Saturday, October 08, 2011

Rhology on the Fundamentally Flawed podcast

I haven't actually listened to the recording yet so I can't vouch for its quality, but it was an interesting time at least.

I would not give myself a top grade for my performance, but given the 6-to-1 odds, I think I did about as well as perhaps I should expect. It was my first podcast, anyway, and in my experience it was different talking with people over Skype than it is in face-to-face encounters. Perhaps the novelty of the experience will give way to more familiarity with enough practice, but it was certainly different.

I'd like (God willing) to write a longer review later, but suffice it to say at this time that though the FF podcasters used some TAG-related verbiage and tried to turn the TAG back on me, they not only failed to do so but also continued to misunderstand how TAG relates to the consistency of one's worldview. At key points in the conversation this can be heard clearly, especially in the mocking tones of Jim.
I recommend the uncut version for those who aren't faint of heart. If you're interested in listening to it, three things to remember:
1) These are atheists and their language got quite rough there toward the end.
2) When you hear the Jim sort of erupt there at the end, I was both smiling and saddened by his response. There was obviously nothing to be gained by trying to cut in there, so I just let him hang himself with his own hatred.
3) I don't yet know how my voice will sound since I was talking into a mic built into the top of my netbook. I may well sound like I was yelling, but I didn't mean to. I had noise-dampening headphones on, and I was talking at a computer, so that didn't help my voice retain a low volume.

Enjoy, anyway. Comments are welcome, both friendly and unfriendly. I recognise there is a great deal of room for improvement.
While I believe I more than held my own, I recommend the previous show with SyeTenB and Eric Hovind to hear a more thorough thrashing of the FF podcasters' position.
The show (edited)
Uncut version

139 comments:

  1. Thanks for the alert. Downloading now on iTunes.

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  2. "Whats the evidence that evidence is a good way to discover truth?"

    Laughable!

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  3. Rhology,

    My favorite argument was at the end where the fundamentalist atheist kept screaming that you are a "****ing loser." I thought it illustrated quite nicely the brilliance behind the fundy atheist position.

    On a serious note, you did quite well in this exchange. They need to consider having fewer people on at the same time to prevent confusion, talking over one another, and infighting.

    Fundamentalists atheists seem much more interested in mocking Christians than they do about actually engaging with their arguments, as though, even granting that they are right, this childish name-calling and general ugliness would ever help convince Christians that their position is wrong.

    Finally, I am struck by how absolutely ignorant fundamentalists tend to be concerning basic philosophical categories and concerns. I often hear the atheists complain, as they did here, that they are not prepared to answer some of the epistemological questions put their way, but then I am left wondering why they continue to invite people on whom they know will ask them these questions when they have not prepared.

    For example, the whole group seemed absolutely clueless concerning the problem of induction, which is a major presuppositionalist argument. One of the atheists in this exchange even confused observation with inductive inference, and all were quick to dismiss the problem of induction which has been a discussion in non-Christian philosophical literature for centuries.

    Another obnoxiously ignorant comment that continued to be made in this exchange is the charge of "circularity." It does not seem that the atheists in the discussion understand the difference between presuppositions and arguments, principle and practice, or, most importantly, logical and epistemic circularity. Presuppositionalism is not inherently logically circular, so the "circularity" complaint is not a good objection at all. Interestingly they admitted during the exchange that "everyone has to start somewhere."

    You were absolutely correct to point out that a philosophy of fact is necessary to interpret the "evidence" the poor childish old gentleman was screaming and cursing about at the end of the podcast. As classical foundationalists and naive evidentialists, fundamentalist atheists are the flat-earthers of philosophy. Their obvious hatred of Christ aside, the aforementioned outdated means of thinking could be part of their difficulty in understanding your arguments.

    Grace,
    C.L. Bolt

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  4. You rock, Rhology! I've never seen an entire group of atheists implode on themselves like that. It's like they all were trying to have a blindfolded race through a forest. Smack* smack* smack* Thud* thud* thud* Get up again and repeat ad infinitum.

    I think you did a brilliant job, Rhology. Atheists are so often uninformed as to where the Christian is coming from, and while you try to explain yourself to them, they can't let you get a word in edgewise because they're so wound up in proving that they know what they're talking about that they couldn't abide any decent length of time to where you could establish the flaws in their way of thinking.

    You know who I'd compare Jim and these other people to? The Rational Response Squad. Remember those nutty atheists from back in 2006 and 2007? This was like a grown up version of the RRS. They're no smarter or well informed than they ever were. They've just slapped british accents on them.

    I'm also reminded of what Steve Hays had to say in his article, "Sean is for suckers." I'd say this relates most specifically to Jim, but it does accurately relate the problem this atheist coop had as a whole.

    Sean likes to swear a lot. I understand.

    Most men swear some of the time, but when you swear all of the time, it’s for two or three related reasons. First, it shows how unhappy you are. Just spend a little time browsing gods4suckers and see what a bunch of sad sacks these are. Angry at the world for who knows what.

    So the subtext is: Hey, we’re a gang of miserable unbelievers. Come and join the club so that you, too, can be a miserable unbeliever just like us!

    Another reason for swearing is that swearing is a form of verbal intimidation, like a Chihuahua which bristles in the presence of an Irish wolfhound to make itself look twice as big as it really is.

    The 90-pound weakling swears more often than the linebacker to compensate for his lack of heft.

    Sean swears all the time to impress us with what a brave and tough little boy he is.

    Yet another reason for swearing all the time is to bluff your way through an argument when the facts are against you. If you can’t make your case using reason and evidence, you yell a lot and stamp your feet. Bluster is the coinage of a losing debater. What you lack in brain matter you make up for in bluster.


    See, Christians practically never fall apart at the seams and swear blue streaks at the atheist. Why? Because we, unlike the atheist, have thought these things through and have confidence in the well established logical nature of our faith. We don't need to start swearing in order to beat back the opposition- but somehow the atheists feel that need very strongly. I think it's a very telling sign indeed.

    If you ever plan on going on their show again, PLEASE let us know about it. I'll pay for a copy of it if I have to because, like you, I'm a big guy and I can take the swearing. lol

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  5. And I like to see the Christian faith hold strong in contrast to the chaos of atheism.

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  6. there's a ton to comment on.

    i'll just say one thing. I thought the claim that "truth doesn't apply to reality, it applies to statements" was interesting in light of the fact that they claimed it was *true* millions of years ago that the sun rose. Also, one would want to ask in virtue of what is it that a statement is made true.

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  7. note: they walked into an argument for God: either there were no truths before humans, or someone was around making statements, such as ¬(P&¬P). But this seems to be a necessary, eternal truth; hence, etc.

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  8. Hey Rho,

    Thanks for providing this. It was a very interesting discussion and shed some light in a couple of areas.

    Mainly, the problem as I see it is that these folks haven't spent any time whatsoever thinking about how it is they know what they know. I think the point was well taken in that people should think about what they believe and understand and why. They admitted as much in complaining about trying to answer questions from presuppositionalists, and the frustration that causes them. The problem is that these folks really don't think they have any presuppositions, but are merely acting on "reality."

    Additionally, I would frame the sin question in terms of a child's disobedience, instead of in terms of his lying. This way, I think, all the objections based on cognitive development evaporate. No one in the history of the world has ever had to teach their two year old how to be naughty, that is, how to disobey. I think this is a stronger argument in that regard.

    As far as bad language is concerned, I'm more concerned about the attitudes on display. Having said that, I don't think there is anything to be gained by talking to these people any further since they really can't seem to control themselves in terms of normal discourse.

    Blessings in Christ,

    Pilgrimsarbour

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  9. Six Anti-theists versus One Presuppositionalist seems to be fair; at least the anti-theists almost had a chance.

    Alex and the anti-theist gang just couldn’t – better wouldn’t – understand the Problem with Induction and that epistemically they could not justify their use of the words “All”, “None”, and “Every” inasmuch as they cannot account for universals.

    The recurrent interruptions conjoined with the string of fuming cuss words at the conclusion and the malicious verbal assaults against Rhology were a bit over the top. Nonetheless much of internet atheism utilizes invective and F-bombs in place of reasoned argument.
    What Charles Mackay observed is pertinent: “Of all the offspring of time, Error is the most ancient, and is so old and familiar an acquaintance, that Truth, when discovered, comes upon most of us like an intruder, and meets the intruder’s welcome.”

    Rhology not only held his own, he rightly pressed many truths and did not stoop to counterblast but held to his arguments. Perhaps supplying less personal detail from Rhology at the start may have been prudent.

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  10. "Mainly, the problem as I see it is that these folks haven't spent any time whatsoever thinking about how it is they know what they know. I think the point was well taken in that people should think about what they believe and understand and why. They admitted as much in complaining about trying to answer questions from presuppositionalists, and the frustration that causes them. The problem is that these folks really don't think they have any presuppositions, but are merely acting on "reality.""

    I explained this at length, I guess it's true that people only hear what they want to hear....

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  11. Ego,

    Fantastic job - you can be proud of your efforts!

    Paul,

    Given your rejection of strong modal TAG arguments (circa 2006), would you have approached the POI differently to Rho in this discussion? I ask because you seem to have abandoned "impossibility of the contrary" certainty for explanatory power.

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  12. "Ego"...LOL!

    Freudian slip...

    CD

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  14. Rider of Rohan,

    I think the PoI argument can be addressed by atheists at one level (a Reidian or proper-function, properly-basic response), but the move they'd have to make invites another type of presuppositional argument for God. For atheists ignorant of the relevant literature and arguments, the level Rho was fine, though I'd have countered differently and made different rejoinders. For example, I wouldn't have said "how do you know" when they said, "the sun rose a million times in the past," I would have granted them that and asked how that was at all relevant to the question about *future* sun risings. To claim that past risings are relevant to future and -as-of-yet-unobserved-risings, is to employ the inductive principle. I also would not have not allowed them to act as if they couldn't be *certain* that the sun would rise because some extraordinary event happens, such as, say, a supernova or asteroid hitting it, and then use that to justify their lack of absolute certainty in the case of ordinary risings. That's not relevant, the induction argument is more a ceteris paribus one. Lastly, to be more negative, I'm not a fan of claiming that inductive reasoning violates rules of *deductive* logic. That's like claiming a quarterback committed a move that would be called traveling in basketball. Chalk it up to the non-Clarkinian in me.

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  15. there's also very sophisticated responses which make use of probability logic and math, and I many if not most presuppositionalists wouldn't have the resources to answer it, simply because of technical matters.

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  16. CD,

    Lulz... :) iPhone autocorrect actually!

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  17. BTW, not trying to be down on Rho. Good job. Rho!

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  18. Paul,

    Extraordinarily helpful - as usual!

    BTW, your new blog rules.

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  19. That's just odd...one of the atheists admitted to not having thought through the type of answers presuppositionalists ask, at least two people here commented on it, and then Alex said that people only hear what they want to hear. Well...no...people heard what was actually said.

    Regarding Paul's answer to Rohan, I am left wondering what relevance something like the impossibility of the contrary has to do with the PoI. "I still believe" in the IoC, but I agree with everything Paul said there in reply. For two debates that focus heavily upon the PoI see -

    http://www.choosinghats.com/audio/Chris_and_Ben_Debate_edited.mp3

    and

    http://www.choosinghats.com/audio/ChrisMichaelDebate.mp3

    The latter of the two debates was with an MA in Philosophy, but he claimed (not during the debate), "the kind of standards of justification that Plantinga is using are going to strike us as being pretty thin and they’re going to be inconsistent with the desire to be ethical, to be responsible citizens, to go and be concerned about the well being of others and even of ourselves." So the first of more sophisticated moves Paul alludes to above was not open to him, and we must be careful to be fair to the positions of others whether they help or (in this case) hurt themselves with those positions.

    Even if TAG is nothing more than an inductive argument for the existence of a generic god, the atheist remains in a bad spot.

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  21. I had thought that Chris Bolt was too ill to continue contributing so I'll assume that that was another member of the CBC,

    "Even if TAG is nothing more than an inductive argument for the existence of a generic god, the atheist remains in a bad spot."

    No, that's the whole thrust of the counter in my exchanges with the CBC. This is all about an argument from necessity.

    The PA argument is that there needs to be a self sufficient knower (cf the similar argument from necessity for the existence of a prime mover for the origin of the Universe) and furthermore that that self sufficient knower can only be the Christian god.

    If you want to stop after the first premise then there is at least one other non-Abrahamic faith that will do the job, defeating the 'impossibility of the contrary'.

    In which case why is it a requirement to accept the Christian presuppositions in order to argue against Christianity ?

    The atheist can then still point out failings with both faiths on other grounds.

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  22. I think there was some confusion as to POI when applied to sets vs POI as applied to future events. Even if you presuppose a god that guarantees uniformity of nature (UN) you are no better off than any other WV with regards to POI as applied to sets. In the podcast it seemed as Rhology was equating POI for sets with POI for future events when he asked how we could know the sun was “rising” over the ocean where we are not there to observe it. UN does nothing to solve POI when answering the question. It is still possible that even with UN the sun did not rise at some other particular place this morning (I think there are places near the polls that the sun does not rise every morning). While I think we can look at events through time as a kind of set, I’m not sure it makes sense to equate sets in the present with events through time. This may just be splitting hairs though.
    To sum up my thoughts with regards to POI, it would seem that neither WV (naturalist or Christian) has any better reason for using induction with regards to sets than the other since UN does nothing to solve this problem. The real question that should be focused on is what WV can better justify that tomorrow (the future) will be similar to the past in such a way that we can justify generalizing what the future will be like. This is one subject I think the naturalist WV has much more grounds for justification than the Christian.
    On a side note; I was very disappointed in the way the fundamentally flawed group dealt with the questions and objections of Rhology. I think Rhology seems to be willing to have a civil discussion with those of us that do not share his WV that there should be no need to dodge questions and resort to cursing and name calling.

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  23. Even if TAG is nothing more than an inductive argument for the existence of a generic god, the atheist remains in a bad spot.

    "This is all about an argument from necessity."

    Not if TAG is nothing more than an inductive argument.

    "there is at least one other non-Abrahamic faith that will do the job, defeating the 'impossibility of the contrary'."

    Not if TAG is for the existence of a generic god.

    "The atheist can then still point out failings with both faiths on other grounds."

    And the atheist remains in a bad spot.

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  24. If TAG is for the existence of a generic god then it's job done as criticising the Christian worldview does not involve the self refutation of 'borrowing' the Christian presuppositions.

    Huzzah !

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  25. Alex,

    If I missed your explanation, then I expect I missed quite a bit. To be fair to your audience, however, I would suggest that the disjointed discussion and pervasive screaming of personal invective against Rhology went a long way to obscuring whatever clarity you had hoped for in your presentation. Believe me, I didn't "only hear what I wanted to hear." I count it as a blessing that I came away from this mess with anything at all.

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  26. Paul, of course, is involves the self-refutation of borrowing from *theistic* presuppositions. Huzzah! If a non-theist needs theism to argue, so much the worse for atheism. Huzzah! Moreover, us theists can debate amongst each other, and it seems to me that Christianity wins hands down. So we could add that the *probability* you're borrowing from the *Christian* worldview is high, since the probability that Christian theism is true over against other worldviews is high. Huzzah! And lastly, we could argue that some kind of equal ultimacy between the one and many is needed for rational discourse, and the only actual worldview that we know of that does the job is Christianity. Huzzah!

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  27. "If TAG is for the existence of a generic god then it's job done"

    Right, it proves the existence of God.

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  28. It's funny how the Christians here would prefer to banter with so called atheists who won't even argue from their own wv than engage with those that will. This seems to be a sign of weekness of Christian wv.

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  29. @ Paul - so we can argue this without me self-refuting because I'm borrowing the self sufficient knower of another theism ?

    So, basically this is then an argument about evidentialism ?

    Did you mean to change from Presuppositionalism to Evidentialism and affirm the criticisms that Evidentialists make of Presuppositionalism ?

    Huzzah !

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  30. @ JC - the purpose of using another theistic worldview is that the Presuppositionalists have determined that the criteria that they want to use as a method of validating their faith is that it satisfies the requirements for self sufficient knower in the same way as a prime mover satisfies the need for a terminator to the infinite regress of causes and effects.

    In order to refute the Christian claim that only Christianity can provide such a self sufficient knower I need to either provide an alternative mechanism that fulfils the purpose or find an alternative self sufficient knower.

    The latter is simply the easiest and one that I know from personal experience and seems to be causing a few problems for the Christians.

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  31. @Paul, the problem is that if you are saying the argument is sound but is sound for any theistic wv then you are invalidating your own wv. It seems as though you are just saying that the Christian has a point but that any deity will do. Where does this get you? As far as I can tell, nowhere.

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  32. @JC - you're on the money in that I think that any theism that satisfies the criteria of the self sufficient knower will suffice.

    If that can be shown then Christian Presuppositional Apologetics is based on a false premise which is the entire purpose of the exercise.

    If that then means that atheism is bunk on those terms, then so be it. However, that is only on those terms, ie accepting that there must be a self sufficient knower - but that's a whole other argument and one, if anyone has listened to my debates, which others are much better at advocating than me.

    Where my line of argument has success is in accepting that there must be a self sufficient knower and providing a valid alternative to the Christian one.

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  33. Paul Baird,

    Are you having trouble following? Let me lay it out:

    • Chris said atheism was in a bad spot even if TAG doesn't show IoC of the Christian God, but rather argues for a more generic God.

    • You said it didn't leave atheism in a bad spot since there were other religions besides Christianity, and the atheist can point to other non-Abrahamic religions.

    • Chris said, "No, if it argues for theism in general, then atheism is still in a bad way.

    • You said, "No, because then you can't claim I'm borrowing from Christian presuppositions; thus atheism isn't in a bad way. Huzzah!

    • I came in and offered defeaters to this, such as:

    i. The Christian can claim that you're borrowing from *theistic* premises, and if an *atheist* needs to borrow from *theism*, then atheism is in a bad way.

    ii. Moreover, the Christian can weaken the claim and say that you're *probably* borrowing from the Christian worldview even if it's not *necessary* that you must. This still puts atheism in a bad way.

    • You then ask, "So basically this is an argument about evidentialism?"

    • I say, Um, no. First, 'evidentialism' is ambiguous. Are you speaking of the epistemological position or the apologetic position? Either one though is not what I'm talking about. So I have no clue what you're getting at. You seem extremely unfamiliar with the relevant terms, moves, etc. of these debates.

    • You then ask if I "meant to change from presuppositionalism to evidentialism and confirm the criticism the latter gives to the former. Huzzah!"

    • And again, this is unhelpful. I didn't mean to say anything either way about presuppositionalism or evidentialism. I meant to say that "atheism is still in a bad way" even if TAG doesn't show IoC of trinitarian Christianity but rather shows that one must presuppose some form of theism. That point is true regardless of whether one is a presuppositionalist or an evidentialist. Moreover, I have no clue what "criticism" you're referring to. First, there's no such thing as "evidentialism" or "presuppositionalism" as apologetic methodology *per se*. There's plenty of evidentialists who recognize the value and truth of the basic point made by presuppositionalists. And, there's plenty of presuppositionalists who make use of evidences. In fact, there's quite developed understandings of how evidences could work within a presuppositionalist framework, as evidenced by Michael Sudduth's The Reformed Objection to Natural theology (Ashgate, 2009). But if that weren't enough, there's nuanced and sophisticated forms of evidentialism that avoid the pitfalls of more traditional evidentialisms, as evidenced by works like Stephen Wykstra's A Sensible Evidentialism.

    So again, you seem to be very unfamiliar with the more substantive issues of these debates and seem like someone who knows enough to show how much he doesn't know. You know a couple terms and you throw them out there to appear wise to the crowd.

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  34. JC,

    JC said...
    It's funny how the Christians here would prefer to banter with so called atheists who won't even argue from their own wv than engage with those that will. This seems to be a sign of weekness of Christian wv.

    10/09/2011 1:42 PM


    Derive: "This is a sig of weekness of the Christian wv."

    First, your premises say nothing about sets of days, i.e., 'weeks.' So, maybe you meant 'weakness.' Okay, derive that from the premise: "The Christians in this particular T-blog thread would rathe engage a village atheist than JC." Be sure to make explicit missing premises as well as cite your justifications for each premise.

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  35. @ Paul - ok, if you want to start the banter then I'll be happy to oblige.

    So let's look at the Christian Presuppositional Apologetic argument.

    A non-Christian cannot criticise the Christian worldview because in order to use the very reason and logic required to formulate an argument the non-Christian must borrow from the Christian worldview and use the Christian self sufficient knower as revealed in the Biblical text.

    Let me know if I've misunderstood that.

    Ok, so to refute that do I need to make a case for Atheism ?

    No. Atheism is irrelevant.

    The refutation of the proposed argument lies in presenting a viable alternative self sufficient knower. This I can do.

    Now, if you want then assert that Atheism does not benefit from the success of that argument then that is misunderstanding that in terms of Christian Theism the position of Christian A-Theism has been strengthened.

    It is now possible to criticise the Christian worldview without borrowing from the Christian worldview and engaging in self refutation.

    If you are interpreting Atheism as a non-belief in all gods then maybe you have a case and I'd be happy to grant it, pyrrhic as it would be, leaving Christian Presuppositional Apologetics as a cold corpse on the floor.

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  36. @ Paul - oh, you're one of those who hides his blogger profile.

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  37. @Paul, Sure you can be a smart Alec with my spelling, however, I'm doing this from my phone and I think the point was made. As for my statement that you would rather banter with Paul Baird over what magical deity would suffice for Tag when it is not even his wv, it is just that, a statement of my observation. Ofcourse my observation may be incorrect however the continued banter with the "village atheist" (seems like you are implying village idiot) only strengthens my observation. If you would like to Discuss the actual issues you raises with atheism and poi I would be happy to participate. I do not care to banter in support of some wv I do not hold so I will only argue for my wv. I also do not care to participate in making sarcastic remarks about spelling errors and typeos. I admit I did make some assertions in an earlier comment. I would be happy to support them if you have specific questions however I think the comment section here may not the best place. I'm open to other alternatives if you like. Thanks

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  38. JC,

    It wasn't about spelling, it was about your illogical enthymeme. I have no reason to believe you'd be a better dialogue partner than Baird, given your leaps in logic.

    Paul Baird,

    First, there is no such thing as "the" Christian presuppositionalist argument. Presuppositionalism and ists are not all of a piece.

    Second, the claim was that if the argument you gave were replaced with a generic theism, then atheism would be in a bad way, since *some* theistic propositions must be presupposed. You said, "No." You're wrong. And that's the only point I was making. I have no desire to discuss things with you because you seem very ignorant of the relevant literature, terms, etc.

    I think following Schopenhauer's advice is best here:

    "As a sharpening of wits, controversy is often, indeed, of mutual advantage, in order to correct one's thoughts and awaken new views. But in learning and in mental power both disputants must be tolerably equal: If one of them lacks learning, he will fail to understand the other, as he is not on the same level with his antagonist. If he lacks mental power, he will be embittered, and led into dishonest tricks, and end by being rude.

    The only safe rule, therefore, is that which Aristotle mentions in the last chapter of his Topica: not to dispute with the first person you meet, but only with those of your acquaintance of whom you know that they possess sufficient intelligence and self-respect not to advance absurdities; to appeal to reason and not to authority, and to listen to reason and yield to it; and, finally, to cherish truth, to be willing to accept reason even from an opponent, and to be just enough to bear being proved to be in the wrong, should truth lie with him. From this it follows that scarcely one man in a hundred is worth your disputing with him. You may let the remainder say what they please, for every one is at liberty to be a fool - desipere est jus gentium. Remember what Voltaire says: La paix vaut encore mieux que la verite. Remember also an Arabian proverb which tells us that on the tree of silence there hangs its fruit, which is peace.

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  39. @Paul,

    Please feel free to point out where I was illogical. Its possible I missed something in your previous comment or that you may need to be more clear as too what the "leap" was that I took.

    It may be that you are referring to my statement; "This seems to be a sign of weekness of Christian wv". Even though I think you misquoted me with; "This is a sig of weekness of the Christian wv.". If this is the case then please notice the difference between what I actually stated and what you quoted me as saying. By qualifying my statement with "seems" (which you left out in your quotation and replaced with "is") it should be obvious that I was indicating the appearance of weakness. If the leap you are talking about is that of my statement then I need not derive it from anything other than my own opinion based on my observation since that is what "seems" means. It is not and was not intended to be a formal argument of any kind, only an expression of an observation and not of a conclusion.

    I do find it interesting that you would rather focus on my observational opinion which really has no bearing on anything relevant, instead of focusing on my response to the podcast and the issues put forth regarding POI. It is possible I suppose that I should just assume that there is no disagreement with my response.

    Thanks

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  40. JC,

    First, you're trying to pick a fight. You;re trying to rile the Christians up and imply that they can't deal with your awesomeness and so have to mess with lightweights like Baird. I have no time for schoolyard bullying. I always socked them in their jaw and got in trouble, and it never works out right. In any case, your "seemings" was an illogical leap. How in the world you get from "They're dealing with Baird and not me, I'm more important and smart!" to "this seems to point to a weakness in the Christian worldview" simply doesn't follow. How on earth the behavior of less than a half-dozen commenters on one Christian blog among thousands in who they choose to spend their time wrangling with shows you that *the worldview* is weak is beyond me. So, add that to your itching for a bar brawl, and I count myself out. Did you read the Schopenhauer quote, BTW.

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  41. JC,

    FYI, your comment made the same point I made and then you never made an argument for anyone to deal with but announced that naturalists have just as much grounds for justification as the Christian, but made no argument to this effect. So for the record, I was dealing with the only argument you made, that from the Christians' choice of interlocutor to that seeming to show a weakness in the propositions of the worldview. I hope I've provided sufficient reasons for not desiring to spend the little time I have wrangling with you. I've seen nothing to think the pay-off would be worth the cost.

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  42. Paul, I apologize if you think I was trying to pick a fight. I was just hoping to spark an intellectual conversation regarding the issue that was brought up of POI and how our prospective WVs deal with it.

    It sounds as though you agree that both WVs are in the same spot with POI when applied to sets.(?) As to POI with regards to future events I did make an assertion ("This is one subject I think the naturalist WV has much more grounds for justification than the Christian"). From your earlier post (10/08/2011 8:32 PM) it appeared that you were indirectly asserting that your WV can solved POI. It looks as though we both have made a claim here that was not supported in our comments. I think this is a topic that makes for good discussion and debate.

    ReplyDelete
  43. @ Paul - well, what a guy I am in the presence of.

    "First, there is no such thing as "the" Christian presuppositionalist argument. Presuppositionalism and ists are not all of a piece."

    Yes, there is and I outlined the argument that they put forward to me. If you don't think that they are "Christian Presuppositionalists" then perhaps you could descend from your high academic ivory tower, mix with the plebs and enlighten us all as to the correct term.

    "I have no desire to discuss things with you because you seem very ignorant of the relevant literature, terms, etc."

    I read that alot, usually repeatedly, maybe you'll be different.

    "I think following Schopenhauer's advice is best here:"

    Insofar as demonstrating how small your penis is that you have to resort to name-dropping a famous philosopher. You probably own a fast sports car too I bet.

    You do know that this is a public blog published on the Web with an unmoderated comments policy and not an academic journal that is only circulated in the philosophy departments of major universities ?

    "The only safe rule, therefore, is that which Aristotle mentions in the last chapter of his Topica: not to dispute with the first person you meet, but only with those of your acquaintance of whom you know that they possess sufficient intelligence and self-respect not to advance absurdities; to appeal to reason and not to authority, and to listen to reason and yield to it; and, finally, to cherish truth, to be willing to accept reason even from an opponent, and to be just enough to bear being proved to be in the wrong, should truth lie with him. From this it follows that scarcely one man in a hundred is worth your disputing with him. You may let the remainder say what they please, for every one is at liberty to be a fool - desipere est jus gentium. Remember what Voltaire says: La paix vaut encore mieux que la verite. Remember also an Arabian proverb which tells us that on the tree of silence there hangs its fruit, which is peace."

    Two more philosophers names dropped, your penis must be incredibly small if you feel the need to do so in this way. Insecurity perhaps ?

    Why not just state that you think you are too intelligent, too learned and too far up your own backside to enter into a meaningful exchange with anyone who doesn't possess the same qualities as you clearly do ?

    I'm sure we'd all understand.

    Me, I just an ill educated internet hack, so let me have everything you've got, Paul. You know you want to.

    ReplyDelete
  44. Paul Baird,

    "Insofar as demonstrating how small your penis is that you have to resort to name-dropping a famous philosopher. You probably own a fast sports car too I bet."

    I ride a bicycle around with bare feet and I wear skinny jeans. Oh, and I eat tofu. (Btw, I didn't name drop a philosopher, I quoted from one and claimed that I was following his advice on picking and choosing interlocutors. Sorry if it hurst your ego, but I really can't justify the cost wrangling with you. It's not you, it's me.)

    ReplyDelete
  45. JC,

    Saying that, if the Christians here won't deal with you and your awesomeness instead of Baird then their worldview is weak, isn't picking a fight? Okay, if you say so.

    ReplyDelete
  46. Paul Baird,

    Two more philosophers names dropped, your penis must be incredibly small if you feel the need to do so in this way. Insecurity perhaps ?

    Ummm, that was Schopenhauer's quote, guy. Not only are you unfamiliar with relevant and basic terms, thus requiring me to do teaching rather than dialoguing, you don't know what "name dropping" is, and you also don't read very closely. See what I mean? You're not really boosting my confidence in taking things a notch or two up.

    ReplyDelete
  47. Paul, I stand corrected. You are right, my statement was provocative and unnecessary. This is most likely due to my frustration that in most of the debates I've heard these days, including the one on this podcast, seem to be with some sort of light version of atheism or agnostic and in Mr. Baird's case maybe atheopagan (I'm not sure what his position is). To me it just looks like easy targets. I guess I just hoped for a better discussion about issues brought up in the podcast. Thanks

    ReplyDelete
  48. JC, start your own podcast and invite Rhoblogy or some other agreeable theist on and I'm sure you'll get taken up on the offer, then you can run the show the way you want. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  49. Speaking as the resident lurking theistic evolutionist papist here...

    There's something awesome about seeing the Triablogue crew even jokingly described as being in an Ivory Tower.

    Rhology's entries have always been my favorite (I love his accounts of in person engagements) but this thread should be saved, just for the atheist behavior. Wow.

    ReplyDelete
  50. Crude,

    Thanks, I appreciate that, even from a papist evolutionist. ;-)


    JC,

    Your first comment here was "laughable!" Could you answer the question, or do you prefer like the FF podcasters to just laugh instead of answering fundamental questions?

    ReplyDelete
  51. Well, rho, I've listened to the first half hour, and you did a good job of presenting your case. But you still, as also here, here, and here, have failed to show how the "problem" of induction is a problem in real life.

    ReplyDelete
  52. That's high praise, zilch, so I appreciate it. I disagree about the PoI of course, but thanks for listening and letting me know I communicated adequately.

    ReplyDelete
  53. Rhology,

    You had asked in the podcast the following: "Whats the evidence that evidence is a good way to discover truth?"

    I would have answered:

    The evidence that evidence is a good way to discover truth is that if it were not a good way to discover truth you would not be asking for evidence to discover the truth that evidence was a good way to discover truth.

    ReplyDelete
  54. How could you possibly know that is the case?

    ReplyDelete
  55. Ie, maybe the world is indeed meaningless and communication is impossible. Maybe this is all imaginary. Think of that?

    ReplyDelete
  56. Rhology,

    You only asked for evidence which I gave you. Do you not consider my response evidence? If so, why not?



    "maybe the world is indeed meaningless and communication is impossible. Maybe this is all imaginary. Think of that?"

    Why would you think it is all imaginary? What reason do you have for thinking that?

    ReplyDelete
  57. Slow down there, buddy. I'm acting like atheists act here, which means I have no burden of proof and you have to bear all of it.
    I neither have any reason for thinking it is imaginary nor any reason for not thinking it. Prove me wrong. Prove meaning exists.

    And no, your response is not evidence. I'm looking for hard evidence, that you can hold in your hand. And make it peer-reviewed, while you're at it.

    ReplyDelete
  58. Rhology,


    “I'm acting like atheists act here, which means I have no burden of proof and you have to bear all of it.”
    Sounds like you have been talking to the wrong atheists.


    “I neither have any reason for thinking it is imaginary nor any reason for not thinking it. Prove me wrong.”
    I have no idea what you are talking about here or what it has to do with anything. You may need to clarify your position.

    “Prove meaning exists.”
    Sure, I meant to write this.

    “And no, your response is not evidence. I'm looking for hard evidence, that you can hold in your hand. And make it peer-reviewed, while you're at it. “

    Are you suggesting that all evidence is “hard evidence” and that all evidence must be “peer-reviewed”?

    Please, instead of just asserting that my response is not evidence, please show how it is not.

    ReplyDelete
  59. JC,

    Yes, I have. Did you listen to the podcast? Those would be the wrong atheists, if you're looking for people who even understand the issue at hand.


    I have no idea what you are talking about here or what it has to do with anything.

    Oh. Well, if evidence is NOT a good way to discover truth, then wouldn't it pretty much be impossible to know much of anything?


    Sure, I meant to write this.

    You mean, the chemicals in your brain conspired to make your fingers hit the keyboard.


    Are you suggesting that all evidence is “hard evidence” and that all evidence must be “peer-reviewed”?

    That's a great question to ask some of these "wrong atheists". It's not me, it's them.


    Please, instead of just asserting that my response is not evidence, please show how it is not.

    Instead of just asserting it is evidence, please show how it is.

    ReplyDelete
  60. Rhology,

    I did listen to the podcast and no, I do not agree with most of how the atheists responded to your questions.



    Rhology: “I neither have any reason for thinking it is imaginary nor any reason for not thinking it. Prove me wrong.”

    JC: "I have no idea what you are talking about here or what it has to do with anything. You may need to clarify your position."

    Rhology: "Oh. Well, if evidence is NOT a good way to discover truth, then wouldn't it pretty much be impossible to know much of anything?"

    If you want to have a coherent dialog this is not a good way to go about it. I responded very specifically to your statement (“I neither have any reason for thinking it is imaginary nor any reason for not thinking it. Prove me wrong.”) and you take it and apply it to something else entirely.



    "You mean, the chemicals in your brain conspired to make your fingers hit the keyboard."

    Assertion from what basis?



    "That's a great question to ask some of these "wrong atheists". It's not me, it's them."

    I'm not have a dialog with them, I'm having one with you.


    Instead of just asserting it is evidence, please show how it is.

    I gave you a logical argument as evidence. It is not a mere assertion. However, you have only asserted that it was not evidence.

    ReplyDelete
  61. you take it and apply it to something else entirely

    I don't agree. I have not strayed off topic. Let the reader judge.


    Assertion from what basis?

    Tell you what - why don't you let me know a bit about you, what your position is with respect to epistemology and reality, and we can go from there. You're clearly not the same as the atheists I've been talking to. I'm not sure why you chose this combox, but that's OK - you're welcome to talk here.


    I gave you a logical argument as evidence. It is not a mere assertion.

    Precisely, just like we do with atheists who, after hearing us, act like they didn't hear us and keep whining for "hard evidence". I'm glad you're not like them. There's a chance for you.


    you have only asserted that it was not evidence.

    That's exactly right, just like the Fundamentally Flawedcasters hear evidence and then merely assert that it was not evidence.
    Of course, your assertion that it IS evidence doesn't make it evidence.

    So, here is a serious question for you, from me as me, not from me as atheist satirist - If you think X is evidence for Y and I don't, how can we know which of us is right? Is there a higher standard for evidence than our reason?

    ReplyDelete
  62. @ Rhology

    "So, here is a serious question for you, from me as me, not from me as atheist satirist - If you think X is evidence for Y and I don't, how can we know which of us is right? Is there a higher standard for evidence than our reason? "

    Why not simply ask the straight question

    "Do you accept that there needs to be a self sufficient knower ?"

    It's much less deceitful.

    ReplyDelete
  63. Paul B, "deceitful" is tendentious. Prove I'm attempting to deceive.

    What a lout.

    ReplyDelete
  64. @ Paul

    "I ride a bicycle around with bare feet and I wear skinny jeans. Oh, and I eat tofu. (Btw, I didn't name drop a philosopher, I quoted from one and claimed that I was following his advice on picking and choosing interlocutors. Sorry if it hurst your ego, but I really can't justify the cost wrangling with you. It's not you, it's me.)"

    Oh, no there's a typo in your answer !

    And what did any of the quotes that you cited have to do with the matter in hand except to demonstrate a level of insecurity on your part ?

    Feel free to not reply. You didn't manage it last time.

    ReplyDelete
  65. @ Rhology - then why not start with the question that makes the point that you're actually intending to make ?

    As for you calling me a 'lout', it's weak.

    ReplyDelete
  66. Rhology,


    I'm not sure you strayed off topic however I was expressing my confusion of your response to my quote as it appeared to not be related to what was quoted. I only ask for clarification.



    "Tell you what - why don't you let me know a bit about you, what your position is with respect to epistemology and reality, and we can go from there."

    You ask a lot for a comments section but I will give you some labels that describe my views although maybe not fully. (Positive)Atheist, Naturalist, and Determinism.


    "I'm not sure why you chose this combox, but that's OK - you're welcome to talk here."

    If you would like to have discussion elsewhere, just let me know. I agree comment sections are not ideal.

    "Of course, your assertion that it IS evidence doesn't make it evidence."

    I suppose we could go back and forth with this. I presented a logical argument as evidence with a logical reason as to why It would be evidence. You have not shown otherwise.


    " If you think X is evidence for Y and I don't, how can we know which of us is right? Is there a higher standard for evidence than our reason? "


    That is an interesting question however I am left wondering what is it that you think evidence is? What do you consider evidence to be?

    ReplyDelete
  67. JC,

    If you're a naturalist determinist, please explain how the bubbles of your brain that resulted in letters appearing on this screen are anything more than mere brain gas, determined by chemical reactions.
    We don't ask cans of Dr Pepper whether it's winning its debate with the can of Mountain Dew.
    Since you lack a mind, but have merely a brain, and your brain is determined by its chemical makeup, please let me know why you think your assemblage of chemicals has any access to truth, and that your cognitive faculties are reliably aimed at producing true beliefs.

    I suppose we could go back and forth with this. I presented a logical argument as evidence with a logical reason as to why it wouldn't be evidence. You have not shown otherwise.


    " If you think X is evidence for Y and I don't, how can we know which of us is right? Is there a higher standard for evidence than our reason? "

    That is an interesting question however I am left wondering what is it that you think evidence is? What do you consider evidence to be?


    Sorry, I'm not in the mood to answer questions when you're leaving so many on the table. this one is really important. Please answer it. use your own definition of evidence, and knock me out.

    ReplyDelete
  68. Paul B,
    why not start with the question that makes the point that you're actually intending to make?

    I have quite a long paper trail here and at my own blog. I'm not that hard to figure out, I'm just hard to refute.

    ReplyDelete
  69. @ Rhology - and modest too. I like that in the Christians here. So, accepting the principle that lies at the end of the unnecessarily tortuous paper trail -> there must be a self sufficient knower.

    Now what ?

    ReplyDelete
  70. Paul B,

    So are you saying that there IS a higher standard for evidence than our (ie, human) reason?

    ReplyDelete
  71. @ Rhology - I'm surely not that difficult to fathom.

    Pro tem "there is a self sufficient knower"

    Now what ?

    ReplyDelete
  72. Rhology,

    "If you're a naturalist determinist, please explain how the bubbles of your brain that resulted in letters appearing on this screen are anything more than mere brain gas, determined by chemical reactions."

    You are committing the fallacy of composition here and you apparently do not understand naturalism.


    "We don't ask cans of Dr Pepper whether it's winning its debate with the can of Mountain Dew. "

    I think Mountain Dew would win!


    "Since you lack a mind, but have merely a brain"

    Again, you do not understand naturalism. We still have minds. I think you are confusing naturalism with reductionism.



    "I presented a logical argument as evidence with a logical reason as to why it wouldn't be evidence."

    I must have missed it and cannot find it in the comment trail. Please restate the reason you gave as to why it wouldn't be evidence.



    Evidence: that which tends to prove or disprove something; ground for belief; proof. -dictionary.com

    ReplyDelete
  73. There's an awful lot of Alan/Rhology trying to avoid answering questions here...

    ReplyDelete
  74. Rhology,

    What do you mean a higher standard for evidence than human reason?

    ReplyDelete
  75. You are committing the fallacy of composition here and you apparently do not understand naturalism.

    How precisely do the chemicals in your brain add up into something more than a collection of chemicals?
    Does 2+2=5 in your world?
    And what precisely do I misunderstand? Please be specific.


    We still have minds.

    Material? If not, what are they?


    Please restate the reason you gave as to why it wouldn't be evidence.

    It was the same reason you gave - a naked assertion.


    What do you mean a higher standard for evidence than human reason?

    I can't state it any better than before. I repeat here:
    If you think X is evidence for Y and I don't, how can we know which of us is right?



    Alex B:
    This from the guy who never answered SyeTenB's first question with anything other than blind faith and left dozens of my questions on the table during our podcast.
    Why don't you enumerate the questions I've not answered?

    ReplyDelete
  76. Alan, you, me, Skype - let's discuss this again right now.

    ReplyDelete
  77. Atheists who think they can educate Christians in their own theology are worthy of little more than utter pity and derision, Alex B.

    Besides, I don't talk to river nymph worshipers. That's just dum.

    ReplyDelete
  78. Rhology,


    My Assertion: “The evidence that evidence is a good way to discover truth”
    Reason: “is that if it were not a good way to discover truth you would not be asking for evidence to discover the truth that evidence was a good way to discover truth.”

    Your Assertion: “your response is not evidence”
    Reason: NONE


    As anyone here will notice my assertion was not naked as it was given along with a reason to back it up.

    ReplyDelete
  79. @ Rhology

    Frenchman: You don't frighten us, English pig-dogs! Go and boil your bottoms, sons of a silly person! I blow my nose at you, so-called Ah-thoor Keeng, you and all your silly English K-n-n-n-n-n-n-n-niggits! [makes taunting gestures at them]
    Sir Galahad: What a strange person.
    King Arthur: Now, look here, my good man--
    Frenchman: I don't want to talk to you no more, you empty-headed animal food trough wiper! I fart in your general direction! Your mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries!
    Sir Galahad: Is there someone else up there we can talk to?
    Frenchman: No, now go away or I shall taunt you a second time!

    Monty Python and the Holy Grail

    Alex - be told !

    :-)

    ReplyDelete
  80. How precisely do the chemicals in your brain add up into something more than a collection of chemicals?
    They don’t “add up”.

    Does 2+2=5 in your world? Nope

    And what precisely do I misunderstand? Please be specific.
    1. The nature of consciousness.
    2. The ontology of consciousness
    Just to name a couple.

    ReplyDelete
  81. JC,

    Weren't you the one who was earlier trying to goad some people into a debate? How do you expect to have a debate with what barely count as more than one word responses.

    Consider:
    -----
    Atheist: The POE proves God can't can't exist because it's inconsistent that God be all loving, powerful, and for evil to exist.

    Christian: Wrong.

    Atheist: How is it wrong?

    Christian: It's a non-sequitur.

    Atheist: How can an all powerful and loving God allow evil to exist?

    Christian: You don't understand some metaphysical distinctions and Christian theology.

    -----

    I would think either the Christian isn't much interested in dialogue or the Christian is purposefully keeping it vague so he might mask some inadequacy in his position.

    Right now it looks like you're doing one or the other.

    ReplyDelete
  82. Jonathan,

    I if you look at the totality of my responses with Rhology you will see that I gave quite a bit of information throughout. My last comment to him (which is what I think you are referring to) was on a subject that was not the main topic and I felt no need to derail the conversation.

    ReplyDelete
  83. If you're a naturalist determinist, please explain how the bubbles of your brain that resulted in letters appearing on this screen are anything more than mere brain gas, determined by chemical reactions.
    We don't ask cans of Dr Pepper whether it's winning its debate with the can of Mountain Dew.
    Since you lack a mind, but have merely a brain, and your brain is determined by its chemical makeup, please let me know why you think your assemblage of chemicals has any access to truth, and that your cognitive faculties are reliably aimed at producing true beliefs.


    We've had this discussion with rho before- my answer is here. The problem is that rho assumes without proof or evidence that "true beliefs" require something other than chemicals (or atoms, or matter...) in some form. Basically, it's a form of vitalism: according to rho's unspoken premise, if the truth can be reduced to some configuration of chemicals then it's not the "real" truth, which apparently requires some sort of supernatural component. That's a fine and traditional position, but I'd like to see the unspoken premises spoken and supported with evidence from the real world.

    ReplyDelete
  84. JC,

    How do you know what is true?

    ReplyDelete
  85. Rhology,


    “How do you know what is true?”

    This is a somewhat loaded question. Knowledge is “justified true belief” so your question assumes that which it is asking (How do you have justified true belief of what is true?). To answer the question, I would also have to assume that which is being questioned and this would be just as circular. I don’t mean to be dismissive but it may be helpful if you put forth a better question or maybe restate the question is some different manner.

    ReplyDelete
  86. Asking how you know what is true is a bad question?

    OK.

    Tell you what, maybe you can find someone else to play your games with. My time is too limited. Best wishes!

    ReplyDelete
  87. Rhology,


    “Asking how you know what is true is a bad question?”

    As I said before it is a loaded question that assumes what it is asking and therefore is only meant to invite a circular response begging the question.


    “Tell you what, maybe you can find someone else to play your games with. My time is too limited. Best wishes!”

    This is a common response when someone doesn’t get the answer they want however it is no game to me and it does not change my assessment of the question. If you want intelligent responses you must have intelligent questions. If you want I will gladly show how the question is problematic simply by letting you give your own answer to your question and we can see how circular it is. If you can show that it is not circular and does not beg the question then I will concede that I was wrong in my assessment of it.

    ReplyDelete
  88. The question is designed to expose your epistemology of truth.
    So you don't know how you know what is true, then. Heck of a way to live.

    ReplyDelete
  89. Rhology,

    You may be dissatisfied with my response to the question yet when asked for clarification or for you to show how it was answerable with out being circular you provide nothing but conjecture. Please if you can, show me how you can answer the question with out being circular and question begging and then we can move forward.

    ReplyDelete
  90. I can trust the Word of a self-authenticating God Who never lies, b/c presupposing Him allows grounding of intelligibility and reason.

    What can you presuppose that does so?

    ReplyDelete
  91. How do you know it is true that presupposing God allows for grounding of inteligabillity?

    I suppose I could just presuppose that the world has produced an intelligent agent(me) and that the world is intelligible and that because of this I am able to know some truths about the world.

    ReplyDelete
  92. I presuppose the God of the Bible, Who reveals Himself such that He allows for grounding of intelligibility.

    OK, so "the world has produced" you, eh? In what way is that self-authenticating? Aren't you missing a few things and smuggling in a few others? What are you actually presupposing? What is the "world" you referenced? What does "produced" mean?

    ReplyDelete
  93. @ Rhology - and don't forget the caveat - it's only your god because of the virtuous circular reasoning. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  94. Rhology,


    JC: How do you know it is true that presupposing God allows for grounding of intelligibility?

    Rhology: I know it is true that presupposing the God of the bible allows for grounds of intelligibility because I presuppose the God of the bible which allows for grounds of intelligibility.

    JC: How do you know it is true that presupposing the God of the bible allows for grounding of intelligibility which allows for grounding of the presupposition of the God of the bible? And on, and on, and on, and on……

    How do you not see the circularity of your position and how the original question is not answerable without a circular response?


    OK, so "the world has produced" you, eh?

    Yes


    In what way is that self-authenticating?

    To deny one’s own existence is a self contradiction and therefore “self-authenticating”.


    Aren't you missing a few things and smuggling in a few others?

    If you think I missed something please give details.


    What are you actually presupposing?

    You asked what “could” I presuppose that allows for intelligibility and I gave you an answer.


    What is the "world" you referenced?

    We could just go with universe but I think there can be some interchange in actual usage of the words.


    What does "produced" mean?

    To cause to occur or exist; give rise to

    ReplyDelete
  95. Rho - I am late to the party, I know, but I just finished listening to (i.e. enduring) the podcast. Wow. I am thrilled not only with your exceptional demonstration of the presupp method, but also your ability to maintain your cool in the midst of such chaos. Despite the foul language and misrepresentations, God was indeed glorified in this exchange.

    BK

    ReplyDelete
  96. Thanks BK. I appreciate it.

    ReplyDelete
  97. JC,

    How did you learn the meaning of "produced"? If you don't know how you know what is true, how do you know that you have arrived upon the true definition?

    ReplyDelete
  98. How about defining "true" for us, rho. Otherwise, we're talking past one another.

    ReplyDelete
  99. "true" = that which corresponds to reality.

    ReplyDelete
  100. Rhology,

    It seems you concede on the issue of your original question and now have moved on to doing it again.


    "How did you learn the meaning of "produced"? "

    I can “know” the meaning of “produced” because it is an institutional fact.


    "If you don't know how you know what is true, how do you know that you have arrived upon the true definition?"

    Plurium Interrogationum

    ReplyDelete
  101. JC,

    I figured I'd try to ask a question you might decide you wanted to try to answer.

    Please define your terms "institutional fact" and "Plurium Interrogationum".

    ReplyDelete
  102. “Institutional fact” = a fact by convention.

    "Plurium Interrogationum" = A loaded question that assumes a premise that is either not true or is disputed.

    I will gladly do my best to answer any question you have as long as it is a valid question.

    ReplyDelete
  103. Someone who doesn't want to answer how he knows something is true is not really someone I feel like engaging with a lot of vigor.

    ReplyDelete
  104. Rhology,

    I have answered every valid question you have posed so I don’t think it’s a matter of me not wanting to answer; it seems more like you did not get the answer you want or expected. As I already pointed out, your original question was fallacious and I already gave the reason why and you proved my point with your attempt to answer it. Not only did you prove my point by begging the question, you also stated that you “know” what’s true by just assuming that thousands of other things are true. I don’t know how anyone would consider that a sound theory of knowledge. “I know (A) is true because I assume (B through Z) is true.” Heck, why couldn’t I just assume “I know” and therefore anyone who disagrees is wrong. If I did, I would be assuming a whole lot less you. Of course, no one would accept this as a sound theory of knowledge.

    ReplyDelete
  105. you also stated that you “know” what’s true by just assuming that thousands of other things are true.

    Mmm, not really. Just one thing.

    ReplyDelete
  106. @ Rhology and on what a basis too - because you say so.

    ReplyDelete
  107. Mmm, not really. Someone else said so.

    Although "because you said so" better describes atheism.

    ReplyDelete
  108. Rhology,


    You said you “know what’s true” by assuming the “God of the Bible”.

    I’m sorry, but that is way more than one thing. We could just start with the number of the books in the bible. That would be sixty six assumptions right there. You also have to assume each claim in each book is also true. I’m sure this is probably well over a thousand assumptions you must make.
    The number of assumptions aside, I would say even one is too much for the question you put forth.

    How about a Skype debate or something? It does not have to be formal. I’m not sure what format you like but we could go with the same format as the podcast that sparked our discussion. (Minus all the cursing and hostility of course)

    ReplyDelete
  109. JC - good luck with that, but I think that what you've read from Rhology is about as deep as the whole PA argument goes. The rest is repetition.

    ReplyDelete
  110. "true" = that which corresponds to reality.

    So far so good, rho. But this begs some more questions, viz.:

    What does truth consist of, and what form does it take? What exactly does "correspond" mean? What exactly is "reality"?

    ReplyDelete
  111. JC,

    . We could just start with the number of the books in the bible. That would be sixty six assumptions right there.

    That follows the one presupposition. I don't presuppose that; I conclude it from study, given TGotB.


    You also have to assume each claim in each book is also true.

    Ditto.

    As for a Skypeversation, eh, maybe. I don't know how interested I am in talking to someone who thinks that asking how we know whether stuff is true is a bad question.


    zilch,

    Those are great questions. I'd love to see you address them in light of your stated position sometime.

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  112. Rhology,


    “I don't know how interested I am in talking to someone who thinks that asking how we know whether stuff is true is a bad question. “

    You question was: “How do you know what is true?”

    I explained why it is a bad question and you proved my point with your own question begging answer. I really don’t know what’s so hard to understand about this. If you think it is NOT a question that is only intended to solicit a circular question begging response then you should be able to provide an answer to the question without a circular question begging response and you have not provided one. As far as I am concerned, the issue of the invalid question is over until you are able to show otherwise. I would prefer to move the conversation forward in hopes that it can become more productive.

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  113. Yes, that's fine - you're on record saying that "how do you know what is true?" is an invalid question.

    Now that it's been openly stated, please go ahead, advance the conversation. Change the subject if necessary.

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  114. Gee, I hope that’s not my permanent record!

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  115. Rho- yes, they're great questions, in fact they're classic. My answers are something like this:

    What does truth consist of, and what form does it take?

    Truth is a model or description of the world, in the form of thoughts, concepts, or actions. There is no hard and fast line that can be drawn between "truth" and "action that produces desired future". For instance, I could believe that what I am tossing to the bullfrog are BBs and not flies, and that could be called a "true" belief, whereas the bullfrog could believe that what it is snapping up are "small dark points moving in my field of vision" (without words, of course), and that would also be "true". But the frog would be wrong (also without words) in putting the BBs in the same class as flies, as far as nutritional value goes. One correspondence is true; the other not.

    What exactly does "correspond" mean?

    "Correspond" means "maps" or "describes" more or less well. That is, a truth corresponds to reality to the extent to which it accurately describes it, or to use Plato's metaphor, pulls the right bird out of the cage. This is usually a matter of degree and not one of right or wrong.

    What exactly is "reality"?

    "Reality" is simply the entire Universe, the way it is.

    Okay, rho, now your turn. Please return the favor and answer the same questions.

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  116. How do you know those things, zilch? Sounds like you think you're omniscient or something.

    I don't really have any objection to your answers except to point out that you are acting like a Christian in answering them. A consistent atheist would have to say "Dunno!"

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  117. No, rho, I don't think I'm omniscient. Those are merely my definitions. Let's hear yours.

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  118. Rhology,

    What do you mean when you say "know"?

    What do you consider "knowledge" to be?

    What kind of "knowledge" would you consider your answers to the previous two questions?

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  119. Again, rho, you are employing your parochial definitions. To be a consistent atheist, or Muslim for that matter, would I have to say "dunno" when a kid asks me what two plus two equals? Am I borrowing from the Christian worldview to answer "four"? Would Moses have been borrowing from the Christian worldview to answer "four" to the same question, or was he covered under the Chosen People plan? If so, at exactly what point in time was it dishonest for Jews to not say "dunno"?

    cheers from cold but not bizarre Vienna, zilch

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  120. ...and once again we see Alan failing to do what he DEMANDS of others - answering questions.

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  121. Patience is definitely not Alex B's strong suit.

    zilch said:
    No, rho, I don't think I'm omniscient

    Good.
    So, since you know less than 0.0000000000000000000000001% of all things that there are to know, how do you know that what you think you know isn't contradicted by the 99.99999999999999999% of other things that you don't know?
    You'd defined truth as: Truth is a model or description of the world, in the form of thoughts, concepts, or actions.
    But you don't even know whether that's a good definition of truth, since it could be different in the other 99.9999999999999999% of the total information in the universe that you don't know.
    Further, zilch, do you know that all of this won't change in the next second? Let me help here - you don't know that. So how do you know your definition of truth will be relevant in the future? How do you know it was relevant 1000 yrs ago before you were around or before anyone was writing about it?


    JC said:
    What do you mean when you say "know"?

    What do you consider "knowledge" to be?


    Knowledge is justified true belief.



    What kind of "knowledge" would you consider your answers to the previous two questions?

    I'm afraid I don't follow. What kind of knowledge? What do you mean?

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  122. Okay, rho, you've gone into your "if questioned, ask further questions" mode. Not much I can say here, if you don't respond to some of the questions you've been asked.

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  123. Rhology - Sye Tenbruggencate in slo mo.

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  124. Rhology,

    By "kind of knowledge" I'm asking is it objective, subjective, probabilistic, institutional, etc...

    Would you agree that not all knowledge is equal? For example, in your last comment to zilch you seem to be equating objective knowledge about the universe with institutional knowledge about words. While it could be that zilch may only know a fraction of what is possible to know about the universe and that the vast amount of what he does not know could contradict what he thinks he knows now, it would not follow that the he would also have a 99.9999999999..% chance of being contradicted with institutional knowledge of the word “truth”.

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  125. Rhology - Sye Tenbruggencate in slo mo.

    Man...if only.

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  126. When you say "institutional", I presume you're referring to "the few dozen people I've asked about this to and/or read them on"?

    Would that be statistically significant?

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  127. By institutional I mean exactly what it means.

    Institutional -
    1. of, pertaining to, or established by institution.
    2. of or pertaining to organized establishments, foundations, societies, or the like, or to the buildings devoted to their work.

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  128. Don't sell yourself short, rho. I know from experience that Sye couldn't compose a poem that scans properly if his life depended on it. And I don't know for sure, but I bet you could whip up a really wicked limerick.

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  129. established by institution.

    Yes.
    Why should anyone accept what has been put in place by a human institution? Isn't that the equivalent of an argumentum ad populum?

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  130. Rhology,


    “Why should anyone accept what has been put in place by a human institution?”

    If you really believe that, you must just go throw all your money away now since it has no meaning for you. You must also stop all communicating as words have no meaning for you. Since all these things are “put in place by human institution”.


    “Isn't that the equivalent of an argumentum ad populum? “

    NO, it’s not even an argument; it’s a matter of fact. Things like words, money, certifications, etc are all facts based on institutions and only have meaning because of the institutions. If you dispute what a dollar is then I can appeal to the institution that says what a dollar is (the U.S. Treasury) to prove you wrong and I would not have committed the “argumentum ad populum”.

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  131. @ JC, or least he should send it to us. We do not need to 'justify' money in order to be able to use it.

    You do realise guys that when you do finally run of patience with Rhology he will post links all over the Presupp blogosphere claiming victory.

    It's argument by attrition.

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  132. If you really believe that, you must just go throw all your money away now since it has no meaning for you.

    Not an answer, just an argument from unsavory consequence. You don't like it, so you can't consider it as being possibly true.
    I'm responding to you on YOUR grounds. This has nothing to do with my own position.



    Things like words, money, certifications, etc are all facts based on institutions and only have meaning because of the institutions.

    I thought we were talking about knowledge.

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  133. We are talking about knowledge. You asked how one could know the meaning of a word. I pointed out that it's institutional knowledge and you seem to have no idea what that is. You then asked “Why should anyone accept what has been put in place by a human institution?” and I showed you why. Your misunderstanding of the topic does not bode well for your epistimology.

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  134. Paul Baird said (in a comment perhaps caught in the spam filter and hopefully to be released later):

    We do not need to 'justify' money in order to be able to use it.

    LOL yes you do actually. Try spending acorns and see how far you get.

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  135. Mm, not really, JC. You asked:

    What kind of "knowledge" would you consider your answers to the previous two questions?

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  136. @ Rhology

    "LOL yes you do actually. Try spending acorns and see how far you get."

    In an 'acorn' based economy you could do just that.

    Money is simply a means to make transactions easier by establishing a common exchange.

    If you think it needs a greater 'justification' than that then I'd like to see it.

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  137. Rhology,

    You are correct; I did ask what kind of "knowledge" would you consider your answers to the previous two questions? I am still waiting on an answer.

    As for our last few comments about institutional knowledge it was based on my comment about your 99.999..% argument with zilch where seem to be equating objective knowledge about the universe with institutional knowledge about words. You also never addressed the issue. This can be tracked back in further in the thread where you asked “how do you know that you have arrived upon the true definition”. You seem to think all knowledge is equal and this is a mistake on your part and shows that your epistemology is not well thought out.

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  138. seem to be equating objective knowledge about the universe with institutional knowledge about words

    Here is what I'd said:
    But you don't even know whether that's a good definition of truth, since it could be different in the other 99.9999999999999999% of the total information in the universe that you don't know.

    Perhaps you think that the definition of truth is something that is merely decided among humans, rather than being a more fundamental relation to reality. You're welcome to think it, but it leads to absurdity.

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