Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Begging the question will get you everywhere, apparently

The Jolly Nihilist has attempted a refutation of my rebuttal to his response to my deconstruction of his questions for Christians. Got that? Yeah, it'll only get worse from here.

Interestingly, before I break into an analysis, I call the reader's attention to the fact that he is inconsistent in more than the run-of-the-mill atheist way. The normal way I'll get to in a second, but what I refer to here is his inability to recognise positive assertions when he makes them. I guess it's his way of trying to act like he's the noble skeptic, w/ nothing to prove, alone against the onslaught of the moronic theistic types like myself. I pointed this out to him last time and he just went right on denying it. Guess we'll see if he'll see it this time.

The other way in which he is inconsistent is in his borrowing of capital from the Christian worldview to bash Christianity. As an atheist, he has no way to account for reason, logic, or induction, but he uses them all to make his case against The God of the Bible (TGOTB). In this he is not alone - we see ChooseDoubt, Chris Severn, and the Barefoot Bum recently doing the exact same things. They all do, really. And it's no wonder - an atheist universe is completely incoherent w/o no basis for thought, reason, or communication. Quite bleak.

My breaking down his position will continue w/ my showing his question-begging methodology. Note how he reveals his ultimate faith convictions.

I had asked: There is no truth without examining evidence (#3). So, please provide evidence for this statement.
-Truth, in itself, exists quite apart from the evidences for that truth.

I agree, but I'd like to know why he thinks that.

-Neutrinos existed before we had any evidence of them.
I agree, but I'd like to know why he thinks that.

-evidence has proven to be the single most reliable method by which fallible human primates can discover truth
How can he know this?
Also, note what he's doing.
1) He's revealing his ultimate faith is in "evidence" as he judges things to be evidentiary.
2) He's begging the question. I asked for evidence that examining evidence is the way to truth. What is he doing? Pointing to more evidence.

-Every day, we all operate according to evidence—that is, according to the relevant facts.

Yes, b/c we live in God's world. There is no way to trust our thoughts to correctly process facts as "relevant" or "evidentiary" in an atheist universe.

I had asked: Making unsubstantiated assertions gets us nowhere (#5). So, please provide evidence that there is no truth w/o examining evidence. What is the evidence for these two statements?

-If no evidence is presented for a given assertion, one can dismiss the assertion as baseless.

Cool. I dismiss your assertions as baseless - you keep begging the very question.

-I, myself, made unsubstantiated assertions to David about there being an ethereal cosmic catfish.

The existence of an ethereal cosmic catfish does not provide the necessary grounds for logic, reason, and induction. A theistic God is the only thing that can.
But again, I invite you to present an alternative for the grounds for logic, reason, and induction. Appeal, however, to logical arguments, reason, induction, or evidence, and you must evaporate in a puff of begged questions.

I had asked: As such, the atheistic position makes no truth-claims (#7). Should I consider that statement true or false? Is it or is it not part of the atheistic position?

This is maybe my favorite one.

-The atheistic position has precisely one characteristic: Atheists lack a belief in god.

Since you didn't answer my question, let me ask about THIS statement. Should I consider this statement, that "atheists lack a belief in God", true or false? If true, it's a truth claim - "there is insufficient evidence for me to believe in God," basically. If false, then I'm cool w/ that.

-My personal views and biases damn me to inject my stances in my compositions.

Rather, it's your irrational position.

-Atheism, in its pure and unadulterated form, denotes a lack and only a lack.

True or false?

I had asked: Where there are no truth-claims, there is no burden of proof (#8). How is this statement provable and why wouldn't you have the burden of proof as relates to it?

Wait, maybe *this* one is my favorite.

-the types of “truth-claims” on which you call me out are utterly different from the types of truth-claims you yourself frivolously posit.

1) Another truth claim. True or false?
2) According to YOU. But your brain is just atoms banging around, a glorified monkey brain, if atheism is true. Like I said, I don't ask my bottle of lotion, which is atoms banging around, whether God exists.
3) I didn't realise you could read my mind and extra-sensorily know that I make my claims frivolously.

-I am advancing truth-claims of a most innocuous and nearly self-evident nature.

1) What, while using the brain God gave you to make logical statements (which depend on God for their logic), and then denying God?
2) The Bible teaches that you DO know God exists but suppress the truth. The self-evidence is on my side. If you disagree, you do so using the brain and reason God gave you.

-You, on the other hand, are claiming a very specific CREATURE, which is CONSCIOUS, is EXTANT in a specifically SUPERNATURAL REALM.

Yes, Who is the grounds for all rationality, logic, and induction.

-Then, you claim to know that creature’s NATURE

B/c He communicated it. I only know what He tells me.

-and claim the creature directly INSPIRED a BOOK that is TOTALLY PERFECT.

Yes, for many different reasons.

-This seems just a bit different from my truth-claims

1) Yes, mine are far more glorious and full of promise.
2) None of these truth claims stand on one foundation while unconsciously attacking that very same foundation.
3) In what ways are my claims qualitatively different from the ones you list here? I'm genuinely interested in what you'd say.

-“only through evidence can humans reliably discover truth”

Again, please provide evidence that this is true, since evidence is the only way to know truth.

-If somebody is not claiming something, one need not provide evidence.

OK, but you're claiming that if somebody is not claiming something, one need not provide evidence, so I'm going to have to ask you for evidence for that statement.

-“I lack belief in god” is not a truth-claim because it is not a claim at all.


But "'I lack belief in god' is not a truth-claim because it is not a claim at all" is a truth-claim, so please provide evidence so I can be sure it's true.

I had asked: The burden of proof is not on the doubter (#12). I doubt that this phrase is correct, so please provide proof that it is true.

-In order to present “proof” for something, there must be “a something” to which proof is applicable.


You thus attempt to wiggle out. But note that I'm not dealing, and have not been dealing mostly, w/ the issue of "lack of belief in God," inane though your analysis of that statement is.
I'm asking you about THESE SPECIFIC statements. You need to apply the standards of proof that you say you hold to foundationally to these very standards. If you can't, you reveal that you have just as much faith as I, and it just so happens that your faith is irrational.

-To say, “I doubt what you advance” is not a truth-claim, so no evidence possibly could be applied to it and no burden of proof possibly could be levied.


Even if I granted that, the positive assertion I'm asking you to provide evidence for is: "The burden of proof is not on the doubter."

-To say, “I lack belief X is the case” is to claim nothing about reality.


That's silly. Saying that is a truth-claim that it is concurrent w/ reality that you indeed lack belief in X.


Those are the main points. I'll clean up a few loose ends now.

-You essentially have said god is “beyond the bounds of knowledge.” Therefore, you possess no knowledge of god, because said deity is beyond knowledge’s bounds.


1) Yes, I said that. Why does it follow that I can have NO knowledge of God? He condescended to reveal Himself to humans, and so I can know SOME things about Him.
2) Yes, I can't know EVERYthing about God. But I've never claimed that this was necessary; my knowledge of Him is sufficient, not exhaustive.

-I also explained why “infinite attributes” are self-contradictory and, thus, absurd.


1) Yes, and I responded, and you have not dealt w/ that.
2) Ice cream beats bear 5 and the higher they fly the much.
3) That's what I understood your message - produced by atoms banging around in an atheist universe - to be. I'd say I hope I got it right, but again, in an atheist universe there is no "hope" and there is no "right".

-However, that certainly does not mean everything is the same and must be treated identically.


1) Another truth-claim. True or false?
2) What is the evidence for that?
3) Who says?

-You seem to have constructed a strange, menacing ogre out of the word “evidence,” making it into a frightening threat to your leap of faith.


This from the guy who says that evidence is required for EVERY belief. Who constructed the ogre?

-I would guess Mr. Wilson checks the Weather Channel on occasion, to learn the temperature, humidity or see the radar in his local area.


Yes, b/c he recognises that God made the world and He made it good and orderly.

-Then, in one instance, where it threatens his theological construction, Wilson decries evidence—relevant facts—as questionable in itself.


1) There is no "relevance" in an atheist universe.
2) There is no evidence in an atheist universe.
3) All facts are God's facts; no creation of God threatens Him.

-Show me somebody who eschews relevant facts in conducting his daily affairs, and I shall show you somebody who credibly can decry evidence.


From my perspective, that's an amazing statement coming from the JN.

-Why is your certainty more valid than their certainty?


1) B/c mine is based on truth and theirs is not. It is rationally defensible and convincing and fully comports w/ reality.
2) Theirs is not and does not.
3) I don't blow people up when they mock my religion. I ask them to debate.
4) I don't expect you to understand that for several reasons, one of which is that you have demonstrated significant bias in attacking TGOTB while standing on TGOTB's foundations.
5) Also I don't know if you know anythg about Islamic or Xtian theology. If you do, that's one thing. If you don't, you're in no position to understand the issue at all - you're just throwing it out and hoping to trip me up.

-Finally, with respect to TgOTB, could your mind possibly be changed, or is it unchangeable?


I told you, produce the corpse of Jesus and all bets are off.
But absent that, produce an alternative way to ground reason, logic, and induction, w/o begging the question all over the place, and we'll talk further about that.

Finally to you, I asked you how YOUR beliefs are falsifiable. Mind answering?

Peace,
Rhology

34 comments:

Chris said...

Wow. I like this! *is a Creationist/Christian* Keep on doing a good job!

Pilgrimsarbour said...

Hi Rhology,

Thanks for your interesting posts. I have no formal training in philosophy or argumentation, but I felt like I was reading Dr. Bahnsen. The concept of the atheist having to borrow from the theist's worldview is most compelling. Keep up the good work.

Blessings,

Pilgrimsarbour

The Jolly Nihilist said...

Greetings, Rhology!


I have decided not to offer a formal rebuttal to your posting, but rather a concluding summation. This summation shall be my last word in this continuing discussion, although I promise to read any response you might offer. One of the reasons I have chosen not to formally respond is I think your most recent posting is unhelpful and only serves to obscure the issues upon which we have hit. In the posting, you repeatedly pluck single sentences from my composition and then demand they be justified or explained. The problem, of course, is that you intentionally do not quote the very justification and explanation I already have provided in the composition to which you are ostensibly responding. I do not care to repeat myself ad infinitum. So, most of the answers to your questions can be easily found by reading my previous response.

More broadly, as it relates to your objections to my worldview, your line of questioning has grown increasingly hairsplitting, venturing dangerously close to absurdity. As “blacksun” (a commenter on my blog) wrote, “Forcing you to defend the term ‘evidence??’ … That's like arguing over what the definition of the word ‘is’ is.” The commenter continued, “Wow. I know there are loonies out there, but I haven't run into a discussion this absurd in ages.” While “garbage in, garbage out” is an accepted truism, I shall expand that to “absurdity in, absurdity out.” Your most recent line of questioning spectacularly exemplifies that, and I shall not fall into your well-laid trap.

Another problem with your most recent round of questions is that it presupposes your own worldview, which you have utterly failed to substantiate. [Note to readers: Go back to my 3636-word, three-part response a couple rounds back. Of all Rhology’s truth-claims that I called into question, which has he substantiated?] You believe there must be “grounds” for logic, reason and induction? OK, then explain what you mean by “grounds” and explain why those things demand such a foundation. Explain why your god character represents sufficient “grounds” while competing god characters (Vishnu, Enlil, Brahman, Ammon-Ra, Zeus) represent insufficient “grounds.” To this point, your contention is completely unsupported, devoid of evidence or explanation, and hardly coherent because you have failed merely to define your terms. What is more, you continue to presuppose the Bible is a perfect vessel of truth, which is another woefully unsupported truth-claim. In fact, looking back through all our interactions, I struggle to find a single instance in which you provide convincing evidence to substantiate the wild presuppositions upon which your worldview depends. By contrast, in my previous composition, I comprehensively defended my truth-claims and an evidence-centric worldview.

Overall, I am completely happy with the results of this discussion, and I eagerly would invite theists and atheists to read it. Among my achievements are

1. Presenting the case against “unlimited attributes,” which I convincingly argued represent an absurd contradiction of terms. If you posit a god character possessing “unlimited attributes,” and I have proved “unlimited attributes” are absurd, then your god character also is proved absurd.

2. Getting you to admit (sans prodding, no less!) that god and the supernatural are beyond the bounds of knowledge (and, thus, nobody can offer any descriptor in relation to the deity or its native realm).

3. Making the case that human language is only functional in its proper context—that being the natural world. When human language is wrenched from the natural world and shoved into a supernatural one (for example, trying to use the descriptor “infinitely powerful” to characterize your god invention), it ceases to be meaningful because it ceases to be in its context.

Of course, as already referenced, arguably my greatest achievement in this engagement has been demonstrating that, no matter how many times you are asked, you refuse to provide evidence to substantiate your presuppositions. You operate from an entirely presuppositional stance and, when asked to justify it, you instead choose to repeat the fantastical presuppositions being questioned. Once again, in stark contrast, my last composition was a thorough defense of my worldview, addressing every question you raised in a comprehensive, convincing manner.

Finally, I now shall explain how I could be convinced of god’s existence. In short, the only way to defeat atheism’s challenge (the challenge of a lack of theistic belief) is to support theism convincingly. You cannot tear apart atheism’s worldview because atheism, in itself, presents no worldview to tear apart. Atheism is a wholly negative stance, proffering no positive foundation.

Here is a systematic breakdown of an experiment that would transform me into a Christian:

1. Noted atheists Christopher Hitchens, Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, Sam Harris, James Randi, Penn Jillette, Michael Shermer and David Mills scour the country’s morgues to find a dead body on which they would like to experiment. The only absolute requirements are that the corpse must have been of average intelligence whilst alive, with no retardation of any type, and an adult. Other variables are irrelevant. Each atheist chooses a cadaver of his liking. Through a competitive coin-toss tournament, one atheist’s selected corpse is chosen for the experiment.

2. The corpse is brought to an examining area, wherein three doctors (all exhaustively trained in the human brain) study it and judge whether it has suffered brain death. The experiment can only continue when all three doctors agree that the corpse is dead and brain death definitely has occurred.

3. The corpse is brought to a church for the next step, and a holy man is chosen to perform the miracle still to come.

4. Inside the church, with no medical equipment present, the holy man is to say, “By the power of Jesus Christ, the son of god, let this person return to life and full vitality! Do this in the name of the lord!” Then, for precisely ten minutes, all parties involved wait.

5. The corpse would come back to life and then be returned to the hospital from whence it came.

6. Three different doctors (all exhaustively trained in the human brain) perform thorough testing on the newly vibrant corpse. The experiment can only continue when all three doctors agree that the corpse is now alive and brain death has been reversed.

7. A relatively simple examination is administered to the dearly resurrected, to judge whether its brain is working properly. For example, 7th grade algebra would be of representative difficulty. An examination score of less than 50% would indicate a faulty brain and yield a negative result for the experiment.

8. The complete experiment—beginning to end—is broadcast live on television, both nationally and internationally. The production crew (composed of atheists and religionists in roughly equal numbers) must be professional, boasting considerable experience in live broadcasting.

Admittedly, lesser evidence might make me question my atheism. Lesser evidence might cause me sleepless nights. However, after giving the issue considerable thought, I have concluded that only an experiment of this rigorous nature could utterly convince me of Christianity’s veracity.

It has been a pleasure.


Yours,
JN

Rose Ghost said...

Hi Rhology,

Re: the abortion debate: It's the bit about you trying to change my mind that I find disturbing. Are you so insecure that you wish to have everyone you come into contact with think the same way as you? Wouldn't that interfere with free will a bit? Do you not believe that everybody is entitled to their own opinion? But go ahead. I'd like to see what you can come up with, and while I am prepared to cast a fair eye over your side of the argument (again) you won't be able to change me. What about having a pet cat spayed? I expect you think that is ok.

Impress me. Bear in mind that you won't get me into a slanging match. In my previous comment I was merely offering my opinion, not trying to start a fight (ok, well maybe a little bit, but conflict doesn't have to be about arguing). Look forward to hearing from you. Take care, mate.

Rose

Rhology said...

Hi JN,

Thanks for your response. I'll get to it next week.


hi Rose,

Why are you afraid of me trying to change your mind? You have much scarier people in the UK than me! They're called Islamists and they say "behead those who insult Islam". I say, "Try to convince those who are blind." They follow Mohammed, I follow Jesus - big difference. And I hope you can see it, b/c God help you if you don't.

Are you so insecure that you wish to have everyone you come into contact with think the same way as you?

1) I would think insecurity would be better defined as becoming skittish when someone says they'd like to persuade you to change your mind.
2) I act out of love for you (though I don't know you) b/c I prefer you believe the truth rather than a bunch of garbage.

Wouldn't that interfere with free will a bit?

Trying to convince you?
Beheading you would interfere, but I'm not a jihadist.

Do you not believe that everybody is entitled to their own opinion?

Legally, in that this is a free country and free Internet, yes.
Ultimately, no, your eternal destiny will be judged by your opinions and positions. Right now they are sinful and against God's law, so you do not have the right to think the way you do.

What about having a pet cat spayed?

Would that be murder?
Remember, I object to MURDER. Abortion is MURDER. Spaying a cat is not murder. Right?

conflict doesn't have to be about arguing

Well, there's arguing and there's arguing.
The Jolly Nihilist and I are definitely at odds philosophically. He's dead wrong. But he's a nice guy. I don't have to call him names to show that his worldview is foolish, and the same applies to you. :-)

Peace,
Rhology

John Morales said...

I followed a link in a post from the Jolly Nihilist, and found this.

The smile has not yet faded from my visage, so thank you for the amusement.

I mean, a post that begins with "Begging the question will get you everywhere, apparently" and shortly thereafter asserts "As an atheist, he has no way to account for reason, logic, or induction"? Pretty funny.

Heh.

rose ghost said...

You have much scarier people in the UK than me! They're called Islamists and they say "behead those who insult Islam". I say, "Try to convince those who are blind." They follow Mohammed, I follow Jesus - big difference.

And that's when my opinion of you went way down. I don't think I have to say anything else, as with that statement, you have just proved yourself to be a narrow minded little racist who is afraid of change and of people having ideas that you do not agree with. I think you also have a problem accepting that there are other possibilities out there. I don't believe that people are judged by a doctrine that someone else believes in, I believe that they are judged by their own doctrine. If you are still adament that I am going to be judged by God when the time comes, then so be it, if it makes you feel better. As for me, we'll see.

To be honest with you, I'm rather disappointed that you couldn't come out with something a little better than calling followers of Islam names.

However, I'd quite like you to elaborate on this 'garbage' that I'm supposed to belive in.

Rhology said...

Hi John,

Welcome!
I'm glad I amused you. If you would like to try to do what the Jolly Nihilist tried to do as well but begged the question viciously multiple times by appealing to evidence to justify his statement that all truth must be obtained by examining evidence, I'd be glad to see it. Otherwise your statement is so much hot air and smack talk. Great for the basketball court, not so great in the marketplace of ideas.


Rose,

"Islamist" identifies a "race" or ethnicity?
Rather, "Islamist" identifies a member of a radical religious sect, most of the members of whom want to behead those who insult Islam. See, it's reactions like this one that blind you to the danger in your own country. I can hardly believe that political correctness has gotten this bad.

*I'm* afraid of change? You have no idea, Rose, where I've been and what I've changed. My guess is, if I made a comment like that, you'd react in anger, "Who are you, you judgmental fundamentalist, to judge ME?"

I don't accept that others remain in their false worldviews b/c of the eternal consequences. I am trying to help.

If *you* believe that they are judged by their own doctrine, well, that's great, but it doesn't change reality. As I explained, the oncoming lorry doesn't care if you believe it's there or not - you'll still get squashed flat. Why apply such vacuous thinking to THIS area of your life when you don't for any other area?

I didn't call any followers of Islam a "name" besides "Islamist" and "jihadist." If I wanted to be really offensive, there are much more evocative adjectives. And THEY are the ones who say "Behead those who insult Islam." Your political correctness has led you into absurdity, and it's a sad spectacle.

The garbage you believe in, among other things:
1) God doesn't exist
2) Calling people by their religion is calling them names
3) Criticising what people DO is calling them names
4) Ripping babies apart in the womb is OK as long as the woman really really feels like it's the right thing to do
5) Ultimate reality can be changed by me just believing it to be so

Those 5 were after 30 seconds of typing. Give me more time and I'm sure it wouldn't be too hard to find more, but we can deal w/ those first.

Peace,
Rhology

rose said...

Tell you what, darling. You give me ultimate proof that God exists. Something that no one could ever argue with. And, if you please, not some stock footage about the image Christ The Saviour's face appearing in the clouds or a statue of the Virgin Mary crying blood. Something real. Pray for a miracle on my behalf.

Do that, and I will believe. Deal? Brilliant. Get to it.

Yours, with the deepest respect, Rose Ghost

John Morales said...

Rhology,

Whyever would you think I'm trying "to do what the Jolly Nihilist tried to do" because I find unintentional irony amusing?

I was being literal and substantive. Saying, not merely implying.

It's considered courteous to address the substance of a comment before issuing challenge...

rose ghost said...

I notice how that shut you up. Or perhaps you can't cope with more than one assailant at a time...?

It's all right, all is forgotton. This is good natured ribbing.

XXXX Goddess Bless you.
Rose Ghost

John Morales said...

Rhology,
Your response to me was informative and indicated certain perceptions of my motives that are unwarranted.

If I hurt your feelings, it was incidental to the point.

You should be aware that one of the aggregators I subscribe to is "planet atheism". An entry caught my eye, and I visited JN's post, made a brief comment, after which I visited your page, and made the original comment.

This means all I know of JN's case and motives is what I infer from reading these posts and their comments. And all you know about me is based on what I wrote.

I believe a reasonable reader would conclude, based on the comments so far, that you responded to the fact that I commented, but not to what the comment was about (the reason for my amusement).

In closing, I note you've made another assertion that I find... um, less than convincing.

Now, I don't know what JN tried to do, but whatever it was, you said that JN begged the question viciously multiple times by appealing to evidence to justify his statement that all truth must be obtained by examining evidence.

Is this not, essentially, saying that JN's options were to (a) "beg the question" by appealing to evidence or (b) contradict himself by not appealing to evidence.

Obviously, you believe he made a contention that in your metaphilosophy is meaningless.

By the way, "I'm glad I amused you" seemed awfully close to sarcasm, in the context of that paragraph.

Rhology said...

Rose,

You may or may not be aware that Monday was an American nat'l holiday. I was out of town. Thus my silence.
Also, you have a tendency of which you may or may not be aware - when asked multiple questions, you DON'T answer them and merely ask another round of your own. Why do you do that?

And I'll get to your latest challenge whether you answer or not, just b/c I'm a nice guy. :-)



John,

Here's the end of your 1st comment: I mean, a post that begins with "Begging the question will get you everywhere, apparently" and shortly thereafter asserts "As an atheist, he has no way to account for reason, logic, or induction"? Pretty funny.

"Pretty funny" seems to me to be a challenge.
I'm sorry if you find it offensive that I ask if YOU'D like to try what the JN has been challenged to do.

You did not hurt my feelings, it's OK. Why would sthg like what you said hurt my feelings?

you responded to the fact that I commented, but not to what the comment was about (the reason for my amusement).

So your comment was not at all about the topic of JN's and my discussion?

I don't know what JN tried to do,

But you said this before:
This means all I know of JN's case and motives is what I infer from reading these posts and their comments. And all you know about me is based on what I wrote.

How, may I ask, is it possible that you read "these" (I presume you mean the ones where JN and I are discussing, but maybe you only read 2 of them rather than the full 4 or 5) posts and don't know what the JN tried to do?
I even summed it up for you when I said: by appealing to evidence to justify his statement that all truth must be obtained by examining evidence.
All that to say - mountain out of a molehill here, sir.


Is this not, essentially, saying that JN's options were to (a) "beg the question" by appealing to evidence or (b) contradict himself by not appealing to evidence.

Yes. That's b/c his worldview is irrational.

Obviously, you believe he made a contention that in your metaphilosophy is meaningless.

And in his own.

By the way, "I'm glad I amused you" seemed awfully close to sarcasm,

Guilty as charged. :-D
And John, the challenge to you remains open. But if you choose not to accept it, that's cool - feel free to lurk, comment, whatever. Have a great week!

Peace,
Rhology

John Morales said...

1. "Pretty funny" seems to me to be a challenge.
Why? It wasn't meant to be.
2. So your comment was not at all about the topic of JN's and my discussion?
No, it was to this specific post, and its pseudo-logic.
3. How, may I ask, is it possible that you read "these" [...] posts and don't know what the JN tried to do?
After conversing with JN, I believe I have a pretty good idea of what he tried to do (I still don't, in an absolute sense). At the time of posting, I had only good guesses.
I didn’t lie to you, if that’s what you’re implying.
3. I’m glad we agree on what you said: his worldview is irrational.
5. I’m commenting, as you bade.
6. I note you consider sarcasm an appropriate response to a genuine comment, and impute motives to me that you have no basis for doing. Interesting.
7. I note you have not yet responded to the substance of my original comment, as stated on every other comment.

John Morales said...

[Corrections.]

(I still don't know, in an absolute sense)

Also, the numbering (3 twice).

Rhology said...

Hi John,

Why? It wasn't meant to be.

B/c I doubt you meant "humorous, much like a joke" by "funny".

No, it was to this specific post, and its pseudo-logic.

And this post responds directly to JN's comment, does it not?
Anyway, semantic quibbling. I'm done.

I didn’t lie to you, if that’s what you’re implying.

I'm not implying you're lying; I'm explicitly saying that either I'm really not following what you're trying to tell me or you're being inconsistent.

I’m glad we agree on what you said: his worldview is irrational.

Really? Oh OK. Have you ever written a post at least sketching out your worldview? Oh, you don't have a blog. OK, well, you can just tell me - Are you some sort of theist? Or a, say, non-materialist atheist?

I’m commenting, as you bade.

The king is pleased. ;-)

I note you consider sarcasm an appropriate response to a genuine comment, and impute motives to me that you have no basis for doing. Interesting.

1) If you weren't using sarcasm in your 1st comment, you obviously fooled me.
2) You might need a thicker skin when leaving dissenting comments at people's blogs. Not that I'm unhappy you stopped by; just grow up a little.
3) If you're an atheist (which I'm not sure you are), then any moral judgments that extend to anyone else make no sense. 'Course, that possibly does not apply to you.

I note you have not yet responded to the substance of my original comment, as stated on every other comment.

I guess you mean this:
I mean, a post that begins with "Begging the question will get you everywhere, apparently" and shortly thereafter asserts "As an atheist, he has no way to account for reason, logic, or induction"?

So, that's "funny" to you. OK, noted.
I must not be following you. What is the "substance" of this original comment, so I can be sure to get it right? How is it funny that the atheist, who insists that he obtains all truth by evidence, when asked for evidence that all truth is obtained by evidence, gives more evidence? I mean, *I* think it's funny too, but I assumed (which was perhaps wrong on my part) that you thought it was funny in another way.
Buy maybe I'm wrong. Hope to get this cleared up soon.

Peace,
Rhology

Rhology said...

Hi JN,

Here's part of my response to you and Rose Ghost and other commenters.

I'll now peruse your comment here.

I think your most recent posting is unhelpful

This is entirely due to the question-begging way in which you responded to me. If I ask you a question and then you beg it twice, and then I point that out twice, the direction of blame is clear.

only serves to obscure the issues upon which we have hit.

I disagree 100%. The questions I've asked are easy for a theist and impossible for you. Which is what I wanted to make clear.

you repeatedly pluck single sentences from my composition and then demand they be justified or explained.

And would it kill you to go ahead and justify/explain them?
Why even talk to me anymore? Oh wait, you're not. ;-)

The problem, of course, is that you intentionally do not quote the very justification and explanation I already have provided in the composition to which you are ostensibly responding.

1) Then point that out and make it obvious to me and the readers. Make me look like a fool.
2) All justification and explanation you have made are question-begging. In light of your accusations that I do so, I'm pointing out your inconsistencies.

So, most of the answers to your questions can be easily found by reading my previous response.

Well, they're "answers" in the sense that they are words on a page found directly after a point I made.

Another problem with your most recent round of questions is that it presupposes your own worldview

Precisely. Interestingly, insofar that you assume that communication, reason, and logic are in force in talking to me, you presuppose my worldview as well. You just won't admit it.
I refuse, however, to take on a worldview like yours, which is irrational and cannot even account for the questioning I'm engaging in, in a discussion. As you said, absurdity in, absurdity out. I want to presuppose a worldview that actually makes sense.

Go back to my 3636-word, three-part response a couple rounds back. Of all Rhology’s truth-claims that I called into question, which has he substantiated?

1) All that is intentional. I wanted evidence that evidence is trustworthy 1st. Which you didn't provide. Why should I continue on a futile quest?
2) You keep trumpeting how long your post was. Do you want a gold star for the "Most Words Typed" category?

You believe there must be “grounds” for logic, reason and induction?

Yes.

OK, then explain what you mean by “grounds” and explain why those things demand such a foundation.

"Grounds" = a justification for the foundation of the thing in question.
I can trust evidence, logic, reason, induction, and communication b/c they reflect the character and attributes of a Creator God. W/o Him, they seem to me to be impossible. I'm asking you to justify them. I want you to explain your faith in empiricism.

Explain why your god character represents sufficient “grounds” while competing god characters (Vishnu, Enlil, Brahman, Ammon-Ra, Zeus) represent insufficient “grounds.”

Sure. See how easy it is? Why couldn't you do the same?
1) None of those named are solely God; ie, there are other gods.
2) Several (maybe all) of them have not eternally been God.
3) None of them claim to be the grounds. Why should I think they are if they don't claim to be?
4) All of them exhibit characteristics of having been devised by human imagination. Ie, they are presented as being able to die in their own essence, have sex w/ humans, are gratuitously cruel, etc.

What is more, you continue to presuppose the Bible is a perfect vessel of truth, which is another woefully unsupported truth-claim.

Said he who can't provide any justification for using the phrase "unsupported truth-claim".

Presenting the case against “unlimited attributes,” which I convincingly argued represent an absurd contradiction of terms.

1) Said he who can't provide any justification for using the phrase "absurd" or "contradiction".
2) "Infinite" is an attribute as well. Not limitable. Just give it up - human language is indeed inadequate for the task in all its enormity, but it is sufficiently useful in many ways to describe.

Getting you to admit (sans prodding, no less!) that god and the supernatural are beyond the bounds of knowledge (and, thus, nobody can offer any descriptor in relation to the deity or its native realm).

Quite a non sequitur there. Just b/c God in His entirety is beyond the bounds of human knowledge does not mean that He remains totally incomprehensible given His condescension to reveal Himself to humanity. I've mentioned that quite a few times in our discussion; I don't know why you don't take it into acct. Trying to score cheap debate points?

When human language is wrenched from the natural world and shoved into a supernatural one ...it ceases to be meaningful because it ceases to be in its context.

1) In your worldview, it's not even necessarily meaningful to describe natural or human attributes.
2) Once again you ignore the fact that God has revealed Himself.

no matter how many times you are asked, you refuse to provide evidence to substantiate your presuppositions.

If evidence is not trustworthy (which I've been asking you to assure me of), then what would be the point?

You cannot tear apart atheism’s worldview because atheism, in itself, presents no worldview to tear apart.

That is manifestly untrue - it's why I kept noting the positive assertions you made. If you won't step up to the plate of your positive assertions, this is pointless.

Here is a systematic breakdown of an experiment that would transform me into a Christian:

"If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be persuaded even if someone rises from the dead.".
I don't believe this for one instant. You and they all know God exists; if this occurred, you'd just find some other explanation for it or slough it off into the "ok, well, that gives me some food for thought" category. But it wouldn't do anythg to incite you to believe in the God of the Bible. You are dead in sin and blind to goodness. Repent of your sin and ask God to forgive you, to help you believe. Those are the steps if you are interested in the truth.

Peace and repentance,
Rhology

John Morales said...

Rhology,

Regarding your preamble, in my very first comment: The smile has not yet faded from my visage, so thank you for the amusement.
This is literal.
I read it and was amused, you were the source, I acknowledged that.

The very next sentence I quote an illustrative sample: I mean […] and reiterate Pretty funny.

So, when you write such as "Pretty funny" seems to me to be a challenge, it seems odd to me. Let me reiterate: I was amused.

Next, you write OK, well, you can just tell me - Are you some sort of theist? Or a, say, non-materialist atheist?
Rhology, I’ll be happy to tell you all that once we’ve dealt with the substance of my first post. At this time, it’s not relevant, as the only contention I made was that your post (overall) engendered amusement when I read it, and I even provided a sample quote that I found amusing. For the purposes of explaining the current topic to you, relating this to my other beliefs would be both a digression and a source of complications.

Next, you make 3 points about sarcasm, which I address in order.
1. You're saying I fooled you by being literal, since I actually wasn’t using sarcasm. You would not have to guess should I choose to do so. Please accept all I was saying is that I found it amusing, otherwise you are asserting that you know my motives better than I.
2. You might need a thicker skin…. Why? You appear to be imputing states of mind to me that you have no basis for doing so.
grow up a little - Were I to have said this to you, I have little doubt that you would consider it an ad-hominem and/or poisoning the well tactic.
3. I fail to see how this point is relevant, unless you base it on the implication that I was somehow morally judging you by noting how you see sarcasm when it isn’t there, and consider it appropriate to use it when responding to a first-time commenter.
To articulate what I had hoped you’d understand on your own, I noted your embracement of sarcasm because, hmm let me put this in terms that should be clear to you. Because you perceived sarcasm, and responded with the like, and I know you are familiar with Luke 6:29. I trust this point, at least, is clear.

Next, you write I guess you mean this… and quote part of the post.
You know, you really are making this harder than it need be. For the same reasons that I’ve discussed in the preamble, my substantive point was the entirety of my post.
The first paragraph puts in a context, the second says why, the third elucidates, the final “heh” is a reiteration of my sentiment (amusement).
So, that's "funny" to you. OK, noted. - not quite. Make that funny without the quotes. You know, literally funny.

Next, consider a post that begins with "Begging the question will get you everywhere, apparently" and shortly thereafter asserts "As an atheist, he has no way to account for reason, logic, or induction"
What is funny about this specific sample quotes?
Begging the question is a logical fallacy where the conclusion of an argument is assumed in the premises. I refer to the post in the following quotes.
You ask JN: There is no truth without examining evidence (#3). So, please provide evidence for this statement.
So, as you explicitly asked, he provides evidence.
Whereupon you write: He's begging the question. I asked for evidence that examining evidence is the way to truth. What is he doing? Pointing to more evidence
JN was at that point not making an argument, but answering a question, and so cannot have “begged the question”. So, that’s funny.

In a grander sense, your As an atheist, he has no way to account for reason, logic, or induction" is essentially a fail-proof “petitio principii”. You, apparently believing JN is not entitled to use reason because he “cannot account for it” to your satisfaction, consider that sufficient to invalidate his reasoning. That tactic, of course, can serve to settle any claim by atheists without requiring you to actually address their contentions. So, that’s funny.

You speak of logic and reason, and then conclude atheists cannot be reasonable or logical. So, that’s funny.

You speak of logic, but all I see is rhetoric and assertions. I barely even see syllogisms, obsolete as they are. So, that’s funny.

To use a mathematical metaphor, you are taking a general position from a degenerate case - I asked for evidence that examining evidence is the way to truth. is of the form I asked for evidence that [proposition P] is the way to truth. Consider the cardinality of P such that your contention holds. So, that’s funny.

Anyway.

It seems to me your metaphysics could be summarised (not in my own words) thus “Nor do I seek to understand that I may believe, but I believe that I may understand. For this too I believe, that unless I first believe, I shall not understand."

John Morales said...

It has been brought to my attention that I was unclear.

When I wrote I’m glad we agree on what you said: his worldview is irrational, what I intended to convey is that we agree on what your claim is: his worldview is irrational.

I hereby clarify I do not hold that view, myself.

I apologise to JN for my error in expression.

MothandRust said...

It's just another two kestrokes to write w/ as with. I don't get that. b/c I just find it annoying w/o the full words.

Rhology said...

John,

OK, I'm tired of wasting keystrokes on this issue of fun vs "fun". It appears that I mistook your meaning and so I apologise for that. I hope you will forgive me. In a context like this post, I do tend to bristle at the slightest of perceived provocations, which is a bad habit.

I do wish I could know at least a basic framework of your philosophical convictions. I have a massive paper trail for mine.

Let me take issue with this:
JN was at that point not making an argument, but answering a question, and so cannot have “begged the question”.

Yes, he has been asked the same question multiple times. It's an impossible question for him unless he abandon his irrational worldview of atheism, and that's what the question is designed to reveal. He reveals it himself by begging the question. I ask a question. He, in answering, begs it.

he “cannot account for it” to your satisfaction,

Not only not to my satisfaction, he can't answer it without begging the question. This is simple logic. Speaking of bias, why won't you admit it?

You speak of logic and reason, and then conclude atheists cannot be reasonable or logical.

Not at all - in many ways your and his posts and comments utilise good logic and reason. Just the fact that you string words together to communicate some meaning exhibits that. But in doing so, you borrow from the Christian worldview, b/c there is no justification for doing so in an atheist worldview. Your brains are atoms banging around. Your thoughts are chemical reactions, much like when magnesium is ignited or sodium meets oxygen or baking soda meets vinegar. I don't ask those things questions about the nature of logic or whether God exists! Why would I do so to a human brain, which is more of the same?
Unless, of course, the human brain is different, is made in the image of... oops. I was about to say God, but you know...

Consider the cardinality of P such that your contention holds.

You are acting like this situation is my fault. When I ask for justification for a way of thinking and the person appeals to that way of thinking to prove that way of thinking, then what am I supposed to conclude about them? What's more, he borrows the framework of yet ANOTHER way of thinking to explain that his way of thinking is the only valid way of thinking and denies that the way of thinking whence he borrowed the framework for explaining his way of thinking is valid. It's amazing. (It is also amazing if anyone can follow that sentence.)

It seems to me your metaphysics could be summarised (not in my own words) thus “Nor do I seek to understand that I may believe, but I believe that I may understand. For this too I believe, that unless I first believe, I shall not understand."

Yes, that is precisely right.
It is also precisely right for the atheist, only the atheist has to borrow a Christian framework to power his thinking and communication.

Peace,
Rhology

PS - Moth's right, I'll try to drop the w/ and w/o, but I like the b/c so I'm sticking with (or w/) it.

John Morales said...

Rhology,

Preamble
I am pleased that you have acknowledged the substance of my original post.

I made my comment as an observer. Should I take up your offer, I would become a participant. You should understand that am aware of ethical frameworks, and that I follow a humanistic one when practicable; this means I would need JN’s permission to do so. However, I do not think this would be a wise move.

Accordingly, I do not wish at this point to directly address your mutual polemics.

I do note you have shown, especially in your most recent reply, that you are capable of flexibility of thought. It is also commendable that you now apologise, although you need not have.

I urge you henceforth to, in the first instance, take my words at face value. I am not attempting to obscure issues, nor am I being inimical or disputatious for contrarian reasons, nor am I attempting to confuse or misdirect. If you require clarification, requesting it is very likely to be the most expedient way to accomplish your goal. I trust this is clear.

I am not attempting to de-convert you, either. I say this so it’s explicit.

I further advise you that, should it be the case that we have further exchange over time, when I am confident that you will not misimpute or misinterpret my straightforward utterances I shall revert to a more normal and conversational tone.

One last thing – do not be afraid I shall pester you. It is my expectation that this exchange shall cease when either of us is tired of it, or by mutual agreement, or by (ahem) act of God.

Given the above:

Acquiescence
I do wish I could know at least a basic framework of your philosophical convictions.
It is unfortunate that a basic framework might take some time to elucidate. In fact, I consider it would take a great many posts to do so (I base this on the expectation of many requirements for clarification and its attendant polemic).

However, I can adumbrate certain aspects. Remember, I am being honest.
Remember this because this is, I believe, going to sound either confusing or dishonest to you.

I have no fixed beliefs. They are all tentative, and subject to revision, amendment or replacement. They have in fact changed over time.

I don’t have belief at all, in the sense you do.
To me, no idea is sacrosanct. No behaviour is unthinkable.

I do have plenty of opinions, though. Again, these are all subject to revision – for example, I am currently in agreement with the utility of political correctness, which at one time I disagreed with.

I often operate on whim. This conversation with you now is one such occasion.

If you wish to affix some labels, I suppose I am an attributive monist (except when it doesn’t seem appropriate), a strong atheist (so far), and a metaphysical naturalist (so far).

I suspect that’s enough for you to go on.
By the way, I was once a believer (Roman Catholic). But that was before I (ahem) grew up.

Suggestion
In view of my aforementioned intent not to muddle the intercourse between you and JN, I humbly (it’s your blog!) suggest a new post.

Regarding the topic, it’s your call.
I do choose to inform you that it is of note you have not yet addressed the substance of my first post, to wit, why was it funny to me.

Rhology said...

Hi John,

Consider me properly chastened.

I hate to admit this, but I honestly can't figure out what you mean by "address the substance of my original post."

Again I guess I'll "acknowledge" the statement you apparently would like me to address:

I mean, a post that begins with "Begging the question will get you everywhere, apparently" and shortly thereafter asserts "As an atheist, he has no way to account for reason, logic, or induction"? Pretty funny.

My mind must not be on the same wavelength. If you'd be so kind as to clarify a tad more, I'd be happy to post on the topic. Hopefully the clarification will help this dunderhead get the gears oiled up.

Peace,
Rhology

John Morales said...

Consider me properly chastened.
My previous comment was not intended as a castigation, but as a clarification.

I honestly can't figure out what you mean by "address the substance of my original post.
Hm.
You find "[...]the substance of my first post, to wit, why was it funny to me?" perplexing, it seems.

Let me be blunt, then. I see no evidence that you understand logic.

Logic is a word-label that represents a number of concepts.

http://scienceblogs.com/goodmath/2007/01/basics_logic_aka_its_illogical_1.php

Rhology said...

Yes, John, clearly I have no conception of logic at all. It does stink to be me.

See you around.

John Morales said...

Tsk.

How will this look to your readers?

Rhology said...

Well, it might look like one of us is being unreasonable.

John Morales said...

Sigh.

I find you funny.
I find you sad.
I feel sorry for you.

Yes, John, clearly I have no conception of logic at all. It does stink to be me.

Do you realise that this feeble attempt at sarcasm only egenders pathos?

Rhology said...

Sorry John, I'd have to be able to understand logic to understand your reply or to attempt to respond.

John Morales said...

Rhology,

I'd have to be able to understand logic to understand your reply or to attempt to respond

1. You did attempt, thus negating your assertion.

2. Rather than alluding to your knowledge, show me.

Let P be: for every x and for every y, if x is a vicious circle, then if y is a vicious circle too, then x has the same value as y.

Is P a proposition, a tautology, or a function, and how does it apply to my earlier comment regarding items I found funny?

It should be clear to someone educated in logic.

Rhology said...

You did attempt, thus negating your assertion.

Logic is lost on me; irony is lost on you. We're quite a pair!
And I wouldn't call myself "educated" in logic. Nor have I ever claimed to be.

See my response here.

John Morales said...

OK.

BTW, P is a very basic proposition, and I wrote it as a transliteration of the same expression expressed in modal logic.

In English, it would read as "there is at most one vicious circle".

The utility of expressing propositions thus is that they can then be abstractly manipulated using proven rules of logic, and the results re-expressed in natural language.

John Morales said...

Rhology, you would be doing yourself a favour if you perused the contents of the link I offered previously.

It explains some basic concepts and terminology fairly clearly.

(It is recorded that even in the early days of the Church, theologians studied logic).

Rhology said...

John,

Yes, I know. In fact, some of the founding thinkers in logic have been Christians, such as Augustine of Hippo.
It would be cool to study it, that's certain.