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.

 
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Posted in Evidence Against Christianity, Unapologetics. 105 Comments »

105 Responses to “A milestone”

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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?

  4. cl Says:

    R.C.,

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

  5. 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?)

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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?

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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?

  13. 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.

  14. 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 : )

  15. 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.

  16. 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!

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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?

  20. Arthur Says:

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

  21. 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?

  22. 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.

  23. 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.

  24. 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?

  25. 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.

  26. 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?

  27. 5keptical Says:

    Sir Robin bravely runs away!

    Monty Python has the answer…

  28. 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

  29. 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?

  30. 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.

  31. 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.

  32. jim Says:

    Thief? There’s some synchronicity for ya!

  33. 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.

  34. 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.

  35. 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.

  36. 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?

  37. 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.

  38. 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.

  39. 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

  40. 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.

  41. 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.

  42. ThatOtherGuy Says:

    “Why does this spring to mind?”

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

  43. 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

  44. 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.

  45. 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.

  46. 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?

  47. 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.

  48. 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?

  49. Eneasz Says:

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

    I LOLed. :)

  50. 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!