Friday, March 03, 2006

Is everything doubtful?

John W. Loftus said:

“Hmmmm. You need a basic philosophy class. There is nothing which we humans believe that isn't subjet to some intellectual doubt.”

Hmmmm. A really nice self-refuting statement. You need a basic philosophy class.

i) His statement assumes that I exist; that there’s such a thing as philosophy, as well as places where I can go to take a course in philosophy.

Loftus doesn’t doubt that I exist. He doesn’t doubt that there is such a thing as philosophy. He doesn’t doubt that there are places where I can take Philosophy 101.

Hence, his statement is only true if you don’t apply his statement to the statement itself.

ii) Everything is not doubtful. We only judge something to be doubtful in relation to something we do not doubt. We only find something to be doubtful because it conflicts with something we don’t find to be doubtful.

If everything were dubious, there’d be no benchmark of dubiety.

Necessary truth-conditions are not subject to uncertainty.

iii) Much of what philosophy does is to indulge in hypotheticals and thought-experiments.

But the ability to pose an artificial scenario is not the same as doubting what we believe or know to be true.


  1. My head is spinning, but I agree with you Steve.

  2. The Duhbunking gang never cease to amaze me. I offered an honest critique of Loftus article called "The Bible Debunks itself" and the only thing he could think to say was something like this:

    Are you an intelligent person? Do you understand what I wrote?

    He later removed that comment and put something a little more diplomatic in its place. The point is these guys will never admit that there epistemology is fatally flawed. I really feel sorry for them. They can't seem to come up with a cogent argument.

  3. edit *there should be their

  4. k7, I'm not sure how your comments relate to the post, but quick answer:

    1) No.

    2) Yes--there *can* be one, but whether there is or whether it is right is a different question.

    3) This one's a little tricky due to the structure of the question. "Does not the prescence...not force a Christian..." But there's nothing about the vastness of the universe that would alter anything regarding the life on Earth. It doesn't change the "uniqueness" of Earth unless they are exact duplicates of Earth.

    4) Possibly--the real question is: if life created in the image of God elsewhere exists, is it affected by the sin of Adam? The Bible doesn't answer this question. Therefore, I would assume either it doesn't matter or else other life in the image of God doesn't exist.

    5) I have no idea. I, personally, don't see what difference it would make whether galaxies exist or not regarding Christian doctrine.

  5. Addendum:

    What is the traditional take by Christian apologists on this subject - cosmology vis-a-vis the Word of God and biblical doctrine - (it would have to be a modern take, of course, since galaxies weren't discovered until the 20th century)?

    Can something really be considered "traditional" if it wasn't around until the 20th century?

  6. "You need a basic philosophy class."
    I read that and cringed because I knew you were going to take him to task. Nice response.