A milestone

We’ve still got a lot more that could be said about the differences in consequences between the Myth Hypothesis and the Gospel Hypothesis. I thought it might be a good time, though, to take a brief breather, and survey where we’ve come from, and the course we’ve charted thus far.

I originally started this series because a number of commenters objected to my claim that it is an “Undeniable Fact” that God does not show up in real life. I could not possibly make such a claim with any intellectual honesty, some said, because such a claim would require omniscience on my part. My reply was that I was not basing my claim on a brute force approach, i.e. by personally investigating each and every claim that might constitute a genuine appearance of God. Instead, I am basing it on a more scientific approach, based on the principle that the truth is consistent with itself.

I think by this point, I am legitimately entitled to claim that I have met my burden of proof, and have established the intellectual honesty of claiming, as undeniable fact, the observation that God does not show up in real life. If He did, we would be having a very different conversation right now with respect to the consequences of the Myth Hypothesis versus the Gospel Hypothesis. Christian apologists are arguing, not just that God’s absence from real life is possible, but that we ought to expect the Gospel Hypothesis to result in an absence that is just as pervasive and undeniable as the one that would result from the Myth Hypothesis being true. Needless to say, this apologetic would be entirely counterproductive (for Christianity) if it were not true that God is as absent as any mythical being would have to be.

This discussion has also been productive because it has shown fairly clearly that Christians do indeed know that God does not show up in real life. When I first proposed that the Gospel Hypothesis implies that God would show up to participate in the relationship He had worked so hard to make possible, the Christian reaction was immediate and unmistakable. How could I know that? What made me so sure that the Gospel Hypothesis wouldn’t produce the same consequences as the Myth Hypothesis? I was just creating ad hoc “predictions” designed to make Christianity look bad! And so on and so on.

We all know, believer or unbeliever, that the Myth Hypothesis is the best predictor for the evidence that we will actually find in the real world. The immediate and primary reaction of Christians to this fact is to challenge the idea that the Gospel Hypothesis ought to produce different consequences. But the predictions of the Myth Hypothesis are only an advantage in a world where God does not show up outside the myths, beliefs, and superstitions of men, so by recognizing the need to harmonize the Gospel with the Myth Hypothesis, Christians show that they do indeed understand what kind of godless world we live in (at least as far as the Trinity is concerned).

It’s rather a dilemma for the apologist, though, because if we admit the Undeniable Fact that God does not show up in real life, then we’re faced with the Inescapable Consequence—our “faith” cannot be based on anything more than the fantasies, intuitions, superstitions and hearsay of men, and thus can never claim to rise above the level of mere gullibility. But if the apologist agrees that God should, and theoretically could be showing up in real life, as predicted by the Gospel Hypothesis, then he’s faced with the unmistakable consistency between real life and the Myth Hypothesis, and the equally unmistakable INconsistency between real life and the Gospel Hypothesis.

And, once again, this outcome is precisely the way we would expect things to turn out as a consequence of the Myth Hypothesis being true. God’s non-existence will force the real world to reflect His absence, and therefore Christian apologists will be stuck wrestling with the dilemma of either admitting that God should be showing up if the Gospel Hypothesis were true, or admitting the Undeniable Fact that He doesn’t show up. Either way, we’re left with a Christian God Who appears and speaks and acts only in the feelings and imaginations of men, as predicted by the Myth Hypothesis. If that doesn’t clue us in on the truth, then we’re just not sincerely seeking it.

 
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (2 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)
Loading ... Loading ...
Posted in Evidence Against Christianity, Unapologetics. 105 Comments »

105 Responses to “A milestone”

  1. pboyfloyd Says:

    Amen.

  2. 5keptical Says:

    Congratulations on a whole series of well-reasoned essays that provide several new approaches to dealing with the godstruck.

    So when does the book come out and you get your appointment as the 6th horseman? :-)

  3. cl Says:

    Talk about jumping the gun… (commenters above).

    It’s finals week, so I can’t really spend much time right this second, but I will submit that ~FR within the past 5,000 years or so seems an undeniable fact. However, ~DM cannot be known. It’s also fully reasonable that if God exists, perhaps God did show up universally (FR) to everyone at some point in the distant past? How could we ever know? Perhaps an event like that was the religious singularity from which all divergent creeds and ideas about God sprang. It certainly conforms to the patterns of story evolution we see in other areas of life.

    FR = Final Revelation, i.e. God manifesting to all people;
    DM = Disparate Manifestation, i.e. God manifesting to some but not others.

  4. Hunt Says:

    From a religious perspective, the most plausible hypotheses are Deism or “The God who conceals himself from us” (= “Shy God” hypothesis). Deism is not compatible with Christianity and is not subject to its many contradictions, hence the deist god is a much harder beast to take down logically — although Victor Stenger is making the attempt in his new book “Quantum God.” You can’t reconcile the Shy Christian God to the God of absolute beneficence, since he entails incomplete human knowledge of him, and yet each human is eternally responsible for recognizing his existence. This is either illogical or an immoral conundrum to face moral people with. It’s worth noting, however, that it’s wholly consistent with a capricious evil god, very much like the impression the OT God leaves in the minds of nonbelievers. I think this is one of the reasons for the longevity of the OT and the fact that it hasn’t been jettisoned by centuries of Christians. The god that is capricious, evilly playful and cruelly toying with humankind is precisely the god needed to explain his absence. This is in contrast to Jesus, of course, but Jesus is really only referenced in Christianity as someone we meet after death, or as righteous warrior at the end of the world. The God that cures cancer, makes tsunamis, and venereal diseases, is the OT god.

  5. Deacon Duncan Says:

    It’s also fully reasonable that if God exists, perhaps God did show up universally (FR) to everyone at some point in the distant past? How could we ever know? Perhaps an event like that was the religious singularity from which all divergent creeds and ideas about God sprang.

    There are two approaches we can take. We can adopt a position of strict agnosticism and say that we can never know. But why stop with such a limited declaration of agnosticism? If we’re going to be agnostics, let’s deny that it is possible to know anything about anything, since there always remains the possibility that some inscrutable and sufficiently powerful deity is magically interfering with our ability to discover the truth. If we are truly opposed to having reliable knowledge about God, that’s going to be our best bet.

    The other option would be to base our knowledge on the principle that truth is consistent with itself. Remember, though that since God is not showing up in real life now, we are not dealing with interpreting the meaning of real-life observations of God. All we are dealing with is evaluating the things men tell us about God. If these things are not consistent with themselves and with the real-world evidence, then they are not the truth. And if they are less consistent with the real-world evidence than some other hypothesis, such as the Myth Hypothesis, then the reasonable conclusion would be to reject the weaker in favor of the one that was more consistent with the evidence—if, of course, our goal really is to know the truth about God, and not just to promote some human-inspired theological agenda.

    As for jumping the gun, may I point out that my conclusions are consistent with the evidence presented thus far? I strongly suspect that the reason you have not yet told us how you reconcile the God-free real world evidence with the Gospel Hypothesis is because you do not currently have any argument to present. You are waiting for some free time in which you hope to think something up. And in the meantime you are arguing agnosticism, which (as I mentioned above) is advantageous to the Christian cause only in the case where God does indeed fail to show up in real life.

    But agnostic arguments do not apply in cases where there is a clear distinction between the consequences of the different hypotheses. Since you have yet to show that the consequences ought to be identical. “jumping the gun” would refer more appropriately to your attempts to urge agnosticism on us prematurely, not to those who comment on the evidence actually presented to date.

  6. cl Says:

    Hunt,

    Certainly a quibble or two, but I liked your comment.

    DD,

    If we’re going to be agnostics, let’s deny that it is possible to know anything about anything, since there always remains the possibility that some inscrutable and sufficiently powerful deity is magically interfering with our ability to discover the truth.

    I don’t understand this reasoning at all, and it’s actually slippery slope reasoning. This is the position that commenter jim would always attempt to tar me with, and it’s not at all where I’m going. Saying that FR may have happened in the far distant past or saying that DM may happen at anytime does not entail “that it is impossible to know anything about anything.” Saying we cannot know A or B doesn’t preclude knowledge of C-Z.

    I agree with your second paragraph completely, and a truthful discussion is what I’m here for.

    I strongly suspect that the reason you have not yet told us how you reconcile the God-free real world evidence with the Gospel Hypothesis is because you do not currently have any argument to present.

    Assume to your heart’s content, DD. Other possibilities include final exams week, being a friend and family member, and of course – life. The weather’s been nice. Plus, I don’t reconcile the real-world evidence with your personal “Gospel Hypothesis,” which is quite perfunctory and incomplete. As a serious student of the Bible for almost 20 years now, I don’t take your Gospel Hypothesis seriously at all, and I submit that very few reasoned believers will. I’ve been trying to explain why, but it doesn’t seem to change anything. You seem to want to cling to your GH with the same tenacity you mistakenly believe I pursue agnosticism and rationalization with.

    You are waiting for some free time in which you hope to think something up.

    Incorrect, and might I ask how you would know? Have you solved the infamous “Problem of Mind?” Now that would be book-worthy. I’ve already thought so much up in response to this series that it’s overwhelming, and I submit that you’ve left unanswered questions – still. The squeaky wheel gets the grease DD, and I told you I bumped you to the front of the line. Don’t worry. You’re going to see what I’ve got. You should know that a scholarly and reasoned analysis can’t be rushed. Although I must admit some of these installments seem rushed and repetitious. You can only say “God should be right here, right now” so many times.

    And in the meantime you are arguing agnosticism, which (as I mentioned above) is advantageous to the Christian cause only in the case where God does indeed fail to show up in real life.

    I’m not arguing agnosticism at all, rather basic logic. Unless we have different understandings of what it means to know something is an undeniable fact, there is no way we can know that FR never occurred – but I’ll agree it seems reasonable to say that something analogous has not occurred since we began keeping historical records. It’s also completely laughable for any person to say it’s an undeniable fact that God has never shown up to some group of people at some point in time a la disparate manifestation (DM). What you call “Undeniable Fact” is neither undeniable nor fact, and I submit that my rebuttal is both.

    But agnostic arguments do not apply in cases where there is a clear distinction between the consequences of the different hypotheses.

    I will present my own hypothesis, because as we’ll see – as Jayman and myself have been trying to explain – no offense, but your Gospel Hypothesis is cherry-picked, and you attack a piecemeal god of your own making.

  7. cl Says:

    Sorry to double-post, but pouring my morning cup of coffee this one came back to mind:

    If we’re going to be agnostics, let’s deny that it is possible to know anything about anything, since there always remains the possibility that some inscrutable and sufficiently powerful deity is magically interfering with our ability to discover the truth.

    This flippant attitude can be equally adapted to my argument: If we’re going to say “it’s undeniable fact that God has never shown up,” why not just say God is a myth? Indeed, that “it’s impossible to know anything about anything” was not where I was going – but “God doesn’t show up therefore God is myth” seems to be exactly where you’re going.

  8. pboyfloyd Says:

    “God doesn’t show up therefore God is myth” seems to be exactly where you’re going.

    By Jove, I think you’ve got it!

    (Jove doesn’t ‘show up’ either, except as the planet, but we know what THAT IS now.)

  9. R. C. Moore Says:

    “God doesn’t show up therefore God is myth” seems to be exactly where you’re going.

    I prefer “God hasn’t show up therefore God should be treated as a myth”, until evidence shows otherwise.

    I have no problem with people holding out for a God, I just object to their assertion they can discriminate between them.

  10. Arthur Says:

    cl,

    You have pointedly declined to cite the Bible as a reliable source of information on God. The closest I got to an answer (to the question of where your reliable information about God comes from) was total agnostic abdication:

    …my general position—if God exists and wrote the Bible through human hands as claimed—then the Bible’s proclamations about God are not arbitrary. If no God exists, all proclamations about God are arbitrary. If a God exists that does not communicate in any way with humans, all proclamations about God are also arbitrary.

    What might it mean, then, that you consider yourself “a serious student of the Bible for almost 20 years now”? Does it mean that, after all that time, you’re convinced that the Bible is not a reliable source of information about God (in which case, why do you keep trying to hit skeptics with it)? Or maybe you’re convinced that it is, but you’re so shy about your convictions that you’d rather just pretend to be a complete agnostic on the subject (in which case, why blame people when they assume you honestly are)?

    The question, again, for the record, is: where do you get reliable information on God? Feel free to ignore it, again.

  11. R. C. Moore Says:

    Interesting. cl lambasted those who have not deeply studied the Bible for commenting on its value as a reliable source of information, yet 20 years of diligent study moves one no closer.

    Maybe all that time I spent reading other stuff that did move me closer to reliable information was a time better spent, even if it does leave me a weakened position to argue whose non-reliable information is better.

  12. Deacon Duncan Says:

    Diligent Bible study can ultimately lead one farther from considering it a reliable source of information about God. I had over 30 years of Bible study in when I finally succumbed to the real world evidence, and the larger part of that (over 25 years) was fairly intense, faith-fueled study.

    As an example, I happened to get hold of some Seventh-Day Adventist material at a county fair one time, and reading their brochures, it struck me that they made a better case for Sabbath-keeping than I had previously considered possible. I wanted my conclusions about the Sabbath to be based on what God said rather than what man said, so I did not go ask my preacher, nor did I go to the bookstore to buy commentaries or analyses on the topic. I bought a cheap Bible and some colored markers, and went through the Bible from Genesis to Revelation highlighting and color-coding each and every verse that seemed to address the topic of Sabbath-keeping and commandments and “moral law vs. ceremonial law” and so on.

    When I was done with this part of the task, I went through the Bible again, pulling together all the color-coded verses, reviewing them in context, and analyzing and summarizing their overall message. Thus I ultimately came to the conclusion that the Adventists were mistaken, and that sabbath-keeping was not required. I also discovered the unexpected conclusion that the Ten Commandments do not exist in the original texts. The Decalogue does, but it refers to then entire ten discourses from Exodus 20 to Exodus 31, not just to the 17 commandments (grouped into 9 distinct topics) that appear in Exodus 20.

    Probably the biggest mystery to me during those years was why so few other Christians seemed interested in taking their Bible studies to similar depths. Didn’t they understand that this was God’s Word? Didn’t they realize that this was the most important body of knowledge in human possession? How could so many believers—believers—treat it so cavalierly?

    The longer I studied, though, and the more I tried to build bridges of common understanding with other Christians, the more the internal and external contradictions mounted up. What was clear and undeniably true to me would be just as obviously false to someone else, someone just as sincere and faithful as I was. I began to understand that the divisions within the Body of Christ were not just the regrettable outcome of Satan’s infernal machinations, but were the inevitable consequence of basing one’s faith on an ambiguous book and a subjective certainty that one could read it and know what it meant.

    That, unfortunately, meant that God really screwed us poor believers: the only objective resource He’d left us for our faith turns out to be unusable as an unbiased/unambiguous point of reference. The whole system was fundamentally flawed. It couldn’t work without God constantly showing up to manage and supplement it, which He clearly does not do. (Even then, I could tell that much.)

    Under the circumstances, I did the only thing a reasonable and honest person could do: I admitted that I’d been wrong about God. He wasn’t the real, loving, almighty deity I had imagined Him as being. I could make all the excuses I wanted, but I couldn’t deny the relentless self-consistency of the truth, or the systematic and universal failure of Christian theology to match that truth.

    Amazingly, what I initially perceived as being the greatest loss I had ever experienced turned out to be the greatest gain I had ever experienced. I had been wasting huge amounts of my time trying to understand a God who was mysterious precisely because He was a self-contradictory figment of human imagination. Once that burden was lifted, it was like the sun rising in my life, and the light of truth finally shining in all the dark crevices that had seemed so impenetrable before.

    And that was my real born-again experience. ;)

  13. jim Says:

    Incredibly moving story, Duncan. I can relate, especially to your last sentence.

  14. R. C. Moore Says:

    Wow, thanks for that DD.

    It sounds like you developed an incredibly well thought out protocol for determining the truth of the Bible (color-coding, summarizing etc.)

    However the test it: if someone follows your protocol exactly, do they get the same result. In your case, it sounds like you eventually realized it did not even give you the same result when repeated.

    A sure sign something is very wrong…

  15. cl Says:

    Arthur,

    I’ve not said the Bible is unreliable. That’s you putting words in my mouth. I assume you jumped to that conclusion because of the “arbitrary” thing. I’m not pretending to be a complete agnostic about anything. I do believe God exists. I blame all who assume. You ask me where to get reliable information about God. I have no idea what information about God you would consider reliable, so how could I answer? I’m not ignoring anything, it’s called difference of opinion.

    R.C.,

    I didn’t lambast anybody, don’t jump to conclusions. I did say that there’s an inverse relationship between knowledge and exposure to subject. Make your own assumptions.

    DD,

    I willing to believe that you spent 30 years studying the Bible, but if that’s the case, I’m all the more confused about this “Gospel Hypothesis” of yours. It should be accurate! The GH fails my test, and R.C.’s was a very good question. I realize you were noting that length of study is no guarantee of subject integrity – but I’m really more interested in answers to my questions – not your deconversion story. However, I did relate quite a bit to this:

    What was clear and undeniably true to me would be just as obviously false to someone else, someone just as sincere and faithful as I was.

  16. ThatOtherGuy Says:

    “I have no idea what information about God you would consider reliable, so how could I answer? I’m not ignoring anything, it’s called difference of opinion.”

    Equivocating as usual, I see. They were asking where YOU get information that YOU consider reliable, and for the umpteenth time you dodged the question. If you’re not a lawyer or a politician I’ll be shocked, the frequency with which you give non-answers and ignore questions you don’t like is astounding.

  17. cl Says:

    TOG,

    I can read. I believe Arthur is quite aware I get my information through the Bible. Is it not obvious yet that I’m getting my information about God out of the Bible? Surely y’all aren’t that slow…

    When someone doesn’t give the response your ears want to hear, such does not entail that they’ve ignored anything. Arthur asked me where I get reliable information about God, yet, I’m pretty sure Arthur doesn’t believe reliable information about God exists. So what’s the real point here?

  18. Arthur Says:

    Ah, this must be the pursuit of truth.

    One refusal to respond, three agnostic waffles, one request to hear the question again, and one nakedly deliberate misconstrual later, you elect to pretend that the answer was public knowledge all along. It might have been, at that; but I’m not sure that would make your pattern of responses look any less silly.

    Surely y’all aren’t that slow…

    Surely you don’t mean I should have assumed that you’re “getting [your] information about God out of the Bible”? After you went to such trouble to avoid citing the Bible, explicitly, as a reliable source? After you delivered such a strong and unambiguous sentiment about “all who assume”?

    So what’s the real point here?

    Well, actually, I guess the original question is hereby answered, in that inimitable cl fashion, and as far as I know that was the point. Thank you, sir, and best of luck with the finals.

  19. Deacon Duncan Says:

    If we do not observe God showing up in real life to give us a standard of comparison, how shall we assess whether or not the information we obtain from the Bible is reliable in what it tells us about God?

  20. R. C. Moore Says:


    If we do not observe God showing up in real life to give us a standard of comparison, how shall we assess whether or not the information we obtain from the Bible is reliable in what it tells us about God?

    You can’t of course. You are doomed to different answers from everyone you ask.

    I don’t mind the different answers, I really don’t. It is intellectually stimulating.

    The attitude is what I get tired of. I visit many different denominations churches, and the common denominator is that they all have is the Bible and the opinion that every one else is wrong. The self-referential reality churches exist in creates an annoying sense of self-righteousness.

  21. cl Says:

    Arthur,

    In the first link, you asked me if you could “assume that the Bible is the source of statements about God’s behavior which are not ‘arbitrary proclamations’”. It seemed to me you were asking me if the Bible amounted to arbitrary proclamations, i.e. it seemed you were asking me what you should think. How am I to know what you should think? If you wanted to know my opinion about something, ask that.

    As for your first of three agnostic waffles, I don’t know what your problem is. The following statement is not agnostic: “If God does not exist, then all proclamations about God seem arbitrary. If God exists, a subset of proclamations about God are certainly likely to be arbitrary. If that’s what you’re getting at, you’ll get no disagreement from me.” That is straight forward logic that has nothing to do with what I believe personally.

    As for your second alleged agnostic waffle, here’s what I said: “All proclamations concerning God’s behavior are arbitrary. I’m not presupposing that my information or any information is reliable. The Bible takes authority and makes certain claims about God. DD makes some distinctly different claims. Whether we vote for DD’s Gospel Hypothesis or Myth Hypothesis tells us nothing valuable about the God of the Bible.” What that means is this: in DD’s little experiment, we don’t know whether God exists or not. Therefore, all proclamations must be equally considered arbitrary, right? Meaning that we don’t give one any preference over another. When I said I’m not presupposing my or any information is reliable, I mean to say again that in this experiment, we can’t begin with the conclusion we’re trying to prove.

    As for your third, same complaint. Really, what’s the problem? Arbitrary means just-so and no inherently better than the next. If no God exists and no scriptures are inspired, then it follows that all proclamations about God are arbitrary. Yes, or no? And, if God does exist and did inspire some scripture(s), then it follows that a subset of God claims are arbitrary. Yes, or no? What of that has anything to do with agnosticism? What is it that you want to know? I’ve been complaining since the beginning of this series that DD does not attack the God of the Bible. Didn’t you catch that?

    Really, it seems this whole thing stemmed from you not catching that, and me not catching that were asking if I thought the Bible amounted to arbitrary statements. No, I do not. Nor do I think such precludes correct (true) statements elsewhere.

    DD,

    If we do not observe God showing up in real life to give us a standard of comparison, how shall we assess whether or not the information we obtain from the Bible is reliable in what it tells us about God?

    I don’t know, but if you say this precludes an argument on its behalf then you effectively guillotine your so-called Gospel Hypothesis, since you base your GH on certain parts of the Bible’s descriptions of God.

    R.C.,

    I visit many different denominations churches, and the common denominator is that they all have is the Bible and the opinion that every one else is wrong. The self-referential reality churches exist in creates an annoying sense of self-righteousness.

    I can definitely nod in agreement to that comment. I don’t spend much time in church, but when I did I would also visit different denominations to check it out. I also found the conceit you mention bothersome.

  22. Arthur Says:

    It seemed to me you were asking me if the Bible amounted to arbitrary proclamations, i.e. it seemed you were asking me what you should think. How am I to know what you should think? If you wanted to know my opinion about something, ask that.

    No, no, no, no.

    Here is where you asked to hear the question again, and here is where I gave it to you, rephrased for maximum clarity and simplicity. I would link to the part where you ignored it, but there’s nothing there. (By “ignore,” I mean “refuse to take notice of.”)

    I believe I will let my characterization of your responses as “agnostic” stand on the evidence. I should just let the whole charade stand on the evidence, but I’m annoyed.

    Talking is only as complicated as you want it to be, cl.

  23. Deacon Duncan Says:

    cl —

    If we know of no way to assess the reliability of the Bible apart from observing God in real life, then we cannot have a legitimate justification for calling the Bible reliable unless and until we can observe God showing up in the real world, correct?

  24. cl Says:

    Arthur,

    Sorry you’re annoyed. Talk a walk or something. When you wrote “one request to hear the question again” in your last tirade, why didn’t you mention that you’d clarified the question? There’s nothing in response to your clarified question because I just now saw it. In these threads, how often do I let the other person have the last word in your estimation? I believe that information about God in the Bible and elsewhere is reliable – however – if I am to know at all, I won’t know whether it is or not until I die.

    Relax a little.

    DD,

    Even though you’ve left so many of my questions unanswered, I’ll still oblige:

    If we know of no way to assess the reliability of the Bible apart from observing God in real life, then we cannot have a legitimate justification for calling the Bible reliable unless and until we can observe God showing up in the real world, correct?

    Incorrect. As I just told Arthur, we cannot know the Bible is reliable unless and until we meet God, and God turns out to be what the Bible claimed. But yes, we can have a justification for calling the Bible reliable (or unreliable) – this side of life. That justification is exactly the discussion you propose, only with the actual gospel’s hypotheses in place of your personalized Gospel Hypothesis.

  25. R. C. Moore Says:


    we cannot know the Bible is reliable unless and until we meet God

    Are you saying statements cannot be assumed false until proven otherwise?

    But if I have two conflicting statements, does not one of the have to be false?

    And does not the Bibles conflict lie in its statement God exist, and therefore we should not be waiting for him to show up to prove it?

  26. Arthur Says:

    cl,

    It would appear I made the mistake (again!) of assuming that you’ve been reading the comments you’ve been talking about. When will I learn not to assume?

  27. 5keptical Says:

    Wow….

    Pages and pages of comments for multiple postings and cl has yet to make a definitive statement about his god – what the tiniest portion of an accurate version of the gospel hypothesis might be. Cough it up cl.

    You’re all using too many words with cl. Ask a single short direct question and don’t let him weasel out of answering.

  28. cl Says:

    Bunch of babies. Cry because cl no rushie rushie… get over it. Complain at DD for not answering my questions, then learn how to ask the questions you want.

    Arthur, I didn’t see your clarification. Make your own assumptions.

    5keptical, I’m not here to preach, so save it. To me, you’re one of those people who sits on sidelines and complains. Yeah, that helps.

    R.C.,

    Are you saying statements cannot be assumed false until proven otherwise?

    When something doesn’t seem completely unreasonable, I prefer to make as few assumptions as possible.

    But if I have two conflicting statements, does not one of the have to be false?

    It would seem so.

    And does not the Bibles conflict lie in its statement God exist, and therefore we should not be waiting for him to show up to prove it?

    I’m not sure I understand what you mean by that…

  29. Arthur Says:

    cl,

    Arthur, I didn’t see your clarification. Make your own assumptions.

    Thank you. The data are pretty consistent with the hypothesis that you sometimes like to comment on stuff you haven’t paid much attention to.

    5keptical,

    You’re all using too many words with cl. Ask a single short direct question and don’t let him weasel out of answering.

    Actually, I think this is as good as it gets. He believes what the Bible (and unnamed other sources?) say about God, but doesn’t believe there’s a good reason to.

    He tells Deacon that there are means, available to alive people, to judge the Bible’s reliability, but they await an honest inquiry, as opposed to all this useless Deaconic pretense—which would seem to confirm that cl has no reason, right now, to believe what the Bible says. He just does.

    No wonder he’s shy about coming out with it. That kind of thing could have a real subtractive effect on one’s logical, rational, truth-seeking image.

  30. R. C. Moore Says:


    And does not the Bibles conflict lie in its statement God exist, and therefore we should not be waiting for him to show up to prove it?

    I’m not sure I understand what you mean by that…

    Yes, I agree, badly stated.

    If we treat the Bible as true, then the many things it says (Genesis, Noah, virgin birth … you get the picture, can only be true if there is a God (if you accept such things are impossible without a God, either because God is the primary actor or they are supernatural in nature).

    So the Bible is true if and only if God exists. No other explanation is possible.

    But God only exists in the Bible, there is no other evidence of his existence.

    So the Biblical God exists if and only if we see evidence of things described in the Bible, since we cannot see evidence of God himself.

    But those things in the Bible do not exist. No Adam and Eve. No world wide flood destroying life. No virgin births. No resurrections. And so on.

    If God exists, then the Bible is not false. But it is false.

    That is the conflict, the two things that cannot be true.

    I am not trying to prove that God does not exist. I am only pointing out that their is a conflict caused by God not showing up to give evidence, and having to then rely on the Bible as evidence of his existence.

  31. cl Says:

    Arthur,

    He believes what the Bible (and unnamed other sources?) say about God, but doesn’t believe there’s a good reason to.

    No, that’s not it. Obviously you missed the part in my last comment when I said belief can be justified. I’m not shy about anything, either – trust me. Sigh… I’m sure if I rushed my rebuttal you’d criticize that as well. In fact, let’s see if you can find something positive to say about anything related to me.

    R.C.,

    So the Bible is true if and only if God exists. No other explanation is possible.

    Well, sort of. Those particular stories you cite (and others) would seem true if and only if God exists, yet, much of scripture remains true whether God exists or not.

    But God only exists in the Bible, there is no other evidence of his existence.

    I disagree. We can’t know this, and I disagree that there is no evidence for God’s existence. Of course, this will surely entail people demanding what my evidence for God is. They’ll be disappointed when I reply that it’s the same world they live in. If they have an argument, they can answer the question of which hypothesis better explains a hole in the ground to the 1500′s observer: an alien craft, or a meteor.

    So the Biblical God exists if and only if we see evidence of things described in the Bible, since we cannot see evidence of God himself.

    I see what you’re getting at, but let me clarify – you’ll think I’m misunderstanding or taking things in a different direction but I’m not – the biblical God exists if and only if the biblical God exists. That’s it. Whether or not we see evidence has no bearing on whether or not the biblical God exists. I imagine that’s self-evident. So,

    ..those things in the Bible do not exist. No Adam and Eve. No world wide flood destroying life. No virgin births. No resurrections. And so on.

    Those things were claimed to have existed in the past, not now. Each of the things you mentioned were one-time things said to have happened in the past. The Bible doesn’t claim that we should see resurrections now, if that’s what you mean. And, trying to discuss whether virgin birth exists or has ever existed seems as destined to *never resolve* as our miracle discussion. I’m presuming you deny the Noahic flood, and I’m presuming you say Adam and Eve “didn’t happen” because of the perceived disparity between a literal parsing of Genesis and the current evolutionary paradigm?

    I am not trying to prove that God does not exist. I am only pointing out that their is a conflict caused by God not showing up to give evidence, and having to then rely on the Bible as evidence of his existence.

    I don’t agree that we have to rely on the Bible as our only or primary evidence of God’s existence.

  32. R. C. Moore Says:


    f they have an argument, they can answer the question of which hypothesis better explains a hole in the ground to the 1500’s observer: an alien craft, or a meteor.

    cl, I try to prove my points with analogies and thought experiments also, but when they do not convince, I move on. Your hole in the ground story was really unconvincing to everyone, so invoking it only implies you are trying to avoid the issue — that if the only evidence of God is that found in the Bible, and that evidence is wrong, then “Houston, we have a problem”.


    I’m presuming you deny the Noahic flood, and I’m presuming you say Adam and Eve “didn’t happen” because of the perceived disparity between a literal parsing of Genesis and the current evolutionary paradigm?

    Actually I deny them based on the overwhelming objective scientific evidence they did not occur. I have never read Genesis to note the “between a literal parsing of Genesis and the current evolutionary paradigm”


    I don’t agree that we have to rely on the Bible as our only or primary evidence of God’s existence.

    Ok, then where do I look — in a box of Cracker Jacks?

  33. cl Says:

    R.C.

    cl, I try to prove my points with analogies and thought experiments also, but when they do not convince, I move on. Your hole in the ground story was really unconvincing to everyone, so invoking it only implies you are trying to avoid the issue —

    Ahem. Enough with your “this only implies that” nonsense as I’m not trying to avoid any issue. I disagree, and you yourself agreed with me that pboyfloyd’s inadequate response didn’t answer the question of what to do in draw-type scenarios. DD chose a two-tiered approach in addressing my analogy: first he addressed it from the point-of-view of somebody who already knew about gravity, which renders it useless; second, instead of answering the question, he jumped ahead and demanded that I justify my claim that GH/MH represented a draw-type scenario – which is a claim I hadn’t made. Are you submitting that somebody else has addressed the analogy and/or answered what we are to do in the event of draw-type scenarios? If so, I missed it.

    Of course, there’s always the possibility that you’ll take this the wrong way or as “lambasting,” but again I find it odd that you haven’t even read the source material you criticize.

    Ok, then where do I look — in a box of Cracker Jacks?

    I already told you that in the second paragraph of my previous comment. Apply that to hole-in-the-ground analogy – the “hole in the ground” = “the world we live in.”

  34. R. C. Moore Says:


    pboyfloyd’s inadequate response didn’t answer the question of what to do in draw-type scenarios

    Sure, but I supplied a reasoned response. Please do not lump my thinking with yours. One big difference is that my thinking based on logic and open to change. Your thinking is based on hidden information and not open to change, because is every objection is always covered by invoking more hidden information.

    My responses are chemistry, yours are alchemy. In your world, until every single reaction is tried, it remains possible to chemically turn lead into gold. In my world, understanding the laws of physics allows me understand why this is impossible.


    Are you submitting that somebody else has addressed the analogy and/or answered what we are to do in the event of draw-type scenarios? If so, I missed it.

    So many times, I have lost count. The fact you don’t seem to have noticed should clue you into the filters you apply to every discussion you read.


    I already told you that in the second paragraph of my previous comment. Apply that to hole-in-the-ground analogy – the “hole in the ground” = “the world we live in.”

    I have told you that so far, no one finds relevance in that analogy, so it doesn’t help.

    I feel kind of sorry for you cl. At this point, the backlog of refutations you have promised is enormous, and some sort of horizon effect seems to have occurred. Perhaps you should start with a clean slate, so we can move on with the discussions?

  35. cl Says:

    R.C.,

    Stick to what you know, which doesn’t seem like much. You say I’m not open to change, but that’s a bunch of BS. Don’t comment on my world, you don’t live in it. As far as I’m concerned, keep to the arguments or keep your mouth shut. Maybe you think your response was reasoned. I didn’t. I know, I know… that makes me the bad faith idiot, right? Please.

    I have told you that so far, no one finds relevance in that analogy, so it doesn’t help.

    Yet still, the question of which position is more reasonable in the event of a draw goes unanswered.

    I feel kind of sorry for you cl.

    Do you really think I give two shits? I feel sorry for you, too, overconfident in all your arrogance and so-called expertise, but until now I never felt the need to express as much in an ostensibly rational discussion. What’s the point of discussing the men?

    Keep whining and making assumptions because what you want to see isn’t in front of you right this instant. It just marks you as the impatient irrationalist, contrary to your protestations. As I said, reasoned responses take time, and although I can’t speak for you, I do have a life besides the internet, you know.

    Go sit with 5keptical and ThatOtherGuy on the sidelines if all you’re going to do is whine, or go rejoin with jim in your silly little anti-cl soapbox at his blog.

  36. Deacon Duncan Says:

    cl —

    Some time ago, in response to your question, I said:

    I had thought it was fairly obvious that if two hypotheses produce exactly the same consequences, then it is not possible to tell which (if either) is closer to the truth. If indeed two hypotheses do lead to identical consequences, then one cannot be a “reasonable believer” in either one; the only legitimate and intellectually honest position would be frank agnosticism. That is why it is an act of desperate rationalization to try and reduce both hypotheses to a set of identical consequences: it prevents us from drawing true conclusions, which is only an advantage when the position one is defending is contradicted by the truth.

    It seems to me that that’s a fairly clear answer to the question of what we are to do when the evidence does not allow us to distinguish between two hypotheses: we are to remain agnostic towards both, because we cannot be a “reasonable believer” in either one.

    Yet you are still insisting that no one has answered you, such as your discussion above, where you say, “Are you submitting that somebody else has addressed the analogy and/or answered what we are to do in the event of draw-type scenarios? If so, I missed it.”

    Is that because you did not read my reply, or because you did not understand that it answers your question, or because of some other reason?

  37. R. C. Moore Says:

    5Keptical, ThatOtherGuy, and Jim, John Morales, and all my other friends on the sidelines –

    I have taken counter-positions to DD many times in these discussions, and have enjoyed the give and take as I have tried to defend my positions. Please continue to give me the best objections you can, as I enjoy having to defend my logic.

    When pressed, I always try to give more concrete examples, and when wrong, admit it and move on. I am not dogmatic, and do not take offense at having my inevitable biases exposed. Learning is my goal, not the rehearsing of prejudices.

    So don’t let cl put you off, with open insults and coarse language. (A slyly pointed barb, if well formed, is fine and appreciated. I have a thick skin and a great sense of humor). We can still comment intelligently and honestly about DD’s posts, and I will continue to read them diligently and put in my two cents worth, objecting when I find it necessary.

    I hope you do likewise.

  38. jim Says:

    No probs, R.C.! Enjoyed that recent thought experiment, btw.

  39. ThatOtherGuy Says:

    Wow, RC. You broke cl. I’m impressed, none of my responses got him to resort to such coarse language and clear anger. You must’ve hit a nerve or something.

  40. John Morales Says:

    RC,

    So don’t let cl put you off …

    I’m following the discussions, but don’t care to engage cl under DD’s ROE.

    I do think DD’s contrasting Myth and Gospel Hypotheses are rather a good way to objectify and quantify the discrepancy between Biblical beliefs and reality.

  41. cl Says:

    TOG,

    Clear anger? Broke? If you say so, I guess. I just wanted to see how people would react if I used the word “shit” here.

    R.C.,

    On one hand – great response – I’m glad I helped draw that out of you. On the other hand, what a joke! You come at me with insults, then get uppity when I simply send them back returned to sender.

    DD,

    Whenever there’s a comment I’ve not responded to, that’s usually a fair indication I haven’t seen it. I honestly hadn’t seen that reply of yours. Suggestion: extend recent comment display to show the last ten?

    At any rate, thank you for answering the draw question, I’ll extend your answers to the asteroid analogy – and still disagree. The very core of rationalism is to believe in that which can be supported with evidence. You yourself say that we should believe in whichever hypothesis is most supported by the evidence, right? This entails the principle that beliefs based on evidence are rationally justified, correct? If that is the case – I say in a true draw scenario, provisional belief in either hypothesis is justified – as the evidence supports both hypotheses equally. Comments?

    Morales,

    I do think DD’s contrasting Myth and Gospel Hypotheses are rather a good way to objectify and quantify the discrepancy between Biblical beliefs and reality.

    I agree. I disagree that his Gospel Hypothesis is accurate.

  42. 5keptical Says:

    R.C. you’re doing just fine in my books.

    cl must be having a laugh at how he just keeps trailing us along. Perhaps he has a side bet with someone concerning how long he can drag on a thread before actually has to say something concrete about his version of the gospel hypothesis.

    Unfortunately he’s not contributing anything new, but merely gainsaying. (I came here for an argument, but his is just contradiction! Cue cl to say…. )

  43. 5keptical Says:

    cl says:
    5keptical, I’m not here to preach, so save it. To me, you’re one of those people who sits on sidelines and complains. Yeah, that helps.

    Cl, I’ve re-written this posting a number times, but there’s few other ways to put this – you’re an intellectual coward. Just once, just for once, answer somebody’s question directly. This is not a complaint. It is a challenge. Grow a pair. Engage DD’s direct questions.

  44. Deacon Duncan Says:

    cl —

    I would say that if you have a draw scenario, where both hypotheses produce exactly the same consequences, it is a very clear and stereotypical example of rationalization to claim that you have a “legitimate basis” for concluding that one hypothesis is true and the other is false. What basis would that be, if the evidence provides no means of distinguishing which hypothesis is more consistent with the truth than the other?

    Especially when dealing with a topic where people have a strong motivation to prefer one conclusion over the other, it is highly suspicious at best to take an approach that attempts to make both hypotheses predict the same evidence, and then declaring, on the basis of that identicality, that one’s preferred conclusion has a reasonable justification. I’m sure you would see things the same way if the hypotheses dealt with something like, say, geocentrism versus heliocentrism. Do you know that there is no possible combination of perfect circles moving within perfect circles that would produce the observed movements of celestial bodies around a central earth?

  45. Arthur Says:

    Wow, all sorts of interestingness has been going on. Just for the sake of completeness, then:

    cl said,

    Obviously you missed the part in my last comment when I said belief can be justified.

    Not at all—that’s the part where I said, “[cl] tells Deacon that there are means, available to alive people, to judge the Bible’s reliability, but they await an honest inquiry, as opposed to all this useless Deaconic pretense….” You did see that, right?

    Sigh… I’m sure if I rushed my rebuttal you’d criticize that as well.

    I’m sure your position is very complex and hard to articulate, but your end of this conversation [with me] hasn’t really been about articulating the complexity of your position. You mostly declined to commit to anything that isn’t self-evident “basic logic,” which is why I’d been describing your statements as “agnostic” (would you prefer “relativist”?). When you say that “the biblical God exists if and only if the biblical God exists,” you say nothing, and you commit to nothing.

    Now that you’ve committed, don’t worry so much! You have plenty of company in your acceptance of an unsupported belief. I just have to consider the possibility that your belief funnels your “pursuit of truth” in particular directions. That would explain one or two things.

  46. R. C. Moore Says:


    Unfortunately he’s not contributing anything new, but merely gainsaying. (I came here for an argument, but his is just contradiction! Cue cl to say…. )

    Combine that with the “Dead Parrot” sketch for excuses and rationalizations and you pretty much have the whole repertoire.

  47. 5keptical Says:

    R.C.
    Oh my… the dead parrot sketch – that so works!

    “I wish to complain about this god/religion what I purchased not half an hour ago from this very boutique.”

    … and it just goes on from there. I’ll never look at one of these godbot dialogues the same way ever again.

  48. cl Says:

    5keptical,

    Whining because my rebuttal is not here when you want it to be amounts to complaining – not a challenge – and why are you telling me to answer DD directly – when I’ve already told you I’m working on my rebuttal – and (hypocritically) after this? It’s fine if you prefer to rush into your arguments – as demonstrated below – but don’t assume I should live by your rules. Should you choose, you’ll see my rebuttal when it’s ready. I told you guys I was busy, yet the assumptions and character comments continue. Fascinating, what passes for freethought these days.

    Declare the moral high ground all you want, but to me, an intellectual coward is somebody who locks horns with another, can’t take the heat, and then makes snobby judgments and character comments driven by emotion and based on faulty assumptions. Let’s see if you’re a debater of your word: You recently jumped ahead and assumed you knew something about my behavior at DA when you didn’t – yes or no? As you ask of me – answer directly please – and I’ll give you a chance to answer honestly before I provide the link.

    DD,

    I would say that if you have a draw scenario, where both hypotheses produce exactly the same consequences, it is a very clear and stereotypical example of rationalization to claim that you have a “legitimate basis” for concluding that one hypothesis is true and the other is false.

    That’s not what I’ve claimed. I’ve not said we have a legitimate basis to claim one hypothesis is true and the other false in a genuine draw. Not being rude, but you need to re-read my comment.

    Arthur,

    Thank you for yet another perfect example reminding me of the reason I don’t typically disclose my personal beliefs:

    Now that you’ve committed, don’t worry so much! You have plenty of company in your acceptance of an unsupported belief. I just have to consider the possibility that your belief funnels your “pursuit of truth” in particular directions. That would explain one or two things.

    Look how much you’ve already rushed ahead and judged me based at least in part on your experiences with other people whom you presuppose exist in the same intellectual category. In all your overconfidence, you don’t need to hear anything else – you’ve already decided that my belief is unsupported – without fully hearing what it is, without hearing my argument for reliability, and with no more than a smidgeon of inconclusive evidence which could be interpreted in a multiplicity of ways. Even demons believe in God and the reliability of the Bible! All I said is that I think the information about God in the Bible is reliable. Does that entail that I believe it or live by it? You have no way of knowing what that entails for me personally, or what my argument for reliability is. That you rush ahead and make unsupported assumptions based on such little evidence is not rational at all.

    You mostly declined to commit to anything that isn’t self-evident “basic logic,” which is why I’d been describing your statements as “agnostic” (would you prefer “relativist”?).

    I would prefer that you stop describing my statements entirely – but if that’s too much to ask – can you at least wait until I can get my rebuttal out?

    …your end of this conversation [with me] hasn’t really been about articulating the complexity of your position.

    How could it be? Is there a strategy you’d suggest for writing reasoned rebuttals while getting swarmed by pesky mosquitoes? Every character comment I have to swat down takes more words away from my rebuttal to DD, and I’m not here to deal with DD’s cheerleaders. If people want to accost me about my character or my beliefs or my unwillingness to disclose the latter or whatever else – do it on my blog – not DD’s. Wasn’t it you who suggested as much on the other thread?

    When you say that “the biblical God exists if and only if the biblical God exists,” you say nothing, and you commit to nothing.

    Show me the statement of mine you’re paraphrasing – because the quoted words you attribute to me are not mine – and nobody appreciates being misquoted. It may be that some statement I’ve typed reasonably permits your conclusion, and that’s fine – but you need to leave that up to the reader to decide – not quote me as saying something I didn’t.

  49. Arthur Says:

    Relax, cl. There’s always the possibility that we’re getting somewhere.

    Thank you for yet another perfect example reminding me of the reason I don’t typically disclose my personal beliefs…

    Don’t worry, I get it. I read your post on the subject: “sign us right up to jump around like rabid and blundering fools in the clown suit you’re offering, and maybe we can get a couple of cute pictures with the kids while we’re at it!”

    I know you’ve got strong feelings, but don’t let them get in the way of considering this: if you assert something, or challenge someone else’s assertion, based on (for example) something the Bible tells you, why on earth would folks refrain from asking you to explain (for example) your tacit assertion of the Bible’s reliability? What part of “rational” equals “never ever ask cl about his sources”?

    Look how much you’ve already rushed ahead and judged me….

    Indeed, I have rushed all the way to the conclusion that your trust is unfounded. Mostly, though, that’s because you’ve declined to explain its foundation. In fact, I’m pretty sure you agreed that it’s unfounded—“if I am to know at all, I won’t know whether [information about God in the Bible and elsewhere ] is [reliable] or not until I die.” But I await clarification.

    All I said is that I think the information about God in the Bible is reliable. Does that entail that I believe it…?

    What would it mean that you think a source of information is reliable, but that you don’t believe it? Is this conversation going to turn out to be about the definition of the word “reliable,” or “believe,” or “is”?

    You have no way of knowing… what my argument for reliability is. That you rush ahead and make unsupported assumptions based on such little evidence is not rational at all.

    Do you remember the part in your Knee Jerk Reactions where you say, “…why not just slow down, begin with a clean mental slate by abandoning all assumptions, and ask more questions?” Well, I asked you where you get reliable information about God (a question, I would say, of obvious fundamental importance), and you chose to respond with self-evident nothings, like that one you say you didn’t say. This raised at least one new question—why is cl talking like that?—and didn’t answer anything. Having tried to pursue the matter, and having offered tentative explanations for your strange responses (in the absence of any proper explanation from you), I’m now accused of prejudice. If I may steal a line: what’s the real point here?

    Show me the statement of mine you’re paraphrasing – because the quoted words you attribute to me are not mine – and nobody appreciates being misquoted.

    Here. It’s in the comment addressed to RC (you should let him know that someone else is using your nom de guerre). If you’d prefer an agnostic quote addressed to me, I feel like this “general position” statement is pretty to-the-point. Or, if you prefer, how about that “won’t know until I die” quote above?

    PS: there’s only so many times you can assume someone is a cheerleader, or an ass-kisser, or a cl-hater, before people decide you’re not being honest about your feelings toward assuming stuff.

  50. cl Says:

    What part of “rational” equals “never ever ask cl about his sources”?

    None. What part of “I’m working on my rebuttal” equals “cl’s an agnostic and/or intellectual coward?”

    ..that’s because you’ve declined to explain its foundation.

    Don’t blame me for your irrationalism!

    What would it mean that you think a source of information is reliable, but that you don’t believe it?

    Even demons believe.

    Do you remember the part in your Knee Jerk Reactions where you say, “…why not just slow down, begin with a clean mental slate by abandoning all assumptions, and ask more questions?” Well, I asked you where you get reliable information about God (a question, I would say, of obvious fundamental importance), and you chose to respond with self-evident nothings, like that one you say you didn’t say.

    I responded that I felt your question was loaded and I asked you to rephrase it. I left the discussion. You rephrased it, then assumed I chose to avoid it. I already told you that for this discussion, the Bible is my source of reliable information. Granted, I don’t know that this information is reliable – but if we’re going to create a gospel hypothesis – I assume the information is reliable in order to make my predictions. This is the same thing DD is doing. Do you have any problem with that?

    ..that one you say you didn’t say.

    You were right about that, I was wrong, and did say the words you attributed to me. So let’s revisit your original complaint:

    When you say that “the biblical God exists if and only if the biblical God exists,” you say nothing, and you commit to nothing.

    If you interpret the statement as my personal faith statement, then yes. If you interpret it in the context it was offered, you can clearly see it was not an appeal to my personal agnosticism. It was part of an extended answer to a question of R.C. Moore’s. My statement is perfectly reasonable in its original context. Now, if you’re asking me if I’m an agnostic, personally – my official position on God is that we are all agnostic – none of us can know this side of life, but any of us can choose to believe or disbelieve for a variety of reasons – some rational and reasonable – others not.

    ..there’s only so many times you can assume someone is a cheerleader, or an ass-kisser, or a cl-hater, before people decide you’re not being honest about your feelings toward assuming stuff.

    My feelings towards assumptions extend to rational discourse.

  51. 5keptical Says:

    CL now feels people are persecuting him. Any other psychologists around here care to wade in on this one?

    Comments by cl in italics

    Whining because my rebuttal is not here when you want it to be amounts to complaining – not a challenge

    We’ve been asking for concrete statements for weeks. Your big reveal is just another promise. You’re being challenged to produce something that actual does answer the underlying issues.

    and why are you telling me to answer DD directly – when I’ve already told you I’m working on my rebuttal – and (hypocritically) after this?

    Because you’ve proven that given the slightest chance to sideline a direct question you do, just like you’ve done repeatedly with Arthur and RC. Pick any one you like.

    It’s fine if you prefer to rush into your arguments – as demonstrated below – but don’t assume I should live by your rules.

    Live by your rules all you want – just don’t expect other people to respect you for them. Get this straight – you are being evaluating you on your rule set – but not just by me.

    Should you choose, you’ll see my rebuttal when it’s ready. I told you guys I was busy, yet the assumptions and character comments continue. Fascinating, what passes for freethought these days.

    We’ve been waiting weeks and weeks on any number of issues for anything that isn’t prevarication!

    Declare the moral high ground all you want,

    What the hell does morality have to do with this?

    but to me, an intellectual coward is somebody who locks horns with another, can’t take the heat, and then makes snobby judgments and character comments driven by emotion and based on faulty assumptions.

    We haven’t locked horns cl. You haven’t engaged anyone directly yet. The challenge is for you to do so.


    Let’s see if you’re a debater of your word: You recently jumped ahead and assumed you knew something about my behavior at DA when you didn’t – yes or no? As you ask of me – answer directly please – and I’ll give you a chance to answer honestly before I provide the link.

    It’s quite likely I did. I (and many others) have tried a number of approaches to get you to say something concrete about the gospel hypothesis. My entire interest in these discussions is to find a theist with some intellectual integrity and courage. So far you’ve failed.

    And my making some assumption about you is relevant to your cowardice – how? Once again your debating tactic is to deflect the dialogue – i.e. run away to someplace you feel more comfortable.

    Just give us a date when you’ll have your treatise ready (even an approximate one!) and we’ll all just shut up about it till then.

  52. cl Says:

    5keptical,

    I (and many others) have tried a number of approaches to get you to say something concrete about the gospel hypothesis.

    I (and many others) have tried a number of approaches to get DD to justify his claim that God should be right here, right now. For example, after sitting the first two posts out entirely – way back in the beginning of the second week of this series – I said,

    Where do [the scriptures] say God does show up in this life? Not to be overly fussy, but this really is a strawman argument. Unless you can show that the Bible says, “God will show his face and tangibly touch any person who repents once every few years,” or something similar, you might have an argument. As it is, this whole thing about God not showing up – which forms a major part of your unapologetics – has never been justified scripturally, as Jayman continually points out. (cl, to DD)

    What’s not concrete about that? Jayman and Facilis made similar claims, and denouncing our claims as != concrete does not entail that you’ve cogently rebutted them.

    And my making some assumption about you is relevant to your cowardice – how?

    They’re not related. I brought that up only to demonstrate the emotional and presumptuous nature of your arguments, which contradict your appeals to rationalism.

    Just give us a date when you’ll have your treatise ready (even an approximate one!) and we’ll all just shut up about it till then.

    How about you just shut up anyways and treat me with respect – and I’ll do the same for you.

  53. R. C. Moore Says:


    As it is, this whole thing about God not showing up – which forms a major part of your unapologetics – has never been justified scripturally,

    I feel insulted. I really do. I pointed the verse where Jesus says he will return in this generation, who he will appear to, when where, how (big splash, can’t miss it) a verse repeated in the Gospels several times. You acknowledged it, promised me a response (several weeks ago).

    I pointed this verse out in response to the exact same claim you are now shouting at us.

    I do not mind not getting a response. But to claim, multiple times, something has been demonstrated, and that you have acknowledged, repeatedly….

    Oh well. like I said, an horizon effect. You wait awhile, and then begin anew. I offered a clean slate, why not take it?

  54. cl Says:

    R.C.,

    The Gospel Hypothesis isn’t Christianity according to DD, so what do you see as the relevance of your claim?

  55. Arthur Says:

    cl,

    You said, once upon a time:

    I’m not pretending to be a complete agnostic about anything. I do believe God exists.

    Now you say:

    …my official position on God is that we are all agnostic – none of us can know this side of life, but any of us can choose to believe or disbelieve for a variety of reasons – some rational and reasonable – others not.

    I can resolve this apparent inconsistency with a couple of assumptions. Let me know how I’m doing.

    1) You’re not pretending to be agnostic (because you really are); and

    2) knowledge and belief are completely unrelated, and therefore believing in God is compatible with being agnostic (because not knowing something doesn’t preclude believing it).

    Are we on the same page yet?

    (On the other hand, if belief has nothing to do with knowledge, what does it mean to have “rational and reasonable” reasons for believing something?)

    (And while we’re on the subject, where do you get reliable information on demons?)

  56. R. C. Moore Says:


    The Gospel Hypothesis isn’t Christianity according to DD, so what do you see as the relevance of your claim?

    If others in this discussion see relevance, then it is in relevant.

  57. Deacon Duncan Says:
    I would say that if you have a draw scenario, where both hypotheses produce exactly the same consequences, it is a very clear and stereotypical example of rationalization to claim that you have a “legitimate basis” for concluding that one hypothesis is true and the other is false.

    That’s not what I’ve claimed. I’ve not said we have a legitimate basis to claim one hypothesis is true and the other false in a genuine draw. Not being rude, but you need to re-read my comment.

    I think if you re-read my comment, you might notice that I am talking about hypothetical situations, not about what anyone in particular is or is not claiming. You asked me a question about what would apply in a particular set of circumstances, and I answered by explaining what consequences would apply under those circumstances.

  58. cl Says:

    Arthur,

    We’re all agnostic. Knowledge and belief are related. Yes, believing in God is compatible with being agnostic, because not knowing something doesn’t preclude believing it, and this does not entail that belief has nothing to do with knowledge.

    DD,

    I feel you’re missing it again, and again I submit that you’re contradicting yourself.

    R.C.

    Since DD’s GH is not Christianity, how does your argument against Christianity have any bearing on this discussion?

  59. 5keptical Says:

    CL – you’ve been asked that, if you

    They’re not related. I brought that up only to demonstrate the emotional and presumptuous nature of your arguments, which contradict your appeals to rationalism.

    Perhaps that’s your problem. I’ve not presented any arguments. I’m challenging you in the hope that you can back up what you say. We can’t have a rational discussion until you present something that can be demonstrated through rational discourse to be, at the very least, not false.

    How about you just shut up anyways and treat me with respect – and I’ll do the same for you.

    You I treat with respect – your ideas and argumentations however – are sometimes rubbish. I respect you enough to expect you to answer peoples questions without prevarication. I respect you enough to expect you to have the intellectual courage to really think about things rather than just trying to find excuses for your god.

    When we shutup – when we fail to engage your attempts at rational discussion – that is the moment you have lost all respect.

  60. cl Says:

    Is my claim concrete or not? Answer my question directly and stop acting like a hypocrite.

    I’ve not presented any arguments.

    Then what are you doing but exactly what you accuse me of? Among other things, you said it looked like I was avoiding questions over at DA when such had nothing to do with DD’s discussion and DD asked people to refrain from ad hominem arguments. Such demonstrates your presumptuous, irrational, emotionally-driven nature. Again, hypocrisy.

    We can’t have a rational discussion until you present something that can be demonstrated through rational discourse to be, at the very least, not false.

    It’s also true that we can’t have a rational discussion amidst impatient crybabies who pee their pants and call others intellectual cowards when they don’t get what they want, when they want it. BTW, we’ve already presented concrete claims. Your best response is to denounce them as “not concrete” and offer no further explanation yourself. Would you say that’s rational? If we were in person, I’d rip that Rationalist T-Shirt right off your back and give it to Jayman, so save it.

    You I treat with respect..

    Bullshit, but you can always start.

    ..your ideas and argumentations however – are sometimes rubbish.

    Although I’m open to legitimate critique, your sorry-ass opinions mean nothing to me. Where’s your blog? Where are your books? Where are your television productions? Are you paid for your ideas and argumentations? If so, let’s see how yours fare. Honestly, I’ve not seen one argument from you that wasn’t either emotional, backpatting, rubbish or shit-talk – ever.

    I respect you enough to expect you to have the intellectual courage to really think about things rather than just trying to find excuses for your god.

    Then like DD asked long ago, quit assuming I don’t have the intellectual courage to really think about things – that’s where the disrespect is you blind bat – and the moment where you lost all my respect passed long ago.

  61. Arthur Says:

    We’re all agnostic. Knowledge and belief are related. Yes, believing in God is compatible with being agnostic, because not knowing something doesn’t preclude believing it, and this does not entail that belief has nothing to do with knowledge.

    Do you consider this to be an explanation?

    For the past week I’ve been asking you simple questions and trying to make sense of the words coming out of your mouth. But every time you open your mouth, something comes out which makes it harder to understand what you’re saying. Now, again, you deliberately leave the work of understanding to me, or to anyone else reading your comments.

    If you’re not even going to pretend to have a rational discussion, then I’ll gladly give you the last word, and rest easy in the conclusion that you have a vested interest in not being understood.

  62. cl Says:

    The paragraph you cited consisted of direct answers to the questions in your preceding comment: 1) I conceded that we’re all agnostic, which means I “really am” too; 2) I objected to your claim that “knowledge and belief are completely unrelated;” and 3) I agreed with your claim that “believing in God is compatible with being agnostic because not knowing something doesn’t preclude believing it.” How are those not direct answers?

    If you’re not even going to pretend to have a rational discussion, then I’ll gladly give you the last word, and rest easy in the conclusion that you have a vested interest in not being understood.

    Again, how are those not direct answers? Why is it automatically my fault that you’re having trouble understanding? Seriously, what do you want to know? What do you contend I haven’t answered? Was it the demon question? If you’re asking me about my personal beliefs, that’s none of your business and irrelevant to our discussion. If all you’re going to do is deny that I’ve given you direct answers, I don’t mind if you don’t ever talk to me again. In fact, it would clear the path for me to get to the meat of this argument. I get sick of lettuce. Don’t you?

    Either explain how the answers I gave aren’t direct and I’ll gladly try again; concede that the answers were direct and state the exact questions you want answered; or sit back, relax, and enjoy the show. I’m also curious: How do any of your current complaints relate in any way to DD’s discussion?

  63. 5keptical Says:

    cl, you’re projecting, and becoming unhinged.
    Do you really want to publicly document your descent into gibbering insanity like this?

    You need to look up the definition of ad hominem again, and quite probably notice that attacking my credentials or level of discourse does nothing to support your position or credentials. You have simply provided another example of poor reasoning skills.

    Could you succinctly summarize your testable concrete claim about the nature of god – everyone seems to have missed it.

    I also note that you failed to provide any estimate of when your rebuttal could be expected.

  64. R. C. Moore Says:


    I also note that you failed to provide any estimate of when your rebuttal could be expected.

    Hopefully, in this Generation : )

  65. Arthur Says:

    cl,

    The paragraph you cited consisted of direct answers to the questions in your preceding comment: 1) I conceded that we’re all agnostic, which means I “really am” too; 2) I objected to your claim that “knowledge and belief are completely unrelated;” and 3) I agreed with your claim that “believing in God is compatible with being agnostic because not knowing something doesn’t preclude believing it.” How are those not direct answers?

    Let me help you with that.

    First, and most obviously, I had to put that conjecture together myself, out of the crumbly bits of your comments I could make sense of, and then ask you if I got it right. This is more or less the opposite of getting direct answers to questions. It was hard mental labor on my part, trying to make your comments make sense.

    Second, through the sweat off my brow I’ve discovered that, when you say “agnostic,” you don’t mean what folks usually mean. You’re welcome to chide me for assuming what you meant, but I submit that rational people will generally make mention of words they’re using in non-traditional ways, since those people have an interest in being understood.

    Third, you confirmed one clause of my conjecture and denied another. But I didn’t just arbitrarily stick those clauses together—I thought they went together. I still do. If you have an objection, and you wish to be understood, you might consider explaining your objection instead of just making it and letting other people try to figure it out. (Note that this is generic advice, suitable for all sorts of occasions.)

    For the record, I also don’t believe that “knowledge and belief are completely unrelated.” That’s why I consider your belief in God unfounded, a conclusion you’ve vehemently objected to with no further explanation.

    If you’re asking me about my personal beliefs, that’s none of your business and irrelevant to our discussion.

    Then help me out, cl. Is it, or is it not, a matter of personal belief—and therefore off limits to inquiry—where you get reliable information about God, or why you consider those sources reliable*? (Substitute “demons” for “God” if you really want to talk about them, too.)

    When I asked you, “What part of ‘rational’ means ‘never ask cl about his sources,’” you said “None,” and (of course!) you left it at that. You would be technically, pedantically correct to say that you gave a direct answer to my question; but of course you are, in fact, actually guilty of evading the point. Am I allowed to ask you this stuff, or aren’t I? If I am, why all the song and dance? And if I’m not, why not?

    *By “reliable” I mean, of course, “fit to be trusted or relied on.” I know how you feel about dictionary definitions; but history suggests that you might have a more personal definition in mind, so I want to make it clear that I do not.

  66. 5keptical Says:

    To DD, Arthur, RC and ThatOtherGuy:

    I should probably apologize for derailing the thread by giving cl a diversion. Keep up the good work folks!

  67. cl Says:

    5keptical,

    Are you actually denying that you’ve made ad hominem arguments against me in spite of DD’s requests to the contrary? As you ask of me, answer directly, honestly, and concrete. Should you refuse, I’ll accept that as your concession that all the crap you’ve talked to me equally applies to yourself.

    Arthur,

    Now, you claim I use agnostic unconventionally, yet you don’t explain how so. Isn’t that a bit incomplete? Honestly, what am I to do with that? To me, agnostic means “without knowledge,” and currently, none of us know whether God exists or not. We either believe or disbelieve. It’s that incredibly simple. If you’re going to make the claim, isn’t it on you to show how I use ‘agnostic’ unconventionally?

    Is it, or is it not, a matter of personal belief—and therefore off limits to inquiry—where you get reliable information about God, or why you consider those sources reliable*?

    Honestly, I don’t understand the question. I can’t think of anything I would classify as off limits to inquiry. Is it at all possible that maybe at least part of our problem lays in the way you structure some of your questions? Again, I often wonder why it always seems to be my only my answers that receive your criticisms.

  68. Arthur Says:

    This is kind of funny, actually. Let me walk you through the labyrinthine complexity of my last post, cl.

    …you claim I use agnostic unconventionally, yet you don’t explain how so. Isn’t that a bit incomplete? Honestly, what am I to do with that?

    I sure didn’t mean to leave you hanging like that, wondering what I meant. I know how damaging that sort of thing can be to clarity and understanding, and I’ll try not to let it happen again.

    I could certainly be wrong, but I’m under the distinct impression that agnostics, by definition, do not commit themselves one way or the other on the question of God’s existence, because they don’t know. But, then, I’m also under the impression that knowledge and belief are not completely unrelated, and that the absence of the first should have a decisive effect on the second.

    Honestly, I don’t understand the question.

    I would love to phrase the question more simply—I know how frustrating and off-putting unnecessary semantic difficulty can be—but I’m not sure how.

    How about this: “Is it, or is it not, a matter of personal belief… where you get reliable information about God, or why you consider those sources reliable*?”

    I can’t think of anything I would classify as off limits to inquiry.

    Well, no wonder the question didn’t make sense: you forgot the stuff you said already. You said, “If you’re asking me about my personal beliefs, that’s none of your business and irrelevant to our discussion.” In other words (as far as I can tell) some questions are off limits. It therefore made sense to ask you whether or not my questions were of that nature.

    Is there any other English you need help with? Or do you think you can work out the rest of the comment on your own?

    *Don’t forget what “reliable” means.

  69. R. C. Moore Says:


    I should probably apologize for derailing the thread by giving cl a diversion. Keep up the good work folks!

    We all lack the discipline, and cl is really such an easy target but:

    cl wants us to debate “the religion that is cl”. In that way he avoids having to debate the topics at hand

    So I vote for a clean slate. Drop and ignore any of the old discussions about “the religion that is cl”. He is never going to answer in any productive way anyway.

    To be honest, I can no longer follow arthur’s dialog with cl, or 5kepticals, etc. Too many comments in too many threads, so I can no longer contribute one way or the other, it is essentially a private conversation.

    What say you?

  70. Arthur Says:

    I’ve been considering it intellectual exercise. But the futility is starting to catch up with me, I have to admit.

  71. cl Says:

    Arthur,

    I feel it’s you who uses an incorrect definition. Agnostic means “without knowledge” and has nothing to do with belief. This doesn’t mean that I believe knowledge and belief are unrelated, and I agree that the former should have an effect on the latter. Where we disagree is that you presuppose my belief is unsupported. That explains why by your reasoning, I’m perceived as irrational.

    As far as your other question, I think I see what you’re getting at, just a little more patience and I think we can get on the same page. How about this: Are you asking me whether reliability is objective or subjective? Because although I suspect it will just frustrate you more, my honest answer to your question is yes and no. Yes, reliability is a matter of personal belief in that most folks simply presuppose their information is reliable. That has nothing to do with objectivity to me. OTOH, any person or group of people could theoretically draft strict criteria to determine the reliability of information – and in that sense we would have something similar to an objective standard to test for reliability with. I hope any or all of that helps.

    Well, no wonder the question didn’t make sense: you forgot the stuff you said already. You said, “If you’re asking me about my personal beliefs, that’s none of your business and irrelevant to our discussion.” In other words (as far as I can tell) some questions are off limits. It therefore made sense to ask you whether or not my questions were of that nature.

    The reasons I believe the Bible is reliable are not off limits to inquiry at all, if that was the question. It seems our problem in that case was context. When I said “I can’t think of anything I would classify as off limits to inquiry,” I meant it like: “Anyone can ponder, question or inquire about anything.” Were you asking me if my personal beliefs are “off limits to inquiry?”

    Is there any other English you need help with? Or do you think you can work out the rest of the comment on your own?

    If you consider this an intellectual exercise, why not drop the sarcasm?

  72. 5keptical Says:

    Ad hominem argument is most commonly used to refer specifically to the ad hominem abusive, or argumentum ad personam, which consists of criticizing or attacking the person who proposed the argument (personal attack) in an attempt to discredit the argument.

    As far as I can see, in this thread I have never made a personal attack on you in an attempt to discredit your arguments.

    Note the emphasis! I have made a personal attack to goad you into clarifying your arguments – but not to discredit the arguments themselves.

    You’ve also made another mistake in logic by assuming that any ad hominem attacks I may have made somehow magically reflects my arguments back to me. Didn’t you leave that sort of tactic back in elementary school?

    And we’re still waiting for a timeline for your treatise.

  73. 5keptical Says:

    RC! You old codger you (oops, now I’m projecting….)

    I’m happy to restart. I already volunteered to shutup once we had an approximate date from cl for his rebuttal.

  74. Arthur Says:

    cl,

    I feel it’s you who uses an incorrect definition.

    Well, okay. By your lights, we are all agnostic anyway, whatever it means; so the word was really just a very effective red herring all this time. I maintain, though, that in the world outside your head it’s normal to consider agnosticism incompatible with belief in God.

    That explains why by your reasoning, I’m perceived as irrational.

    By all means, feel free to explain the reasoning by which your belief in God is not irrational. Boy, that would be something. Almost like getting to the point! Ah, but you could have done that already if you’d wanted, instead of leaving it hanging like you just did.

    Are you asking me whether reliability is objective or subjective?

    Truly, talking is complicated. No, cl; I deliberately provided you with a standard definition of the word so you wouldn’t think I was using it in some special personalized way.

    When I said “I can’t think of anything I would classify as off limits to inquiry,” I meant it like: “Anyone can ponder, question or inquire about anything.”

    Then you succeeded, again, in passing the time by composing a grammatically correct, but totally empty and useless, sentence of English. Kind of like, “the biblical God exists if and only if the Biblical God exists.”

    Were you asking me if my personal beliefs are “off limits to inquiry?”

    Are we reading the same thread? I’m getting inconsistent feedback for the hypothesis.

    If you consider this an intellectual exercise, why not drop the sarcasm?

    The sarcasm is my fatigue showing. I’m not interested enough to keep ferreting out words you might have customized for your particular use, or poking around in your comments for the bits that fit together. You’ve made it clear that you’re not interested in making yourself clear, and I guess that’s your prerogative.

    How about this? If there is anything about your belief in God, your belief in demons, your trust in the information in the Bible (and “elsewhere”), your non-standard definitions of words, or whatever, which you do want to make clear, how about you just do it?

  75. cl Says:

    Arthur,

    By all means, feel free to explain the reasoning by which your belief in God is not irrational.

    That would entail a discussion about what constitutes sufficient evidence for belief. I can never satisfy folks like jim who ask that God regrow limbs on videotape. Nor would I expect to convince folks like DD who claim God should show up on the evening news and magazine covers to tell us the correct interpretation of scripture.

    Then you succeeded, again, in passing the time by composing a grammatically correct, but totally empty and useless, sentence of English. Kind of like, “the biblical God exists if and only if the Biblical God exists.”

    Then quit talking to me, or learn how to express yourself better. Or just keep pretending everything’s all my fault like the rest of your buddies. In fact, it would be a hell of a lot more productive and I’ll take the first step by no longer responding to any comments of yours – at least until my rebuttal is done.

    Are we reading the same thread? I’m getting inconsistent feedback for the hypothesis.

    Notice that the above was not a direct or helpful answer to the question I asked you. Yet you persist in your claim that it’s me wants to make myself unclear. All the while, none of it has any relevance to DD’s discussion.

    If there is anything about your belief in God, your belief in demons, your trust in the information in the Bible (and “elsewhere”), your non-standard definitions of words, or whatever, which you do want to make clear, how about you just do it?

    None of that has any relevance to my claim that DD’s GH is bunk, so you may as well quit asking until my personal beliefs are actually relevant to the conversation.

    You’ve made it clear that you’re not interested in making yourself clear, and I guess that’s your prerogative.

    For crying out loud Arthur, I answer your questions as you ask them. Perhaps you should focus a bit more on the grammatical correctness you criticize. Take care of yourself for a while. Maybe we can get somewhere another time. If you continue to take pokes and jabs at me with the foreknowledge that I’m not going to respond, I consider that about as low as one could go.

  76. Arthur Says:

    How about this? If there is anything about your belief in God, your belief in demons, your trust in the information in the Bible (and “elsewhere”), your non-standard definitions of words, or whatever, which you do want to make clear, how about you just do it?

  77. 5keptical Says:

    Sir Robin bravely runs away!

    Monty Python has the answer…

  78. R. C. Moore Says:

    On the importance of being specific:


    Boring Prophet: There shall in that time be rumors of things going astray, erm, and there shall be a great confusion as to where things really are, and nobody will really know where lieth those little things with the sort of raffia-work base, that has an attachment. At that time, a friend shall lose his friend’s hammer, and the young shall not know where lieth the things possessed by their fathers that their fathers put there only just the night before, about eight O’clock.

    Monty Python — Life of Brian

  79. cl Says:

    5keptical,

    ..in this thread I have never made a personal attack on you in an attempt to discredit your arguments.

    As personal motivations are subjective and rarely falsifiable, I’m not going to contest that claim, and I don’t need to. I refuse to play semantics with you, but you’ve admitted to making personal attacks against me, and that all I need. The emphasis or motivation is irrelevant. DD did not say that personal attacks were okay ‘so long as the motivation was to goad others into clarifying their arguments,’ so why did you make personal attacks against me – for whatever reason – in spite of the fact that DD explicitly asked people to refrain from them? IOW, why do you suppose that you getting what you want when you want it is more important than respecting DD’s wishes, not to mention your opponent?

  80. 5keptical Says:

    And now, I suppose, we get to the core of cl’s problem with rational thought processes.

    Semantics, as in the meaning of words, is essential to rational discourse. The structure and content of the words used did not, in any way, to a competent speaker of the English language, attempt to dispute cl’s arguments through calling into question cl’s qualifications (as cl did with me) or some other personal characteristic.

    Personal motivation does not come into the analysis and is superfluous. The meaning of the terms used is something you should know when you accuse some one of an formal concept such as the ad hominem fallacy.

    Cl seems to operate by assuming a conclusion and then mangling the meaning of words and sentences until he feels personally satisfied that it matches his conclusion.

    This failure to admit the slightest error on his part, or to converge through rational dialogue on the meaning of the words he uses has amply demonstrated his intellectual cowardice. Calling someone a thief is not libelous if they actually are a thief.

    CL – Still waiting for a timeline on your rebuttal.

  81. R.C Moore Says:


    As personal motivations are subjective and rarely falsifiable, I’m not going to contest that claim, and I don’t need to. I refuse to play semantics with you, but you’ve admitted to making personal attacks against me, and that all I need.

    What, for a lawsuit? To get 5keptical banned from the Internet?

    Look, not to wade too deeply into a personal war, but really cl, that is not what 5keptical said at all. You accused him of an ad hominem attack, he responded with the correct definition of ad hominem, pointing out he has never attacked you personally to discredit an argument.

    This does not instantly create the admission he has attacked you otherwise. Maybe he did, but show some minimal grasp of logic, please.

    I comment because there is a hopelessness in your discourse, it is all confusion and paranoia, and this is such a prime example I could not pass it up.

    And before you respond with the cry of “ad hominem”, review the definition. Your comments are confused and paranoid, and I gave a concrete example of such commenting.

  82. jim Says:

    Thief? There’s some synchronicity for ya!

  83. R.C Moore Says:

    cl –

    I accidentally clicked through to your blog while reading jim’s link, and noticed my name prominently on the left hand side. Could you please add the specific quotes where I disagree with Dr. Larry Moran, Dan, and Friedenker. I like to be quoted, I especially like to be quoted in context.

    Anything else seem dishonest.

  84. cl Says:

    5keptical,

    “The ad hominem fallacy” is not what I accused you of making. I said you made ad hominem arguments, which are nothing more and nothing less than attacks or appeals against the character of an interlocutor for whatever reason. In logic and rhetoric, such becomes the ad hominem fallacy once one uses such attacks and appeals to declare their opponents position false and/or their own position correct – and I’ve not said you’ve done that. Even so, let’s say I agreed with claims that I misunderstand ad hominem – claims I do not agree with. Even then my argument stands, as I’m not contesting your motivation: DD did NOT enumerate when personal remarks and/or comments are or are not welcomed here; DD asked people to refrain from them altogether.

    Let’s recap in light of this distinction. First, you presupposed you knew something about my behavior on DA when you did not. Then you used this presupposition to make personal remarks and/or attacks, which was both disrespectful to myself, and DD’s specific requests to refrain from personal remarks and/or attacks. Then, you did the same twice in this thread, further disrespecting DD’s specific requests to refrain from personal remarks and/or attacks. Now, you offer the rationalization that your personal remarks and/or attacks are okay, because your motive wasn’t to discredit my argument. So that makes personal remarks and/or attacks okay? Logical? Rational? DD, how’s that for rationalization! Say what you want about me.

    I don’t steal, I’m not a coward. Those who know me know better. All you’ve done is convince me that you are not a person of much principle, but I’ll gladly offer you a chance to prove otherwise: Did DD say personal remarks and/or attacks were welcomed when their intent is to goad response? Or did DD discourage all personal remarks and/or attacks? Answer honestly, directly, and concrete. If the former, where? If the latter, why did you respect DD’s wishes?

    R.C.,

    Now you bring matters from my blog to DD’s? What makes you think DD wants to listen to you and I argue about your presence in my blog’s sidebar? Full anarchy around here, I suppose, but since you brought it up, I quoted you directly. You insulted my science education. I asked a qualified professor and microbiologist if my knowledge of science as expressed in my comments in that thread were sustained in his opinion. He said I was doing a fine job. If you don’t like it when people highlight your own ad hominem arguments and/or personal remarks and/or attacks, perhaps you shouldn’t make them? On the other hand, I’ll gladly replace the comments IF you apologize for making them AND make some sort of genuinely positive assessment of my science education as I expressed it in that particular thread. If a professor of microbiology and a working postdoc can pull it off, I imagine you’ll have no problem. Unless of course, some silly little thing called pride gets in the way.

    What, for a lawsuit?

    No. To make my point, which is that DD asked folks to refrain from all personal remarks and/or attacks. Then again, as we just discussed, you didn’t respect DD’s wishes, either, so I can see why such seems difficult to grasp. As I said, I don’t want to play semantics with either of you. Ad hominem means on the man. Regardless of their motivation, 5keptical’s comments were on the man. The fact that he claims his motivation was to goad me into rushing my rebuttal cannot possibly change the fact that he still made personal remarks and/or comments ‘on the man.’

    ..he responded with the correct definition of ad hominem, pointing out he has never attacked you personally to discredit an argument.

    I agree with everything after ‘pointing out,’ but nothing before. 5keptical responded with the correct definition of the ad hominem fallacy, which has specific meaning and import distinct from ad hominem arguments which need not entail declarations of correctness. Still – even if I agreed with you two that I misunderstand ad hominem – my argument stands. The motivation behind 5keptical’s personal attack is irrelevant: Did DD say personal remarks and/or attacks were welcomed when their intent is to goad response? Or did DD discourage all personal remarks and/or attacks?

    This does not instantly create the admission he has attacked you otherwise.

    I didn’t say he admitted to “attacking me otherwise.” I said he admitted to making a personal attack – and he did. I made no stipulations about reason or motive. Neither did DD when he asked folks to refrain from personal attacks.

    jim,

    Regarding your link above, it actually kind of scares me that you’re so fixated on me, and it’s funny you would criticize an argument you yourself analogize. I felt the post I just linked to was an excellent post jim, and I’m being genuine. I wish you (and everyone) would attempt to find areas of common ground because indeed there are many. We’re also in agreement on prayer experiments, however. Nice work there, again. I will say that I enjoy your reading your work, even when it’s meant to bash me. Keep it up.

  85. R. C. Moore Says:


    I suppose, but since you brought it up, I quoted you directly.

    But not completely. That says a lot about you, very little about me.

    Not to mention posting my name on a blog I had never visited (before now). Well, that is one way to win an argument.

    Not to mention not honoring my request for a complete context for the snippet you have side-barred.

    An attack on me, with, without reference to an argument.

    I think we have finally found a true ad hominem attack. Are all of now open to off-site attacks on your blog without our knowledge? Well I guess that is one way to get people to read your stuff, sort of like celebrities having the buy the National Enquirer.

    No apology forth coming, unless you post on your blog all the comments I made, in context.

    So I guess we are at impasse. You do not want to reveal you were wrong in implying I disagreed with Dr. Moran on macro-evolution, and I do not want to remain quoted out of context.

  86. cl Says:

    R.C.,

    But not completely.

    Is that an implication that I’ve quote-mined you? If so, was there somewhere that you complimented my science education?

    Not to mention posting my name on a blog I had never visited (before now).

    I’ve posted Robert DeNiro’s name on my blog and he’s never visited it. So what? I put “Evangelical Realism” under your name. If you don’t like being quoted, watch your mouth. I want the world to know that you insult my science education.

    Not to mention not honoring my request for a complete context for the snippet you have side-barred.

    How would context change the fact that you insulted my science education? That’s all I’m concerned about letting people know. I don’t care whether you agree with Dr. Moran or not and I’m not pitting the two of you against one another.

    No apology forth coming, unless you post on your blog all the comments I made, in context.

    Yeah, that’s a laugh. Let me devote all my blog space to some random mouth who likes to insult those who disagree with him. What’s the difference between that and linking to your spew in its full vitriolic glory, as I have? Again, just watch your mouth if you don’t wanna end up quoted directly.

    And I’m curious – what is your reasoning for claiming I’ve implied you disagreed with Moran?

  87. ThatOtherGuy Says:

    “I accidentally clicked through to your blog while reading jim’s link, and noticed my name prominently on the left hand side. Could you please add the specific quotes where I disagree with Dr. Larry Moran, Dan, and Friedenker. I like to be quoted, I especially like to be quoted in context.”

    Did it to me too. Can’t tell, but he seems to have added in a typo and then put [sic] on there to make me look bad, or something? I dunno who he thinks is going to actually READ all that stuff, but whatever. Seemed dishonest to me.

  88. cl Says:

    ThatOtherGuy,

    No, that was your original english in all its original glory (sic). People read “that stuff” all the time, and I recently received another comment from someone who got quite a kick out of it. If you’re gonna be a wise-ass who insults my diction, at least spell your wisecracks correctly! The irony in that one was hilarious! And don’t cry “dishonesty” like your boy R.C. – I quoted exactly what you wrote, exactly the way you spelled it.

  89. John Morales Says:

    RC, ThatOtherGuy – Yup, cl did it to me too.

    I left one comment, but haven’t been back to see how it was handled.

    Why does this spring to mind? :)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_PJzMHObabo

  90. cl Says:

    John, you’re technically incorrect, FYI. I’ve not quoted you in my Feedback section, which is where I quoted R.C. and ThatOtherGuy, among other folks who’ve left both constructive and negative criticisms about me. I just want a balanced picture, so the rational people who really give me a chance will have a balanced sheet of data to look at. I do recall you having a gripe about a statement in a blog post I made (BTW thanks DD for at least saying I was “pretty sharp,” I think the same of you. We’re both pretty stubborn, too! But no worries, that’s just a sign of confidence). Anyways John, I’ll gladly discuss any complaints with you over there, if you can find the post. In fact, I wish you would stop by and say a thing or two anytime. I really don’t have much anything against you, as I feel our original tango had quite a bit to do with other people. So what? We disagreed on the miracle thing. Who cares? For me, that’s not sufficient reason to alienate or marginalize you. We’re not and have never really been bashing each other like the current soiree, so I say come through, show me where I went wrong.

  91. ThatOtherGuy Says:

    “If you’re gonna be a wise-ass who insults my diction, at least spell your wisecracks correctly! The irony in that one was hilarious! And don’t cry ‘dishonesty’ like your boy R.C. – I quoted exactly what you wrote, exactly the way you spelled it.”

    Forgive my obtuseness, but upon looking at it numerous times, I can’t find the error, and neither can my spell-checker. If you’re being pedantic enough to insist that “english” is incorrect and should be “English,” it really wouldn’t surprise me since I know how disgustingly nitpicky you are, but seriously? That’s your “hilarious irony?”

    You’re something else, cl, and I’m still trying to figure out what.

  92. ThatOtherGuy Says:

    “Why does this spring to mind?”

    And so on, and so on, and so on. :)

  93. John Morales Says:

    [OOT]

    cl, I considered that I was misrepresented by you and said so, but it’s no biggie. I acknowledge you did not quote me in your Feedback section, as you say – it was but an incidental mention.

    I do appreciate your invitation to engage you in your blog, and will perhaps do so in the future (if my not-so-copious free time allows). It would be a significant undertaking inasmuch as I try to do due-diligence before habitually posting in a new blog (I lurked here quite some time before I began commenting).

    PS A quick search located the incident: http://profile.typepad.com/6p010536ceaf1b970c

  94. John Morales Says:

    [addendum]
    Ack! The link I posted above just shows my comment sans formatting. I should’ve checked before copying and posting the comment link.

    This http://www.thewarfareismental.info/the_warfare_is_mental/2009/04/wrapping-up-at-evangelical-realism.html?cid=6a00d8357e0d0069e201156f208d8d970c#comment-6a00d8357e0d0069e201156f208d8d970c puts it properly in context.

  95. cl Says:

    Thanks John I’ll take a look and add anything new if the need arises. Feel free to check back. I also think it’s good to spend time lurking at a blog and feeling it out before jumping in.

  96. 5keptical Says:

    Once again cl fails to make the grade and shows his inability to reason on a couple of levels.

    cl says: I said you made ad hominem arguments, which are nothing more and nothing less than attacks or appeals against the character of an interlocutor

    From the explanation of ad hominem on wikipedia:

    In the past, the term ad hominem was sometimes used more literally, to describe an argument that was based on an individual, or to describe any personal attack. However, this is not how the meaning of the term is typically introduced in modern logic and rhetoric textbooks, and logicians and rhetoricians are in agreement that this use is incorrect.

    This clearly illustrates a later claim I made that cl seems to operate by assuming a conclusion and then mangling the meaning of words and sentences until he feels personally satisfied that it matches his conclusion – an intellectually cowardly approach.

    Furthermore let’s look at the basic structure of the ad hominem fallacy:

    – Person A makes claim X
    – There is something objectionable about Person A
    – Therefore claim X is false

    Note in this case, I make the claim:

    – cl is an intellectual coward because he fails to address questions directly – in this case – by providing a specific real-world consequence of the gospel hypothesis.

    – cl responds by calling my character and rationality into question because I’ve made a personal ad hominem attack on him and goes on to slander my credentials. He does this with a total lack of irony.

    Note the similarity in structure!

    I responded that he can prove my original claim false simply by saying something concrete about the gospel hypothesis, though I eventually degraded that request to simply providing a timeline for his big rebuttal.

    He chose to do neither, coincidentally supporting my original claim by showing how he avoids addressing questions directly.

    RC, Arthur – did I miss anything here?

  97. R. C. Moore Says:

    5keptical asked:

    RC, Arthur – did I miss anything here?

    Nope.

    I am concerned however, that DD is slacking off. I know he humors cl with responses because everyone needs a foil to keep a blog lively, but it is just too easy to refute cl, and I am beginning to sense an intellectual laziness creep in. And we are being intellectually lazy by not presenting DD with thoughtful discussion of our own.

    As I mentioned before, we all lack discipline, I guess. Why are we wasting our time with someone who finds Wikipedia such a daunting resource? Who runs off to other sites to create their own honorariums from fragmented comments, and debate in absentia?

    Again, I vote for a clean slate. Give cl a word or two in the hope he learns something (for we all generous folk I am sure), and move on.

  98. R. C. Moore Says:

    John Morales wrote:


    Ack! The link I posted above just shows my comment sans formatting. I should’ve checked before copying and posting the comment link.

    This puts it properly in context.

    Ok, this is a joke right. A link to cl’s blog that goes nowhere? A metaphor for circular reasoning?

  99. Eneasz Says:

    Ok, this is a joke right. A link to cl’s blog that goes nowhere? A metaphor for circular reasoning?

    I LOLed. :)

  100. Arthur Says:

    5keptical,

    I warned cl that

    there’s only so many times you can assume someone is a cheerleader, or an ass-kisser, or a cl-hater, before people decide you’re not being honest about your feelings toward assuming stuff.

    and he responded,

    My feelings towards assumptions extend to rational discourse.

    So “attacks against the character of an interlocutor” have been approved. Enjoy!

  101. cl Says:

    So “attacks against the character of an interlocutor” have been approved. Enjoy!

    No, attacks against the character of discourse have always been approved. Anyone see how Arthur just changed my argument? Totally saw something other than what I said? Now ask yourselves, how many other times do you suppose that may have happened?

    Give cl a word or two in the hope he learns something (for we all generous folk I am sure), and move on.

    Trust me, you’ve all taught me much, much more than a thing or two, and I would actually love it if 5keptical, Esneaz, Arthur, R.C., ThatOtherGuy (am I forgetting anyone?) would either change their tune or move on. For the past week, all these people have done is complain, whine, make personal remarks and/or attacks, and add next to nothing to the actual arguments beings discussed. I’ll bet DD wouldn’t mind if said people change their tune or move on, either. And I’ll bet we’d be at least a month closer towards resolving this discussion had said people all been able to refrain from personal remarks and/or attacks like DD asked in the first place. Comments?

    You, R.C. Moore, I’m quite disappointed in, 5keptical as well. All your talk, and yet the key question goes unanswered: Did DD say personal remarks and/or attacks were welcomed when their intent is to goad response? Or did DD discourage all personal remarks and/or attacks? Answer that question honestly and stop acting hypocritically, both of you.

  102. Arthur Says:

    Anyone see how Arthur just changed my argument?

    You made an argument?

  103. R.C Moore Says:

    cl said –


    rust me, you’ve all taught me much, much more than a thing or two, and I would actually love it if 5keptical, Esneaz, Arthur, R.C., ThatOtherGuy (am I forgetting anyone?) would either change their tune or move on. For the past week, all these people have done is complain, whine, make personal remarks and/or attacks, and add next to nothing to the actual arguments beings discussed.

    No, I have made several direct objections and extensions to DD’s postings. They are there for all who know how to read.

    cl has committed the association fallacy. Here is the wikipedia entry:

    An association fallacy is an inductive formal fallacy of the type hasty generalization or red herring which asserts that qualities of one thing are inherently qualities of another, merely by an irrelevant association. The two types are sometimes referred to as guilt by association and honor by association. Association fallacies are a special case of red herring, and can be based on an appeal to emotion.

  104. R.C Moore Says:

    cl said –


    You, R.C. Moore, I’m quite disappointed in, 5keptical as well. All your talk, and yet the key question goes unanswered: Did DD say personal remarks and/or attacks were welcomed when their intent is to goad response? Or did DD discourage all personal remarks and/or attacks? Answer that question honestly and stop acting hypocritically, both of you.

    cl is committing the “Red Herring” fallacy. Here is the wikipedia entry:


    Red Herring: also called a “fallacy of relevance.” This occurs when the speaker is trying to distract the audience by arguing some new topic, or just generally going off topic with an argument.

  105. ThatOtherGuy Says:

    “For the past week, all these people have done is complain, whine, make personal remarks and/or attacks, and add next to nothing to the actual arguments beings discussed.”

    And that being posted by the king himself. The irony is truly impressive.