Thursday, May 20, 2010

The faithful skeptic strikes back

The fun continues with David, a faith-full skeptic who likes to make big solid claims for the awesome solidity and certainty of naturalistic science, and then when challenged retreat to agnostic claims that resemble more than a little what you might hear from an LDS missionary's testimony about how he knows the Book of Mormon came from God.  It's amazing to watch this guy dance.

His three comments begin here.


you then turn around and claim that the rules don’t apply to you. Turns out, you can’t know what you claim to know either.

Oh no, not at all!  They DEFINITELY apply to me.  What's great about my position is that Jesus tells me many things of which I can't help but be ignorant, and that includes these ultimate questions of epistemology and existence.  Jesus can see them, and lets me know in the Bible.  That's why they don't apply to me in the final equation.  But you have no such recourse, no such foresight, available to you.

You can claim “self-justification”, but your claims are no better supported then.

I don't just CLAIM it. I've demonstrated it. 

Ok, so we’re equally ignorant. Fair enough.

Now comes the part where  you admit that your position is based on faith just as much as mine. 
(I'll go on to demonstrate, as I've been doing, that yours requires MORE faith, but a statement of equivalence from you will be fine.)

but others seem to be a pretty good description of how the natural world works

You mean they SEEM to.  Until they're proven wrong.
And "seem to be" is nothing close to the solid basis you claim when nobody's poking around and asking tough questions.  You see how squishy your claims have become?
And "seem to be" is totally dependent on the as-yet-unproven claim that evidence is a good way to discover truth and that your cognitive faculties function properly.  So you stack faith upon faith. 

Turns out, you have much the same confidence in science that I do,

Well, not totally the same, no.  I have general confidence in it to do what it can do in its realm.  I also, however, recognise its inherent fallaciousness and its inability to comment outside its bailiwick.

“sold-out, on-fire, zealous for your faith” in science. (By the way, who was it that was so annoyed when I engages in “unjustifiable psychoanalysis”?)

I'm just calling it like I see it.  Besides, you could label me sold-out, on-fire, zealous for your faith in JESUS, and I'd wholeheartedly agree.

Ever taken an antibiotic? If so, then you were expressing faith in the logically fallacious conclusions of science.

OK.  Now prove to me that the NEXT time I take an antibiotic, it both will work and won't transport me to Neptune.  PROVE it, don't just assume it. 
Besides, you didn't read my article, did you?  If you had, you'd know that science is in fact generally reliable b/c the God of the Bible holds the universe together to run according to physical laws and more or less universal regularity.  So medicines can be trusted, usually, b/c of that, rather than to transform us into lizardmen, despite the same chemical structures. No such guarantee on naturalism.

Would I rather live in a world in which slavery was accepted and women were denied full rights and our rulers thought they were placed on their thrones by gods, etc

Would Jeffrey Dahmer rather live in a world where his cannibalistic murders were prosecuted?  Probably not - he'd prefer to eat people in peace. 
You're both people.  Now tell me who's right and how we can know. 

Ceremonial laws, moral laws, heard it all before. Doesn’t change the fact that the laws changed.

Oh, so your ignorance is intentional.  I don't think that makes you look any more rational, tbh.

Umm, I don’t get it. This is an argument? You do think that your church has the one true truth and hasn’t changed in 2000 years, yes?

Umm, I don’t get it. This is an argument? You do think that naturalistic science has the one true truth and hasn’t changed ever, yes?

The message is essentially inseparable from the interpretations.

So Jell-O has no bones and the further they fly the much? 
Or wait, I read that wrong.  You're saying that you've bowed the knee to Jesus and want to become a fundamentalist?  Cool!  Mind sharing your testimony with us?

What’s the point of saying that there’s a “static” message if no one knows what it is

Who said no one knows it?

I understood that this is from the Bible, but what does it matter?

B/c it's God saying it, not me.

So, if I can’t prove that the writers were definitely NOT inspired, that means that this is the Word of God?

Now you're shifting the goalposts AGAIN.  Do you really think your position is helped by this kind of dancing?

Can you definitely prove that the sacred writings of other religions were not inspired? 

Yes, by demonstrating
1) internal inconsistencies in them
2) that the Bible is in fact true.  And the Bible rules out other religions as false.

I could mention the errors in the Bible (global flood, anyone?)

Oh, so you  have a time machine and can tell exactly that the flood didn't happen?  How did you make it?  What time period did you examine?  How did you escape aging while you were observing?
Or is this just another statement of faith on your part?

Huh? What? Outside universe?

Yes, the universe outside of you.  You have two options:
1) Prove it exists, and thus show your position epistemologically superior to mine, OR
2) Take it on faith, and thus emasculate all your "that's just faith" critiques of my position.  Pick your poison.

The reality is that we don’t know what happens after death.

YOU don't.  I do, b/c a highly trustworthy authority told me what happens. 
And yet YOU are the one who apparently feels qualified to make solid statements about it and then mock dissenters from it.  Then when challenged, you retreat to agnosticism.  This is why I don't find your approach very satisfying or very innocent.

David:  I’ve read all the apologies for the Trinity. It’s still tritheism
Rhology: "I’ve read all the apologies for atheism. It’s still river fairy worship."
David now:  Wow, now that was a searing rebuttal. River fairy worship? What’s that?

It's where you worship fairies that live in rivers.
Now, if you point me to "real atheist writings" that rebut that or that never mention that, I'll just do like you did and ignore them.  "Sorry, I’ve read all the apologies for atheism. It’s still river fairy worship."

Reason, empathy, reciprocal altruism, the creations of codes for “domestic tranquility”, desire to live, desire to see our children live, etc., etc., are all “objective” and the basis for what we call moral codes and “good and bad”

Fine.  Now prove that reason is good.  That empathy is good.  That altruism is good.  That creating codes to cooperate are good. 
I'd link this article to you, but I'm not confident you'll actually read it.


Lvka said...

Jeffrey Dahmer

Uhm... that's the second time I hear his name today... and I haven't heard of him until now, so... it's not exactly a very happy or fortunate co-incidence for me...

NAL said...


So medicines can be trusted, usually, b/c of that, rather than to transform us into lizardmen, despite the same chemical structures.

Usually? So, there's no guarantee? No guarantee on theism, no guarantee on naturalism. Got it.