Friday, June 29, 2012

Absolutely not

  • John M Thank you Karen. Hitler carrying out "Gods will" has no relevance to what you believe. That was kind of what I was getting at in terms of irrelevance. Hitler is not relevant to this issue. Neither is MLK honestly.
  • Rhology John,

    Why would anyone be bothered by the fact that Adolf Hitler had a false belief (that false belief being that his conduct was in accordance with the will of the Creator)?
  • Rhology Pagans like Hitler have a lot of false beliefs, incidentally. hours ago 
  • John M You couldn't prove his actions weren't in accordance with the creator any more than he could prove your actions aren't in accordance with the creator. Thats because youre both using the same unaccounted for god concept to justify your beliefs.
  • Rhology Yes, I can.
    What does "unaccounted-for God concept" mean?
  • Rhology And if he can't prove it, then why isn't the Christians' complete disavowal of Hitler as a Christian completely valid?
  • John M God, the way your religion describes him, cannot be demonstrated. Only asserted.

    It's valid, but hypocritical, because youre doing the same thing as he is (claiming you know the will of a god that can't be demonstrated).
  • Rhology ‎\\God, the way your religion describes him, cannot be demonstrated. Only asserted. \\

    As a matter of fact, this is completely wrong.

    \\It's valid, but hypocritical, because youre doing the same thing as he is (claiming you know the will of a god that can't be demonstrated).\\

    I don't see how it's hypocritical. If both of us make statements that can't be verified (just for the sake of your argument), don't Christians get to define our own position and what it means to be a member of our group?
    Can I say "I'm an atheist and I believe that there are millions of gods and that science is bunk"? Would that be consistent and rational?

  • John M I don't know if absolute truth exists ---> Absolutely true/false? I don't know if not knowing if absolute truth exists is absolute. I wonder if the next question would be is not knowing whether you don't know if absolute truth exists absolute? Probably, but that would ruin the whole false dichotomy. Fun word game though.
  • Rhology ‎\\I don't know if not knowing if absolute truth exists is absolute.\\

    Then you are not getting it, and that's sad.
    Is it absolutely true that you don't know if not knowing if absolute truth exists is absolute?

    Think hard.
  • John M I don't know if it's absolute that I don't know. I already said that. We can't account for absolutes with our current capabilities, and probably will never be able to. You can say they exist, but it's merely an assertion.
  • Rhology is it absolutely true that you don't know if it's absolute that you don't know?

    is it absolutely true that we can't account for absolutes with our current capabilities?

    Is it absolutely true that it's merely an assertion?
  • John M I don't know. I'll let you know when I have absolute knowledge.
  • Rhology Is it absolutely true that you don't know?
  • John M  And thats the hole in your argument. You can't get anywhere unless you get me to concede that I know things absolutely. How can I verify whether or not what I know is absolute?

    Fun game though.
  • Rhology ‎\\And thats the hole in your argument\\

    Is that absolutely true?
    If you don't, why did you say it?

    \\You can't get anywhere unless you get me to concede that I know things absolutely\\

    Is that absolutely true?
    If you don't, why did you say it?

    \\How can I verify whether or not what I know is absolute? \\

    You can't. Unless Jesus is Lord, there is no way to do so. That's the point of the website, actually.
    All these foolish things you keep saying - they are more and more demonstration of the utter absurdity of your worldview.
  • John M  We can account for absolutes only through the unverified divinity of a man named Jesus from 2000 years ago. Got it.
  • Rhology You think that mocking dismissals count as substantive argumentation. Got it.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

The "Reasonable Doubts" podcast on presuppositional apologetics: Part 4, 2 Thessalonians 2

Continuing with our critique of the Doubtcasters' critique of presuppositional apologetics and their allegations that the God of the Bible is deceptive...

2 Thessalonians 2:7-12
7For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only he who now restrains will do so until he is taken out of the way. 8Then that lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming; 9that is, the one whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders, 10and with all the deception of wickedness for those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved. 11For this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they will believe what is false, 12in order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness.

The main pattern of note in these two episodes (RD98 and RD101) of the Doubtcast is low-quality biblical exegesis. I don't recall them citing any commentaries or exegetes, either. They seem merely to wing it when it comes to their analyses of Bible passages, and this is a serious problem for them.
The Doubtcasters, in examining this passage, assert that God sends a spirit of delusion on people to ensure they will not repent. They extrapolate from this idea some doubts as to whether people can be held morally responsible for not repenting and believing.
They also hasten to charge that Christians thus have no way to trust that God could be the precondition for intelligibility and reason, that since God deceives people, we have no way to know whether we are deceived at any given time.

Unfortunately for the Doubtcasters' point, the passage does not say anything of the kind.
Notice that the theme of deception is introduced early in v10 - the coming of the "lawless one" is in accord with Satan's activity and with deception of wickedness.
This is a common and constant biblical theme - that wickedness and sin lead to self-deception. Remember how Eve's refusal to listen to God in the Garden led to a total negation of the possibility of God's law being truly communicative and binding ("Has God really said...?") and then hiding from God? Why did she hide from God? God created the whole cosmos! How could someone hide from Him?
That is self-deception in action - this bizarre thought that it is better to do something silly like hide from the Almighty rather than confess and repent immediately, in sorrow and humility.
Or take Satan himself - the bright morning star, some say the head angel of all Heaven, hid pride in his heart and desired to make himself God Almighty. He has lost, been shown time and again his relative weakness, knows the Bible well, knows he is going to lose, and yet carries on fighting. Does he really think he can win? He may well think so - self-deception operates in such ways.

Thus, we note that the theme of the passage is dealing with "those who perish" and their wicked deception. That's a problem already for the Doubtcasters - they're supposed to be showing that Christians don't have a good reason to trust God, but Christians are not those who perish, and they've been rescued from wickedness.

Why do those who perish perish?
Verse 10 - "because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved."
Those who perish live in that deception of wickedness because they have not been saved. Why not? They didn't receive the love of the truth. But Christians have received the love of the truth, and have been saved.

So, now we arrive at verse 11, where God sends a strong delusion, and the text explicitly states why. It is because these wicked, self-deceived unbelievers have refused to believe the truth and be saved. This means they are stubbornly refusing to live for Jesus and thus carry out their calling and obligation. They are at war with God.

Is God obligated to send intelligence and information to obstinate, hateful enemies of His? On what basis would the Doubtcasters say He is?

Notice also that these wicked people have already refused to believe the truth, and then the deluding influence leads them to believe what is false. But they already believe plenty of false things. The point here is that God is leading these enemies of His to become worse enemies of His so that He may exercise harsher judgment against them.
But where is there any indication that God is deluding or misleading His people, His followers? Right, there is no such indication. Christians do believe the truth and take pleasure, not in wickedness, but in truth and holiness.

The Doubtcasters are simply engaging in silly, surface-level analysis of the text. They may have read more than one or two verses during their show (which, sadly, is more than you'll get in a lot of 'seeker-sensitive' worship 'experiences'), but they didn't actually take into account what the text said. They looked closely only at one phrase, and missed the entire point of the passage.

The Doubtcasters have shown that unbelievers have no reason to expect any good or any help from God, but that's hardly any surprise for the serious student of the Bible. We knew that already.

(Please leave any comments at the Triablogue post.)

Monday, June 18, 2012

The Reasonable Doubtcast's dismissive attitude

What follows is the recent Twitteraction between Dave Fletcher, of the Reasonable Doubts podcast (@DoubtcastFletch), the Reasonable Doubts account (@doubtcast), and me.

Rhology ‏@Rhology
@doubtcast @DoubtcastFletch Hey, lookie here - another review you'll probably mock rather than rebut!

Reasonable Doubts ‏@doubtcast
@Rhology @doubtcastfletch we have a response on the way. We promise to be nice!

Rhology ‏@Rhology
@doubtcast @doubtcastfletch Doesn't have to be nice. Does need to be substantive.

Dave Fletcher ‏@DoubtcastFletch
@doubtcast @Rhology I make no such promises of niceness, but I have much less tolerance for people who intentionally miss the point.

Rhology ‏@Rhology
@DoubtcastFletch "Missing the point"; like when ppl claim they're doing internal critiques & proceed to do only external critiques?

Dave Fletcher ‏@DoubtcastFletch
@Rhology A perfect example of what I'm talking about. You ignored everything you couldn't refute and focused on small tangents.

Dave Fletcher ‏@DoubtcastFletch
@Rhology We did an internal critique. You choose to ignore that because you cannot refute the arguments.

Rhology ‏@Rhology
@DoubtcastFletch Ah, right, even though Beahan made sure we knew multiple times that the strength of the show was that you were doing...
...INTERNAL critiques; you're refuted but don't want to admit it, so suddenly that question is 'tangential'. Right, sure.

Reasonable Doubts ‏@doubtcast
@Rhology @doubtcastfletch They were largely based on misunderstanding. We will do a written response instead of dedicating episode to straw.

Rhology ‏@Rhology
@doubtcast @doubtcastfletch Written is fine; whatever suits you. But I should think a Christian is a better judge of whether a critique... internal or not. You've shown no significant familiarity with the Bible. I'm not "ignoring" anything.

Dave Fletcher ‏@DoubtcastFletch
@Rhology @doubtcast And this is the point where I vote for not responding at all. No reason to dignify every asshat with a response.

Dave Fletcher ‏@DoubtcastFletch
@Rhology The point is, you didn't respond to our points and you believe yourself entitled to an official response from us. You are not.

Rhology ‏@Rhology
@DoubtcastFletch @doubtcast I love how I respond reasonably to your points, pointing out errors, and I'm an "asshat". Well played.

Dave Fletcher ‏@DoubtcastFletch
@Rhology Unless you were making relevant points or were an apologist of note, I see no reason why your ramblings should get a response.

Well, I'm certainly not an apologist of any note, but I honestly don't know what these Doubtcasters are talking about.

They claim they did an internal critique. I've not seen more than a couple of isolated examples of internal critiques; most of their critiques were well-seasoned with their naturalistic assumptions, or at best, most charitably speaking, by simple ignorance of the Scripture. I've pointed out several examples and reasons for those examples of critiques that were simply not internal.

They claim that I "focused only on small tangents"; wut?
I identified the main themes of their show, I did my level best to write down and interact with their most prominent arguments, I am going to deal with every single biblical passage they mentioned in the "God is a liar" excerpt and episode and in my most recent post dealt with one of the principal ones. It would appear that asking them to clarify what "small tangents" they have in mind, however, will simply result in more insulting language and small-minded well-poisoning. That's cool with me; these reviews are not primarily for the Doubtcasters' benefit anyway. It's just sort of funny how we see a pattern developing with these guys. They're not the fair-minded reasonable chaps they make themselves out to be. My initial opinion of them has turned out to be more favorable than was merited by reality.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

The "Reasonable Doubts" podcast on presuppositional apologetics: Part 3

We continue our review of the Reasonable Doubts podcast on presuppositional apologetics with a few final posts about the alleged deception of the God of the Bible. Since the Doubtcasters mentioned numerous biblical passages to attempt to substantiate their accusation, it will be best to break the review up into more than one post.

The Doubtcasters attempt to level a contradiction between Titus 1:2 and other passages.
Titus 1:1Paul, a bond-servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, for the faith of those chosen of God and the knowledge of the truth which is according to godliness, 2in the hope of eternal life, which God, who cannot lie, promised long ages ago...

The DCers believe they are showing that God is guilty of deception.
Perhaps my favorite comment of the entire episode is when Justin Schieber says that there's a rather large discussion of the deception of God at the urbanphilosophy site, and that unfortunately the biblical arguments were never brought up. What a laughable surprise - that the discussion there would avoid the Bible. How about that?

The first pericope I would like to deal with is the account of King Ahab, his court "prophets", and the true prophet of Yahweh named Micaiah in 2 Chronicles 18:12-28 and 1 Kings 22.

The Doubtcasters charge God with stepping in to make other prophets of the king lie about the upcoming battle, and assert that it's clear that God is not just letting Ahab believe what he already wants to believe, but rather God is actively engaged in the deception. A demonic agent who is going to go spread lies is volunteering for a job that God initiates.

In response, let us note the relevant things from the text:
-Obviously it's known that Micaiah is a real prophet of Yahweh and not of the false gods whose worship Ahab and his queen Jezebel had invested decades in instituting in Israel. Jehoshaphat recognises this fact when he asks for Micaiah rather than the sycophants in Ahab's court.

-Even the messenger knew that Micaiah was something of a misfit.

-Even Ahab knew it. It would appear that Micaiah's original line was delivered with some amount of sarcasm, for Ahab adjures him to tell him exactly what he saw.

-The true prophet of God Micaiah tells Ahab exactly what he saw.

-Ahab acknowledges that the prophecy communicated to him from Yahweh was not good: “Did I not tell you that he would not prophesy good concerning me, but evil?”

-So, to review: Micaiah does tell Ahab exactly what he saw.
God told Ahab the honest truth.
So, right on the face of it, while the Doubtcasters want us to think that God lied to Ahab, here is the exact opposite information.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Letter to OETA's Stateline Program

To Whom It May Concern:

I have just finished watching your program on Thursday, 14 June, on the topic of homosexuality and homosexual marriage. I am frankly horrified at the amazingly one-sided treatment you gave the issue. You should be ashamed of yourselves.

You interviewed a transgendered person who had been a married man with children, presumably because s/he is suing the OKC PD. Yet you apparently found it too difficult to explore the question of how s/he got to where s/he is with respect to his/her marriage and children. Marriage includes vows such as "...'till death do us part"; where was any treatment of this person's forfeiture of the vows s/he took? Of the effect his/her actions have had and will yet have on his/her children? You interviewed the homosexual founder of IDEA. You interviewed Kathy McCallie, a pastrix so incredibly liberal that she was disciplined and defrocked by the United Methodist Church, and that's really saying something!

The biblical text cited - the one, single, solitary biblical text cited - was Leviticus 18, and Rev McCallie put forth the predictable, disingenuous, and inane argument that since Christians today don't also abstain from shellfish, etc, they have no consistent reason to call homosexuality sin. Where was the response? The best you could do was to show a few graphics of hateful ignorants with badly-printed posters saying "HOMOSEXUALS ARE POSSESSED BY DEMONS"? Really? No dealings with Jesus' specific endorsement of marriage according to God's created order in Matthew 19? Nothing about Romans 1? 1 Corinthians? You do know, don't you, that there are other books in the Bible besides Leviticus?

Are you unaware of the numerous thoughtful Bible-believing pastors in your area? It is unbelievable you could be ignorant thereof. Honestly, it is difficult to conclude that you were pursuing anything other than a prejudicial appeal for acceptance of this lifestyle. You put on airs of seriously engaging the disagreement, yet you hosted zero content from the other side of things. Perhaps for your next show you could display a comparable level of fairness and invite several science professors from OU and OSU to discuss whether science is a good thing and show some pictures of snake handlers in backwoods Kentucky so as to poke further fun at Christianity.

Thank you at least for reinforcing my already well-founded conclusion that liberals much prefer monologue to dialogue. Tolerance is a one-way street with leftists like you.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

CatholicNick hasn't learned much least not on the issue of "church unity" and the 29,000 30,000 33,000 58 zillion denominations argument.

Here is the comment to which I reply.

 I don't see why infallibility is necessary to have formally-established dogma. If a group gets together and says "this is our formally-established dogma. Nobody is infallible of course but this is our formally-established dogma, b/c although nobody is infallible, this dogma is actually true", what's wrong with that? You need to give an argument that infallibility is a necessary precondition for formally-established dogma. A Prot church DOES have a single, unified hierarchy. I have told you this many times; it's disappointing to see you haven't learned anything in the years since I pointed it out to you.

Instead, every pastor is self-appointed and does their own thing. That depends entirely on the church/denomination.

What makes you think these overgeneralisations do anyone any good?

  The PCA has no authority over someone like James White

Duh, but PCA does have authority over someone like a PCA pastor.
Just like an EO priest doesn't have any authority over someone like CatholicNick

  You're stopping short of asking the full question: not "join A church" but WHICH?

Well, of course, but we each have to answer the same question. Which church? Which infallible interpreter? EOC? WatchTower? Salt Lake City? Seriously, these answers have been around for many years. Why haven't you advanced the argument any?

Surely Jesus wasn't saying "I don't care which denomination you attend, just as long as you attend one".

Please argue for this assertion.

Suppose Jason (Stellman) wants to dump the PCA and go solo, so now he's attending his own start-up church. Is that just as good?

If he did so b/c he doubted paedobaptism and embraced credobaptism, that would be a good thing*. If PCA went apostate like Rome has, it could be a good thing. If he did it to reach previously unreached ppl, sure, why not? For reasons of swapping out doctrine, no, it wouldn't be good, b/c PCA's doctrine is very, very good. But all churches are "start-up" churches, so I don't really understand what you're saying. RCC does not extend back from Jesus and the apostles; neither does EOC or any other church.

This only begs the question as to what is "Major" and what isn't. 

Of course it does, but the NT tells us. And I already reminded you of it. A shame you once again refused to advance the argument.

It further raises the question why join a Church that is wrong on "smaller things" rather than seek out or form one that is right on both Major and Minor?

I did, and I found one that is about the closest to right on things major and minor that's in my area. I'm blessed; there are several like that and I am a member of one of them.

Once you start making a list of "Majors" then you'll see things begin to break down.

That's false; I've done that before and it worked out fine. There are also these things called confessions that have stood for hundreds of years. Those also work quite well.

 The difference between Jason and others is that Jason was willing to attempt to derive such a list.

No, the difference between him and others is that he had already given up on Sola Scriptura.

You don't realize that you're essentially acting as Pope when you go around saying "smaller issues like pædobaptism or church polity".

You need to argue for this. I don't think I'm infallible; I merely recognise that I have responsibility to do what Jesus told me to do. And I've already pointed out where the NT teaches the major/minor distinction.

Who says those are "smaller issues" when HISTORICALLY those and similar issues have bitterly divided Protestantism.

The fact that they don't corrupt the Gospel or necessary doctrine fundamentally "says" those are smaller issues. As for whether they have bitterly divided ppl, why should it bother me that men before me have been sinners and let conflicts go farther than they should have? And why doesn't it bother YOU that the same is true of RCC and RC history? One of us can deal with his own history.

Luther and Calvin hated and damned the anabaptists, and the more traditional Confessionally Reformed and Baptists would still find each other objectionable and closed communion.

So? RC and EO bishops/popes/patriarchs have hated and damned each other, and they would still find each other objectionable and closed communion.

  it's absurd to suggest a hierarchic, democratic, and individualist polity are equally acceptable.

I didn't suggest that. I"m afraid you may be having difficulty with the idea that people can recognise that a given idea is a minor matter and also that someone else is wrong on that minor matter and also that, since it's minor, it does not merit wholehearted anathemas. Since Jesus and the apostles did that, who am I to demur?

If you are in a debate about some major point of doctrine or morality with a good friend who's of a different denomination, which "church" do you approach for correction as per Christ's instructions in Matthew 18 to "tell it to the church"?

At the risk of stating the obvious, no church. How am I supposed to address "the church" when we're not part of the same church? How would you deal with an EO friend about his disaffirmation of the filioque?

*It should go without saying that I am a Baptist. I'm speaking as a Baptist here, since Nick asked me the question. 

(Please leave any comments at the Beggars All post.)

Monday, June 11, 2012

James P's responses to the Abolish Human Abortion FAQ

From the aforementioned long Facebook thread, one commenter actually decided to engage with our Abolitionist FAQ. Finally! Such an event is rare enough that I am willing to create a whole post around it, to celebrate, nay, fête, the person who had enough gumption to take it on.  Of course, there are hundreds of arguments on there and James P has interacted with approximately two of them, but that's two more than virtually everyone else has.

I reproduce here the entire comment:
James P 
Okay, since you are refusing to acknowledge my previous arguments, I will create a new one based on some of the pure bigotry I have found in the FAQ.
Regarding "Don't you trust women to make the right decision for themselves on their own?" you state that "1) Many women do make the right decision, and we thank God for that.
Many make the wrong one, too, and we pray we can prevent that in the future." Which is a broad generalisation taken from the bias of a religious viewpoint. There is also no right or wrong decision to be made on this subject, as this is the argument you are trying to put forward. You cannot use the argument as an argument in itself.
You also then go onto state that "no, we don't trust any sinful human being to make the right decision without guidance and authoritative, true laws to let us know what is right and wrong." which is implying that without God, there is no absolute morality because humans are full of sin, despite the fact that the God you are trusting to enforce said morality is that of one which will quite happily enforce stoning for missing the Sabbath, encourages people to kill their kin in the name of the Lord, mass genocide of non believers, etcetera. I would much prefer a logical, thought out, secular morality - not one which follows the guidance of an ancient book. Also, to make the presumption that humans are sinful by default is ludicrous, and is once again from a religious bias.
This is the argument I am putting forward.

Now, given that James P has gone on to express incredulity at Oliver's ban and his lack of recognition at the fallacious nature of Oliver's argument, I have my doubts as to James' ability or willingness to engage any rebuttal in a substantive way, but hope springs eternal.

Which is a broad generalisation taken from the bias of a religious viewpoint

A broad generalisation, to deal with women who abort while attempting to address the subject of women who abort? Hmm, not really. It's more like dealing with the relevant subject matter.
As for the bias of a religious viewpoint, everyone has bias. Whether the bias overcomes rational justification for one's position and whether one can actually substantiate one's position - those are the relevant questions. James P needs to show that I've done so.

There is also no right or wrong decision to be made on this subject

1) James needs to argue for this claim, not merely assert it.
2) Would he say the same thing about the very next sentences in the linked article?

Why have laws against rape? Don't you trust men to make the right decision for themselves on their own?
Why have laws against new mothers drowning their 1-month old children? Don't you trust women to make the right decision for themselves on their own?

3) If there is no right or wrong, what stops me or anyone from saying the same about anything, including rape/murder/enslavement? Is James willing to be consistent with his stated position?
4) If my position isn't wrong, why is James arguing against it?

You cannot use the argument as an argument in itself.

I don't know what this is supposed to mean. Perhaps James can clarify.

which is implying that without God, there is no absolute morality...

Correct so far.

...because humans are full of sin

James goes wrong here. That's not why there is no absolute morality. If there is no God, there is no sin, and there is no objective moral value. That means there are no duties, no values, and no significance.
We have already outlined why we say that there is no absolute morality if God does not exist.

I even said as much in the next paragraph of the original article, but James clearly didn't read very carefully:

Abortion is wrong; we should tell people it is wrong. Similarly, rape is wrong; we should tell people it is wrong.
This is why the argument must be theological. If we are adrift in this life and world without any communication from our Creator, we have nothing to go on. We make it up as we go. We have no guidance, no light.

despite the fact that the God you are trusting to enforce said morality is that of one which will quite happily enforce stoning for missing the Sabbath, encourages people to kill their kin in the name of the Lord, mass genocide of non believers, etcetera

James is unfortunately way behind here. So few skeptics care enough to familiarise themselves with the standard argumentation!
1) James needs to tell us by what moral standard he judges God in the wrong for these things.
2) Is James an atheist? Do humans possess some sort of special value? How does he know, and in what does that value consist? Is scattering protoplasm and rearranging it some kind of moral problem?
Modern aborticians and pro-abort enablers like James like to take human begins of a certain class and dehumanise them for their arbitrary reasons. What's wrong with Ancient Near East Hebrews doing the same with certain of their kin or pagan, child-sacrificing Canaanites?
3) James would do well to do some basic reading before he responds.

I would much prefer a logical, thought out, secular morality

I'm sure he would, but there are a couple of problems.
1) Atheist ethics are impossible, as noted above.
2) Secular morality always unjustifiably bridges the is/ought gap. James needs to read up a little on that too and let us know on what basis he knows how to derive an ought from an is.
3) The question is not what morality James prefers, but which one is correct and true. It's a sign of his shallow thinking that he phrased it in this way.

not one which follows the guidance of an ancient book

Interestingly, the Bible predicts that people throughout the extent of human history will rebel against God and act like they are better governors of their own lives and destinies. James is merely fulfilling the path that many others have laid out before him.
James, I urge you not to be like the others who have failed before you. Repent of your sin. Trust the Savior. Your life is meaningless and absurd, but a life devoted to Jesus carries eternal worth because of Jesus' generosity and love.

to make the presumption that humans are sinful by default is ludicrous

Why? How much knowledge about the universe does James have? Less than 1%, I'm sure we'd all agree.
How does he know that there isn't, in the other 99+% of the total knowledge that exists in the universe, plenty of reason to think that humans are sinful by default?  Even on atheistic presuppositions, there is no way to substantiate such a statement. Again, it demonstrates his shallow interaction with the topic.

So, out of the couple hundred arguments on the FAQ, James has tried to deal with two and failed. May the Lord Jesus be glorified in smashing all foolish arguments of rebels against the anvil of truth.

In which I insist on avoiding fallacious argumentation

A Facebook thread at Abolish Human Abortion recently spiraled into near-insanity, thanks to a user named Oliver who, as we'll see, stubbornly refused to acknowledge his application of a logical fallacy. He had been blocked from the page two, maybe three, times before for reasons related to his continual use of profanity, his tendency to drive-by-comment, and his frequent forays into really bad argumentation. However, each time he was blocked he would email us privately and ask to be reinstated. Against our better judgment, we agreed each time.
When he asked what he had done, I said, among other things:

Mainly you were banned for being an often-profane, disingenuous waste of everyone's time. Your arguments are generally terrible and you have shown no inclination to learn from prior correction.
Here's a great example:
 i can answer this easily. Gods decision, the women get no say.
That's not even close, and you should know that. This kind of behavior is not acceptable, and when it becomes clear it's not merely an aberration but is rather a pattern, we know everyone on the page is better off if you're not there repeating your lies and bias.
I'm afraid you'll just have to find somewhere else to lie about us.

The most recent time, he appeared to be willing to be much more conciliatory than before, even going so far as to say:
Furthermore, although on a personal level i in no way agree with the abolishon of abortion, i think that the work you guys do with adopted kids is incredible. if you would feel okay with it, i'd like to discuss the matter further on a less confrontational basis?
He also asked by what rules he would have to abide so as not to be blocked again.
I told him:

No insults of any kind.
No profanity of any kind. Nothing borderline. If you wouldn't say it to someone who is more sensitive than your grandmother, don't say it.
No more bringing up like a broken record things that admins have mistakenly said in the past for which they apologised and offered an explanation why it was a mistake.
No more drive-by derogatory comments. You can object to stuff if you want. If you do, ask questions, be reasonable, listen to what others say, and actually interact with what they say.
I can't possibly list out everything by which responsible, rational adults abide, so if you have questions about something, consider any of us admins available for PM to inquire about whether a given proposed comment is allowable.

Later, he posted the status update which precipitated the thread of conversation that follows it, which I have reproduced below the fold.  At first, he did fine as far as following these rules, but as the reader will note, he made a fallacious argument. Not a huge deal, really - people make mistakes. I asked him to withdraw that argument since it was fallacious.
I even emailed him evidence that it was fallacious.
He refused to withdraw the argument or to concede that it was fallacious. Thus, he convinced me that he was not serious about rational argumentation. I decided to block him for many of the reasons I have laid out elsewhere, and promised to host as much as I could of this thread on my blog. So here we are.

For those who may object to his blocking on those grounds, let me say this. The AHA page on Facebook is not for trolling and constant argumentation. It is for rational discussion and debate between rational people who do not show utter obstinacy and complete refusal to abide by even so much as rules of logic. We can't police everyone all the time, of course, but when someone like Oliver becomes so visible and disingenuously misrepresents his intentions to us and demonstrates a continual stubborn refusal to accede to simple logic, blocking him is not only justified, it's probably obligatory on our part.

Unfortunately, Facebook's user interface leaves an awful lot to be desired. For one thing, it automatically renders as spam any blocked user's content and it moves it out of chronological order. From occasional page saves I have attempted to reproduce most of it in mostly the correct chronological order, but I ask for forgiveness from the reader that a few things will be missing.
Also, ignore the timestamps. The order in which the posts appear is approximately correct and was culled together from various page saves over the course of the day.

Friday, June 01, 2012

Catholics for Excommunication

Seen in the right-side advertisement column on my Facebook page today (which, if you think about it, is ironic and sort of funny):

Links to here.

Is not the Roman Catholic Church's teaching on contraception crystal-clear? Perpiscuous Perspicuous?

Or, let us ask it another way:
What might we label a so-called Roman Catholic who advocates ignoring what the Magisterium teaches and instead agreeing with a group of laymen over against what the Magisterium has clearly taught?

Well, what might we label a so-called member of a PCA church who advocates ignoring what the Westminster Confession of Faith teaches and instead agreeing with a group of laymen over against what the WCF has clearly taught?
What might we label a so-called member of a Reformed Baptist church who advocates ignoring what the London Baptist Confession of Faith teaches and instead agreeing with a group of laymen over against what the LBCF has clearly taught? 

In the latter two cases, would not many of our Roman Catholic friends point excitedly to the fact as evidence of the 29 30 33-thousand denominations myth? And/or of disunity among Protestants and chaos? A blueprint for anarchy?

Shall we expect "Catholics for Choice" to face church discipline pretty soon?

(Please leave any comments at Beggars All.)