Monday, December 10, 2007

Touchstone Mangles Manata's Post

Touchpebble has commented on my response to the Ethical Atheist's paper, "What is an Ethical Atheist?".

The first thing to point out his title - interesting choice of words given that he's an expert on "secular morality." Touchpebble says, "Manata Mangles Secular Morality." Since there is no such thing as "secular morality" then how did I mangle it? For example, prominent up and coming atheologian Jeffery Jay Lowder states,

"On that basis, atheism alone is not enough to construct a worldview. Atheism does not entail any particular ethical theory; all that atheism entails is a rejection of theological ethical systems, such as divine command theory."


So, I have no idea how I "mangled" a non-existent category, viz. "secular morality."

Furthermore, as I point out in my post, there is no one accepted "secular morality." I wrote,

"This theory is certainly not the accepted view of atheists and naturalists. Some would say that moral principles are necessary truths expressed as conditionals (cf. Shafer-Landau). Some would say that ethics are the products of social contracts (cf. Hobbes). Some would say that ethical principles are the product of virtues (cf. Aristotle, Mill, etc). Some would say that ethics are supervenient facts, products of the natural world (cf. Brink)."


But, perhaps Touchpebble will reply, conveniently, that I am being pedantic. So let's move on...

You will be appeared to in a red way by Touchpebble's comments:

"It would take weeks to catalog all the problem in Paul Manata's, um, "takedown" of the Ethical Atheist in this post."


I'm getting more intelligent. A year ago it would probably have taken months to catalog all the problems in one of my posts. I thank Touchpebble for noting my improved abilities.

Touchpebble states,

"Let's just get a taste for the confusion with this paragraph from the post:"


He then goes on to quote a section from my post:

****************

iv) The cash value of (iii) is that there is a sense in which we can say that atheists cannot be moral. Now, certainly we don't mean that they can't (or don't) follow moral norms (but there are some norms that they do not follow, e.g., praying), we mean that they cannot meet all the requirements needed for us to judge them as "good" people. Thus in a minimalist sense, atheists can be moral. That is, they can follow (many of) the right standards. Of course this was recognized far before these contemporary debates (cf. Romans ch. 2). My more qualified sense is something that the atheist can accept since it depends on theism being true. Thus if theism is true, the atheist cannot be "good" where "good" means more than merely following your duty, or even exhibiting a couple of good character traits (though this would have to be defined biblically, and so it would be hard for the atheist to really have these. Perhaps he can have them in a minimal way. I leave that open for discussion). But, I take it that in this debate, and the sense the Ethical Atheist meant it in, the claim that "atheists can't be moral" is usually intended to connote the idea that atheists cannot adhere to some basic, fundamental, paradigm cases of morality according to a normative model. That is, atheists can refrain from murdering, lying, stealing, etc. (Of course, even here, qualification could be made, for there is much more to following those commands than ordinarily thought. But again, I'm speaking in a very minimalist way. Perhaps a way in which the atheist can accept as what constitutes following moral precepts.)

***************

(Emphasised by the pebble)

Now, where does he go with this? He states,

"Got that? The bolded sentence is the jewel in the mix, here. Paul is simply decimating when he lays out his arguments with "if theism is true". Here, we are treated to the observation that IF theism is true, and THEISTs [sic] get to define all the terms ("moral", "good", etc.), well, then there is a sense in which those atheist just can't qualify as "good" or "moral". Chew on that for a moment to fully savor its depth and wisdom."


And as anyone who read my post would surely note, the bolded portion was never my argument. In fact, I claimed that there is a sense in which the atheist most certainly can be moral (the minimalist sense agreed to by both sides). In fact, in this sense, many atheists may be more moral than Christians. I did not seek to "decimate" the Ethical Atheist's paper by what Touchpebble quoted. I simply pointed out that there is a sense in which the theist can say that the atheist can't be moral. I even said that an atheist would agree with me here. (For proof of my claim, note what is stated by Byrne on the SEP article on Moral Arguments for God: "Perhaps this is a point at which proponents and opponents of moral arguments for God's existence might agree on. Moral considerations give all a reason to examine the proposition that there is a God very seriously. For if there is no God, morality is a more perilous enterprise than if there is." So, Touchstone must say that Byrne mangles secular morality as well! Now, I'm a nobody. But to claim that Byrne mangles secular morality stretches credulity.) The obvious implication was, this is not the sense both sides are talking about when they come to the question: Can an atheist be moral? One can easily see, if one were to read my entire post rather than stopping and having a heart attack, that I made nothing of this claim of mine throughout the rest of the post. Touchpebble gives the impression to his reader that I intended the bolded portion to function as some kind of argument in my response to the Ethical Atheist. Of course, nothing could be further from the truth. So, this is just flat out shoddy and sloppy work, even for Pebbles.

Let's turn that around for a moment. Would Paul say this?:
"If atheism is true, the theist cannot be good where good means more than following your duty, or exhibiting a couple of good character traits (though these would have to be defined rationally, so it would be very hard for the theist to have even these)."


I'd have to see the argument expressed more fully. At this point I'm inclined to say "No." In fact, I'd wager that most atheists don't have a problem saying that Christians can be "good" on myriad secular standards; realist ones, at least. Perhaps some subjectivists would say that those who believe in a god are immoral, and the factor that makes this right is the mere belief of the subject, then I'd agree that if that thesis were true, then I couldn't be good. Perhaps an emotivist thinks: "Theism, boo!" But why think anything of interest follows from that? If pebbles wants this point, I'll gladly give it to him.

Well, duh, Paul. If you begin by assuming the primary question (a/theism?), then let the "winner" define the criteria, the "winner" can fashion things any way they want (note how Paul suggest that 'theism' would require Biblical justification for good character traits... 'theism' being a kind of unconscious euphemism for his brand of Calvinism).


Again, Pebbles is running with something that was never there. He's making something from nothing. I indicated that I was speaking about more than one sense. He's picking on what I called "my more qualified sense." That sense was only mentioned in (iv). It illustrated one small point. It was then left and never brought up again. It didn't factor in my "critique," at all. Pebbles simply jumped the gun. He is so ready to shoot his anti-presuppositionalist ray gun at anything that moves, he frequently shoots innocent bystanders. He's the Dick Cheney of atheologians! Pebbles is acting as if my critique was based off his bolded portion, when any one who reads what I wrote in toto can see that this isn't the case, at all. I furthermore do not believe that the "theism" in my post was "Calvinism." I think evangelicals of all stripes could affirm the vast majority of my views on virtue ethics. In fact, much of what I label "my position" on the matter has been gleaned from non-Calvinists. So, Pebbles is wrong on this score, too.

"Earlier in the post, Paul dismisses the argument the Ethical Atheist is adressing
[sic] -- "atheists can't be moral" -- as a "canard"; no one actually claims that, suggests Paul. But he can't hold off more than a paragraph or two before launching into just that argument.... "if theism is true", of course."


I dismiss it because the question he's addressing isn't framed that way in the standard literature. So, in this particular debate, the theist does not make that claim. I did point out, though, that if we did make that claim, the debate would progress beyong a mere discussion of normative or meta ethics. So, that claim could not be defeated by simply pointing out that atheists follow deontic principles, for the most part. That was the point. But, as my post indicated, I didn't wish, or need, to debate that point. I even cited W.L. Craig stating that our objection has never been "atheists can't be moral" (from our position, this is obvious. Thus Saint Paul: "There are none who are good." But we don't make that argument because it would take us right back into a "Does God exist" argument. If G then ~M. We would need to prove G first. Thus the argument could be thought of more like this: If objective morality, then God. Objective morality. Then God. If God then atheists cannot be good persons (in the fullest sense of the term). God. Then atheists cannot be good persons (in the fullest sense of the term). Thus the full argument here would be: {O --> G; O; :. G. G --> ~M; G; :. ~M.} But note that I didn't make this argument.), our objection, the one found in the apologetic literature, is that secularism cannot account for the deontic, normative action guiding prescriptions of objective morality, nor teleological normativity, nor axiological normativity. And that is what I was debating, not what Pebbles so underhandedly presents as my position in the context of the dialogue given the framing by the Ethical Atheist.

"It's unfortunate that Paul fails so completely to grasp what is being argued by the Ethical Atheist. He has a quite a challenge trying to paint a veneer of coherence over his Calvinism, just on its own terms, but this post is an example of the kind of mental train wreck that comes out of adopting the "worldview" he's chosen. He cannot proceed, of course, from the agnostic point of rational inquiry, neither assuming theism true nor assuming it false. His game's up as soon as he allows that kind of abstraction. So he's bound to thinking about atheism through his lens of presuppositionalist Calvinism, which produces things like... well, go read the post."


It's unfortunate that Touchpebble had to go on a quote mining expedition--he even states in his response to my that my comments were, "Pure gold"--in order to combat the evils I "most assuredly" spewed in my post. When one wears rose colored glasses, everything looks red. When one just "has it out" for you, then you get read in the worst light and, apparently, people don't even need to bother reading the entirety of your arguments. Like a Pavlovian dog, certain bells and whistles went off, and the machine just turned out a post. It doesn't matter if there is food or doggy doo-doo in the bowl, when the buzzer sounds, the contents of the bowl get eaten. No inspection, just conditioned response. Ironically, this is exactly what he charges me with, and I didn't even bring up Calvinism! Anyway, thanks for playing Pebbles, it's been fun, as always.


______________________________________

Addendum

Let's re-read two claims the Pebble made:

[C1] "Got that? The bolded sentence is the jewel in the mix, here. Paul is simply decimating when he lays out his arguments with "if theism is true". Here, we are treated to the observation that IF theism is true, and THEISTs [sic] get to define all the terms ("moral", "good", etc.), well, then there is a sense in which those atheist just can't qualify as "good" or "moral". Chew on that for a moment to fully savor its depth and wisdom."

[C2] "Well, duh, Paul. If you begin by assuming the primary question (a/theism?), then let the "winner" define the criteria, the "winner" can fashion things any way they want..."


So, even though I've proven that Pebbles totally missed the boat with his critique, let's assume, for sake of argument, that what he claims about me was, in fact, how I offered an apologetic. We will see that if we assume this, and we assume that the Pebble seriously takes this as a criticism of my position, then the Pebble must, on pain of staying consistent, take his claims as a critique of himself! How so? Well let's look at what the Pebble put forth when I asked him to provide an apologetic, or, hsi reasons, for believing that Christianity was true. Here's the broader context of my criticism:

Peter Pike challenged Pebbles in this post:

http://triablogue.blogspot.com/2007/04/open-challenge-to-touchstone.html

to,

"present a positive argument for the existence of the God you claim to believe in."

Okay, so the context is that Pebbles is going to present a "positive argument for the existence of God."

Now, here is what Pebbles offered in response to Peter Pike's question:

***********

TOUCHSTONE SAID... "Happy to respond. [M]y apologetic would summed up like this:

1. Read the Bible. All of it. Twice.

2. Ask yourself if the Bible doesn't present the most coherent and compelling account of the story of man, and answers to Life's Big Questions(TM), viewed against any and all competing accounts.

3. Consider the challenge of the Gospel: You are a sinner, condemned to death for your transgressions. God loves you despite those sins, so much that he sent His own Son to die in your place, a substitutionary atonement for your sins, if only you are willing to repent, believe and follow His Son.

If you repent, believe, and follow, you shall be saved, eternally. Following Christ isn't easy -- it amounts to dying to yourself, day in and day out, for the rest of your life, so that you may serve God fully -- but this sacrifice is key to freedom from the bondage and slavery all men labor in without God's salvation.

4. Look for the evidence of God's power in the lives of His people. Jesus said you will know His followers by their love, and see for yourself how the love of Christ transforms those who serve Him."


************

I wonder how well "Well duh" fits in with (4)? Anyway, just pointing out the pebbles is quite inconsistent in his indictments against us as "big ole meanies."

My real point, Pebbles can't very well critique my claims, if we take them the way Pebbles portrays the situation, given what I cited him in his answer to Pike.

Indeed, one might say to his "apologetical" case which constitutes his "positive argument" for an ontological conclusion, that:

[C1] "Got that? The bolded sentence is the jewel in the mix, here. Pebbles is simply decimating when he lays out his arguments with "if theism is true". Here, we are treated to the observation that IF theism is true, and THEISTs [sic] get to define all the terms ("moral", "good", etc.), well, then there is a sense in which those atheist just can't qualify as "good" or "moral". Chew on that for a moment to fully savor its depth and wisdom."

[C2] "Well, duh, Pebbles. If you begin by assuming the primary question (a/theism?), then let the "winner" define the criteria, the "winner" can fashion things any way they want..."

I'd also add that his (4) looks an awful lot like the claim he attributes to me: Christianity provides the proper springboard for creating the virtuous person.

Pebbles picked up where he left off - a sophistic gutter sparrow who is more bark that bite. More style than substance. I haven't seen anyone so intellectually self-destructive in a long time.

27 comments:

  1. Careful...

    Next thing you know, T-Stone will be saying you're mangling secular views on unicorns.

    Don't say I didn't warn you.

    ReplyDelete
  2. "a sophistic gutter sparrow who is more bark that bite." haha classic. I laughed at least ten times while reading that post.

    ReplyDelete
  3. "He's the Dick Cheney of atheologians!"

    LOL >8^D, classic!

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  4. T-Stone must be really desperate for attention. Once he got banned from here, he found out he has no purpose in life.

    Sad.

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  5. buck-toothed billy12/11/2007 10:44 PM

    I've got a zinger for ya Paul. You know how you are always going around saying that the God of the bible accounts for the uniformity of nature? Well what accounts for (and guarantees) the uniformity of God's nature? Couldn't we just move the problem of inducton back a step and apply it to his nature? Gnaw on that piece of fruit why don't ya.

    ReplyDelete
  6. No, you couldn't. Gnaw on that for a while.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Your so vain (not to mention lame)12/12/2007 12:22 AM

    Paul,

    I have this sneaking suspicion that your frat brother, back-slapping, sycophant friends, “Scott”, “Caleb” and “He’s Back” are, in fact, just you. Am I wrong? Such insecure self-glorification is unbecoming of you—though not unexpected.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Buck-Toothed Bully12/12/2007 12:54 AM

    "No, you couldn't. Gnaw on that for a while."

    Which is to say, you don't have an answer. Looks like I just took a flaming bowling pin to your apologetic, and clubbed it like a baby seal. How am I wrong here?

    By the way, my name is Buck-toothed Bully, not Billy. Your crazy blog got my name wrong. I almost freaked out because of this, but luckily my mom gave me a Hi-C box and I cooled down a bit.

    ReplyDelete
  9. You're so...(see above)12/12/2007 1:09 AM

    buck-toothed billy said...
    I've got a zinger for ya Paul. You know how you are always going around saying that the God of the bible accounts for the uniformity of nature? Well what accounts for (and guarantees) the uniformity of God's nature? Couldn't we just move the problem of inducton back a step and apply it to his nature? Gnaw on that piece of fruit why don't ya.

    Paul Manata replied...
    No, you couldn't. Gnaw on that for a while.



    I asks:

    As Touchstone once said to Peter Pike, “show your math”. Which means, of course, none of the subjective pining TS is prone to. Just irrefutable, objective facts. I mean, I don’t want to be forced to assess the strength of your arguments on the basis of person-to-person variable “opinion”. So no circularity or question begging allowed.

    Can’t do it? Maybe faith via election is your only stopgap.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Buck-Toothed Bully12/12/2007 2:16 AM

    Hey "You're so...," I don't know who you are, but I don't do tag-teams, so don't piggy-back on my exchanges. My queston to Manata is clear enough without your limp-wristed addition. He'll either attempt to give me an answer, or he won't. If he does, I will be here to evaluate it, and I won't need your help.

    That said, go into the nearest dark closet, curl up into a ball, and try to think of your own damn objections as you simultaneously ponder the pointlessness of your life.

    (For the record, I am an equal opportunity bully. I am a consistently nihilistic, hyper-skeptical agnostic that doesn't like Christians, Muslims, Hindus, inconsistent old-school atheists, new atheists, secular humanists, or, to be honest, really any one at all)

    ReplyDelete
  11. Your so vain (not to mention lame) said:

    "Paul,

    I have this sneaking suspicion that your frat brother, back-slapping, sycophant friends, “Scott”, “Caleb” and “He’s Back” are, in fact, just you. Am I wrong?"

    I don't know who the other two are, Caleb is a philosophy student who lives in Washington.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Buck-Toothed Bully said...
    "No, you couldn't. Gnaw on that for a while."

    Which is to say, you don't have an answer.

    ****

    Which is to say, you don't have an argument.

    For starters, the claim "uniformity of God" is one of the dumbest things I've ever heard. tell ya what, put pen to paper, get that hamster running in your noggin, gather your thought, and produce an actual argument.

    ReplyDelete
  13. You're so handsome12/12/2007 2:46 AM

    Buck-Toothed Bully = Derek Sansone

    ReplyDelete
  14. Btw, I should point out that I don't make the stronger moral, epistemically certain claim that "Christian theism alone can account for the uniformity of nature." I pointed this out a while ago...

    http://triablogue.blogspot.com/2006/10/coming-out-of-closet.html

    So, after I string you along for a while, I'll then point out that your argument is irrelevant to my position.

    But, if you must, I'd really like to hear your sophisticated expression of your argument about the (snicker) "uniformity of God."

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  15. Buck-Toothed Bully12/12/2007 3:09 AM

    "Paul: For starters, the claim "uniformity of God" is one of the dumbest things I've ever heard. tell ya what, put pen to paper, get that hamster running in your noggin, gather your thought, and produce an actual argument."

    Listen here you little fruit cup, quit dodging the question! Granted, the uniformity of God is an imprecise term, but I have confidence that you get the idea.

    In case you didn't visit the link, I'll quote the statement of the probem as it's found there (I think it sums things up nicely).

    "If the uniformity of nature is directly predicated upon the uniformity of a God who would uphold it, by what non-question-begging method does the theist justify the assumption of the Uniformity Of God? Just as it is logically problematical to say 'I know the sun will come up tomorrow because it has come up in the past,' saying 'God told me everything will remain uniform' brings the same problem. On what grounds does an experience yesterday of what God's word may have said entail that tomorrow it will hold? (And that's even to skip the more obvious point that the Christian relies on induction to even presume his own experience of revelation is
    coherent)."

    Now, try to chew on that Jolly Rancher without breaking a tooth.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Buck-Toothed Bully12/12/2007 3:18 AM

    "Btw, I should point out that I don't make the stronger moral, epistemically certain claim that "Christian theism alone can account for the uniformity of nature." I pointed this out a while ago...

    http://triablogue.blogspot.com/2006/10/coming-out-of-closet.html"

    Is there something else, in your opinion, that you think can account for the UoN?

    "So, after I string you along for a while, I'll then point out that your argument is irrelevant to my position.

    But, if you must, I'd really like to hear your sophisticated expression of your argument about the (snicker) 'uniformity of God.'"

    What's with the condescending tone here? Keep that up and you just might end up with two dozen or so (in honor of Alvin Plantinga) wild badgers on your front lawn.

    ReplyDelete
  17. "Listen here you little fruit cup, quit dodging the question! Granted, the uniformity of God is an imprecise term, but I have confidence that you get the idea."

    Well, I don't.

    "In case you didn't visit the link, I'll quote the statement of the probem as it's found there (I think it sums things up nicely)."

    Didn't you just tell someone above to "get their own argument?"

    Anyway, your (the guy you quote) "argument" uses the "stupid phrase" that you've not explained, yet.

    The term "uniformity" in "uniformity of nature" means, usually, "the future will resemble the past."

    Now, are you applying that to God? Well, for starters, aren't you assuming that God exists in time with this? WHat about before God created time? Was there a "past" for God then? How will the future God resemble the past God? Indeed, the "past" is not the same as the "future." They are not identical. So, are you saying that there are different "Gods?"

    Furthermore, no one thinks the future will resemble the past in all respects. So, it means, "the future will resemble the past in *some* ways." But why think that kind of talk applies to the God of the Bible?


    So, like I said, try to formulate something like a cogent argument and maybe we can talk. Don't tell me all you got is to call me "fruit cup" and "dodger?" Tell me there's more to "the bully" than that?

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  18. "What's with the condescending tone here?"

    Don't come in here with your smarm and expect the red carpet treatment.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Buck-Toothed Bully12/12/2007 4:00 AM

    "Well, I don't."

    Simply put, what makes you think that the aspects of God that account for the uniformity of nature are themselves uniform?

    "Didn't you just tell someone above to 'get their own argument?'"

    Yes, but not necessarily in the sense that it be original, but only in the sense that it be not one I am currently using. You see, I am a shifty fellow; I make up rules as I go, and demand that people conform to them. I've found that if I'm mean enough in the delivery of my demands, they are often met.

    "Anyway, your (the guy you quote) 'argument' uses the 'stupid phrase' that you've not explained, yet.

    "The term 'uniformity' in "uniformity of nature" means, usually, 'the future will resemble the past.'"

    "Now, are you applying that to God?"
    Sure, why not.

    "Well, for starters, aren't you assuming that God exists in time with this?"
    Well, if Bill Craig says so. Really though, does he *not* now exist in time of some sort?

    "WHat about before God created time? Was there a "past" for God then?"

    Heck if I know. I've heard the term "eternity past" used a lot. I vane no idea what that term means, and I don't think the people who use it do either.

    "How will the future God resemble the past God?"
    I don't know. According to Christianity, certian aspects of his nature are indeed immutable. Is his will to maintain the uniformity of nature immutable? If not, then on what basis can we expect nature to remain uniform?

    "Indeed, the "past" is not the same as the "future." They are not identical. So, are you saying that there are different 'Gods?'"

    Negative.

    "Furthermore, no one thinks the future will resemble the past in all respects. So, it means, 'the future will resemble the past in *some* ways.' But why think that kind of talk applies to the God of the Bible?"

    I don't know. My question to you is, why assume that that kind of talk doesn'y apply to God in some way?


    "So, like I said, try to formulate something like a cogent argument and maybe we can talk. Don't tell me all you got is to call me 'fruit cup' and 'dodger?' Tell me there's more to 'the bully' than that?"

    Listen, "fruit cup" is a term of endearment, not part of my argument. Now, things like "Try munching on that burnt pop corn for an hour" or "Try swallowing all those marshmellows and see if you can still breath" are the things that really bring force to what I say, especially when placed at the end of a post. I participate in discussions not so much because I care about their outcome, but because I find them intereting. And when you consistently reject the idea of moral values, there are all sorts of fun conversational styles that open up to you, and that can make a discussion very entertaining indeed.

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  20. Buck-toothed bully12/12/2007 4:07 AM

    Sorry for the sloppy* post. I have been up for nearly a day and am not quite a full speed at the moment.

    * I am speaking of spelling and layout here. The logic of the post was, of course, impeccable.

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  21. Buck-Toothed Bully12/12/2007 4:30 AM

    "Don't come in here with your smarm and expect the red carpet treatment."

    Oh come on, Paul! It's not smarm, it's charm! You know you love my style. I'm like an feisty old man that forgot he shouldn't take his back pill with whiskey. I may be rude, but at least it's a somewhat humerous rudeness mixed with actual questions, and not the spewing of nonsensical blasphemy that the New Atheist sorts post (I actually dislike them more than Christians, by the way). I'd wager that, at the end of the day, you'd rather have 5 truly free-thinking Buck-Toothed Bullies around than one of those Rational Response drones.

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  22. I'm still waiting for One-Toothed Billy to make his argument. It's not clear what it is. And, when I tried to get him to explain I'm met with, "Heck if I know," Well, maybe," "Sure, why not," and, "Beats me to high heaven."

    He's making reference to time. Where Craig would say one things, Helm wold say another, and Frame would say another.

    He talks about "aspects" of God that make nature uniform being uniform. He's still using a term he's not explaining. I'd even say the terms (uniform) can't be used univocally, at this point.

    Is he just asking why I believe that the God of the Bible will remain the same being. Well, he's told me he will. Since I take it that he is a person (and since this argument lets me *assume* the existence of said being, I can use this premise), and I take it that he knows everything, and I take it that knowledge by testimony is a valid source of knowledge, and since I have no reason to distrust his word (so I don't have a defeater for my belief, rather it functiions as a defeater-deflector), then I take it that I can know (though I can't lay out a deductive argument with premises that are necessariuly true, accepted by all rational persons, reaching a certain conclusion) that God will always be the same kind of God he always has been.

    But, I don't know the argument, the meaning of terms (usually there is a requirement to define terms, but Billy doesn't need to follow that rule. He doesn't believe in morality OR logic, it appears), or anything relevant so I can provide an answer to Billy. Perhaps when he catches up onhis rest he'll begin to think straight.

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  23. I'd add that whatever it is about God that allows him to keep nature uniform was something true of him as he existed without time ("before" time, if you'll allow that). But, if One Toothed Billy is taken to mean that "uniform nature" means "future resemble past" then he's saying that God always existed in/whith time. But this is controverisal, indeed. So, if he wants to *first* present arguments for God and time, then let him play that game. I'm sure any theist could keep him busy for years with that one. So, again, his "argument" is too vague and ambiguous to even respond to. it has way too many implicit assumptions (or, maybe it doesn't, we don't know!) for someone to answer intelligently. Billy came in flying around, but soon petered out as a balloon does once its air is removed.

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  24. you're so...12/12/2007 2:42 PM

    “Hey "You're so...," I don't know who you are, but I don't do tag-teams, so don't piggy-back on my exchanges. My queston to Manata is clear enough without your limp-wristed addition. He'll either attempt to give me an answer, or he won't. If he does, I will be here to evaluate it, and I won't need your help.”

    You flatter yourself. The question of God’s “uniformity” has been dealt with substantially but inconclusively (IMO) on this blog (sees the archive). “Deception”, “changelessness” or some such may have been the terms used in those cases, but the idea remains the same. Since I find it so interesting, when the admittedly tangential topic came up, I was more than happy to keep steering the discussion in that direction, while I had the chance, lest the juicy morsel vaporize for want of follow-on questions. For the record, I didn’t see your follow-up before I posted.

    Besides, you should be grateful for the opportunity it provided you to curry favor by affecting to distance yourself from that substantial mass of humanity that doesn’t possess your originality and intellectual honesty

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  25. Buck-Toothed Bully12/12/2007 7:32 PM

    I apologize for the way I've acted here. I will think things over and try to focus my questions. After I do that, I will bring them to you, Paul, and see what you think of them.

    Now, drink that glass of water and see if doesn't make you smile. :)

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