Friday, June 17, 2011

Glass Houses

You are not showing the greatest critical thinking skills here either. I granted that if I were dismissing the book because of that single review, that would be a mistake, and I granted that it was natural to think that I was doing that. I then pointed out what I didn't intend my comments to be read that way, that instead I was pointing out some problems with the book that a reviewer noted, and then said that IF the reviewer was reading the book accurately, that would be evidence of an uncritical skepticism. 

DO NOT IGNORE MY INTERPRETATION OF MY OWN COMMENTS. I think people are entitled to come back and say "That's not what I meant," even when their opponent's interpretation of those comments is reasonable and perfectly understandable.  

Let me get this straight. I make a hasty statement that sounded more dismissive of a book than I really meant to be, and that proves that my critical thinking skills are poor. But you can made accusations that someone is "deceived" without making clear what it was I said that occasioned that charge, and we shouldn't question YOUR critical thinking skills? YOU can commit the ad hominem fallacy any time you want to, and not be called on it? People who live in glass houses.....

Let me bring up the "uncredentialed hack" business with Tim McGrew. I don't fault you for not knowing that he was a credentialed scholar. What you should have recognized, however, was that his responses were reasonable and intelligent. If you work in the blogosphere, you have to be willing to engage serious thinking regardless of credentials. You then rebroadcast a critique of an essay by the McGrews that completely misinterpreted his statements and attributed to him statements that he never made. 

I am not going to make the kinds of harsh judgments about your overall critical thinking skills that you have made concerning mine. I think you are smarter than you are at your worst moments. But if I were to do so, you've given me a whole lot of material to work with. 


Anonymous said...

Has anyone else bothered to notice that Victor mentions in passing what he takes to be a paranormal experience, and John's response is to - without hearing detail one about the experience, apparently - tell Victor to read a book and see why he's totally wrong about his own experience?


I am not going to make the kinds of harsh judgments about your overall critical thinking skills that you have made concerning mine.

Why not? Why not finally say what you know is true - that Loftus is a hack and a charlatan, a real cheap version of Murray O'Hare with nowhere near the success? Isn't it time someone finally told John the truth to his face? His cronies won't do it.

finney said...

Ya'll should just get over this. Vic I empathize with you, and I feel the sting of his personal attacks but it seems clear that your response was an impulsive attempt at a knock-down. Just say so and let's get past this.

Anonymous said...

It was no such thing. John should apologize for purposefully misreading Victor, for being downright insulting. To say nothing of John's poor reasoning skills.

John should man up for once and admit he was wrong.

Anonymous said...

Loftus is an admitted liar. He lied to his wife, his congregation, and own relatives...heck, he even holds his own brother up for ridicule in videos.

He has set up fake sites...remember the J P Holding debacle?...and has been caught altering and deleting posts.

Why are you taking this man seriously?

He is a hack with an agenda of revenge on Christianity...he is not a genuine scholar.

Goldstein's Clone

unkleE said...


I admire you greatly for your intellectual integrity, one of the reasons why have continued to read your blog when I have let go of many others.

But I wonder whether this debate is worth the aggro? Do you think it will lead anywhere useful? It seems to me it is only leading to useless argument, misunderstandings and name-calling. I honestly think you can use your time better.

I think sometimes as christians we need to walk away from discussions when they seem not to honour Jesus, even though we thereby leave a wrong statement uncorrected and our 'opponents' will take the opportunity to make more accusations. Sometimes grace has greater priority than truth.

Or, at least, that's how I see it. Best wishes, whatever you choose to do.

Gimli 4 the West said...

As a bystander I hope you will continue the conversation with JWL. For me, to put it crudely, it is like watching a sporting event with Vic being the team I route for and John being the team I boo. At times I think John makes some great points and being a natural pessimist toward all my teams (especially the Dodgers) I get the sinking feeling that my team is behind on the scoreboard. Still, Vic’s my guy and always seems to be above .500. I also get the sense that my team doesn’t take cheap shots when the ref isn’t looking, this is one reason I remain a season ticket holder.

I don’t fully understand the OTF, but it seems to me that to step outside of something to evaluate it you need to step into something else. I doubt stepping outside of religious faith and into a framework that deigns all religious experience is anymore insightful than stepping outside of English and into chemical analysis as the best way to evaluate Donne’s poetry. But perhaps I missing something in what is being asked for the OTF.

This whole debate began with Vic making a basic point: if he were to step outside and evaluate religious texts for truth he would begin with evaluating things he could know. Mainly, if the text mentions a city, did that city actually exists? This seems to be a fair point and should have been acknowledged by John and his followers and then they could have moved on as to whether that point was significant. But, John being John, had to fight tooth and nail on even that basic point.

What seems disturbing to me is the way John expresses his frustration at not being able to convince. I have read him say everything from wanting to take Vic’s PhD away, to getting him fired, to wanting people arrested for what they might do. It is a good thing John is powerless. We would all dread someone as intelligent and emotionally childish as JWL with any real power over his opponents.

Finally John, are you subscribing or unsubscribing? For crying out loud continuing to storm out of the room and slamming the door behind you is getting annoying.

Ilíon said...

Well, you know, there is a great difference between "can not think" and "will not think".

Anonymous said...

The context skews how something is perceived Victor. A world class violinist, Joshua Bell, played his Stradivarius in a subway station dressed as a bum and no one noticed his playing was anything but mundane. The people at your blog seem unintelligent to me generally, so in this context it was natural for me to think Tim was little better than the rest of them.

This again is basic stuff Victor. You cannot fault me for the perceived context at all. Even bringing this up reveals your ignorance, again. Fault me for this if you want to, but we all do it. Find something else, something that I should be expected to know and didn't, dimwit.

To see this example get and read pp. 49-51 of The Irresistible Pull of Irrational Behavior.

Anonymous said...

Which brings me to the question, "What do you read Victor?

What do you read?

Some bloggers have in their sidebar the current books they are reading. I'd like to know what you read.

You are clearly not reading the books you should, clearly. And when I recommend one or two or more you dismiss them.

Papalinton said...

@ UnkleE

UnkleE to Victor: "I think sometimes as christians we need to walk away from discussions when they seem not to honour Jesus...."

He who runs away today, gets to run away another day.

finney said...

Yes, John. How dare Victor expect you to find Tim's response intelligent. While we both agree it's your mistake, I agree with you, and disagree with Victor, that it's not your fault. As you said, you based your judgment on your perception on Vic's commenters in general, and not Tim's specific arguments, which of course is completely reasonable. How you can be held to higher expectations of civil discourse insults both of us, I assure you.

Ilíon said...

VR: "I am not going to make the kinds of harsh judgments about your overall critical thinking skills that you have made concerning mine. I think you are smarter than you are at your worst moments. But if I were to do so, you've given me a whole lot of material to work with."

The point isn't that he's stupid, for he isn't. The point is that he's intellectually dishonest, that is, a fool.

The secondary point is that don't want to acknowledge that he is a hypocrite of the intellect. Or, to be more precise, you don't want to go on record as having acknowledged it ... even as you point to it and whinge. This isn't 'charity' on your part; nor, really, is it honest.

The man is intellectually dishonest; he's a liar and worse than a liar. Just acknowledge the fact and move on. Just admit to yourself that you will *never* be able to have a real discussion/argument with him so long as he holds himself entitled to lie about the nature of truth and of reason and logic.

Anonymous said...

Lofty would make a pope swear.

Papalinton said...

"Lofty would make a pope swear."

I think you're right.
And that's a good thing.

Anonymous said...

Papsmear is contributing, lol.

Shocked... said...

I'm starting to believe in the multiverse, because some people clearly live in an alternate reality. John Loftus, the owner and foreman of DC, just said, "The people at your blog seem unintelligent to me generally," in regards to this site.

abcde234324 said...

Oh...LMAO at the recommended book: How to Think About Weird Things: Critical Thinking for a New Age

If THAT is at the level you normally read at, you've got no grounds demanding to know what people read (and with a strong negative connotation).

abcde234324 said...

The same with Sway. That's the type of book I would see when I was 12 (because it's in the popular science section at all the bookstores) and devour. Now, if I want to really learn about what the book is talking about, I might read it....but you've got to go and look at all the scientific studies and then look at those studies' references.
Then you might have some inkling of what science tells "us".

Anonymous said...

PhilosophyKnight, would you agree or disagree that whatever is based on good evidence and sound thinking is true regardless of where we find it, or not? Here is a review of the book Sway. It is based on good evidence and sound thinking.

abcde234324 said...

Of course I agree, which is why I said I might actually go ahead and read the book too first.... but, again, going further is important. Value attrition, loss aversion, and diagnosis bias are all concepts that I am aware of without having read that book, because so many other books and textbooks cover them... at that point, you've just got to go and look at the studies themselves and even see what's new out there without having to read popular books that are published a while after those studies came out.

Anonymous said...

You must be young PhilosophyKnight. When I was young and in school it was important to be the first one to notice something new, and we eschewed popular books too.

But you'll soon realize you cannot keep up on everything and these books can and do inform us of what's going on in the literature quite easily. They are time savers. Instead of wading through a bunch of scholarly studies that might take weeks of time a book like this can save me that time. After all, you cannot be a scholar on everything. At some point you'll do likewise when you realize just how much information there is out there: