Thursday, December 31, 2015

Seneca guns

A common tactic of atheists is to change the subject. Instead of engaging the actual evidence for a particular claim, like evidence for God's existence, or Biblical miracles, they create a diversion by shifting the discussion to an alleged parallel. They try to turn this into a debate over the possibility, probability, credibility, or falsifiability of Russell's celestial teapot, Mackie's invisible gardener, Sagan's garage dragon, and the FSM. Or they compare post-Resurrection appearances to alien abductions. 

The tactic is to stipulate that these are analogous to God or Biblical miracles. There's rarely a supporting argument to demonstrate that these are, indeed, analogous. 

I notice that Sean Gerety resorts to the same tactic when it comes to possible evidence for occult entities (e.g. ghosts, shapeshifters). Instead of discussing the cases I cite, instead of engaging the evidence in those cases, he trots out Bigfoot and The Amityville Horror. That, however, is a decoy.

i) To begin with, citing a weaker case, a case that's less well-attested, a case that may be less inherently credible, does nothing to prejudge a stronger case. Each example needs to be assessed individually. You can't validly use one to judge another. 

ii) In addition, it's not my epistemic duty to have informed opinions about Bigfoot, The Amityville Horror, Loch Ness Monster, Yeti, friar's lantern, Seneca guns, &c. For instance, there are cases where I might reasonably suspend judgment, because I haven't studied that issue in sufficient detail. 

iii) Furthermore, withholding judgment in some cases hardly entails that I ought to withhold judgement in all cases. Likewise, I might deem one case to be better attested than another. It would be irrational to adopt a uniform position without considering the evidence, which varies from one case to another. 


  1. When the elephant of naturalism once has his nose in the door, he will not be satisfied until he is all the way in.- Cornelius Van Til, A Survey of Christian Epistemology, p. 77

    Sean called Steve a "shapeshifter." He wrote:

    Steve “Shapeshifter” Hays has responded in much the way I knew he would, which makes him a pretty predictable shapeshifter.


    (Hays may actually be a shapeshifter as he seems to be a one trick pony):

    Sean also repeatedly referred to Van Tillian Monkey Men and magic lizard people. In the spirit of fun, maybe we should start calling Sean The Elephant Man because of his functional atheism and the Van Til quote above. Because of his empirical skepticism, Sean can't be sure he's a man. So he can't say (as in the movie) "I'm not an animal! I am a human being." He can't look in the mirror and *KNOW* he's a human being. He only opines it. Since, Clarkians accept Aristotle's three cognitive states of 1. knowledge, 2. ignorance or 3. opinion and (as Clarkians) believe they can only know the explicit statements of Scripture or propositions validly deduced from Scripture via logically necessary inferences.

    Clarkians like to point out that Jude 1:10 refers to animals as "ἄλογα ζῷα." Aloga being a form of logos with the privative alpha as a prefix that negates the word logos. It means without word, without reason or irrational. But Jude 1:10 doesn't say all animals are aloga. We can only infer that some are. We know that at least one other created species besides humans possess reason, viz. angels. Given Clarkian disdain for induction, they don't know by empirical experience that there aren't any rational animals in existence. The Bible refers to a talking snake and donkey. So, for all Sean knows, maybe he actually is a naturalistic Elephant Man.

    [Note this is all told tongue-in-cheek. Anyone who gets offended because of this needs to purchase a sense of humor on eBay. I'm not disrespecting a fellow believer. I'm parodying Sean's silliness.]

  2. Full disclosure...I had to look up "Seneca guns". Learn something new every day.

    1. I'm pretty sure they're one of those fully-automatic armor piercing magazine clip-holding assault weapons that would have been banned except that Republicans want black people dead.

    2. Well, given the nature of this blog my first thought was it was an oblique reference to the Elder or Younger, but then the "guns" appellation seemed anachronistic, so I was like..."huh?"

      Anyway...I think the cause probably exploding meteorites in the upper atmosphere.