Friday, April 18, 2014

If there is no God....

If there's no God, everything is permitted, including hanging onto theism in spite of the evidence. Why not?

162 comments:

Crude said...

I think it may help here to zero in on materialist atheism, since non-materialist atheism can probably get more complicated on that particular question.

I also think the probability aspect matters too. If someone sincerely thinks a materialist atheism is probably true (ignoring the incoherency issues there) and if nothing matters, why not commit to theism anyway if they prefer?

BenYachov said...

If reductionist materialism is true then there really isn't any "me" that believes in the first place.

In fact I only believe in the non-existent God because
the particular configuration of atoms in my brain pre-determine that I do.

So arguing it all is futile.

Crude said...

In fact I only believe in the non-existent God because
the particular configuration of atoms in my brain pre-determine that I do.


I think on reductionist materialism, even this doesn't follow through. No one believes anything, because there are no beliefs, and there are no ones. It's all an illusion, except even that's not true, because illusions require minds, and those are gone.

Either way...

Matt K said...

True, but people can challenge the idea that it is reasonable to have faith. Especially if they want atheism to have more positive attention in the public sphere.

Ilíon said...

"If there's no God, everything is permitted, including hanging onto theism in spite of the evidence. Why not?"

Exactly.

Imagine some 'theist' and 'atheist' having one of those interminable arguing-past-one-another "arguments" (and let's ignore that the *reason* they are “arguing-past-one-another” is because ‘atheists’ refuse to reason correctly).

And, imagine that after some time, the ‘theist’ says: “Wow! You’ve overwhelmed all my arguments and counter-arguments – I admit: logically, there is no God

And, imagine that the ‘theist’ then says: “But, you know what? I don’t care about all that – I never did, I was just pretending all along to have rational-and-logical reasons to believe in God. So: God is and the denial of God is false!

So, what’s the ‘atheist’ going to do, appeal to morality to show that the ‘theist’ ought to believe in accord with what reason has shown?

Ilíon said...

Matt K: "True, but people can challenge the idea that it is reasonable to have faith."

But, if atheism is the truth about the nature of reality, then it really doesn't matter that atheism is the truth about the nature of reality, and it really doesn't matter whether or not it is reasonable to have faith.

Atheism – God-denial – is one of those strange propositions the truth of which matters only if the proposition is false. Atheism is one of those strange propositions that must appeal to its own denial in order even to be argued (in any way whatsoever) in the first place.

Steven Carr said...

'If there is no God, everything is permitted.'

Happily, there is a god.

So the Holocaust was not allowed to happen.

Steven Carr said...

God allows abortion as well.

In fact, god permits everything!

We can even gather sticks on the Sabbath and not be killed any more.

Steven Carr said...

'If there is a god then everything is permitted.

It is called freewill.

And, according to Victor, if somebody commits horrible crimes and rapes children, then his god will not intervene and will in fact make sure that person gets to Heaven.

It's called 'universalism'.

Steven Carr said...

YACHOV
In fact I only believe in the non-existent God because
the particular configuration of atoms in my brain pre-determine that I do.

CARR
Another Christian scoffing at the idea that his brain should tell him what to do.

Atheists! With their brains! Who needs brains? Christians don't. Only sceptics think brains influence their actions.

But they only think that because they are using their brain!

Crude said...

Matt,

True, but people can challenge the idea that it is reasonable to have faith. Especially if they want atheism to have more positive attention in the public sphere.

I don't think they can, even in this case. The problem seems to be that people often seem willing to at least entertain the notion that there are no locks on *behavior* granting materialist atheism (you don't have to go far to find nihilists, etc), but people seem to think there are still locks on *belief*.

But belief is pretty easily considered as just another act.

Chris said...

I just recently became interested in moral philosophy. I've always been puzzled by the fact that so many metaphysical naturalists claim to also be moral realists. At the end of the day, it seems to me that grounding is the crux of the matter. Am I barking up the right tree?

Ilíon said...

Chris: "At the end of the day, it seems to me that grounding is the crux of the matter. Am I barking up the right tree?"

Nope.

Chris: "e always been puzzled by the fact that so many metaphysical naturalists claim to also be moral realists."

Everyone is a moral realist in practice, however much that some persons deny the reality of morality.

Chris said...

So, "realism" vs "relativism" describes whether or not one regards morality as fixed or variable? It says nothing about whether or not one regards morality as being a human construct?

Ilíon said...

No.

But the fact to which I was pointing is that even those who explicitly deny the transcendent reality of moral obligations and expectation just can’t seem to stop themselves making moral assertions, frequently within minutes (or sentences) of having explicitly asserted that there really is no such thing as morality.

Chris said...

Ok, I think, perhaps, I was barking up the right tree after all- ... transcendent reality of moral obligations...- that's what I meant by "grounding". If morality doesn't have a transcendent "ground" or "mooring", then morality can be nothing but a convention?

Ilíon said...

"- that's what I meant by "grounding". If morality doesn't have a transcendent "ground" or "mooring", then morality can be nothing but a convention?"

Exactly.

And my point was that even those who explicitly assert that morality has no transcendent "ground" or "mooring", which is to say that morality is nothing but a convention -- which is to that there really is no such thing as morality, after all -- always immediately turn around and make some moral assertion -- and expect/demand it to be respected by others -- which is utterly meaningless if their initial assertion were indeed the truth about the nature of reality.

Many people assert that there is no real morailty; no one wants those around him to behave as though that were true or as though they believed it, least of all towards himself.

Papalinton said...

"If there is no God...."

This is quintessentially the argument that has enthralled us for over 2 millennia. And still the question is as relevant today as it ever has been in the past. The truth of Christianity has not advanced one jot from this ubiquitous query over all that time. The evidence is so tenuous and sparse that one must leap right over the probabilities to believe on the basis of such paucity of evidence. If the evidence was so compelling, so demanding, so obvious, then there would be no question of its existence. There are no occasions where we ask today, "If there is no gravity ........."

I think it is time to set aside thus question and get on with living.

Chris said...

I agree that this question is as relevant today as it ever has been. But that is precisely why I think it shouldn't be dismissed. In a certain sense, I think all arguments are moral- because ultimately the human passion for truth goes far beyond mere utility.

im-skeptical said...

If morals are objective, why can't we see a definitive description of what they are? It only stands to reason.

im-skeptical said...

Ilion,

Very few people believe there is no such thing as morality. This is a worn-out canard theists love to toss at atheists and materialists. But you don't have to be a moral realist to have morals.

BenYachov said...

>Another Christian scoffing at the idea that his brain should tell him what to do.

You miss the point Gnu. If reductionist materialism is true then there is no "we" anymore then a "me".

Neither you nor I dis-believe or believe because it's the conclusion of some intellective process. We don't have a choice it is predestined by physics more deterministic then even the most extreme Hyper Calvinist might imagine.

If you used your intellect (what you equivocate with your brain) you might understand that.

Crude said...

Here's a fun challenge to the resident materialist atheists here.

Consider me a materialist atheist. I decide that, even if I think Christianity is unlikely to be true for whatever reason, I rather like the belief and practice. I wish it were true. I like to participate in the ceremony. In fact, I regard having a belief in God as a positive, beneficial thing for me - it's aesthetically pleasing, it makes the world seem more beautiful, I think it would motivate me, etc. And so I cultivate that belief. I 'act as if'. I commit myself to Christianity, in spite of what I think the probabilities are.

What have I done wrong? What rule have I broken - moral or, I will extend, rational - have I broken?

Correct my hypothetical materialist-atheist self if you can.

im-skeptical said...

"What have I done wrong? What rule have I broken - moral or, I will extend, rational - have I broken?"

If you took the approach you describe, and you admit it, that would be far more honest than the story I've heard from any theist yet.

Crude said...

IM-Derpy doesn't answer the question I've posed, nor does he meet the challenge I made.

I asked what moral or even rational rule has my hypothetical atheist violated, from the materialist atheist perspective?

If the answer is 'none', then gentlemen, we've got ourselves a very interesting state of affairs we're copping to for the materialist atheist.

Ilíon said...

I'm-a-liar-and-don't-you-forget-it: "If you took the approach you describe, and you admit it, that would be far more honest than the story I've heard from any theist yet."

Aren't 'atheists' just so precious when they appeal to morality, even implicitly, as here?

Ilíon said...

I'm-a-liar-and-don't-you-forget-it: "Very few people believe there is no such thing as morality. This is a worn-out canard theists love to toss at atheists and materialists. But you don't have to be a moral realist to have morals."

There is no one (except perhaps a very small subset of sociopaths) who believe that there is no such thing as morality. But, there is a very large number of people who assert that there is no such thing as morality.


I'm-a-liar-and-don't-you-forget-it: "But you don't have to be a moral realist to have morals."

And, there is a very large number of people, such as 'I'm-a-liar-and-don't-you-forget-it', who assert that they are not asserting that there is no such thing as morality, even as they go about asserting that there really is no such thing as morality.

I'm-a-liar-and-don't-you-forget-it: "This is a worn-out canard theists love to toss at atheists and materialists. But you don't have to be a moral realist to have morals."

And, there is a very large number of people, such as 'I'm-a-liar-and-don't-you-forget-it', who like to spend all their time muddying the water ... and whining like a hypocritical little pussy when others call them out on it.

Ilíon said...

I'm-a-lying-hypocrite-and-don't-you-forget-it: "Very few people believe there is no such thing as morality. This is a worn-out canard theists love to toss at atheists and materialists. But you don't have to be a moral realist to have morals."

I'm-a-lying-hypocrite-and-don't-you-forget-it: "If morals are objective, why can't we see a definitive description of what they are? It only stands to reason."

Hmmm ... if "evolution" were objective, why can't we see a definitive description of what 'modern evolutionary theory' as (and is not) and what it entails (and does not entail)? I mean, other than, "Whatever it is, goddidntdoit!"

I'm-a-lying-hypocrite-and-don't-you-forget-it: "If morals are objective, why can't we see a definitive description of what they are? It only stands to reason."

The hypocritical liar can't see the "definitive description" of morality because he refuses to open his eyes, and because he refuses to acknowledge that he is not God. In fact, he is so insane that he would rather that he himself (much less everyone else) not be than simply to acknowledge that God is God.

But, in fact, there has been a well-known "definitive description" of morality for at least the past 3000 years:
1) Love God with all your being;
2) Love your fellows as yourself.
That's it, and not so hard to grasp.

Ilíon said...

I'm-a-lying-hypocrite-and-damned-proud-of--it: "Very few people believe there is no such thing as morality. This is a worn-out canard theists love to toss at atheists and materialists. But you don't have to be a moral realist to have morals."

This may be his first post here, at any rate, it's the oldest I found via Google -- "You make the point that objective morality can't exist if naturalism is true. I don't disagree with that, but I would state further that objective morality doesn't exist at all. ... Even many Christians who believe that morality is objective and absolute can't agree among themselves in many cases about exactly where this line should be drawn. That being the case, I think it is absurd to maintain that morality is objective. It flies in the face of reality.

Morality is in fact circumstantial. ...
"

The denial that morality is "objective" (which is really the wrong term, but that's how too many people speak) *just is* the denial that morality is real, it *just is* the denial that there really is any such thing as morality.

Sure, this is an individual making the denial, but the denial is a logical entailment of denying that God is. That is, *every* 'atheist', simply *as* a God-denier, has logically committed himself to the proposition that there really are no transcendant moral obligations and corresponding moral expectations. It doesn't matter that this or that 'atheist' hems and haws around the question: it is atheism that denies the reality of morality.
===
Now, it is not true that "Morality is in fact circumstantial", but it is true that the application of morality depends upon the circumstance. If I rip a hole in some kid's throat, the circumstance has to be considered to determine the morality of my act: is he suffocating from anaphylactic shock, and I am trying to save his life, or am I trying to end his life?

That people disagree *how* to apply morality in specific circumstances does not make morality unreal.

What? Because evolutionists can't agree on much of anything, other than "whatever it is goddidntdoit", does that mean that there has been no evolution at all?

jdhuey said...

Crude,

You wrote "I asked what moral or even rational rule has my hypothetical atheist violated, from the materialist atheist perspective?"

It seems to me that your description of faux Christian who is in their heart of hearts a strict materialist describes a large number of actual "Christians". These folks are sometimes referred to as social Christians - they just pay lip service to the tenets of the church on Sunday but spend the rest of their time behaving just like the good materialists that they are. Now, if everyone behaved like that then I can't see that there would ever be a problem. But everyone doesn't behave like that. A lot of folks actually believe the stuff that their told in church and live their lives by it and cause great harm to themselves and others. For example: believing that prayer is the proper treatment for a burst appendix, that you can handle rattle snakes and you won't be hurt if they bite you, or that it is sinful to use condoms to help prevent the spread of HIV.

The basic rule that you are breaking by being a faux Christian is that you are giving approval for actions that you know are harmful.

Ilíon said...

... One more thing: if one follows the link I gave above to what may be I-pretend's first post on this blog, one sees that even then he was playing the "I'm a wounded little snowflake, you meanie!" card.

Ilíon said...

jdhuey: "[Christianity is bad, Bad, BAD!]
The basic rule that you are breaking by being a faux Christian is that you are giving approval for actions that you know are harmful.
"

Aren't God-haters just so precious when they appeal to faux morality?

amorbis said...

jdhuey,

I don't think it's correct to say that "social Christians" are *materialists*. I say this because most ordinary people, regardless of their religious beliefs, are in some sense dualists (even if only property dualists) regarding the mind - to be a consistent materialist is to hold to conceptions of the mind (like functionalism) that go quite against what is commonly believed by most ordinary people.

jdhuey said...

amorbis,

With respect to philosophical positions about things like mind, spirit, or an afterlife I totally agree with you. But in terms of practical actions, on a day to day basis, most 'social Christians' behave just like materialist. For instance, if a loved one begins to suffer from a mental illness, the first action is to see a Doctor or psychologist, it is not to request the priest to perform an exorcism. Most of the people that I know that would call themselves religious do things like go to church on Sunday, say grace at dinner and do good works with others in the church. But in all other respects they behave, talk and think pretty much like a person that holds to strict naturalism.

Dave Duffy said...

Steven Carr,

"We can even gather sticks on the Sabbath and not be killed any more."

I served with someone in the military named Steven Carr from Boston Massachusetts. His favorite saying was, "Boston Mass kicks the most ass!" I'm guessing you're not that same Steven--basic training, Texas 1981?

Having a day of rest is a good thing, right? Trying to describe what a day of rest is is another matter. Living in a completely secular and liberal California, I think the Hebrews had fewer laws (in both words and practice) than the secular left have given us.

I'm in business, if you want examples they are legion. But, maybe it's easier to just say, "my side kicks the most ass."

B. Prokop said...

What a wonderful, wonderful day! Let's stop all our faux intellectual argumentation and take 5 minutes (heck, 5 seconds) to just rejoice. Khristos voskres!> Christ is risen! All else fades into insignificance. The blazing glory of this Day exposes the pettiness (and downright ludicrousness) of what we normally post to this site. >This is what matters. The New Creation has begun!

Happy Easter!!!

Papalinton said...

A new creation of what?

Dan Gillson said...

Hey Bob! Happy Easter. I hope you got some good family time.

im-skeptical said...

Greetings, Bob.

Dave Duffy said...

He is risen indeed!

Good grief. Is there anything more sanctimonious than getting a little condescension in before letting everyone know "I'm above it all?"

Crude said...

jdhuey,

It seems to me that your description of faux Christian who is in their heart of hearts a strict materialist describes a large number of actual "Christians".

What is this 'in their heart of hearts a strict materialist' nonsense? Most people, as amorbis said, seem quite plainly to be non-materialists in practice. Even Jerry Coyne, who tries his best to swallow all of the craziest materialist Kool-aid out there, will flat out tell you (if I recall correctly) that he's pretty well incapable of living life as someone who has no free will, etc.

The basic rule that you are breaking by being a faux Christian is that you are giving approval for actions that you know are harmful.

Where is the harm, on materialist atheism? And even if there were harm, why would it matter? Further, it's not even clear that someone would be a 'faux' Christian going by these standards.

Here, it's apparently necessary to do this, because no atheist seems willing to actually reply to the question I asked - everyone wants to answer a question they wish I asked instead. So, here it is again, in bold:

Consider me a materialist atheist. I decide that, even if I think Christianity is unlikely to be true for whatever reason, I rather like the belief and practice. I wish it were true. I like to participate in the ceremony. In fact, I regard having a belief in God as a positive, beneficial thing for me - it's aesthetically pleasing, it makes the world seem more beautiful, I think it would motivate me, etc. And so I cultivate that belief. I 'act as if'. I commit myself to Christianity, in spite of what I think the probabilities are.

What have I done wrong? What rule have I broken - moral or, I will extend, rational - have I broken?

Correct my hypothetical materialist-atheist self if you can.


There's no 'believing in my heart of hearts materialism is true'. At most, it's a belief that atheist materialism is most likely to be true, given my evaluation - no 'heart of hearts' nonsense, much less rapt certainty, is required.

Likewise, it's not clear A) what 'harm' this does, or B) what it matters that 'harm' is being done, if in fact some is being done. If someone wants to take that tack, they're going to have to spell out the harm, then spell out why it matters on a materialist atheist worldview besides.

I'll also add the stakes of lacking a good answer my question: without a meaningful reply, we're in the odd situation where the acceptance of the probable truth of materialist atheism does not suffice to be a decisive reason to reject Christianity. Or Judaism. Or Islam. Or much anything else.

And this is in a situation where we are granting nearly everything - and I mean everything - you could imagine to be favorable to the atheist point of view, for the sake of argument. Outside of this thought experiment, the situation is vastly more unfavorable to atheism, to say nothing of materialism.

Have we really found out that even on this favorable ground, materialist atheism *still* is in large part intellectually irrelevant? That's a hell of a thing.

Crude said...

And I suppose I should add...

Christos Voskreze!

Crude said...

Oh, and one more thing.

For instance, if a loved one begins to suffer from a mental illness, the first action is to see a Doctor or psychologist, it is not to request the priest to perform an exorcism. Most of the people that I know that would call themselves religious do things like go to church on Sunday, say grace at dinner and do good works with others in the church. But in all other respects they behave, talk and think pretty much like a person that holds to strict naturalism.

Heh. So aside from all the myriad ways in which most people practically reject materialism, most people act in ways that are consistent with naturalism?

First, it's not just 'consistent with naturalism'. It's consistent with idealism, non-materialism, theism, etc. "Going to the doctor when ill" is compatible with just about any metaphysical view, not to mention belief system, out there.

Second, I always note how people try to play the 'consistent with naturalism' card for things like 'using a computer' or 'going to the doctor'. No one wants to point out that, say... rapists, murderers, bank robbers, etc, are 'living their lives as if atheism/naturalism were true.', even though it's vastly more meaningful in that case (since it involves a sacrifice of Christian morality, belief, etc, at least for that moment) than 'going to the doctor' does (which, you'd think, would give people pause as an example considering the number of hospitals with 'Saint' in their title.)

frances said...

Crude

What have I done wrong? What rule have I broken - moral or, I will extend, rational - have I broken?

None (provided you are honest about what you are doing and why you are doing it).

Your point, please?

Ilíon said...

yet-another-'atheist'-who-is-very-good-at-not-getting-it: "None (provided you are honest about what you are doing and why you are doing it)."

What is this "provided" bullshit? Where did this moral obligation to be "honest about what you are doing and why you are doing it" come from?

It's a-ok to live contrary to what one knows/believes to be the truth (including when we're talking about the truth about the nature of reality), to "live a lie" as people like to put it, just so long as one is "honest" that one is being dishonest one level up? Well! That would explain some people, wouldn't it?

im-skeptical said...

Why would it be living a lie if you are honest about what you believe? A real example of living a lie would be you telling everyone that you "love your fellows".

planks length said...

im-not-at-all-skeptical,

Ilion is showing his love for his fellow man by pointing out cases of intellectual dishonesty. What would be supremely unloving would be to see examples of it (like yours) and then pass by without comment. That would be akin to witnessing an automobile accident, yet driving on without stopping to help.

You ought to be grateful to Ilion for taking the time to point out your error. He doesn't have to, you know. It is an act of altruism for him to do so.

For the best discussion about intellectual dishonesty, you ought to consider reading Between Heaven and Hell by Peter Kreeft, an imaginary dialog between C.S. Lewis, John F. Kennedy, and Aldous Huxley. A brilliant book with a rather rocky start. But once you're past the first few pages, it's worth every minute of your time.

im-skeptical said...

"Ilion is showing his love for his fellow man by pointing out cases of intellectual dishonesty."

Yeah, right. According to him, there's not an intellectually honest person alive, except for himself, of course. But he's no better than most. And been shown to be a liar and a hypocrite.

amorbis said...

To be honest, I think Ilion might be *worse* than im-skeptical - he's on the opposite side of the ideological spectrum, for sure, but he's worse than im-skeptical in terms of being an arrogant ass who thinks he knows everything despite having no idea what he's talking about.

planks length said...

"But he's no better than most."

And that has a bearing (if true) on your own putative intellectual dishonesty how?

I'm not sure which logical fallacy you've just engaged in (but I'm sure someone can help me out here). Probably several all at once!

Crude said...

Frances,

None (provided you are honest about what you are doing and why you are doing it).

Why would they have to be honest about it again? Where does 'you have to be honest' become obligatory given the assumed apparent truth of materialism and atheism, such that it runs afoul of the two requirements I've laid out here in my questioning?

Your point, please?

I've got a few going on, but here's one: even if we put aside all the problems with the coherency of it, the arguments against it, the arguments and evidence that favor theism and/or non-naturalism... we still are left with the position where the apparent likely truth of materialism atheism is not a sufficient reason for anyone to abandon Christianity, Judaism, or the like.

It seems that for someone who thinks materialist atheism is likely true, they're still lacking moral or reasonable motivation to sacrifice their religious practice and even beliefs if they wish to keep them. It's pretty irrelevant when it comes to deciding what we should and shouldn't believe.

RD Miksa said...

Dr. Reppert said:

If there's no God, everything is permitted, including hanging onto theism in spite of the evidence. Why not?

In fact, the matter may even be worse than this, for if God does not exist, then we might actually have a positive reason to believe that he did exist rather than not.

Consider this argument (and I posted this argument over at Doug Benscoter’s blog Fides et Ratio as well):

Premise 1: If God does not exist, then something like Blind Watchmaker Neo-Darwinian Evolution (hereafter just “evolution”) is a fact.

Premise 2: If evolution is a fact, then, objectively, my only purpose in life is to survive, reproduce, and spread my genes to the maximal extent (this premise is taken, essentially, from the mouth of Richard Dawkins).

Premise 3: Belief in God brings about the most health, happiness, and fecundity (after all, orthodox believers are much more fruitful than secular atheists).

Premise 4: Being healthy, happier, and more fecund increases my ability to survive, reproduce, and spread my genes.

Conclusion: Therefore, I should believe in God rather than not.

And note that even if there were sound arguments that almost guaranteed God’s non-existence, it would not matter to this pragmatic argument, for, given our status as evolutionary organisms striving to reproduce maximally, truth is less critical than believing that which would help us reproduce.

So the funny thing is that these sorts of pragmatic arguments put naturalists in a bit of a bind: if they believe that naturalism is true, then they very likely hold that we have no objective duty to pursue and believe truth. In addition, such naturalists also likely hold that evolution is true. But if they hold that evolution is true and that we have no objective duty to believe truth, then they should have little objection to theistic belief, given that theistic belief makes sense given our status and drives as evolutionary organisms.

So literally, if naturalism is true, then not only does it not matter if I believe in God or not, but it may actually be rational for me to believe in God rather than not. Thus, my belief that naturalism is true would also serve to give me a positive reason to try to believe that naturalism is actually false. Weird how that works!

Take care,

RD Miksa
www.idontgiveadamnapologetics.blogspot.com

frances said...

Crude,

You asked what rule you would have broken. The dishonesty involved in pretending to believe something that you don't (especially if it extends to trying to persuade others to accept false beliefs) is likely to be harmful. The basis of morality is avoiding harm to others.

I'm not actually sure what your second sentence means. Your question "what moral rule have I broken" took as its premise that atheist materialists (to whom it was addressed) believed that there could be such things as moral rules. Your second sentence appears to be saying that you do not accept that an atheist materialist can believe that there are moral rules. If that is what you are getting at, then you need a different question. E.g. "Would there be any basis for objecting to such a course of behaviour? If so, what?"

If you're asking where atheists get their morality from then I think we've been here before. Is that what you're asking?

Whether the likely truth of atheism or materialism would be sufficient reason for anyone to abandon their religion (leaving aside for the moment any moral issues) would depend on whether they do in fact feel that acting out a religious belief enhances their quality of life. I suspect that for most people it won't, but I daresay for some people it will. I believe they're called Unitarians. And I have no objection to them.

im-skeptical said...

RD,

That's actually the best argument for theistic belief I've ever heard. It's not an argument for the existence of God, mind you, but for belief. In fact, evolution may very well have favored theistic belief for some survival-related reason. However, I should point out that premise 2 is wrong, depending on how you define purpose. If you see it as being externally imposed, then you're right. But people have their own motivations and goals, which give them purpose. These things don't derive from outside of us, but they are part of our nature. The only real purpose that exists is that of an agent with a motivation or goal.

frances said...

RD

Premise 3: Belief in God brings about the most health, happiness, and fecundity (after all, orthodox believers are much more fruitful than secular atheists).

Citation required.

Karl Grant said...

Planks Length,

And that has a bearing (if true) on your own putative intellectual dishonesty how?

I'm not sure which logical fallacy you've just engaged in (but I'm sure someone can help me out here). Probably several all at once!


The Tu Quoque fallacy combined with the Ad Hominem fallacy. That said, I am with amorbis on this one; Ilion and Skeppy ain't too far removed from each other. It is like somebody cloned them from the same batch of toxic goo and flipped the positive and negative switches on each one.

planks length said...

"Citation required."

You've got the same Google as the rest of us. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of studies that show such. They're all over the web. Why should we do your work for you? If you wish to disprove the statement, then "citation required" from your end.

planks length said...

Karl,

You mean like that Simpsons Halloween episode (the take-off on The Twilight Zone's "Talky Tina" story: HERE), where the store owner takes Homer's evil-doing doll and says "Here's your problem. This doll is set to EVIL" and flips the good/evil switch on the back?

Karl Grant said...

frances,

The dishonesty involved in pretending to believe something that you don't (especially if it extends to trying to persuade others to accept false beliefs) is likely to be harmful. The basis of morality is avoiding harm to others.

Who decided that the basis of morality is avoiding harm to others? Why should we adopt utilitarianism, which is what you seem to be advocating here, over something like the will to power? Especially considering under atheist materialism the final outcome for someone believing those "false" beliefs or those "true" beliefs is one and the same.



Karl Grant said...

Planks Length,

Yeah, something like that. Doll Ilion is set to theism and Doll Skeppy is set to atheism but otherwise they are almost identical.

Crude said...

Frances,

The basis of morality is avoiding harm to others.

1) My hypothetical person is trying to do more than pretend - they are trying to believe, however they can. Likewise, their belief at that moment is that materialist atheism is most likely to be true.

2) How do you determine it's 'likely to be harmful'? What will the harm be - the literal belief in God, the idea that it's objectively moral to give to the poor, to have sexual self-control? Where's the harm there? Do you have science? (Oops, no, you'll need metaphysics to determine harm too.) Hunches? Teleological views about truth? The deck's stacked against the materialist atheist here.

3) 'The basis of morality'? According to whom, given materialist atheism? I'm not asking what rules of reason or morality they'd break according to any arbitrary system an individual person comes up with out there - I'm asking about materialist atheism. What is this 'harm' you speak of on those terms, especially when it comes to belief? And even if there is harm, why does it concern the materialist atheist? 'X would harm A, therefore X ought to...' But why the 'ought'?

Your question "what moral rule have I broken" took as its premise that atheist materialists (to whom it was addressed) believed that there could be such things as moral rules.

Not at all - that premise isn't assumed, it's at most offered up as my willingness for someone to make the claim and then support it. You're making the claim? Support it. You seem to want to get this one for free, and you should really know better.

If you're asking where atheists get their morality from then I think we've been here before.

No, because I'm not concerned with the arbitrary, subjective rules of particular individuals, but the actual, objective rules that follow broadly from a particular metaphysical view itself. 'Well a given M-A or group of M-As may not want to harm people, with harm defined as...' doesn't matter, because another given M-A may want to harm people, or may have vastly different definitions of 'harm' than the others.

would depend on whether they do in fact feel that acting out a religious belief enhances their quality of life.

Thank you! Your non-seq about Unitarians aside, you are now within the ballpark of conceding what I have offered from the start.

The likely truth of materialist atheism provides no moral or even rational barrier to maintaining religious belief. On materialist atheism, the only rules to worry about are rules you set for yourself, or rules enforced by others at the point of a gun. Are you quite happy with your strident evangelicalism? Your traditionalist Catholicism? Would you like to believe these things, would you like others to believe these things?

Well, if you think materialist atheism is likely true... then you're free to do all those things, intellectually. There's not a moral 'ought' standing in your way save for what you yourself make, nor a rational 'ought' because you've got no oughts to speak of other than what you take on.

Which just goes to back up the suspicion I've had. It turns out even if you grant the materialist atheist practically every bit of data, every argument - even if you ignore the coherency issues of the belief, the evidence against it - then you STILL don't get to a rational or moral mandate to abandon one's theistic beliefs and actions, because it happens to be a metaphysical view where moral concerns are irrelevant, and the rational oughts largely hinge on your own desires anyway.

Crude said...

Re: some of the claims being thrown around about the health of religious belief versus atheism: here's one older take on it, by a big ol' disciple of materialist atheism. More can be found.

It really seems to be the case that an assumed belief in the truth of materialist atheism actually has apologetics potential for non-materialist theism - quite possibly more than it has for materialist atheism itself. And that's before, you know - all those massive problems with materialist atheism as it stands.

planks length said...

Karl,

"Yeah, something like that. Doll Ilion is set to theism and Doll Skeppy is set to atheism but otherwise they are almost identical."

I hope this is my last word on this, but I really must defend Ilion here. If the two antagonists here are to be characterized as "set" to anything, then it must be granted that Ilion is set to intellectual honesty (regardless of what you think of his internet mannerisms), and im-gullible is solidly fixed on a profound dishonesty - not only on the surface, but way, way down, perhaps to his very core.

I gave him the benefit of the doubt in the beginning (check the record - I bent over backwards to be fair to him when I first came to this website), but quickly learned there was no level playing field. Witness how often crude and Ben have to go over the same damn ground over and over and over again re the First Cause Argument, and then im-unteachable comes back with some ridiculous comment like "Well then, who made God?", showing that absolutely nothing has penetrated his iron skull. Or just a day or so ago, he reiterated the long-since debunked "God of the gaps" argument, utterly oblivious to everything that went before in multiple discussions on this site, which demonstrated beyond all reasonable doubt that no one except atheists and YEC fundies think that way.

With im-breathtakingly-thoughtproof, you have only two choices: dishonesty or imbecility. You can take your pick, but sadly there ain't no third option.

Ilíon said...

PL: "I'm not sure which logical fallacy you've just engaged in (but I'm sure someone can help me out here). Probably several all at once!"

Yes, probably several at once. The most obvious is called 'tu quo quo', or Brooklynese, "so's yer mother!" It's the one little kids instinctively reach for when they're caught out in the wrong: "But Johnny did it too!"

Karl Grant said...

Planks Length,

Okay, I will grant you that Ilion is more intellectually honest than Skeppy. They are both still arrogant assholes though.

Ilíon said...

PL: "With im-breathtakingly-thoughtproof, you have only two choices: dishonesty or imbecility. You can take your pick, but sadly there ain't no third option."

Logically, there are three -- and only three -- options as general categories of explanation for why a person believes, or at least asserts, a falsehood; in a single word, they are:
1) "imbecility"
2) ignorance
3) dishonesty.

Charity, to say nothing of one's own (at least implicit) claim to be intellectually honest, requires that so long as is rationally possible, so long as is consistent with what one actually sees, one reach for option 2) as the explanation for why someone "just doesn't get it".

In the case of 'im-skeptical', I couldn't "explain" his multitude of errors as mere innocent ignorance almost from the day I became aware of him. But, it has gotten so bad of late that even these less perceptive fellows -- *and* the fellows who like to insist that being a Christian means never acknowledging that someone else is dishonest (unless you’re angry!), while being always ready to viciously attacking someone who does acknowledge it -- have caught on. Of course, it must also be admitted that most of the time when they rag on him, it isn't out of principle, as with me, but out of personal pique.

PL: "I hope this is my last word on this, but I really must defend Ilion here. If the two antagonists here are to be characterized as "set" to anything, then it must be granted that Ilion is set to intellectual honesty (regardless of what you think of his internet mannerisms), ..."

Thank you; and exactly.

Since you're new here, you may not yet realize that several of the regulars (*) morally condemn me both for my actual "internet mannerisms" (**) and for their false representations of my "internet mannerisms" (***) ... and then, when they get pissed off at someone, they engage in behavior that not only echos my own *actual* "internet mannerisms" but also echos their own *lies* about my "internet mannerisms". And that's morally OK, you see, because they were angry, they were not in control of themselves.

(*) and I don't need to identify them; they'll do that themselves

(**) which are "offensive" and "mean-spirited" and the reflection of a "poisonous personality"

(***) which includes, but is not limited to:
* that I arrogantly imagine that I know everything;
* that I arrogantly imagine-and-claim that I’m smarter than everyone else;
* that I “engage in name-calling”, such as calling others “stupid” … also, that I am “stupid”, and too stupid to realize it;
* that I’m “hateful” – whatever that means, and as though (whatever it means) it makes what I say untrue;

I could go on, but you get the idea.

Papalinton said...

From Crude: "Consider me a materialist atheist. I decide that, even if I think Christianity is unlikely to be true for whatever reason, I rather like the belief and practice. I wish it were true. I like to participate in the ceremony. In fact, I regard having a belief in God as a positive, beneficial thing for me - it's aesthetically pleasing, it makes the world seem more beautiful, I think it would motivate me, etc. And so I cultivate that belief. I 'act as if'. I commit myself to Christianity, in spite of what I think the probabilities are."

Let's break this down a bit.

"Consider me a materialist atheist." Right. Got it.

" I decide that, even if I think Christianity is unlikely to be true for whatever reason.." Fine and reasonable proposition.

"I rather like the belief and practice." As many materialist atheists do. Some, like Robert M Price do attend church services. So have I. Not to swoon hallucinatarily but to observe with interest the practice of ritual and listen to the lovely music.

"I wish it were true." Indeed some if not many atheists do wish that it was true. It would obviate the cause for so much violence and reactionary abuse from Christians defending their hallucinatory worldview against the atheist heretics. But the truth is the truth in spite of the difficulty, and of knowing and understanding the salving effect of religion.

"I regard having a belief in God as a positive, beneficial thing for me - it's aesthetically pleasing, it makes the world seem more beautiful, I think it would motivate me, etc" It does indeed feel good to believe you are wanted and loved by an all-protective, all-caring Father figure.

"And so I cultivate that belief. I 'act as if'. I commit myself to Christianity, in spite of what I think the probabilities are." And again a reasonable proposition.

"What have I done wrong? What rule have I broken - moral or, I will extend, rational - have I broken?"

None. So long as you live only your life, according to your beliefs. Where one goes wrong is when one begins to proselytize, when one begins to inveigle personal beliefs into and influence public policy that will coerce others to live according to your beliefs, to live by the dictats of your religious beliefs. Secularism is the neutral grounding by which all democracies, all communities, all competing religious beliefs find commonality. Secularism is the level playing field by which all members of the community come to live together in relative equilibrium. That eclectic equilibrium is not absolute, but is asymptotic in nature, moving ever closer, but not quite reaching the ultimate goal of peace, stability and doing no harm. The Christian religion is but one small part of the whole, mindful of the diverse range of humanity. Christianity is undergoing the process of right-sizing within contemporary society. This process will continue until such time when that equilibrium reaches asymptotic optimality.

So Crude, tell us about your religious beliefs and Feser's philosophy but please don't trot it out as a fact or proofs but an interpretation from a particular line of thought.

Ilíon said...

amorbis (*): "To be honest, I think Ilion might be *worse* than im-skeptical - he's on the opposite side of the ideological spectrum, for sure, but he's worse than im-skeptical in terms of being an arrogant ass who thinks he knows everything despite having no idea what he's talking about."

(*) If I can remember it, I think I will call ‘amorbis’ by the nick-name ‘amorphous’ … ‘cause he’s going to be all over the place (and possibly, at some point, within the same sentence)

Karl Grant (who is angry-sad that I haven’t given him a nick-name):Okay, I will grant you that Ilion is more intellectually honest than Skeppy. They are both still arrogant assholes though.

What does it mean when some crestless wonder accuses me (or someone else, for that matter) of “arrogance” in the context of argumentation?

Does it mean that I have begged the question? If so, then *say* so … and point out the question-begging premise.

Does it mean that I have reasoned from a false premise? If so, then *say* so … and point out the false premise.

Does it mean that I have reasoned invalidly? If so, then *say* so … and point out the invalid step.

Does it mean that from ignorance I have misunderstood? If so, then use that word … and point out the ignorance.

Does it mean that I have lied? If so, then use that word … and point to the lie.

==========
This of what the accusation of “arrogance” means -- “It pisses me off that he *dares* to believe that he understands what he’s talking about (at least to the extent that he has talked about it), and it pisses me off that he *dares* to believe that he has reasoned validly from sound premises, and it pisses me off that he *dares* to believe that the conclusion he has reached is true, and it pisses me off that he *dares* to believe that others should follow his reasoning and conclude likewise.

The “arrogance” canard is just another lazy way to “prove” someone is wrong … by assuming that they are wrong.

The “arrogance” canard is just another way to state-and-endorse the post-modernist lie that there is no knowable truth.

The “arrogance” canard is just post-modernist bullshit; it is … wait for it … yet another example of intellectual dishonesty.

Papalinton said...

Crude claims: "No one wants to point out that, say... rapists, murderers, bank robbers, etc, are 'living their lives as if atheism/naturalism were true...."

This statement is emblematic of the thought vacuum in which Crude lives his dream, unrelated to reality, but which nevertheless compels him to erroneously lash out. It is symptomatic of the blind rage he expresses when his form theo-philosophical beliefs are exposed as the tripe they are.

To Crude no fact, proofs, surveys, evidence is going to get in the road and sway him from claiming that 'rapists, murderers, bank robbers, etc are behaviours consonant with atheism. Unfortunately, it demonstrates the demon world that cohabits in his brain from which spills out with such claptrap. Contra to Crudeworld [akin o Wallyworld] the facts are indisputable. Atheists and the non-religious on balance are more ethical and moral than their Christian counterparts. In part this piece from the University of Sth California reads:
"A growing body of social science research reveals that atheists, and non-religious people in general, are far from the unsavory beings many assume them to be. On basic questions of morality and human decency— issues such as governmental use of torture, the death penalty, punitive hitting of children, racism, sexism, homophobia, anti-Semitism, environmental degradation or human rights — the irreligious tend to be more ethical than their religious peers, particularly compared with those who describe themselves as very religious."

Survey after survey has demonstrated, not only from the general public but from surveys of the prison populations around the country record that the level of serious crime committed by atheists are miniscule when compared to the %s of Christian inmates.

My advice to Crude is he should seek to establish his claims on substantive if not empirical evidence before regurgitating tripe.

But his rage is Divine Rage, inspired by classical scholasticism in which facts and evidence and proofs do not figure in determining the 'truth' of a proposition, so long as it factors in a God[s] into the algorithm.

At the apotheosis of Christian hegemony in the West, a couple of centuries ago, murder, rape and robbers rampaged unabated. When 99% of the population of Western civilization was deemed Christian, these crimes were as endemic then as they are now. When Christianity had the opportunity it failed bigtime to make a dent in the numbers. Indeed with a 99% Christian population it would be ludicrous not to surmise that 99% of the crimes were committed by Christians. As Maurie Cohen, American philosopher so eruditely observed: "If religion cannot restrain evil, it cannot claim effective power for good."

The USC Religion Dispatches article cited above, encapsulates the droll and arcane nature of christian thinking when they view 'others' that live outside the ambit of their faith.

Karl Grant said...

Ilion,

Karl Grant (who is angry-sad that I haven’t given him a nick-name):

Oh yes, I am losing sleep over some anonymous asshole on the net hasn't given me a nickname when I pissed him off.

Not.

Now I got admit I am little curious though. Ilion, is the reason you haven't given me a nickname because the list of people who have pissed you off and you subsequently nicknamed so long now you can't remember half of them? Or is it because your creative potential to nick-name is tapped out? I mean there is only so many times we can hear some variation of 'liar' before it gets dull and repetitive.

Does it mean that I have begged the question? If so, then *say* so … and point out the question-begging premise.Does it mean that I have reasoned from a false premise? If so, then *say* so … and point out the false premise. Does it mean that I have reasoned invalidly? If so, then *say* so … and point out the invalid step. Does it mean that from ignorance I have misunderstood? If so, then use that word … and point out the ignorance. Does it mean that I have lied? If so, then use that word … and point to the lie.

I always do. Like the time you talked so fondly of seeing Mecca being flattened. Oh yeah, that reminds me; you are not only an arrogant asshole but a bigoted (towards Muslims especially) arrogant asshole.

Crude said...

Ignoring the side-argument, it really doesn't seem like there's much of a materialist-atheist reply available on this front. Not in an intellectual sense, anyway. I don't doubt people can whine, appeal to emotion, and of course appeal to raw force. But it's that appeal to reason or morality that seems to be utterly lacking.

Maybe there's a way to formalize this.

planks length said...

We all know that there's one particular "contributor" to this website who is forever blathering about how atheism is the Wave of the Future (a phrase, as I recall, first coined to laud the rise of fascism in the 1930s). Well. This Little Bit of News might just be the pin needed to burst that bubble!

As even John Loftus says, given a level playing field, the Truth will win out every time.

Ilíon said...

Goodness! It's almost as though experiencing atheism is enough to turn most human being against it.

Papalinton said...

" This Little Bit of News might just be the pin needed to burst that bubble!"

Ahhmm, no prize here.

"The fundamental opposition is between dogma and the scientific outlook. On the one side, Christianity and Communism, the two great rival dogmatic systems; on the other Scientific Humanism." Margaret Knight, renowned British psychologist and BBC host of the series, "Morals without Religion".

The dogma of Communism supplanted with the competing dogma of the Christian mythos, then the ineluctable transit to naturalism. The trend has been prevalent in the advanced first-world countries, some speedier than others, for a century now. History has recorded since the dawn of time of religious belief systems becoming fashionable and then ebbing into oblivion. Old religions don't die. They get forgotten.

frances said...

PL,

There are hundreds, if not thousands, of studies that show such. They're all over the web.

Citation required.

You and your theist chums on this thread are living proof of the numerous studies which show that theists are on avaerage less intelligent than atheists.

Obviously you won't expect me to provide any proof of this claim. If I make the claim, it's your job to refute it, right?

frances said...

Karl,

Who decided that the basis of morality is avoiding harm to others? Why should we adopt utilitarianism, which is what you seem to be advocating here, over something like the will to power? Especially considering under atheist materialism the final outcome for someone believing those "false" beliefs or those "true" beliefs is one and the same.

I'm not a utilitarian.

As I said - the argument from morality (which is what you seem to be advancing): we've all been here before and quite recently too.

Who decided that the basis of being a mammal should be the production of milk? It's a shared language and "morality" and its associated terms is part of it.

Karl Grant said...

Citation required.

http://www.gallup.com/poll/145379/religious-americans-lead-healthier-lives.aspx

Very religious Americans are more likely to practice healthy behaviors than those who are moderately religious or nonreligious. The most religious Americans score a 66.3 on the Gallup-Healthways Healthy Behavior Index compared with 60.6 among those who are moderately religious and 58.3 for the nonreligious. This relationship, based on an analysis of more than 550,000 interviews, is statistically significant after controlling for major demographic and regional variables.

http://www.scilogs.com/nature-of-faith/may-atheism-succeed-demographically/

It's not only that religious people tend (on average) to have far "more" children than their non-religious peers - it's also about that ominous fact that we do not know about a single non-religious group or population that managed to retain at least the reproductive replacement level for just a century. There have been numerous attempts since Greek and Indian antiquity, not to speak about those late Western cultures and countries - but up to now, there has not been a single demographic success on the communal level.

Is that enough or you want more?

You and your theist chums on this thread are living proof of the numerous studies which show that theists are on avaerage less intelligent than atheists.

Oh yes, we are less intelligent than the plagiarist troll who contradicts himself every other paragraph and keeps trying to change the subject in a vain hope nobody notices he has no fucking clue about what he is talking about; the immature spoiled brat whose response to every tough question tossed his way is either a logical fallacy, screaming "You're a dolt!" or trying to change the subject; or you, who in one discussion refuses to define a term ("I'll know it when I see it!" ring any bells?) and than in other thinks that being in agreement on one term means we are automatically in agreement on what constitutes a standard of ethics and conduct which shows a remarkable degree of intellectual consistency. That is a real funny joke; tell another.

As I said - the argument from morality (which is what you seem to be advancing): we've all been here before and quite recently too.

Yes, and your performance in that debate was lack-luster to say the least.

Who decided that the basis of being a mammal should be the production of milk? It's a shared language and "morality" and its associated terms is part of it.

That in no way answers the question. The fact that we generally agree on the definition of term A (biological definition of mammal) does not mean we agree on standard B (what constitutes a code of ethical conduct). That is like saying since we agree what constitutes a Democrat you must agree with the Republican party platform.

im-skeptical said...

So we've established that theists breed more than atheists. And that in the US, where they are the majority, they are happier than atheists. But there is additional information that shows that among the nations of the world, poverty and criminality are positively correlated with religiosity, and quality of living and general happiness are negatively correlated with religiosity.

So it would be fair to say that while religious people in the US tend to be happier than atheists, when they eventually become the minority, we'll all be better off.

oozzielionel said...

You should probably factor for the correlation between poverty and criminality. In countries like India, the Christians can tend to be in the lower castes (illegal but still entrenched). There is even a tendency to make poverty a crime. One of the distinctions about Christianity is that people can live successful lives even in economic desperation. That would not seem to fly with materialist atheism.

im-skeptical said...

There is further correlation among the states of the US. Religiosity and poverty go hand-in-hand among the states. Also, for you right-wingers out there, the correlation extends to political identification, with the red states being poorer, and being net takers of federal money, while the wealthier, less religious, net givers are the blue states.

Victor Reppert said...

I think you have to be at a certain level of income and comfort and health to be at all comfortable with the idea that this life is all there is. For many people circumstances dictate that if this life is all there is, it's not worth living.

im-skeptical said...

"For many people circumstances dictate that if this life is all there is, it's not worth living. "

And that's where religion comes in to save the day. No need to fight for a better life if your religious leaders are telling you that your reward will come in the afterlife. Many of them even prohibit their followers from indulging in simple pleasures of life. If you ask me, that's despicable.

Karl Grant said...

Skeppy,

But there is additional information that shows that among the nations of the world, poverty and criminality are positively correlated with religiosity, and quality of living and general happiness are negatively correlated with religiosity.

Like Ozzielionel says, you ain't correlating poverty and criminality. For example, your beloved secular Europe is right now experiencing a crime wave:

Insurance experts say this is the result of economic unrest and austerity measures, with high unemployment fuelling increased crime. Among the under‑25s, 63pc are jobless in Greece, 56pc in Spain, 43pc in Portugal and 41pc in Italy, according to the latest reports from the EU statistics office, Eurostat.

Hell, the The United Kingdom is the violent crime capital of Europe and has one of the highest rates of violence in the world, worse even than America, according to new research.

With those kind of unemployment figures it is just going to get worse. All of this coincides with the economic troubles Europe started having 2007 and has gotten progressively worse each year. And if you want to see it get real bad, have them keep pissing off Putin and Gazprom. That has the potential to make everything Europe has experienced over the last seven years seem like a walk in the park.

There is further correlation among the states of the US. Religiosity and poverty go hand-in-hand among the states. Also, for you right-wingers out there, the correlation extends to political identification, with the red states being poorer, and being net takers of federal money, while the wealthier, less religious, net givers are the blue states.

That's been changing Skeppy, USA Today points out that:

Personal income in 23 red states has risen 4.6% since the recession began in December 2007, after adjusting for inflation. Income is up just 0.5% in 15 blue states and Washington, D.C., during that time. In the dozen swing states identified by USA TODAY that could vote either way Nov. 6, income has inched ahead 1.4% in 4 ½ years.
The big drivers of red state income growth: energy and government benefit payments such as food stamps.


Meanwhile, red states are pulling ahead of blue states economically:

“Today, we are witnessing an economic ‘Balkanization’ between states in America,” the report from the conservative-leaning council says. “Our view is that the steady movement of human and investment capital from high-tax states to low-tax states, which has been present for decades, will continue and likely accelerate over time.”

The bad news for blue states: Not one ranks in the top 10 based on overall economic outlook as gauged by 15 economic indicators, including tax rates, regulatory burden and labor policies. Eight of the top 10 slots are held by GOP-dominated red states, led by Utah, while two are politically mixed “purple” states, Florida and Virginia.

On the other hand, the list of the bottom 10 is dominated by blue states. Vermont, a solidly blue state, ranks last in terms of economic outlook, and only one red state — Montana — makes the bottom 10.


Now what do you think is going to happen if these trends continue for the next few years? Nothing good for the blue states, I'll tell you that.

Many of them even prohibit their followers from indulging in simple pleasures of life. If you ask me, that's despicable.

So atheism is all about hedonism? Okay, I got gotcha.

im-skeptical said...

Karl has not refuted a single thing. The crime rates in Europe follow the same patterns they do in the rest of the world. The countries with greater religiosity have greater poverty and crime. Furthermore even though the poor states have had a slightly higher economic growth in the past few years, they are still the poorer states. And that's not going to change any time soon. Finally, atheism is not about hedonism. But freedom sure is better than suppression.

Now before this discourse gets really stupid again, I'll leave my comments to Karl at that.

oozzielionel said...

The countries with greater religiosity have greater poverty and crime.

Your statement implies but not state which is the cause and which is the effect.

Gallop suggest a correlation: Social scientists have put forth numerous possible explanations for the relationship between the religiosity of a population and its average income level. One theory is that religion plays a more functional role in the world's poorest countries, helping many residents cope with a daily struggle to provide for themselves and their families. A previous Gallup analysis supports this idea, revealing that the relationship between religiosity and emotional wellbeing is stronger among poor countries than among those in the developed world.
http://www.gallup.com/poll/142727/religiosity-highest-world-poorest-nations.aspx

This came up on the top of the Google search.

Karl Grant said...

Skeppy,

Karl has not refuted a single thing. The crime rates in Europe follow the same patterns they do in the rest of the world. The countries with greater religiosity have greater poverty and crime.

Uh, no. Let's look at the violent crime in cities across Europe. In Eastern Europe it is Tallinn, Estonia. Estonia is Estonia is one of the least religious countries in the world, with 75.7% of the population claiming to be irreligious. In western Europe, the city with the highest violent crime rate is Amsterdam, long touted as a secular paradise. Portugal, which is 81% Roman Catholic, is considered to have some of the world's safest cities. In fact, if you look at countries with the highest reported crime rates very secular European countries like Germany and France and the Netherlands make the top 10 world wide. There is only one somewhat poor South American country in the top 10.

Furthermore even though the poor states have had a slightly higher economic growth in the past few years, they are still the poorer states.

And to balance it out the cost of living is significantly lower in red states. For example, gasoline and diesel fuel in the Carolinas is typically a dollar less per gallon than in places like California and New York. Income taxes are also lower. There is a reason many people in blue states move to red states when they retire.

And that's not going to change any time soon

Economic growth indicators seem to indicate otherwise. And things can change fairly quickly; for example, from 1880 till 1960s a Republican couldn't get elected in the south. Now it is considered the main power base of the Republican party.

But freedom sure is better than suppression.

Explain what freedoms you enjoy as an atheist that I don't as a Christian. Because I am willing to bet dollars to donuts you don't enjoy any real special freedoms over me.

Bolero Sulo said...

I've always thought that Euthyphro Dilemma proved that God doesn't get you any closer to objective morality, so the "if there is no god everything is permitted" line strikes me as silly. If good is good because god commands it then morality is subjective and dependent on god's whims, since he could have said that killing smalle is good. As a matter of fact, he did do that in the Old Testament, but we can leave that aside. If he commands us to do good because good is good then he is observing a higher moral standard that has nothing to do with him.

At least theologians like Swinburne are willing to bite the bullet and admit this; Swinburne believes objective moral principles exist independently of god.

oozzielionel said...

Bolero:
The Euthyphro dilemma proves that no greek polytheist god provides objective morality. It becomes a false dilemma to the theist where goodness is neither an external standard nor a whim, but part of the very nature of God.

Crude said...

Euthyphro considerations are also irrelevant to this particular discussion, since it's not as if the force of the issue I'm pressing gets lighter if some kind of personalistic/polytheism is lacking.

In fact, even the talk about estimated performances of theistic/atheistic societies are largely irrelevant, though that's yet another front where atheism has a, uh.. iffy track record, putting it mildly.

It seems like the bullet's been silently bitten in this thread: it's quite rational and moral (so to speak) to be a practicing theist, and strive to develop and maintain belief in theism, even if one regards materialist atheism as likely true. 'Especially if', in a way.

Papalinton said...

oozielionel: " A previous Gallup analysis supports this idea, revealing that the relationship between religiosity and emotional wellbeing is stronger among poor countries than among those in the developed world."

That's exactly how a placebo works. People in poor countries need to believe that someone, anyone, is looking out for them, even if it has to be imaginary. This is a well-known psychological condition by which existential fears and anxieties are mitigated in the mind. But when people starve they die, regardless of their make belief or otherwise.

oozzielionel said...

So:
1) Faith "works" meaning it has a utilitarian value.
2) Faith fulfills a basic human need.
3) Fears are mitigated. People in desperate situation experience existential peace.
4) Even starving people experience the benefits of faith.

So even if God does not exist, it is still best to believe.

Does atheism offer similar benefits?

Papalinton said...

It is decidedly more rational and moral (so to speak) to be a practicing atheist, though the word 'practicing' is an unnecessary adjective for those who do not subscribe to a belief system contrived on the basis of some unknowable, ineffable netherworld inhabited with [putatively live] non-human entities we are apparently able to contact and with which we can socially engage in conversation.

If you are of a theist mind, knock yourself out in your delusion. I simply have a greater respect for Trekkies, genuine followers of Captain Jean-Luc Picard and his team of brave intergalactic [cosmological] adventurers and peace advocates that is a deal more believable than the Che Guevara of Christianity.

oozzielionel said...

So the benefit of being an atheist is that I obtain the respect of an invisible, unknowable and slightly ineffable blogger?

Chris said...

Whenever I read one of Papalinton's posts, I picture him practically foaming at the mouth like a rabid animal. Sorry Papalinton, just sayin....

Papalinton said...

"Whenever I read one of Papalinton's posts, I picture him practically foaming at the mouth like a rabid animal."

How so, Chris?

Papalinton said...

oozielionel: "So the benefit of being an atheist is that I obtain the respect of an invisible, unknowable and slightly ineffable blogger?"

Sorry oozie, not so invisible and certainly not unknowable. My avatar clearly shows a picture of me and what I look like. I'm the portly gentleman on the left, a really lovely affable guy that loves life to the fullest. Marrief for 43 years, three grown-up children, 4 grand children and a spritely Mum in her mid-eighties smelling every rose that blooms without a moment's thought about some folkloric tale. However the photo is illusory to some extent. The ugly face remains so but I have lost some 18 Kilos since that photo was taken [around 40 pounds]. The other guy, on the right, who i met here in Melbourne, Australia a couple years back; is Dan Barker ex-evangelical minister and missionary who spent many years in Mexico converting Catholics to Christianity [as he tells it], and who is co-founder and joint President of the Freedom From Religion Foundation [FFRF] based out of Madison, Wisconsin. A lovelier guy you could not meet.

Anonymity is not my game. An honest and open guy sees no need to separate their person from their comments by the shroud of anonymity. No need at all.

frances said...

Crude,

How do you determine it's 'likely to be harmful'? What will the harm be - the literal belief in God, the idea that it's objectively moral to give to the poor, to have sexual self-control?

Except that your hypothetical person doesn't believe in God. If they say that they do believe when they don't, then they are lying. All other things being equal, it is better to be truthful than to lie. The ability to trust other humans provides social benefits. This trust can only exist where untruthfulness is recognised to be a bad thing.

'The basis of morality'? According to whom, given materialist atheism? I'm not asking what rules of reason or morality they'd break according to any arbitrary system an individual person comes up with out there

I am not talking about any arbitrary system an individual person comes up with. Straw man.

If you ask someone to answer the question "what moral rule have they broken" then your question only makes sense if the person to whom it is addressed accepts that there are such things as moral rules. Analogy: there is no point in asking someone "How tall is Bigfoot?" unless the askee accepts there is such a thing as Bigfoot.

Understanding what morality is depends on a shared language and language grows from the bottom up. If you understand the particular language game which is morality then the rules of the game will inevitably cause certain actions to fall inside what can properly be called moral at all (as opposed to actions which have no moral dimension). The criteria which are used to determine whether or not an action has any moral dimension will be the much the same criteria as will be used to determine where on the moral spectrum the action falls.

The fact that judgment is involved and that there is room for disagreement does not entail that the answer is merely subjective. In triage, there may be room for disagreement as to whether the patient having the heart attack is more urgent than the patient who has bleeding on the brain. But that doesn't mean that it can't be objectively true that either one of those patients is more urgent than someone with a broken finger.

It turns out even if you grant the materialist atheist practically every bit of data, every argument - even if you ignore the coherency issues of the belief, the evidence against it - then you STILL don't get to a rational or moral mandate to abandon one's theistic beliefs and actions, because it happens to be a metaphysical view where moral concerns are irrelevant, and the rational oughts largely hinge on your own desires anyway.

This sentence is 73 words long and that is longer than any sentence has the right to be. The result is that your point (assuming you had one) has been lost in the verbiage.

frances said...

Karl,

Is that enough or you want more?

Enough for what? They are at least citations (even if the second does come from a blog run by a lecturer in religious studies, making its objectivity suspect). RD would have done well to have included something to back up his/her premise. But are they enough to support the premise? No, not by a country mile. The question of religious belief and happiness has been much studied and there are studies going both ways. See for instance http://www.cbc.ca/newsblogs/yourcommunity/2013/09/religious-believers-more-depressed-than-atheists-study.html
If you are going to try and prove a point by a logical argument then your premises had better be pretty near incontrovertable. Remember, logic alone can't prove anything.
Even if you decide you are going to disregard all the studies which show a negative correlation between religious belief and well-being, RD's argument would still have foundered on his/her failure to distinguish between correlation and causation.

Oh yes, we are less intelligent than the plagiarist troll who contradicts himself every other paragraph and keeps trying to change the subject in a vain hope nobody notices he has no fucking clue about what he is talking about; the immature spoiled brat whose response to every tough question tossed his way is either a logical fallacy, screaming "You're a dolt!" or trying to change the subject; or you, who in one discussion refuses to define a term ("I'll know it when I see it!" ring any bells?) and than in other thinks that being in agreement on one term means we are automatically in agreement on what constitutes a standard of ethics and conduct which shows a remarkable degree of intellectual consistency. That is a real funny joke; tell another.

LOL! Temper, temper....

The fact that we generally agree on the definition of term A (biological definition of mammal) does not mean we agree on standard B (what constitutes a code of ethical conduct).

You've missed the point. The point is that objectivity does not require an extra-human authority. And the fact that there can be disagreement on some issues within a subject does not mean that everything about it is purely a matter of individual opinion. See my reply to Crude above.

Crude said...

Frances,

Except that your hypothetical person doesn't believe in God. If they say that they do believe when they don't, then they are lying.

They're making an attempt to believe in God, and part of that attempt may well involve 'acting as if'. And acting as if may well mean proclaiming belief.

They're doing what they'd like. What are they violating, morally or rationally, given atheism + materialism?

I notice you had zero response to the question of where the harm was either.

All other things being equal, it is better to be truthful than to lie.

Citation please. ;)

Says who? According to what? And 'all other things' aren't equal in this case anyway.

Seriously, you keep pulling these rules out of thin air. You offer no philosophy. You offer no science. You don't even argue.

Is this really all you have?

The ability to trust other humans provides social benefits.

What you mean is that it may provide social benefits, situationally. In other situations, it doesn't. Again - where is the science? Where is the argument? And what does this matter to anyone else, including my hypothetical materialist atheist?

I'm sure you often deal with people who put on kid gloves and happy grant you the truth of anything that sounds warm and fuzzy without argument. I am not one of them. And increasingly, it looks like you have nothing of note to offer here.

I am not talking about any arbitrary system an individual person comes up with. Straw man.

I'll believe it's a strawman the moment you provide a materialist atheist moral system that doesn't ultimately and/ir effectively reduce to such a system. The fact that you keep trying to play the 'by asking the question you must automatically grant that such a thing exists and is real so I don't have to show one exists' card... do you think anyone doesn't detect the whiff of 'desperate bullshit' coming off you? C'mon.

This sentence is 73 words long and that is longer than any sentence has the right to be. The result is that your point (assuming you had one) has been lost in the verbiage.

It's not that hard to follow, sweetheart. Put on your thinking cap - we're having a big person conversation. If I have to treat you as the intellectual equivalent of im-derpy, this conversation won't last.

And that's an especially ballsy critique to make after you waste a whole lot of words giving vague, broad defenses of a hypothetical defense of a moral system, without ever, you know - delivering the intellectual meat.

Karl Grant said...

Frances,

even if the second does come from a blog run by a lecturer in religious studies, making its objectivity suspect

There is a technical term for this kind of statement. It's called ad hominem circumstantial; which is a logical fallacy and this a textbook example. We can have fun with this though:

Frances claims atheism is true.

Being an atheist Frances is hardly objective on the subject.

Therefore, Frances arguments are suspect.

But are they enough to support the premise? No, not by a country mile.

That would carry more weight if you didn't just try to dismiss one reference supporting his premise out of hand with a logical fallacy.

The question of religious belief and happiness has been much studied and there are studies going both ways. See for instance http://www.cbc.ca/newsblogs/yourcommunity/2013/09/religious-believers-more-depressed-than-atheists-study.html

I have reason to suspect the Gallup study is more accurate. One, the Gallup study consisted of 550,000 interviews. The study you linked to consisted of 8,000 interviews. In demographics larger samples more closely approximate the population. Two, Gallup specifically said their results were statistically significant after controlling for major demographic and regional variables; something your referenced study isn't doing, as evidenced by the statement: The results also varied between country and religion. For example, spiritual participants from the U.K. were found to be more than three times more likely to be depressed than their secular counterparts. Three, your article links to a fourteen year study from the National Center for Biotechnology Information, which has more cases than either the Gallup study or the one you claim calls it into question, revealed a 22% lower risk of depression for monthly church attenders compared with nonattenders and it did control for age, household income, family and personal history of depression, marital status, education, and perceived social support. Not all studies are equal Frances.

By the way, were the researchers involved in your study atheists?

RD's argument would still have foundered on his/her failure to distinguish between correlation and causation.

Explain in detail how he failed to do so.

LOL! Temper, temper....

That wasn't anger. That was bored sarcasm.

The point is that objectivity does not require an extra-human authority

Who claimed it did?

And the fact that there can be disagreement on some issues within a subject does not mean that everything about it is purely a matter of individual opinion

Nor does the fact that there is agreement on technical term automatically invalidate that individual opinion.

See my reply to Crude above.

I did; not impressed.

Crude said...

Let's take stock.

After a few days of this challenge being posted, there's been pretty well a silent concession that yep - on materialist atheism, there's nothing wrong with an individual deciding to try to believe, and project themselves as believing, that which they think is likely false.

There's no moral violation involved on materialist atheism, since the only morality worth talking about ultimately comes down to subjective decisions of value - so if you decide this is all hunky-dory, that's all the "moral" permission you really need. The same holds for the rational side of things - the rational only has 'oughts' insofar as they align with your own goals on materialist atheism, and what external considerations you have to keep in mind.

In other words if the M-As have political power and say 'Proclaiming belief in God is a good way to get yourself forced into 'treatment'' a la Petebog, the latest champion of the cult of gnu, then yes - it may well not be rational to proclaim that belief, if 'not being harassed/tormented' is your overriding goal. But in that case the rational 'problem' isn't introduced by the belief - it's produced by the threat of violence. Giving to charity is irrational in a world where mecha-Ayn-Rand roams your streets and executes you on sight for doing so, at least given only M-A considerations and a desire to live.

im-skeptical said...

"on materialist atheism, there's nothing wrong with an individual deciding to try to believe, and project themselves as believing"

I believe the consensus was that you should be honest about it.

"In other words if the M-As have political power and say 'Proclaiming belief in God is a good way to get yourself forced into 'treatment'' a la Petebog"

You, sir, are a liar.

Crude said...

IM-Derpy,

I believe the consensus was that you should be honest about it.

"Consensus"? I'm not concerned about your consensus - I'm concerned about your arguments. Pity, you and the rest have had none that weren't transparently awful. When the M-As in this thread haven't been silent, they've been found lacking.

You, sir, are a liar.

Read his book, Skep. Oops, wait - readin' dem tings makes yer head hurt sumfin' awful. ;)

He classifies religious belief as a 'mind virus' that should be considered a mental illness, right on the DSM-V. You endorse that, Skeppy, because you are a hatemonger who dreams of silencing your intellectual enemies by force.

There is perhaps no greater contribution one could make to contain and perhaps even cure faith than removing the exemption that prohibits classifying religious delusions as mental illness. The removal of religious exemptions from the DSM would enable academicians and clinicians to bring considerable resources to bear on the problem of treating faith, as well as on the ethical issues surrounding faith-based interventions. In the long term, once these treatments and this body of research is refined, results could then be used to inform public health policies designed to contain and ultimately eradicate faith.

That's Petebog, one of your many idols. 'Cure faith'. 'Treat faith'. 'Informing public health policies designed to contain and ultimately eradicate faith.'

Behold, materialist atheist "morality", on full and raw display.

im-skeptical said...

So show me the part where he says he would force people into treatment. Oh, wait ... he never says any such thing. Liar.

Crude said...

IM-Derpy,

So show me the part where he says he would force people into treatment. Oh, wait ... he never says any such thing.

In the long term, once these treatments and this body of research is refined, results could then be used to inform public health policies designed to contain and ultimately eradicate faith.

Derpy, I know you're the resident "special little guy" for Team Cult of Gnu here, but let me spell something out for you: once you start talking about how faith and religious belief is a virus and a mental illness that should be contained and eradicated by public policy and treatments, saying "b-b-b-but he d-didn't use the word 'force'!" doesn't make you a crafty legal genius. It illustrates how slow you are.

The next time you engage in this kind of dishonesty, try not to do it with someone who actually has and can quote the source in question. ;)

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

Crude: "They're making an attempt to believe in God, and part of that attempt may well involve 'acting as if'. And acting as if may well mean proclaiming belief."

People have been doing this centuries. Pretending for fear of retribution from Christians in the community. But fortunately today, there is the Clergy Project which, at least, is helping hundreds and hundreds of preachers, ministers, padres to divest themselves of the mythos privately, quietly and without fuss, helping them back into society without the onslaught of ubiquitous Christian opprobrium and vilification.

And that is a good, decent and honourable thing to do.

im-skeptical said...

Nothing about forcing people into treatment there.

So show me the part where he says he would force people into treatment. Oh, wait ... he never says any such thing. Liar.

frances said...

Crude,

Your thought experiment is becoming more bizarre and pointless with every post you make on it. As I've said, all other things being equal, (have you really never come across that phrase before? You seem not to understand what it means) it is better to be honest than to be dishonest. I have explained why. You claim that I have not when I clearly have. Presumably you are doing this in order to act out a variant of your own thought experiment.

Crude: " I earnestly wish to believe that Frances has not put forward any arguments in support of her case. It will make me feel happier if I believe that Frances has not put forward any arguments. I will behave as if she had actually failed to put forward any arguments and if I do so long enough and loudly enough, I may come to believe it is actually true. Then I will feel happy. Yay!"

frances said...

Karl,

The tools you use for identifying a logical fallacy are the same as those used by the inhabitants of Salem for identifying witches, i.e. ignorance and an over-active imagination.

There is a technical term for this kind of statement. It's called ad hominem circumstantial; which is a logical fallacy and this a textbook example.

Really? So, pointing out that somebody may not be objective is a logical fallacy, is it? So if a study showing that smoking is good for you turns out to have been paid for by the tobacco industry, we are absolutely forbidden, on pain of being found illogical, to allow that fact to affect our judgement on its reliability in any way whatsoever? Is that really what you think, you moron?

Far from being a logical fallacy, the attribution of bias to a particular source is the basis in logic for rejecting what in other circumstance would be a legitimate use of an argument from authority.

Follow this link:
http://www.fallacyfiles.org/authorit.html
and note especially
We must often rely upon expert opinion when drawing conclusions about technical matters where we lack the time or expertise to form an informed opinion. For instance, those of us who are not physicians usually rely upon those who are when making medical decisions, and we are not wrong to do so. There are, however, four major ways in which such arguments can go wrong:

......3.The authority is an expert, but is not disinterested. That is, the expert is biased towards one side of the issue, and his opinion is thereby untrustworthy.
For example, suppose that a medical scientist testifies that ambient cigarette smoke does not pose a hazard to the health of non-smokers exposed to it. Suppose, further, that it turns out that the scientist is an employee of a cigarette company. Clearly, the scientist has a powerful bias in favor of the position that he is taking which calls into question his objectivity.

Karl Grant said...

Frances,

Really? So, pointing out that somebody may not be objective is a logical fallacy, is it? So if a study showing that smoking is good for you turns out to have been paid for by the tobacco industry, we are absolutely forbidden, on pain of being found illogical, to allow that fact to affect our judgement on its reliability in any way whatsoever?

From you little fallacy files website on ad hominem:

A Circumstantial Ad Hominem is one in which some irrelevant personal circumstance surrounding the opposition is offered as evidence against their position. This fallacy is often introduced by phrases such as: "Of course, that's what you'd expect them to say." The fallacy claims that the only reason why they argue as they do is because of personal circumstances, such as standing to gain from the argument's acceptance.

This form of the fallacy needs to be distinguished from criticisms directed at testimony, which are not fallacious, since pointing out that someone stands to gain from testifying a certain way would tend to cast doubt upon that testimony. For instance, when a celebrity endorses a product, it is usually in return for money, which lowers the evidentiary value of such an endorsement—often to nothing! In contrast, the fact that an arguer may gain in some way from an argument's acceptance does not affect the evidentiary value of the argument, for arguments can and do stand or fall on their own merits.


Let's take your tobacco industry example and apply to another industry: automotive. Suppose Tesla Motors releases a report showing their electric cars are less damaging to the environment than General Motors' products. The fact that Tesla Motors stands to increase it's bottom line does not affect whither the information in that report is true or not; the argument stands on it own merits. Or how about another example: Richard Dawkins. He has built a small media empire on his atheism; it has made him a mult-millionaire. He obviously stands to gain financially by arguing atheism is true, does that make his arguments automatically suspect?

Now the fact that person stands to benefit from an argument can alert you to look for hidden flaws in said argument but it should never, and I mean never, be used to dismiss the argument out-of-hand; which is what you did dip-shit. And does it bear repeating that objective you ain't Frances? By your own standards, I am entitled to dismiss any and every thing you say on the subject of religion.

Oh and while you are at it, go read your website's article on poisoning the well:



To poison the well is to commit a pre-emptive ad hominem strike against an argumentative opponent. As with regular ad hominems, the well may be poisoned in either an abusive or circumstantial way. For instance:

"Only an ignoramus would disagree with fluoridating water." (Abusive)

"My opponent is a dentist, so of course he will oppose the fluoridating of water, since he will lose business." (Circumstantial)
This is what you just did; you little hypocritical fuck-face.

Now you want to avoid these kind of charges? You explain what exactly is wrong with Dr. Blume's work; like I explained why I didn't find your little depression study convincing because of the much smaller sample size (it doesn't have 10th of the interviews the Gallup study does) and the fact that it is not accounting for other demographic variables like the Gallup study does and the other study listed in the news article does. But that would require actually arguing, engaging and understanding your opponents arguments; things your sorry ass ain't capable of.

im-skeptical said...

frances,

Little Karly loves to point out what he supposes are logical fallacies in what others say. As it happens, ad hominem and poisoning the well are two of his own favorite tactics in discussion. If you review his remarks in this thread, you will find that he has employed both.

Ilíon said...

me: "[Is calling me "arrogant" supposed to] mean that I have lied? If so, then use that word … and point to the lie."

churlish grunt:"I always do. Like the time you talked so fondly of seeing Mecca being flattened. Oh yeah, that reminds me; you are not only an arrogant asshole but a bigoted (towards Muslims especially) arrogant asshole."

Now, certainly, I'll grant that you like to lie. But, what I said is that if by calling me "arrogant" you mean to accuse me of lying, then point to *my* lie; I didn't say repeat one of *your* lies about me.

So, once again, we see all you (and your ilk) have against me is that you just don't like me (and I am so crushed) ... and that you like to lie about me.

Karl Grant said...

Skeppy,

As it happens, ad hominem and poisoning the well are two of his own favorite tactics in discussion. If you review his remarks in this thread, you will find that he has employed both.

How cute, how about you show us where?

Karl Grant said...

Ilion,

Now, certainly, I'll grant that you like to lie. But, what I said is that if by calling me "arrogant" you mean to accuse me of lying, then point to *my* lie; I didn't say repeat one of *your* lies about me.

So, once again, we see all you (and your ilk) have against me is that you just don't like me (and I am so crushed) ... and that you like to lie about me.


Lie, Ilion? All Planks Length has to do is go to your blog, type Islam in the search box and he will be shown ample evidence that you are both bigoted towards Muslims and wish violence against them. That is another thing you and Skeppy have in common; along with accusing people of dishonesty for merely pointing out your bullshit.

Ilíon said...

Churl -- "A churl (etymologically the same name as Charles / Carl and Old High German karal), in its earliest Old English (Anglo-Saxon) meaning, was simply "a man" ... According to the Oxford English Dictionary it later came to mean the opposite of the nobility and royalty, "a common person". ... This meaning held through the 15th century, but by then the word had taken on negative overtone, meaning "a country person" and then "a low fellow". By the 19th century, a new and pejorative meaning arose, "one inclined to uncivil or loutish behaviour""

How appropriate that the name 'Karl' and the common descriptor noun 'churl' -- "one inclined to uncivil or loutish behaviour"" -- are cognates.
===========
Churl: "Lie, Ilion? All Planks Length has to do is go to your blog, type Islam in the search box and he will be shown ample evidence that you are both bigoted towards Muslims and wish violence against them."

What a person will see is that I don't "respect" the demon-worship known as Islam, as you leftists pretend to do. What a person will see is that I say certain truths about Islam, and its politics, that you leftists (you haters of Western civ, and who seem to imagine that you can control Moslems as a tool against Christianity) don't want said just yet.

Meanwhile, this lie of yours ("Like the time you talked so fondly of seeing Mecca being flattened.") has been exposed multiple times. To quote from a post of almost a year ago --

"For example, the claim that I took a position of "nuking Mecca being a good idea" comes from one of two sources:
1) a simple-minded and/or intellectually dishonest acceptance of Karl Grant's false assertion about me;
2) a studied refusal to understand -- unless it's simply stupidity -- what I actually wrote here and here about the matter, and possibly combined with reading into what I wrote what Mr [X] (and Mr Grant, and Mr [Y]) *wanted* me to have written."

Karl Grant said...

Ilion,

How appropriate that the name 'Karl' and the common descriptor noun 'churl' -- "one inclined to uncivil or loutish behaviour"" -- are cognates.

About as appropriate as Ilion being an acronym for Incompetent Loser Ignorant Obstinate Nitwit.

What a person will see is that I don't "respect" the demon-worship known as Islam

Funny, last time I checked Islam was an Abrahamic Religion; an offshoot of Christianity and Judaism.

as you leftists pretend to do.

Hate to break it to you Ilion, but I lean closer to Pat Buchanan and Ron Paul than Barack Obama and John Kerry.

What a person will see is that I say certain truths about Islam, and its politics,

Replace Islam with Christianity and this would be an exact quote from one of Skeppy's posts. Ain't that odd?

that you leftists (you haters of Western civ, and who seem to imagine that you can control Moslems as a tool against Christianity) don't want said just yet.

Oh really? Then why do I spend so much time defending Christianity from the Three Stooges (Paps, looks like an older version of Curly, don't he) on this very blog?

planks length said...

I'm not so sure that Islam would suffer a blow quite as catastrophic as suggested in Ilion's posts (the ones he linked to), were the Kaaba to be destroyed. After all, Judaism survived (and even thrived) after multiple destructions of the Temple, and Christendom survived the overrunning of the Holy Land by Muslim hordes in the 7th Century. For sure, Islam would mutate (as did Judaism), but it'd probably still be around in some altered form.

Ilion is 100% correct, however, in calling out the utter hypocrisy of certain people who non-stop condemn Christianity while treating Islam with kid gloves. They seem to be totally oblivious to the ferocious nature of the beast they are toying around with. Atheists and secular humanists in particular are completely clueless about this. The opposite of a religion is not atheism - it's another religion. Before they get too happy about the idea of a post-Christian Europe, let's see how much they care for the Islamic Europe which is the most probable successor to what once was there. The chimera of a flowers-in-your-hair humanist paradise is simply not in the cards - ever.

Karl Grant said...

Planks Length,

But do you agree with Ilion's characterization of Islam as 'demon worship'?

planks length said...

Islam is quite similar to Mormonism - a perversion of Christianity with spurious "holy texts" of no validity. It is probably best characterized as the most successful of the Arian heresies. The so-called "prophets" Mohammed and Joseph Smith were both self-promoting frauds.

As individuals, Muslims can be (and usually are) quite good people, and I have nothing against the adherents of the faith. I have everything against their faith itself. But no, I don't regard it as "demon worship" - just wrong.

Karl Grant said...

Planks Length,

Ok then, and while Ilion may be "calling out the utter hypocrisy of certain people who non-stop condemn Christianity while treating Islam with kid gloves" he is still bigoted towards Muslims.

planks length said...

How so? I must have missed the bigotry.

Karl Grant said...

Planks Length,

Go over to his blog and read a few of his posts on the subject. Than start a conversation on whither Muslims should enjoy the same civil rights as other Americans. You will see it real quick.

Ilíon said...

PL: "I must have missed the bigotry."

Even if I were a bigot, what does that "liberal" boo-word have to do with anything? Does truth become false when a "bigot" says it? Does a sound-and-valid argument become unsound or invalid when a "bigot" makes it?

The Churl's emotive accusation that I am a "bigot" has no more relevance to anything than does his emotive accusation that I am "arrogant".

Meanwhile, the Churl repeats a lie about me that he's been peddling (to acclaimed reviews) for years. And *that* does have something to do with something.

planks length said...

Karl,

Went over to Illocentrism like you suggested. Sorry, but I still can't see it. Ilion has a strongly negative view of Islam, which he expresses in a rather forceful way, but I don't see him as being bigoted against Muslims - he just hates Islam. Huge difference.

Take his disagreements with me vis-a-vis Catholicism. Now he and I have 180 degrees opposite views on this subject. I believe the Catholic Church to be the divinely-instituted, legitimate successor to the Apostles, against which the Gates of Hell shall not prevail. He terms it the One True Bureaucracy. Yet I've never detected the faintest whiff of prejudice from Ilion against me for being a Catholic. I would imagine that were Ilion to converse with a Muslim, he would respect the individual and tell him to his face that his religion is evil. Is that bigotry? Not in my books.

Karl Grant said...

Incompetent Loser Ignorant Obstinate Nitwit,

Even if I were a bigot, what does that "liberal" boo-word have to do with anything?

I will take this as admission of the fact.

Does truth become false when a "bigot" says it?

No, but their personal hatreds are not automatically true either.

Does a sound-and-valid argument become unsound or invalid when a "bigot" makes it?

Ilion, your arguments on the subject of Islam (or politics or social policies) were neither sound or valid to begin with. They are devoid of historical context, knowledge of current events, social trends, etc... For example, the Kaaba has already been destroyed before, by Muslims themselves, and the religion did not collapse.

Karl Grant said...

Planks Length,

Yet I've never detected the faintest whiff of prejudice from Ilion against me for being a Catholic. I would imagine that were Ilion to converse with a Muslim, he would respect the individual and tell him to his face that his religion is evil.

You ain't debated him long enough. Trust me, you piss him off, and that is very easy to do (ask Ben, Crude, Dan, Bob, Sam, Syllabus, etc...) that facade of respect disappears real quick and you'll end up being referred to as the Poor Lunatic or some other kind of crap. Besides, he just admitted he is a bigot in his last post and that it doesn't matter.

frances said...

Karl,

This form of the fallacy needs to be distinguished from criticisms directed at testimony, which are not fallacious, since pointing out that someone stands to gain from testifying a certain way would tend to cast doubt upon that testimony.

Indeed. This is the distinction that you are failing to make.

I could go into it in more detail, but there's no point. You will not understand (being hindered by your single digit IQ) and anyone not similarly handicapped will have got the point & not need further explanation.

frances said...

Hi Skeppy,

Yup, I've noticed Karl's little problem. He loves his fallacies. No, he lurves his fallacies. It's all a bit one-sided though, as he wouldn't recognise a genuine fallacy if it bit him.

Anyway, I think I'm outta here. Crude's tedious thought experiment and Karl's case of severe phantom fallacy syndrome have tried my patience too long.

It's been pleasant to read some sense from you and Paps. Oh and Bolero, if you're still there, your Euthyphro point was perfectly sound, but perhaps we'll get a chance to thrash it out properly on another thread.

We only got two of the DI theistic Three Stooges. I was expecting Mo might turn up (with his bevy of Jewish female feminist academics in tow) to join Larry and Curly but it seems we may have to wait until another thread for him to delight us all with his scintillating wit.

Karl Grant said...

Frances,

Indeed. This is the distinction that you are failing to make.

No Frances, this is the distinction that you are failing to make. The only thing you said is that, and I quote, even if the second does come from a blog run by a lecturer in religious studies, making its objectivity suspect. You didn't point to any flaws in his methodology, any incorrect information he was citing; just "oh, He studies religion. His work has got to be suspect!" That is what makes it a textbook example of ad hominem circumstantial.


I could go into it in more detail, but there's no point.


Of course, there is no point. The next time you actually make a point will be the first.

You will not understand (being hindered by your single digit IQ)

My IQ is in the 130s, tested via a study conducted by Duke University. But I imagine somebody who can't read worth a damn, like you and Skeppy, can only see the the first number. Of course, you also think that negative sign in front of your IQ score is a hyphen.

He loves his fallacies. No, he lurves his fallacies.

What are you? Four years old? That kind of insult grew old in kindergarten.

We only got two of the DI theistic Three Stooges. I was expecting Mo might turn up (with his bevy of Jewish female feminist academics in tow) to join Larry and Curly but it seems we may have to wait until another thread for him to delight us all with his scintillating wit.

Hey Skeppy, you got yourself a sock puppet? Because copying insults is your trademark.

Papalinton said...

"My IQ is in the 130s, tested via a study conducted by Duke University."

You need a second opinion and a confirmatory second test. The functional IQ 60 level that your commentary reflects is almost broaching the limits of ineducability.

planks length said...

If my IQ was ever tested, I have no memory of it. In any case, my humble opinion is that such tests have all the accuracy and usefulness of astrological horoscopes or polygraphs, i.e., none whatsoever.

In fact, since they are of such little value, their usefulness may actually be negative, in that they decrease our ability to understand each other.

Karl Grant said...

Paps,

The functional IQ 60 level that your commentary reflects is almost broaching the limits of ineducability.

No Paps, the only person here who has a level 60 IQ would be you and the thing is you know you are not smart. That is why you plagiarize, trying to look smart on subjects you know fuck-all about, and why you try to brandish one hundred dollar words around to hide the fact that your posts typically have as much substance as a bag of dog shit. You're the intellectual equivalent of the guy who puts a Toyota Racing Development decal on his Honda Civic trying to make everybody think he has got a fancy sports car.

Papalinton said...

" ... trying to look smart .... why you try to brandish one hundred dollar words around ... on subjects you know fuck-all about .... have as much substance as a bag of dog shit ... the guy who puts a Toyota Racing Development decal on his Honda Civic trying to make everybody think he has got a fancy sports car."

Having a wee hissy-fit, are we? Just calm down and tell Jesus in pray how you have been slighted by me. He might take umbrage on your behalf and shrivel me as he did with the fig tree [Matthew 21:18-22. Or the Markan version if you want a different take]. But then perhaps in His wisdom, like Dr Repopert refraining from banning me, Jesus will just leave well alone sitting on his hands as he has a habit of doing these days saying, "Suck it up Grant".

Papalinton said...

Dr Reppert not 'Dr Repopert'

Karl Grant said...

Paps,

Having a wee hissy-fit, are we?

No, I am having fun.

Just calm down and tell Jesus in pray how you have been slighted by me.

Why? It ain't like you have managed to piss me off or caused me to lose any sleep. You and Skeppy, and increasingly Frances and Ilion, are an amusing sideshow. Something I play with when I get bored and got nothing else to do. What? You actually I'm going to be intimidated or impressed by your copying-and-pasting skills, arguments from incredulity, childish insults or the fact you stumbled across obstreperous in your worn-out thesaurus?

But then perhaps in His wisdom, like Dr Repopert refraining from banning me, Jesus will just leave well alone sitting on his hands as he has a habit of doing these days saying, "Suck it up Grant".

Please, for somebody to tell me to suck it up would imply I am experiencing hardship and like I am going to experience hardship from you plagiarizing Wikipedia, Skeppy bragging about how he didn't want to go to bed when his mom told him to makes him intellectual heavy-weight or Frances going he lurves his fallacies like she his on a grade school playground. I mean come on, you guys are like the gift that keeps on giving. Normally people have to pay money for this kind of comedy gold.

im-skeptical said...

Boy, did you miss the boat on that one.

Papalinton said...

"Boy, did you miss the boat on that one."

He's misses every boat. Takes a step off the jetty, Ker-plunk! Straight into the drink. Every time.

Ilíon said...

PL: "I believe the Catholic Church to be the divinely-instituted, legitimate successor to the Apostles, against which the Gates of Hell shall not prevail. He terms it the One True Bureaucracy."

Perhaps I'm being a bit too subtle, but it's not really Catholicism, per se, that I term "the One True Bureaucracy", but rather that sort of mindless Rah-Rah Catholicism, as so profoundly exemplified by Son-of-Confusion (*), that keeps trying to play that pointless One True Church card -- as though our salvation comes through the bureaucracy of kissing the ring of the guy who kissed the ring of the guy who kissed the ring ... of the guy who claims to be the "heir" of Peter, when, it is the blood of Christ, and that alone, which purchases us out of Death.

(*) considering that the rest of you Catholics have had years on this blog to tell him to knock it off, and no one ever says anything, I guess you'll have to put up with me mocking his/your bureaucratic pretensions.

Ilíon said...

Churl: "I will take this as admission of the fact."

But then, you *are* intellectually dishonest.

Churl: "Ilion, your arguments on the subject of Islam (or politics or social policies) were neither sound or valid to begin with. They are devoid of historical context, knowledge of current events, social trends, etc... For example, the Kaaba has already been destroyed before, by Muslims themselves, and the religion did not collapse."

Churlish Fool, the rock (in the Kaaba) that Moslems worship was "kidnapped" by other Moslems ... and that was in 930, slightly before the internet age. Today's Moslems are certain that Allah would never allow mere infidels to damage either the Kaaba or the rock (*). So, when (**) "infidels" *do* destroy the Kaaba and that rock, the whole worldview of all Moslems will shatter ... and one result of that will be massive numbers of Moslems being murdered by other Moslems.

(*) or course, Moslems are also very practiced at believing mutually contradictory things ... much like you are.

(**) it *will* happen ... and if it's done by "liberals", it will likely involve nukes.

Churl: "Besides, he just admitted he is a bigot in his last post and that it doesn't matter."

But, of course, nothing of the sort occurred.

What must it be like to be so intellectually dishonest, and so blatant about it? I can wrap my mind around all sorts of "less than optimal" states/conditions, but that one I just can't comprehend.

Karl Grant said...

Paps,

He's misses every boat. Takes a step off the jetty, Ker-plunk! Straight into the drink. Every time.

That's cute Paps, steal it from your granddaughter?

Nah... She's got your genes and that automatically means she's dumber than a box of rocks. Probably swiped it from the kids mocking her.

Dan Gillson said...

And Karl just took this to a new low ... wow, just ... wow, what an asshole.

Karl Grant said...

Incompetent Loser Ignorant Obstinate Nitwit,

But then, you *are* intellectually dishonest.

According to you, the whole world is intellectually dishonest except for your ass and anybody who kisses it.

the rock (in the Kaaba) that Moslems worship was "kidnapped" by other Moslems ... and that was in 930, slightly before the internet age.

Still doesn't change the fact that it was defiled, along with being hit by siege artillery. I asked you once before that if Muslims themselves are willing to risk destroying it themselves why do you think Islam is going to collapse if it does get destroyed? Never got a satisfactory answer.

Today's Moslems are certain that Allah would never allow mere infidels to damage either the Kaaba or the rock (*).

Oh please, they have had to put up with Western occupation, colonialism and intervention in their lands for the better part of the last two centuries. More than one or two things and locations they considered sacred got destroyed in that time period. The idea that a western power would destroy the Kaaba wouldn't shock them or shake their faith; it would just piss them off.

So, when (**) "infidels" *do* destroy the Kaaba and that rock, the whole worldview of all Moslems will shatter ... and one result of that will be massive numbers of Moslems being murdered by other Moslems.

Oh yeah right. A foreign power destroys their most sacred site and they start murdering each other as opposed to putting aside their differences and uniting under a common banner against the asshole who did it. What fucking world do you live in? And don't tell me that we can hide our involvement or some other bullshit; we live in the internet age. The identity of the true culprit would be known sooner rather than later. Nor are China and India going to allow their oil and gas supplies to be disrupted nor is Russia going to allow anarchy to reign on its southern border; they would stabilize the situation. So you want to piss off just about every follower of the world's second largest religion and the other three great powers at the same time? Oh yeah, no way that plan is going to backfire.

it *will* happen ... and if it's done by "liberals", it will likely involve nukes.

It will happen? So you are clairvoyant now? And no idiot, what is looking increasingly more likely in the near future is NATO vs the SCO; not your Islamphobic wet-dream.

Karl Grant said...

Dan,

And Karl just took this to a new low ... wow, just ... wow, what an asshole.

Yes, I can be an asshole.

planks length said...

"considering that the rest of you Catholics have had years on this blog to tell him to knock it off, and no one ever says anything"

I generally ignore Ben for two reasons:

1. His atrocious bad grammar and omnipresent typos. I can't take anyone seriously who doesn't at least make a pretense at checking his work.

2. I frequently do not understand what he is saying. I have yet to figure out his obsession with "Classical Theism" or even what that means.

planks length said...

Actually, there's a 3rd reason as well:

3. His frequent use of foul, and even obscene, language. No excuse for that.

Ilíon said...

Nuancey-boy: "And Karl just took this to a new low ... wow, just ... wow, what an asshole."

Wait! Isn't the Nuancey-boy a sock-puppet (*) that exists only to make comments about how terrible I am? Has he *ever* posted a comment that wasn't about me?

(*) my money is on the Churl as the fist up the sock

Ilíon said...

PL: "I generally ignore Ben for two reasons:

1. His atrocious bad grammar and omnipresent typos. I can't take anyone seriously who doesn't at least make a pretense at checking his work.
"

And I certainly understand and sympathize.

PL: "2. I frequently do not understand what he is saying. I have yet to figure out his obsession with "Classical Theism" or even what that means."

I have to engage in some arm-chair psychoanalysis (sorry ‘bout that) to explain that to you –

There are two main reasons he bangs on about what he calls "Classical Theism":
1) it’s his way of declaring himself intellectually superior to what he calls “Personal Theists” (meaning those who dare to imagine that the Divine Persons are not denoted as being persons for no reason, to wit: that they *are* persons) and “fundamentalists” (meaning Protestants who are serious about Christ and the Bible) – in the end, pretty much any Christian
2) it’s a psychological defense mechanism – he’s *angry* at God (in his heart of hearts, he believes that God “cheated” him, that God failed him morally). But it’s pointless/self-defeating to rage against God. So, by turning God into a non-person, into a thing which of course cannot have moral obligations (and by turning all serious Christians into ignoramuses), he can sidestep his real issue.

Karl Grant said...

Incompetent Loser Ignorant Obstinate Nitwit,

Wait! Isn't the Nuancey-boy a sock-puppet (*) that exists only to make comments about how terrible I am? Has he *ever* posted a comment that wasn't about me?

Hate to burst your persecution complex....actually, that is a lie, I love to do it...but Dan and I are two different people.

Ilíon said...

I wasn't clear enough. I've long presumed that Mr Gillson is just a sock-puppet (for the vain purpose of trolling me); perhaps he isn't.

planks length said...

I find it curious that the Haters of All Religion get their undies in a bundle over Ilion's alleged bigotry towards Islam. Why so sensitive about the Moslems while they routinely pour slop and bile over Christians?

Could it be that they know in their heart of hearts that they enjoy Freedom of Thought under Christianity, whereas if they said the same things in an Islamic state that they do here, their heads would shortly be separated from their necks?

I dare them to stand on a street corner in Pakistan and tell everyone that Allah is a myth and the Koran a fantasy.

Ilíon said...

PL: "I dare them to stand on a street corner in Pakistan and tell everyone that Allah is a myth and the Koran a fantasy."

Heck, no need to even get that dramatic -- just go to Dearborn MI at tell someone that Jesus is the Son of God, and his the only name given men by which they might be saved.

Dan Gillson said...

I stopped trolling you when I realized that you weren't really a misanthrope, Ilíon. When I first started commenting here I mistook your style for trolling, so I thought I'd pick on you a bit. Sorry I didn't inform you, but I thought you'd have noticed the change.

Karl Grant said...

Planks Length,

I find it curious that the Haters of All Religion get their undies in a bundle over Ilion's alleged bigotry towards Islam. Why so sensitive about the Moslems while they routinely pour slop and bile over Christians?

Since when do I pour slop and bile over Christians?

Papalinton said...

Plank: "Could it be that they know in their heart of hearts that they enjoy Freedom of Thought under Christianity, .....?

A non-sequitur. The correct interpretation under the Constitution is that they enjoy Freedom of Thought despite Christianity [or any other religious belief system for that matter].

Plank: "I dare them to stand on a street corner in Pakistan and tell everyone that Allah is a myth and the Koran a fantasy."

More's the point, you should stand on a street corner in Pakistan and tell everyone that Jesus is the son of God, that salvation can only come through the risen Jesus, and that the bible is the true 'word of God'. Rather than be negative against Islam [after all you do realize that you and the people of Pakistan are co-believers and religious brethren that share the exact same Abrahamic God] have courage of your own convictions.

What atheists say for Christianity you can be assured we say for Islam. Both are impediments to humanity going forward. By way of example I think the idea of a physical bodily resurrection of a cadaver is as ludicrous as Muhammad riding to heaven on a winged horse. For atheists the commonality of mythic origins of both fables is not lost.

BenYachov said...

>1. His atrocious bad grammar and omnipresent typos. I can't take anyone seriously who doesn't at least make a pretense at checking his work.

I have bad grammar & spelling & I feel no shame over it & I won't change.

I do sometimes check my work but only if I feel like it.

>2. I frequently do not understand what he is saying. I have yet to figure out his obsession with "Classical Theism" or even what that means.

That is wholly your fault. You haven't read Feser, Lagrange or Brian Davies and you clearly refuse to do so. You are ignorant of your own faith tradition.

That is 100% your fault. Not mine.

>3. His frequent use of foul, and even obscene, language. No excuse for that.

Sorry I just don't give a fuck.;-)

OTOH I advise you don't read the original Italian of the Little Flowers of St Francis.

The part where St Francis advises one of his monks to threaten to "Shit in the mouth" of the devil the next time he is tempted by him might offend your delicate sensibilities.

Just saying.

Cheers.

Karl Grant said...

Incompetent Loser Ignorant Obstinate Nitwit,

just go to Dearborn MI at tell someone that Jesus is the Son of God, and his the only name given men by which they might be saved.

Minor problem Ilion, that ain't what they were doing at the festival according to the local newspaper and Sheriff's Office:

Tensions flared Friday evening at the annual Arab International Festival in Dearborn as members of some Christian missionary groups — including one called the Bible Believers — taunted Arab Americans with a pig’s head and signs that promoted hatred of Islam.

“You’re gonna burn in hell,” one missionary shouted at a group of young Arab-American boys listening to him speak on Warren Avenue, where the festival takes place.

About a dozen with the group stood facing the festival on Friday with signs that made bigoted remarks about Islam and its prophet, Mohammed. One of the missionaries had a pig’s head mounted on a pole that he displayed in front of his group. Muslims don’t eat pigs because their faith teaches that the animal is unclean.

Some of the signs the missionaries held read: "Islam is a religion of blood and murder" and "Muhammad (Islam's prophet) is a ... liar, false prophet, murderer, child molesting pervert."


That's what started the confrontations. Bring a pig's head into synagogue and you would get a similar reaction.

Ilíon said...

Dan Gillson: "... but I thought you'd have noticed the change."

I did ... but I also have a hard time distinguishing you from Karl Grant (unless you're both commenting in a thread). For instance, I did not forget that you and I had implicitly buried the hatchet, but I *remembered* it as being Karl Grant ... and, I was thinking the past couple of days, "Well, so much for that."

BenYachov said...

I never said anything bad to Ilion but out of left field he began attacking me a few years ago. He comes off as a bit nutty in his weird posts so maybe once in a while I might tweak him.

I suspect it was because I was rather friendly at the time to an Atheist who used to post here named Blue Devil Knight whom Ilion hated so that motivated him to hate me as well I guess.

Also I am an Edward Feser fan & for some reason Ilion hates Feser (maybe because he doesn't enforce ID).

His posts come off as a bit weird. So I tend to treat him the same way I might treat the weirdo on the city bus who drools on himself.

He will turn on you PL. He can't help it.

BenYachov said...

In regard to "foul language" I do have a photo-reporoduction of the original King James Bible.

Isa 36:12 But Rabshakeh said, Hath my master sent me to thy master and to thee to speak these words? hath he not sent me to the men that sit upon the wall, that they may eat their own dung, and drink their own piss with you?

Ilíon said...

me: "There are two main reasons [Son-of-Confusion] bangs on about what he calls "Classical Theism": ..."

There is a third main reason (but the most important is #2) he bangs on about what he calls "Classical Theism" --
3) should an 'atheist' or pagan (of some sort) raise an objection to Christianity that may well be honestly meant (however misguided), Son-of-Confusion doesn't have to deal with that person as sincere-but-misguided; instead, he just merrily waves his hands while chanting an incantation about "Classical Theism", and *poof* that person has been dealt with.

It’s hard to meet people where they are, I understand this, but that *is* what Christ expects of us.

Dan Gillson said...

That's funny, Ilíon. It also probably doesn't help that I haven't been commenting here as much as I used to.