Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Rational Non-Response Squid [sic]

Steve brought my attention to an atheist's linking to a post I wrote on the "Rational Response Fraud" [sic]. The context was answering the "Rational Responders'" questions for theists, and so this post of mine should have been linked to instead. Never mind that, though. (But, I do find it interesting that the atheist wrote this: "There's also Triablogue, if anyone cares (not that anyone should). They tried to take on the RRS." First, I did take on the RRS. To date, Sapient refuses a one-on-one, moderated public debate. Second, why is he telling people what they "should" care about? Can he reduce that normative statement into a descriptive one? Third, if no one "should care," then why link to my posts? "Hey guys, not that you should care, but I'm watching paint dry this weekend, want to come?" No, he's tacitly admitting that people should care, and responses should be dealt out, and so that's why he posts the link. Anyway, that was a rabbit trail...)

So, Steve caused me to think about the kids over at RRS; something I haven't done in many months. As I was thinking about them, and all their non-responses, a light turned on. I've been harsh in my labeling Sapient 'n the gang "irrational." In fact, they are exhibiting very rational behavior. By not-responding to my critiques, they are actually saving face and continue to project their image as "oh-so-rational." Sometimes, when facing superior strength (e.g., Poodle vs. Grizzly bear, Bambi vs. Godzilla, Tuvalu vs. The U.S.A.), the most rational thing to do is tuck tail and run. And so I owe the Rational Non-Response Squad, headed by Brian Insapient, an apology. Their actions, especially given evolutionary-type thinking, has been completely rational.

And so being the agreeable fellow that I am, showing how sincere my apology is, I thought I'd add to the list of dodges and hence allow the RRS to become even more rational by another non-response.

Under "Sapient's" file on the RRS discussion forums, he has placed this question at the top of the forum as a "sticky" so it will not fade away into RRS discussion forum history. He listened to his people when they said, "This deserves to be kept near the top of the list, too! What a great question." Oh really, let's be the judge of that.:

Most Christians claim that Jesus fulfilled the law of the Old Testiment and therefore they are no longer under it. They claim to now be under grace. If that true then why do you get so upset when someone tries to remove dispalys of the Ten Commandments form public places like courthouses or schools?

i) What's the Old "Testiment?"

ii) "Most Christians?" Didn't Jesus say, "5:17 "Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them."

iii) What does it mean to be "no longer under the law?"

iv) What does it mean to be "under grace?"

v) Apropos (iii) - (iv), shouldn't the interlocutor provide exegesis of the passages, or at least give meaning to the phrases "not under law" and "under grace" if he's going to show an "inconsistency?"

vi) Apparently they take "not under law but under grace" to mean "you can't get upset if someone remove[s] displays of the Ten Commandments from public places like courthouses or schools." Why? Who said the one contradicts the other?

vii) Why the switch from "most" and "they" to "you?" The "you" might not be part of the "most" or the "they?"

viii) Why is a Darwinian asking why people get upset? What kind of explanation do they want? They "get upset" because certain chemicals interact with other chemicals and then you see the appropriate output.

ix) What does the physicalist mean by saying "they get upset?" Isn't this a hold-over from folk-psychology? Indeed, since the RRS squad says that "theists" are "irrational" for believing things without having propositional evidence in their favor, then what is the RRS's propositional evidence in favor of attributing a "mind" to these Christians?

x) "Not under law, under grace" is found in Romans 6 (and some other places). This discussion comes on the heels of chapter 5 (obviously!) where Paul talks about justification by faith (really, you need to go back to Romans 1 to get the full picture). And this faith is a gift (Eph. 2:8), so it is all of grace. Thus we're talking about salvation.

xi) Apropos (x). Since "not being under law" is talking about not being justified by the law, which no one can be (Rom. 3:20), then we're dealing with soteriology. But, that the law is of no use to save, does not mean that it has no other uses. There could be private or civil uses of the law (not saying there necessarily are, so as to avoid side debates, I'm just pointing out the argument doesn't follow). Thus, saying that one is not justified by the law is not the same as saying that the law has, say, a role for how man ought to conduct his affairs. Therefore these Christians (whether they're right or wrong is another debate) may be upset that the standard of life and conduct is being removed and thus man is saying that he is not under God's law as a standard for living. In other words, the RRS has committed a category fallacy.

xii) Thus the boys (and girls) at RRS have, yet again, not even bothered to crack open some standard commentaries, engage the text of Scripture, or try to read and understand their opponent in the strongest light possible. That's called "attacking a straw man." But perhaps if you need to let some testosterone out, and real people are just to big a risk, or your face is too pretty to get bruised, then beating down a straw man will be the best way to release that excess testosterone. So, we see that we can view them in the best light and find a way for them to be "rational." Surely it is rational to get rid of extra testosterone so that you don't hold up a liquor store, or something like that.

And with that, I hope I have shown that I am sincere in my apology. I desire to allow the RRS to become even more rational by avoiding even more rebuttals to their "arguments" which would be sad, if they weren't so funny! :-)

Stay tuned for another round....

1 comment:

  1. Good job Paul
    I do wish that there can be a formal debate between you and Brian Sapient...