Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Death isn't good for us

A very old Jewish man called his wife to bed. "I am going to die. Please call a priest -- I wish to convert to Catholicism." His wife responded with shock and disbelief, reminding her husband that they had been devout Jews all their lives. "I know, dear," he said, "but isn't it better that one of them should die than one of us?" --Anonymous.


  1. haw haw haw!!!

    great post paul!

    haw haw haw!!!

  2. Hey baldy,

    Take this:


    1) They fail to grasp that the assumption of uniformity of nature is considered to be only a necessary, not sufficient justification for induction BY LOGICIANS, and thus the UON is not used as a justification for induction by LOGICIANS in the first place! So they attack a strawman born of their ignorance of logic.

    2) They misunderstand the actual problem of induction - it is not the circular relationship between induction and the 'uniformity of nature' but a concern about a logical connection between a sample and a population. No one uses the UON to justify induction.

    3) Their attempts to 'solve' the 'problem of induction' by arguing for an assumption of uniformity of 'god' (the implication of presuppositionalism) therefore do not even address the actual 'problem', seeing as the UON isn't used to justify induction in the first place! Furthermore, the UOG argument leads to even greater problems than using the UON to justify induction.

    4) Finally, they fail to grasp that it is a mistake to presume that a failure to provide an adequate justification for induction leaves us without any grounds to rely on induction other than 'faith': The fact one cannot provide a justification for a system doesn't imply that one cannot know that the system is useful. A child is unable to prove that his name is his name; does this mean that he is without any grounds for holding that his name is his name? Knowledge and justification are two different philosophical concepts. The Problem of Induction relates to philosophical justification.

  3. I think the video you're talking about is this one, stupid. That's where the 4 points come from. Realize that Todangst is leaving his attacks on presuppositionalism deliberately vague, so as to make it look like he knows what he's talking about. He doesn't.

    PS I dealt with your linked video at my own blogsite here.

  4. Hi Anonymouse,

    Can you please cite sources where presuppositionalists make the claims being attributed to them and refuted? Thanks.

    I also find it curious that the presuppositionalists are critiqued for addressing arguments for induction by assuming the UoN when it has actually been the case that some have tried to justify induction this way:


    "It must be known to us that the existence of some one sort of thing, A, is a sign of the existence of some other sort of thing, B, either at the same time as A or at some earlier or later time, as, for example, thunder is a sign of the earlier existence of lightning. If this were not known to us, we could never extend our knowledge beyond the sphere of our private experience; and this sphere, as we have seen, is exceedingly limited. The question we have now to consider is whether such an extension is possible, and if so, how it is effected. "


    "If we are challenged as to why we believe that it will continue to rise as heretofore, we may appeal to the laws of motion: the earth, we shall say, is a freely rotating body, and such bodies do not cease to rotate unless something interferes from outside, and there is nothing outside to interfere with thee earth between now and to-morrow. Of course it might be doubted whether we are quite certain that there is nothing outside to interfere, but this is not the interesting doubt. The interesting doubt is as to whether the laws of motion will remain in operation until to-morrow. If this doubt is raised, we find ourselves in the same position as when the doubt about the sunrise was first raised."


    "Experience has shown us that, hitherto, the frequent repetition of some uniform succession or coexistence has been a cause of our expecting the same succession or coexistence on the next occasion. Food that has a certain appearance generally has a certain taste, and it is a severe shock to our expectations when the familiar appearance is found to be associated with an unusual taste."


    "The problem we have to discuss is whether there is any reason for believing in what is called 'the uniformity of nature'. The belief in the uniformity of nature is the belief that everything that has happened or will happen is an instance of some general law to which there are no exceptions. The crude expectations which we have been considering are all subject to exceptions, and therefore liable to disappoint those who entertain them. But science habitually assumes, at least as a working hypothesis, that general rules which have exceptions can be replaced by general rules which have no exceptions. 'Unsupported bodies in air fall' is a general rule to which balloons and aeroplanes are exceptions. But the laws of motion and the law of gravitation, which account for the fact that most bodies fall, also account for the fact that balloons and aeroplanes can rise; thus the laws of motion and the law of gravitation are not subject to these exceptions."


    That was bertrand Russell. Even he notes that peopel have tried to answer the problem of induction be appealing to the UoN. So, it is confusing why the Christian would be blamed for answering certain arguments the atheist has given.

    Thus I do not find your 4 points bothersome since I don't know of any presuppositionalist who argues that way, and I also find some characterizations to be unfair since it was noted even by Russell that people have tried to justify induction by assuming the UoN.


  5. Baldy,

    If you're saying what Todangst is saying isn't right then why don't you show us where we've gone wrong? And why can't we use Bayes' theory as a justification for induction?


    Kiss my ass.

  6. Anonymouse,

    You are putting forward the positive critique. Usually scholarly critiques will cite or quote those they critique. The burden is on you to show that you're actually critiquing an actual position. I already showed you that (1) and (2) were straw men and that people did indeed do precisely what you said they did not do. So, why should I even continue dealing with such obvious ignorance. Take another one:

    "Finally, they fail to grasp that it is a mistake to presume that a failure to provide an adequate justification for induction leaves us without any grounds to rely on induction other than 'faith' The fact one cannot provide a justification for a system doesn't imply that one cannot know that the system is useful."

    I actually agree to an extent. I do not hold that if one cannot justify P then one cannot know that P.

    So, who the heck are you trying to critique? What's the cash value of your post? That you can say "they hold..." even when "they don't hold" and then jump around like an idiot and try to dance a jig with your no-rythm self? That you can call me "baldy" and giggle like a school girl about how you're decimating theism?

  7. I'm paul manata
    and I'm on the mike
    gonna hip to the hop
    thro gods holy reich

    If yo' diss my god
    say he ain't all that
    gonna convince ya'
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    my rythms smooth
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    if you dis my god
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    my x-ian rhymes gonna
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    if you dare to question
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    coz without god
    I'm a raving fool!