Friday, August 24, 2007

Breaking down a breakdown of rationality

Hi JN,

For starters, I'll list all the positive assertions that you made in your comments, all the while denying that you make any positive assertions related to your worldview, saying that your worldview is nothing more or less than a lack of belief in God:

1) It is a purely negative stance.
2) your presupposition is irrational. (The positive assertion is the implication that rationality exists.)
3) There is no truth without examining evidence
4) alter my perception of reality. (The positive assertion is that reality exists and is perceptible.)
5) Making unsubstantiated assertions gets us nowhere.
6) No, the word means an individual without theistic belief. (The positive assertion is that language can convey meaning to another person.)
7) As such, the atheistic position makes no truth-claims.
8) Where there are no truth-claims, there is no burden of proof.
9) Citing the Bible is a waste of time.
10) PROVE THESE THINGS WITH EVIDENCE. Otherwise, your words are meaningless.
11) Substantiate your beliefs, or remain in the realm of the irrational. (The positive assertion is that beliefs, once substantiated, are rational to believe.)
12) The burden of proof is not on the doubter!
13) people making positive claims must substantiate those claims,
14) Without evidence, the doubter can dismiss you out of hand.
15) you first must prove the Bible is a flawless vessel of truth (as you claim it to be). That claim, in itself, is utterly unsubstantiated.
16) The Bible is evidence of nothing
17) In any event, the “infinite attributes” to which you eventually appeal are absurd. (The positive assertion is that absurdity exists.)
18) “Infinite attribute” is a contradiction in terms. (The positive assertion is that contradictions can exist.)
19) Explain why this standard must be extant, rather than theoretical. (The positive assertion is that extant can be compared w/ theoretical.)
20) Nature is material, finite, limited and comprehensible.
21) If “supernature” is altogether different—indeed, altogether opposite—then no valid analogies can be crafted.
22) The word “power” was created by primates, which are part of nature, in order to serve themselves and the natural world of which they are part.
23) Language was not created to serve “supernature.”
24) Natural language applies to the natural world.
25) When wrenched from the natural world, natural language ceases to be intelligible and becomes utterly meaningless.
26) You call my reasoned analysis an unprovable assumption. (The p.a. is that analysis can be reasoned.)
27) Yet, incredibly, you place no blame whatsoever on the crafter himself—god. (The p.a. is that blame is place-able on those who do certain things.)
28) The presence, or addition, of knowledge is not necessarily connected with changing one’s mind.
29) Attributes, by definition, are limited. (The p.a. is that we know what attributes are and that they express sthg meaningful.)
30) There are infinite theoretically possible explanations for the universe’s mass-energy.

OK, I'm going to stop there.
Now, I *could* go back and deal w/ your long comments one-by-one, but instead I think I'll just let your own words speak for you.

In regards to everything you said,
-There is no truth without examining evidence (#3). So, please provide evidence for this statement.

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

-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?

-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?

-PROVE THESE THINGS WITH EVIDENCE. Otherwise, your words are meaningless (#10). See #s 3 and 5.

-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.

-Without evidence, the doubter can dismiss you out of hand (#14). OK, unless you can help me out on #s 3 and 5, I'll go ahead and dismiss everythg you've said out of hand.

-Nature is material, finite, limited and comprehensible (#20). And you're part of nature, so why should I believe you when you presume to speak on the topic of that which is immaterial, transcendent, infinite, and beyond the bounds of knowledge?

-There are infinite theoretically possible explanations for the universe’s mass-energy (#30), and attributes, by definition, are limited (#29). Hmm, not sure I can make sense of this one.

Here's the beef: You are an atheist, you believe that the universe has not been created by a logical, rational being who can thus provide grounds for using logic and rationality, for knowing what they are. Please provide evidence that the secretions of your brain, that the banging-around of atoms inside your skull that produce tappings on a keyboard, are meaningful. Nobody holds a bottle of lotion up to their ear to hear what it has to say about theism, yet it is no less a collection of atoms banging around than your brain.

Gloriously, I have an answer to the conundrum - humans are made in the image of God. You'll say, "Proof?" Evidence is available, but to quote the highly-quotable Doug Wilson, I want evidence that evidence is valid. You can start by answering the questions raised above.



Dadd said...

JN is pretty easy pickings. He needs to think things through a little more thoroughly. Unfortunately, when one thinks enough he finds only two choices: intelligent design and dead-end. said...

you know, i honestly thought he was getting the best of you on some of these, then you kicked his fanny with these:

"PROVE THESE THINGS WITH EVIDENCE. Otherwise, your words are meaningless (#10). See #s 3 and 5."

Nicely done. I'll have to remember that.

I respect your ability to hang in there. I get quickly bored when someone is not generally interested in having a conversation but just wants to argue.

The Jolly Nihilist said...

Greetings, Rhology!

As I referenced in a mid-afternoon comment on my blog, I shall be off on a heathen's getaway to mark the end of Summer.

I could throw together a slapdash response right now. But, I think better of reflecting on your points whilst I am gone and then formally responding upon my return. I already have outlined a response but, in order to present my rebuttal as strongly as possible, I have decided to hold off on immediately responding.

Expect a rebuttal in a week's time. I hope, at that point, you still are interested in reading my response.

Thanks, again, for the discussion. Neither of us is going to change our mind but, at the least, we can hone our arguments for other encounters with other people.

By the way, David, I do not see this as arguing. I see this as a rigorous discussion between two intelligent people with wildly different standpoints. I have no personal animosity toward Rhology. I presume the same on his part. I merely mean to refute his arguments, as he means to do with mine.

Til my return, keep this thread warm for me.


Rhology said...


Thanks for the encouragement!


You're welcome anytime.
Have a good heathen get-away. Don't do anything I wouldn't do. I'll be more than glad to talk to you when you get back.

Rhology said...

JN, Sorry, I may have indeed mischaracterized your intent.

It is probably more ME being tired with having the same discussion with different people. Maybe I need a good heathens getaway to recharge.

Rhology, "Don't do anything I wouldnt do."

that was stinking funny!

Lui said...

"Unfortunately, when one thinks enough he finds only two choices: intelligent design and dead-end."

Which must be why ID is overwhelmingly rejected by scientists (you know, those poor bastards who obviously don't know how to think).

Rhology said...

And of course, it comes as a total surprise to me to hear that ID is rejected by the majority of scientists.

I wouldn't ordinarily want to go against most scientists, but when the errors are SO pronounced and obvious that a layman like me can see them, sthg is wrong. Compound it w/ the sometimes implicit, sometimes explicit, but always obvious, overriding desire to throw dust in the God of the Bible's face, and it becomes clear how this could have happened.
ID is science. And you'll say it isn't. Why isn't it? B/c it's not accepted by the majority of scientists? Did not the same thing apply to other theories in the past, such as heliocentrism, relativity, quantum stuff, etc? Why shoot a hypothesis down peremptorily like that?

The Jolly Nihilist said...

Greetings, Rhology!

I have responded remotely, by way of my own blog.

Please peruse my rebuttal, if you are so inclined.

Back soon.