Thursday, January 02, 2014

What makes life meaningful?

This is a discussion in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy on the meaning of life.

Some, like Craig, argue that life is absurd and meaningless without God. I guess I am more interested in a different type of issue. If atheists find their lives to be meaningful, what does it mean to tell them that, no, your life REALLY isn't meaningful. A more interesting question might be whether the possibility of finding a meaningful life is possible for everyone, or whether some people, in virtue of their circumstances, can't find one. It seems to me that the circumstances of a particular life might result in someone thinking their life has no meaning, and Christian theist might offer Christianity as a solution to this difficulty to everyone, where as the viability of atheistic solutions is contingent on circumstances.

142 comments:

Crude said...

I saw an interesting criticism of the materialist-atheist position on this recently.

Someone like Coyne will argue that materialism is true. Also, that the universe is purposeless. He'll further grant that our sense of self is 'a neuronal delusion'. And then he'll turn around and argue that nevertheless, our lives have purpose.

Here's the simplified question: How are you getting 'purpose' and/or 'meaningfulness' when you're granting the universe is purposeless AND that our 'sense of selves' is 'a neuronal delusion'? You can't even argue that we create meaning and purpose then, because there is (on that view) no 'we' to do the creating - you're just stacking up 'neuronal delusions'.

At that point your options look like: argue there's meaning and purpose intrinsic to the universe (goodbye materialism), grant that there's no meaning or purpose (goodbye common m-a counterclaim), or grant that there IS meaning / purpose, it just happens to be a delusion (who cares?)

Papalinton said...

Just another appalling example of willful and acontextual misrepresentation of Coyne's position and materialism in general.
One shouldn't have to continually put right false and misleading accounts by woo=meisters of other's work.

Any dumbarse knows that it is our experiences that shape our lives. But the choices we make shape our identities, our personalities, who we are. Meaning and purpose are epiphenomenal in this most natural of processes. It boils down to the wonderful interplay between nature and nurture. The intervention of an unearthly third party into the equation is both unneeded and unnecessary. There is no need to posit teleological intentionality into the landscape, be it on this planet or in the wider cosmos. To invoke teleology is child's play. Rocks are not smooth and round so that we don't injure our bare feet, and other rocks sharp so animals can scratch an itch on their body they can't reach, as a four-year-old would have it. The universe dripping with this kind of purpose and meaningfulness is childlike supernatural superstition in play.

Looking for the meaning *of* life be it through philosophy or religion is a fool's errand. It's all about finding meaning and purpose *in* life that characterizes the human condition.

The claim of a universe with intrinsic purpose or meaningfulness is promiscuous teleology writ large.

Sheesh!

Crude said...

Just another appalling example of willful and acontextual misrepresentation of Coyne's position and materialism in general.

Jerry Coyne:

Yes, secularism does propose a physical and purposeless universe, and many (but not all) of us accept the notion that our sense of self is a neuronal illusion. But although the universe is purposeless, our lives aren’t.

Materialism claim? Check.

Purposeless universe? Check.

Sense of self is a neuronal delusion? Check.

Arguing our lives have purpose? Check.

As usual whenever Linton catches my attention (and it's always with some tremendous stupidity), I simply note that Linton is a liar, a plagiarist, and demonstrably talks about things he knows he doesn't even comprehend, and this concludes my interaction with him for the duration of the thread, unless his stupidity is so funny it's worth a laugh. ;)

Ape in a Cape said...

>>Any dumbarse knows that it is our experiences that shape our lives.<<

Linton, given that you have just insisted on the above, you may not have realized that your words could easily be construed as a self-affirmation that you're a dumbarse.

I would choose my wording more carefully next time if I were you. ;)

Ape.

Ilíon said...

Life is meaningful -- and can be -- only for persons. At the same time, life is meaningful only in relation to, or community with, other persons.

So, on that basis, a God-hater can construct what he imagines is a meaningful life. BUT, he will die, and his "meaning" with him; according to his asserted metaphysic, he will not only die, but cease to exist as though he never were in the first place. AND, whatever community he was a member of, and in which his meaningful life was rooted, will die, and cease to exist as though it never had been. AND, his entire species will die, and cease to exist as though it never had been. AND, the entire universe will die, and cease to exist as though it never had been -- there will not even be a shadow of a memory of his "meaning" left, not anyone to remember it anyway.

Thus, only in community with God, the Eternal "ground of all being", is one's "meaningful life" actually meaningful -- even were it the case that we are not "immortal souls:, but rather ceased to exist at physical death, our lives, and the lives of our societies and entire species, could still be truly meaningful in community with God.

Dan Gillson said...

Dr Reppert,

In order to established whether or not a life is being meaningfully lived, I think it's necessary to establish what a meaningful life is. We at least need a rough anatomical sketch of a meaningful life before we can identify which features of a meaningful life are missing from a meaningless life. Without a measure it becomes easier to shift the goalposts; I can't tell you how many times my Christian friends have appealed to some occult knowledge of a real or authentic meaning, something with which my life will suddenly become imbued when I believe in God. I think that Aristotle provides a good sketch of a meaningful life in the Nicomachean Ethics. In sussing out Eudaimonia (happiness) as excellence in accordance with action, Aristotle provides us with the start of a skeleton of what makes life worth living: pursuing the highest good by means of cultivating and perfecting our excellence within the limits of our nature.

im-skeptical said...

Dan makes an excellent point. Following Papalintin's discussion, 'meaning' is a mental construct. We assign meaning to things in our minds. In the absence of any cognitive facilities, there is no intrinsic meaning in anything. So the universe has no intrinsic meaning, life itself has no intrinsic meaning. But we can and do have meaning in our lives (this is the point that was lost on crude). Furthermore, we can have an impact on the lives of others, and so what we do has meaning to them. Does Aristotle's life have meaning? Certainly - he has had a profound impact on all of humanity. But when we're all dead and gone, meaning ceases to exist.

The theist might want to claim that the mind lives on forever, apart from the body. And so he has reason to claim that there is some kind of permanent meaning, based in his God. My question is: What exactly is this eternal meaning that you claim?

Ilíon said...

I-pretend-to-get-it: "... 'meaning' is a mental construct. We assign meaning to things in our minds. In the absence of any cognitive facilities, there is no intrinsic meaning in anything. So the universe has no intrinsic meaning, life itself has no intrinsic meaning. But we can and do have meaning in our lives (this is the point that was lost on crude). Furthermore, we can have an impact on the lives of others, and so what we do has meaning to them. Does Aristotle's life have meaning? Certainly - he has had a profound impact on all of humanity. But when we're all dead and gone, meaning ceases to exist."

... as though it -- and we -- had never been (assuming that God-denial is the truth about the nature of reality). So, all the "meaning" that you God-haters want to invent for yourselves is just so much whistling past the graveyard -- along with all your other faults, you people are (most of you) such cowards, for you keep trying to pretend that there is something more than the Big Nothing which you claim is the source, and the destination, of all things.

I-pretend-to-give-a-damn: "The theist might want to claim that the mind lives on forever, apart from the body. And so he has reason to claim that there is some kind of permanent meaning, based in his God. My question is: What exactly is this eternal meaning that you claim?"

It's the same meaning we have now, before physical death -- to be in communion with other persons, starting with the Person who is the source of all life, who is Life Itself.

Samwell Barnes said...

Coyne also denies free will, claiming that human beings are fundamentally biological robots -- physical events that 'unfold' according to physical law.

Now imagine: Meaning and purpose in a world of robots. LOL. You might as well talk about the "meaning and purpose" of metallic scraps bumping into each other as a hurricane blows through a junkyard.

Pure dishonesty from people like Coyne and Dawkins.

im-skeptical said...

"to be in communion with other persons ..."

That's all? So the meaning in your life is apparently a subset of the meaning I see in mine. You don't need God for that.

"starting with the Person who is the source of all life, who is Life Itself."

But you claim you are also in communion with another being that you can't actually commune with.

Papalinton said...

"Materialism claim? Check.
Purposeless universe? Check.
Sense of self is a neuronal delusion? Check.
Arguing our lives have purpose? Check."


The misrepresentation is not here, crude. It's the conclusion you make about Coyne's words. It's your pathological persistence in imagining and insistence that there is a viable alternative counter-world [the supernatural netherworld, a product of creative imagination] to the natural world against which Coyne's comments can be compared and can be used as a defeater defeater;

"At that point your options look like: argue there's meaning and purpose intrinsic to the universe (goodbye materialism), grant that there's no meaning or purpose (goodbye common m-a counterclaim), or grant that there IS meaning / purpose, it just happens to be a delusion (who cares?)"

Well I have news for you, boy. Stop living in your head for a moment and get out and start relating with that real world outside the confines of your skull. You'll find a world so very different from that constipated version you carry in your noggin.

Equally, you must start to engage the evidence. I outlined most of the salient and substantive points that is known and understood to be the actual case about experiences, about shaping identities, the epiphenomena of meaning and purpose, about nature vs. nurture, about the embedded role of teleology, and about finding meaning and purpose in life. These are not my findings. These claims are the aggregated results of research in biology, neuroscience, psychology, anthropology, sociology, physics, astronomy etc etc. and dare I say it, a philosophy that accounts for all these various streams of investigation, that is, scientifically-informed philosophy. Stack that against your scientifically-uninformed philosophy of the Feser and Plantinga variety, along with the miscarried and now aborted conception of superstitious supernaturalism.

"... there's meaning and purpose intrinsic to the universe..."? Promiscuous teleology? It pretty much looks that way.




oozzielionel said...

Papa:
The article you linked to mentioned "ambient cultural religiosity." There seems to be much in our culture that has its roots much more in religion than in a materialist-naturalist-atheistic world view. The article refers to the "promiscuous teleology" that ascribes purpose to naturally occurring items that we find to have a function. Perhaps our sense of meaning of life would fall into this category. In a world view where there is no Designer, any sense of meaning is either an immature understanding of the import of existence or borrowed from ambient cultural religiosity.

Papalinton said...

Oozzielionel

Unlikely. In fact it provides increased support for the idea of implied teleology as little more than an erroneous conclusion triggered by our proclivity to invent agency.
Have you read the summary of the article?

It also notes; Despite this, however, recent findings hint that ‘‘promiscuous teleology” may not be a passing stage of immaturity."
It seems that immaturity remains with us into adulthood if do not exercise self-discipline and prudent self-control.

im-skeptical said...

"The article you linked to mentioned "ambient cultural religiosity." There seems to be much in our culture that has its roots much more in religion than in a materialist-naturalist-atheistic world view."

Ambient religiosity was mentioned not as a source of this "promiscuous teleology", but rather excluded as an obvious explanation for it. It seems reasonable, then, to postulate that religiosity may be (and probably is) a natural outcome of the tendency to see unwarranted purpose in all things.

Papalinton said...

Dan
Yes. Indeed "Aristotle provides a good sketch of a meaningful life..." And as you rightly say it is a sketch. But for me, that sketch must be tempered by acknowledging other and varying POVs of say Democritus, Epicurus, Leucippus, Plato and other great thinkers throughout history.

It seems to me that the fame of Aristotle's work in large measure is foremost in our minds and thinking because of its appropriation by Aquinas as a skeletal framework on which to append the Christian mythos and provide it with some measure of apparent substance and form, some 1,500 years later.

I also think it needs to be tempered by the contemporary narrative about us, about our environment, the world, the universe consistent with our current level of knowledge and understanding.

Crude said...

Because the resident Cultists of Gnu are so slow, I'm going to repeat my question. No one has answered it. No one has even tried to.

The following are beyond dispute:

1. Coyne claims materialism is true.
2. Coyne claims the universe is purposeless.
3. Coyne claims - this is crucial, so be sure to read this line - that our 'sense of self' is a neuronal delusion. This is related to 1 and 2.

So I repeat my question: How are you getting 'purpose' and/or 'meaningfulness' when you're granting the universe is purposeless AND that our 'sense of selves' is a neuronal delusion?

I'll make this easier, because again - I'm dealing with some slow, slow atheists here who reason poorly and don't understand science. Telling me 'We give our lives meaning!' won't work as a reply here - whatever other faults it may have - because that requires a 'self'. Let me play the Boghossian game, and do a translation for you:

"We give our own lives meaning!" -> "The neuronal delusions are what gives the neuronal delusion's blind output meaning!"

And just to put a sharp point on it, I give this quote, with emphasis:

[A]ll of the beautiful suitability of living things to their environment, every case of fit between organism and niche, and all of the intricate meshing of parts into wholes, is just the result of blind causal processes. It’s all just the foresightless play of fermions and bosons producing, in us conspiracy-theorists, the illusion of purpose.

That would be Alex Rosenberg. Not exactly a theist champion here.

So I repeat: How do you get 'meaning'/'purpose' in the world, when you argue at once that the universe is purposeless and you deny the 'self'?

And while I wait for the answer - one more comment:

In the absence of any cognitive facilities, there is no intrinsic meaning in anything.

If Skep is saying that cognitive facilities have 'intrinsic meaning', then he has abandoned materialism - and he is running directly counter to Coyne and company. It turns out there's intrinsic meaning in the universe after all. But if he backs off and insists that all meaning is derived meaning, then his sentence breaks: there's no intrinsic meaning at all, with or without 'cognitive facilities'.

im-skeptical said...

crude,

Please quit pretending that you some kind of superior understanding of what I say. You don't. I have not abandoned materialism, nor have I stated that all meaning is 'derived' meaning (whatever that is). I said that meaning is a mental construct. I have not contradicted myself, but you seem to insist upon reading your own meaning into my words. That's your own poor reasoning at work.

Crude said...

Skep,

Please quit pretending that you some kind of superior understanding of what I say. You don't. I have not abandoned materialism, nor have I stated that all meaning is 'derived' meaning (whatever that is).

I quoted you, and pointed out a very clear problem with your words, while pointing out possible resolutions, and prefacing my explanations with an 'if'. I've asked you this 'intrinsic or derived' question at multiple times in the past.

But, please, feel free to settle the matter: is all meaning derived? Or is some meaning intrinsic? If you need an explanation of these things, I'd be more than happy to provide them.

Derived meaning: Meaning other minds/mental agents assign. A grocery list on a piece of paper has derived meaning, because there's no intrinsic meaning to the paper or the ink or the shapes.

Intrinsic meaning: Ground level, 'doesn't get reduced to anything else or eliminated' meaning.

Papalinton said...

"If Skep is saying that cognitive facilities have 'intrinsic meaning', then he has abandoned materialism"

This is the kind of mischievous misreporting crude is famed for [perhaps infamed for :)]

Here is what Skep actually wrote:

"... 'meaning' is a mental construct. We assign meaning to things in our minds. In the absence of any cognitive facilities, there is no intrinsic meaning in anything. So the universe has no intrinsic meaning, life itself has no intrinsic meaning. But we can and do have meaning in our lives..."

For the life of me, I cannot cannot deduce Skep saying, " .. cognitive facilities have "intrinsic meaning". So no. Skep is not saying that. This is an egregious strawman construct of crude's own making. Skep says nothing at all about cognitive facilities having 'intrinsic meaning'. That's the whole point! He is clear. Even if we ditched our cognitive facilities it would not make for, and there would still be no, intrinsic meaning in anything. What allows us to posit all kinds of spurious ideas of 'intrinsic meaning' is our cognitive facility to imagine anything we want and as Crude has a penchant for doing. Our cognitive facility allows us to conjure up all manner of unsubstantiated 'intrinsic meaning'. It is because of our cognitive facility that we are able to assign meaning and purpose, be it rightly or wrongly, indiscriminately or otherwise. That we know to be the case. Assigning teleological meaning and purpose to the universe is indiscriminate and foolhardy.

Papalinton said...

"Please quit pretending that you some kind of superior understanding of what I say."

He is quite omniscient, isn't he? He seems to know and anticipate all your thoughts Skep, even if your haven't thought of them yet. Just like his imaginary friend.

Crude said...

Well, Skep? Is that going to be your reply? You said "In the absence of any cognitive facilities, there is no intrinsic meaning in anything." but by that you REALLY meant 'There's no intrinsic meaning in anything, with or without cognitive facilities?'

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

Crude
Where is your evidence that 'intrinsic meaning' is everywhere, that "there's meaning and purpose intrinsic to the universe"?
And please don't respond with, "Just look around you", or cough up some tidbit of Feserism.
Meaning and purpose are epiphenomenal aspects of cognitive functioning, not cognitive function being the result of some cosmic 'intrinsic' purpose or meaning.

Move on, for goodness sake. There is no 'intrinsic' reward in flogging a dead horse.

Crude said...

I'm also waiting for a response to my original question, which every Cultist of Gnu wishes to avoid: How do you get 'meaning'/'purpose' in the world, when you argue at once that the universe is purposeless and you deny the 'self'?

This is a blast so far, let me tell you. ;)

Papalinton said...

"This is a blast so far, let me tell you. ;)"

Yeah. Right.

Crude said...

And just to have a little fun while waiting for Skep's reply on this front... a quote from Alex Rosenberg.

There is no self in, around, or as part of anyone's body. There can't be. So there really isn't any enduring self that ever could wake up morning after morning worrying about why it should bother getting out of bed. The self is just another illusion, like the illusion that thought is about stuff or that we carry around plans and purposes that give meaning to what our body does.

Samwell Barnes said...

Good ole Rosenberg. At least he is a real, consistent naturalist, unlike Coyne, Dawkins, and the flaky godless denizens of this blog.

Crude, as you know, you won't get anything approaching a substantive response. When it comes to issues like the self being an illusion, human beings being fundamentally bio-robots, and how morality, meaning, and purpose can exist in a world of robots and no selves, Gnus have only one response: ignore, downplay, and change the subject, as quickly as possible.

They're obviously terrified of the blindingly obvious (and far less glamorous) implications.

HyperEntity111 said...

*sigh*

Crude is intellectually bullying Skep & Paps. It's a sight that compels me to stop lurking and come to their defense. The answer to his question is quite straightforward. He presents you with three premises and a conclusion. If the premises are true the conclusion logically follows. So what you need to do is reject one of the premises.

Victor's question was about atheism and the meaning of life. Being an atheist does not require that you be a materialist (see: David Chalmers). Being a materialist does not require that you be an eliminative materialist (see: Colin McGinn). Getting embroiled in discussions about materialism is not necessary to answer this question. But judging from what I've seen so far you don't want to say that atheism and materialism are separable. So you really want to reject premise 3.

After rejecting premise 3, just accept Illion's outline of what makes life meaningful on atheism. Illion thinks that this view has unacceptable consequences because we're all going to die and so our lives won't be meaningful indefinitely. To which you can reply "So what?". That might be unnaceptable for folks of a certain sensibility but you don't share that sensibility. * Problem solved.

Also, Crude...you need to chill man. There's nothing wrong with refuting bad arguments are even occasionally making fun of the incurably silly. But really you're just taking this too seriously and you're turning into a PZ Myers. Whenever Myers catches someone making a mistake in his area of expertise it's not enough for him point out that they're wrong. He also has to insult and belittle them. It's funny at first but after while it's no longer funny and actually quite mean spirited. The reason people don't like Myers isn't just that he's philosophically illiterate and obnoxious. It's that he's also obnoxious even when he's right. He's an immature adult. His attitude towards creationists was my attitude towards Dawkins & co when I first discovered philosophical responses to The God Delusion. Except I was 17 at the time. (And before you drag up stuff I've said to Paps in the past...yes I would try to do things differently now). You don't need to turn into that guy. It's just a debate.

*If you don't agree with Illion's account just replace it with whatever naturalistic account of meaning you prefer.

Crude said...

Hyper,

Hey, it's one of the non-believers I have respect for, despite our disagreements. Which are deep. And all this, in spite of you harshly criticizing my tone.

Crude is intellectually bullying Skep & Paps. It's a sight that compels me to stop lurking and come to their defense.

Skep and Paps are both wannabe bullies - they insult, they degrade, they attack. The difference is they don't really know much of anything about what they talk about, and they're not very good at the bullying. The lack of knowledge and reason isn't a problem, except for that damn wannabe bullying and absolutely insane feigned confidence in their statements.

As for your attempted defense of them: what you have just told them is that their 'way out' is to ditch materialism, and/or to also reject Coyne's claims. You may as well have just informed them they lost this exchange, because the terms you've named are too high.

The reason people don't like Myers isn't just that he's philosophically illiterate and obnoxious. It's that he's also obnoxious even when he's right.

I'm not too concerned about being liked. Thank God. Not my strong suit. Shocking, I know.

But I want to say something in my defense: my tone directly depends on who I'm dealing with, and whether the person I'm talking with is rude, nasty, etc in general. I have pleasant, polite conversations with atheists and non-believers. I have hostile conversations with theists. PZ Myers will threaten, scream and rage at people who disagree with him, no matter how polite and civil and reasonable they are. I make no such mistake.

With Linton, he additionally crossed the line of out and out plagiarism, lies, and frankly more since then. At this point I don't pay attention to him most of the time, much as he yaps. I just post my little disclaimer so people understand why I'm not responding to him.

Take a good, long look at my first post here. Where's the insult, even to Coyne - he who calls everyone 'faith-heads' and the like, and gives mocking names to every theist he has a conversation with (Polkinghorne became 'Polky', I recall)? Then take a look at what it was *immediately* followed up with, complete with the tone and approach.

What you are asking me is to act civil, polite and respectful with people who insult theists, who lie, who mock - and who just aren't terribly good at it. Not acceptable. Try asking them to behave civilly and respectfully towards Christians, people who believe in God, who reject materialism. They can't, because to do that is to give up a very important part of who they are.

I'll continue to treat the reasonable, respectful atheists and materialists civilly, and I'll treat the bullies the way bullies deserve to be treated. If PZ Myers did that, he wouldn't have the rep he does.

Crude said...

Samwell,

I know I'm not going to get them to change their minds. They certainly won't admit they made a mistake on this front. As I said with Hyper, I don't even see them parting ways with Coyne. Too high of a price.

But they make very useful intellectual examples, because the question I'm asking is clear, and the source I presented is legitimate. Best of all, it is very, very easy to see where their problem lies, and how they're avoiding it. Educational stuff.

Papalinton said...

Hyper
"Crude is intellectually bullying Skep & Paps."

Bullying? It's de rigeur for crude. Of the intellectual kind? Hardly. Rather more the droll, repetitive immaterial kind.

And of the Rosenberg quote? What lesson of the day is Crude attempting to preach? I think it best Crude apprise himself of some of the genuine philosophical discussion going on among those of us who hold a somewhat more substantial grip on reality:

SEE HERE

He might even want to review the list of PARTICIPANTS

And he might want to read some of the post-scripts of the discussion from participants. Others can be reviewed from the links imbedded in this one.

Crude said...

And, in the meantime? Still waiting for a response to my original question. Or rather, the continued non-response.

Hyper advises sacrificing claim three, at the very least. Let's see who's willing to take that, and place themselves in opposition to Coyne and others.

SteveK said...

How can you find something if it doesn't exist? It seems to me that searching for meaning requires that meaning can be found. If "searching" means "create your own however you see it" then use that term instead. It's one or the other.

Papalinton said...

Crude continues to punt to faith in the 'intrinsic' telos of immateriality, the irrational leap over the probabilities.

Dan Gillson said...

Linton,

I agree that Aristotle shouldn't have a hegemony over our thinking. I also agree that science should inform our self-understanding. (I think that that's what you were implying at the end of your comment.) I suggested that we start with Aristotle for two reasons: 1.) He is the first philosopher to treat ethics as a topic that distinct from the rest of philosophy; 2.) Aristotle gave us a systematic account of virtue, one which is still worth discussing today, and which is relevant to Dr Reppert's post. The rest of Aristotle's work, e.g., his metaphysics, is interesting, but unimportant to me.

im-skeptical said...

"I'm also waiting for a response to my original question, which every Cultist of Gnu wishes to avoid: How do you get 'meaning'/'purpose' in the world, when you argue at once that the universe is purposeless and you deny the 'self'?"

First, let me address the question of denial of the 'self'. That is obviously dependent on what you define as 'self'. If you define it as 'soul' or some kind of entity that exists apart from the body, then I do deny it. If you define it as the physiological activity of the brain that we commonly refer to as 'mind', then I don't deny that this cognitive function exists. What Coyne says about it is not that we have no mind, but that the "sense of self" is an illusion. I don't disagree with that, but I also think that you fail to understand what he means (which is no surprise at all - you have demonstrated before that you don't have a clue what Coyne is talking about).

Now, for the rest of the question. I gave the answer quite clearly, before you asked it (10:03 AM), as has been pointed out to you already. But your bulb is so dim that you can't discern the answer in what I have already said. That's not my problem.

Now, why don't you answer the question I asked, instead of diverting, as is your usual tactic when faced with your own inability to provide a cogent response?

Crude said...

Skep,

What Coyne says about it is not that we have no mind, but that the "sense of self" is an illusion. I don't disagree with that, but I also think that you fail to understand what he means (which is no surprise at all - you have demonstrated before that you don't have a clue what Coyne is talking about).

Oh really? Okay, I'm game: tell me what he means. You haven't explained that - you've just huffed and pouted that I've misunderstood him.

Explain what he means.

Now, for the rest of the question. I gave the answer quite clearly, before you asked it (10:03 AM), as has been pointed out to you already.

Yeah - my question was based on your QUOTE at 10:03. Remember this?

"In the absence of any cognitive facilities, there is no intrinsic meaning in anything."

Okay. So do cognitive facilities have intrinsic meaning? Yes or no?

Because believe me, Skep - more questions are coming after you give me that answer.

My question is: What exactly is this eternal meaning that you claim?

I haven't made any such claim about eternal meaning. For the sake of argument, I'm willing to concede theism is false. It's not required for any of my criticisms to go through, or for my questions to be raised.

See? Easily handled.

By the way, Skep? A little hint: I can tell when you're panicked. And everyone else can tell when you're not answering questions - when, in fact, you are desperately trying to change the subject. When you've been sitting there, looking at your screen, trying to find the magical words that will pull your chestnuts out of the fire - and, finding none, you make a weak attempt at bluffing your way out of it. 'Huff, huff, I already answered your question at 10:03! Oh wait, that's exactly what you were quoting to ask your question! Huff, huff, you OBVIOUSLY misunderstand Coyne. Wait, you want me to explain what he means? Huff, huff.'

Let's go, Skep. Explain Coyne to me. Explain yourself.

Huff some more. ;)

Papalinton said...

Dan
Both points you offer do indeed reflect a positive framework in which a discussion on what makes life meaningful meaningful. :)

It is worrisome that having to necessarily chase Crude down his contrived labyrinthine rabbit hole has waylaid the debate somewhat. I say necessarily because had it stood unchallenged it might have fallaciously assumed some air of truth and a Colgate ring of righteousness by virtue of a non-response. We see that with his other perennial weed, some arcane nonsense about where would we find meaning and purpose in our lives if there is no 'implicit meaning and/or purpose' in the universe.

Ethics and virtue are fundamental in a discussion on finding meaning in one's life, albeit within a wholly temporal understanding of the word 'meaningful'. As I say to Crude, there is no need to imagine meaning and purpose [ read ethics and virtue] as little parcels of divine offerings from an ephemeral, ineffable and suffused entity or some cosmological agency with our best interests at heart. This is the stuff of unlearning.

Crude said...

What's funny here is: I haven't been offering theism, or non-naturalism, or anything else throughout this entire discussion. Not a single thing I've said relies on a theistic or non-naturalist worldview.

I've just asked a very simple question: If there is no self, and the world has no intrinsic meaning or purpose, then where is this meaning and purpose people speak of?

Now, Rosenberg clearly accepts this 'the self is an illusion' view, and Coyne certainly see fit to lend that view credence. Forget for a moment all the various problems, the incoherency, with that view. Note that Rosenberg comes right out and says what follows given materialism, as well as the no-self view: it turns out plans and purposes and meaning is as illusory as the self is.

So when self-described materialists and atheists are insisting that purpose and meaning exists - why, it's there in abundance! - I ask... then where is Rosenberg going wrong? How is, echoing Coyne again, 'the self an illusion', there's no intrinsic meaning or purpose, and yet meaning and purpose abounds?

No one seems to want to explain this. Instead everyone wants to change the subject as fast as they possibly can - as others have noted in this thread.

I mean, if you had an answer, you'd just deliver it and impress everyone with how easily an objection is smacked down. Makes me wonder why we're waiting so long to hear it. ;)

im-skeptical said...

"Explain what he means."

How thick can you be? I just went through that. He's talking about what dualists believe has an existence as an entity in its own right - what you would call a soul, which is nothing but an illusion.

"Okay. So do cognitive facilities have intrinsic meaning? Yes or no?"

Again, how thick can you be? I said: " 'meaning' is a mental construct. We assign meaning to things in our minds. ... there is no intrinsic meaning in anything." (I place the ellipsis there since you were so confused by the words they replace.)

"I haven't made any such claim about eternal meaning. For the sake of argument, I'm willing to concede theism is false. It's not required for any of my criticisms to go through, or for my questions to be raised.

See? Easily handled."

Whether eternal or not, you have still evaded the question, as I knew you would. It was Dan's question, too. You ask where meaning comes from - you should be able to explain clearly what this 'meaning' is, but you only divert.

Crude said...

Skep,

How thick can you be? I just went through that. He's talking about what dualists believe has an existence as an entity in its own right - what you would call a soul, which is nothing but an illusion.

Oh really?

That's funny. Let's take a look at that original quote from Coyne:

Yes, secularism does propose a physical and purposeless universe, and many (but not all) of us accept the notion that our sense of self is a neuronal illusion. But although the universe is purposeless, our lives aren’t.

So, Coyne is saying "secularists" propose a physical and purposeless universe, and many but not all of them accept that the sense of self is a neuronal delusion.

You're telling me Coyne is referring to a dualistic soul. So... some secularists who are materialists and accept a purposeless universe accept the existence of a dualistic soul. You know, 'soul' - that thing Coyne didn't mention at all in the comment.

That's what you're going for here, Skeppy? ;)

I said: " 'meaning' is a mental construct. We assign meaning to things in our minds. ... there is no intrinsic meaning in anything." (I place the ellipsis there since you were so confused by the words they replace.)

You said: "In the absence of any cognitive facilities, there is no intrinsic meaning in anything. "

In the absence of any cognitive facilities.

So what you REALLY meant - as I said before - is that there is no intrinsic meaning in anything, REGARDLESS of whether or not cognitive facilities are present. Right?

Whether eternal or not, you have still evaded the question, as I knew you would. It was Dan's question, too. You ask where meaning comes from - you should be able to explain clearly what this 'meaning' is, but you only divert.

You didn't ask me what 'meaning' is, Skeppy. You asked: "My question is: What exactly is this eternal meaning that you claim?"

But where did I claim 'eternal meaning'? I didn't claim this. You're thinking of Ilion - ask him.

But this is great stuff, Skep. First you tell me how Coyne was merely referring to the dualistic soul that other, uh... materialist secularists believe in. Then, you quote yourself and just ellipse out the very portion I quoted which caused me to ask my question. And you think no one's going to notice?

Alright. You've apparently decided to argue there is no intrinsic meaning, anywhere, full-stop - you had a brain fart earlier. Fair enough.

Which means the question I already asked comes into play: if there is no intrinsic meaning - which would mean, the only kind of meaning there can be is derived meaning - then how are you getting 'meaning' or 'purpose' at all? Walk me through it. Why, you can even define meaning and purpose if you wish.

Because Alex Rosenberg sure seems to think that those things are every bit as illusory as the self. And if there is no self - or, if what we think of as the 'self' is just undirected, unguided, intrinsically purpose- and meaning-lacking physical processes - then I'd like to know how those things 'generate' or 'are' or 'create' meaning and purpose.

This is entertaining. ;)

Crude said...

Also, to add.

Dan didn't ask what meaning is, full stop. He asked us to consider what a meaningful life is, and he pointed towards Aristotle as a good starting point. Does it really surprise you that I agree with Dan about that much?

Likewise, I point out again - because you have trouble grasping it - that nothing I've said relies on theism. I certainly haven't mounted the argument that, say... the atheist non-naturalist faces the same problems regarding 'meaning' and 'purpose' as the naturalist does. Some problems obviously won't affect someone taking that position at all.

Of course, accent on the 'non-naturalist' there.

Papalinton said...

"By the way, Skep? A little hint: I can tell when you're panicked......"

Oh Boy!. A legend in his own mind. Crude you have been shat on from a great height. You have been boxed around the head so often you're suffering neural damage from leather poisoning. You're the one cowering in a fox-hole praying for a philosophical miracle. And before you throw out that 'there are no atheists in foxholes' routine, just remember that old adage isn't an argument against atheism, it's an argument against fox-holes.

And don't kid yourself this is a defence of Skep. He is big enough and ugly enough to defend himself. This latest bout of commentary simply adds further confirmatory markers into the emerging pattern of a psychological stalker.

Is your intentional stalker behaviour derived from the same 'meaning and purpose intrinsic in the universe' or is it of a different kind that gives meaning and purpose to your life?

Jesus H Christ! Crude. Cut the sophism, particularly the 'classical scholasticism' so enamoured by Feserites and stick with genuine philosophy. That way you'll gravitate back into the hurly-burley of contemporary philosophy where the substantive debate is going on. You might even get to appreciate the "Nudging Naturalism Just a Bit Forward" I alluded to earlier.

That's where it's all happening man.

Crude said...

By the way, for any onlookers watching this - the faint few there may be - I ask you to do something.

Go through the start of this thread. See where my questions began, what my demeanor was, how I was asking my questions, what my general approach was. Then ask yourself... just how much respect do men like these warrant? Does it make any sense at all to treat these angry, hysterical, and dishonest people with anything but contempt? When I finally start to insult them and mock them - and them specifically, along with their like-minded cohorts - can you really blame me? Hell, isn't that (on the subject of virtue) the right thing to do?

This isn't about atheism. It's about a very specific breed of it, a cult-like religion that thrives on feelings of hatred and insecurity. They regard questioning as attacks, they regard disagreement as betrayal and a threat.

Even if you're an atheist, or just irreligious, ask yourself - is this a group of people you want to be a part of? Is this a group of people you want to hand political power over to? Do you think that would usher in more reason, more peace, and more goods for humanity?

Two things to remember: you don't have to be in the Cult of Gnu to be an atheist or irreligious. But more importantly, you don't have to be a theist or religious to condemn what they do and how they act. Just as you don't need to be an atheist to condemn their theistic mental equivalents, the WBC.

im-skeptical said...

"So, Coyne is saying "secularists" propose a physical and purposeless universe, and many but not all of them accept that the sense of self is a neuronal delusion.

You're telling me Coyne is referring to a dualistic soul. So... some secularists who are materialists and accept a purposeless universe accept the existence of a dualistic soul. You know, 'soul' - that thing Coyne didn't mention at all in the comment."

So now crude has confirmed beyond any doubt that he has no idea what Coyne is saying. That's right, crude, materialists do deny the existence of a soul. But not all 'secularists' are materialists. Some believe in an immaterial entity of some sort that is the seat of cognition.

"But where did I claim 'eternal meaning'? I didn't claim this. You're thinking of Ilion - ask him."

Your words: "argue there's meaning and purpose intrinsic to the universe (goodbye materialism), grant that there's no meaning or purpose (goodbye common m-a counterclaim), or grant that there IS meaning / purpose, it just happens to be a delusion" You are clearly referring to some kind of 'meaning', and you still refuse to explain what it is.

"Dan didn't ask what meaning is, full stop."

Dan's words: "I can't tell you how many times my Christian friends have appealed to some occult knowledge of a real or authentic meaning, something with which my life will suddenly become imbued when I believe in God"

I have asked what this meaning is. And you continue to evade.

Because that's what you do.

Crude said...

Skeppy,

So now crude has confirmed beyond any doubt that he has no idea what Coyne is saying. That's right, crude, materialists do deny the existence of a soul. But not all 'secularists' are materialists. Some believe in an immaterial entity of some sort that is the seat of cognition.

Sure! Once more, let's have a good look at that quote:

Yes, secularism does propose a physical and purposeless universe, and many (but not all) of us accept the notion that our sense of self is a neuronal illusion. But although the universe is purposeless, our lives aren’t.

So, these are just the secularists who happen to be dualists who believe in an immaterial soul despite believing in a physical and purposeless universe. You know, all those secularists who believe in the purely physical and purposeless universe with dualist souls and intrinsic meaning and mental aspects in it. Clearly that's what Coyne meant, despite never once writing the word 'soul' in his entire post on this subject.

Good job, Skep! This is you trying your damndest to bullshit. Think about that. ;)

You are clearly referring to some kind of 'meaning', and you still refuse to explain what it is.

Uh, if you're just asking about 'meaning'... I already gave definitions a while ago.

Derived meaning: Meaning other minds/mental agents assign. A grocery list on a piece of paper has derived meaning, because there's no intrinsic meaning to the paper or the ink or the shapes.

Intrinsic meaning: Ground level, 'doesn't get reduced to anything else or eliminated' meaning.


Meaning: aboutness. Wikipedia will help here: One term in the relationship of meaning necessarily causes something else to come to the mind. In other words: 'a sign is defined as an entity that indicates another entity to some agent for some purpose'.

So, I've given what you asked for not once, but twice. You're welcome.

You, meanwhile, will not answer my own questions: Which means the question I already asked comes into play: if there is no intrinsic meaning - which would mean, the only kind of meaning there can be is derived meaning - then how are you getting 'meaning' or 'purpose' at all? Walk me through it. Why, you can even define meaning and purpose if you wish.

Go for it. Like I said - you can even define meaning and purpose if you want.

Funny how you keep whining about my being evasive, yet I'm the only one who actually is answering your questions, and you're the one who keeps trying to change the subject and tripping over your own words. By the way: that bit where you quoted yourself on intrinsic meaning and erased the whole 'mental facilities' bit? Priceless. You actually thought that would work and not just look ridiculous. ;)

Papalinton said...

"Go through the start of this thread. See where my questions began, what my demeanor was, how I was asking my questions, what my general approach was. Then ask yourself... just how much respect do men like these warrant? Does it make any sense at all to treat these angry, hysterical, and dishonest people with anything but contempt? When I finally start to insult them and mock them - and them specifically, along with their like-minded cohorts - can you really blame me? Hell, isn't that (on the subject of virtue) the right thing to do?"

Translate: "See. These terrible people done me wrong. I'm the virtuous one in this scrap."
An open beseeching entreaty to the nameless across the World Wide Web at large. Methinks the precedent for a bout of self-induced persecution complex is being set.

Crude said...

One other funny thing to note, by the way.

Every thread I take part in, Linton desperately attempts to get my attention out of loneliness and hate. I dismiss him, pointing out his past lies, plagiarism, and his expressly talking about things he doesn't understand. He squawks 'Stalking!' because I repeatedly bring up a single, clear event - to his shame - before preceding to largely ignore him.

He responds to my every comment screaming about my being 'shat on' and various other inanities.

Who's stalking who, gents? And regarding 'persecution-complex', Linton - I don't have one. This is a minor blog with a minor comment section, and you're... shall we say, not exactly a threat in any conceivable way. Certainly not intellectually - see the previous link. (BTW? It comes up immediately with a search for 'papalinton plagiarist'. Convenient!) The only one who will ever feel threatened by you are your loved ones if they decide to convert to religion. If you behave towards Christians in your life the way you do to them online, ask yourself: what will they do if they come to accept Christ?

With that thought in mind, I resume my ignoring you while waiting for Skep's answer to my questions. (Who am I kidding - those aren't coming.)

Samwell Barnes said...

"Clearly that's what Coyne meant, despite never once writing the word 'soul' in his entire post on this subject."

Crude, Coyne is a thinker of the first order, and is well above the likes of Bill Craig and Ed Feser and other "Sophisticated Theologians" in terms of philosophical subtlety. Witness his intellectual seriousness when he refers to his ideological opponents as "Polky" and "Jebus." Note the courageous flair with which he swings his ban hammer at all who have the gall to call him out on anything under the sun.

You may be a smart guy, Crude, but Coyne is something else. He likes cats. Interpret his thoughts with the utmost charity and care.

Crude said...

Samwell,

Note the courageous flair with which he swings his ban hammer at all who have the gall to call him out on anything under the sun.

No kidding.

Really, his writings on free will and the self alone are great stuff. He's like Rosenberg with head trauma. Speaking of, another gem from him:

There's not much downside to abandoning the notion of free will. It's impossible, anyway, to act as though we don't have it: you'll pretend to choose your New Year's resolutions, and the laws of physics will determine whether you keep them. And there are two upsides. The first is realizing the great wonder and mystery of our evolved brains, and contemplating the notion that things like consciousness, free choice, and even the idea of "me" are but convincing illusions fashioned by natural selection.

You don't have free will! But you have to act like you do, and you'll delude yourself no matter what! Also consciousness, free choice, and 'the idea of "me"' are all illusions! But not the purpose or the meaning, unless I don't like it at the moment!

im-skeptical said...

"Coyne is a thinker of the first order, and is well above the likes of Bill Craig and Ed Feser".

Translation: I ridicule the very notion that someone who doesn't share my religious beliefs and dogmas can be intelligent.

Good for you, Samwell.

And crude has NOT answered the question I asked. But we all know why, don't we? Evade and divert.

grodrigues said...

@Dan Gilson:

"The rest of Aristotle's work, e.g., his metaphysics, is interesting, but unimportant to me."

It may be unimportant to you, but it was crucial to not only Aristotle, but virtually everyone in the classical tradition. And neither can the spiritual aspirations of a Plato or an Aristotle be separated from their philosophy, for for them philosophy had as ultimate goal the acquisition of theoretical wisdom or Sophia, and that by engaging in this activity they would arrive at knowledge of God, as sustainer of the world, and that in this activity, the proper contemplation of God, is the noblest and highest activity and wherein lies the supreme happiness of man.

You may, for the sake of advancing your own interests, chop Aristotle (or Plato or the Stoics or the neo-Platonists or) into morsels and take the ones you find more tasteful. You may even be able to do it consistently -- I do not think it is possible, but let that pass; my only point is that that would be abhorrent to his intentions and completely antithetical to his visionary program. And by the way, it was not just a case that in his (or their) view whole these things were inextricably tied; he had arguments to back it up.

Dan Gillson said...

grod,

I'll heed your admonition, but I don't find the rest of Aristotle's system to have much probative force. If that's being perfidious to Aristotle and the rest of the classical tradition, that's fine; I'm part of a different stream of thought anyways.

Crude said...

Skep,

I answered, and you ran. As I said you would. What can I say - when it comes to you, I'm a prophet.

Dan,

One question about your view of Aristotle. What I've read of/about him makes it seem like you can't really saw off what you're talking about from his metaphysics. All the talk of 'what is good for a man' goes back to natures, and natures are wrapped up in metaphysics. So how do you skip that part? Or do you accept the natures but leave it at that?

im-skeptical said...

"I answered, and you ran. As I said you would. What can I say - when it comes to you, I'm a prophet."

No, you didn't answer the question that I asked.

Chris said...

It seems to me that meaning is meaningless if consciousness is derivative of matter/energy.

Crude said...

No, you didn't answer the question that I asked.

That would be you, Skep. You asked me to explain what meaning is, and I did that. Multiple times.

Meanwhile - and this has been going on for multiple threads - when I ask you how you get meaning from the purely physical, with no intrinsic meaning, and either 'an illusory self' or 'self defined as brain or brain processes', you bolt.

After all, dangerous ground for you. If you take Hyper's advice, you'll stand against Coyne and crew. Ditch it, and you're locked in a problem. So you better change the subject.

Do whatever you like, because my point is made no matter how much you fuss.

Dan Gillson said...

Crude,

Simply put, Aristotle's philosophy of nature, upon which his ethics depend, isn't unique to him. It can be traced up through Hamann's hermeneutics, Peirce's pragmatic realism, and Wittgenstein's metaphilosophy. I accept Aristotle's philosophy of nature without accepting the rest of his metaphysics.

im-skeptical said...

crude,

"You asked me to explain what meaning is, and I did that. Multiple times."

You did not answer the question I asked.

I'm sick of your bullshit. STFU.

Crude said...

Skep,

You did not answer the question I asked.

I'm sick of your bullshit. STFU.


Anyone can see, I did. And you have no answer for my questions - and you never will.

The realization you're having right now, while distasteful, is still beneficial. So - you're welcome.

Crude said...

Dan,

Simply put, Aristotle's philosophy of nature, upon which his ethics depend, isn't unique to him. It can be traced up through Hamann's hermeneutics, Peirce's pragmatic realism, and Wittgenstein's metaphilosophy. I accept Aristotle's philosophy of nature without accepting the rest of his metaphysics.

Simply put, he says. Still, I think I at least get the direction you're going with that - it doesn't clarify much and I can see problems, but it points me to where I can read if I want more clarity, and that'll do. Thanks.

im-skeptical said...

crude,

I did not ask you to define the word 'meaning'. As anyone can see, my question was in relation to the OP. About what life means. Ilion gave an answer. All you did is play stupid games. Now please just lay off.

Crude said...

Skep,

I did not ask you to define the word 'meaning'. As anyone can see, my question was in relation to the OP. About what life means. Ilion gave an answer. All you did is play stupid games.

You said: "Your words: "argue there's meaning and purpose intrinsic to the universe (goodbye materialism), grant that there's no meaning or purpose (goodbye common m-a counterclaim), or grant that there IS meaning / purpose, it just happens to be a delusion" You are clearly referring to some kind of 'meaning', and you still refuse to explain what it is."

So yeah, you did ask me directly to define meaning.

And I explained exactly what I meant. What I explained, and the question I asked, is directly related to that kind of 'meaning': how are you getting any kind of meaning or purpose in a universe, wholly physical, no intrinsic meaning or purpose, and even no 'self' (or, as Coyne puts it, no 'me'). That rather sharpens the point to my question - and the key thing is, my question and the criticism it implies relies absolutely zero on theism. Call theism false. Call materialism true. My question remains, and so does the criticism.

And that is relevant to the OP. Victor mentioned that it doesn't seem to make sense to tell an atheist who claims their life is meaningful that it really isn't. Well, here's one apparent way. It affects only a particular kind of atheists, but man, it sure is a common one.

Either way, don't feel too bad that you have no answer to the question I'm asking. You have no free will, remember? Not your fault. ;)

im-skeptical said...

crude,

Just STFU.

Samwell Barnes said...

im-skeptical: "'Coyne is a thinker of the first order, and is well above the likes of Bill Craig and Ed Feser'.

Translation: I ridicule the very notion that someone who doesn't share my religious beliefs and dogmas can be intelligent."



Hm, and here I thought I was merely poking fun at Coyne for his habitual, pejorative, and dismissive use of the term "Sophisticated Theologians," as applied to academics like Craig and Feser.

But you see under the veil, im-skeptical. You've found me out! In truth, I've always ached, ached to believe that the irreligious - no wait, all non-Christians - are invariably and unequivocally unintelligent, and so I do. I cannot stand the thought that there exist intelligent people who believe differently from me. I mean, why else have works by Nietzsche and Nagel been occupying space in my book shelf for over ten years now, and why else do I have worn copies of Beckett and Camus? Why did I write my college thesis on Ludwig Feuerbach, and why do I admire the inventiveness of Srinivasa Ramanujan? Why am I currently taking notes on a novel by Olaf Stapledon?


Clearly, your hypothesis unifies the data.



The only other explanation is that your reading comprehension skills could use (*ahem*) a bit of work, but I hesitate to espouse such a daring idea.


im-skeptical said...

Samwell,

So you recognize philosophers as being intelligent but not scientists, perhaps? And particularly if you don't like what they have to say. This attitude seems to be rampant among folks here.

You and crude don't even understand the writing of Coyne (as has been clearly demonstrated, and not just in this thread), and you belittle his intelligence. Hmm. Craig's technique is well-refined, but his logic is sometimes faulty, and his knowledge of science is clearly lacking (as is Feser's). But you think he's more intelligent than someone you don't even comprehend? OK.

crude's behavior is rude and abusive toward people he regards as 'cultists of gnu', and apparently you approve of this. What is it about them that you despises so much?

Crude said...

Skep,

So you recognize philosophers as being intelligent but not scientists, perhaps? And particularly if you don't like what they have to say. This attitude seems to be rampant among folks here.

Having just had the 'you don't find people who disagree with you about religion to be very intelligent!' claim blow up in his face, Skep immediately shifts gears: 'Okay, you named philosophers you deeply disagree with. But not scientists!' There's no acknowledgment that Skep was wrong or off-base. He simply moves on to the next bit. And if that falls, he'll move on again.

You and crude don't even understand the writing of Coyne (as has been clearly demonstrated, and not just in this thread), and you belittle his intelligence.

I quoted Coyne, in two locations, arguing that the 'me' and a 'sense of self' is an illusion. I pointed out that even if you redefine 'me' to mean a wholly material brain and brain processes, he's still caught up in a contradiction. You still evade my question.

Further, your grasp of both philosophy and science leaves a lot to be desired. Parroting, Skep, is not knowledge.

crude's behavior is rude and abusive toward people he regards as 'cultists of gnu', and apparently you approve of this. What is it about them that you despises so much?

Crude's behavior is rude towards people he regards as 'cultists of gnu', for whom rudeness and abusiveness is one of their prime traits. Take a good look at this thread, Skep: I asked a simple question. You and your wannabe-ally both reacted with vitriol, mockery, and hate right out of the gates - not to mention more than a little dishonesty.

Nor do I despise the Cultists. I just acknowledge them for what they are: intellectual thugs, and wannabe bullies. Your problem isn't with 'rudeness' or treating people with contempt. If it was, you'd disavow the Cult, whose leadership is comprised of 'Make religious believers the butt of contempt' Dawkins and 'Religious belief is a mental illness, it must be eradicated, totally no echoes of Stalin here' Boghossian.

Your problem is you want rudeness, mockery, and belittling to be a one way street. You want Myers and Dawkins and company to do it, but you don't want religious people to do it. Guess what? You had to sacrifice your 'victim' card the moment you signed on with the cult. Don't like the treatment? Ditch the cult, and the behavior it mandates.

im-skeptical said...

crude,

I was having a conversation with someone else. Unless you have something constructive to say, butt out.

grodrigues said...

@im-skeptical:

"I was having a conversation with someone else. Unless you have something constructive to say, butt out."

The comments section is public and, to use Joyce's serendipitous coinage, a funferall. If you do not want your comments commented, butt out.

im-skeptical said...

grod,

Feel free to comment on what I say all you like. Far be it from me to suggest that anyone is not welcome to comment, but when low-lifes like crude direct their incivility or abusiveness at me, I may feel the need to tell them that conversation with them is not appreciated. If crude has any civility at all, hopefully he will refrain.

Crude said...

Skep,

I was having a conversation with someone else. Unless you have something constructive to say, butt out.

My comments are always constructive, Skep. Even if you don't like them. In fact, usually when you don't like them!

You complain when people are rude to you, yet you subscribe to an ideology that literally demands rudeness and contempt of people you disagree with. You whine about being called names, while regularly engaging in it yourself and supporting the namecalling of others. You complain of 'bullying', running defense for a hate group that supports treating people who disagree with them about God as literally having a mental illness that must be cured, even forcibly, by 'treatment'.

And, in the case of Samwell, you start out accusing him of not thinking anyone who disagrees with him about religious beliefs and dogmas can be intelligent. He proves you wrong, and you turn around and say 'well scientists!' He'll prove you wrong again, and you'll keep running. And by the way? I've made it clear, repeatedly, that I think atheists can be intelligent, and that not all atheists or irreligious are Cultists of Gnu. It isn't 'atheism' that marks whether I treat someone with respect or not. It's 'civility, politeness, reasonableness'. Otherwise, I trade snark for snark. I simply do it better than you.

Crude said...

Skep,

Far be it from me to suggest that anyone is not welcome to comment, but when low-lifes like crude direct their incivility or abusiveness at me, I may feel the need to tell them that conversation with them is not appreciated. If crude has any civility at all, hopefully he will refrain.

Incivility or abusiveness? Find them in my comments to you in this thread, versus what you've fumblingly tried to lob at me. I'm making valid points, I'm pointing out problems and inconsistencies in your behavior. The fact that you call this 'abuse' is telling.

What's more - will you also condemn Linton, who I expressly said I would be ignoring for the duration of this thread, only to have him yap at me and nip at my heels, with comments that were nothing but poor insults? Or is it uncivil when I respond to your criticisms of me and point out the flaws in your reasoning, but it's A-OK when a CoG atheist 'ally' does it?

No, if civility means 'Don't criticize Skep, let him insult and abuse and mock people or support those who do but never engage in some mockery or insult', I'm quite happy to ditch civility. It's a two way street, and always has been.

You won't even denounce Dawkins on the 'butt of contempt' charge, or Bog on the flat out 'mental illness, force treatment on them' charge. You're a hypocrite - I simply expose as much.

Papalinton said...

"Your problem is you want rudeness, mockery, and belittling to be a one way street. You want Myers and Dawkins and company to do it, but you don't want religious people to do it. Guess what? You had to sacrifice your 'victim' card the moment you signed on with the cult. Don't like the treatment? Ditch the cult, and the behavior it mandates."

Says crude madly bailing out water in the punctured dinghy, 'Goodshipgod', with a bottle top.
In the 'spirit' [ :)] of one Deepak Chopra's astrological world, we are moving from the Piscean Age, the age of the Christian Jesusgod, the fishy guy, into the Age of Aquarius. Indeed the jesusfish has been fed upon for so long the eucharist feasting ritual has become a tad boring to people of ever-increasing learning and understanding. But as we transit to the Age of Aquarius we will continue to be enveloped by the element, water. As humanity has grown and matured resulting from unlimited access to education and learning, from the mid-19thC, that fish, so endeared and beloved by Jesus followers, has grown legs, the Darwin fish. No longer constrained to flapping around in the muddy pond of supernatural superstition and immaterialism, the Darwin fish stood up at its own volition on its own legs and strode out of that fetid pond of subjective first-person navel-gazing and imprudent introspection in search of greater and more informed challenges. Crude demands us to remain in the pond. Samwell Barnes demands we stay in the pond.

Ridicule, mockery? it might seem like that, and perhaps it is. I've been known to engage in it on a few occasions, to be sure. The real story, however, is that the greater the scrutiny, the greater the depth of investigation into Christian claims, the more revealing it is that the narrative is a mockery unto itself.

Sorry boys. You really have your work cut out attempting to hold back the king tide of reason and rationality by thinking that sticking your finger into the structurally flawed and compromised dike of religious supernaturalism will do the trick. And just as the 3,000-year reign of the Egyptian religion drew to a close, so are we living and experiencing the denouement of Christianity.

Christians will point to the great rise of Christianity in Africa as a counter-argument. But like the Mexican Wave, that swell will eventually peter out.

Thus endeth the second lesson. [The first was the Enlightenment Period]




Crude said...

In other words, Skep - all your complaining about 'rudeness' is a load of hot air. You endorse it. You engage in it. The problem is, you're rotten at it, so when someone turns around and gives you the same, it doesn't feel very good.

But you don't want to give up the right to do it, and you certainly don't want to condemn your fellow cultists who engage in it. So, you've found a third way - hypocritically whine and cry when someone laughs at you or makes fun of your idols, but keep your mouth shut like a good little boy when your compatriots engage in it, and try to get away with it as much as possible yourself.

The Cult of Gnu is a hate group, just as clearly as the WBC is a hate group, the KKK, or the League of Militant Atheists. There's little point in complaining about rudeness and mockery coming from a group that expressly justifies rudeness and mockery (in Dawkins' case) or worse (in Bog's case).

But oops, once again, I'm making salient points you have no answer to, alongside your ally who admits to engaging in these very things. Better pretend to ignore me and feign ignorance of what has been clearly pointed out to you, and others, in this very thread.

And most of all - keep running from the questions I've asked you. Because the moment you admit you have no answer? That's setting the stage for a breakdown.

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

FROM THIS

TO THIS

Crude said...

I suspect that most of our regular readers here would agree that ridicule, of a humorous nature, is likely to be more effective than the sort of snuggling-up and head-patting that Jerry is attacking. I lately started to think that we need to go further: go beyond humorous ridicule, sharpen our barbs to a point where they really hurt.

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.


There's Dawkins, advocating hurting people, mocking them - not just having some fun. Belittling them. Behold, the Cult of Gnu's marching orders.

As for myself, I don't believe in this. I find the idea of treating someone who disagrees with me like that to be revolting - except when they regularly engage in such action themselves, or justify it, or refuse to denounce it. In which case, they are fair game. They have made it clear that they should be removed from polite society, and ostracized. They are trying desperately to do the same to others, with far less justification.

So tell me again why anyone should feel sympathy for pointing out the illogic, the unreason, the abuse of science, the stupidity of a Cultist of Gnu when it makes its appearance? When Jerry "Coney" Coyne bumbles into an obvious contradiction, why should I politely ignore it, or be gentle?

If the fact that respect is a two-way street bothers them, then hey, easy solution: all this meaning, this insult they feel? It's an illusion. They don't exist, and neither does the meaning. There's nothing but the physical grinding of mindless gears going on when you get right down to it, to hear their heroes talk. So clearly there's nothing to complain about - and there are no 'selves' to do any complaining.

Papalinton said...

Aawww!
Lighten up Crude. Don't take your classical-scholastic feserite theo-philosophy too seriously.

We don't.

Samwell Barnes said...

"So you recognize philosophers as being intelligent but not scientists, perhaps? And particularly if you don't like what they have to say. This attitude seems to be rampant among folks here."

Yes, in my comment, I made mention of philosophers, but I also mentioned a couple of writers and a mathematician. You want me to describe my sizable admiration of some non-Christian scientists? Fine! When I was still in high school, I committed to memory a simple derivation of the Schrodinger equation, so Erwin Schrodinger would certainly be one. When I was a freshman in college, I had an admittedly cliche poster of Albert Einstein quotes hanging on my wall, so I suppose good ole Al would be another. That same year, I remember being pretty taken aback in my partial differential equations course by a mathematical object known as the Dirac delta function, so add Paul Dirac to the list. On a shelf behind me, I have a marked up copy of Alan Guth's Inflationary Universe, so add him as well. And at present, I'm wading through Giancarlo Ghirardi's highly regarded introductory book on quantum mechanics. I could go on simply naming names (Watson, Crick, Bohr, Oppenheimer, Vilenkin, Witten, etc.), but that would be unnecessary and unsightly. And if you respond to this with some variant of "Yeah, well, those guys are mostly just physicists, what about biologists?!!", I'm going to LMAO.


Bottom line: Your accusation was boneheaded and off-base. It was no different in magnitude than if I were to suddenly and clownishly accuse you of "ridiculing the very notion that women can be intelligent" because you happened to find a particular group of women to be intellectually bankrupt and dishonest on a particular set of topics. Anyway, I don't expect an apology or even an admission of error from you. I hope, though, that this will be an object lesson in how you really ought to exercise some restraint before casting aspersions at people whose educational and personal backgrounds you know next to nothing about.




"You and crude don't even understand the writing of Coyne (as has been clearly demonstrated, and not just in this thread), and you belittle his intelligence."

No such thing has been demonstrated even remotely, let alone clearly, and I belittle Coyne's philosophical/religious intelligence, not his scientific intelligence in navigating through evolutionary biology. The former is lacking and is coupled with a sort of cavalier arrogance, turning the man into quite a pathetic spectacle. The latter I know little about, and am honestly not too interested in. I only care about Coyne insofar as he makes philosophical and religious claims, and insofar as he does, he is frankly a fool.


"But you think he's more intelligent than someone you don't even comprehend?"

Philosophically and theologically, Craig and Feser are light-years ahead Coyne. And insofar as Coyne attempts to talk philosophy and theology, I comprehend him just fine.

Samwell Barnes said...


"crude's behavior is rude and abusive toward people he regards as 'cultists of gnu', and apparently you approve of this. What is it about them that you despises so much?"


Their multi-faceted, reflexive, unmitigated intolerance towards the religious, which has been extensively documented by others. Crude is right to brand them a cult. He is not alone in this, and I'm in full agreement with every criticism and diagnosis of his that I've seen. Behavior-wise, there have been several instances where I thought Crude shouldn't have prolonged the conversation with people who didn't have the desire, knowledge, or capacity to discuss the topic at hand honestly and in sufficient detail. But, on the whole, I've never felt that there was anything seriously wrong with his mannerisms. My instinctive response to willful idiocy is to ignore it, whereas his response is to engage it. Nevertheless, he seems to give people the amount of respect they deserve.

im-skeptical said...

OK crude,

Time to lay your cards on the table. I'm sure you think your remarks to me are well reasoned, and you're just trying to get me to drop this atrocious affiliation I have with the 'cult of gnu', right?

Let's review. Who decided that I was one of these 'cultists'? It was you. And on what basis? The two of us had never had a conversation at the time. When I first came to this forum, I was as respectful as you could expect anyone to be. And there you were, with your epithets and your mockery and your abusiveness. I recall asking you at the time what it takes to earn this honor from you, and several times since then. And you never answered.

You're irked that I don't condemn Dawkins? I don't see a need to condemn him. You insist on interpreting what he says in the most uncharitable way possible, and when I try to point that out to you, your response is to ignore it and continue to believe the worst. You can cherry-pick their statements all you like, but the behavior you exhibit is certainly worse than anything I have observed from these 'gnus', and seems to be the epitome of everything you claim to despise about them. Can you say 'hypocrisy'?

"As for myself, I don't believe in this. I find the idea of treating someone who disagrees with me like that to be revolting - ", except that you act this way all the time, and it is revolting.

You accuse me of all manner of attitudes and beliefs that you evidently think I have adopted from these 'gnus'. What is your basis for these things? You think I endorse the opinions of any atheist, no matter what they say (like PZ Myers, for example)? Where's your evidence? You say my behavior is rude? I use a lot of sarcasm. Evidently you see sarcasm as rudeness. But I endorse rudeness? When have I done that? I regularly engage in namecalling? I admit I have on occasion, but regularly? I "hypocritically whine and cry when someone laughs at you or makes fun of your idols"? No. First, I don't have any idols (reagrdless of what you think), but I object to the lies that you tell about people like Dawkins (and no, I don't agree with everything he says). And I generally don't care what people say about me, but what bothers me is that I can't manage to have a discussion here without you butting in and derailing it. You are the only one whose behavior I complain about, because YOUR behavior is uncivil and abusive.

Now you keep speaking of this 'cult of gnu', and my membership in it. You say that it is a hate group. So I have a few questions. What is this group? What are their beliefs? Who is in it? What criteria do you use to make these judgments? How do you know these things? What makes me a member? Where is your evidence?

I'm asking you to answer these questions, because I believe that if you ever gave these things some thought, you might just see that you've been wrong. But I'm not holding out any hope.

Crude said...

Skep,

Time to lay your cards on the table. I'm sure you think your remarks to me are well reasoned, and you're just trying to get me to drop this atrocious affiliation I have with the 'cult of gnu', right?

Not really. I don't think you're going to drop it, certainly not at my behest. I absolutely do think my criticisms and comments are fair, well-reasoned, and well-supported. But to believe such things could change your mind would be naive.

Let's review. Who decided that I was one of these 'cultists'? It was you. And on what basis? The two of us had never had a conversation at the time. When I first came to this forum, I was as respectful as you could expect anyone to be. And there you were, with your epithets and your mockery and your abusiveness. I recall asking you at the time what it takes to earn this honor from you, and several times since then. And you never answered.

Sorry, that's not true. I was quite polite and civil with you at first. I started to get tired when I noticed a pattern with you - you would ask questions, thinking that your answers would stump people. When you received replies that you didn't have a response to, you began spouting links to atheist replies that, it soon became evident, you did not even fully understand yourself. All the while, you got more and more hostile, vitriolic, and combat-prone.

In the midst of all that, you reacted viscerally to criticisms of Dawkins and company - often accusing people of lying about him, etc - and when confronted with quotes and evidence that backed up what they said, you'd just change the topic. Take a look at what you did in this thread: you accused Samwell Barnes of having no respect for anyone who didn't share his religious beliefs. He counters you immediately. Do you care? You just moved on to the next accusation.

You're irked that I don't condemn Dawkins? I don't see a need to condemn him. You insist on interpreting what he says in the most uncharitable way possible, and when I try to point that out to yo

What Dawkins said is pretty explicit. Insult people, go beyond mere humor and try to hurt them? Check. Do this to scare fence-sitters into silence and obedience? Check. Make people into the butt of contempt? Check

I'm not irked. It illustrates my point: you endorse that behavior. You refuse to condemn it. And, when you think you can get away with it, you engage in it yourself. You want to have it both ways, where Dawkins and company can explicitly endorse belittling and mocking people for not agreeing with them, but you don't want to be mocked. So yeah, I understand what a hypocrite is. I'm dealing with one.

You accuse me of all manner of attitudes and beliefs that you evidently think I have adopted from these 'gnus'. What is your basis for these things? You think I endorse the opinions of any atheist, no matter what they say (like PZ Myers, for example)? Where's your evidence?

Your behavior, your statements, your attitude. Your allergic reaction to condemning or criticizing things like what I've quoted. Your knee-jerk response to claims from sources deemed 'unclean' by the Gnu collective.

No, I don't think you endorse each and every opinion of every atheist of note. I think, however, you tacitly endorse just about everything they say that inveighs against the Cult's enemies, which is typically 'religious people' and 'political enemies'.

And here's the important thing: I think you do all this, but you absolutely do NOT want to reputation of a person who does this. You want to at once be a good little foot-soldier in the Cult of Gnu, but you want to have the reputation of being a fair-minded, intelligent, civil person. As I said, you want it both ways.

Crude said...

And I generally don't care what people say about me, but what bothers me is that I can't manage to have a discussion here without you butting in and derailing it. You are the only one whose behavior I complain about, because YOUR behavior is uncivil and abusive.

No, because I get under your skin, and I show up a lot when I care to show up. 'Uncivil'? 'Abusive'? Compare my behavior to yours in this thread. You mocked more, you called more names, you slung more insults - in a thread where I entered doing nothing but asking a question that was inconvenient to you. One which you still refuse to answer.

I argue with Dan, respectfully. I argue with Dustin, respectfully. I argue with Victor, respectfully. It's funny how you can usually find me being disdainful of people who regularly engage in serious contempt, ain't it?

I'm asking you to answer these questions, because I believe that if you ever gave these things some thought, you might just see that you've been wrong.

And doesn't that just sum things up perfectly. You ask me questions in the hopes that I'll think I'm wrong. The very possibility that you're wrong? It's not in the cards.

The Cult of Gnu is a hate group, aka, the New Atheists. They regard theism and religious belief as threats to be stamped out, whether through ridicule, mockery and contempt (Dawkins) or through psychological 'treatment' (Boghossian), combinations thereof, and more - which suffices to illustrate their hate. They are typically hardcore materialists and atheists, and more often than not social liberals. Membership is willful - you don't get a card in the mail. You just consider yourselves one of them, and behave accordingly. My evidence is in their statements and behavior, of which there is an abundance.

Now that I've answered your question, how about answering mine. Why do not not condemn Dawkins? Why do you keep your mouth shut about the endorsement of mocking people with barbs, making sure to hurt them, 'making them the butt of contempt' with the goal of cowing them into obedience? And if you endorse that, then surely being angry at others who merely treat that specific group with contempt is hypocritical, now isn't it?

im-skeptical said...

crude,

I wasn't holding out any hope, and rightfully so. You skirt around the issues I raise and act like you're answering my questions, but you aren't. The fact is you have no valid reason for this behavior. Behaving like an asshole just comes naturally to you.

But I think Samwell hit the nail on the head. After that whole spiel about how wrong I was, he comes out and admits that I was basically correct after all: "I only care about Coyne insofar as he makes philosophical and religious claims, and insofar as he does, he is frankly a fool." And so am I, and so is anyone who isn't either a theist or a philosopher (or sounds like a philosopher).

Samwell agrees with you, and I think you agree with him. Intelligence has nothing to do with it. Theists in this forum get a pass no matter how stupid they are, and if an atheist speaks like a philosopher, he gets at least an initial pass, until he crosses some some boundary of expressing confidence about what he believes. Then the gloves come off. You can't tolerate that. It represents a threat.

I think a lot of people here don't mind discussing and debating issues with someone like me, but not you. You're on a mission to destroy the threat, and you have said as much in your own blog. So don't tell me about your pious objections to the gnus. You're worse than any of them. And you're a hypocrite.

Crude said...

Skep,

You skirt around the issues I raise and act like you're answering my questions, but you aren't. The fact is you have no valid reason for this behavior. Behaving like an asshole just comes naturally to you.

So, I list my reasons, complete with citing examples of the sort of claims by men you hold in esteem and defend, and your response is 'You have no reasons!'

No. I have reasons. The problem for you is you have no response to them. I do have a valid reason for my behavior - consistency. Fairness. I am treating people, an identifiable group, in the same way they treat and approve of treating others - in fact, I'm far nicer than they are. You won't disavow the behavior. You ignore it altogether and pretend I gave no reasons, when I gave plenty.

Not exactly encouraging, Skep.

Samwell agrees with you, and I think you agree with him. Intelligence has nothing to do with it. Theists in this forum get a pass no matter how stupid they are,

Since when? Theists in this forum tend to behave politely and fairly with people who disagree with them, so long as they receive the same. The one guy who you would probably insist is a counterexample - Ilion - is the guy I clash with. I also regularly clashed with Zach. Remember him? The 'theist' who turned out to be an atheist sockpuppet?

By the way, fun fact about BDK - even when he was exposed, I never called him stupid. Because, frankly, he wasn't - whatever his flaws, and by the end, he sure had a few. I don't throw that out lightly. I've gotten into it with Hyper, but I still try to remain civil with him, and I largely succeed. Again, you see it in this thread.

and if an atheist speaks like a philosopher, he gets at least an initial pass, until he crosses some some boundary of expressing confidence about what he believes.

Baloney. 'Until he crosses some boundary' of insulting and belittling others, malicious misrepresentation, or engaging in the typical array of Cult of Gnu behavior.

Can you name the Cult of Gnu leader of note who is 'confident' but respectful? Coyne? Nope, he's a namecaller and a thug. Dawkins? See above quote. Bog? He's a Stalin wannabe. Myers? Myers can't even stop attacking fellow atheists.

How about you, who freaked out at being questioned in this thread? Linton, the plagiarist and liar?

What you want is to be able to 'express confidence' in the way of Dawkins: belittling others, mocking them, insulting them, trashing them. But you want respect and civility in turn. And some misguided Christians will give it to you. I won't. Get used to it.

I think a lot of people here don't mind discussing and debating issues with someone like me, but not you. You're on a mission to destroy the threat, and you have said as much in your own blog.

I discuss things just fine with plenty of people, including on this site - with atheists, agnostics, irreligious, non-Catholics, non-Christians, and more. I have zeroed in, specifically, on the Cult of Gnu. Yes, I think Dawkins with his 'Insult, belittle, mock and treat people with contempt' attitude, Boghossian with his dreams of treating Christian belief as a mental illness that must be treated, should not be treated with respect.

That's what goads you. You love the idea of mocking and laughing at people who disagree with you. You cheer on the Loftuses, the Dawkinses, the Coynes. But the moment you're on the receiving end, you cry and moan about how unfair it all is.

I always make it clear: I don't mock or insult atheists, or irreligious. The Cult of Gnu is a specific subset, and they endorse everything I do and far, far worse - when they're the ones doing it. They've sacrificed the right to civil responses and kind social treatment. They should be pariahs for what they advocate. And you know it.

Papalinton said...

"I argue with Dan, respectfully. I argue with Dustin, respectfully. I argue with Victor, respectfully. It's funny how you can usually find me being disdainful of people who regularly engage in serious contempt, ain't it?"

I also remember the ballistic onslaught dished out to dguller, HERE.

Some pertinent responses from others on the site at the time, among other comments:

Eduardo said..."
Whoa man, calm down. 
No need to curse the guy until you knock his hair black! 
Having a nervous breakdown helps no one including you Crude
."
August 9, 2012 at 4:24 PM

BenYachov said..."
Crude, 
I know I am the last person to say this. 
I understand how you feel. If someone made a crack about Autism and my kids I would say worst than you but roll it back please. dguller isn't likely saying this to be a punk. He really thinks he is trying to be just towards gays and fighting forces that treat gays unjustly. He is a good guy and you know an Atheist who earns that respect from me likely deserves it."
August 9, 2012 at 4:26 PM


Psychoypal behaviour? Multiple personality disorder? Or just a plain liar?

Papalinton said...

Or just a pathological liar?

Crude said...

I also remember the ballistic onslaught dished out to dguller,

"Ballistic onslaught" is adorable.

I stand by everything I said, and quote myself:

Like I said - fuck you. And you should be ashamed of yourself for suggesting I or anyone else in this thread thinks of people with same sex attraction as being subhuman or inferior to the rest of humanity, merely in the hopes of scoring debating points. I hope anyone who has praised your sense and demeanor in the past on this thread sees your exchange, and adjusts their view of you accordingly due to it.

...

No, you don't, you sad little internet warrior. You find my attitude inconvenient for the discussion, and troubling for your precious little picture of yourself as a morally and intellectually superior person, at least with regards to we *gasp* traditionalist religious people.

...

One more time: Fuck you. And fuck you again for doubling down on this. They are not "inferior examples of human beings", they are human beings who, like all of us, have temptations, people who fall short of an ideal, often while struggling to attain it.

...

Who denied that they have temptations that are immoral? Who denied that they make mistakes?

Here's what I can have, dguller: I can recognize that someone who has a strong urge to be an alcoholic is not "inferior" to me as a human being, despite my not having that urge. They are not subhuman. Likewise, my having a flaw - a temptation towards sin, or even a history of falling to that sin - does not make me subhuman, or an "inferior human being" automatically compared to others.

I don't "curse and swear" simply at the suggestion that they experience a temptation, or may have fallen prey to those temptations. I curse and swear at your extreme liberal arrogance which encourages you to caricature people and their beliefs, such that we either regard their sexual behavior as morally sanctified and pure, or else suggest that we view them with the same language as the most vile of social Darwinists.

One more time, dguller: no, they are not subhuman. No, an individual having sex attraction does not make them 'inferior' to some other heterosexual being.

So, one more time: with regards to your particular move here? Your nasty, hateful little smear that suggests I think of my friends and family with same-sex attraction as subhuman compared to heterosexuals, inferior beings to their vaunted heterosexual superiors? I say, one more time.

Fuck you, dguller.

And frankly, I'd encourage anyone else to have the same reply to you on this one. It's one thing to give flawed arguments. It's one thing to have a misunderstanding. But what you're doing, right here? It's on the level of a Godwinning. In fact, it's worse.


And then I bowed out. I stand by it all - the insult to gays and lesbians he delivered was rotten, and over the line.

The best part? Long after that, I started to argue with dguller again. Right back to long, long conversations that were respectful. A bit of snark here and there, but largely civil.

So once again, Linton swings and misses. Senility is a sad thing, ladies and gentlemen - when it begins to strike, ask your caregivers to take the internet away.

Crude said...

Oh, by the by?

Here's another conversation between myself and dguller. Arguing about homosexuality again, no less.

Looooooong conversation. Dguller adamantly disagrees with me. It's civil, it's respectful. This happened after the 'fuck you'. And it didn't resurface, because that shit didn't come up again.

So thank you, Linton. As usual, you attempt to smear me, and you end up giving me evidence to support my case. ;)

Papalinton said...

"So thank you, Linton. As usual, you attempt to smear me, and you end up giving me evidence to support my case. ;)"

Thanks for the 'Thank you'. On the contrary, Crude, I don't think your case has been supported.
And thank you, too, for the heads-up on that thread, crude. It really was a terrific discussion. Well worth the read.

A couple of things that can be drawn from it:

1. Yes. You can conduct a civil conversation if you have a mind to. The one significant change factor between the discussion I cited and this later one with dguller you cite, all other things being equal, was your complete about face in behaviour. You would do well to heed that lesson and effect a change in your behavior at this site as well. I would welcome and be happy to respond to an improved model of Crude.

2. From the conservation with dguller, as well as others on the thread, the difference between your POV and that of dguller is best illustrated by and is the quintessence of that conversation:

Crude: "Objective inquiry, in my view, includes philosophical and metaphysical reasoning. And the sort of analysis you're offering, on the other hand, absolutely requires those very analyses - which you seem to be filing under 'subjective intuitions'.

"

dguller: "Philosophical and metaphysical reasoning forms the overall framework for the analysis that I’m offering, which means that it is a necessary part of my aforementioned inquiry, but it is certainly no(t) [sic] sufficient, because in the absence of real-world observation of whether the particular hypotheses generated by the philosophical and metaphysical argumentation, we simply do not know whether they are true or false."



Crude: "There has been no 'desperate need' on my part. I have pointed out the limitations of the social sciences, the complexity of the matter, the standards that will have to be used in order to do ANY relevant analysis, etc. I have acknowledged some limitations of scientific inquiry. Don't try to frame this as *me* being responsible for those limitations. They exist no matter what I say. Or, for that matter, what you say.

"

dguller: "Then why the strenuous objections to the kind of inquiry that I’m proposing is absolutely necessary to determine whether some acts are moral or immoral? You seem to think that arriving at a conclusion on the basis of philosophical and metaphysical reasoning means that the conclusion is true. I’m saying that it might be true, but it also might not be true. We would have to look and see to determine its actual truth or falsity."

Crude: "No, I'm saying that philosophical and metaphysical reasoning AND empirical observation and even experiment can inform us, but 'this experiment will determine its actual truth or falsity!' is a load in this case. THAT is what I'm objecting to. You seem to think that the results of science - ANY science - are decisive. But no. Not all experiments are created equal, not all fields are equal, not every question is equally tractable. Again: these problems aren't created by me. They don't go away if I ignore them."

dguller: " And I don’t understand why you are objecting, other than the fact that the inquiry that I’m saying is necessary is really, really hard, and possibly impossible to do at all. And if that is your objection, then I don’t find it persuasive at all."

CONT 


Papalinton said...

Cont

Your somewhat unhealthy attitude towards scientific investigation, almost as a second order line of inquiry as it were, to that of philosophy and metaphysics, underlies the difficulty you exhibit when dealing with evidence and facts and proofs derived from it outside the philosophical and metaphysical sphere. Indeed, it is symptomatic of a philosophy that has largely been in a state of intellectual inactivity since the Enlightenment period and has reached its nadir today in centres of higher research and learning. The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy encapsulates the point of divergence between the philosophy of the old order and of the new:

"Enlightenment thought culminates historically in the political upheaval of the French Revolution, in which the traditional hierarchical political and social orders (the French monarchy, the privileges of the French nobility, the political power and authority of the Catholic Church) were violently destroyed and replaced by a political and social order informed by the Enlightenment ideals of freedom and equality for all, founded, ostensibly, upon principles of human reason. 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."

It is an unfortunate circumstance of history that there are some that have not embraced contemporary mainstream philosophy, informed by science, and it is a circumstance of history their numbers are necessarily shrinking over time as philosophy and science continue to forge stronger and greater complementary lines of engagement.

dguller, by contrast, is a philosopher, albeit a self-professed amateur, embraces the new form of philosophy that emerged from the Enlightenment period. And it is appropriate that he be vigorously commenting on Professor Feser's site, insinuating the face of modern contemporary mainstream philosophy into a site best known for it's old-world philosophy, a philosophy that champions a return to Aquinean Classical Scholasticism that reached its zenith during the medieval period, almost a 1,000 years ago.

That form of philosophy is of interest historically, to be sure, but it is of little import or consequence in philosophical deliberation facing future challenges.

You and dguller represent the old and the new face of philosophy. As you read down the commentary very little could be clearer.

Dan Gillson said...

Linton,

Just to be clear, dguller accepts some form of classical theism, just not any of the particular religious traditions.

grodrigues said...

@Dan Gilson:

"Just to be clear, dguller accepts some form of classical theism, just not any of the particular religious traditions."

And to be even clearer, he came to accept classical theism also in virtue of debating vigorously at Ed Feser's site. I know because I was one (among others) with whom he argued vigorously.

And to be doubly clear, my only point in saying this is that, as usual, Mr. Linton has absolutely no idea what he is talking about.

Papalinton said...

Dan
I think we all do, in principle. After all classical theism is what defines Catholic orthodoxy in the first instance. But it's more a matter of acceptance of principle rather than its veridicality. If one is to argue or counter that theological/philosophical body of thought then it behooves us to acknowledge it for what it is, as a system of thought. Otherwise it would be difficult to mount a line of argument in the absence of something to focus on. More pertinent to the argument of dguller's acknowledgement of classical theism is that he clearly recognises the significant fundamental flaws in its thesis and is rightly exposing them and exploiting them for all their worth.

What is really interesting from the discussion you posted is the 180-degree change of attitude from Ben Yachov, having earlier extolled the virtues of dguller as one of the 'good guys' knowledgeable atheists:
[I have not recorded their full comments, just the parts relevant to my observation]

dguller said..."......So, if “God’s free and contingent acts are in no way a part of his essence”, then “God’s free and contingent acts” are created beings, which is absurd.

This is the same argument that I’ve made against the doctrine of the Trinity and divine simplicity. If what distinguishes the divine persons is not the divine essence, then what distinguishes the divine persons is a created being, which is absurd, because it would follow that there is no distinction between the divine persons causally prior to the existence of creation".
December 30, 2013 at 9:31 AM

BenYachov said..." ...This morally evil dirt bag [dguller] has been repeating this false either/or fallacy for 2000 post & has ignored correction.

....."
December 30, 2013 at 12:08 PM



The date stamps will help the location for reading them in context.

On the face of it, it seems Crude and Yachov are doubling up with a good cop/bad cop tag team routine. :)

Papalinton said...

Correctio:

If one is to argue *against* or counter ....

Papalinton said...

grodrigues
"And to be even clearer, he came to accept classical theism also in virtue of debating vigorously at Ed Feser's site. I know because I was one (among others) with whom he argued vigorously."

You miss the whole point. He was obliged to accept classical theism on feser's site. Anything less and he would have been banned from the site as a troll. And dguller argued vigorously with you because? Because for him classical theism is a system founded on flawed principles, flawed and unsustainable principles that also serve as the basis for its chain of reasoning. And he is making that perfectly clear.

So it is a bit of a stretch to imply that dguller accepts classical theism as a valid framework. On the contrary, he finds much which simply does not add up philosophically, unless accorded special pleading. And that he does not do.

im-skeptical said...

"And to be even clearer, he came to accept classical theism also in virtue of debating vigorously at Ed Feser's site. I know because I was one (among others) with whom he argued vigorously."

Well, only if you define classical theism in e very broad way. dguller clearly does not accept the writings of Aquinas. He believes they are full of contradictions, as is evident from reading the thread. That's why Ben sees him as a threat and calls him a scumbag, etc.

dguller: "You just keep contradicting yourself, which is what happens when you hold a contradictory doctrine."

Dan Gillson said...

Linton,

I don't accept any version of classical theism, even in principle. I am much more sympathetic to the idea of process theism than I am to classical theism. Also, what dguller acknowledges are flaws in the doctrine of the Trinity, not in classical theism, which is what makes BenYachov so upset.

Crude said...

dguller accepts classical theism? Honest to Christ, news to me! I thought the guy was just an atheist who simply had newfound respect for some religious thinking based on what Feser said, despite disagreeing, maybe inclined towards Aristotilean thought. Which, of course, makes the comedy of Linton's praise of him that much greater. 'You and he represent the old and new faces of philosophy.' Classical theist, meet classical theist!

Either way, as should be abundantly clear now - I argue patiently and with civility with people who disagree with me, including with atheists, so long as they don't exhibit the typical behaviors or subscribe to the mentality of the Cultists of Gnu. I make mistakes, but I have a track record I can point at. Skep and Linton have no track record to call upon in their defense. To call upon it is to convict them of my criticisms.

Linton, meanwhile, continues to lie. Atheists, agnostics, personal theists and more comment often at his site, even if it's dominated by classical theists and Christians. Linton himself got the boot, and the final straw was - wait for it - stupidly accusing Feser of plagiarism. Let the irony of that one sink in for a moment.

You want me to treat you with respect, Linton? That would require you behaving like dguller. Newsflash: you can't. Not 'you won't'. You're literally incapable. It would require reading and understanding books and articles and ideas you're talking about before criticizing them. It would require asking sincere questions when you were lost, rather than bluffing or lying. It would require treating people you disagree with with respect, and thus violating the Cult's marching orders. It would even require admitting you - or, God forbid, your bishops - were wrong when you thought you were wrong, which you only do when your back is quite against the wall, if you do it even then.

Therein lies the problem. You want the treatment a dguller merits, with none of the traits. You want to act like the most pig-ignorant Cultist of Gnu, yet be welcomed like a serious, deep, civil thinker. Not interested, and no one else should be either.

Papalinton said...

Dan
I don't have a working knowledge of process theism. Thanks. I have to bone up on it.

You say, "theism. Also, what dguller acknowledges are flaws in the doctrine of the Trinity, not in classical theism, which is what makes BenYachov so upset."

I'm not sure that is the whole story. Another religious blogger, Anonymous, seems to think so, as well:

" ...... Anyway, I don't really want to have an argument on this subject as it is not germane to the topic of this post. Further, I suspect dguller's motives. He seems more interested in disproving the Christian or classical theist position, as a result of other commitments, rather than discussing the matter with an open mind and heart.
December 31, 2013 at 4:41 PM

dguller responds: "My only commitment is to the truth insofar as I understand it. I’ve admitted my errors on numerous occasions when they have been demonstrated to me, which is inconsistent with your accusation that I lack an “open mind and heart”. Furthermore, I actually have little problem with classical theism per se, but I have a hard time understanding how classical theism is consistent with the doctrine of the Trinity. And I doubt that I’m alone in that struggle."
December 31, 2013 at 5:49 PM

So I think as well as seeing flaws in the Trinity, he also questions the capacity of classical theism to reconcile the doctrine of the Trinity. Perhaps my interpretation is not correct but I find it hard to deduce otherwise. What do you think of dguller's comment?

Josh said...

Dan,

As an aside, how would a process theist avoid the so-called 'one god further' objections? IOW, do process theists just do away with the concept of necessary Being, or what? I'd never heard of this type of stuff, thanks for mentioning it.

im-skeptical said...

crude,

"I argue patiently and with civility with people who disagree with me, including with atheists, so long as they don't exhibit the typical behaviors or subscribe to the mentality of the Cultists of Gnu."

Right. I asked you for evidence of my 'gnu' behavior. You didn't give any. What is your justification for the shabby way you treat me in this forum?

Papalinton said...

Crude
You really are a turgid, swollen little sod. Telling half-truths and omissions is your ploy, egregious 'cherry-picking' is the word that best describes it.

Anyone can see from the comment stream from December 1, 2012 at 8:56 AM to December 1, 2012 at 12.25 AM, at which time Professor Feser banned me, I admitted, admitted no less that I was wrong, that my claim was incorrect. But the opportunity for Feser to ban me was not going to be missed, regardless of my admission. But for me it was not unexpected. But more importantly I did not leave the site without correcting my faulty statement. Crude didn't tell you about this, did he?

And Crude's pattern of half-truths and omissions is exemplified in its most recent manifestation is how he sought to blackmail [perhaps a little strong but nonetheless the demand] other commenters from engaging with dguller because his little ego was so badly bruised by him:

Crude: "He violated that term. So yeah, I'm done with him. And I'll go one further and say I think any defender of Thomist metaphysics, or person who thinks that some sexual behaviors are immoral, including same-sex sexual activity, should do the same. Not because "he offended me personally", but because of just what he's saying - consciously, nastily affirming - about the belief and natural law system itself. ...... there are plenty of worthy people to have a discussion with. I don't have to sit by and let myself be insulted to that degree, to turn a blind eye to a nasty rhetorical smear like that - and it would be wrong to do so. Do you have family, friends, anyone who's a Catholic or a thomist? Would you blow off someone who accused them of regarding people - whole classes of individuals - as subhuman, or inferiors?

 I'm always harping about Christians and theists who give respect, time and attention to people who go too far, or who cross lines I consider to be beyond the pale. Well, time for me to be consistent in that. 

Dguller can apologize, or my response to him stands. If I'm alone in that, so be it."
August 9, 2012 at 4:37 PM

And he didn't tell you about that either, did he?

So, not only is it a case of garnering support and solidarity from his fellow Thomists to outrightly censor dguller en masse to salve his punctured ego [shades of demanding that I be banned from DI, no? A pattern of behaviour forming, no? ] but he conveniently omits the part of my admission for wrong doing. But then telling the whole story is not the Christian way, is it? Well, certainly not the 'crude' way, if you pardon the double entendre.

I leave the evidence to speak for itself.

Crude said...

Skep,

Right. I asked you for evidence of my 'gnu' behavior. You didn't give any. What is your justification for the shabby way you treat me in this forum?

I gave plenty - I cited your track record, your behavior, and your attitude. Best evidence in this thread alone? How you complain about my treatment of you (in a thread where you descended into namecalling very quick, and I was simply asking, forcefully, a tough question), but when I quote the Pope of the Gnus expressly calling on the lower cultists to be mocked, treated with derision, made the butt of contempt, to be hurt? You shut up, and won't condemn it. In a thread where you're demanding to be treated with civility! You just say 'I interpret that more charitably' and think you've dealt with the problem, rather than highlighted it.

And that's just in this thread. You quote me a Pope saying that mockery, derision, and literally trying to hurt people to scare onlookers into obedience to Christ is acceptable, and you will be quoting a man who I will criticize and condemn upon the instant. I am more than capable of disagreeing with people I certainly admire - including Feser, for the record. You're not quite so capable - back to that behavior.

As for you, Linton - I linked the very incident directly. You whined 'mea culpa!' because you were being told to get lost - you realized, belatedly, that your stupidity crossed a line, and your move of 'Maybe I can look less stupid for being caught plagiarizing by accusing Feser of doing the same thing!' was an idiotic move.

I stand by what I said to dguller in that context, including the demand that people not tolerate that kind of treatment. That issue no longer comes up with dguller, and so conversation continues. Notice also: I did not accuse dguller of being a cultist, certainly not of being unintelligent. Because, atheist or not, he's miles away from the cultists in demeanor and attitude, and he is certainly intelligent. You? Not so much.

And you know it.

By the way, Skep? Let me make life more difficult for you. Linton: man who is established as a plagiarist, a liar. Who accused me at the start of this thread, on zero evidence, of lying about Coyne's position. Does he merit respect in conversation? Does the man who rants and raves, who defends Boghossian's nasty little schtick, who plagiarizes and insults, deserve to be treated without insult, with civility?

Wait, let me guess: he's on your side, so you better clam up. "I choose to interpret Linton's plagiarism in a more benevolent light", mayhap.

Dan Gillson said...

Linton,

I agree. I don't think that dguller thinks that Trinitarianism and classical theism are reconcilable, which is why he rejects particular religious traditions like Christianity, but affirms the truth of something like classical theism.

Josh,

Process theists don't do away with necessary being per se, but it's not the ultimate principle which grounds contingent beings. The ultimate principle which grounds contingent beings is creativity. The 'one God further objection doesn't make sense in either context.

Papalinton said...

And I recall a further instance that had slipped my mind of Crude's ploy of egregious misrepresentation.

He states:

"

Like I said - fuck you. And you should be ashamed of yourself for suggesting I or anyone else in this thread thinks of people with same sex attraction as being subhuman or inferior to the rest of humanity, merely in the hopes of scoring debating points. I hope anyone who has praised your sense and demeanor in the past on this thread sees your exchange, and adjusts their view of you accordingly due to it. .............


"
August 9, 2012 at 4:06 PM

Well no. Notice how Crude inveigles in a tad of conflation. dguller said absolutely nothing about sub-humans. That is crude's hyperbole in emotional overdrive. In fact dguller said:

" However, I find it ironic that you would be offended by me pointing out the fact that a particular metaphysical system necessarily looks upon your cherished friends and family as inferior examples of human beings.”

You will note this was directed at a 'particular metaphysical system' and not not Crude per se. But crude cannot make the distinction, is intellectually incapable of making the distinction. Attack my system, you attack me. Equating 'inferior' with 'sub-human' is really not very intelligent nor intellectually honest, to say the least. But then how does one deal with an immaterialist whose claims are immaterial, both in word or thought?

Readers might want to follow up this exchange to see for themselves HERE. It makes for interesting reading how Crude morphs the word 'inferior' into the full-blown 'sub-human' of first-position prominence preceding the word 'inferior'. Cunning, but blazingly obvious.

Papalinton said...

Josh
I've only started reading up on process theology. I don't know if it assists in clearing your query but Stanford has a pretty comprehensive overview of process theology.

Might help.

Papalinton said...

And one further point on dguller's response. He did not even say 'inferior beings', as a distinct form of human beings but examples of beings. Illustrative not actual.

im-skeptical said...

crude,

"I gave plenty - I cited your track record"

Saying "Your behavior, your statements, your attitude. Your allergic reaction to condemning or criticizing things like what I've quoted. Your knee-jerk response to claims from sources deemed 'unclean' by the Gnu collective."

That's not evidence. That's just your damaged ego.

And another thing: you insist that I should condemn Dawkins for what he has said? So why don't you come out and condemn every hateful thing that any Christian has ever said? There's plenty of material to work with. You can start with some of your own statements of the past. Until you do that, you have no business demanding that I condemn things said by atheists.

Crude said...

From dguller:

And yet that is precisely what happens when you identify a sub-group of humans as less human than others, which is precisely what homosexuals are considered to be, even within this framework.

So, as usual, Linton cannot read. 'Less human than others.'

dguller's clarifications on this front came well after I had vacated the thread. Once again, Linton attempts to knock me down, and knocks his own teeth out in the process.

Do you see now, Linton, why I afford Dan Gilson, dguller, and many others respect while you get none? Do you understand why dguller, while having several hundred comment long threads on Feser's site criticizing various doctrines, is welcomed - including by Feser himself - while you're laughed at and told to get lost?

Because you aren't worthy of respect. You want to be treated as intelligent, while lacking either the natural talent to be so, and being unwilling to put in the reading and research effort to become so. You want to mock and belittle others, but you cry and turn red-faced when people make fun of your lies, your plagiarism, and your general manner. You want to have the right to mock and be a bully, despite being almost ridiculously easy to make fun of and expose as a liar and a slow, slow individual.

Which is why, Linton, I can go right on ignoring you 99% of the time, no matter what you say about me - because you are dull, ineffective, and easily dispatched. I have knocked down claim after claim of yours in this thread, while you and Skep both are unable to answer the question I posted right at the start. You tried to paint me as someone unable to have a civil conversation with people who disagree, and unwittingly offered evidence that you were drastically wrong. You whimperingly hoped that, after my rubbing your nose in your error, you could get me to throw you some kind of pity compliment - and you're upset that I wouldn't even give you that much. Because you do not deserve it.

You are everything I accuse you of being, Linton. I, however, am guilty of none of the accusations you sling my way. I have ample faults, but you're too slow to even notice what they are.

Regardless, off you go to the 'ignore' pile again, where you belong - unless you say something so dumb it'd be fun to expose (happens often enough), or something intelligent. In the latter case, it will be a clear sign that you're plagiarizing again. ;)

Crude said...

Skep,

That's not evidence. That's just your damaged ego.

Please. The only thing you've ever damaged, Skep, is my time. You used to boost my ego, back when it wasn't abundantly clear you are entirely out of your league in most conversations on here. Showing that you're pig-ignorant about what you discuss isn't a great accomplishment. It can usually be done in five minutes, and I'm not the only one who can do it.

And another thing: you insist that I should condemn Dawkins for what he has said? So why don't you come out and condemn every hateful thing that any Christian has ever said?

Okay, let's compare:

"Dawkins told his cultists that they should bully and harass and demean people who disagree with them. Make them the butt of contempt. Hurt them. That's worth of condemnation, and the fact that you refuse to condemn it and disavow that behavior shows you're part of his cult."

'Well why don't you condemn every bad thing every Christian ever said ever!!!!'

I already said: You quote me a Pope saying that mockery, derision, and literally trying to hurt people to scare onlookers into obedience to Christ is acceptable, and you will be quoting a man who I will criticize and condemn upon the instant. I criticize Christians *often*, Catholics and non-Catholics alike. I will criticize their rhetoric when I think it goes over the line or is incorrect, I will point out the flaws in their reasoning when I see them.

Which is why we differ. I can criticize people. Hell, I can criticize my Pope, and I do, just as I criticized others. You? You can't bring yourself to do that. Because you endorse the methods, or you're so afraid of opposing your group's leader that you'll stay quiet rather than condemn it, which cashes out to endorsement. Let me guess: you're afraid of the mockery and derision you'll get? Looks like his tactic is working, then. ;)

You can start with some of your own statements of the past.

I don't endorse hate. I don't even mirror Dawkins' call - the idea of bullying an atheist into Church attendance is vile to me, and I always make it clear that my criticisms and attitude on this front is directed at the Cultists of Gnu, not atheists in general. I simply think that the Cultists of Gnu deserve no respect. They deserve derision - because that's exactly what they believe in dishing out.

Call me when you have the guts to stand up to your bishops, Skep. Or at least the intelligence to realize that their statements on this front are wrong and worth opposing. Until then, all your 'Why does Crude treat me halfway the way the people who I defend and admire and whose tune I dance to insist we treat others?' claims are obviously not worth taking seriously.

Papalinton said...

Dan
" I don't think that dguller thinks that Trinitarianism and classical theism are reconcilable, which is why he rejects particular religious traditions like Christianity, but affirms the truth of something like classical theism.

I read his take a little differently. I don't think he affirms the truth of something like classical theism. Rather he acknowledges that it is the best descriptor for a body of work that defines one form of christianity from another, say catholicism from Protestantism. I don't think this is an affirmation of 'truth' rather a framework on which he can pursue debate. I think in the end his goal is to demonstrate how so problematical such a body of work really is and that it is unable to maintain a cogent and sustaining narrative going forward without some very big compromising holes in it, holes that only a plea to mystery, or incomprehension of God's will, or special pleading can paper over.

But one thing it seems to me is being alluded to here by dguller, either one or the other might be right [classical theism or the doctrine of the trinity] but both cannot be right. So either way it seems rather pointless to discuss classical theism without the doctrine of the trinity, or, to imagine the veracity of the trinity without classical theism, in any Catholic sense, anyway..

Crude said...

From that same thread:

So dguller are you still an Atheist or have you moved toward a
Classic Theistic deism?


dguller replied:

More towards the latter, although I would avoid the religious connotations of “theism” and “deism”. In fact, I wouldn’t call the ultimate explanatory principle of reality “God” at all, but I can certainly see why religious believers would do so.

So, apparently, he is a non-religious classical theist.

Papalinton said...

Crude
A sub-group of humans does not translate into subhuman, you dork.

The sub- is affixed to a GROUP, not to a human. And the framework he is talking about is the Thomist framework. It is in response to your sodomy claim:

Crude: "This doesn't work either. Noting that sodomy is a sin (again, this applies to more than heterosexuals) does not result in the demand that someone's "sexual impulses are belittled" or that they are ostracized, or their well-being compromised."

dguller: "And yet that is precisely what happens when you identify a sub-group of humans as less human than others, which is precisely what homosexuals are considered to be, even within this framework. After all, heterosexuals actualize their human natures more than homosexuals, and thus are more human than homosexuals, which are just inferior kinds of human beings."
August 9, 2012 at 4:31 AM

The 'less human than others' that dguller talks of is their capacity for actualizing their potentiality because a person is more fully human in terms of human flourishing if they are able to realize their full potential than one that is condemned by religious bigotry to be 'less than human' because they are denied by divine fiat to actualize their potential.

Context and site referencing is everything. So your acontextual claim simply does not meet the minimal standard of fair reporting and balanced reporting.

Indeed Crude, you seem have taken your cue from the Fox News ethics manual.

Sheesh!

Papalinton said...

You were right Dan
According to what Crude just put up, it seems dguller may do indeed subscribe to some form of classical theism.

Crude said...

And since this conversation has been derailed by two Cultists who tried and failed miserably to assault my character - while I succeeded in exposing their antics as hypocritical (in Skeps' case) and out and out stupid (in Linton's)? Let's derail a little more.

Remember how there were atheist churches popping up?

Now we have atheist schisms.

Jones denies ordering the NYC chapter to do away with the word “atheism,” but acknowledges telling the group “not to cater solely to atheists.” He also said he advised them to leave the dive bar “where women wore bikinis,” in favor of a more family-friendly venue.

The squabbles led to a tiff and finally a schism between two factions within Sunday Assembly NYC. Jones reportedly told Moore that his faction was no longer welcome in the Sunday Assembly movement.

Moore promises that his group, Godless Revival, will be more firmly atheistic than the Sunday Assembly, which he now dismisses as “a humanistic cult.”


I was calling the 'New Atheists' the Cult of Gnu the moment someone goofily decided that 'Gnu' was a less stupid name for them than 'Brights' was. If anyone thought my calling them cultists was merely derogatory - and it is that - considering the above, and the other evidence on offer, "prescient" is more apt. ;)

Josh said...

Dan,

That's interesting; does this mean God lacked the will to choose to create or not? It would seem to follow if "to be is to create." It would seem to place a limitation on omnipotence if so. I've skimmed the Stanford article, but I don't understand how a process theist would evade all the usual objections directed toward Zeus.

Also, this:

"According to traditional theism, the totality of non-divine entities is a multiplicity in need of grounding in a primordial unifying activity—the “pure act” (actus purus) of existing that is God. Process theism refuses to give a privileged metaphysical status to the one over the many."

seems to be a bit of a misstatement, as classical theism (as I've followed it) would claim the relation to hold even there were only one created being in relation to pure act.

And one more:

"Strictly speaking, for Aquinas, what God creates is your-parents-having-you. Your parents had no part in your creation."

Either this is a willful, occasionalist reading of Aquinas, or I don't know how to take it. Nothing I've ever read backs this interpretation up. Rather, Creation is an analogical term which we apply per prius et posterius, meaning we understand it to be properly used of God first and creatures second, but not invalid in either.

Now, the whole notion of creatures taking part in the "Great Dance," as it were, well that's classical theism and C.S. Lewis to a T. Doesn't mean it produces real changes in God...

However, that being said, I think the discussion process theism brings re: real distinctions/Trinitarian objections could be robust.

im-skeptical said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
im-skeptical said...

crude is having so much fun - manipulating and derailing, diverting and contradicting, accusing and evading. Using his superior intellect to play his stupid games with the dumb 'gnus'. Supremely confident that he is so much smarter than they are. This is all a game for his amusement.

It's like watching the unceasing antics of an autistic child, impervious to any kind of reason, as his parents try in vain to elicit some kind of rational response from him, even as he laughs at their frustrated efforts.

You can't blame the kid for his atrocious behavior. He's just an innocent child who is blissfully unaware that he's an absolute moron. It's just the way his brain is wired.

And rightly so. After all this is the intellect, this is the morality that comes from his God. Jesus is smiling approvingly at the masterpiece of creation that is crude.

Crude said...

Skep,

crude is having so much fun - manipulating and derailing, diverting and contradicting, accusing and evading.

Meh, this is amusing I grant you - but not supreme fun. If I want that, I'll go play a video game. And this is, as I always say, small shit. Petty discussions in a small blog comment section. Not very high stakes.

I don't manipulate or derail (save for my last comment, with an already destroyed thread), divert or contradict. I certainly do accuse, when pressed, but I evaded nothing. You were stupid enough to suggest that I'm uncivil with anyone who disagrees with me, and it was trivial to dump tremendous evidence into the thread proving you wrong.

You, meanwhile, snarl in anger when I ask you to condemn Dawkins' exhortations to his cult - because you can't do it. You turn around and demand I condemn Christians for their rotten behavior, and I call your bluff - sure thing, just quote them and I'll do so. I already regard the WBC as an idiot-pack and a punching bag, intellectually speaking. So you try to ignore that and move on. Again.

You can't answer my questions or respond to my criticisms, Skep. You couldn't answer regarding 'meaning' in this thread. You can't condemn Dawkins. And your every criticism (not just of myself), failed miserably.

Using his superior intellect to play his stupid games with the dumb 'gnus'. Supremely confident that he is so much smarter than they are. This is all a game for his amusement.

Oh, I'll never say all gnus are dumb. I will say, gnus in particular are heavily populated with dumb people, either of the truly 'not very bright' sorts, or of people who are generally smart but have no idea how clueless they are when they're outside their expertise. But as I said with dguller and BDK - it takes a lot for me to call someone slow or dumb. At his worst, I would be reluctant to call BDK stupid, and certainly I wouldn't throw that at dguller. They're not slow.

You and Linton? I hate to be the bearer of bad news...

And rightly so. After all this is the intellect, this is the morality that comes from his God.

Oh yes, behold the terrible immorality I've displayed in this thread: treating two endorsers of Dawkins' and Boghossians' hateful marching orders with inadequate respect, ie, MORE respect than you two routinely show theists, and vastly more than you endorse via your Cult leaders. Why, I pointed out contradictions in your reasoning! Monstrous stuff, that.

Your problem, Skep, is that my criticisms so often hit home - and when you try to bluff your way out of them, I don't let you. You thought that being in the Cult at the very least made you smarter that most people, certainly smarter than those dumb theists. It turns out you were misled - you are what you were before signing up with the Cult, and that's not changing. My advice? Have some self-doubt, denounce Bog's and Dawkins' hateful antics, leave the Cult, and be a better person. You don't have to believe in God, but holy hell, you can do a lot better than you're doing as it stands.

Dan Gillson said...

Josh,

Here is the Stanford article on Charles Hartshorne and his philosophy. It should help to clarify some things about process theism. As far as I know, in process theism God isn't omnipotent, not because of some self-limitation à la open theism, but because omnipotence isn't an attribute of God. However, as I said earlier, I'm more sympathetic to the idea of process theism than I am to classical theism, but I'm not a process theist. Sorry if that wasn't clear.

Papalinton said...

Dan
In follow up, dguller may be subscribing to some form of pantheism of the style popularized in the Spinoza fashion. Not wanting to be associated with anything religious or goddish it seems the universe or more particularly nature is identical with divinity, not in any active agency or teleological sense, but rather nature is all there is, the totality of everything.

That would fit with his:

"More towards the latter [atheist or Classic theistic deism], although I would avoid the religious connotations of “theism” and “deism”. In fact, I wouldn’t call the ultimate explanatory principle of reality “God” at all, but I can certainly see why religious believers would do so."

In his 'ultimate explanatory principle', 'God' is simply a synonym for 'nature'. He is not a theist by any stretch and he is non-religious. A monist Spinozan-like reality may the closest one could suggest guides dguller, when one reads through his commentary.

Papalinton said...

"Bog's and Dawkins' hateful antics?"

Richard Dawkins named World's Top Thinker in Poll"
"Evolutionary biologist beats four Nobel prize winners for his global influence and significance on the year's biggest questions."

Bog's and Dawks' books have rocketed to the top of the best=sellers' lists around the globe.
"His book, [Boghossian's] released on November 1, 2013 is already a best seller in the categories of Philosophy, Religious Studies, and Spirituality on Amazon.com."

Dawks books? Well, all international best-sellers from the outset.

TLS? TLS? Well I do have a copy in my library so he can count on at least one sale.

im-skeptical said...

crude,

"You thought that being in the Cult at the very least made you smarter that most people"

Who's in the cult?
What are the criteria for membership?
What evidence do you have that I'm one of these people?
How do you know what I endorse and what I don't?
What evidence do you have?
Why can't I ever get an honest answer from you?
Show me the evidence of these things you accuse me of.

You're nothing but a fraud.
You have nothing. No evidence and no clue.
I told you to lay your cards on the table, and you were bluffing.
That's all you do.
All bark and no bite. And you expect people to take you seriously?

Crude said...

Skep,

Who's in the cult?
What are the criteria for membership?


Materialism, anti-theistic atheism, fear and loathing of theism and Christianity to the point of accepting Dawkins' hate (as evidenced by accepting or tacitly endorsing things like Bog's unscientific 'mind virus' / DSM talk, and especially Dawkins 'make them the butt of contempt, hurt them, belittle them, mock them' tactics.)

Also, one great criteria? Defining oneself as a New Atheist. Since, really, "Cult of Gnu" is my personal term for New Atheism.

What evidence do you have that I'm one of these people?
How do you know what I endorse and what I don't?


Uh, because I've asked you what you endorse multiple times in the past, and also asked what you condemn? Once again, this thread is a prime piece of evidence yourself. You make it sound as if your views about theism, God, your supreme reluctance to ever be at odds with major Cult leaders and more, etc, is something only you can know. Surprise! This is the sort of thing a person can reasonably come to conclude after an extended amount of time interacting with them or viewing their opinions.

Guess what we've been doing these past months? ;)

What evidence do you have?
Why can't I ever get an honest answer from you?
Show me the evidence of these things you accuse me of.


I've already supplied evidence. If you want to deny that you're a willful Cultist of Gnu, deny that you endorse Bog's and Dawkins' hateful little tactics and views (I've already supplied Dawkins' multiple times, including in this thread, always to the same response), go for it. It will be a marked turnaround from your behavior and displays in the past, but it will also mean *progress*.

Your only response to this is to say 'Nuh-uhhhh!' and act as if you have to say "I am a Cultist of Gnu", complete with those words, for anyone to reasonably believe you are one. Newsflash: it's pretty easy to categorize some of your beliefs based on your behavior and conversation. Prove me wrong: say you reject New Atheism, and you denounce Dawkins' words and tactics.

Ah, but then, you may be made the butt of contempt. I can understand your fear of rejecting those things. ;)

All bark and no bite. And you expect people to take you seriously?

I expect Cultists to build many mental blockades to weed out most of what I or other theists say. And 'taken seriously'? Once again, Skep: minor blog, low-traffic comments section. I'm not defending my PhD here - the stakes are low.

But I'm head and shoulders above two cultists in this case. All that and fifty cents will get me some chewing gum. ;)

Papalinton said...

Consistent with Crude's off-topic distraction about atheist churches and schisms, the following will definitely be of interest. It's about NDEs.

Do you remember Dr Eban Alexander, the neuro-surgeon who experienced an NDE in which he claims there is a heaven and a God, replete with angels, etc etc on 'the other side'. His book, "Proof of Heaven" which exploded onto the NYT's best seller list with millions of gullibles buying it, is apparently a sham. Investigative journalist, Luke Dittrich exposes Dr Alexander as a charlatan. At HUFF POST journalist Paul Raeburn writes:

"I gathered that fact from a fascinating story in the August Esquire by Luke Dittrich, in which Dittrich comes as close as one could, without access to Alexander's private thoughts, to showing that the book was a cynical effort to provide a new career -- as a prophet! -- for a neurosurgeon whose career was being consumed by malpractice suits. He was, Esquire's editors write in the deck, "a neurosurgeon with a troubled history and a man in need of reinvention."

Luke Dittrich's investigative article in Esquire is HERE

It has even been reported in the UK at the Daily mail HERE.

Funnily enough, even JERRY COYNE has picked up on it: "Eben Alexander’s bogus trip to heaven"

Well, well, well. Another religious neuro-fraud bites the dust.






Crude said...

And by the way, Skep - here's a few questions of my own for you.

Why should religious people or theists treat Cultists of Gnu / New Atheists with respect, given that CoG leadership endorses explicitly treating people with contempt, hurting them emotionally, in order to cow them into obedience?

Why should religious people or theists treat Gnus with respect, when their leadership enthusiastically endorses a wannabe moral monster who treats religion as a 'mind virus' that requires treatment to 'eradicate' - and 'treatment' includes full blown medical treatment?

How can you at once ask to be treated respectfully while at the same time tacitly endorsing abuse-as-a-conversion-tool, and not be a hypocrite?

Do you speak up when Dawkins calls religious people 'faith-heads' and Jerry Coyne engages in namecalling? Have you spoken up at PZ Myers, criticizing him for how he treats theists? Or does your demand for 'respect' constitute a one-way street, where religious people and theists are expected to be respectful and oh so careful of offending your sensibilities, but you're all too happy to tolerate mockery of religious people/theists by atheists?

The best part of this conversation, Skep, is that you've repeatedly refused to condemn Dawkins at his worst. You ridiculously believe I'd refuse to condemn Christians who endorse the same, but you go silent when I tell you you only need to show me them endorsing this behavior to have my condemn them. You're spooked by the idea that people may treat Gnus the same way Gnus treat others and call on others to be treated. Hell, even a fraction of the way they treat others - if someone called for treating atheism full stop as a mental illness in need of treatment, you'd explode. And I won't even go that far.

Either way, if this upsets you? Too bad. Ditch the cult, denounce the behavior Dawkins and Bog push, and try to be a person worthy of civility and respect again - because it doesn't come without behavior requirements.

oozzielionel said...

So...the meaning of life has something to do with disparaging others.

im-skeptical said...

> Materialism - guilty

> anti-theistic atheism - false. I'm here to discuss topics and learn from theists. I only hate the haters.

> fear and loathing of theism and Christianity - false. I don't like many of the things religious institutions have done. I have nothing against Christians in general.

> to the point of accepting Dawkins' hate - false. I don't accept or endorse anyone's hate, including yours.

> Defining oneself as a New Atheist - false. I have never done that. You have. Show me the evidence.

> I've asked you what you endorse multiple times in the past, and also asked what you condemn - you have little or no idea what I endorse and what I condemn.

> your supreme reluctance to ever be at odds with major Cult leaders and more - you don't know what or who I'm at odds with (except perhaps your own stupidity)

> say you reject New Atheism, and you denounce Dawkins' words and tactics - as I said before, I don't agree with everything Dawkins says. And given that you're not willing to condemn all religious hate or even any horrific acts your own religious institution, you have no business asking me co condemn some group of people that I have no affiliation with and don't keep tabs on. I never even heard of this so-called "butt of contempt" thing before this thread. (Hint - I don't keep tabs on the people you insist are my idols and religious leaders.)

> But I'm head and shoulders above two cultists in this case. - Good for you. A legend in your own mind. Better than something that doesn't exist. That's impressive.

> Why should religious people or theists treat Cultists of Gnu / New Atheists with respect - You don't have to respect me, but at least disrespect me for the things that I actually say and do, not some perceived affiliation you think I have.

> How can you at once ask to be treated respectfully while at the same time tacitly endorsing abuse-as-a-conversion-tool, and not be a hypocrite? - I have never endorsed that. I don't even know what it is. If someone else endorses it, then vent your hatred on them. Leave me out of it.

im-skeptical said...

cont.

> Do you speak up when Dawkins calls religious people 'faith-heads' and Jerry Coyne engages in namecalling? - No. I don't participate in their forums.

> Have you spoken up at PZ Myers, criticizing him for how he treats theists? - No. I don't participate in his forums.

> Or does your demand for 'respect' constitute a one-way street - I don't demand respect, and I certainly don't expect it from you. All I ask is that you allow me to discuss topics and beliefs here in a civil manner. You can disagree and argue all you like. That's what I'm here for. Just keep your hostility at bay, and you'll find that I'm quite willing to be respectful and civil.

> You're spooked by the idea that people may treat Gnus the same way Gnus treat others and call on others to be treated. - I'm not a gnu. I have no idols. I have no religious leaders. I don't automatically endorse everything any atheist says.

> Ditch the cult, denounce the behavior Dawkins and Bog push - I don't belong to any cult. And what the hell is "Bog push"? Don't ask me to denounce anything. If you feel so strongly about these things, go ahead and denounce them. That's not my business.

If you want to condemn new atheists for their beliefs, don't let me stop you. When I am aware that you're lying about them, as you have done many times, I may choose to call you out on your lies, as I have done before. If you want to wage jihad against some imaginary organization, have at it, but leave me out of it. When you put your scientific ignorance on display, I am likely to call you out on that. When you lie about me, as you have done many times, I will call you out on that.

Take a look at my responses to the above accusations. Get this through your thick skull: I have no idols. I have no religious leaders. I don't belong to any cult. I don't endorse hate. And I don't endorse you. You're a fraud and a hypocrite. Your behavior is a prime example of the very things you claim to despise.

Ilíon said...

ozziellionel: "So...the meaning of life has something to do with disparaging others."

That does frequently seem to be the only meaning that so many of those who call themselves atheists (*) can imagine or attain.

(*) there are precious few actual atheists in this world, though there are multitudes who hate God. At the same time, how could one recognize an actual atheist in the general populace (the exceptional ones, such as Lenin, Stalin, Hitler, Mao, and so on are easy)? How could one easily recognized someone who actually understands what it means to espouse the denial that God is, and who actually lived as though he actually believed what he espoused? Even Nietzsche seems to me to miss the mark, for he seems to think it *matters* whether or not one does understand the truth about the nature of reality.

Ilíon said...

Im-a-whinney-little-hypocrite: "[som hypocrite]'s behavior is rude and abusive toward people he regards as 'cultists of gnu', and apparently you approve of this. What is it about them that you despises so much?"

Samwell Barnes: "... and I'm in full agreement with every criticism and diagnosis of his that I've seen. Behavior-wise, there have been several instances where I thought Crude shouldn't have prolonged the conversation with people who didn't have the desire, knowledge, or capacity to discuss the topic at hand honestly and in sufficient detail. But, on the whole, I've never felt that there was anything seriously wrong with his mannerisms. My instinctive response to willful idiocy is to ignore it, whereas his response is to engage it. Nevertheless, he seems to give people the amount of respect they deserve."

Yet, he is a hypocrite, "behavior-wise", and a liar.

And, to a lesser extent, so too are you a hypocrite "behavior-wise" (along with most, if not all, others who criticize and/or condemn me); for you (singular and plural) praise him for what you condemn of me (moreover, he's more "rude" and more "abrasive" than I); you condemn of me what you yourself do -- though, to be clear, you all do it sporadically, from a pique of frustration and/or anger, whereas I do it as part of a rationally-and-evidentually-grounded policy.

Crude said...

And so Ilion makes his appearance, to make it perfectly clear that I lock horns with theists as well as atheists. ;)

Skep, all you had to do to disprove what I was saying was condemn Dawkins' clear and hateful tactics, expressly clearly and in his own words. You'd sooner choke. Just as you'd sooner choke than condemn Boghossian, what with his Dawkins endorsement. Your track record speaks for itself, and it is rotten - and your latest response only illustrates your problems.

As for your nattering about 'calling me out on my lies', you've only done such things in your fantasies. Your example of 'catching me in a lie' is like in this thread: you ask me a question, I answer it, you say I didn't answer it, I quote your question and show I did, and at that point you have your hands over your ears and yell 'I'm not listening la la la' or the internet equivalent.

Now, we are at 134 responses, largely filled with you and Linton freaking out after I asked a direct question that you never answered, and which you have no answer for - and never will. A mighty thread where you and the plagiarist slung mud after mud at me, and only made yourselves dirty in the process. Good job, gentlemen - aside from proving you both to be full of caca as usual, this has been a colossal waste of everyone's time.

Behold, the one thing the Cult of Gnu DOES, in fact, excel at. Aside from, of course, the nasty little "atheist equivalent of WBC" hate. ;)

im-skeptical said...

"all you had to do to disprove what I was saying was condemn Dawkins' clear and hateful tactic"

No. I don't have to do anything you demand. Get it? I don't recognize any authority you think you have over me. I have no respect for you, and it's not because of your faith. It's not even because of your stupidity. It's because of what you are: dishonest, arrogant, hypocritical asshole. Now buzz off.

Edward T. Babinski said...

Vic, Many religions, mysticisms, and philosophies offer a meaning of life "to everyone." Also see my blogpost on

THE MEANING OF LIFE AND. . .

1. Wise Sayings, Interviews, Mythic Journeys
2. Religion / Secularism
3. Love, Family, Movies, Sports, Hobbies, Housework, E-mail, Work, Money, Literature
4. Evolution
5. Philosophy
6. Comedy
7. Psychology, Sociology, Psychotherapy
8. Seasons of Life
9. Saving the Oddist for Last

http://edward-t-babinski.blogspot.com/2012/08/the-meaning-of-life-saving-oddist-for.html

Papalinton said...

Crude
You have lost the skirmish.
You have lost the battle.
You have lost the war.

You have been uncovered as an intellectual fraud, dishonest, arrogant, and a hypocritical arsehole.

Now buzz off.

Papalinton said...

Ed
That is some bucket list of reading.
And the comics are terrific.

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

One last thing.

No. I don't have to do anything you demand. Get it? I don't recognize any authority you think you have over me.

It's not about 'authority', Skep - at least not mine. It's really about the Cult leadership. You complain about how I treat you, I point out I treat Cultists of Gnu the way they advocate and defend treating others - in fact, far nicer. I give you an opportunity to denounce Dawkins for that, and say I'd be more than willing to denounce any Christian who did the same. You cut and run, because you are a good little wannabe Gnu footsoldier.

You deserve the treatment I give you - which, as anyone who reads this thread can see, is pretty nice until you really spaz out - and you deserve the company you keep on here. Namely, categorized along with a sad old man, a known plagiarist and liar, who honestly thinks that a conversation on a blog (much less, one where he was shown to be a liar and mentally slow, yet again) constitutes a 'skirmish', 'battle' or 'war'. Of which you and he are, of course, loyal and true soldiers.

And you wonder why I call you two cultists. ;)

Papalinton said...

" ... who [PapaL[ honestly thinks that a conversation on a blog ......... constitutes a 'skirmish', 'battle' or 'war'."

Indeed it does and indeed it is. It's called the Cultures Wars. " The phrase culture war represents a loan translation (calque) from the German Kulturkampf. The German word, Kulturkampf, was used to describe the clash between cultural and religious groups in the campaign from 1871 to 1878 under Chancellor Otto von Bismarck of the German Empire against the influence of the Roman Catholic Church" Wiki

Today the culture wars continue and we all generally know the constituents of the opposing teams. Either, as a society and a community, we pathologically persist in remaining morbidly habituated with filling the dark recesses of our brain with ghosts, demons, devils, spirits and other unimaginable things that go bump in the night, emblematic of the as yet uncut umbilical tie prolonging humanity's perpetual infancy. Or we stride out, adult and mature, with all the tools at out disposal, to carve out a moral, civil, and just society not held captive to the diktats of religious hegemony, with values free of parochialism, moralism, intolerance, racism and homophobia; a democracy not beholden to industrial and multinational absolutism or theocratic influences.

Not much to ask for really.

im-skeptical said...

What is a debate? Does it not constitute some kind of skirmish or battle? Is crude so naive as to believe that everyone on his favorite blog should hold only the views and opinions that meet his approval? How interesting would that be?

person A: I was a scientist and an atheist until I saw crude's comments. Now I realize how wrong I was. Now I believe in spirits, dead bodies rising, the logic of the Trinity, and all manner of things that used to seem like utter nonsense. I am a devoted Christian.

person B: crude is always correct, you know. There's no point in debating about it.

person A: And so persuasive. Not to mention intelligent, kind, generous, helpful, friendly, wise ...

person B: (sigh) I know. What's the next topic?