Thursday, September 25, 2008

Seriously serious thinkers

That's why I AM considered a serious thinker and you are not, even if you think I'm dead wrong.

A couple of basic problems:

i) Serious thinkers don’t going around telling everyone they’re serious thinkers. They don’t try to convince everyone they’re serious thinkers by telling everyone they’re serious thinkers.

Can you imagine Alvin Plantinga using this appeal in one of his essays: “You should take me seriously cuz I’m a serious thinker!”

Serious thinkers acquire a reputation for being serious thinkers by writing serious books and articles. Not by claiming to be serious thinkers.

It’s a symptom of Loftus’ inferiority complex that he feels the need to convince people that he’s a serious thinker by talking about what a serious thinker he is.

ii) If Loftus were a serious thinker, he’d also realize that, from a secular standpoint, it makes no ultimate difference if you’re a serious thinker or a frivolous thinker. The morgue doesn’t distinguish between the corpse of a serious thinker and the corpse of a frivolous thinker.

Loftus has yet to make a clean break with Christianity. He lost his faith, and became a militant atheist, yett he is still channeling a worldview in which truth and falsehood matter. But in the grand secular scheme of things, truth and falsehood are irrelevant.

iii) Indeed, as Manata and I have often pointed out to Loftus, consistent physicalism doesn’t even have room for true and false beliefs. If Loftus were a serious thinker, he would take eliminative materialism seriously, since that’s logical conclusion to which his secular outlook is committed.

You have merely dug your own credibility grave, Paul.

Let’s assume, for the sake of argument, that Manata is not a “credible” disputant. So what?

Personal credibility is not a general condition for evaluating someone’s argument. Credibility is something we look for in a witness. Say an expert witness, or an eyewitness to a crime.

But suppose a philosopher were discussing the ontological proof. Would the cogency of the philosopher’s analysis depend on whether the philosopher were a credible person? No. The quality of his argumentation is irrelevant to his personal credibility. The philosopher could be a chronic liar, but his analysis of the ontological proof could still be sound.

If Loftus were a serious thinker, he’d appreciate that elementary distinction.

Henceforth no one should take what you write seriously.

Of course, Manata has already refuted Loftus’ allegation. But, once again, let’s assume, for the sake of argument, that Manata did misrepresent his position.

How does that possibly invalidate everything that Manata has ever written? Clearly it doesn’t.

If Loftus were a serious thinker, he would never say that a misrepresentation in one place invalidates everything else a writer ever said. That’s not a serious objection to Manata’s critique of Avalos.

Indeed, Loftus is simply using this bogus charge as a pretext to avoid having to interact with Manata’s critique of Avalos. It’s a transparent evasive maneuver.

Seriously thinkers don’t fall back on those sophistical tactics. Obviously, Loftus can’t refute Manata’s critique of Avalos. If he could, he would.

So he trumps up the bogus charge that Manata isn’t “credible” as an escape hatch to avoid having to refute Manata.

And let's not forget that J. P. Holding caught Loftus in a deliberate hoax a while back. So Loftus is not a credible person. So Loftus is not a serious thinker.

A serious thinker does not try to misrepresent the views of his opponents.

The ironic thing about this charge is that Manata’s post is mostly devoted to exposing the fact that Avalos misrepresented the position of Brian Lewis.

If Loftus were a serious thinker, he’d admit that Avalos is not a serious thinker since Avalos misrepresented Lewis.

All we’re getting from Loftus is self-serving rhetoric to camouflage the fact that he’s not up to the job of refuting Manata. Blustery verbiage by a man retreating from the battlefield.

1 comment:

  1. OMG!!!!!!!!!

    I've been gone for a few days, and then, I come back and see this!?!

    Loftus, a serious thinker?!?!? A atheistic popularizer who repeats the arguments of other atheistic popularizers and simply repeats their assertions even after they've been refuted two, three, four...., umpteen times?!?