Wednesday, May 06, 2015

Do you believe in magic

  • I don't believe that reason could arise from nonreason, therefore I think that reason is at the foundation of the universe. According to the naturalistic view, the normative arises from the nonnormative, the logical arises from the nonlogical, the universe exists without an explanation for its existence even though it looks contingent as all heck, the universe was finely tuned for intelligent life, purposes arise where none existed before, consciousness comes from a lack of consciousness. The very foundations of science don't even seem possible in the irrational universe that atheists believe in. Even the very fact that our thoughts are about something else is something that can't be captured by basic physics. It has always seemed to me that the atheists, not the theists, are the ones who believe in magic.


300 comments:

1 – 200 of 300   Newer›   Newest»
Crude said...

It has always seemed to me that the atheists, not the theists, are the ones who believe in magic.

I agree entirely, and I say as much. And of course, it gets worse at times - straight up denial of consciousness, or aboutness, etc.

The idea that atheism (particularly materialist/naturalistic atheism) is the 'rational' viewpoint is absurd, and it goes to illustrate why there is a tremendous gap between the simply irreligious and the atheist.

B. Prokop said...

I heard a joke recently that went something like this:

Philosophy Student - "Professor, your class has gotten me so confused. How can I be sure that I even exist?"

Philosophy Professor - "Who wants to know?"

Bilbo said...

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=R8ifTS5NEsI

B. Prokop said...

I've always found it amazing that atheists can balk at the story of the Resurrection, and yet don't bat an eye at the literally billions of miracles that surround them on every hand constantly.

I'll come clean here and confess that I frankly do not understand how the atheist's mind works. The embrace of such incoherence without suffering from debilitating cognitive dissonance has got to be willful!

Jezu ufam tobie!

SRV said...

Atheism is self-refuting. It's should be classified as a form of mental illness, if "mental illness" is a legitimate way of describing certain "crazy" beliefs, though I don't think it really is. Richard Dawkins and others of his ilk and their supporters are loons, though, no doubt about that.

Ilíon said...

"The very foundations of science don't even seem possible in the irrational universe that atheists believe in."

That's one of the reasons I keep mentioning this and this

Victor Reppert said...

Hey just because I banned a couple of atheists doesn't mean I want this to be an echo chamber.

Chris said...

What I find particularly difficult to sustain is the fact that such a huge chunk of "philosophers" are atheo-materialists. Rejecting classical theism is one thing, but I really struggle to understand how a "lover of wisdom" can be a materialist. On such a "view", what's there to "know"?

Doug Sinclair said...

Please read Jeffrey Jay Lowder's blog post in reply to this. I'm not sure I can link to it, but his blog is "The Secular Outpost". He effectively dismantles this entire line of thinking.

B. Prokop said...

"echo chamber"

You want controversy? Start some conversations on sola scriptura, or the Deuterocanonical books, or whether the Gospels demand social justice, or Mariology, or the End Times, or private revelation, or Purgatory, or who's the better writer - C.S. Lewis or Charles Williams, or universalism, or can a Christian support a political candidate who supports [fill in the blank], or what does inerrancy mean, or what is your favorite book and why, or can a rich man be saved, or what passages in The Bible are particularly difficult for you, or how can there be free will in Heaven if nobody sins, or what are the philosophical and/or theological implications of extraterrestrial intelligence, or was C.S. Lewis correct in speculating that consciousness was restricted to human beings alone, or (speaking of consciousness) what are the philosophical implications of sleep and/or dementia, etc., or take up some of the issues around the recent disturbances in Baltimore that Crude has been discussing over on his site, or... but, hey - there's all kinds of controversy out there, ripe for the picking!

Jezu ufam tobie!

Victor Reppert said...

I don't think atheism is a form of mental illness, nor do you need to be possessed to believe it, and I think people who get involved in online discussions often have to deal with a disproportionate population of atheists. This site was at its best when leading atheist commentators here were good at blowing the whistle on the extremists. I miss those days.

B. Prokop said...

Or we could debate/discuss THIS.

"I miss those days."

So do I. But by their own accounts, the reason many of the level headed atheists fled this site was the level of discourse had fallen so low due to the gnus hijacking every discussion. Now maybe it will regain some of its former health. It'll probably take time.

Jason Thibodeau said...

"I don't believe that reason could arise from non reason"

It seems to me that the real issue is whether intentionality can arise from non-intentional systems. Once you have intentionality, then you have everything you need for reason. But, once we see this, it seems pretty clear that an atheist does not have to believe that intentionality can arise from non-intentionality. That is, an atheist can be a dualist about mental phenomena.

For the record, I don't see a problem in supposing that intentionality can arise in a purely physical universe, but I also don't see that an atheist has to adopt the kind of naturalism that you describe.

Jeffery Jay Lowder said...

Victor, I don't know if I qualify as a leading atheist commentator or not, but when I read your post about banning a couple of people, I thought you intended to ban a couple of theists. It seems to me that you could take the exact same logic you gave for banning the two atheists and apply it to a couple of theists.

In any case, I'm glad to read that you don't consider atheism a mental illness. I still think it's unfortunate your post conflates naturalism with one version of naturalism. If you agree, it would be most helpful if you would post a correction.

Victor Reppert said...

Maybe, but the two atheists seem to dominate discussion. The theists I think you have in mind used to be typically ignored if their points were too far off-target.

But it took me a very long time to come to this decision, and this is precisely the reason why it did. If I start banning, then someone can say that someone on my side said something just as bad, etc. etc. etc. In fact, people here would pledge to ignore these people and then ended up not being able to do it.

Ilíon said...

VR: "This site was at its best when leading atheist commentators here were good at blowing the whistle on the extremists. I miss those days."

That must have been before I discovered your blog, 'cause I don't recall ever seeing "leading atheist commentators here ... blowing the whistle on the extremists"

Ilíon said...

B.Confused: "But is it the atheist who is doing the abandoning? I wonder… Maybe it’s time we face up to the implications of our failure to connect with a rational partner when we attempt conversation with an atheist. Could it be that it is not their will which is in control here? To put it bluntly, I am speaking of possible demon possession."

This is yet another thing that amuses me. I grew up amongst the "simple folk" who did believe in the possibility of demon possession -- whom "sophisticated people", like you and your ilk, did and do mock as "hicks" and "snake handlers" (never mind that we we agast at the very notion of testing God by playing with snakes and calling that worship).

A distinction -- from us "simple folk" -- that you may want to consider is "demon oppression" in contrast to "demon possession".

Nevertheless, as for me (and I expect, for my now dead elders), while I do believe in the possibility of "demon possession", I am also verrrry skeptical of any particular claim of it.

B.Confused: "Ilion blames this on “intellectual dishonesty”. But could it be a case of the intellect having been hijacked by a hostile entity?"

B.Confused: "I'll come clean here and confess that I frankly do not understand how the atheist's mind works. The embrace of such incoherence without suffering from debilitating cognitive dissonance has got to be willful!"

Apparently, so do you. At least, until you reach for that ol' Black Magic card.

Unless it is the case that God gives demons permission the wear us like finger puppets (or, what amounts to the same thing from our perspective, if God cannot prohibit demons wear us like finger puppets if they want to), then *every* case of actual "demon possession" must ultimately be because the possessed person somehow allowed the demon(s) to possess him.

Edward T. Babinski said...

Vic, I don't believe that irrational. mechanistic, probabilistic, chaotic phenomena or behaviors could have come about unles they also are at least part of the essence of what exists.

So, given Vic's view and my own, the most we can come up with, if God exists, is a Divine Tinkerer, whose cosmos is at best in equilibrium with life and death/extinction.

The cosmos may be beyond our limited words and understandings, something unique to be sure.

Edward T. Babinski said...

Vic knows my objections to his "argument from reason," stated here, where I also address Vic's comments: http://edward-t-babinski.blogspot.com/2011/01/prior-prejudices-and-argument-from.html

Crude said...

Victor,

This site was at its best when leading atheist commentators here were good at blowing the whistle on the extremists. I miss those days.

The problem is, one of those 'Leading atheist commentators' turned out to be a guy who later engaged in months - and possibly, years - long deception, posing as a theist purely to attack and undermine theists. And that one didn't 'blow the whistle on the extremists'. He strategically claimed he didn't want to talk about them at all, and objected strenuously to even discussing them. His 'blowing the whistle' amounted to exactly that - 'Stop talking about him, talk about something else.'

I think there are some good atheist commentators here. But those good old days had some problems of their own.

Still, it's better now that you axed the two.

Crude said...

In any case, I'm glad to read that you don't consider atheism a mental illness. I still think it's unfortunate your post conflates naturalism with one version of naturalism. If you agree, it would be most helpful if you would post a correction.

His post addresses the variety of 'naturalism' - ever the content-free beast - that far and away most atheists, particularly New Atheists, generally embrace.

Reppert mentions that a non-materialist atheism doesn't fall victim to the views he espouses. My response is that it's not clear such a view is naturalistic after all. You may as well be saying that dualism is physicalism - it just turns out that there's two very different kinds of physical 'stuff' out there. (You can probably make a decent argument of it too, arguing that this problem already exists in contemporary sciences, what with there being multiple yet fundamental particles.)

B. Prokop said...

Ilion,

Are you implying that I'm too sophisticated to believe in demon possession? Well, kindly disabuse yourself of that notion.

But yes, you are correct to label me "confused". Especially since I've never actually met the individuals I am referring to, and on-line diagnosis is always fraught with peril. But the possibility of such in the case of gnus (not atheists in general) seems at the least plausible enough that it ought not to be dismissed out of hand (as Victor apparently does).

Crude said...

Since I've disagreed with him so damn much as of late, I'm going to make one comment here in Bob's favor.

To put it bluntly, I am speaking of possible demon possession.

Could be. I've got no idea how to tell when a demon's at work or not, or even how it would go down. But I'm not going to be a theist who snorts with derision at such a claim and goes 'Yes, but now we know mental illness is the reason for...' Mental illness is yet another problematic thing to pin down.

Count me as a guy who shrugs and says, 'Possible, but what to do in any event?' when that possibility is raised.

B. Prokop said...

"but what to do in any event?' when that possibility is raised"

Thank you, Crude, for expressing the question exactly in that manner. Perhaps I was being too subtle, but "what to do" is to not mess in things above our pay grade. Once I started suspecting what I now more than half believe, I decided to cease all communications with the affected parties. The devil may despise the intellect, but when he chooses to use it, he knows how to pervert and sully it to the point where you feel dirty just by encountering the expressions he makes through his mouthpieces. Worse, he's a master at subtlety, and his main aim may not be to convince me of anything, but rather to sully my own witness by tricking me into engaging in a mud fight, which is what any extended conversation with a gnu always ends up as.

Mr. Green said...

Crude: I've got no idea how to tell when a demon's at work or not, or even how it would go down.

For that matter, why should we assume that demons wouldn't use mental illness? (D'ya think they haven't seen Gaslight??) It's another of those false dichotomies we're supposed to fall for without noticing.


B. Prokop: his main aim may not be to convince me of anything, but rather to sully my own witness by tricking me into engaging in a mud fight

A very good point.

Victor Reppert said...

I know about the problem with this person. I truly don't know why he did that, but while he was himself, he did a lot for the quality of this site.

Ilíon said...

Moreover, VR, that 'leading atheist commentator' to whom the crudé fellow refers had a habit of disparaging not just me, but also you. I showed you an example of that some moths ago, last time we had one of these "where have all the unicorns gone?" laments.

Ilíon said...

B.Prokop: "Are you implying that I'm too sophisticated to believe in demon possession? Well, kindly disabuse yourself of that notion."

Oh! Come on; you know I don't *imply* things. I was saying that you and your sort *imagine* yourselves to be so vastly more sophisticated than the Holy Rollers (of all three traditional American races) amongst whom I grew up.

B.Prokop: "But the possibility of such in the case of gnus (not atheists in general) seems at the least plausible enough that it ought not to be dismissed out of hand (as Victor apparently does)."

"Don't multiply entities beyond necessity [of explanation]"
"Don't ascribe to malevolence what stupidity [or short-sighted selfishness] will explain."
"Don't ascribe to demon possession what human perversity will explain"

B. Prokop said...

"Don't ascribe to demon possession what human perversity will explain"

Fair enough. But in that case, there's a pretty high level of "human perversity" associated with the gnu movement.

Most telling to me is the visceral reaction to Scripture. They act like someone who's touched a hot stove when presented with it in a discussion. As I've said before, it reminds me of nothing so much as Dracula recoiling from a Crucifix in an old horror movie. This trait alone has the stench of sulfur about it.

Then there's the on/off toggle switch every gnu seems to be equipped with, when it comes to reason. They'll insist on evidence as long as it suits them, but when actually presented with evidence for the Resurrection, they pretend as though they've heard nothing and simply repeat their demand for "evidence!" Even more hypocritical is their simultaneous swallowing whole such non-evidentiary ideas as the Universe "just happening" without any cause whatsoever, or (my favorite) the multiverse theory, for which even its (professional) proponents admit no evidence is even possible! Or, when presented with the conversion of former atheists to Christianity, they respond with such flat-out logical fallacies such as ad hominem attacks or (shouldn't there be a Latin term for this?) No True Scotsman defenses.

But perhaps worst of all is the gnu's seeming inability to even hear a contrary point of view. It goes beyond an unwillingness to hear - it's like there's a barrier between them and the outside world. Gnus love to talk about Christians living in a "box", but I know of no box smaller or more suffocating than the thought-proof, steel-walled self-erected prison they inhabit. No light or air from without is tolerated within their tightly shuttered, rigidly circumscribed enclosure.

So it's actually a charity to postulate some outside malevolent force behind such perversity, rather than ascribing it all to the gnu himself.

(Sorry for all the "comment deleted"s. Fingers just not cooperating this morning.)

Jezu ufam tobie!

voxmaximus said...

Dear Dr. Reppert,

Its not just that atheistic-naturalists believe in magic, its also, in my opinion, the atheistic-naturalists who believe in things on blind faith/assumptions.

For example, the next time an atheistic-naturalistic tells you that his worldview is based on reason and evidence, ask him to provide you with the evidence for the existence of matter. Once he fumbles around a bit, and once you show him that not only can Berkelian Immaterialism account for everything we perceive as well as naturalism/materialism, but it also has the benefit of Occam's Razor on its side, suddenly the naturalist's blind faith / assumption becomes apparent. He assumed everyone else believed matter actually existed too, and when someone challenges him, he cannot provide any non-question-begging evidence for his views nor can he accept that one of his favorite tools (Occam's Razor) actually works against his worldview.

Indeed, too many atheistic-naturalists are skeptics right up until the point of being skeptical about the existence of matter or the need to posit it to account for what we sense. And too many atheistic-naturalists are such free-thinkers that they freely accept the existence of matter without thinking.

After all--and to use another favorite atheistic term--who needs to believe all this "woo" about matter existing. Its unnecessary and superstitious and goes against Occam's Razor. Ergo, irrational. Ergo, naturalism is irrational.

Vox Maximus
www.voxmaximus.wordpress.com

voxmaximus said...

Dear Dr. Reppert,

Its not just that atheistic-naturalists believe in magic, its also, in my opinion, the atheistic-naturalists who believe in things on blind faith/assumptions.

For example, the next time an atheistic-naturalistic tells you that his worldview is based on reason and evidence, ask him to provide you with the evidence for the existence of matter. Once he fumbles around a bit, and once you show him that not only can Berkelian Immaterialism account for everything we perceive as well as naturalism/materialism, but it also has the benefit of Occam's Razor on its side, suddenly the naturalist's blind faith / assumption becomes apparent. He assumed everyone else believed matter actually existed too, and when someone challenges him, he cannot provide any non-question-begging evidence for his views nor can he accept that one of his favorite tools (Occam's Razor) actually works against his worldview.

Indeed, too many atheistic-naturalists are skeptics right up until the point of being skeptical about the existence of matter or the need to posit it to account for what we sense. And too many atheistic-naturalists are such free-thinkers that they freely accept the existence of matter without thinking.

After all--and to use another favorite atheistic term--who needs to believe all this "woo" about matter existing. Its unnecessary and superstitious and goes against Occam's Razor. Ergo, irrational. Ergo, naturalism is irrational.

Vox Maximus
www.voxmaximus.wordpress.com

voxmaximus said...

Sorry for the double post!

Vox Maximus

voxmaximus said...

And just as an addition to my main post above, note that one's ability to reason is not at all affected if matter does not exist, for a mind can reason. By contrast, if the mind is matter (a la eliminative materialism or certain forms of naturalism), then reason is finished, for chunks of matter don't reason. So not only is immaterialism more reasonable than materialism (Occam's Razor, etc.), but it is also a view that supports reason, whereas materialism threatens reason.

Vox Maximus
www.voxmaximus.wordpress.com

Kathen said...

'Hey just because I banned a couple of atheists doesn't mean I want this to be an echo chamber'

But you do really don't you? Otherwise you would have banned those non-atheists who are even worse.

voxmaximus said...

Kathen,

Not to speak for Dr. Reppert, and he will surely delete this comment as he is unfailingly polite, but please, just shut up!

All the evidence points against your assertion and all the evidence pointed to the fact that those two atheists so sucked up the air on this blog with idiocy and stupidity, that it was no longer worth posting here while they were on.

Finally, if you don't like this 'echo chamber', then feel free to piss off.

And to everyone else, sorry, but I had enough (ps - I used to post here under a different name, but left once the two atheists that just got banned started filling the comment threads endlessly).

Vox Maximus
www.voxmaximus.wordpress.com

Kathen said...

Vox Maximus

If Victor Reppert asks me to shut up then of course I will do so. It is his blog.

I don't think you have any right to tell anyone to piss off.

I have described things as I see them. The worst comments here, the most unreasonable, the most insulting, have always come from Christians.

I hope Victor Reppert will not delete your comment or mine. I think everyone should know how we all think. I have given my view.

B. Prokop said...

Kathen,

There are two ways to not have an echo chamber. One is for people to get together and have a reasonable discussion where each side of an issue presents its case. The other is to have hecklers sitting on the sidelines ready to out-shout the speaker on the dais whenever he opens his mouth.

The situation in the past several months here on Dangerous Idea had regrettably degenerated into the latter. A number of onetime contributors (cl was one - there are others) had fled the site for that very reason, impoverishing the dialog here. The two individuals asked to leave were by far the worst offenders. No one could say anything without an instant deluge of insulting and often borderline obscene "commentary" following, which (fatal sin) did absolutely nothing to advance the conversation.

To the contrary, whatever your opinion of (for instance) Ilion's tone, you could never accuse him of not significantly enriching the dialog with well thought out, rational, and (very important) pointed commentary.

The same could be said for the overwhelming majority of other Christian posters to DI.

I refuse (for now) to defend myself, other than to say that I've always made an effort to think my commentary through (often massaging the text in Microsoft Word, and then copy/pasting it to DI only when satisfied), and to post only what I felt I would have no qualms about saying in person. (That's been my "Golden Rule" of internet posting - never say anything online that you wouldn't say to somebody's face.) And if I've ever been guilty of losing my cool, I've instantly regretted it. That is the major (in fact, the only) reason I swore off answering the postings of certain individuals. I realized that their sole purpose in posting was to see if they could get a rise out of others, rather than actually saying anything of value. I would demean myself whenever I allowed them to drag me into their dirt those times I would attempt engagement, so I removed that possibility by simply ignoring them.

As it turns out, my decision to do so preceded Victor's banning of the offending parties by only a few weeks. I regret now that I hadn't taken that step a long time ago.

Jezu ufam tobie!

Son of Ya'Kov said...

Kathen,

As I recall the two Atheist that where asked to leave had been criticized by other Atheists as offering stupid unreasoned arguments.

That having been said I myself have been criticized as being too harsh and mean by fellow Catholic Christians(Hey Bob. Love ya buddy) here on this blog.

The difference is I can pull it back if asked too. Just ask Bob.

Besides I have not posted here in a while.

Believe when I say getting rid of those two will raise the collective atheist IQ on this blog by an order of magnitude.

Maybe you could fulfill a constructive role they should have filled?

Like offering an intelligent philosophical defense of Atheist positions and or rational polemics against Theistic arguments.

Here is an incentive. We have been dealing with the low brow idiot arguments of the other two for so long something intelligent from you might throw us all for a loop.

I would find that pleasantly refreshing.

Cheers.

B. Prokop said...

Good atheist arguments (all of which are refutable, but they're at least still interesting and worth discussion):

- The existence of suffering
- the existence of false religions
- the size and age of the Universe

(There must be more, but those are the only "good" ones I can think of right now.)

Stupid atheist arguments (all of which have either been decisively refuted too many times to count, or are just plain dumb right out of the gate):

- Christians "just believe everything on Faith"
- "Show me the evidence!"
- religion is anti-science
- the New Testament is 2nd Century mythology
- "Atheism is winning!" (a variation of Khrushchev's "Your children will live under Communism!")
- miracles are impossible because... well... miracles are just impossible
- the Early Church modified the Scriptures to conform with doctrine

(There are many, many more stupid ones, but my fingers are getting tired. These will have to serve.)

Jezu ufam tobie!

Jeffery Jay Lowder said...

Good atheist arguments

Here are mine:

LINK

And here is a semi-comprehensive bibliography of others:

LINK

Ilíon said...

I must be some sort of superman, for I never had any difficulty ignoring anything posted by the Two Nameless Individuals, and especially the worst of them.

Ilíon said...

waaaaaaaaaaaa! "The worst comments here, the most unreasonable, the most insulting, have always come from Christians."

Translation: "Some Christians call BS on our BS; that's so *mean* and insulting to not let us get away with BS."

Looks: 'Atheists' are *always* liars (*). And, apparently, the modern variety are whiney babies, too.


(*) I been over this many times, I not going to re-justify the conclusion again in this post.

Son of Ya'Kov said...

Some of those arguments are good some are moronic.

At least to a Classic Theist.

example:

Why would God use biological evolution as a method for creation?

Seriously? That is as bad as "Who created God?".

God does not have to create in the first place. If He creates God is not obligated to make any particular type of world. God is omnipotent thus no world he chooses to make is "hard" for him.

I think some of those objections are aimed at theistic personalists.

grodrigues said...

@B. Prokop:

"- the size and age of the Universe"

I can understand the first two and their general direction, but I am genuinely left scratching my head at this one. Could you show how this is supposed to run?

Son of Ya'Kov said...

I am referring to Jeff's link BTW....

B. Prokop said...

To Ilion:

"We're not worthy!"
"We're not worthy!"

Ilíon said...

^ No doubt. Yet, I miss the topic to which the confession ia apropos.

B. Prokop said...

grogigues,

I said the argument was refutable, but I at least find it interesting. It's basically the one that runs, "How could God possibly be interested in our puny Earth in a Universe of uncountable galaxies, or in Man who has existed for but a blink of an eye on the cosmic time scale?"

I come across this all the time in my astronomy club. Not necessarily from atheists, but from people genuinely and legitimately overwhelmed by the vastness of what they are observing. I hear this so often that I have come up with a "standard response" to it. (It's in my book, pages 78-80.)

Jezu ufam tobie!

Ilíon said...

Oh, please! Please, don't tell me that this blog has made a two-for-one trade. Please, don't tell me we're now going to be inundated with ungrammatical, misspelled, pointless, Me-So-Rah-Rah posts by that Prancing Fool.

B. Prokop said...

Ilion,

Where you raise the possibility of your superhuman nature.

Ilíon said...

S.Harris: "(It's in my book, pages 78-80.)"

;)

Jeffery Jay Lowder said...

"moronic"

Right. Where did you get your Ph.D. in philosophy from?

I think the fact that someone who has a Ph.D. in philosophy of religion and science from U.C. at Irvine (Draper) doesn't consider it 'moronic' holds considerably more weight than your asinine comment. Ditto for one of the top Christian philosophers in the world (Alvin Plantinga--see his recent book WHERE THE CONFLICT REALLY LIES). Furthermore, although Plantinga obviously rejects the argument, I find it significant that his list of objections does not include the objection that it doesn't address "classical theism." If Plantinga thought that objection held any weight, it seems reasonable that he would have mentioned it.

Comments like yours are precisely the reason why informed atheists have tended to stay away from Dr. Reppert's combox: too much rudeness. You can disagree with an argument without calling it 'moronic.' More important, if you're going to call the argument 'moronic,' it had actually better be 'moronic.' Otherwise, you only make yourself look 'moronic.' (And I write this as an atheist who has repeatedly defended theists and theistic arguments, including Dr Reppert and his argument from reason, against precisely this accusation.)

#smh

Son of Ya'Kov said...

>the size and age of the Universe.

I don't get that either.

Is the Universe too big? I believe Hugh Ross an Old Earth Creationist Astronomer pointed out in the 19th Century Atheists used to object if God was Infinite wouldn't have have created a larger and more grand creation? Well thanks to Hubble obviously we have an order of magnitude larger Universe then we thought we did in the 19th century.

OTOH given that God is Infinite wouldn't any Universe He creates no matter how large in proportion to it's smallest parts be infinitely smaller than Him?

Ilíon said...

"Where you raise the possibility of your superhuman nature."

Yes, I understood what the "confession" was a response to. I just don't get how it's *connected* to the trigger.

B. Prokop said...

" ;) "

Gimme an e-mail address to send it to, and I'll give you a free e-copy of it.

B. Prokop said...

" I just don't get how it's *connected* to the trigger."

It's an infantile reference to an old Saturday Night Live skit, Waynes' World.

grodrigues said...

@B. Prokop:

"It's basically the one that runs, "How could God possibly be interested in our puny Earth in a Universe of uncountable galaxies, or in Man who has existed for but a blink of an eye on the cosmic time scale?""

Why shouldn't God be "interested" in our "puny Earth"? Is the problem the alleged puny-ness? Why is that a problem, exactly? Or is it because there are "uncountable" other galaxies, that simply God cannot be interested in all of them? Why exactly God cannot be interested in all of them? Or maybe the problem is the ratio between our size and the Universe's size? Size matters, after all (insert raunchy joke), is that it? What is the relevance?

Sorry, but I genuinely do not get this, much less do I understand how it is a "genuinely interesting" argument. But most likely the problem is mine in not seeing the full force of the argument, nay, I do not even see the argument.

SRV said...

Good atheist arguments (all of which are refutable, but they're at least still interesting and worth discussion):

- The existence of suffering
- the existence of false religions
- the size and age of the Universe


The only "good" one among those is the first. The others are pretty easy to refute. The "problem of evil" is definitely a difficulty for theists, but considering all the evidence for theism, there is surely an answer to it, though one we may never fully know in this life.

B. Prokop said...

Jeffery.

In the "Evidential Argument from Biological Evolution" it states, "If theism were true, God could have also used many other methods to create life, methods which are impossible if naturalism is true. In contrast, if naturalism is true, evolution pretty much has to be true."

But I do not see why that's a problem for Christianity. (I am, as you might know, boycotting the term "theism" as being essentially meaningless. I care not a whit for defending "Does God exist?" I'll stick with proclaiming the Gospel.) If God is the Creator of "all things visible and invisible", then He is also the creator of whatever processes exist within that framework - all those things which make up "naturalism". The fact that evolution is necessarily true for naturalism is about as relevant as saying the Earth is the third planet from the Sun.

To put it bluntly, "So what?"

Jezu ufm tobie!

Jeffery Jay Lowder said...

If you don't see why it might be a problem for Christianity if there is strong evidence against the existence of God, then I cannot help you.

SRV said...

I care not a whit for defending "Does God exist?" I'll stick with proclaiming the Gospel

As you wish, but "does God exist" is and always has been the most important question for humans.

As for myself, as a non-Christian theist, I care not one whit for "proclaiming the gospel".

Son of Ya'Kov said...

Jeff that particular question I cited is moronic to a classic theist. Some of the questions looked quite good (in that they could be applicable to CT) and some are obviously crap.

I picked on one of the most obvious crap ones.
Why get butt hurt over it? You are starting to sound like Skepo who can' t bear the thought some Atheist arguments might be wrong headed or non-starters to some form of Theism.

The one I just cited is on the level of "The Second Law of Thermal Dynamics refutes Evolution" nonsense we hear from the Young Earth Creationist types.

>Right. Where did you get your Ph.D. in philosophy from?

How does this vindicate the stupidity of that particular question? Looks like an argument from authority you are giving me here.


>I think the fact that someone who has a Ph.D. in philosophy of religion and science from U.C. at Irvine (Draper) doesn't consider it 'moronic' holds considerably more weight than your asinine comment.

So what? I think it is dumb. Address my reasons why and stop with the argument from authority.


>Ditto for one of the top Christian philosophers in the world (Alvin Plantinga--see his recent book WHERE THE CONFLICT REALLY LIES).

Plantinga is a Theistic Personalist. I'm a Classic theist so I reject a lot of his philosophy and his answer to the Argument from Evil etc.

Why bring him up to me?

>Furthermore, although Plantinga obviously rejects the argument, I find it significant that his list of objections does not include the objection that it doesn't address "classical theism."

Maybe because it is known Plantinga is not a Classic Theist but a Theistic Personalist.
Brian Davies, Feser, etc....ask them.

>If Plantinga thought that objection held any weight, it seems reasonable that he would have mentioned it.

That doesn't logically follow. A non-reductive materialist or an Atheist Idealist isn't obligated to defend an objection to Atheism whose only application applies to strict reductionist materialism.

The title "20 plus Questions to a Theist" implies all forms of Theism are equivocal philosophically and that is just absurd as if I went around claim all forms of Atheism where reductionist Materialism.

Yeh I think Nagel would object to that later claim.

>Comments like yours are precisely the reason why informed atheists have tended to stay away from Dr. Reppert's combox: too much rudeness.

Or maybe it's their fundamentalism? They cannot bear the thought of any one of their arguments might be foolish?

>You can disagree with an argument without calling it 'moronic.' More important, if you're going to call the argument 'moronic,' it had actually better be 'moronic.'

It certainly is moronic given the title of the piece which seems to imply all forms of Theism are philosophically alike.

I gave a short summery from Thomistic theological conclusions what is wrong with the question.

Address then and apply them to Classic Theism or stop wasting my time.

> Otherwise, you only make yourself look 'moronic.' (And I write this as an atheist who has repeatedly defended theists and theistic arguments, including Dr Reppert and his argument from reason, against precisely this accusation.)

Jeff the Argument from reason is not moronic and the First Argument on that list "Something from nothing why assume nothing is the norm? etc" doesn't look moronic.

But from a Classic Theist perspective "Why would God use biological evolution as a method for creation?" is moronic.

I gave a brief set of reasons from the conclusions of Classic Theism. Answer them or stop wasting my time.

This was the wrong hill to die on if you want to call out a "mean" theist on this blog.

B. Prokop said...

grodrigues,

To repeat, I said the argument was refutable - it's still interesting.

SRV,

You write, "The "problem of evil" is definitely a difficulty for theists." I disagree - in fact, I strongly disagree. The problem of Evil is a problem for the atheist. Christianity has an explanation for the existence of evil - atheism is helpless to account for it. Were atheism true, the world ought to be precisely as it ought to be. There is no mechanism within that belief set for anything to be other than as it should be. After all, everything is the inexorable product of purely material, physical forces. Nothing immaterial plays any part (or even exists). So whatever is... is. There's just no way within atheism for anything to go wrong.

Jezu ufam tobie!

SRV said...

Christianity has an explanation for the existence of evil

I'm not a Christian, so I don't buy Christianity's "explanation".

As a theist, however, I trust that God has a good reason for allowing evil to exist in the amount that it does. If you think the "problem of evil" isn't a difficulty, though, or that it can be dismissed as easily as you dismiss it, you are simply wrong.

Son of Ya'Kov said...

>"If theism were true, God could have also used many other methods to create life, methods which are impossible if naturalism is true. In contrast, if naturalism is true, evolution pretty much has to be true."

If I may channel the spirit of my inner Bertram Russell.

(Yeh you heard me right)

What if the Universe came into existence 6000 years ago over a six day period without a Cause?

What if without a cause life just sprung up ready made over 6000 years ago without a cause?

How does naturalism exclude any of this?

Jeffery Jay Lowder said...

Why get butt hurt over it?

While it is amusing that you have the social grace of a wild boar, life is too short to waste my time arguing with someone as rude as you.

B. Prokop said...

"there is strong evidence against the existence of God"

Really? This is news to me. I have never encountered even weak evidence against His existence, let alone any strong evidence.

Just curious - name one (just one for starters) bit of such evidence. I'm dead serious - I have never heard of any.

Jezu ufam tobie!

Son of Ya'Kov said...

Jeff I do apologize if what I said is not clear but I was distracted when I posted this:


>I am referring to Jeff's link BTW....

If that gave the impression I thought contents your whole link was stupid that was not my intention.

But I don't apologize for calling the ""Why would God use biological evolution as a method for creation?" question moronic because it is for the reasons I cited.

(there where others but I picked an obvious bad one)

B. Prokop said...

"or that it can be dismissed"

No one's dismissing it here. Having an explanation for evil is the very opposite of "dismissing" it.

Christianity's explanation could very well be perceived as "wrong" to certain people, but the mere fact that it has one is proof that the problem was not dismissed. Especially when the explanation is the product of centuries of agonizing thought by countless people, starting with Job.

Jezu ufam tobie!

SRV said...

Especially when the explanation is the product of centuries of agonizing thought by countless people, starting with Job.

Well, I think that was sort of my point, but whatever.

SRV said...

You write, "The "problem of evil" is definitely a difficulty for theists." I disagree - in fact, I strongly disagree. The problem of Evil is a problem for the atheist.

Therefore you stated that it is not a problem for theists. Therefore my conclusion that you "dismissed" it.

It remains a problem for ALL theists, though not one that cannot be overcome.

Ilíon said...

B.Prokop: "Good atheist arguments (all of which are refutable, but they're at least still interesting and worth discussion):

- The existence of suffering
- the existence of false religions
- the size and age of the Universe
"

SRV: "The only "good" one among those is the first. The others are pretty easy to refute. The "problem of evil" is definitely a difficulty for theists, but considering all the evidence for theism, there is surely an answer to it, though one we may never fully know in this life."

I can give you the answer right now to "the problem of evil" -- at a minimum, it's self-vitiating. Myself, I’d use stronger language and describe it as self-defeating.

The “problem of evil” is no problem at all if there is no way things *ought* to be. There is no evil even to *be* a problem, unless there is first some good to which this evil is in some manner contrary. An event can be ‘evil’, that is, contrary to the way things ought to be, only if there is a (logically prior) way things ought to be.

But, how does the (alleged) argument from the so-called “problem of evil” proceed? Why, to the (alleged) conclusion that because there clearly are evils in the world that therefore there is no good in the world … and no God who created the world.

But, as already explained above, if there is no good in the world, then it is logically impossible for there to be any evil in the world. Therefore, the (alleged) argument from so-called “problem of evil” is as much an argument as a burp is; for, like a burp, the (alleged) argument says nothing.


==========
The reason – the *only* reason – that "[t]he "problem of evil" is definitely a difficulty for theists" is because there is no actual argument attached to it. Rather, the “argument” from “the problem of evil” comes in two varieties:
1) intellectually dishonest posing;
2) misplaced emotional gushing (however honestly it may be intended).

==========
Properly understood, it’s not that “theism” has a problem in the so-called “problem of evil”, it’s that atheism has a problem in the reality of good.

B. Prokop said...

"Therefore you stated that it is not a problem for theists.

And it is not. Once a problem has been satisfactorily explained, it is no longer a problem. The source of the Sun's energy was a major problem for astronomers before we learned about nuclear fusion. Now we know how stars work, and it's no longer a problem. It's explainable.

In like manner, the existence of evil was an unsolvable problem for Humanity prior to the Cross. Now we have a fully explanatory narrative as to why it exists, and how to defeat it.

So yes, I repeat - the existence of evil is not a (philosophical) problem* for Christianity.

* "Problem" being defined as a difficulty lacking a solution.

Jezu ufam tobie!

SRV said...

Dear God, forgive those who believe they KNOW the complete answer as to why the world is the way it is. You know the answer, my Creator, and that's enough for me,

I think replacing "evil" for "suffering" is the better way to get to the problem here. An atheist can simply say that suffering is to be expected in a world without a good, all powerful creator. The atheist therefore has no "problem" explaining "evil".

The theist still does, and why it remains a problem, dear B., is because it is still the most obvious obstacle for many to get past to find their way to belief in God.

B. Prokop said...

"An atheist can simply say that suffering is to be expected in a world without a good, all powerful creator. The atheist therefore has no "problem" explaining "evil". The theist still does, and why it remains a problem, dear B., is because it is still the most obvious obstacle for many to get past to find their way to belief in God."

How so? What's sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. In a purely materialistic universe, what is, is not only what should be, but what must be. Therefore, if the absence of a "good, all powerful creator" leads to intolerable suffering, why should not that be as big an obstacle to atheism as to the believer? (It certainly would be to me.)

Jezu ufam tobie!

SRV said...

Therefore, if the absence of a "good, all powerful creator" leads to intolerable suffering, why should not that be as big an obstacle to atheism as to the believer? (It certainly would be to me.)


Then you haven't thought deeply about it. As a former atheist, I know how they think. You would expect suffering in a world that brought about life in a naturalistic way and eventually, through natural selection and non-purposeful evolution, ourselves. The "problem," still arises when you tell them that God is both all good and omnipotent. It doesn't compute in their minds.

They are still wrong, of course, but again, it is the theist that needs to explain, not the atheist (in this case, anyway).

B. Prokop said...

"Then you haven't thought deeply about it."

More likely it is the atheist who has not thought deeply enough about it, or else he would realize it makes no more sense to be angry at God for allowing suffering than it does to be angry at the Universe. Less even, as at least with God you have Someone to question (as in Job), but for the atheist... nothing - nothing but blackest despair, an unhearing void.

Which by the way leads me to a bit of dangerous psychoanalyzing. I find it amusing that an atheist can conclude "there is no God" from the statement "there is suffering". For he first has to be angry at something/someone about the existence of suffering before he can decide to reject God on those very grounds. So he must first acknowledge the existence of the Person whom he then denies the existence of! Hah!

Jezu ufam tobie!

SRV said...

More likely it is the atheist who has not thought deeply enough about it,

No, they haven't. If they did they would have to conclude that God (or purpose to the Universe of some sort) exists.

That still doesn't take away from the visceral and very real problem that the existence of evil represents.

DougJC said...

I'm very late to the post, but let me just say I find Victor's list to highlight the best and most interesting challenges to naturalism. All self-described naturalists should feel excited to grapple with these issues.

"Even the very fact that our thoughts are about something else is something that can't be captured by basic physics."

This really isn't the way neuro/cognitive science understands our thoughts to be, today. Our thoughts aren't grounded in propositions or symbols which then must magically point to external objects somehow, our thoughts are a map of hugely multidimensional neural activation space that is grounded in the informational experience of being in a body with sensory and emotional capacities. That map only crudely mirrors whatever is really "out there" because it is, after all, designed by evolution. But the union of billions of these maps connected by the wiring and signal processing of logic, language and the written word over hundreds of years helps explain the degree of fidelity we have achieved with respect to the real world. Paul Churchland's "Plato's Camera" describes the modern view very well.

(And, no, I'm not BDK, just an amateur)

SRV said...

For he first has to be angry at something/someone about the existence of suffering before he can decide to reject God on those very grounds.

Why? To an atheist there is no one to be angry at. The universe is simply what it is.

Son of Ya'Kov said...

@Jeff

>While it is amusing that you have the social grace of a wild boar, life is too short to waste my time arguing with someone as rude as you.

Jeff I said Quote" Some of those arguments are good some are moronic.

At least to a Classic Theist
."

You even admitted"if you're going to call the argument 'moronic,' it had actually better be 'moronic."

So you are not adverse I see to the concept of moronic arguments.

So why get upset?

Guess what Jeff? Even an intelligent arguments can be moronic if used improperly or applied to the wrong thing.


For example if you came up with a set of air tight polemics against every known Cosmological argument for the existence of God it would be moronic to use any of them on a Pantheist.

Why? Cosmological Arguments imply either a creator God or a God distinct from creation causing said creation to exist(with or without a creation event).

A Pantheistic God is not a creator but is identified with what we call euphemistically creation.

"Why would God use biological evolution as a method for creation?" is a moronic question to a Classic Theist. Also it is silly to assume Naturalism excludes the possibility of a reality where life comes from something other than evolution.

Son of Ya'Kov said...

Oh and Jeff next why don't you just ASK ME why I think something is moronic?

Jeffery Jay Lowder said...

How so? What's sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. In a purely materialistic universe, what is, is not only what should be, but what must be. Therefore, if the absence of a "good, all powerful creator" leads to intolerable suffering, why should not that be as big an obstacle to atheism as to the believer? (It certainly would be to me.)

You're talking about materialism, but materialism isn't the same thing as atheism. In any case, I have no idea why you think "intolerable suffering" should be "as big an obstacle to atheism as to" theism.

This reminds me of a related point I made I wrote in my review of a book by Ravi Zacharias:

"Look. You theists believe that X, Y, and Z are evil. You theists believe that God is good. You theists believe that good persons are opposed to evil. So you theists need to explain why a god who is good (in your sense of 'good') would allow so much apparently pointless evil (in your sense of 'evil'). If you can't explain it, then that is a problem for the internal coherence of your worldview."

Jeffery Jay Lowder said...

I know about the problem with this person. I truly don't know why he did that, but while he was himself, he did a lot for the quality of this site.

Can we just name names? Who are we talking about?

Jeffery Jay Lowder said...

'Atheists' are *always* liars.

Although both unjustified and false, the fact that Ilion would make such a bigoted statement is certainly predictable. Imagine the outrage if we had someone who wrote:

"Women are always liars"

or

"Blacks are always liars"

or

"Jews are always liars."

There would be considerable outrage, as there should be.

Will Dr Reppert and the other readers of this site express similar outrage over this bigoted statement?

B. Prokop said...

"Why? To an atheist there is no one to be angry at. The universe is simply what it is."

As you yourself suggested, let's think deeply about this.

- The only way that the existence of evil and/or suffering can be used as an argument against the existence of God is if the arguer thinks that suffering shows that somehow God "screwed up" in either His creation or His maintenance of the Universe.

- So he necessarily must posit the existence of Someone to screw up.

- Because even by this arguer's logic, if there is no God, then there is no one to hold accountable for suffering.

- Therefore, it makes no sense to complain about suffering, because "that's just the way things are".

- But in that case, even God would be blameless in the case of a Brute Fact that "just is". After all, no one (as far as I know) either blames or gives credit to God for 2 plus 2 equaling 4.

- Therefore, there would be no justification to use suffering as an argument against God's existence.

Wow. That's even worse than a circular argument. It's more like a spiral, or an eddy - like water going down the drain... or the toilet***. Which is where this argument belongs.

*** alternatively, it's a classic example of the "Heads I win - tails you lose" argument.

Jezu ufam tobie!

Jeffery Jay Lowder said...

You write, "The "problem of evil" is definitely a difficulty for theists." I disagree - in fact, I strongly disagree. The problem of Evil is a problem for the atheist.

The "problem of evil" can mean things, such as the "pastoral" or "emotional" problem of evil, the "logical problem of evil," and so forth. I prefer to use the expression, "the evidential argument from evil," since that is the kind of argument I endorse.

In that context, which may or may not be the same as yours, I have no idea why someone would think that the evidential argument from evil is a problem for atheists, but not theists.

Christianity has an explanation for the existence of evil

What is 'the' Christian explanation for the existence of evil?

- atheism is helpless to account for it.

Why?

Let's talk specifics. Draper's version of the evidential argument from evil says that the "hypothesis of indifference," which is consistent with atheism but not entailed by it, explains known facts about pain and pleasure much better than theism does. At the risk of massively oversimplifying his argument, Draper argues that it is much more likely that pain and pleasure are fundamentally biological, not moral, phenomena. But that, in turn, (he argues) is antecedently much more likely on the assumption that the hypothesis of indifference is true than on the assumption that theism is true.

I wrote the previous paragraph not in an attempt to convince you that Draper's argument works, but to provide something tangible to discuss. In the context of Draper's argument, how, precisely, is the atheist unable to explain facts about pain and pleasure? And what is 'the' Christian explanation for those same facts?

Were atheism true, the world ought to be precisely as it ought to be. There is no mechanism within that belief set for anything to be other than as it should be. After all, everything is the inexorable product of purely material, physical forces. Nothing immaterial plays any part (or even exists). So whatever is... is. There's just no way within atheism for anything to go wrong.

Again, you seem to equate atheism with materialism and determinism and, again, I disagree. But even on a fully materialist, determinist perspective, it would still be the case, per Draper's argument, that the atheist's biological explanation for pain and pleasure is several orders of magnitude for the theist's moral explanation.

For an overview of Draper's argument, interested parties should go here.

B. Prokop said...

Jeffery,

Although I do not agree with him on this (or, at the least, I would have expressed myself differently), there was no bigotry in Ilion's statement. Your hypothetical alternative statements all involved innate traits, whereas Ilion was referring to a character trait. "Women are always liars" would indeed be a bigoted statement, because "women" references something a person has no control over. On the other hand, the statement "Gangsters are always criminals" is just a statement of fact. It is part of the definition of gangster that he engages in criminal activity. But one does not have to be a gangster - it's a choice.

(Correct me, Ilion, if I'm wrong here, but) Ilion is on record as believing that no one can genuinely believe in atheism. One must consciously engage in a degree of self-deception to be one. Therefore, his statement "All atheists are liars" is not in the least bigoted. It's just a refinement of his definition.

Jezu ufam tobie!

B. Prokop said...

"What is 'the' Christian explanation for the existence of evil?"

Sin. The Fall.

Jeffery Jay Lowder said...

Oh and Jeff next why don't you just ASK ME why I think something is moronic?

I don't need to ask if you've already stated it. You're a classical theist. You reject theistic personalism. You think that some of those arguments don't apply to theistic personalism. I get it (and already got it).

AND I think it's still the case that it's rude to call the arguments moronic. If you can't see why, then I can't help you.

Jeffery Jay Lowder said...

Although I do not agree with him on this (or, at the least, I would have expressed myself differently), there was no bigotry in Ilion's statement. Your hypothetical alternative statements all involved innate traits, whereas Ilion was referring to a character trait. "Women are always liars" would indeed be a bigoted statement, because "women" references something a person has no control over. On the other hand, the statement "Gangsters are always criminals" is just a statement of fact. It is part of the definition of gangster that he engages in criminal activity. But one does not have to be a gangster - it's a choice.

1. You are, of course, correct that being a woman or being black is not a choice. That isn't of obvious relevance to what I wrote, however. Whether one has a choice to belong to a group has no bearing on whether it is an empirical fact that all members of that group are, in fact, liars. It is false that all women are liars. It is not false because women have no choice about being women. It is false because it doesn't correspond with reality.

2. I'm struggling to understand why you (or anyone) would think that building bigotry into a definition would somehow make it less bigoted. Compare:

Nazi: "All Jews are liars."
Jew: "That's bigotry!"
Bystander: "No, it's not. The Nazi builds lying into the definition of Jew much the same way that "being a criminal" is part of the definition of "gangster."

Jeffery Jay Lowder said...

Sin. The Fall.

In inductive logic, appealing to "sin. the fall" as 'the' Christian explanation for facts about good and evil, including facts about pain and pleasure, is what we call appealing to an "auxiliary hypothesis."

It's an auxiliary hypothesis because we're comparing the probability of facts about good and evil on theism and HI, not on Christian theism and on HI.

In order for that explanation to successfully defeat an evidential argument from evil, we need some reason to believe the auxiliary hypothesis is true. There are two options: either show that the auxiliary hypothesis is more probable than not, on the assumption that God exists, or provide independent evidence (i.e., evidence independent of the evidence for God) that the auxiliary hypothesis is true.

B. Prokop said...

Jeffery,

There is far, far too much bandying about of the charge of "Bigotry!" for it to even have any meaning any more. It has been drained of its purpose and effectiveness.

It does not good to accuse Ilion of bigotry if he believes (as I do, by the way), that self-deception is a necessary prerequisite to atheism. Show him where he's wrong, if that's what you think. But yelling "bigot" is nothing more a way to cut off discussion and silence people. It's certainly not an argument.

By the way, I call Godwin's Law on you.

Completely different subject: I am on record as holding in contempt all philosophical arguments from probability. They have no force with me. You can google my references to it, if you so desire. To paraphrase Son of Ya'Kov, they're stupid. (And no, that was not a counter-argument, just an opinion. I do have a counter-argument, but I'm too damn tired to go into it right now, especially when I've already commented on it at length elsewhere.)

Jezu ufam tobie!

B. Prokop said...

"nothing more than a way"

not "nothing more a way"

See how tired I am?

B. Prokop said...

By the way, signing off until next Thursday at the earliest. I'm off to visit my daughter in Atlanta, and will not be near my computer (or any other computer) until my return.

So don't expect any more replies from me before then. But don't let that stop you. Carry on!

Shutting down... now!

Victor Reppert said...

Look, it was like pulling teeth to get me to do the banning I did. But the problem is that the kind of atheism that theists on this site were most likely to deal with once I posted something was the hard-core New Atheist variety. The best atheist responses to most issues come from what I would call the sensible atheist viewpoint, and Jeff Lowder is perhaps one of the best exemplars of that viewpoint. Theists on this site get so used to responding to gnus that they are more likely to respond to non-gnus in the same way as they do with gnus, and I really think some of the theists here would behave better if they weren't so used to responding to gnus.

Ilíon said...

SRV: "That still doesn't take away from the visceral and very real problem that the existence of evil represents."

Are you *really* saying that the fact that 'atheists' haven't thought deeply enough "the problem of evil" and the reality of God, and have thereby erroneously concluded (*) that God is not, means that a “visceral”, which is to say, non-rational (**), reaction to the reality of evil in the world justifies their oh-so-typical blowing-off of Christians’ attempts to explain to them, rationally, why the reality of evil in the world is not really a problem for Christianity?


(*) or, “concluded”, as the individual case may be

(**) I believe the word I used above was “emotional”
===========
B.Echo: "… I find it amusing that an atheist can conclude "there is no God" from the statement "there is suffering". For he first has to be angry at something/someone about the existence of suffering before he can decide to reject God on those very grounds. So he must first acknowledge the existence of the Person whom he then denies the existence of!"

SRV: "Why? To an atheist there is no one to be angry at. The universe is simply what it is."

So … when ‘atheists’ deploy the so-called “problem of evil/suffering” (and, frequently, assert that they have thereby rocked Christianity at its foundation) they’re just blowing smoke?

And here, I was under the impression that when ‘atheists’ deploy the so-called “problem of evil/suffering”, all “nice” people (*) must take them at their word as serious persons just trying to come to grips with a hard-to-grapple-with issue

In the video I linked – and which internet atheists all across the Anglo-sphere seem to think is a resounding ass-kicking for Christianity – some British fool by the name of Steven Fry works himself into a pseudo-tizzy of pseudo-compassion for children blinded by parasites and HOW DARE! the God whom he denies on the basis of his pseudo-tizzy of pseudo-compassion for those blind children create a world in which children are blinded by parasites.

But, how does Steven Fry’s “compassion” for children, blind or not, *really* cash out?
1) abortion-on-demand -- Oh, come on! you know, without even hitting the Google button, that he defends and justifies abortion … the only question is whether he has an emotional need to clothe that justification in euphemism;
2) nihilism … his “answer” to the (alleged) injustice of God creating a world in which children are blinded by parasites – the very basis of his screed against God – is to then conclude, “Oh, well! It doesn’t really matter anyway, does it? ‘Cause in a few years you’ll be dead and not exist, as though you had never lived at all in the first place.”


(*) how very fortunate that I am not “nice”

Ilíon said...

B.Getin'-it: "(Correct me, Ilion, if I'm wrong here, but) Ilion is on record as believing that no one can genuinely believe in atheism. One must consciously engage in a degree of self-deception to be one. Therefore, his statement "All atheists are liars" is not in the least bigoted. ..."

Indeed: *all* atheism is founded on self-deception. Thus ... wait for it ... when it comes to questions of God and "religion", *all* 'atheists' are liars, and worse than liars, for they are intellectually dishonest about such questions. A *mere* liar lies about some fact or other, but an intellectually dishonest person is lying about the very nature of reason and reasoning and of truth.

A man may be honestly mistaken in denying that Jesus Christ is the Creator, but no man is honestly mistaken in denying that there *is* a Creator.

*All* 'atheists' (*) will retreat into un-reason and irrationality when they are rationally-and-logically pushed to the point of having only two options:
1) acknowledge that God is;
2) assert that reason and rationality just ain't all that.

B.Prokop: "It's just a refinement of his definition."
No, it's a summary of an argument he has discussed many times. Call it the bumper-sticker restatement of the conclusion.


(*) as I've explained before, I put the word in scare-quotes (and refer to them as "so-called athesists" and as "God-haters" and "God-deniers") because, while they do deny that God is, they're not *really* atheists. For they do not *really* believe the logically inescapable entailments of their God-denial.

Nietzsche may have been a real atheist. Based on his own testimony, David Wood seems to have been a real atheist. But these fellows one encounters on the internet -- including Mr Loftus and Mr Lowder -- they're just poseurs.

Unknown said...

The universe is perfectly explainable without resorting to magic or a god.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/science/science-news/7976594/Stephen-Hawking-God-was-not-needed-to-create-the-Universe.html

https://medium.com/the-physics-arxiv-blog/a-mathematical-proof-that-the-universe-could-have-formed-spontaneously-from-nothing-ed7ed0f304a3

We are running out of places for magic to hide.

planks length said...

Unknown,

Hawking's argument was demolished by William Lane Craig in this talk, given at Saint Andrew the Great, Cambridge, England.

And by demolished, I mean annihilated. Done and dusted.

Ilíon said...

Let's consider this pseudo-concern that Mr Lowder is expressing over my "tone" -- and his goal is, of course, to convince our host to ask me to absent myself from his blog.

But, what, exactly, is Mr Lowder's bitch about my "tone"?

Surely, he's not trying to claim (*) that that it is immoral for me to say that "*all* 'atheists' are liars, and worse than liars". I mean, if he *were* trying to claim that, then the very claim would verify that my statement does apply to him.

And, really, I can't think of any other rational basis upon which he could object.

My statement, universal though it is, is either true or false.

Now, if it's true, then it's true. Are we condemning truth, now?

On the other hand, it it's false, then it's false. Now, if it *is* false, then a Christian has ground to condemn me for making the (hypothetically false) claim. But a God-denier? The only way a God-denier can condemn me for making this (hypothetically false) statement about him is to "borrow" -- which is to say, steal -- some of that morality that his very God-denial entails does not, and cannot, exist.


(*) so far as I can tell, he is not, at least, not explicitly; however, he is expecting people subject to Stockholm Syndrome with respect to 'atheists' to make the claim for him

===
Can we, as a group, be honest with ourselves? We all know that Mr Lowder doesn't have a problem with "rudeness" when it is directed at Christians. We all understand that the *only* reason Mr Lowder is trying to con(vince) our host to ban me is that I refuse to be a dhimmi with respect to 'atheists'; he's justifiably worried that my example may inspire other Christians to stop cringing when 'atheists' amp up their irrational mockery.

Ilíon said...

PL, you return!

planks length said...

I've been lurking here for months.

Son of Ya'Kov said...

@Jeff


>AND I think it's still the case that it's rude to call the arguments moronic. If you can't see why, then I can't help you.

Jeff you already conceded that arguments can be moronic.

Also I called that one argument "Moronic at least from a Classic Theistic view".

Not moronic across the board.

Oh & FYI I don't think all Atheists are liars or are bad people just because they are Atheists unlike certain people.

I agree with Victor you are one of the rational ones & you are NOT a gnu.

Also don't give me this "rude" crap. You lashed out at me for insulting a mere argument (which BTW was a qualified insult BTW).

So come on stop disappointing me. You are better than this & you are probably better than me.

Geez.....

Jeffery Jay Lowder said...

Surely, he's not trying to claim (*) that that it is immoral for me to say that "*all* 'atheists' are liars, and worse than liars". I mean, if he *were* trying to claim that, then the very claim would verify that my statement does apply to him.

1. Yes, I do claim that it is immoral to spread unjustified falsehoods about an entire group of people.

2. No, 'the very claim does NOT verify that [Illion's] statement applies to me" because it is false that atheism entails nihilism. Unlike many of the theists who make claims to the contrary, I have actually interacted with the best of my opponents literature and done so charitably. See, for example, my "Primer on Religion and Morality" here and here.

Just as no one has successfully demonstrated a logical contradiction between God's existence and evil, so too no one has successfully demonstrated a logical contradiction between God's non-existence and objective morality.

3. Illion lies about me at the end of his post when he writes:

Can we, as a group, be honest with ourselves? We all know that Mr Lowder doesn't have a problem with "rudeness" when it is directed at Christians. We all understand that the *only* reason Mr Lowder is trying to con(vince) our host to ban me is that I refuse to be a dhimmi with respect to 'atheists'; he's justifiably worried that my example may inspire other Christians to stop cringing when 'atheists' amp up their irrational mockery.

That is a flat out lie. Anyone who follows my Twitter account (https://twitter.com/secularoutpost) knows that I consistently criticize atheists when I think they are being rude or straw manning theists or theistic arguments. Case in point: earlier tonight I condemned China's decision to forcibly remove crosses from Christian churches. Some atheist responded to me by saying that he 'applauds' China's decision. I, along with several other atheists, have been arguing with this person and defending the rights of Christians in China. My tweets are a matter of public record and speak for themselves. Along the same lines, my comments at my own blog are also a matter of public record and also speak for themselves. Anyone who cares about the truth can check this out for themselves and see that I do, in fact, have a major problem with atheists who are rude to Christians (or anyone else).

Victor Reppert said...

The rule for maintaining an (almost) free speech zone is to repeatedly say "Know what to ignore."

Victor Reppert said...

I will never forget Jeff Lowder's asking me to submit my first Argument from Reason paper to Internet Infidels, and my paper on miracles as well.

Ilíon said...

Ben: "Also don't give me this "rude" crap. You lashed out at me for insulting a mere argument (which BTW was a qualified insult BTW)."

Indeed.

And this highlights a point that the "nice" folk, the Stockholm Syndromed dhimmis, seem never to want to notice: the people who accuse others of being "rude", or of "attacking" or "insulting" them, and other such alleged sins, are almost always doing so dishonestly.

It just never ceases to amaze me how frequently someone will distort the content or meaning or context of something someone else has written, and then how all the "nice" people -- instead of just backing up and reading what the accused actually wrote -- will begin to attack him on the basis of the accuser's distortion.

SRV said...

Lowder seems very fair and reasonable to me. In a post in which he replies to this one http://www.patheos.com/blogs/secularoutpost/2015/05/07/victor-reppert-calls-the-universe-atheists-believe-in-irrational/

he rightly corrects the not so fair or reasonable Steven Carr:



Steven Carr:

REPPERT

'I don’t believe that reason could arise from nonreason....'

CARR
That's an interesting fact about Victor. However, the universe does not necessarily run according to what Victor does or does not believe.

Does Victor reason in his sleep? How does he get from an unreasoning, sleeping state to a reasoning , waking state?

Unless his god injects him with reason each morning?



Jeffery Jay Lowder:

I think that's an uncharitable reply to Victor. He's written an entire book defending the argument from reason. Furthermore, I think your point about sleep tears down a straw man of your own creation; it isn't relevant to his argument.

Ilíon said...

someone who willfully chooses to assert a worldview which logically entails that he himself doesn't even exist: "3. Illion lies about me at the end of his post when he writes:"

Does he, now?

Let's presume that Ilíon is lying about that fellow who doesn't even exist. And let's even pretend that the fellow does exist.

What, precisely, is his complaint? Is he saying that it's *wrong* for Ilíon to lie about him, that Ilíon *ought not* lie about him?

That certainly seems to be what he's saying; that seems to be the basis of his complaint.

But, if that's the case, then he is saying that there exists some discoverable standard of right and wrong that exists independently of any merely contingent being (*) ... which means that this standards exists independently of, and logically prior to. the material world ... which means that (as is so often the case) the God-denier is invoking God when it suits him.

But, it makes no sense; I mean, given his assertion that there is no God. By his *own* willfully chosen worldview, what he is (at the moment) saying is non-sense, which is to say, he is literally saying nothing.


(*) though, to be a bit more complete, he may simply be asserting that what he likes is 'moral' and what he doesn't like is 'immoral' ... which stance is, as we all know, par for the course for God-deniers.

Ilíon said...

Mr Incoherent: "1. Yes, I do claim that it is immoral to spread unjustified falsehoods about an entire group of people."

So what? You can claim that you're a red goldfish for all I care.

What you *can't* do is ground your claims about what is or is not immoral in anything other than your asserting of it.

Moreover, my statement isn't unjustified. I've justified it multiple times (I merely stated that I wasn't going the re-justify it in that post). And, by the by, you've been doing a smack-up job of justifying it for me.

Mr Incoherent: "2. No, 'the very claim does NOT verify that [Illion's] statement applies to me" because it is false that atheism entails nihilism."

See, now? There he is: lying. Again.

Recall what I wrote a bit ago about how people so rarely go back and actually *read* what "the bad guy" actually wrote? This is a fine example where Mr Incoherent expects to skate by the general reader a distortion of what I wrote, even though it's right up there where anyone can read it.

Now, as a matter of fact, atheism *does* entail nihilism.

And, as a second matter of fact, the particular statement I wrote, the one that Mr Incoherent is here pretending to refute, wasn't about the nihilism that atheism entails, but rather about the denial of real morality that atheism entails.

I'll even spare the reader needing to search to read what I wrote (yes, I'm just that thoughtful): "Surely, he's not trying to claim (*) that it is immoral for me to say that "*all* 'atheists' are liars, and worse than liars". I mean, if he *were* trying to claim that, then the very claim would verify that my statement does apply to him.
...
The only way a God-denier can condemn me for making this (hypothetically false) statement about him is to "borrow" -- which is to say,
steal -- some of that morality that his very God-denial entails does not, and cannot, exist."

You can't get morality out of atoms. And atoms is all God-deniers have.

Ilíon said...

Kathen: "I have described things as I see them. The worst comments here, the most unreasonable, the most insulting, have always come from Christians."

Ilíon: "Translation: "Some Christians call BS on our BS; that's so *mean* and insulting to not let us get away with BS."

Look: 'Atheists' are *always* liars (*). And, apparently, the modern variety are whiney babies, too.


(*) I been over this many times, I not going to re-justify the conclusion again in this post.
"

Mr Whiney: "Unlike many of the theists who make claims to the contrary, I have actually interacted with the best of my opponents literature and done so charitably."

I think the general reader is quick enough to notice that Mr Whiney's complaint is, well, a little suspect, in all its particulars. Why, he's even onboard with making sweeping "unkind" claims about others.

OK, I'll be blunt ('cause I know that you expect me to be): he's a hypocrite.
=====
As B.Prokop wrote above: "It does no good to accuse Ilion of bigotry if he believes (as I do, by the way), that self-deception is a necessary prerequisite to atheism. Show him where he's wrong, if that's what you think. But yelling "bigot" is nothing more a way to cut off discussion and silence people. It's certainly not an argument."

Look, Mr Whiney McIncoherent, *you* decided to raise a fuss about what I'd written with respect to Kathen's false claim about the Christians who comment here. *You* decided to yell "bigot" ... precisely because you want to silence me, and you believe that using that word will sway Mr Reppert.

You're lair and hypocrite, and you have the gall to whine because don't respect you. Well, of course you do.

When you acknowledge that atheism is false -- and note, I did not say acknowledge that Christianity is true (though, you should, anyway) -- then we can see whether you have anything to say about God, or morality, that is worth hearing.
==========
To the general reader: you really need to stop letting people such as this use your aversion to conflict against you.

Ilíon said...

Aw, will you look at this?

Ilíon said...

VR: "I will never forget Jeff Lowder's asking me to submit my first Argument from Reason paper to Internet Infidels, and my paper on miracles as well."

But then, to this very day, you prefer to imagine that BDK was some sort of noble -- and polite -- if slightly misguided, seeker after truth. Despite that he would routinely call you an idiot and/or a liar, even if he didn't use those precise words.

That Mr Lowder can find it in himself to behave civilly (or even in a friendly manner) toward academics refutes what I'd said, how?

What I said is: "Can we, as a group, be honest with ourselves? We all know that Mr Lowder doesn't have a problem with "rudeness" when it is directed at Christians."

As I've mentioned in this thread already, I've explained multiple times -- you know, with reasons and stuff -- why I say the "rude" things I say about God-deniers and why these "rude" things are true.

VR: "I would never say the things Ilion does. But I wish atheists would stop making his case for him."

I'm pretty sure I've never insisted that you do say the things I say, even if I do, from time to time, tease you about being so shy.

Surely we both understand that Mr Lowder has *never* desired to "have a dialogue" with me. And that's OK, because as I said all those months ago, "My position is: "You're intellectually dishonest. Correct that, and then we'll see whether you have anything worthwhile to say."

Mr Lowder's position is the same as Kathen's (at the start of this digression) and BDK's and Doctor Logic's and on and on: Unless you stupid Christians agree to never call us God-deniers on our intellectual dishonesty, then we won''t "dialogue" with you.

What is the point of flapping one's gums if the object is not to find truth? How can one find truth in "dialogue" with someone who willingly lies about the very nature of truth?

planks length said...

PL, you return!

I've been around all this time. But lately, commenting here on DI did not have much appeal, when Papalinton and im-skeptical, as surely as Mussolini's trains would arrive on time, would show up to distort your words, caricature your positions, invent strawmen to attack, employ rude and downright blasphemous language against the holiest of things, and in general poison all hope for rational dialog.

It's amazing how quickly DI has healed itself in their absence. This conversation alone is exhibit one in demonstrating how much lower the level of discourse was with those two around.

Ben, now it's your turn. Not every comment has to be addressed to your beliefs, and you don't need to shout everyone down with what Ilion aptly calls "Rah rah." I'm sure you have something valuable to contribute, but dude, you need to tone it down a bit!

Ilion, maybe "liars" is a bit over the top. How about "no atheist (other than perhaps Nietzsche) ever manages to follow their beliefs to their logical conclusions of nihilism, amorality, and despair." But you are dead right about the double standard most atheists employ. It's OK for them to ridicule at will, but God forbid (pun intended) anyone return the favor!

Ilíon said...

PL" "maybe "liars" is a bit over the top. How about "no atheist (other than perhaps Nietzsche) ever manages to follow their beliefs to their logical conclusions"

And maybe the moon is made of green cheese. But, in these sublunar realms, 'liar' generally (*) is the correct word to use for those who knowingly say false things when they should say true things, or who knowingly try to convince others to believe false things when they should try to convince them to believe truth, or who knowingly try to convince others to believe things they don't themselves believe when they should try to convince them to believe truth.

Somehow, when the subject matter is the very nature of truth, 'liar' seems so inadequate a word to denote those who are asserting what is not true and who refuse to understand what is true.

Curiously, no one ever seems to want to notice that I never particularize that general statement about these pretend-atheists to a specific individual pretend atheist unless he goes out of his way to make himself a target. I've linked to an exchange between Mr Lowder and me all the way back in August of last year, in which he had first taken it upon himself to call me a liar (**) for saying that "A man may be honestly mistaken in denying that Jesus Christ is the Creator, but no man is honestly mistaken in denying that there *is* a Creator."

In all the months since, I don't recall that I have said anything at all to him, much less explicitly called him a liar, even though that is what he had called me, until he apparently decided that Mr Reppert may have set a precident he might exploit. Why, it's almost as though he's been waiting for some sort of opportunity or other.

(*) In the famous hypothetical of hiding Jews from the searching Nazi by lying that one doesn't know where any Jews are, 'liar' may be an accurate descriptor in the sense that one has lied, yet the primary meaning of the word 'liar' isn't *simply* that one has lied, but rather that one has lied when one has an obligation to speak the truth, with an implication that one does this habitually.

(**) To the general reader -- including Mr Reppert: you really need to get over the quibble that he didn't use that precise word; the meaning of what he said then and now is that I am lying on this matter.

At the same time, he's a so-called atheist, for Heaven's sake: I fair to see any rational basis for him to fault me for lying, even if I were lying. Sure, no one *likes* to be lied about, but so what? If atheism is the truth about the nature of reality, then there are no moral obligations.

Moreover, if atheism is the truth about the nature of reality, then it doesn't even make sense to call someone a 'liar', for everything and everyone (who are, after all, merely other "everythings") is simply doing what mechanical necessity compels it to do.

Ilíon said...

PL" "How about "no atheist (other than perhaps Nietzsche) ever manages to follow their beliefs to their logical conclusions of nihilism, amorality, and despair.""

Oops. Mr Lowder has asserted, in this very thread, that atheism does not logically entail nihilism. Since your assertion and his assertion are contradictory and mutually exclusive and mutually exhaustive of the subject matter, that means that one of them is true and one of them is false.

Now, of course, the mere fact that the two of you are asserting contradictory truth-claims doesn't, by itself, mean that either of you is lying. Perhaps it's just that one of you doesn't understand what he's talkig about.

But, at the same time, isn't it also the case that a person has an obligation (*) to do his best to know what he's talking about? And, should it be brought to his attention that he doesn't know what he's talking about, doesn't he have the further obligation to shut the hell up until he does know what he's talking about?

(*) which moral obligations, of course, have to be shy-hooked by 'atheists', as there is no way to ground any assertion of a moral obligation if atheism is the truth about the nature of reality. This truth is another one that Mr Lowder has knowingly contradicted, in this very thread.

=====
PL" "How about "no atheist (other than perhaps Nietzsche) ever manages to follow their beliefs to their logical conclusions ..."

If persons really do have moral obligations (never minding at the moment how those obligations are grounded), isn't one of the primary obligations all men have to do their best to understand the logical entailments of their beliefs? And, following that, to eliminate beliefs that are logically absurd; and to do their best to see that the set of their beliefs is logically coherent?

What word, other than 'liar', fittingly denotes those who *refuse* to acknowledge the logical entailments of their assertions about the nature of reality and of truth, no matter how often and how patiently it has been explained and demonstrated to them that these unwelcome propositions are, indeed, the logical entailments of their assertions about the nature of realitty?

What word, other than 'liar', fittingly denotes those who seek to use others' natural aversion to conflict to squelch the possiblity of a full and honest search for the truth of the matter, and especially who seek to nip in the bud any examination of whether their set of beliefs is logically coherent?

Ilíon said...

"You can't get morality out of atoms. And atoms is all God-deniers have."

May I ammend that, adding alliteration? "You can't get morality out of molecules. And molecules is all God-deniers have."

cl said...

We all know that Mr Lowder doesn't have a problem with "rudeness" when it is directed at Christians.

As much as I endorse both your tone and your content, dear sir, I must stick up for Jeff at this point and exclaim that this is false. I've seen Jeff chastise atheists for exactly their rudeness and inconsistencies, most notably the Loftus. Jeff - at least a few years ago when I would indulge in this lame (a)theist internet scene - was always top notch at fairness.

Although I do wish he would take me up on the invite for a debate....

Cheers guys, glad to see you cleaned up the comments Vic!

Dan Gillson said...

To bring it back to the OP, I'm always amazed that C.S. Peirce, particularly his tychism, gets left out of discussions about how reason arises out of nonreason, etc. To sum it up, basically, if we have a universe of pure chance, we would expect as it evolves to exhibit statistical regularity. I think he argues for this point in his essay, "The Doctrine of Chances," but I'd have to double check to see if that's the one.

Dan Gillson said...

"To sum it up, basically, if we have a universe of pure chance, we would expect as it evolves to exhibit statistical regularity." ... To which I should add the following: meaning that over time, we get things like physical laws, reasons, etc from nonreason.


SRV said...

meaning that over time, we get things like physical laws, reasons, etc from nonreason.

Where did the laws come from in the first place that even allowed a "chance" universe to exist?

I don't believe life, consciousness and cognition can arise in purely naturalistic world without any guidance or plan behind it, even given billions of years.

Ilíon said...

Appealing to 'randomness' to "explain" the reality of reason is even more incoherent than appealing to mechanical cause-and-effect to "explain" it. Both "explanations" deny the very thing they are claimed to explain, with the added benefit that the 'randomness' "explanation" denies even the possibility of causes and effects.

Sheesh!

Dan Gillson said...

"Appealing to 'randomness' to "explain" the reality of reason is even more incoherent than appealing to mechanical cause-and-effect to "explain" it. Both "explanations" deny the very thing they are claimed to explain, with the added benefit that the 'randomness' "explanation" denies even the possibility of causes and effects." ... Simply put, that's not Peirce's position. I'd encourage you to find and read the essay, or at least the SEP page on Peirce.

Ilíon said...

Ilíon: "We all know that Mr Lowder doesn't have a problem with "rudeness" when it is directed at Christians."

SRV: "[paraphrasing: you're wrong]"

Victor Reppert: "[paraphrasing: you're wrong]"

CL: "[paraphrasing: you're wrong]"

Jeffery Jay Lowder: "[paraphrasing: the foundational claim of your whole religion, *and* the worldview behind the religion, is a lie]"

... which seems to me to more than imply that Christians are, at best, idiots for believing somethng he has so resoundly (*) shown to be a lie.

(*) you do understand that I am rolling my eyes, don't you?

Jeffery Jay Lowder:"While I tentatively agree with Craig that Joseph of Arimathea's tomb--in which Jesus was presumably interred--was empty, I shall argue that none of Craig's arguments show that the Markan story of the empty tomb is probably historical. For reasons that will become clear shortly, I make a distinction between the empty tomb and the empty tomb story of Mark, the earliest detailed account of the empty tomb. However, I shall not argue for the opposite conclusion, namely, that the story is false."

Myself, I'm not too impressed with sophistry -- advancing the narrative that the story of the empty tomb is false is precisely what he is doing. Mind you, I'm not faulting him for taking that stance, but rather for the sophistical manner in which he does it.

Nevertheless, the stance is rather rude.

===
When you people ever get it into your heads to "polite" scorn is still scorn?

Mr Lowder has called *me* a liar since at least last August, and I have called *him* a liar since at least yesterday.

So what? Since when did it become "immoral" to call someone a liar (even if he isn't)? I mean, given atheism.

Of course, there is a difference in the rationales the two of us use to justify the accusations, and to justify any objection to the accusations --
1) *His* justification, both for calling me a liar and objecting to my calling him a liar, is that I am "rude";
2) *My* justification for calling him a liar is to argue that given that his God-denial necessarily denies that *anything* is either moral or immoral, it is intellectually dishonest -- it is hypocritical -- for him to try to invoke morality to achieve his goal of VR asking me to get lost. And I don't really care that he calls me a liar; I mean: he's intellectually dishonest, he's worse than a liar; how could it possibly signify anything that he calls me a liar?

Dan Gillson said...

I HAVE REAL WORK TO DO, PEOPLE! PLEASE BAN ME IF I COMMENT HERE AGAIN! GAAH!!!

Ilíon said...

B.Prokop: "You [VR] could also have mentioned the panic in the materialist ranks over the implications of "fine tuning". Not that any attempt was made to discredit fine tuning. To their credit, they recognized the futility of that! No, the atheist materialists merely punted to their own rather bizarre version of the supernatural - the multiverse. How convenient of them to explain away the otherwise unexplainable by a theory that they themselves will admit is untestable, unverifiable, and that not only do they have no evidence for, but they acknowledge (in fact, insist) that such evidence is forever unobtainable."

Jeffrey Jay Louder: "This is a caricature of the best nontheistic responses to alleged "fine-tuning." For a much more philosophically sophisticated response to "fine-tuning" arguments (really, "coarse-tuning" arguments), see Bradley Monton's article ..."

He's calling B.Prokop intellectually dishonest. Which, as we all know, is *my* job; plus, I know *when* the accusation is appropriate (and this wasn't it).

When are you people going to into your heads that a person doesn't have to *use* that phrase to *mean* it? And, if it is "rude" to use the phrase, why is it not even more "rude" to mean it?

Ilíon said...

Ilíon: "Appealing to 'randomness' to "explain" the reality of reason is even more incoherent than appealing to mechanical cause-and-effect to "explain" it. Both "explanations" deny the very thing they are claimed to explain, with the added benefit that the 'randomness' "explanation" denies even the possibility of causes and effects."

Dan Gillson: "Simply put, that's not Peirce's position. I'd encourage you to ..."

I just adore that supercillious encouragement, don't you?

Dan Gillson: "To sum it up, basically, if we have a universe of pure chance, we would expect as it evolves to exhibit statistical regularity ... meaning that over time, we get things like physical laws, reasons, etc from nonreason."

Or, to put it into blunt English -- if the world is such (*) that events happen for no reason (**) and without cause (***), then necessarily, eventually reasons (i.e. "causes") will "arise" or "emerge" from there-are-no-causes.

Or, just as I said at the first.



(*) but, of course, such a "world" is not a world: such a conception is the very contradiction of 'world'.

(**) denying that there are rational reasons that the world exists and is as it is, is, after all, where the God-denier necessarily starts.

(***) this is what 'randomness' means when one is supposedly talking about cause-and-effect. To speak of 'randomness' with respect to some set or grouping of things is to speak of a lack of correlation between those things. Thus, when one is supposedly talking about cause-and-effect, to assert 'randomness' exists in the causal-chain is *precisely* to asset that there is no correlation between so-called causes and co-called effects.

Does Mr Gillson really imagine the *I* don't know what "a universe of pure chance" means?

====
Dan Gillson: "To sum it up, basically, if we have a universe of pure chance, we would expect as it evolves to exhibit statistical regularity ... meaning that over time, we get things like physical laws, reasons, etc from nonreason."

I also wish to point out that Mr Gillson is using the word 'reason' equivocally.

On the one hand, as here, he's using the word to mean "causes (especially physical causes) producing effects", so that he's simply repeating himself when he says "we get things like physical laws, reasons, etc"

Dan Gillson: "To bring it back to the OP, I'm always amazed that C.S. Peirce, particularly his tychism, gets left out of discussions about how reason arises out of nonreason, etc."

On the other hand, when he introduces his let's-get-back-on-topic topic, he's using 'reason' to mean reason, you know: ground-and-consequent, rather than cause-and-effect.

====
SO, in total, what Mr Gillson is asserting it this --
1) "the universe" is initially such that
1a) there is no ground-and-consequent;
1b) there is no cause-and-effect;
2) over time, cause-and-effect will "arise" from there-are-no-causes-and-effects;
3) Ergo, the observed reality of ground-and-consequent has been "explained"


Once again: sheesh!

Ilíon said...

Victor Reppert: "Are Atheists Hypocrites? ... This Conservapedia article has a lot of inflammatory content and I do not by any stretch of the imagination agree with all of it. Still, I offer it to generate some discussion."

Jeffery Jay Lowder: "Which claims / arguments / statements in that article do YOU agree with?"

Jeffery Jay Lowder: "Victor, that is interesting. But can I get an answer to my question?"

Papalinton: "There are no answers a superstitious supernaturalist could bring to the question, Jeff, that is not a variant or interpretive contortion of apologetic religious double-speak. [and blah, blah, and more blah]"

Jeffery Jay Lowder: "Would you just knock it off, already?"

Oh! My bad, that "quotation" is a lie about Jeffery Jay Lowder on my part.

Im-skeptical: "There is no answer to Jeffery's question.
There is no answer to the issue I raised.
Instead, they deflect to ad hominem attacks against the one who raises the issue.
"

Jeffery Jay Lowder: "Really, you can stop this at any time, and I encourage you to do so."

Oh! My bad, that "quotation" is yet another lie about Jeffery Jay Lowder on my part.

Now, of course, one cannot reasonably expect Mr Lowder to chastise every instance of those two (and the couple of new ones who I promise you all will step into their shoes) doing this sort of thing, any more than one can expect me to chastise the Prancing Fool every time he prances.

But, I made a general statement about his over-all attitude toward "rudeness" directed at Christians, and in the context of his whining about my "rudeness" towards so-called atheists, and you all freaked out as though I had said that he is Papalinton and Im-skeptical rolled into one.

And that's the last of my time I'm going to spend on *that* sub-issue. I said what I said, and it's still true.

Crude said...

I'd encourage you to find and read the essay, or at least the SEP page on Peirce.

From that article: This notion of all things as being evolved psycho-physical unities of some sort places Peirce well within the sphere of what might be called “the grand old-fashioned metaphysicians,” along with such thinkers as Plato, Aristotle, Aquinas, Spinoza, Leibniz, Hegel, Schopenhauer, Whitehead, et al. Some contemporary philosophers might be inclined to reject Peirce out of hand upon discovering this fact. Others might find his notion of psycho-physical unities not so very offputting or indeed even attractive. What is crucial is that Peirce argued that mind pervades all of nature in varying degrees: it is not found merely in the most advanced animal species.

This pan-psychistic view, combined with his synechism, meant for Peirce that mind is extended in some sort of continuum throughout the universe.


Last I recall, CS Peirce opposed nominalism and was a theist. He doesn't seem like someone who can be rallied to Team Atheist Materialist.

David Brightly said...

If magic is the intervention into the world of powers that lay outside it, then theists, on the whole, do seem to believe in magic. On the other hand, the gist of Victor's piece is that atheists, like Lewis Carroll's White Queen, believe in impossibilities. Are both claims true?

I can't speak for the theists on the issue of magic. But some of Victor's impossibilities are more tractable than others. Certainly, intentionality, normativity, purpose, and reason aren't present in the entities of basic physics. But what about the entities of biology? There are the beginnings of naturalistic accounts of how all four can arise in living things. Considering just reason, how do we explain that different people can reason their way to radically divergent conclusions? The Christian theist, I think, might say that reason is present in God at the foundation of the universe, but that in humans it is a weak reed on account of the fall. The naturalist will say that reason is something cobbled together by evolution that gives us an advantage in dealing with the quotidian problems of life. On metaphysical questions it's maybe not so reliable. This has implications for other of Victor's impossibilities which are less tractable. Questions as to the origin of the universe, its apparent fine-tuning, and the origins of life, present formidable problems to the naturalist, and perhaps to reason itself.

Crude said...

There are the beginnings of naturalistic accounts of how all four can arise in living things.

We've been hearing about these "beginnings" for ages now. It's yet more promissory notes.

The naturalist will say that reason is something cobbled together by evolution that gives us an advantage in dealing with the quotidian problems of life. On metaphysical questions it's maybe not so reliable.

So the naturalism should give up naturalism, which is yet another metaphysical question.

cl said...

Ilion

Listen here huffy puffy... I properly disclaimed myself. I said that I had been out of this bunk scene for a few years now. True! And I also said that when I was in this bunk scene, I saw Jeff take many an atheist to task for rudeness.

Has he been rude to you? I don't know and I don't give a shit. But I'm not even close to out of line for saying what I said, I'll tell you that.

And hell, if Jeff did call you a liar, well then, his whole 'tude has apparently changed.

Don't know, don't care, just didn't want to see Jeff thrown under the bus when he's done more to bust atheist balls than most Christians here.

Jeffery Jay Lowder said...

Ilion, maybe "liars" is a bit over the top. How about "no atheist (other than perhaps Nietzsche) ever manages to follow their beliefs to their logical conclusions of nihilism, amorality, and despair." But you are dead right about the double standard most atheists employ. It's OK for them to ridicule at will, but God forbid (pun intended) anyone return the favor!

Hi PL,

I've written extensively on the topic of atheism and morality and would be happy to discuss with you whether nihilism, amorality, and despair are the 'logical implications' of atheism.

Why do you think they are the logical implications of atheism?

cl said...

Although I will say this, when I hear Jeff Lowder say stuff like:

Just as no one has successfully demonstrated a logical contradiction between God's existence and evil, so too no one has successfully demonstrated a logical contradiction between God's non-existence and objective morality.

I won't say that's "intellectually dishonest," but I don't know what the next closest thing is. I will claim that I've given Jeff's objective morality posts a run for their money - and I'm still awaiting his response.

It may be that he doesn't consider me a "qualified" opponent, being that I spend all my time writing computer code instead of chasing meaningless philosophy degrees, but damn it! I'm qualified. And I can speak civilly! And even better, tengo un sense of humor.

Let's do this Jeff, I'll dice your arguments up like chopped tomatoes :)

cl said...

To be fair to Jeff, I was unaware of the 30 day comment limit at your blog, and that's why I never pursued our LAST conversation.

David Brightly said...

I doubt anything is being promised. But before Darwin, before DNA, before computer and neuroscience, it was never possible to put much flesh on the bare bones of philosophical naturalism. Much has changed over my lifetime. It may all come to nothing of course, and in fifty years time we may be no further forward. But why counsel despair? Where is the American can-do spirit?

Jeffery Jay Lowder said...

I won't say that's "intellectually dishonest," but I don't know what the next closest thing is. I will claim that I've given Jeff's objective morality posts a run for their money - and I'm still awaiting his response.

It may be that he doesn't consider me a "qualified" opponent, being that I spend all my time writing computer code instead of chasing meaningless philosophy degrees, but damn it! I'm qualified. And I can speak civilly! And even better, tengo un sense of humor.


I don't remember our exchange, so I didn't have you in mind when I wrote that. I was referring to professional philosophers when I wrote that. But I believe you that we had such an exchange. Can you send me a link?

Dan Gillson said...

"He doesn't seem like someone who can be rallied to Team Atheist Materialist." ... I'm on my own fuckin' team ... with Peirce ... and maybe other people. Dammit.

cl said...

Jeff,

No no, I knew you weren't talking to me. I was just coyly butting in. I'm snarkin' for humor, not disrespect. I'll have to dig to find the exchanges in question, but for now I can give you this link to a critique I wrote of your AHS ... I just re-discovered it from 2012, I think it's solid but I never recorded the link to your rebuttal - which I would love to read again three years later - and which I obviously read then, because I rejoined.

http://www.thewarfareismental.net/b/2012/08/24/a-response-to-jeff-lowders-argument-from-the-history-of-science/

...I'll report back if I find those other exchanges, and please let me know if you find your reply to that link.

As far as the tangent we're on...

no one has successfully demonstrated a logical contradiction between God's non-existence and objective morality

...we're bound for misery without solid definitions and that's why I need to find those old links, but, are we talking ontology or group acceptance of a norm when we say "objective" ??

cl said...

And heck, since the trolls are gone I'm'a talk more...

Ilion / Lowder

Alright guys, on this whole atheism and nihilism thing... Jeff, you deny that atheism entails nihilism and seem a bit jiffied by Ilion's confidence to the contrary, but I gotta ask... what sayest thou to Strawson's basic argument? If there is no ultimate moral responsibility for our actions, would you agree there is no potential for any sort of truly objective moral impetus? Some preeminent SHOULD?? It seems you have to say that *SOMETHING* must be causa sui, no? But doesn't that conflict with your naturalist worldview?

Where do we pin the tail on moral donkey, and why, under atheism? Your ability to answer that question will increase my consideration of your opinion. For now I'm with Ilion.

Dan Gillson said...

Ilion,

"I just adore that supercillious encouragement, don't you?" ... Oh, please. Quit being so damned peevish. You know damn well that that's not how it was meant.

As for the rest of your comment, if you read the damned article, you'd know damn well that your damn comment was nothing more than a damn straw man, dammit! So read the damn article!

Dan Gillson said...

Dammit! "Essay," not "article!" DAMN!

cl said...

Okay Jeff, I took you to task on your remark about how "no one has successfully demonstrated a logical contradiction between God's non-existence and objective morality."

I offer one, here:

http://www.thewarfareismental.net/b/2015/05/10/objective-moral-values-redux/

Jeffery Jay Lowder said...

Hello again, CL!

This week looks like it is going to be a very busy one for me, but I'll take a look at it when I can.

Regards,

Jeffery Jay Lowder said...

I don't know if what I've already written addresses CL's latest comments about morality without God, but readers of this site may find my writings of interest. I've attempted to interact with many of the best arguments against morality without God, including responding to several of my fellow atheists.

See here for an index of my critiques of atheist error theorists.

See here for my critique of WLC's moral argument.

See here for my primer in religion and morality, which includes a comprehensive bibliography.

Jeffery Jay Lowder said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jeffery Jay Lowder said...

"You can't get morality out of atoms. And atoms is all God-deniers have."

That would be true, except for the inconvenient little fact that it's false. It is FALSE that atheists have only atoms. Once again, atheism is not materialism. G.E. Moore, Erik Wielenberg, and I are not materialists, i.e., we reject the claim, "nature is all there is." But we are naturalistic atheists, i.e., we believe in the causal closure of the physical. Abstract objects pose no problem for non-materialist atheists like us. So showing that some form of what I call "moral anti-reductionism" is true (and so morality cannot be reduced to mere molecules) does precisely *nothing* to refute naturalistic atheism. (I agree it would refute materialism, however.)

Jeffery Jay Lowder said...

He's calling B.Prokop intellectually dishonest.

No, I'm not. Stop putting words in my mouth. The fact that someone caricatured doesn't mean they were intellectually dishonest. The caricature could have been unintentional, which is what I suspect happened here.

Josh said...

@Jeffrey:

I'm curious as to what the ontological status is of abstract objects in such a system and how that is accounted for; could you direct me to something?

Jeffery Jay Lowder said...

Alright guys, on this whole atheism and nihilism thing... Jeff, you deny that atheism entails nihilism and seem a bit jiffied by Ilion's confidence to the contrary, but I gotta ask... what sayest thou to Strawson's basic argument?

I think I know which argument you have in mind, but I want to be sure before I answer. Can you provide a citation or link for Strawson's basic argument?

If there is no ultimate moral responsibility for our actions, would you agree there is no potential for any sort of truly objective moral impetus? Some preeminent SHOULD?? It seems you have to say that *SOMETHING* must be causa sui, no? But doesn't that conflict with your naturalist worldview?

I could be wrong, but I think there's no consensus among philosophers which support the claim that objective moral values or obligations have the concept of "ultimate accountability" built into them. I'm inclined to define things in a way that treats accountability as an independent issue. On my view, it makes perfect sense to ask, "X is objectively morally good, but is there any ultimate accountability for whether we do X?"

It seems to me this largely a semantic issue, however. It doesn't really touch the kind of issues in moral ontology raised by Adams, Copan, Craig, Wainwright, and others.

Jeffery Jay Lowder said...

Alright guys, on this whole atheism and nihilism thing... Jeff, you deny that atheism entails nihilism and seem a bit jiffied by Ilion's confidence to the contrary, but I gotta ask... what sayest thou to Strawson's basic argument?

I think I know which argument you have in mind, but I want to be sure before I answer. Can you provide a citation or link for Strawson's basic argument?

If there is no ultimate moral responsibility for our actions, would you agree there is no potential for any sort of truly objective moral impetus? Some preeminent SHOULD?? It seems you have to say that *SOMETHING* must be causa sui, no? But doesn't that conflict with your naturalist worldview?

I could be wrong, but I think there's no consensus among philosophers which support the claim that objective moral values or obligations have the concept of "ultimate accountability" built into them. I'm inclined to define things in a way that treats accountability as an independent issue. On my view, it makes perfect sense to ask, "X is objectively morally good, but is there any ultimate accountability for whether we do X?"

It seems to me this largely a semantic issue, however. It doesn't really touch the kind of issues in moral ontology raised by Adams, Copan, Craig, Wainwright, and others.

Jeffery Jay Lowder said...

I'm curious as to what the ontological status is of abstract objects in such a system and how that is accounted for; could you direct me to something?

Off the top of my head, I'm drawing a blank on a reference to give you (on the topic of abstract objects and atheism). Evan Fales is a major proponent of this view, but I can't remember if he defends it in any of his books.

I think Erik Wielenberg talks about it very briefly, in the context of metaethics only, in his latest book, ROBUST ETHICS.

Ilíon said...

C.L.Hufnstuf: "Listen here huffy puffy... "

I really don't know what to make of this rant.

C.L.Hufnstuf: "... I saw Jeff take many an atheist to task for rudeness."

I said 1) he isn't really botheres by "rudeness" when it's directed at Christians, 2) everyone understands that, or can.

You, and SRV, and VR said, "No, you're wrong; here's why"

I said, "No, I'm right; here's why"

And somehow -- on-topic alert: -- by some magic that's over my head, you turned that into an attack on you.

And still people whine when I treat them exactly as their behavior indicates they wish to be treated.

C.L.Hufnstuf: "Don't know, don't care ... "

Clearly. Yet, you stick your nose into what you don't know about and don't care about.

And still people whine when I treat them exactly as their behavior indicates they wish to be treated.

C.L.Hufnstuf: "... just didn't want to see Jeff thrown under the bus ... "

Let's see: *he's* trying to con(vince) VR into tossing *me* under the bus. But, by some more magic that's over my head, my mockery of his attempt transmogrifies his attempt into me trying to toss him under the bus.

C.L.Hufnstuf: "... when he's done more to bust atheist balls than most Christians here."

Now, there's something *I* don't care about. I'm more than willing to let the so-called atheists keep their balls. I just expect them to stop being intellectually dishonest (recognizing, of course, that as they shed their i.d., they will necessarily shed their God-denial).

===
The reader may recall that I not infrequently say that I don't justify myself. This particular exchange, and the mass of postings before it in this thread, perfectly illustrates why: it's a pointless waste of my time. The people who who will listen to a justification of my "rudeness" have already been reading what I write with open-minded charity, even if they don't agree with everything I say or how I say it. The others are just looking for something else to be "offended" about; so, rather than re-hashing what I've already said, why not just give them some new bones to choke on?

Ilíon said...

*sigh* I guess I will end up post more on this digression, after all.

cl: "Although I will say this, when I hear Jeff Lowder say stuff like:

Just as no one has successfully demonstrated a logical contradiction between God's existence and evil, so too no one has successfully demonstrated a logical contradiction between God's non-existence and objective morality.

I won't say that's "intellectually dishonest," but I don't know what the next closest thing is. I will claim that I've given Jeff's objective morality posts a run for their money - and I'm still awaiting his response.
"

I'm pretty sure that the next closest thing is "almost pregnant".

cl: "... I will claim that I've given Jeff's objective morality posts a run for their money - and I'm still awaiting his response.

It may be that he doesn't consider me a "qualified" opponent, being that I spend all my time writing computer code instead of chasing meaningless philosophy degrees ...
"

Now, you're getting close to what's really goinig on.

Mr Lowder isn't *interested* in getting at the truth of the matter, but he *does* want to play the game ... er, I mean, "have dialogues" with "the best" Christian -- just so long as everyone involved agrees to pretend that nothing can ever be resolved. He's like a mirror-image Vallicella in this regard, concerning this subject matter.

Consider again his own protest in response to what I'd said about his attitude --

Recall that I said this: "Surely, he's not trying to claim (*) that that it is immoral for me to say that "*all* 'atheists' are liars, and worse than liars". I mean, if he *were* trying to claim that, then the very claim would verify that my statement does apply to him. ..."

And how did he "refute" that? -- "2. No, 'the very claim does NOT verify that [Illion's] statement applies to me" because it is false that atheism entails nihilism. Unlike many of the theists who make claims to the contrary, I have actually interacted with the best of my opponents literature and done so charitably. See, for example, my "Primer on Religion and Morality" here and here."

I have already dealt with the first sentence out last night. so direct your attention to the second: "Unlike many of the theists who make claims to the contrary, I have actually interacted with the best of my opponents literature and done so charitably."

So, what is he saying here? This --
1) many "theists" are liars, in contrast to him;
2) he charitably interacts with the literature of "the best" of his opponents

Sorry, Dude! You're just not famous enough to be included in "the best". Plus, you apparently decline to agree beforehand that you are not allowed to pin him.

Ilíon said...

Wait! What?

He's bitching because I said:
1) he's not really all that concerned with "rudeness" when it's directed at Christians;
2) he's a hypocrite;
and his "refutation" of that is to say that many "theists" are liars, and that his "interacting" with literature (so long as it's from "the best") shows that he does too care about "rudeness" when it's directed at Christians.

But, who gives a damn about literature? I said that he's not all that concerned with "rudeness" when it's directed at Christians.


Recall that I said this: "Can we, as a group, be honest with ourselves? We all know that Mr Lowder doesn't have a problem with "rudeness" when it is directed at Christians. ..."

And how did he "refute" that? -- "That is a flat out lie. Anyone who follows my Twitter account knows that I consistently criticize atheists when I think they are being rude or straw manning theists or theistic arguments. Case in point: earlier tonight I condemned China's decision to forcibly remove crosses from Christian churches. Some atheist responded to me by saying that he 'applauds' China's decision. I, along with several other atheists, have been arguing with this person and defending the rights of Christians in China. My tweets are a matter of public record and speak for themselves. Along the same lines, my comments at my own blog are also a matter of public record and also speak for themselves. Anyone who cares about the truth can check this out for themselves and see that I do, in fact, have a major problem with atheists who are rude to Christians (or anyone else)."

Did I claim that he personally is in favor of governmental persecution of Christians? I don't recall making *any* statements with *any* relationship to that.

So, apparently, because he's not in favor of governmental persecution of Christians, and mildly chastises his fellow God-deniers who are, that means that he gets a free pass on his own damned "rudeness".

========
The truth remains: Mr Lowder is not really all that concerned with "rudeness" when it's directed at Christians; and his bitching about my "rudeness" is merely a hypocritical play to con Mr Reppert into asking me to get lost.

Mr Lowder is not interesting in getting to the truth of the matter concerning God; but he does want to "have dialogue", endlessly, about God. Just so long as nothing is ever resolved, and cerainly in favor of "the God hypothesis". But, in order to play that game, there have to be a certain number of Christians willing to go along with it.

His self-proclaimed tender solicitude to deflect "rudeness" from "the best of [his] opponents" is simply the utilitarian price he pays to mollify a stable of "the best of [his] opponents" so that they will pay games with him.

cl said...

Ilion,

said 1) he isn't really botheres by "rudeness" when it's directed at Christians, 2) everyone understands that, or can.

You, and SRV, and VR said, "No, you're wrong; here's why"



Yes. Exactly. You *ARE* wrong. Now, had you actually utilized the same precision of language you demand from atheists, you may have been able to formulate a *TRUE* statement, but as it is, you offer a lame blanket and expect everyone to suck up to you? Sheesh.

Now, you can get all armchair psychologist and continue to demean Jeff by insisting that he has nefarious motives for chastising rude atheists, but that - like dialog with you on this matter - *IS* a waste of time. We agree, so, accept that I've seen what I say I've seen, get over your pride, bugger along, and bait somebody else.

And hey, if Jeff was rude to you, fine. That doesn't make my statement wrong, nor does it make yours right. You *MIGHT* be able to amend your claim to something like, "Jeff has no problem being rude to ME," but that's where it should've began - and frankly I could see why he'd be rude to you.

John W. Loftus said...

I skimmed this thread and saw this comment by Jeff Lowder:

Comments like yours are precisely the reason why informed atheists have tended to stay away from Dr. Reppert's combox: too much rudeness. You can disagree with an argument without calling it 'moronic.' More important, if you're going to call the argument 'moronic,' it had actually better be 'moronic.' Otherwise, you only make yourself look 'moronic.'

I'm not sure who this was in response to. Probably Crude or llion. But it is the reason I have stayed away for a long time.

Ilíon said...

^ Now! I want all you lurkers to stop giggling. That was a cri de coeur

Wizard Suth said...

"I don't believe that reason could arise from nonreason, therefore I think that reason is at the foundation of the universe."

This is a classic example of an argument from incredulity. You don't understand how something works, so you assume that your favourite explanation, for which you have no evidence whatsoever, must be correct. Having any answer at all feels better to you than admitting that you don't know.

Order frequently arises from disorder. Snowflakes are complex structures that arise from simple interactions between water molecules. No intelligence is required to determine their shapes.

A mind is an emergent property of the activity of a brain. Objects as complex as living things take much longer to arise than snow flakes, but no step in the process requires a directing intelligence.

Ilíon said...

^ Good night, but it took long enough for one of the credulous Britegnus to show up to advance the "argument" from (his own personal) credulity.

cl said...

Of rudeness, Loftus - of all people - writes:

it is the reason I have stayed away for a long time.

Well, if rudeness keeps you away here, why on Earth would you heap it out on another person's blog, like, oh you know… maybe Bradley Bowen?

"With this comment you're just being stupid, Bowen, stupid… Here's the deal, stupid. All you must do is one thing. Just one. Use the principle of charity. It'll do you good. You might even learn a few things."
-John W. Loftus, to Bradley Bowen


LOLOLOLOLOLOL!!

C'mon! Just have some charity, stupid. What a great shirt that would make!

Ilíon said...

Litebrite: "Order frequently arises from disorder. Snowflakes ..."

On the other hand, the science of physics disagrees that order *ever* "arises" from disorder, even the simple order expressed in a snowflake.

Jeffery Jay Lowder said...

In fairness to John, probably all of us, including both Dr Reppert and myself, have failed to consistently demonstrate the principle of charity. We're human beings and sometimes our frustrations get the best of us.

Speaking only for myself, I can empathize with that when that is the cause of another person's lack of charity towards me. What interests me is whether they try to make amends by trying to be more charitable when it is pointed out them that they were being uncharitable. If they're willing to admit they were wrong, they're okay in my book.

cl said...

Link, lest those inclined to doubt, doubt:

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/secularoutpost/2014/12/27/faith-and-the-end-of-por-part-2/#comment-1761821534

Jeff,

Sure, I don't think anybody would claim a perfect record on the issue of charity, but there are some who seem to show wanton disregard for it, and honestly in my experience Loftus is one of them. When you dissect his arguments and show him where they fail, he resorts to personal attacks.

Been there, done that. We don't do that, Jeff, and while that doesn't make us better than John, it does matter for something.

Wizard Suth said...

"if the mind is matter ... then reason is finished, for chunks of matter don't reason."

I have a chunk of matter inside my skull that reasons just fine, thank you. Can you demonstrate the existence of anything not made of matter that reasons?

Wizard Suth said...

"the science of physics disagrees that order *ever* "arises" from disorder"

Not true. This is a common misinterpretation of the second law of thermodynamics, which states that the net entropy of a closed system cannot decrease. It does not imply that entropy cannot decrease in localized regions of a closed system, nor that it cannot decrease in an open system.

When a snowflake forms, the water molecules in it lose heat energy. Their entropy decreases at the expense of an increase in the entropy of the surrounding air. The system as a whole has less useable energy, hence greater entropy.

Living organisms do much the same thing. They break down some molecules (e.g. sugars) to get enough energy to assemble other molecules (e.g. proteins). The entropy of some parts of the system increases so that the entropy of other parts can decrease. Nearly all of the energy ultimately comes from the fusion of hydrogen into helium inside the sun, and ultimately bleeds out into space as infrared radiation. The Earth is not a closed system.

Wizard Suth said...

B. Prokop: "Most telling to me is the visceral reaction to Scripture. They act like someone who's touched a hot stove when presented with it in a discussion. As I've said before, it reminds me of nothing so much as Dracula recoiling from a Crucifix in an old horror movie. This trait alone has the stench of sulfur about it."

How would you react if I brought out comic books to support an assertion that Spider-man exists? The stories are set in a real city. The comics contain illustrations of thousands of people who witness his web-spinning and crime-fighting. Millions of people have seen full-page colour photos of him in the Daily Bugle. They even make movies about his life and how he has helped people.

That's kind of how Christians seem to us when they start quoting bible verses to support their arguments.

Josh said...

@Wizard:

"Order frequently arises from disorder. Snowflakes are complex structures that arise from simple interactions between water molecules."

Water molecules aren't disordered in themselves, and if they make snowflakes at all, there must be something in them that orders (i.e., directs) them to such an organization; in that case, the external conditions of cold combined with imposition upon a dust particle. So there you have a case of one order producing another through changes accidental and substantial., not order arising from disorder.

Crude said...

Mediocrity,

But it is the reason I have stayed away for a long time.

Oh, I'm sorry, John. Did I sharpen my barbs until they really hurt you? Where in the world did I get the idea that you allowed such, eh?

Suth,

I have a chunk of matter inside my skull that reasons just fine, thank you.

The evidence you've supplied to this point hasn't been encouraging.

Jeff,

In fairness to John, probably all of us, including both Dr Reppert and myself, have failed to consistently demonstrate the principle of charity.

Sorry, but no.

Don't play this game where "We're ALL guilty" - that's not fairness to John, that's full-blown groundless defense. Reppert is polite and congenial to a fault, and has been as long as I've seen him at his blog - likely longer. Loftus is a jackass to an extreme, and - as the Dawkins quote shows - this is not viewed as a failing of New Atheism. It's a core component.

What happens is that Loftus loves to mock, attack and belittle - and encourage such in his allies - but a little heat and criticism in his direction is enough to send him packing.

Crude said...

Jeff,

Furthermore, although Plantinga obviously rejects the argument, I find it significant that his list of objections does not include the objection that it doesn't address "classical theism."

Plantinga rejects classical theism, last I recall.

Wizard Suth said...

@Josh: Does every particle have a plan of every possible arrangement it could have with every other particle in the universe? Is every possible arrangement of matter equally ordered? If that were true, order and disorder would be meaningless terms.

Wizard Suth said...

@Crude: Your first post addressed to me is an ad hominem attack. What a surprise.

If you want to criticize my reasoning ability, please provide specific examples, and demonstrate the flaws in them.

cl said...

Suth,

Your first post addressed to me is an ad hominem attack. What a surprise.

How so? He simply called you out for lack of evidence - and I agree.

If you want to criticize my reasoning ability, please provide specific examples, and demonstrate the flaws in them.

Josh, above, already attempted to clarify a few things for you that may or may not have import to your "argument" here - and you ignored him, instead opting to accuse Crude of a fallacy you apparently don't understand.

If you want to be taken seriously, come serious.

Ilíon said...

Litebrite, the Credulous: "Your first post addressed to me is an ad hominem attack. What a surprise."

Has *anyone* ever seen one of these oh-so-credulous eliminative materialists (as though there were any other kind) demonstrate an understanding of what 'ad hominem' even means? Much less what the 'Second Law of Thermodynamics' and the term 'entropy' does and does not mean-and-imply?

Josh said...

"Does every particle have a plan of every possible arrangement it could have with every other particle in the universe? Is every possible arrangement of matter equally ordered? If that were true, order and disorder would be meaningless terms"

And indeed they become, under certain metaphysics. I'm on board with Aristotelian-Thomistic notions; e.g., matter/form, act/potency, etc. And under such a system, composite substances even as small as a particle aren't blank, infinitely potential beings. Given those qualifications, then, I'd say no in answer to your questions.

cl said...

Okay Suth, I owe you an apology for the second half of my last comment. I overlooked your response to Josh.

But, as Ilion concurs, Crude didn't commit the ad hominem fallacy. He just wants you to put up some evidence.

Wizard Suth said...

@cl: Apology accepted. I expect you posted before you received my response, so you are not at fault.

Crude stated that the evidence he'd seen, i.e. my comments, did not indicate that I had the ability to reason. He didn't bother to cite any specific examples or critique my arguments directly, so his comment boils down to nothing more than a personal insult.

@josh: The water molecules don't have a plan for how they are going to make a snowflake. It forms as a result of spontaneous interactions between them. A more complex thing emerges from the interactions of less complex things. Order arises from disorder.

The process seems to always require an increase in disorder elsewhere. In this example, the disorder of the surrounding air molecules increases as they absorb heat from the water molecules.

@Victor Reppert: You've stated that you don't believe reason could arise from unreason. Can you provide a reason why it could not?

To be more specific, which parts of reason arising from unreason present a problem for you?

A) humans evolving from less intelligent animals,
B) animals evolving from organisms without central nervous systems,
C) living things arising from non-living matter,
D) the universe existing without apparent purpose, or
E) something else

The naturalistic view doesn't include magic or anything else supernatural. Yet you claim that atheists, whom those who hold a naturalistic view are implied to be, believe in magic. This is an apparent contradiction. Could you clarify your intended meaning?

The scientific method requires methodological naturalism, so your statement that the "very foundations of science don't even seem possible" given a naturalistic view is also an apparent contradiction. It makes you appear ignorant of the scientific method.

"Even the very fact that our thoughts are about something else is something that can't be captured by basic physics." This appears to be a unfounded assertion. Physics places no limitations on which subjects a brain may contemplate. It only limits the complexity, speed, and energy usage of the associated neural activity.

Victor Reppert said...

Crude: I have said things I regretted because I was angry, here, even if my fault is mostly the other way.

Josh said...

If a snowflake were truly evidence of order arising spontaneously from disorder, we should never be able to predict the occurrence of such a being. Is this the case? Nope. Clearly we're operating on equivocal notions of order.

Wizard Suth said...

I find it refreshing that at least some of those who post comments here have the intellectual integrity to admit to their mistakes, are open-minded enough to consider others' points of view, and are willing to change their own position in response to well-reasoned arguments and evidence.

It was those very traits that led me to reject faith as a basis for belief, and religion along with it.

I have no valid reason to believe that anything supernatural exists. All of the arguments I have encountered in support of such beliefs have been riddled with logical fallacies such as wishful thinking, unwarranted assumptions, equivocations, rationalizations, irrelevancies, implied threats, and appeals to authority.

I hope that people here can provide a better class of arguments, and not resort to name-calling, over-generalizations, and personal insults.

@Ilíon: I appreciate the irony of you saying that I do not understand what an ad hominem attack is, in a statement that insulted me instead of addressing my argument. Was it intended to be funny? I assure you that it was.

Ilíon said...

Josh: "If a snowflake were truly evidence of order arising spontaneously from disorder, we should never be able to predict the occurrence of such a being. Is this the case? Nope. Clearly we're operating on equivocal notions of order."

Oh, indeed. When God-deniers start blathering on about "order arising spontaneously from [chaos]" (that being the word this one initially used), it's *always* the case that there are "equivocal notions of order" in play ... including especially by the God-denier, and frequently within a single sentence.

Moreover, with respect to the claim that the formation of snowflakes or ice crystals is an example of "order arising spontaneously from [chaos]", there is the added benefit of (nearly everyone) misunderstanding the liquid state of the H2O molecule as being the "default" or "natural" state, and the solid state as being the one that "arises" under certain conditions. But, in fact, it is the other way around: ice is the the "default" or "natural" state of the H2O molecule, and water is (one of the) "unnatural" states that "arises" under certain conditions.

It's not that the order of ice spontaneously "arises" from the (relative) disorder of water; it's that when the conditions causing the ice to become disordered are removed, the natural order of the ice reasserts itself.

Wizard Suth said...

@Josh: Order is usually associated with things having a pattern. They may be symmetrical instead of asymmetrical; fixed in place instead of moving about at random; aligned, sorted, or grouped instead of being arbitrarily distributed. The number of ways a system can be ordered is typically much smaller than the number of ways it could be disordered. For example, there are only 2 ways a set of 10 coins lying on a table can all face the same direction, but 1022 ways they can face different directions. A Rubik's Cube has 43,252,003,274,489,856,000 possible permutations, but only 1 solution.

Some aspects of a snowflake are very hard to predict. For example, it's hard to predict how many snowflakes will form, which molecules will wind up in each, and exactly how those molecules will be arranged.

Yet we can make some predictions. Under certain conditions of temperature, pressure, and humidity, snowflakes will always form. The molecules will bond at certain angles and not others. The snowflake will usually be nearly planar and have something close to six-fold symmetry (provided it didn't form by the combination of two or more snowflakes). It is traits like these that we typically call order.

Wizard Suth said...

@Ilíon: "when the conditions causing the ice to become disordered are removed, the natural order of the ice reasserts itself."

So you do recognize that order can arise from disorder.

If you melt a snowflake, boil the water, and then cool the air to below freezing, do you get the exact same snowflake back again? If it forms a snowflake, the same order doesn't "reassert itself". It's a new orderly arrangement. The order present in a snowflake is an emergent property of the way the water molecules interact.

Also, water generally isn't produced as ice. On Earth, new water molecules typically form either within a living cell (in a liquid state) or by combustion (in a gaseous state).

If you want to go back to the original source of water, you need to know a bit about cosmology. A large portion of the universe's water is produced as a byproduct of stellar formation. As a star initially condenses, it sends out a strong wind of gas and dust, which collides with the surrounding gas. The resulting shockwaves heat and compress the gas to the point where the hydrogen and oxygen combine -- in a gaseous state.

How can the order of an ice crystal "reassert itself" if the water has never been in an ice crystal before?

Do you think water molecules have intentions? How can they assert anything? You seem to be ascribing agency to them. I see no reason to make that assumption.

grodrigues said...

@Íllion:

"But, in fact, it is the other way around: ice is the the "default" or "natural" state of the H2O molecule, and water is (one of the) "unnatural" states that "arises" under certain conditions."

Everything you say is quite correct (Wizard Suth is obviously in love of giving free lessons in Physics, but has very little conceptual understanding of what is at issue) but this is not, or at least it is ambiguous. Ice is most definitely not a "state of the H2O molecule", neither water is, because water and ice are states, or particular configurations, of macroscopic aggregates of water molecules, which is a different thing. And it is also wrong to say ice is the "default" or "natural" state if by "default" or "natural" we mean temperature and pressure at sea level. And if that is not what you do mean, then what do you mean?

At any rate, this state is no less orderly, and arises causally no less orderly from any other physical state, which is the really important point.

grodrigues said...

Ack, that should have been

@Ilíon:

not what I ended up writing. Sorry.

Wizard Suth said...

@grodrigues: Sorry if the physics lessons are distracting. If someone states that "ice is the the 'default' or 'natural' state of the H2O molecule" and that when water is cooled "the natural order of the ice reasserts itself", I have to assume that they are ignorant of physics. Ilíon didn't bother to look up the facts before posting, so I presented them.

What is it that you think is at issue?

I'm attempting to show how the original post was flawed in its premises and in its conclusions. The first premise is that reason cannot arise from unreason. Beings capable of reasoning tend to be highly ordered, so a discussion of how order can arise from disorder seems an appropriate starting point. I thought a snowflake would be a simple, obvious example, but people seem reluctant even to concede that it is more ordered than water vapour.

By the way, I could more easily discard the entire argument by pointing out that it was presented without evidentiary support, but I am more interested in addressing the assumptions behind it.

cl said...

Suth

"The naturalistic view doesn't include magic or anything else supernatural. Yet you claim that atheists, whom those who hold a naturalistic view are implied to be, believe in magic."

That's just it: Victor is saying simply that the "naturalistic" view looks more like "magic" to him than the theistic view. I agree with Victor. I think this so-called "naturalist" view really fails to explain much of what I see - especially the vast libraries of anomaly.

And of course, to you, our views are the ones that use "magic" ... it's like art.

grodrigues said...

@Wizard Suth:

"What is it that you think is at issue?"

Here is what is not: an issue of physics. The comment of Ilíon had nothing to do with the second law of Thermodynamics (he did not even mentioned it), and yet you chastised him for committing an egregious blunder. Every free lesson of Physics you have given merely reinforces the point made by Josh (declaration of interest: like him, I am also an Aristotelean-Thomist). You made them and yet seem unaware of what you are disputing, precisely because you are equivocating on the relevant notion of order.

"The first premise is that reason cannot arise from unreason."

A premise that is argued, so if you want to dispute the premise what you really have to do is to dispute the supporting arguments.

"Beings capable of reasoning tend to be highly ordered, so a discussion of how order can arise from disorder seems an appropriate starting point."

And this is another confusion. The fact that is "highly ordered", whatever that is supposed to mean, is irrelevant to AfR arguments. The family of AfR-type arguments usually proceed by isolating a key feature of Reason, a feature that material things do not have, ergo by indiscernibility of identicals the mind cannot be wholly material. "Highly ordered" may or may not serve as a basis for such a type of argument, although it is hard to see how it could, since another key feature of such a type of arguments, and the reason why they are favored, is that they deductive and demonstrative, and once you insert degrees you almost always destroy this feature.

Ilíon said...

grodrigues: "The comment of Ilíon had nothing to do with the second law of Thermodynamics (he did not even mentioned it), and yet you chastised him for committing an egregious blunder."

Exactly. I thought about directly pointing that out myself, but decided to go at it indirectly. Also, I like to see if other people will notice such things without it being waved in their faces.

Wizard Suth said...

I have no interest in philosophical discussions that have no basis in or relation to reality. I only care about what is actually true, i.e. that which is consistent with reality.

Whether reason can arise from unreason is not merely a topic for philosophical discussion. The real world contains beings that are capable of reasoning.

If you claim that reason cannot arise from unreason, or that material beings are incapable of reasoning, you need to support those claims with physical evidence. Otherwise you are shirking your burden of proof, and your claim can be dismissed without further discussion.

Wizard Suth said...

@cl: "I think this so-called 'naturalist' view really fails to explain much of what I see"

Could you provide a concrete example?

grodrigues said...

@Wizard Suth:

"I have no interest in philosophical discussions that have no basis in or relation to reality. I only care about what is actually true, i.e. that which is consistent with reality."

Well, it is hard to have an "interest" if you are completely ignorant of it, isn't it? (hint: philosophical discussion is, among other things, a dialectical mode to discover the true nature of reality) But then, maybe you are in the wrong place? The sentence below the title of this blog starts as "This is a blog to discuss philosophy", so if you do not wish to discuss philosophy you are only wasting your time here.

"If you claim that reason cannot arise from unreason, or that material beings are incapable of reasoning, you need to support those claims with physical evidence. Otherwise you are shirking your burden of proof, and your claim can be dismissed without further discussion."

And what sort of evidence would that be? What sort of experiment (I suppose that is what you have in mind) could ever reveal that "reason cannot arise from unreason"? At any rate since the "physical evidence" that reason can indeed arise from non-reason is exactly zero, you can be safely dismissed as the anti-intellectual that you are.

Crude said...

Victor,

I have said things I regretted because I was angry, here, even if my fault is mostly the other way.

Sir, I have watched you. *I* have snapped at you. Your restraint is considerable.

Perfect? Probably not. But it's a joke beyond joking to refer to you as somehow on an equal plane with John 'Slurs and Mediocrity' Loftus.

Suth,

Your first post addressed to me is an ad hominem attack.

I said the evidence you've supplied for your claim so far hasn't been encouraging. Do you think it was an improvement on the claim to respond the way you did?

I have no interest in philosophical discussions that have no basis in or relation to reality. I only care about what is actually true, i.e. that which is consistent with reality.

"Consistent with reality != truth". Consistency is cheap. Reality is difficult.

If you claim that reason cannot arise from unreason, or that material beings are incapable of reasoning, you need to support those claims with physical evidence.

It's a philosophical and metaphysical claim.

Now, define 'material'.

David Brightly said...

Well, what do people mean when they say that reason cannot arise from non-reason? There seems an obvious counter-example: when it is born a baby seems not to reason at all, but a few years later the child certainly can reason.

Daniel Joachim said...

Well, what do people mean when they say that reason cannot arise from non-reason? There seems an obvious counter-example: when it is born a baby seems not to reason at all, but a few years later the child certainly can reason.

Sometimes, I wonder if people really tries to understand what's being argued at all, when this sounds like an obvious counter-argument.

"Uhhmmm, yeah. That's right. We forgot about babies."

Victor has, after all, written a book on the subject. He shouldn't have to repeat the main insights in every post.

At the otherwise generous Secular Outpost, taste emerging from fertilizer is being presented as a counter-argument from Parsons himself.

As James Chastek once stated, you could believe that the entirety of modern philosophy could be taught as a failure to understand the distinction between actuality and potentiality.

planks length said...

Why do you think [nihilism, amorality, and despair] are the logical implications of atheism?

Unfortunately, for no original reasons; none that haven't been laid out a thousand times before already.

Basically, without individual immortality, in the long run everything is totally, completely, and utterly meaningless. The instant we die, it is quite literally as though everything we ever did, everything we ever experienced, everything period, might as well never have happened. Thus the nihilism and despair.

Next. In the absence of an almighty and everlasting God, all "morality" is just opinion, no matter how you gussy it up. In other words: amorality.

Wizard Suth said...

@planks length: Do you think things don't matter just because they're temporary? Is your enjoyment of a symphony impaired by the knowledge that it will end? Life is more precious because it's short.

Morality is just a set of rules that people use to determine how they should interact. Why should it require an "almighty and everlasting" moral arbiter to be valid? After all, we don't require a mathematical arbiter to determine what's valid in mathematics.

Wizard Suth said...

@Crude: "I said the evidence you've supplied for your claim so far hasn't been encouraging."

Okay, would you like me to find you the title of a nice textbook on neurobiology? It could explain how nerves detect environmental stimuli and transmit this information to the brain, how various areas of the brain process it, how the brain stimulates motor neurons to move muscles, and how those muscles can produce evidence (e.g. by typing) that reasoning has been done with the information received. There is no need to suppose that anything immaterial is involved in any step of the process.

"Consistency is cheap. Reality is difficult."

Yes, that's why philosophers are often very bad at demonstrating the truth of their claims.

Now, define 'material'.

Nice red herring. I ask for people to support their claims, and they try to divert the discussion into abstractions and arguments about the meanings of words. You have an idea of what material means, or you would have starved to death long ago.

Material: physically existent, having properties that can be observed and measured. This includes matter, energy, space, and time.

Wizard Suth said...

@Daniel Joachim: "Sometimes, I wonder if people really tries to understand what's being argued at all, when this sounds like an obvious counter-argument."

I notice you didn't refute his point. You just attempted to dodge the question by citing an alleged authority.

A general statement such as "reason cannot arise from unreason" can be disproven with a single counter-example. Why isn't David Brightly's counter-example sufficient? It appears to be an example of reason arising from non-reason.

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