓒ fiction.

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

One must end on a light note.

im-skeptical said...

Funny. You have been involved in a different conversation from the one I have. This is more the way I see it:

Believer: Cragg claims there's a purple monster in the room.

Unbeliever: No there isn't. His assertion is unsubstantiated.

Peanut gallery: You're making assertions that you haven't proved. Your argument needs additional premises. Your philosophical position is incoherent. Your argument is circular. You are ignoring everyday experience.

Believer: It's no different from you claiming to see light when the sun shines on you. You really need to make your case that there are no purple monsters.

Unbeliever: But I didn't claim there are no purple monsters, I only said Cragg's assertion is unsubstantiated. I've never seen any evidence of this purple monster, so I'm skeptical.

Peanut gallery: No, you're not skeptical.

Believer: You're begging the question. I dispute your claim that purple monsters don't exist. I'm justified in rejecting your claims.

Unbeliever: What claims?

Steven Carr said...

MARSHALL
He is "debating," but not debating

CARR
Correct.

Dawkins was just sticking the knife into Craig.

By quoting him in a national newspaper.

And so setting back the cause of Christianity.

Craig's fan club might cheer Craig, but Dawkins has now linked Craig's name indelibly with the words 'genocide supporter'.

By quoting the words Craig wrote.

You have to admire Dawkins.

He quotes his opponents exact words.

That's dirty tactics.

Steven Carr said...

MARSHALL
He is "debating," but not debating

CARR
Correct.

Dawkins was just sticking the knife into Craig.

By quoting him in a national newspaper.

And so setting back the cause of Christianity.

Craig's fan club might cheer Craig, but Dawkins has now linked Craig's name indelibly with the words 'genocide supporter'.

By quoting the words Craig wrote.

You have to admire Dawkins.

He quotes his opponents exact words.

That's dirty tactics.

Papalinton said...

On rereading the media reports about Vatileaks, these two remarks by Cardinal Bertone really tickled my fancy:

"He said the Church was "an unequivocal reference point for countless people and institutions around the world" and added: "This is why there is an attempt to destabilise it".
Bertone branded as false the image of the Vatican as a place of intrigue and power struggles, saying: "The truth is that there is an attempt to sow division that comes from the Devil".
SEE HERE.
At first he claims an international conspiracy followed hot on its heels by the "Devil did it".
And these people are to be taken seriously?

John Mitchell said...

Why is skep constantly claiming that Craig has to prove that his experience is caused by an entity when all Craig claims is that artificially stimulated experience doesnt disprove the veridicality of certain experiences in general?

I dont see it. What Craig says is trivially true and, in so far, uncontroversial.

All i can say is that i just lack that kind of experience that could be linked to the existence of some kind of divine entity.

B. Prokop said...

Fascinating the way Skep equates the positions held by believers with patently ridiculous ideas that no one believes in. Is he unable to tell the difference? Skep's reasoning is similar to this:

Guest: I can't leave your house now. There's a mugger on the corner waiting to rob me.

Skep: Nonsense. There's no such thing as purple monsters under the bed. You should have abandoned all such superstition long ago.

Guest: But there really is a mugger out there waiting for me.

Skep: Why do you persist in talking about muggers? I've already told you that purple monsters under the bed are imaginary!

Guest: But one has nothing to do with the other.

Skep: Ahh... the ol' "this is different" ploy, huh? That just proves how worthless your suspicions are!

B. Prokop said...

"And these people are to be taken seriously?"

Yes they are, Linton. Sorry to burst your bubble, but your disbelief in the devil makes him no less real.

HyperEntity111 said...

So basically:

C: Principle: We are justied in accepting the deliverances of our senses unless we have a reason to doubt our senses. Premise: My senses tell me that there's a God and I have no reason to doubt their reliability. Conclusion: Therefore I know that my experiences are caused by God.
S: You haven't proven that your experience is caused by God.
C: Why not?
S: I'm not telling!

im-skeptical said...

"My senses tell me that there's a God and I have no reason to doubt their reliability. Conclusion: Therefore I know that my experiences are caused by God."

I agree that we generally can trust our senses, but your senses tell you no such thing. Your senses give you feelings. Your thinking processes tell you there's a god. You may think there's no reason to doubt your thinking, but it is clear that many people exhibit faulty thinking. How can anyone be certain that his own thinking is not faulty in some way?

Did you ever fall in love? What you feel is an emotion. You mind, acting upon this feeling, may tell you that the one you love is perfect. The truth is that the one you love is a person, no more perfect than any other. You might have another kind of emotional experience, which you attribute to god. The experience you have is a feeling. Your mind takes over from there and convinces you that god did it. The truth is that it was a feeling with causes no different from any other. The above cited logic is faulty.

Papalinton said...

John Mitchell
"What Craig says is trivially true and, in so far, uncontroversial."

Astute observation.

Dennett classifies Craig's claim as a deepity.
A 'deepity' is defined as: "... a proposition that seems to be profound because it is actually logically ill-formed. It has (at least) two readings and balances precariously between them. On one reading it is true but trivial. And on another reading it is false, but would be earth-shattering if true."

Papalinton said...

So the Devil is a 'him'. And you know that by ....?
So the Devil is real. And you know that by ....?

Delightfully delusional.

Karl Grant said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Karl Grant said...

You may think there's no reason to doubt your thinking, but it is clear that many people exhibit faulty thinking. How can anyone be certain that his own thinking is not faulty in some way?

And there we go again, generalization followed immediately by an insinuation. Of course, this one really cuts into your own position is well. Unless, of course, your thinking is never faulty is it?

You mind, acting upon this feeling, may tell you that the one you love is perfect. The truth is that the one you love is a person, no more perfect than any other. You might have another kind of emotional experience, which you attribute to god. The experience you have is a feeling. Your mind takes over from there and convinces you that god did it. The truth is that it was a feeling with causes no different from any other.

So let's see if we understand this little bit of idiocy right:

1. Outside stimulus triggers emotional response.
2. Mind processes response.
3. Mind is biased concerning strong emotional response.
4. Multiple outside stimuli can trigger exactly same or similar emotional response.
5. Therefore, one specific outside stimuli does not exist.

How stupid can you get? 5 does not follow from 4. And no, this is not disagreeing with somebody who thinks their lover is perfect. This is denying that said lover actually exists

Ilíon said...

some hypocrite: "Skep, you seem to never be "skeptical" about your own preconceptions. And worse (and I really do mean "worse") you appear to be completely oblivious of this fact. You really need to change your moniker to something like "I-m-skeptical-about-you-but-never-me", or something like that."
Tsk, tsk, tsk. Now the hypocrite is picking on I-pretend-to-be-skeptical ... and he's also writing big-long-words-all-strung-together-with-hyphens.

Still, isn't it amusing ... the influence I have on you people?

Ilíon said...

"... How stupid can you get?"

Goodness! you "nice" people even do the things you falsely attributes to me, and for which you condemn me on the basis of your mutual lies about me.

Karl Grant said...

llion,

Have I ever criticized you for rudeness? I don't think so.

B. Prokop said...

"You may think there's no reason to doubt your thinking, but it is clear that many people exhibit faulty thinking. How can anyone be certain that his own thinking is not faulty in some way?"

Argument from Reason, anybody? Looks like Skep is finally almost ready to accept it.

B. Prokop said...

Karl says, "Have I ever criticized [Ilion] for rudeness? I don't think so."

Well, it's time you stepped up to the plate! You're just making it necessary for the rest of us to criticize him twice as often.

Dan Gillson said...

I'm feeling the urge to martyr myself in front of the entire internet ... Ilíon's influence over me must be increasing! ... Nooooooooo!!! ...

David B Marshall said...

This game Dawkins plays with Craig (being too cowardly to debate him) reminds me of the game he plays with Richard Sherburne. Sherburne is faced, as a Christian philosopher, with the difficulty of explaining why God allowed the Holocaust. He does his best to explain why that might be. Dawkins then says Sherburne is "justifying the Holocaust" and borrows the quote, "May you rot in hell." Sherburne calmly explains on his website that Dawkins misreads him, asks for honest debate over philosophical issues that have been on the table for centuries, and that Dawkins not try to "win by shouting."

Hard for a jackass to change his bray, though.

ingx24 said...

Are you referring to Richard Swinburne? :P

Ilíon said...

Karl Grant: "Have I ever criticized you for rudeness? I don't think so."

Here ... if you wish, you can wade through the Google results to see whether you have "ever criticized [me] for rudeness" (*). I have more interesting ways to spend my time.

But recall: you spread false tales about me and on the basis of your false assertion about me, call me a hypocrite.

(*) My point has not been that some people have "criticized [me] for rudeness" (**), it is that some people lie about me (and about themselves) and them criticize, in the sense of 'condemn', me on the basis of those lies.

(**) Here is someone merely criticizing me for "rudeness". His criticism is unfounded, it appears to be based on two misrepresentations:
1) that he didn't quite grasp in context what I'd written that he was immediately criticizing;
2) that he had background false knowledge about my "rudeness" based on the lies you people tell about me.

Here is my response to him ... quite opposite what someone who believed your (plural) lies about me would expect, and in fact, quite opposite how you liars would generally respond.

Ilíon said...

a fellow so deranged that he has only *once* said anything to me or about me that isn't of the nature of this comment: "I'm feeling the urge to martyr myself in front of the entire internet ...

Would you really? That is so sweet!


"... Ilíon's influence over me must be increasing!

Oh, now! I'm much too modest to take any credit for your coming self-explosion; I'm sure I have no more to do with it than with your long-ago implosion.

Ilíon said...

David B Marshall: "This game Dawkins plays with Craig (being too cowardly to debate him) reminds me of the game he plays with Richard Sherburne. Sherburne is faced, as a Christian philosopher, with the difficulty of explaining why God allowed the Holocaust. He does his best to explain why that might be. Dawkins then says Sherburne is "justifying the Holocaust" and borrows the quote, "May you rot in hell." ..."

Dawkins is a liar and hypocrite ... and he admits in print that he is a liar and hypocrite (I've discussed these three facts here).

"This game Dawkins plays with Craig" is the same *hypocritical* game that many, if not most, atheists play as a means to protect atheism rational evaluation -- even as they *explicitly* assert that morality is not real, and that nothing is truly right or wrong, they falsely accuse Judeo-Christians of engaging in and/or condoning grave wickedness.

And the major reason they are able to keep playing that hypocritical game is because the targets of their hypocritical attacks are too "polite" and "civil" to openly name and critique the hypocrisy. My goodness! It would be so "rude" to just clamly say, "This is a lie, this is hypocrisy; and you're a liar and a hypocrite."

Can anyone say 'Stockholm Syndrome'? Can anyone say 'dhimmitude'?

Karl Grant said...

Well, somebody has a persecution complex. And no, I did not spread lies about you since you did advocate and defend the of destroying Mecca, a city full of innocent people in a country that is our ally, while at the same time labeling Bob an apologist for mass murder.

Karl Grant said...

* the idea

Ilíon said...

liars almost always double-down: "Well, somebody has a persecution complex. And no, I did not spread lies about you since you did advocate and defend the of destroying Mecca, a city full of innocent people in a country that is our ally ..."

To quote a great thinker, one for the ages, "How stupid can you get?"

I did nothing of the sort, and Karl Grant is a liar.

Even in isolation, no honest person can take the post to which he links as me advocating or defending the nuclear destruction of Mecca.

Moreover, just six posts later in that thread, I said this "Who needs to nuke Mecca to destroy the Kaaba? A barrage of cruise missiles [w]ould do the trick."

And I further said this: "Nevertheless, dest[ro]ying the Kaaba would lead to tens of millions of deaths world-wide, as Moslems begin to slaughter one another."

Any sane, rational, honest person can see that Karl Grant is a liar.

Any sane, rational, honest person can see that while I believe that destroying the Kaaba would be the quickest way to destroy Islam as an existential threat to the West (and indeed to all cultures ... and to all human beings ... in the world), I also recognize and caution that destroying the Kaaba would lead to convulsions in the House of Submission and to the deaths of untold millions of human beings.

======
And, for the record, while Saudi Arabia may have signed treaties with the United States, they are never our allies; their treaties with us are simply taqiyya and hudna in action. And, by their own Moslem "reasoning", no denizen of Mecca is innocent; for in rejecting Christianity (and in persecuting Christians) they actively wage war against God, and therefore Christians have the moral obligation to kill them whenever and however possible.

How fortunate for Moslems that Christianity is not Islam.

Karl Grant said...

I rest my case.

Ilíon said...

Karl Grant: "I rest my case."

Translation: Ilíon has shown that my accusations about him are false; Ilíon had shown that I had misrepresented him (some time ago); Ilíon has shown that I have intentionally misrepresented him (now) ... which just goes to show you how wicked Ilíon is!

Karl Grant is now playing the "You're right .... which just shows how wrong you are!" game, belovéd of liars everywhere. He may also be playing the "Unless you can force me to admit that I lied, then I didn't lie" game.

I guess he hasn't yet got the memo that I don't let liars dictate to me how I may respond to their lies -- that is, after all, why the Freak-out Sisters freak-out about my "rudeness".

David B Marshall said...

IngX: Yes, I'm sorry. I conflated Swinburne's name with that of a scholar of Tibetan religions who kindly reviewed my China book some years ago.

David B Marshall said...

Actually, it occurs to me that anyone who likes Dawkins' maneuver here, should love modern politics. Here's the principle, or as close as some politicians come to a principle: if you can't win the argument on its merits, destroy your opponent's reputation.

Ilíon said...

That didn't start with "modern politics" -- that seems to be the mode to which humans gravitate by default.

The *point* of the "science of reasoning" (coupled with correct moral understanding) is to help us *not* do that.

Ilíon said...

the liar, Karl Grant: "I rest my case."

and I sum it up

BenYachov said...

I still think a gladiatorial fight or debate between Ilion & Paps would be as amusing as heck!

I'd pay to see it. It's like my urge to see the new Lone Ranger movie. You know it's going to suck but you just have to see the suck.

Like to quote George Carlin, driving by an accident on the road. You just gotta slow down. Or throwing out Milk you know has gone off. You just have to smell or taste it once & experience the suck before you though it out.

Yeh!



Ilíon said...

Mr 'Sola Scriptura' can't mean *that* (even though you Protestants have always said it means just that) ... because none of the Rah-Rah Catholic shills I'm willing to read has admitted that it means exactly that: "I still think ..."

Now there is grounds for a royal argument (I'm misusing the word 'argument' in the incorrect way most people misuse it).

Papalinton said...

Dawkins cowardly? Hardly
But if one wishes to seek out a coward one need go no further than Craig. I understand he refuses to debate Loftus, a former student of his, on the most lamest of excuses that he does not debate anyone with less than a PhD or only debates those that bring 'originality' to the debate.
Little does he understand that a turkey with a PhD is still a turkey and his great claim to fame, the Kalam, is simply a resurrected ideational corpse that was rightly buried centuries ago. And like all things religious one cannot rid an endemic evolutionary dysfunction, only mitigate its contagion.

Dan Gillson said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dan Gillson said...

Ilíon:

You may "recognize and caution destroying the Kaaba would lead to … the deaths of untold millions of human beings", but in the thread you also state that, "All Moslems, as Moslems, are the mortal enemies of all human beings, including other Moslems", and "If an entire soci[e]ty believes it has the right to kill you (individually and collectively) … then it is moral to kill them before they murder you." (You also said that God instituted government to punish evil-doers.) It would seem that you would in principle approve of some sort of preemptive action against the Moslem world; you may not be the one to pull the trigger, but given that you think that: 1.) Moslems are the enemies of all human beings; 2.) that preemptive action against a possible existential threat is justified, it certainly follows that you wouldn't necessarily disapprove of the annihilation of the Moslem world. Indeed, in stating that it is the God-given duty of government to punish evil-doers, i.e., punish those who are the enemies of humanity, you not only obviously justify some sort of preemptive action against the Moslem world, you come very close to endorsing it.

Given all this, who's lying about whom? Karl Grant certainly isn't lying about you: he reads your words in the same way I do. Rather, it's you who's lying about you, or maybe you aren't lying, but just wrong about the organization or the implications of your thinking.

((Reposted due to glaring grammatical errors.))

B. Prokop said...

"[T]he Kalam is simply a resurrected ideational corpse that was rightly buried centuries ago."

Huh? When was this done? I have yet to see an argument by anyone, be he Christian or atheist or anything in between, that comes within a million miles of "burying" Kalam>.

As the saying goes, Linton, you may have a right to your own opinion, but you do not have a right to your own facts. And the fact remains that in an infinitely old universe, the Here and Now would forever be in an infinitely distant future and never arrived at. We cannot have a "now" without a Beginning.

Now try to bury that.

im-skeptical said...

"And the fact remains that in an infinitely old universe, the Here and Now would forever be in an infinitely distant future and never arrived at. We cannot have a "now" without a Beginning."

And yet Craig himself paradoxically postulates something he calls ontological time, that has an infinite past with no beginning. He is arguing against his own illogic.

By the way, in addition to being too cowardly to debate Loftus, he is also too cowardly to debate Jeffery Jay Lowder.

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

this doesn't involve (mudrerous) leftist politics, so he was able to bring himself to think clearly: "And the fact remains that in an infinitely old universe, the Here and Now would forever be in an infinitely distant future and never arrived at. We cannot have a "now" without a Beginning."

It is now the year we call "2014 AD". Space Aliens (who have invaded and conquered Earth) have made Papalinton effectively immortal ... and such a curse couldn't befall a more fitting troll. Linton thinks to himself, "Infinity AD, here I come!"

In due course, the year we would call "2525 AD" rolls around, and shortly, all the other years in the song. Eventually, Papalinton finds himself experiencing the year"1,000,000 AD"; then the year "10,000,000 AD"; then the year "100,000,000 AD"; and so on, ad nauseam but never quite ad infinitum. Perhaps, one may hope, long about the year "100,000,000,001 AD", Papalinton finally figures out that the year "Infinity AD" will *never* arrive, that it is logically and arithmetically impossible for the year "Infinity AD" to ever arrive.

Likewise, *this* year, "2013 AD", stands in the very same same relationship to the hypothetical year "Infinity BC" as "Infinity AD" does to "2013 AD".

Papalinton said...

A resurrected Kalam? You betcha.

"The Kalām cosmological argument is a variation of the cosmological argument that argues for the existence of a first cause for the universe, and the existence of a god. Its origins can be traced to medieval Jewish, Christian and Muslim thinkers, but most directly to Islamic theologians of the Kalām tradition.[1] Its historic proponents include John Philoponus,[2] Al-Kindi,[3] Saadia Gaon,[4] Al-Ghazali,[5] and St. Bonaventure.[6] William Lane Craig revived interest in the Kalām cosmological argument with his 1979 publication of a book of the same name.[7][8]" Wiki

The word 'beginning' and 'creation ex nihilo' are both thoroughly drenched theological concepts grimly being hung onto by the religiose. When cosmologists and physicists trace back to the misnamed 'big bang' there was not nothing. There was a singularity. We don't know what a singularity is and we know nothing of what the conditions of a singularity are. But one thing that is reasonably certain whatever those condition are it seems pretty unlikely to be 'ex nihilo'. We simply don't know what it is yet and how long is had existed before the cosmic expansion occurred. And we also know other singularities exist; at the centre of a Black Holes. And there seems to be at least one in every galaxy that has been observed.

In the meantime, to imagine a god created the universe ex nihilo is a rather jejune attempt to provisionally fill the gap of ignorance until science can inform us otherwise.

No need for a Kalam to tell the cosmologist what happened at the Big Bang. As Professor Lawrence Krauss notes in words to the effect, It adds nothing to the knowledge base for investigating the cosmos.

im-skeptical said...

"Papalinton finally figures out that the year "Infinity AD" will *never* arrive, that it is logically and arithmetically impossible for the year "Infinity AD" to ever arrive."

Ignoring, for the moment, that the notion of a year called "Infinity AD" is nothing more than the incoherent rantings of one who doesn't understand the mathematics of the infinite, you assume that one must witness the passing of all those years. And since that can't be done, as the illogic goes, an infinite timespan must be logically impossible. But Craig doesn't seem to think that time must be limited for his god, perhaps because this god *can* witness the passing of all those years. And somehow, even though it has been shown to be logically impossible (by Craig's illogic), he has managed to arrive at the present.

Ilíon said...

Oh, *yawn* 'I_pretend_to_be_rational' has (ahem) criticized my little thought-experiment.

grodrigues said...
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grodrigues said...

@im-skeptical:

"But Craig doesn't seem to think that time must be limited for his god, perhaps because this god *can* witness the passing of all those years."

No, that is not the answer Craig gives.

"And somehow, even though it has been shown to be logically impossible (by Craig's illogic), he has managed to arrive at the present."

First, Craig does not purport to have shown that it is logically impossible, but metaphysically impossible, which is a different, weaker notion of impossibility (he calls it "woollier"). Second, there is absolutely no contradiction, for the only thing that Craig purports to have proved is that the traversal of an infinite span of time is (metaphysically) impossible, but since time is finite in the past, there is no problem for God to have arrived at the present.

Not to mention that God's relation to Time is not the same as ours in Craig's conception -- which by the way, I think it is completely wrong. But right or wrong, the demonstrable fact is that as usual, you have absolutely no idea what you are criticizing.

B. Prokop said...

Back to the OP, Dawkins's stated reasons for not debating Craig simply don't pass the smell test. All you Dawkins fans out there, just admit it - his statements about not wishing to debate a supposed "genocide supporter" sound contrived in the extreme. They read like something pulled out of his hat to cover some actual motivation to avoid an encounter - one he'd rather not discuss.

I suspect the real reason is one of these three (listed in descending order of probability):

1. Once having made an original refusal, Dawkins now fears that any subsequent acceptance would be perceived as weakness, and as "backing down" - thus putting him at a disadvantage before any such debate started. So he is now trapped in a continual refusal, regardless of whether he actually wants to debate Craig or not.

2. Dawkins realized full well that Craig is far the better "showman" in such events, and would, on stylistic grounds alone, run circles around Dawkins regardless of who presented the better case.

3. When it comes to philosophical arguments, Dawkins is fundamentally lazy. He has no interest in honing his expertise in them (basically holding them in contempt), and therefore Craig would have him for lunch in any head-to-head on the cosmological arguments, the Five Ways, the AFR, etc. He'd be fighting on Craig's turf and knows it.

David Marshall said...

Linton: "But if one wishes to seek out a coward one need go no further than Craig. I understand he refuses to debate Loftus . . ."

Don't be ridiculous. I like John, and I'll debate him next month if I can find a host in Indiana. But his "credentials" are a joke, compared to Craig's. (As are Dawkins', on this issue.) And Loftus is obviously not in Craig's league as a debater, or anywhere near it -- the one debate I watched, I was really embarrassed for him. Hope he did better with Randal.

How many atheists would really want to see John Loftus go up against William Lane Craig? Ouch.

Coward? Yeah, I can understand why Craig might wince at the very thought of such a debate. I do.

William said...

If the past actually exists in some sense,then we can treat it as a 4th dimension in physics, and as such because of the curvature of space time we can show that the universe has a finite size and a finite past.

But does the past really exist?

Not according to the authorities Chad and Jeremy here :-) :-)

B. Prokop said...

"But does the past really exist?"

I suspect not. But it's more important to acknowledge that it did (when it was the present).

We can demonstrate this in our own lives. I am at this moment in time sitting at my kitchen table typing away on my laptop. This is real. An hour from now I'll be doing something else, and that moment of time (me sitting and typing) will no longer exist. But it did.

Papalinton said...

"First, Craig does not purport to have shown that it is logically impossible, but metaphysically impossible, ..."

What? So when one switches into metaphysical speak logic need not be a requirement?

"for the only thing that Craig purports to have proved is that the traversal of an infinite span of time is (metaphysically) impossible ..."

And yet his god can. And he even goes one better and claims [how he knows all this for sure he has yet to divulge apart from through the witness of the inner spirit of the holy ghost that's taken up residence inside his head] that his god has lived for all eternity, ad infinitum, both past and future simultaneously, beyond the reaches of space and time. And having extrapolated that out to the very outer reaches of incomprehension he now fills in the narrative from god, to Kalam, to the universe, to Adam and Eve, to the flood, to Noah and family [the bottleneck of humanity from which every person on this planet are relatives] to Judaism, to jesus, to christianity, to Aristotle, to Aquinas, to Luther [after all Craig is a Protestant], to the present day.

Explanation? God can do anything. Why? According to Craig, it is because it came direct as a revelation from the inner witness of the holy spirit.

B. Prokop said...

I'm going to take back my last posting. Just listened to Vaughan Williams's 5th Symphony, and got to thinking about how we can only hear one note of a musical composition at any one time, yet we are still able to hear melody. So the past must have existence in order for us to hear music.

ingx24 said...

Isn't that just memory, though?

B. Prokop said...

ing,

I honestly don't think so. I'm hearing the sequence of notes as a sequence. I'm not just remembering the ones that have past. The melody is an entity in itself, perceived as a whole, in a sort of time frame that is greater than simply the instant we inhabit.

I'm not sure I even have the vocabulary to express what I'm trying to get across here, but it seems to me that there's something more than simple memory here.

David Marshall said...

Bob: Your argument for the past not existing was not convincing to me, anyway. The fact that you are at the present moment does not prove there is no past, anymore than the fact that you are in Minneapolis (say) proves there is no Topeka.

B. Prokop said...

Yeah, but I've already rejected it. Consider it "brainstorming" or "thinking out loud".

However, keep in mind T.S. Eliot's words (in Burnt Norton):

If all time is eternally present
All time is unredeemable.

Ilíon said...

Prokop: "... and got to thinking about how we can only hear one note of a musical composition at any one time, yet we are still able to hear melody. So the past must have existence in order for us to hear music."

ingx24: "Isn't that just memory, though?"

At the minimum, it's an example of the persistence of the immaterial 'self' over time. It was not Prokop's body (or brain) -- which, in any event, is not constant even instant to instant -- that was listening to the melody.

grodrigues said...

@B. Prokop:

This is not the only problem, but here is one way of seeing what is wrong with naively asserting that the past does not exist. We want to say that "B. Prokop posted a comment at the DI blog at July 30, 2013 7:31 AM" is a true sentence. But if the past does not exist, in virtue of what is the sentence true, what is its truthmaker? We certainly cannot say that it is your memory that makes it a true statement, for one, because your memory could be false. Or to put it in other terms, it is precisely because the above sentence is true that your memory is true and accurate and not the other way around.

Philosophy of Time is one of the trickiest subfields of philosophy. Damned hard.

Ilíon said...

Prokop: "... and got to thinking about how we can only hear one note of a musical composition at any one time, yet we are still able to hear melody. So the past must have existence in order for us to hear music."

ingx24: "Isn't that just memory, though?"

Prokop: "I honestly don't think so. I'm hearing the sequence of notes as a sequence. I'm not just remembering the ones that have past. The melody is an entity in itself, perceived as a whole, in a sort of time frame that is greater than simply the instant we inhabit."
Similarly, when one reads a story, or makes or attends to an argument or any number of other activities like that. We "move" through the story, or the argument, one thought or concept at a time. But we perceive and comprehend it both cumulatively, as we “move” through it, and as-a-whole, once we have grasped as much of the whole as we do grasp.

God, being timeless (in contrast to our being “time-bound”) perceives and comprehends all things in their entirety, always.

Prokop: "I'm not sure I even have the vocabulary to express what I'm trying to get across here, but it seems to me that there's something more than simple memory here."

It's a limitation both of our language/concepts and the sort of beings we are. We're "time-bound"; while we may sometimes glimpse the "edge" of eternity/timelessness, so to speak, we don't "inhabit" it, and we don't really understand it.
It's similar to how people speak of (or deny) God having 'created' the world. The language we use generally leads people to misunderstand Creation as an event, when it's an on-going process. It's not that God created the world, end of story; it's that God creates the world, instant to instant.

(And, by the way, when one grasps *that*, one understands one more aspect of the foolishness of Deism.)

John Mitchell said...

"From start to finish, the kalam cosmological argument is predicated upon the A-Theory of time. On a B-Theory of time, the universe does not in fact come into being or become actual at the Big Bang; it just exists tenselessly as a four-dimensional space-time block that is finitely extended in the earlier than direction. If time is tenseless, then the universe never really comes into being, and, therefore, the quest for a cause of its coming into being is misconceived." - Blackwell Companion to Natural Theology pp 183-184

ingx24 said...

John:

That is, more than anything else, the reason why I have come to distrust the Kalam argument. In my view, the most powerful argument for theism is the Leibnizian argument from contingency: I've been looking at that argument for a while now, and at the very least it seems like a timeless, spaceless, immaterial cause of the universe is unavoidable. Whether such a cause has any of the other divine attributes is something I am not yet certain of.

William said...

John Mitchell:

Though B-theory weakens the Kalaam argument it strengthens the physics spacetime curvature argument. So under either theory we end up saying it is mostlikely that the universe had a starting point.

ingx24 said...

Whoops, forgot "necessary". The cause has to be something that, by its very nature, could not logically have not existed.

John Mitchell said...

ingx24: "That is, more than anything else, the reason why I have come to distrust the Kalam argument. In my view, the most powerful argument for theism is the Leibnizian argument from contingency: I've been looking at that argument for a while now, and at the very least it seems like a timeless, spaceless, immaterial cause of the universe is unavoidable. Whether such a cause has any of the other divine attributes is something I am not yet certain of."


I certainly agree. Alexander Pruss, in the Blackwell Companion, makes quite a strong case for the Leibnitzean Cosmological Argument, especially when arguing convincingly that whatever CAN have a cause MUST have a cause.

Im still not convinced though, that to claim that the first moment in time can have a cause doesnt mean to beg the question against the person who claims that the universe must be a brute fact.

Pruss, in some older writing, gave an argument as to why any contingent fact necessarily needs to have a cause as an explanation but i reject that argument.

John Mitchell said...

William: "Though B-theory weakens the Kalaam argument it strengthens the physics spacetime curvature argument. So under either theory we end up saying it is mostlikely that the universe had a starting point."

I agree that the universe had a beginning or "starting point". What im agnostic about is if, because of that "starting point", the universe needs a cause.

I think the BGV-Theorem makes a satisfying case for the beginning of the universe.
But if the universe simply exists as a 4-dimensional object, in that sense eternally, i dont see why it would need a cause