Thursday, December 01, 2011

Christianity's Sanction of Evil

Prologue

Over the past two weeks or so, while I’ve been living temporarily in the seaside resort town of Cha’am, Thailand (since the part of Bangkok where I live has been flooded and unreachable), I’ve been party to several discussions with presuppositional apologist Sye Ten Bruggencate. Readers of my blog will remember my critique of Sye’s website where he’s published his version of a presuppositional argument for the existence of his version of the Christian god.

Well, we’ve butted heads again, and the results have been, shall I say, historic.
My conversations with Sye can be found in the comments sections of these blog entries on Alex Botten’s blog An Atheist Viewpoint:
Some heated controversy erupted throughout my conversation with Sye as I presented a number of questions for Sye to answer on behalf of his worldview. (My questions are quoted in the main body of the last of the three blog enties listed above). I think my questions are entirely appropriate given what is claimed about Christianity by its defenders. After all, Sye runs around the internet doing podcasts and YouTube videos telling the world that Christianity is true, that Christianity alone accounts for knowledge, logic, reason, science, morality and all the rest, and that people are fools for not swallowing this nonsense hook, line and sinker, just as he’s done. So if the Christian worldview really is so pregnant with unmatched philosophical authority in all these areas of consideration, questions from a puny little mortal like me should be a cinch to answer persuasively.

Unfortunately, however, instead of answering my questions when I posed them, Sye sought tirelessly to redirect the conversation to the topic of whether or not I would engage him live on some recorded Skype broadcast, where he promised he would answer my questions. It was clear to the rest of those who were participating in these conversations that Sye was simply trying to distract attention away from my questions and any way he might be able answer them from the perspective of the Christian worldview which he defends so vociferously in other venues. If he were really willing to address my questions, why not address them where the conversation was currently taking place, where the questions were posed to him in the first place? Certainly Sye’s continued participation in the discussion on a blog (in writing even!) demonstrated that he could present answers to my questions right there where the conversation was taking place if he had answers he could put forward with any confidence.

Eventually, after much pressing by not only myself, but by others who also participated in the conversation, Sye Ten Bruggencate finally solicited some brief answers to my questions. His answers can be found in the initial comment of this blog which Alex Botten had posted in order to document the outstanding status of Sye’s reluctance to address my questions. Since the issue I raise in my question is so important to the investigation of comparative worldviews, I decided to devote a separate blog entry to considering the implications of Sye’s response to it.


STB on the Justifiability of Evil

Among the several questions that I posed to presuppositional apologist Sye Ten Bruggencate, I asked:
According to your worldview, is evil ever morally justifiable?
Sye’s eventual answer to this question was conspicuously terse. He wrote:
“Commission of it, no, ordination of it by God, yes.”
In other words, committing evil is not morally justifiable, but “ordaining” evil is morally justifiable, so long as the one doing the “ordaining” here is “God.” So we have a yes and no answer to a yes or no question. But given the wording of my question – is evil ever morally justifiable? – Sye’s answer can only be understood to come out as a yes. So just to be clear, Sye gives us a yes in response to my question as it is stated, so as to say: “Yes, evil is morally justifiable.”

Answering yes to my question is perfectly compatible with the “solution” which Greg Bahnsen offers to settle the problem of evil in his book Always Ready. In his “solution” to the problem of evil, Bahnsen holds that the Christian god is “all-good” and “all-powerful,” but also acknowledges the existence of evil in the world. How can this be when the world is said to be sourced in an all-good, all-power, indeed perfect creator? How does Bahnsen get out of this jam? Simple. He writes:
God has a morally sufficient reason for the evil which exists. (p. 172)
Clearly one would have to suppose that evil is in essence morally justifiable in order to propose the idea that a person “has a morally sufficient reason” for evil in the first place. And here we have presuppositional apologist Sye Ten Bruggencate explicitly affirming as much.

Of course, Sye hopes to camouflage an affirmative response to my question by introducing a distinction within the rubric of evil: on the one hand, there’s the “commission” of evil; on the other, there’s the “ordination” of it “by God” (as though Christians supposed anyone else could “ordain” evil). By including the qualifier “by God,” Sye implies that it would not be morally justifiable for anyone other than the Christian god to “ordain” evil, supposing such action were possible. But this makes the apologist appear to be special pleading the case. If it’s morally justifiable for one person to “ordain” evil, why wouldn’t it be morally justifiable for another person to do the same? Apparently for the Christian it depends on who is doing the “ordaining” here. This strikes me as similar to saying it’s morally justifiable for one person to lie, cheat and steal, but not for anyone else. What justifies such exceptions, especially if morality is supposed to be objective and absolute? Of course, Sye’s answer nowhere indicates that he has ready answers to such problems. And if standard presuppositional procedure can serve as an indication of the quality of any would-be answer to such objections, we might expect similarly terse and uninformative clichés which are intended to stop further questioning rather than provide legitimate solutions to such conundrums.

What’s noteworthy about Sye’s response to my question is that, on the Calvinist interpretation of Christianity (which is typically associated with presuppositionalism from a theological standpoint), a human being could not “commit” evil unless “God” ordained that he commit it in the first place. In other words, the “ordaining” of evil would have to come before any “commission” of evil could take place. Nothing in the “created realm” takes place without the sanctioning incorporation of it within the scheme of “God’s plan.” And because no one does anything outside of “God’s plan,” any action one performs must conform entirely to that “plan.” The “plan” is the preconditional template for any event actually taking place in the “created realm” according to deterministic Christianity (which presuppositionalism positively affirms). This would include any action which is evil in nature, whether it’s a child telling a lie to his mother (e.g., “No, I didn’t chop down the cherry tree! Honest, Mom!”) to the mass slaughter of millions of Jews (cf. “I vaz only folloving orders!”) to the destruction of the Twin Towers (i.e., “Glory to God!”).

Indeed, if the Christian god “ordains” evil to take place in the “created realm,” what could stop that evil from taking place? What can stand against the omnipotent will of the Christian god? In a contest of wills between the god of Christianity and puny mortals like myself, the Christian god’s will is always going to prevail over mine. So on the Christian view of the world, even if I would wish Hurricane Katrina to fizzle out before hitting New Orleans, if the Christian god wills that it destroy the city, it will. The destructive force (in this case a natural evil) has been “ordained” by the Christian god to deliver is decimating blow to human civilization, and nothing in “creation” can stop it. The “ordaining” of evil cannot be successfully opposed by anything in the Christian god’s “created realm,” and no evil could occur without first being “ordained” by the Christian god. So the “commission” of evil is always an effect that follows the “ordaining” of evil “by God.” The Christian god, then, by choosing to “ordain” evil (it could have chosen not to “ordain” evil) is the cause of evil, for in Christianity, there is no resisting of the Christian god’s will. Evil therefore finds its source in the Christian god. Given the view that evil is morally justifiable on Christianity’s premises, this conclusion is unavoidable. Perhaps this is why Sye was reluctant to face my questions for over a week.

So why would an all-good, all-holy, all-perfect and all-loving deity choose to “ordain” evil in the first place? What would motivate such a being to “ordain” evil? Evil results in the destruction of values. Why would an all-good, all-holy, all-perfect and all-loving deity choose to have values destroyed? What value is gained by destroying values? And if it’s “morally justifiable” to destroy values, isn’t any supposed “value” that is said to be gained by destroying values also justifiably subject to destruction as well?

The upshot is that Sye cannot give an unqualified “no” in response to this question. According to his worldview, there is a sense in which evil is morally justifiable. This is the Christian worldview we’re talking about. According to one of its spokesmen, the Christian worldview allows for cases in which evil is morally justifiable. In other words, as a worldview, it does not take a firm, absolute and uncompromising stand against evil, but in fact allows it under certain circumstances. In fact, the Christian worldview allows for evil in achieving some “holy purpose.” According to Christianity, then, evil is ultimately moral!

Sye does not explain how the “ordination” of evil “by God” can be morally justifiable, even though it is preconditional to any commission of evil as we have seen. It strains credibility to suppose that committing evil is not morally justifiable while the ordination of evil, which is the precondition to any commission of evil, is morally justifiable. Sye leaves these matters completely untouched, as though they couldn’t possibly be an issue to be concerned about, or as though he preferred to keep them undisclosed.

In his brief answer to my question, Sye leaves all these issues completely untouched. But it’s clear that if the Christian god “ordains” evil – which is really just another way of saying it compels lesser beings which cannot resist its will to perform evil actions by some divine injunction – then clearly it is essentially forcing other beings to do what Sye says is not morally justifiable. Thus on the Christian worldview, doing something that one cannot resist doing is not morally justifiable, while
choosing to compel lesser beings to do something that is not morally justifiable, is morally justifiable. Go figure.

But these objections are indeed perfectly valid considering what Christianity teaches. The Christian worldview teaches that its god is in control of everything that happens within the “created realm,” which of course includes human activity. This view is affirmed repeatedly in the presuppositionalist literature. For example:
God controls whatsoever comes to pass. (Cornelius Van Til, The Defense of the Faith, p. 160)
God’s thoughts make the world what it is and determine what happens – which is why all facts are revelatory of God… (Greg Bahnsen, Van Til’s Apologetic: Readings & Analysis, p. 243)
God controls all events and outcomes (even those that come about by human choice and activity) and is far more capable and powerful than modern machines. (Greg Bahnsen, Van Til's Apologetic, p. 489n.43)
Also, the Christian god is said to have a will: it does what it chooses to do. It is not restricted by something outside its control, since there is nothing outside its control. There is nothing metaphysical which constrains the Christian god’s choices or limits the range of its will. And nothing external to the Christian god compels it to make one set of choices as opposed to another. It sets the rules everywhere and always. It is “free” to do what it chooses, and has the power to do whatever it wants to do. If it wants X done, nothing can stand in its way of making X happen.

So any lesser being which is “ordained” by the Christian god to “commit” evil, will “commit” evil by virtue of divine ordination.

So this raises a number of questions, such as:
Why isn’t “ordaining” evil, itself evil?  
Or:
How could “ordaining” evil be legitimately construed as a good?

Or:
How could “ordaining” evil be morally justifiable?

Or:
How is being the ordainer of evil not also being the author of evil?  
Or:
How is being the one who “ordains” evil not also the one who authors evil?  
Or:
By saying that “God ordains evil,” how is this not ultimately saying that evil originates with said god?

Or:
How is ordaining evil not a species of committing evil?
There seems to be no answer to any of these questions which would positively recommend Christianity as a moral worldview, let alone preserve its self-bestowed title as the only worldview which can offer an objective standard for morality.

It seems that if a truly good person has a choice between “ordaining” evil and not “ordaining” evil, he would – being a truly good person – choose not to “ordain” evil by virtue of his goodness. A truly good person would not choose to “ordain” evil, since a truly good person will stand against evil every opportunity he has. Which means: to any extent he has any influence over a situation, he will not allow evil to happen.

But according to Christian mythology, the Christian god has a long and detailed history of allowing evil to happen. From allowing Adam and Eve to fall to allowing vicious persons torture and execute its own son, the Christian god is characterized throughout the bible as having the power to stop evil in its tracks – even before it has a chance to get rolling – but standing idly by in spite of its alleged goodness and allowing evil to take its course on human values. According to Christianity’s own narratives, evil could find no better friend than the Christian god.

Something else that’s curious is the fact that thesaurus.com suggests “commission” as a synonym for “ordain.” But clearly Sye’s answer assumes a significant difference between these two concepts. Unfortunately he does not explain what that assumed difference may be and how it is relevant to his duplicitous answer. At any rate, it would be interesting to examine the apologists’ explanations for how the “ordination” of evil is not itself an act of evil. Don’t be surprised to find different explanations in conflict with one another, even though Christians are all supposed to be “of one accord.”


In Conclusion…

The foregoing is not some petty gripe against the Christian god (for it is merely imaginary in the first place), but a powerful and damning indictment against the Christianity as a viable worldview and the claim that it provides the necessary foundations for morality. Flat and simple, Christianity holds that evil is morally justifiable. Without this underlying premise, Christianity has no “solution” to the problem of evil; and by incorporating claims which assume this premise, apologists give away the fact that it really has no solution to the problem of evil to begin with. For by offering the view that “God has a morally sufficient reason for the evil that exists” (Bahnsen), or the view that the “ordination” of evil by the Christian god is morally justifiable (Sye Ten Bruggencate), presuppositionalists inadvertently acknowledge that evil is sourced in their god and that without the choices and actions their god has, according to Christian narratives, made, evil would never have existed in the first place. The logic is impeccable: given the premises of presuppositionalism, any act of evil can ultimately be "justified."

Like Bahnsen’s treatment of the problem of evil in his book Always Ready, Sye’s efforts to defend his belief in an all-good god amount to nothing more than a clumsy attempt to disguise the contradictions lurking in his position with mere word play. Not only because of the nature which Christians attribute to their god and the cozy relationship their response to the problem evil necessitates, but also because of the cognitive dissonance, compartmentalization and downright dishonesty that belief in such a fantasy requires of Christian beliefs, the conclusion is inescapable: Christians worship a god that would be evil if it truly existed.

Of course, we will see the presuppositionalist respond to this conclusion by declaring that we have no ultimate objective standard to “ground” our moral judgments in the first place. This ignores several facts, including:
a) the objections raised herein afford an internal critique which uncovers problems that lurk within Christianity regardless of what other individuals may belief;
b) the declaration that those pointing out these objections have no objective standard to “ground” their moral judgments in fact accurately characterizes the Christian’s predicament (for by granting metaphysical primacy to a form of consciousness, Christianity has only a subjective basis for anything it affirms, and look what it affirms!); and
c) in Objectivism we in fact do have an ultimate objective standard which “grounds” our moral judgments, namely the primacy of existence.
But even if it were the case that we had no ultimate objective standard to “ground” our moral judgments, it would not follow from this that the Christian view is therefore logically consistent, for the problem still remains: Christianity affirms that an all-good and all-powerful consciousness chooses to “ordain” evil, and cannot erase the contradictions contained within this affirmation.

So the next time you encounter a Christian apologist claiming that the Christian worldview is the only worldview which can “account for” objective moral absolutes, be sure to direct them to this blog entry: he has a huge mess on his hands, and I don’t think he’ll be able to untangle it if he holds, along with Sye Ten Bruggencate, Greg Bahnsen, and other presuppositionalists, that evil can be morally justifiable.

I’m sure glad these aren’t my problems.

by Dawson Bethrick

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91 Comments:

Blogger Paul Baird said...

Hi Dawson - have you thought of engaging someone else with a better grasp of PA than Sye (or even Chris Bolt) such as Glenn Peoples ?

Peoples isn't a Van Tillian but describes his PA as being based on Alvin Plantinga's work.

I still think that the root problem for the whole PA edifice is that, even if a supernatural transcendent entity is accepted as being necessary, any exclusive specification of that entity is special pleading.

December 01, 2011 7:24 AM  
Blogger Hezekiah Ahaz said...

BB,

I see you are out causing trouble again. Simply Amazing!!!!


By the way how do you know that you know?


P.S. Looks like Sye is unbeatable.

December 01, 2011 10:19 AM  
Blogger Alex B said...

"P.S. Looks like Sye is unbeatable."

I actually laughed out loud when I read that!

Sye 'unbeatable'? The guy doesn't even get off the starting blocks!

December 01, 2011 11:04 AM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...

Dawson,

Your blog-entry, with the questions raised, has put the believer in an untenable position. It is no wonder that they fail to respond with anything that makes sense.

And Trinity still hasn't answered the questions regarding evil, which I posed to him on a previous thread. Yet elsewhere, Trinity apparently feels comfortable enough to at least head down that road and into such forbidden territory, as he judges for himself what he believes one of his god's can do as it pertains using evil to achieve its ends. For he has written these words: "However, I do believe the holy spirit can use a bad approach, for example, your [Michael Russell's] approach."

With people out there like Trinity, I can only imagine that the reason Jesus sits at the *right* hand of god is because that's where there is more elbow room. You see, god's right hand is up near his face, performing a face palm every time Trinity attempts to defend the faith.

Thanks again for a great blog entry!

Ydemoc

December 01, 2011 11:04 AM  
Blogger Hezekiah Ahaz said...

Ydemoc,

What's your obsession with me?

Why do you keep following me around?

By the way you ever get that argument prepared?

If not have a nice life.

Alex B,

I am happy that you laughed.

By the way I say a lot of funny things check out all the posts Dawson has dedicated to me.

December 01, 2011 11:14 AM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...

Trinity wrote: "What's your obsession with me? Why do you keep following me around?"

I neither have an obsession with you, nor do I follow you around. Your fellow Christian, Michael Russell, whom you seem to have some disagreements with, dropped by this blog and left his calling card.

When I went over to check out his blog, I saw that you were engaged with him, each of you guided by the same holy spirit, yet each of you presenting different viewpoints. (Not quite sure how you can disagree with each other, given that you both claim to have the same indwelling, perfect spirit guiding you. Perhaps like everything else you adhere to, it's ultimately a mystery. Be careful not to "divide" though -- we wouldn't want yet another sect of Christianity added to the 30,000 plus that are already in existence).

In any event, when I popped over there and read what you wrote, I was going to say "hello" and tell you how disturbed I was seeing you sow the seeds of Christian division. But I held off doing so, and chose to address what you wrote right here on Dawson's blog.

Blarkings.

Ydemoc

December 01, 2011 11:33 AM  
Blogger Hezekiah Ahaz said...

Ydemoc do you love me?

By the way how about that argument?

December 01, 2011 11:38 AM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

Paul Baird asked: “have you thought of engaging someone else with a better grasp of PA than Sye (or even Chris Bolt) such as Glenn Peoples ?”

Hi Paul. In the past, when I had a lot more time available to me to pursue this interest of mine, I was more aggressive in seeking out more tutored presuppositionalists, such as James Anderson, Mike Warren, and several others who participated in the heady “Van Til List” in the latter 90’s. I found that these chaps would only engage me in e-mail correspondence, certainly not in forums like the comments section of my blog, and the discussions would fizzle out pretty quickly. Frankly, they seemed like dry wells – more interested in dialoguing with like thinkers than engaging directly with non-believing critics like myself.

I don’t believe I’ve ever participated in an exchange with Glenn Peoples, but I remember when he was active on the same Van Til List that James Anderson ran.

Typically these days, I post my writings on my blog, and if apologists want to come aboard and spar with what I’ve written, then I’m here. Over the past few weeks, while I’ve been in “evacuation” and not working due to the floods in Bangkok, I had a bit extra time and saw that Sye was active in the comments over at Alex’s blog. So I joined the discussion hoping to see if he'd address some outstanding questions I have for him. Sye’s primary device (at least in my few exchanges with him) is the drive-by: he’ll lob some charge and move on, never backing it up, even when asked.

I have to say I’m rather puzzled by Chris Bolt. He really should know better as he’s actually got some formal education to inflate his bellows. But he seems to have declined intellectually since I first engaged him. He sounds polished on his podcasts, but doesn’t seem able to hold his own in a discussion.

I’m now back in Bangkok and will resume work beginning next week. I will be torturously busy from that point forwards until who knows when. I’ll do my best to get something new on my blog when I can, but it will be in drips and drabs most likely.

Paul: “I still think that the root problem for the whole PA edifice is that, even if a supernatural transcendent entity is accepted as being necessary, any exclusive specification of that entity is special pleading.”

This is only a problem from the outsider’s perspective. The believer is working from the presumption that the Christian god is real, that the bible is true, and that everything in the universe is a creation of the Christian god revealing its presumed reality. For us, we’re essentially asking the presuppositionalist *how* he knows what he claims to know; we're wondering what steps we can replicate to arrive at the "knowledge" he claims. But for the presuppositionalist, there is no *how* to the “knowledge” he claims. So he can’t tell us how we can work from perceptually self-evident premises to his god-belief, for that’s not how he himself came to be a believer. That’s why there’s a nil response to our questions from the presuppositionalist camp, and scolding and taunting instead. What’s ironic is the presuppositionalists’ constant barrage of “How do you know?” questions. This is ironic because there is no epistemology to speak of in Christianity: believers are told what to believe, and they accept that as knowledge on mere say so and emulsify it by means of their imagination. There’s no rational investigation of facts leading to the “knowledge” they claim as conclusions to inferences beginning with objective premises. Any “investigation” is conducted *after accepting* those beliefs as knowledge, and only for the purpose of defending them and denigrating non-believers. That’s where the repetitions of “How do you know?” and “The unbeliever can’t account for…” come in. Their very devices characterize their own worldview’s predicament: they cannot explain *how* they know what they claim to know, and their worldview cannot “account for” any of the things they claim it does.

Regards,
Dawson

December 01, 2011 5:04 PM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

Nide wrote: “I see you are out causing trouble again.”

Yes, I am. Say, when you “see” this, are you using your senses to determine what you see?

Nide: “Simply Amazing!!!!”

Yeah, I get that a lot. ;)

Nide asked: “By the way how do you know that you know?”

Well, let’s see. For one thing, we wouldn’t want to be guilt of Greg Bahnsen’s “crackers in the pantry” fallacy. So we need to make sure we use a different method for each bit of knowledge we want to find out. Here’s one example of how I know what I know. I’m cooking pasta on my stove top, and I want to know if it’s ready to come out of the pot. To find out, I go out on my balcony and count gecko droppings. Any odd number above 18 means the pasta’s done and ready to strain. Anything else means it needs to cook longer. Since this is the proper means of discovering whether or not the pasta’s ready, I spend all my time out on my balcony looking for gecko turds to count until I’ve reached the desired outcome and can move on to enjoying my plate of pasta.

Of course, I could use reason to find this out. But then Sye Ten Bruggencate would come along and accuse me of “blatantly begging the question,” and that’s not good.

Nide: “P.S. Looks like Sye is unbeatable.”

I’d say, Nide, that you’re giving him a real run for his money (which isn't very much I hear). The thing is, the title you’re competing with him for isn’t something to boast about.

Regards,
Dawson

December 01, 2011 5:07 PM  
Blogger Hezekiah Ahaz said...

BB,

Said: " Yes, I am. Say, when you “see” this, are you using your senses to determine what you see?

No. My eyes. I'm guessing next you'll ask me how do I know my eyes aren't deceived. That would be pretty hilarious.

I think it's time, BB, you put your "money" where your "mouth" is and do the live debate with Sye. Really, is anything to hard for Dawson "the great"? Let's see if objectivism really is what you say it is. Remember objectivism presupposes Christianity maybe that's why you won't do the debate. Existence exists aka YHWH.

By the way I know what I know because YHWH has always known it. See the "proof"?


Ydemoc,

It's evident you are not going to present an argument. Are you really that clueless?

By the way can you name the 30,000 "sects" of Christianity you claim there are. Thanks.

December 01, 2011 7:21 PM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

I asked: "Say, when you ‘see’ this, are you using your senses to determine what you see?”

Nide responded: “No. My eyes.”

I see.

Nide: “I'm guessing next you'll ask me how do I know my eyes aren't deceived.”

Well, since you introduced the question, how would you answer it? How would you be able to determine whether or not some wicked spirit hasn’t deceived you in some way? It seems that if you were deceived by a wicked spirit, you wouldn’t know this (since you’d be deceived) and think that you weren’t deceived (since, again, you’ve been deceived).

Nide: “That would be pretty hilarious.”

Yes, it’s pretty hilarious. I’m glad these aren’t my problems.

Nide: “I think it's time, BB, you put your ‘money’ where your ‘mouth’ is”

I’ll be doing just that at lunch time. There’s a good diner nearby. Pretty yummy stuff. Are you going to be bringing the coffee you promised?

Nide: “and do the live debate with Sye.”

Debate what?

Nide: “Really, is anything [too] hard for Dawson ‘the great’?”

Yes, indeed. Most of Rachmaninoff’s preludes are too hard for me. Some very demanding compositions!

Nide: “Let's see if objectivism really is what you say it is.”

You don’t need me to discover this.

Nide: “Remember objectivism presupposes Christianity”

Here’s proof positive that you don’t know much about either worldview.

Nide: “maybe that's why you won't do the debate.”

Debate what?

Nide: “Existence exists aka YHWH.”

Then why are you always so grumpy?

Nide: “By the way I know what I know because YHWH has always known it. See the ‘proof’?”

Yes, I see two proofs in fact: you prove a) that you believe knowledge is automatic, and b) that you continue to confuse yourself with the god you claim to worship. Pretty loony if you ask me.

By the way, Nide, do you have anything intelligent to say on behalf of your worldview in response to what I’ve written in my blog entry above?

Regards,
Dawson

December 01, 2011 7:48 PM  
Blogger Hezekiah Ahaz said...

BB,

How intellegient are you?

So, I see you resort to more personal attacking instead of dealing with my devastating post. Talk about grumpy.


Aren't you embarrassed?

So, how about that debate with Sye?

December 01, 2011 7:58 PM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...

Trinity wrote: "It's evident you are not going to present an argument."

C'mon Trinity, does something really need to be evident to you before you believe it? Or did you believe something first and then look for evidence to support your belief? Try to remain consistent in your answer.

Trinity wrote: "Are you really that clueless?"

Don't you believe that your god made me this clueless? Isn't my being clueless all a part of your god's "scheme"? If it is, why ask me? Even rhetorically? Ask your god, if you truly believe in him. Or is your real god Van Til?

Trinity wrote: "By the way can you name the 30,000 "sects" of Christianity you claim there are. Thanks."

Why would I want to name them all? Even if there aren't that many, and only, say, two, wouldn't that be one more than there should be? But at the same time these divisions are that do exist are all a part of your god's plan and scheme? Even my not naming ever one of them while others do, placing the number at 33,00+, would also have to be a part of your god's plan, would it not? If you're really interested in reading about it, go here:

http://www.philvaz.com/apologetics/a106.htm

(from Richard N. Ostling, Associated Press, 19 May 2001)

"The 2001 edition, successor to his 1982 first edition, which took a decade to compile, identifies 10,000 distinct religions, of which 150 have 1 million or more followers. Within Christianity, he counts 33,820 denominations.

Barrett also calculates religious populations for the Encyclopedia Britannica Book of the Year, standard estimates that are used in turn by the World Almanac and innumerable journalists. Such numbers are always debatable, but they're the best available. "We don't really have any rivals," Barrett says. "That's the problem."

Title: World Christian Encyclopedia : a comparative survey of churches and religions in the modern world
Authors: David B. Barrett, George T. Kurian, Todd M. Johnson.
Edition: 2nd ed.
Published: Oxford ; New York : Oxford University Press, 2001.
Description: 2 v. : ill., col. maps ; 32 cm.
Notes: Includes bibliographical references and indexes.
Contents:
v. 1. The world by countries : religionists, churches, ministries
v. 2. The world by segments : religions, peoples, languages, cities, topics."

Until next time,

Ydemoc

December 01, 2011 8:00 PM  
Blogger Hezekiah Ahaz said...

No, YHWH is my God.

Yea, Gadget, God controls everything that happens. I have said this over and over. So, why do you keep asking?

December 01, 2011 8:27 PM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...

Trinity,

Are you going to answer Dawson's question: "...do you have anything intelligent to say on behalf of your worldview in response to what I’ve written in my blog entry above?"

I'm anticipating that by the time I've taken the dogs for a walk, showered, and returned to my computer, that you will have put something down in writing that addresses Dawson's question.

Ydemoc

December 01, 2011 8:27 PM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...

Trinity wrote: "Yea, Gadget, God controls everything that happens. I have said this over and over. So, why do you keep asking?"

Because you ask questions expressing surprise at our answers we give. Why would you be surprised at anything, especially what atheists say? If you truly believe I'm clueless, and as you maintain, and it's a part of your god's plan, as you also believe, it would seem to me you wouldn't need to ask me over and over if I'm "really that clueless." It's like asking, "God, did you really make a human being that could be this clueless?" And if your god did make me this clueless, what does that say about the allegedly non-imaginary god you worship? Then again, I guess you can't help yourself from asking it, for your allegedly non-imaginary god is also controlling the very words that spew forth from your pie hole.

And I say this with all the love and affection that can be expressed toward someone who finds it okay to worship an allegedly non-imaginary being who inspired and ordained the following: "Happy shall they be who dasheth the little ones against the rocks."

Ydemoc

December 01, 2011 8:39 PM  
Blogger Hezekiah Ahaz said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

December 01, 2011 8:52 PM  
Blogger Hezekiah Ahaz said...

Yea, Gadget, I love you too. It's interesting because God is love. See........

What specifically does Dawsy want me to look at "what above post"?

Are you serious didn't I already answer your " dash against the rocks" business. What part didn't you get?

But here I'll repost my answer:

Everybody that God killed or ordered to be killed brought it upon themselves and those that they represented. Case closed.

December 01, 2011 8:55 PM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...

Trinity wrote: "Everybody that God killed or ordered to be killed brought it upon themselves and those that they represented. Case closed."

How could they have "brought it upon themselves" if your allegedly non-imaginary being controls everything that comes to pass? Are you saying your god is *not* ultimately responsible for what happened, even though he killed or ordered the killings of those people?

Square all this up for me, won't you?

Ydemoc

December 01, 2011 8:59 PM  
Blogger Hezekiah Ahaz said...

Ydemoc,

There is a line you don't cross. In other word's it's a mystery.

You repeatedly have tried to found fault with God. Since I love my neighbor I'll leave you with the words of our great God and Savior:

Repent or you will also perish.




blessings.

December 01, 2011 9:56 PM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

December 01, 2011 10:44 PM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...

Trinity had written: "Everybody that God killed or ordered to be killed brought it upon themselves and those that they represented. Case closed."

I responded: "How could they have "brought it upon themselves" if your allegedly non-imaginary being controls everything that comes to pass? Are you saying your god is *not* ultimately responsible for what happened, even though he killed or ordered the killings of those people? Square all this up for me, won't you?"

Trinity responded: "There is a line you don't cross. In other word's it's a mystery."

What is that line that one doesn't cross, Trinity? Who put the line there? And how can one not help but cross it if it's your allegedly non-imaginary being that ordains, controls, or otherwise causes those who cross the line to cross the line?

All this may be a mystery to you, because that's what your faith is ultimately grounded in: mystery, despite you apologetic spokesperson's assertions to the contrary. And mystery accounts for nothing but mystery, which gets us nowhere.

When we travel down far enough down the road of your belief, we end up at our inevitable destination: The cul-de-sac of faith, a dead-end filled with nothing but a big sign that reads: I Have No Idea.

But all this is no mystery to me. The reason you resort to mystery here is because you are unable to answer my question. And the reason you are unable to answer my question with anything other than "It's a mystery" is because you recognize the difficulty my question presents to your belief system. A god that "controls everything that comes to pass" does not jibe with your statement that "Everybody that God killed or ordered to be killed brought it upon themselves."

One cannot bring upon oneself that which one does not control. That is a contradiction.

This is why you resort to mystery, because you're attempting to fake reality with your belief in an invisible magic being.

But reality can't be faked. No matter what you believe. Objects of consciousness exist independent of consciousness, "wishing doesn't make it so," A is A, consciousness is conscious of something, if something exists, some thing exists. Concepts, logic, knowledge and morality are not grounded in mystery.

I recognize this, and that's why I know your your faith is all made up, hence, no mystery at all. In fact, mystery solved.

Ydemoc

December 01, 2011 11:05 PM  
Blogger Hezekiah Ahaz said...

Gadget,

Why are questions possible ?

You don't know what an argument is. So, you possibly can't know what a contradiction is.

Actually, I've answered your question over and over. Let me try again:

What part of God is the ultimate "cause" of everything and yet men are responsible for what they do don't you get?


How about for once you present an argument instead of regurgitating the worn out slogans and statements.


When you're sleeping what are you concious of?

What's a fetus concious of?

For once let's see if you can , actually, answer a question.

December 02, 2011 12:46 AM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

Nide: “How intellegient are you?”

Apparently more than my pastor was. His words to me were: “You think too much.” And look where I am today. Boy, if he could see me now!

But again, Nide, none of this is about me personally. I see you still have a hard time grasping this.

Nide: “So, I see you resort to more personal attacking instead of dealing with my devastating post.”

On the contrary. I asked you specifically for anything intelligent you may have to offer on behalf of your worldview in response to what I’ve presented in my blog. Again, you see me trying to get the conversation back on course against the pull of your distractions and digressions, and you don’t recognize it.

Nide: “Aren't you embarrassed?”

About trying to get the conversation back on topic? No, not at all.

Sye: “So, how about that debate with Sye?”

Again, what debate?

Sye later modified his invitation to have a discussion with him on Skype, in which I told him (in my 6 November comment to this blog, timestamped 06:58) that I would be happy to engage him if he met the following conditions:

(a) you could persuade me that you can be honest;
(b) you “repent” from your incessant habit of continually trying to drag the discussion down to a childish level (e.g., “grow some”);
(c) you agree to settle on a topic that is actually up for debate (the topic of the existence of a god is a dead issue – god-belief is irrational and your god is merely imaginary);
(d) you demonstrate that you can stick with an issue and will resist your urges to redirect the conversation to some other topic (as you have done right here in these exchanges); and
(e) you could show me where the bible lays out a distinctively Christian theory of concepts. Start by explaining what your worldview means by ‘concept’; show where your worldview provides this meaning; present the steps by which your worldview analyzes the process by which the human mind forms concepts; explain the relationship between concepts and the units which they integrate (assuming your worldview conceives of concepts as integrating units to begin with); show how your worldview’s theory of concepts is compatible with your worldview’s denial of the primacy of existence (good luck there!). Those would be for starters.


So far I’ve not seen any indication that Sye has made any progress in meeting these conditions, and he has apparently abandoned his insistence that I join him in some Skype conversation.

So you see, the ball is in his court on this, and he’s apparently let it bounce off the court entirely.

Why does it concern you?

Regards,
Dawson

December 02, 2011 2:15 AM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...

Trinity had written: "Everybody that God killed or ordered to be killed brought it upon themselves and those that they represented. Case closed."

How could they have "brought it upon themselves" if your allegedly non-imaginary being controls everything that comes to pass? Are you saying your god is *not* ultimately responsible for what happened, even though he killed or ordered the killings of those people? Square all this up for me, won't you?"

Trinity then responded with: "There is a line you don't cross. In other word's it's a mystery."

I then took the time to explain to him how an appeal to mystery tells us nothing, and it doesn't address the contradiction of bringing upon oneself that which one does not control. To make it more clear for Trinity, he is saying, A is not A -- that his allegedly non-imaginary being that he worships is in total control, yet it is not in total control of everything that comes to pass. This being could not be in total control if human beings can bring things upon themselves.

After pointing this out, Trinity responded: "What part of God is the ultimate "cause" of everything and yet men are responsible for what they do don't you get?"

Not only does Trinity change the wording from, "brought it upon themselves" to "responsible for what they do" here, but we also find him doing a little a little backtracking. For previously he had concluded that it was all a "mystery." Now, seemingly dissatisfied with his answer, he is basically asking me here, "What part of the 'mystery' don't you get?" or "What part of the mystery is mysterious to you?"

But, by definition, if one doesn't "get" a mystery, how can Trinity ask me what I "don't get"?

Besides, as I've already stated, this isn't a mystery to me. And it's not on me to explain it one way or another. It's on Trinity and his fellow apologists to explain it, especially if they want to present any kind of rational foundation for such claims that the being they worship is the basis for logic, knowledge, morality, etc.

For not only does an appeal to mystery tell us that at the most fundamental level of their worldview, people like Trinity really cannot account for or justify anything, because it's all just ultimately a mystery.

But in the same breath, they turn around and say things that contradict what they have previously posited, i.e., "What part of God is the ultimate "cause" of everything and yet men are responsible for what they do don't you get?"

Wait -- I thought it was all a mystery? So how can I get it? How can Trinity "get it" if, as he stated earlier, it's mystery?

I'll say this as I stated before, Trinity's worldview is not a mystery to me. Lying at it's very foundation is a contradiction -- manmade by mystics. So at least we can say that Trinity is being consistent with his own worldview.

Ydemoc

December 02, 2011 8:16 AM  
Blogger Hezekiah Ahaz said...

BB,

If there is nothing to debate then why did you go "hunt" Sye down?

How about being honest for once.


Gadget,

I know that your intellectually handicapped and that's why you dont get anything I say. Here make yourself useful for once:

Why are questions possible ?

What's a contradiction?

What's an argument?

When you're sleeping what are you concious of?

What's a fetus concious of?

What's a lie?

Mysteries by defenition are unknowable and hence not explainable. Did you know this?

Quit wasting time and actually contribute for once.

December 02, 2011 9:07 AM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

December 02, 2011 11:41 AM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...

Trinity wrote: "What's a contradiction?"

A contradiction is an error in one's thinking where one holds that "a thing is A and non-A, that it is and is not." (Peikoff, OPAR p.119) It is a failure of proper identification.

One example is your worldview. It rests on the Primacy of Consciousness (i.e., an allegedly non-imaginary being). This contradicts reality. Also asserting or claiming that such a being is real and actually exists results in a "Performative Confession of the Primacy of Existence." So I actually notice two contradictions here: (1) Your worldview's claims (2) Your claim that your worldview is true. Both contradictions due to failure to properly identify something while still seeking to integrate this error into your thinking.

And let us not forget the multitude of other contradictions and inconsistencies which are internal to your worldview -- not only in what your fellow apologists have written, but also within the very storybook they rely upon for their writings: The bible. The bible is kind of like a fantasy script or movie that, though it may be interesting in parts, upon closer inspection (and one doesn't have to look too closely), it doesn't hold together internally. As a result, any apologist who takes it seriously can be expected to come to all kinds of crazy conclusions. (i.e., the world is 6000 years old, evolution isn't true, there was a global flood, the earth was covered in a solid dome of water, man walked with dinousaurs etc., etc., etc.). And like the worldview that gave rise to these crazy conclusions, they too must be accepted. It's as if a whole system of mathematics has been built upon the notion that 2+2=5.

The fact that you unthinkingly accept (believe) that a subject (any subject) has metaphysical primacy over objects (any object) is the contradiction (the reversal of the subject/object orientation) that paves the road for you and makes the multitude of internal contradictions easier for you to accept (rationalize). They go hand in hand, really.

"No concept man forms is valid unless he integrates it without contradiction into the total sum of his knowledge. To arrive at a contradiction is to confess an error in one’s thinking; to maintain a contradiction is to abdicate one’s mind and to evict oneself from the realm of reality."
(Ayn Rand, "For the New Intellectual" p. 126)

Blarkings.

Ydemoc

December 02, 2011 12:03 PM  
Blogger Hezekiah Ahaz said...

Ok Gadget,

Since you wanna keep wasting time let me ask you plainly.

How is God's control of history a contradiction. Can you PLEASE put it in the form of an argument so we can evaluate your claim. Thanks

December 02, 2011 12:18 PM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

Nide: “If there is nothing to debate then why did you go ‘hunt’ Sye down?”

Several points here:

1) I have never stated “there is nothing to debate.” You’re reading something into what I’ve stated that’s not there. In response to Sye’s continued insistence on some live debate, I simply asked: “Debate what?” This in no way translates into the statement: “there is nothing to debate.” It’s simply a question to the person who continues to insist that I debate him in some verbal recording.

2) I made my conditions for engaging Sye in a Skype conversation very clear. I also reposted them here in an earlier comment so that you too could see them. There’s no mystery on my part here. I’ve been completely up front about my position.

3) I did not “’hunt’ Sye down.” In fact, I had no idea that Sye was active on Alex Botten’s blog until wandered over there after listening to some podcasts published by Fundamentally Flawed. It was after looking at some of the blog entries that I saw Sye engaging in discussions in the comments there. I was not looking for Sye. But I found him anyway.

4) Where is Sye now? Why isn’t he here defending himself? Why isn’t he addressing the questions that I’ve raised in response to what he has stated about Christianity’s view that evil is morally justifiable? Do you see how he continually avoids dealing with these matters in an intellectual fashion? I do. “See the proof?”

5) Again you’re trying to focus the discussion on *me* personally when the topic of my blog entry here is the problem of evil and Christianity’s view that evil is morally justifiable. This really has nothing to do with me personally. Why not discuss this matter with us instead of worrying about things that I haven’t even said?

Nide: “How about being honest for once.”

Good grief, look who’s talking!

Regards,
Dawson

December 02, 2011 2:44 PM  
Blogger Hezekiah Ahaz said...

Dawson,

I read your landslide, and let me say I barely escaped, but in the past you claimed your writings stand unrefuted. If you really feel that way why not do the debate?
I read your "pre-conditions" for debate which are really lousy excuses to not debate. You rather "write" us to death. Anyway, your unwillingness speaks for itself. It has nothing to do with Sye. This kind of reminds me of Greg Bahnsen and the debate that never was. Sye showed up but where is Dawson? It's pretty hilarious.

In regards to your post,

My response is simple:

You're wrong.

Rember even if God was hungry he woulnt tell you.

It's a mystery.


P.S. I had it with, Gadget, he's worst than a embarrassment.

December 02, 2011 3:05 PM  
Blogger openlyatheist said...

Hi Dawson,

Over on the "Why I'll Not Be Bothering w/ Bahnsen" thread, commenter Reynold posted a link to the blog of Stephen Law.

In this post, Tony Lloyd states in his 12/16/09 commentary:

No basis. There is no "basis".

You see, taking "knowledge" as justified, true belief I am a sceptic: I do not think it exists. For any proposition to be justified it would have to, itself, be justified. I recognise that the propositions I accept are accepted for reasons that, at some level, are non-justified and, as a consequence, I do not have secure knowledge. I have looked for a "basis", I have looked for a "worldview" that I can hold a priori I have looked for an ultimate reason for logic. I have found none of those things and so have given up the search.



I hope this isn't off topic. But I remember you recently commenting on the duality of skepticism and mysticism. Although Tony Lloyd appears to see through STB as well as you or me, some of the things he says appear directly opposed to Objectivism. Would you care to comment at all? Is "no basis" an answer?

December 02, 2011 3:24 PM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...

Trinity wrote: "P.S. I had it with, Gadget, he's worst than a embarrassment."

Worst?

You certainly have a way with words. Quite a gift you've got there. And it's a gift that keeps on giving.

Ydemoc

December 02, 2011 3:32 PM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

Nide: “I read your landslide, and let me say I barely escaped, but in the past you claimed your writings stand unrefuted. If you really feel that way why not do the debate?”

So far as I know, my writings stand unrefuted. If anyone wants to debate me, they’re free to come on my blog and post their comments, their reactions, their refutations, etc. I do not moderate comments, I do not edit comments, and I do not delete comments. I take on all comers. If Sye wants to debate me, here I am. I’m not avoiding anything. If there’s any avoiding going on, it’s Sye who’s avoiding me.

Nide: “I read your ‘pre-conditions’ for debate which are really lousy excuses to not debate.”

Thanks for your opinion.

Nide: “You rather ‘write’ us to death.”

You feel your pain. That’s evident.

Nide: “Anyway, your unwillingness speaks for itself. It has nothing to do with Sye. This kind of reminds me of Greg Bahnsen and the debate that never was. Sye showed up but where is Dawson? It's pretty hilarious.”

If I recall, this “debate that never was” that you mention was supposed to include Michael Martin I believe. I think his concern was Bahnsen’s potential use of recordings of the debate to generate profits to support some “ministry” – i.e., a falsehood manufacturing facility. Martin did not want his involvement in the debate to be used in such a manner, and since Bahnsen’s side would not agree to these terms, Martin refused to participate. Martin stuck to his guns and did not compromise. If I am recalling this matter correctly, then Martin has earned my admiration for his part in the affair.

Nide: “In regards to your post, My response is simple: You're wrong. Rember even if God was hungry he woulnt tell you. It's a mystery.”

My, how informative! There seems to be a lot that this god of yours will not reveal.

In response to my blog, you say I’m wrong. But which part? Where specifically do you think I’m wrong? I asked Sye whether or not on his worldview evil is morally justifiable. Do you think I was wrong to ask this? I quoted his answer. Was I wrong here? I asked a number of questions in response to Sye’s answer to my question. Do you think I was wrong here? I see that you have not interacted with the major points that I’ve presented, or answered any of the questions I have posed in response to Sye’s answer to my question.

Since Sye apparently won’t, perhaps you can explain for us: How is “the commission of evil” not morally justifiable, but “the ordination of evil by God”is morally justifiable? Can anyone commit evil if he has not already been “ordained” to do so by the Christian god which “controls whatsoever comes to pass” (Van Til)? How is “ordaining evil” not itself a species of “committing evil”?

You see, Sye “answered” my question, but his “answer” simply generates numerous additional questions, as well as increasing suspicions that his worldview is really is morally bankrupt. If the Christian god is “all-good,” why does it have such a cozy relationship with evil?

Saying “It’s a mystery” only tells us that *you* don’t know, and probably don’t want to know. But this does not preclude others from knowing. I suspect that believers who resort to saying “it’s a mystery” are simply announcing their unwillingness to explore the matter deeper, very probably because they fear what they might learn. But I’ve exposed it, so your response is not surprising.

Regards,
Dawson

December 02, 2011 3:57 PM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

Hello OA,

Good to hear from you again. Thanks for your question. Very interesting stuff.

Lloyd is clearly antagonistic towards the JTB analysis of knowledge, but this seems to be a result of his own disenchantment over his fruitless search for an a priori basis which could provide a foundation for such an artifice. He does not seem to question the validity of the very notion of an a priori basis for knowledge (for he says this is what he was searching for all along), nor does he indicate any of the reasons why I reject JTB (which I give here) as reasons for his rejection of JTB.

Going only by what is stated here, Lloyd seems unaware of numerous facts that bear on the matter, such as:

- the fact that knowledge is composed of *concepts* rather than “beliefs,”
- the fact that ‘propositions’ are not conceptually irreducible
- the fact that ‘beliefs’ too are not conceptually irreducible

Notable is the fact that Lloyd does question the premise, central to JTB, that knowledge is composed of “beliefs.” For all he states here, he may be happy to suppose that knowledge is composed of beliefs, and consequently treat them as though they were conceptually irreducible. Once this premise is accepted, JTB follows pretty much automatically.

Broadly speaking, I’d say Lloyd’s frustration is a direct result of not having a good understanding of concepts. If he did have such an understanding, I think he truly would see through the JTB analysis of knowledge, and recognize its flawed premises. But nothing he states indicates that he really does question the essence of JTB. He’s simply telling us autobiographically that the faulty premises which he’s accepted have led him to futility.

Anyway, that’s my take. Does that help?

Regards,
Dawson

December 02, 2011 4:20 PM  
Blogger Hezekiah Ahaz said...

Yea, BB, God controls everything that happens. That's classic reformed doctrine. It's clearly stated in the Westminster Confession of Faith. It's actually one of my favorite biblical teachings.

However

Maybe this time what I say will "sink into your ears".

The question is "Is evil ever morally justifiable".

Why are you even asking this question, first of all?

December 02, 2011 4:54 PM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

Nide wrote: “The question is ‘Is evil ever morally justifiable[?]’.”

Yes, that was my question. Actually, it originally included the phrase: according to your worldview.

Nide: “Why are you even asking this question, first of all?”

I see - still trying to make this about *me* personally.

Anyway, I can answer. I ask questions like this because I enjoy learning.

Of course, on your worldview, your god is in control of everything, including whether or not I ask questions, and which questions I end up asking. So if you want to know why I do something, why not ask your god? According to your worldview, I’m just a puppet to your god’s manipulations.

Oh, and here’s some background on the so-called “debate that never was” that you mentioned:

From the Internet Infidels Newsletter May 1996

Michael Martin said that the debate with Bahnsen was scheduled four months in advance. Three weeks before the debate was to take place he was informed for the first time that Bahnsen would not debate unless Martin gave written permission to SCCCS to tape the debate. The tape would be sold to support SCCCS. Although SCCCS did offer joint rights to the taped debate, Martin rejected the offer because he did not want SCCCS to profit from his participation. He made it clear that he was willing to debate if the debate was not taped and that he never would have agreed to debate had he known the conditions required by SCCCS. However, SCCCS refused to let Bahnsen debate without the debate being taped. The debate was canceled.

Shortly after the cancellation SCCCS issued a press release accusing Martin of cowardliness. Marty Field, the debate organizer and a Christian, was mortified by SCCCS' action and expressed amazement that Christians could act in such a unChristian way. He said his organization was distancing itself from SCCCS because of the press release. However, he defended Bahnsen saying that he could not believe Bahnsen approved of SCCCS's action and even suggested that the press release might not have been authorized by the officials of SCCCS. Martin said that he pointed out to Mr. Field that Bahnsen had offered no apology for the press release and, until he, Martin, received evidence to the contrary, he had every reason to suppose that the press release was officially sanctioned and had Bahnsen's approval.

Bahnsen showed up at the appointed site of the debate -- at the exact time the debate was scheduled -- and delivered a lecture attacking Martin. Before Bahnsen spoke Martin requested that a written statment he had prepared giving his reasons for not debating and expressing his dismay concerning the SCCCS press release be read to the audience. (Whether this statement was actually read he does not know.) Although it did not mention the press release, Bahnsen's lecture was filled with innuendoes concerning Martin's motives for not debating. Martin described his experiences with SCCCS as one of the most unpleasant in his life. Because of it he now refuses to engage in oral debates with theists on the existence of God.


Regards,
Dawson

December 02, 2011 5:11 PM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...

****Re-posting due to clarifications and edits****

Trinity wrote: "What's a contradiction?"

A contradiction is an error in one's thinking where one holds that "a thing is A and non-A, that it is and is not." (Peikoff, OPAR p.119) It is a failure of proper identification.

One example is your worldview. It rests on the Primacy of Consciousness (i.e., an allegedly all-powerful, all-knowing, all-loving, all-creating, non-imaginary being). This contradicts reality. Also asserting or claiming that such a being is real and actually exists results in a "Performative Confession of the Primacy of Existence."

So I actually notice two contradictions here: (1) Your worldview's claims, and (2) your claim that your worldview is true. Both contradictions are due to a failure to properly identify something, while still seeking to integrate this error into your thinking.

And let us not forget the multitude of other contradictions and inconsistencies which are internal to your worldview -- not only in what your fellow apologists have written, but also within the very storybook they rely upon for their writings: The bible. The bible is kind of like a fantasy script or movie that, though it may be interesting in parts, upon closer inspection (and one doesn't have to look too closely), it doesn't hold together internally. As a result, any apologist who takes it seriously can be expected to come to all kinds of crazy conclusions (i.e., the world is 6000 years old, evolution isn't true, there was a global flood, the earth was covered in a solid dome of water, man walked with dinosaurs, mankind inherited original sin, logic and reason presuppose an invisible magic being, etc., etc., etc.). And like the worldview that gave rise to these crazy conclusions, the conclusions themselves must too must be accepted on the basis of belief. It's as if a whole system of mathematics has been built upon the notion that 2+2=5. When someone comes along and points out that 2+2 does not and cannot, in fact, equal 5, the whole thing comes crumbling down. It's at this point the believer faces a choice: Keep believing or join reality.

The fact that you, Trinity, and people like you, continue to unthinkingly accept (believe) that a subject (any subject) has metaphysical primacy over objects (any object) is the contradiction (the reversal of the subject/object orientation) that paves the road for you and makes the multitude of internal contradictions easier for you to accept (rationalize). They go hand in hand, really.

"No concept man forms is valid unless he integrates it without contradiction into the total sum of his knowledge. To arrive at a contradiction is to confess an error in one’s thinking; to maintain a contradiction is to abdicate one’s mind and to evict oneself from the realm of reality."
(Ayn Rand, "For the New Intellectual" p. 126)

Blarkings.

Ydemoc

December 02, 2011 6:01 PM  
Blogger Hezekiah Ahaz said...

Notice how suddenly ,Dawson aka "Bahnsen Burner", wants to evade. Well, too late because you've been exposed. What is it about harrasing Christians that you enjoy?

December 02, 2011 9:15 PM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...

Trinity wrote: "Notice how suddenly ,Dawson aka "Bahnsen Burner", wants to evade."

I haven't noticed. What has he evaded?

Trinity wrote: "Well, too late because you've been exposed."

What has been exposed?

Trinity wrote: "What is it about harrasing Christians that you enjoy?"

Who are you referring to, here? And what makes you think whoever it is, is "harassing" Christians? Can you please provide some evidence for this alleged "harassment"?

Blarkings.

Ydemoc

December 02, 2011 9:31 PM  
Blogger Hezekiah Ahaz said...

Have a nice life Gadget.

December 02, 2011 9:50 PM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

December 02, 2011 10:14 PM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...

Trinity wrote: "Have a nice life Gadget."

Thanks. I have and I will. And you have a good evening. And we'll see you tomorrow.

Until then, what about your claim that someone is harassing Christians? Who do you have in mind? What makes you think whoever it is, is "harassing"? Can you please provide some evidence for this alleged "harassment"?

Blarkings.

Until next time,

Ydemoc

December 02, 2011 10:19 PM  
Blogger Alex B said...

I love how presubullshitters will claim their opponents are 'evading' which, in reality, they're giving direct answers!

I'm guessing this is down to the fact that these people need set answers to be able to move onto the next part of their script, and are hopelessly lost if someone doesn't give the response they desire.

December 03, 2011 12:09 AM  
Blogger Hezekiah Ahaz said...

Alex,

Time is a precious thing, never waste it.- Willy Wonka

December 03, 2011 6:41 AM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...

Trinity wrote: "Time is a precious thing, never waste it.- Willy Wonka"

Answers to questions are precious things, never evade them.

Ydemoc

December 03, 2011 8:42 AM  
Blogger ActionJackson864 said...

Just finished reading the post. Awesome as usual. The part that is most devastating were the questions:

Why isn’t “ordaining” evil, itself evil?
Or:
How could “ordaining” evil be legitimately construed as a good?

Or:
How could “ordaining” evil be morally justifiable?

Or:
How is being the ordainer of evil not also being the author of evil?
Or:
How is being the one who “ordains” evil not also the one who authors evil?
Or:
By saying that “God ordains evil,” how is this not ultimately saying that evil originates with said god?

Or:
How is ordaining evil not a species of committing evil?

as well as the FACT that the thesaurus has "ordain" and "commission" listed as synonyms!

What a mess! And anyone can see that Sye has really stepped in it with his admission that "commission" of evil is not morally justifiable and the "ordaining" of is, because, they are synonyms! More contradictions, evasions, and downright REFUSAL to deal with anything the Objectivist raises in response to the presuppers supposed "undefeatable" arguments!

December 03, 2011 9:38 AM  
Blogger Hezekiah Ahaz said...

AJ,

Since, "Bahnsen Burner", is terrified of debating Sye how about it, AJ, you and Sye hand to hand?


By the way, Alex, it's not bull but roast beef we just haven't got it right.

December 03, 2011 10:27 AM  
Blogger ActionJackson864 said...

Hez said:
"Since, "Bahnsen Burner", is terrified of debating Sye how about it, AJ, you and Sye hand to hand?"

After seeing what Sye and Hovind did to Alex from AnAtheistViewpoint, I don't see any reason to do so. Sye and Hovind will cut up the debate to make it look as though they have an advantage. I don't have anything to gain, nor to I think anyone else has anything to gain from debating someone who is going to use the recording in a dishonest manner, misrepresenting what actually took place. ( ok maybe Sye will gain something as he will continue to decieve people and use the edited debates to make money )

I was "challenged" to a debate by one of Sye's affiliates, the fellow who debated with the existencialists at a college in NC I think it was.

I told him I would do a blog debate of 20 questions each, he wanted no part of it. sound familiar?

Also I don't like "time limits" and I'm much more interested in seeing Sye interact with Bethrick than I am in taking him on myself. Plus, I'm a really busy guy.

To reiterate, it is just disrespectful and childish to do what Sye and Hovind do, and cash in on. I won't support them in it.

December 03, 2011 10:45 AM  
Blogger Hezekiah Ahaz said...

AJ,

Excuses, excuses. Really, how busy?

By the way "Where is fancy bred in the heart or the head?" - Willy Wonka

December 03, 2011 10:59 AM  
Blogger Alex B said...

AJ said "After seeing what Sye and Hovind did to Alex from AnAtheistViewpoint, I don't see any reason to do so."

I'm hoping that the whole mess that Sye and Eric made will lead more and more people to decide not to 'debate' them - not being able to get his Skype fix will drive Sye mad.

December 03, 2011 11:48 AM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

Alex: “I'm guessing this is down to the fact that these people need set answers to be able to move onto the next part of their script, and are hopelessly lost if someone doesn't give the response they desire.”

Presuppositionalism’s dependence on following a script, as you put it, Alex, actually mirrors the Christian worldview’s lack of an epistemology suited for man’s mind. For the believer, genuine knowledge is not something the human mind *discovers* by means of its own activity. For the believer, knowledge is not the result of one’s own effort; anything that a person produces by means of his own effort is subject to being dismissed and discredited as vanity, love of self, arrogance, the “wisdom of the world,” or some other supposed “vice.” For the believer, genuine knowledge must be “revealed” to the human mind, and the human mind must passively receive it and accept it as genuine knowledge, without question. (For questioning whatever falls under the category of “revealed knowledge” constitutes an exercise of “autonomous reasoning,” and that’s “sin”.)

In dialoguing with non-believers, this view of knowledge requires the believer to cubbyhole everyone they encounter into pre-set categories prescribed by their specific interpretation of “revelation.” This is where their apologetic script comes in.

In the presuppositionalist literature, you’ll find these categories: skeptics (i.e., philosophical skeptics – people who think knowledge is ultimately unattainable), materialists (whose failing is the rejection of consciousness, even though presuppositionalists don’t recognize it as such), naturalists (who are characterized pretty much the same way as materialists), logical positivists (i.e., very similar to philosophical skeptics), “social darwinists” (i.e., the presumption that the theory of evolution is supposed to explain human behavior), behaviorists (a la Skinner), etc.

For each of these categories, presuppositionalists have their rehearsed rebuttals, some of them enjoying the luxury of quotations from representatives which confirm or at least seem to confirm (whether or not they are taken in context) the treatment which presuppositionalism prescribes in response to them. To be sure, each of these positions are philosophically defective, and presuppositionalism seeks to exploit many of these defects in a most superficial, gimmick-laden manner (e.g., likening human beings to fizzing soda pop, referring to human beings as “mere molecules in motion,” etc.).

When they encounter Objectivists, however, presuppositionalists are stymied, since their playbooks (Van Til, Bahnsen, Frame, Pratt, etc.) don’t deal with Objectivism, and Objectivism does not fall into the philosophical categories for which they have prepared and rehearsed scripts. So they first seek to categorize Objectivism as a variation of one of the categories to which they already have canned, soundbite-like responses; when this does not work, they resort to drive-by accusations (cf. Sye’s “you’re blatantly begging the question”) and rapid-fire interrogations which are not conducted with sincere interest (e.g., “how do you know…?” or “how does your worldview account for…?”); and when these tactics don’t work, they either abandon the discussion altogether (if they ever get this far), or try to re-focus the discussion on the personalities of the individuals involved (as both Sye and Nide do… ha, I like that – “Sye and Nide” – see the proof?).

The upshot is that presuppositionalists really never provide any substantial objections against Objectivism, and from all appearances, never seem to educate themselves on what Objectivism teaches. It’s the true antidote to Christian mysticism, and I suspect that many Christian apologists sense this, which is why most avoid my blog.

Regards,
Dawson

December 03, 2011 4:59 PM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

Alex wrote: “I love how presubullshitters will claim their opponents are 'evading' which, in reality, they're giving direct answers!”

Indeed. The more I seem to address Nide’s questions - even his questions directed at me personally, the more he seems to accuse me of evading and being dishonest. It’s really rather fascinating.

Regards,
Dawson

December 03, 2011 5:00 PM  
Blogger Hezekiah Ahaz said...

BB,

Your too funny.

For some moments in life there are no words. - Willy Wonka

By the way why is that randbelief coulnt be kep by rand?

Jesus kept his word why won't you believe him?






P.S. God is imaginary. He's just not imaginary.

December 03, 2011 5:10 PM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

December 03, 2011 6:02 PM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

December 03, 2011 6:05 PM  
Blogger Hezekiah Ahaz said...

Sorry, Gadget, All questions must be submitted by mail.-
My version of one of Willy Wonka's memorable qoutes.



Farewell

December 03, 2011 6:09 PM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...

Trinity responded to Dawson with: "Your too funny. For some moments in life there are no words. - Willy Wonka By the way why is that randbelief coulnt be kep by rand? Jesus kept his word why won't you believe him? P.S. God is imaginary. He's just not imaginary."

Trinity, why are you so polite and grammatically correct (by just a smidge); more talkative and coherent (also by just a smidge) over on Michael Russell's blog, while over here we very rarely see that from you? Most of the time over here you do your best to act like the "Three Persons of the Knucklehead." Is it because you take pride in what you write over there but not over here? Or do you think that over there you are getting brownie points from your fellow apologists who may be looking on?

From a Christian perspective, it would seem that this shouldn't be the case -- that there shouldn't be this noticeable difference. For you, according to your Christian belief, have nothing to worry about as far as your alleged salvation is concerned, and neither does Michael. Yet over here, there are plenty of souls hanging in the balance. One would think that over here is where you would be most careful in your presentation. But you're not. Why is that? What do you think this tells us about you? And what do you think it tells all those potentially hell-bound souls? What kind of message do you think they are getting from you? Or does it not really matter how you act, since it's all out of your control anyway?

Ydemoc

December 03, 2011 6:13 PM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

Nide wrote “Since, ‘Bahnsen Burner’, is terrified of debating Sye how about it, AJ, you and Sye hand to hand?”

Nide, Sye is welcome to come to my blog and interact with my position any time. I’ve been here since March of 2005, and as I said before: I do not monitor, edit or delete comments. Your own participation here demonstrates that I don’t require commenters to stay on a particular topic. So if Sye really wants to engage me in some kind of discussion or debate, why doesn’t he just come here where all the action is? I’ve seen no good explanation for why he doesn’t do this. But I have strong suspicions why. Just listening to any of his podcasts or reading any of his writings, it’s clear he has a very poor grasp of philosophy, and certainly does not have a grasp of the issues which Objectivism raises.

I’ll give you an example. When Sye was asked “Are you denying the primacy of existence?” Sye’s response was (are you ready?):

”I affirm the primacy of God's existence.”

(See Sye’s 29 Nov. comment, timestamped 16:23, on this blog: http://anatheistviewpoint.blogspot.com/2011/11/video-gate.html)

By answering the question this way, Sye demonstrates that he has no grasp of the issue of metaphysical primacy. The issue of metaphysical primacy pertains to the relationship between consciousness and existence, between the *subject* of consciousness and the *objects* of its consciousness. Sye gives no indication that he understands this, and by responding to the question as he does, he indicates that he really doesn’t know how to answer it. And he doesn’t know how to answer it because his worldview provides him with no explicit understanding of the issue of metaphysical primacy. And it doesn’t provide this explicit understanding because it would be death to the Christian worldview. To affirm the primacy of consciousness is basically like saying “wishing makes it so,” and worse. Any time a Christian apologist says something like “You just don’t like our answer,” he’s invoking the primacy of existence: he’s essentially saying that the truth of a position obtains independently of anyone’s likes or dislikes, preferences, whims, fantasies, denials, etc. In fundamental terms, he’s saying: reality is the way it is independent of conscious activity. But that’s the primacy of existence. The notion of “the primacy of God’s existence” is really just another way of affirming the primacy of consciousness, for according to theism, there’s a supernatural consciousness to whose conscious will everything else conforms. That’s the primacy of consciousness. On the theistic worldview, wishing does make it so: the Christian god wishes that there’s an earth, and presto, the earth exists. Wishing made it a reality, i.e., consciousness holds metaphysical primacy.

I really don’t understand why some folks apparently have a hard time grasping this. Why won't Christians, who continually tell us that their god is behind everything, that it “sovereignly” controls everything, etc., just own up to the primacy of consciousness which explicitly underwrites their worldview? But time and time again, Christians react against this fact as though it somehow weren’t true, which again shows just how out of touch they are when it comes to the epistemological implications of the primacy of existence.

If Sye ever wants to discuss this, he’s welcome to come to me any time, Nide, just as you continue to do. If you can do it, I don’t see why he can’t – in fact, he has come to my blog and posted comments before. So there is definitely ample precedent for this action on his part. Why not come and interact? What’s he afraid of?

Regards,
Dawson

December 03, 2011 6:42 PM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...

Dawson,

Your recent post reminded me of an argument Anton Thorn presented (and something Trinity has been pining for) in "Considering Mr. Smallwood's Apologetic"(www.oocities.org/athens/sparta/1019/Morgue/Smallwood.htm). Thorn writes:

"...an Objectivist argument from objective reality (from the fact of existence)... may proceed along the following lines:

1) Existence exists. (We perceive existence directly, via our senses.)
2) To exist is to be something specific. {from 1)}
3) To be something specific is to have identity. {A is A; from 2)}

4) The identity of an entity is not distinct from that entity; an entity and its
identity are one and the same. {from 3)}
5) Consciousness is consciousness of an object (i.e., of existence).
5a) Therefore, consciousness presupposes existence. {from 5)}
5b) Corollary: Existence does not depend on consciousness. {from 1)}
6) The task of consciousness is not to create existence, but to identify it. {from 5)}

7) Theism posits consciousness prior to and/or as causally responsible for the
fact of existence (e.g., "God"). {theistic claims}
8) Theism is in contradiction with fundamental facts of reality. {from 6)}

C: Therefore, theism is invalid.

Premises 1) though 3) are implicit in all perception, but made explicit in objective philosophy through axiomatic concepts. These truths are inescapable and presumed in all cognition.

Premises 4) through 6) logically follow from the Objectivist axioms.

Premises 7) and 8) are only necessary once the notion of a universe-creating, reality-ruling consciousness is posited by the mystic.

One does not "presuppose" anything about the "Christian triune God" - either that God exists or that God does not exist - when he recognizes the fact that existence exists, even when that recognition is completely implicit. To argue otherwise is to commit the fallacy of the stolen concept (for such an assertion would fail to recognize objective conceptual priority and the hierarchical nature of knowledge)."

Ydemoc

December 03, 2011 6:53 PM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

Ydemoc,

Thanks for sharing this fascinating quote from Thorn! It should be no wonder why theists are so reluctant to engage Objectivists intellectually - they're simply no match.

Regards,
Dawson

December 03, 2011 7:01 PM  
Blogger Hezekiah Ahaz said...

Dawson,

Wishing does make it so. God does whatever he pleases.

Call it what you want there's nothing you can do about it.

It's God's world and everything in it - Psalm 50

Sye is exactly right. We affirm the sovereignty of God.

Once again why coulnt rand keep randbelief?

Jesus kept his beliefs why won't you believe him?


Accross the desert lies the promise land- Willy Wonka

Love in Christ,

Richard

December 03, 2011 7:04 PM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...

Dawson,

You're welcome. It's always a pleasure to contribute something to your blog, (even if it's not something I originated) that is on point as to the discussion at hand.

Ydemoc

December 03, 2011 7:05 PM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...

Trinity wrote: "Jesus kept his beliefs why won't you believe him?"

What beliefs did Jesus have?

Trinity wrote: "Accross the desert lies the promise land- Willy Wonka"

Okay. And Bruce wrote, "...And I believe in a promised land."

What's your point?

And what beliefs did Jesus have?

Ydemoc

December 03, 2011 7:09 PM  
Blogger Hezekiah Ahaz said...

Sorry, Gadget, All questions must be submitted by mail.

BB,

How about it me and you hand to hand right here on your blog:

5 questions each you get the privilege of going first.

I'll be waiting. Gadget can moderate if he wants. However all his questions will need to be sent by mail.

What say you?

December 03, 2011 7:16 PM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...

Trinity,

Dawson has already answered the questions you've posed to him. On top of that, he has presented you with tons and tons of material which you haven't addressed nor raised an issue with. Moreover, he's presented to you many, many questions that you have chosen not to answer.

His material remains available for you raise an issue with or inquire about.

The bottom line here is, I think it's safe to say, that you would have exhibited a different approach on this blog if you were truly serious about an intellectual pursuit.

Yours in Blarko.

Ydemoc

December 03, 2011 9:32 PM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

Dawson,

Nide: “Wishing does make it so.”

Okay. Good. You’ve come out of the closet on your worldview’s commitment to the primacy of consciousness.

Of course, you contradict yourself just by saying “wishing does make it so.” Do you really not see that? At root, this is why god-belief is irrational: the theist performatively contradicts himself just by saying “God exists.” He verbally affirms the primacy of consciousness (as you yourself put it here – “wishing does make it so”) while making use of the primacy of existence in saying that something is in fact the case.

Consider this: does “wishing make it so” because you wish this to be the case?

Nide: “God does whatever he pleases.”

Right. It does not guide its choices and actions by any objective moral standard. Its “good pleasure” is its sole guide – see Ps. 115:3. But I already knew this. Arbitrariness and the primacy of consciousness go hand in hand.

Nide: “Call it what you want there's nothing you can do about it.”

Here you invoke the primacy of existence again. Is it the case that “there’s nothing I can do about it” because you wish this to be the case?

Nide: “It's God's world and everything in it - Psalm 50”

I can imagine this along with the psalmist just as easily as you can. But what I’m imagining is imaginary.

Nide: “Sye is exactly right.”

Sye and Nide, joined at the hip. It’s poison. Do some good and go kill some bugs.

Nide: “We affirm the sovereignty of God.”

And in so doing, you affirm the primacy of consciousness while making use of the primacy of existence. You contradict yourselves. Ask yourself: Is your god sovereign because you wish it to be the case? Yes or no?

Nide: “Once again why coulnt rand keep randbelief?”

What is “randbelief”? How do you know she “coulnt keep” it? Are you assuming the primacy of existence here?

Nide: “Jesus kept his beliefs why won't you believe him?”

Well, to put the matter on an even keel with Christianity, we’d have to point out that Howard Roark remained loyal to his principles. You see, just like Jesus, Howard Roark is a fictional character. But I realize that you don’t want to deal with intellectual matters. You want to make this about individuals personally.

Regards,
Dawson

December 03, 2011 10:30 PM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

Nide wrote: “Sorry, Gadget, All questions must be submitted by mail. BB, How about it me and you hand to hand right here on your blog: 5 questions each you get the privilege of going first.”

Hmmm… I apparently can’t even submit my first question as I don’t have your mailing address.

Nide: “I'll be waiting.”

Yes, probably forever, since I don’t have your address and thus cannot even submit my first question!

Nide: “Gadget can moderate if he wants. However all his questions will need to be sent by mail.”

If by “Gadget” you mean Ydemoc, he’s free to post his questions right here on my blog. I set the rules here, not you.

Nide: “What say you?”

Everything I’ve stated so far on my blog.

Regards,
Dawson

December 03, 2011 10:31 PM  
Blogger Hezekiah Ahaz said...

The "contradictions" are only in your mind.

So, How about those 5 questions to get things rolling. Your not afraid to debate me also right?

By the way so what If affirm the "primacy of concious" really who cares. I think it's funny.

Anyway would you prefer opening statements first?

P.S. Since Gadget annoys me I wil only accept questions from him by mail.

December 03, 2011 10:50 PM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...

Trinity wrote: "P.S. Since Gadget annoys me I wil only accept questions from him by mail."

That would be a waste of a stamp for me.

Plus, such correspondence through the mail would leave all those lurking here on this blog -- all those souls whose hearts may have be softened just a tiny bit by what you have to say in defense of your faith -- it will leave these individuals, according to your worldview, still hell bound.

And even if I sent you questions through the mail, I would probably get back a blank piece of paper in response -- which would be quite symbolic, given that you worship an invisible magic being and your defense of this belief lacks substance.

Ydemoc

December 03, 2011 11:09 PM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

Nide: “The ‘contradictions’ are only in your mind.”

Is that because you *wish* this to be the case?

Nide: “So, How about those 5 questions to get things rolling. Your not afraid to debate me also right?”

I don’t have your mailing address. Remember what you stated? You wrote: “All questions must be submitted by mail.”

Nide: “By the way so what If affirm the "primacy of concious" really who cares. I think it's funny.”

Well, clearly you don’t care. In a way, this is just you being consistent with the primacy of consciousness, since objective values presuppose the primacy of existence, and you’ve denied the primacy of existence in your worldview.

Nide: “Anyway would you prefer opening statements first?”

If you like. I have several that I’d be happy to offer as my opening statement. Feel free to pick one:

How Theism Violates the Primacy of Existence

The Imaginative Nature of Christian Theism

If Knowledge Then Non-Theism

A Critique of Sye Ten Bruggencate’s www.proofthatgodexists.org

Was Jesus a Great Moral Teacher?

Does Logic Presuppose the Christian God?

Pick one and submit your rebuttal. I'll be waiting.

Nide: “P.S. Since Gadget annoys me I wil only accept questions from him by mail.”

That’s different from what you had earlier stated. You had stated that “all questions must be submitted by mail.” Now you’re saying that you’ll only *accept* them from him by mail. In other words, he can submit them in any fashion he chooses, you’ll just accept only those that reach you by mail. Is this accurate?

Just understand: anyone can submit any questions he wants on my blogspot. You do not get to set rules on this. Understand?

Regards,
Dawson

December 03, 2011 11:14 PM  
Blogger Hezekiah Ahaz said...

BB,

I don't have my snow gear with me right now so I'm afraid I won't survive the avalanche of words(your writings).

So how about starting with those 5 questions?


All questions from gadget will need to, at least for me, be submitted by mail. He's a heckler and a time waster
that I don't have time for. I could care less what he does here.


Anyway how about those questions?

December 03, 2011 11:55 PM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

Nide wrote: "I don't have my snow gear with me right now so I'm afraid I won't survive the avalanche of words(your writings)."

I see. Well, that's a pity. I guess you won't be rebutting my writings then. You've joined the lot of Christians before you who've had the opportunity to challenge what I've said, but passed on it. Alrighty then.

Nide: "So how about starting with those 5 questions?"

I suppose my first question would be:

Why should I hold myself to an arbitrary limit?

Regards,
Dawson

December 04, 2011 6:29 AM  
Blogger Alex B said...

I find it slightly disturbing that the Christians are complaining that they can't deal with anything other than bite sized points.

At a guess, their religion's absolute failure to account for knowledge causes them to run from any situation where they might learn something.

December 04, 2011 6:39 AM  
Blogger ActionJackson864 said...

I just want to chime in here...@ Hez

Hez have you read the exchange between Dawson and Michael Russell in the previous blog entry?

I would like to suggest you put the type of thinking into your responses as Michael has, and be honest as Michael has as well.

NO ONE is learning anything from your name calling, willy wonka quotes, or other bizarre frivolous comments.

Michael seems to be the rare apologist who is open to TRUTHFUL DISCUSSION and it seems you are not. Parrotting Bahnsen and Van Til, not explaining your position, and not directly dealing with the tens ( possibly hundreds ) of questions we have raised does no one any good, other than the occasional laugh we get from it.

BONE UP. BE HONEST.

December 04, 2011 7:36 AM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...

ActionJackson,

Exactly.

Ydemoc

December 04, 2011 7:46 AM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

Alex,

Thanks for your comment.

Some thoughts here.

Regards,
Dawson

December 04, 2011 8:20 AM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

AJ: "Hez have you read the exchange between Dawson and Michael Russell in the previous blog entry?"

I have to say, Michael has been a breath of fresh air. He seems quite willing to discuss the issues and ideas that come up in the conversation in an adult manner. Really, he's one in a million so far as I can tell. I hope our discussion continues. The issues we're talking about are so crucial to the antithesis which presuppositionalists like to hype up, but seem unwilling to understand in any rational manner.

Let's see where it goes.

Regards,
Dawson

December 04, 2011 8:24 AM  
Blogger Paul Baird said...

@ Dawson - thanks for the thoughtful and informative response, it was very useful. Sometimes knowing the back story to a thread is very helpful.

I agree that if Peoples, or the Flannagans for that matter, want to engage with you then they should come here.

All the best.

December 04, 2011 10:58 AM  
Blogger klatu said...

As a humanity, we have all been conditioned or indoctrinated, for all of history by 'theological' exegesis, particularly by those with their own 'religious' claims and agendas, to accept that a literal proof of God is not possible for faith. And thus all discussion and apologists 'theodicy' is contained within this self limiting intellectual paradigm and bubble of presumption, especially evident in the frictions between science and religion. It would now appear that all sides squabbling over the God question, religious, atheist and history itself have it wrong! That bubble could now burst at any time!

The first wholly new interpretation for two thousand years of the moral teachings of Christ is published on the web. Radically different from anything else we know of from history, this new teaching is predicated upon a precise and predefined experience, a direct individual intervention into the natural world by omnipotent power to confirm divine will, command and covenant, "correcting human nature by a change in natural law, altering biology, consciousness and human ethical perception beyond all natural evolutionary boundaries." So like it or no, a new religious claim testable by faith, meeting all Enlightenment criteria of evidence based causation now exists. Nothing short of a religious revolution is getting under way. More info at http://www.energon.org.uk

December 06, 2011 2:48 PM  
Blogger Leper Watchman said...

Hello everyone, My name is Leper Watchman, and Justin and I have enjoyed going round and round during our lunch-times at work on some topics similar to what you guys are hashing out.

He keeps encouraging me to jump into this blog and add to your amusement. I am trying to understand what he means by his declared presuppostions of: Identity, Consciousness, and Existence. Sounds like he sees it slightly different than some phrases I see here:

"ultimate objective standard"

"grounds”

"primacy of existence"

Right off I am thinking these words are a clue to Bahnsen Burner's "presuppostions" by another name?

Couple things, if anyone has any spare time....

Whatever you call your "ultimates" or "grounds" (instead of presuppositions - axioms accepted as true without proof - as a starting point), how is "evil" or "morals" possible within that worldview?

According to your worldview, is evil ever possibe?

And, as for the theme of this article, does anyone else see the inherent contradiction in the question?

According to your worldview, is evil ever morally justifiable?

Wouldn't evil be the same as not-moral? If something is moral, it is not evil, and if evil, then not moral?

Sure, if we find a contradiction in our worldview, it is time to check the foundation or the building blocks.

December 07, 2011 11:13 AM  
Blogger Hezekiah Ahaz said...

Leper,

Welcome you're exactly right in an "atheist world" all is relative and meaningless and hence communication is impossible . Or as van til put it the "atheist" destroys predication.

1. If we can communicate "atheism" is false and communication will presuppose the Christian God

2. We can communicate.

3. Therefore, atheism is false and communication pressuposes the christian God.

Thanks for your insight.


By the way say hi to Justin

December 07, 2011 12:44 PM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...

Hi Leper Watchman,

Since your greeting addressed "everyone," I'm assuming it's okay if I jump in and respond to just a tad of what you've inquired about.

I would love to take the time to give complete answers to each of your questions, but I have a lot of things to do right now.

What I would suggest is that you go through Dawson's archives. He has written a tremendous amount that addresses the questions you raise.

Again, I really wish I could interact with you, but I can't take the time right now. I will, however, direct your attention to the following links for blog entries that might help to answer your questions.

*****************
The link for the following blog entry takes you to Dawson's Katholon website:

"The Axioms and the Primacy of Existence"

http://katholon.com/AxiomsPOE.htm

**********
"Christianity vs. Objective Morality"

http://bahnsenburner.blogspot.com/2005/03/christianity-vs-objective-morality.html

********

"Do I Borrow My Morality from the Christian Worldview?" (April 14, 2005)

http://bahnsenburner.blogspot.com/2005_04_01_archive.html

*You'll have to scroll down to the middle of the page, and you'll find the above blog-entry there*

********

"The Moral Uselessness of the 10 Commandments" (May 22, 2007)

http://bahnsenburner.blogspot.com/2007/05/moral-uselessness-of-10-commandments.html

********

And there's a lot more where these came from. I hope they help.

Enjoy!

Ydemoc

December 07, 2011 1:08 PM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

Leper Watcher asked: “Whatever you call your ‘ultimates’ or ‘grounds’ (instead of presuppositions - axioms accepted as true without proof - as a starting point), how is 'evil' or 'morals' possible within that worldview?”

I will address your questions from the perspective of Objectivism, the philosophy of reason. So I will address your questions with Objectivist definitions in mind.

First I want to make it clear what Objectivism means by ‘morality’. Morality is a code of values which guides man’s choices and actions. This definition of course presupposes the concept ‘value’ and explicitly acknowledges the fact that man possesses a consciousness which is volitional in nature: he has the ability to choose between alternatives. Objectivism recognizes that life is conditional in nature: since man faces a fundamental alternative (i.e., life vs. death), he must meet certain conditions in order to sustain his life and continue living. We can discover what these conditions are, and do so only by looking at reality – specifically at those relevant facts which pertain to the nature of man’s existence and the requirements of his life as a biological organism. Man needs morality because he does not automatically know what is a value to his life, nor does he automatically know which alternatives available to him he should choose if he wants to live, or which actions he should take if living life is his goal. Since man does not have automatic knowledge, he must use a means of knowledge which is suited to the nature of consciousness which he possesses; that means of knowledge is called reason. Also, since man must act in order to exist, he needs a standard, specifically a code of values (which hierarchically stratifies his values according to priority for his life), to guide his actions. Morality can thus be described as the philosophical science which applies reason to the man’s task of living.

Morality, then, is possible because:

a) existence exists;

b) man exists;

c) man is a living organism (which means: he faces a fundamental alternative – he can die);

d) man possesses consciousness;

e) man’s consciousness is volitional in nature (i.e., he can choose between alternatives);

f) man needs values in order to live (e.g., food, water, shelter, etc.);

g) man needs to act in order to achieve and/or preserve those values which his life requires;

h) man requires reason to identify the objects and situations in his environment (i.e., to gain knowledge of reality);

i) man requires reason to identify the values which his life requires;

j) man requires reason to identify the actions which he needs to take in order to achieve and/or preserve those values which his life requires.

The conditions for morality as Objectivism conceives of it obtain in reality: man has conceptual ability (his consciousness) and an inherent need for values in order to live. Hence, morality is possible.

[Continued...]

December 08, 2011 2:09 PM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

Leper Watcher asked: “According to your worldview, is evil ever possibe?”

Yes, it’s very possible. Let me explain why.

First, let’s make sure we have an objective understanding of what evil is. Evil is that which works against the life of rational individuals. It is the condition when man’s values (up to and including his life) are threatened by some force with the potential to destroy them. The destruction of values does not necessarily mean that the objects which a person values are disintegrated; there is also deprivation: a person’s values can be taken from him against his will. It can be natural or man-made. An example of a natural evil would be a tornado. An example of a man-made evil is a burglar who breaks into a person’s home to steal his valuables.

So now that we have an objective understanding of what evil is, it should be fairly easy to see (if we integrate the points I gave above) not only that evil is possible, but *why* it’s possible: evil is possible because man faces a fundamental alternative, he needs values to live, and natural and man-made factors can threaten his values, up to and including his life.

Notice on this conception of evil, the standard is man’s life qua biological organism. The standard is not the whims of a supernatural being which itself does not face the fundamental alternative between life and death, does not need values, does not need to act, does not have anything that can be threatened by some force acting against what it doesn’t need in the first place (i.e., values).

[Continued…]

December 08, 2011 2:10 PM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

Leper Watcher: “And, as for the theme of this article, does anyone else see the inherent contradiction in the question?”

This is a good question, and yes, the question ignores the anti-moral stance of a consistent morality. I deliberately phrased the question, not to trick anyone, but because it is geared toward a worldview which does not have a consistent moral philosophy, namely Christianity. And notice how Christian apologist Sye Ten Bruggencate does not question the validity of the question. He does not object to the question because of the coziness it implies between evil and his worldview’s code of morality. On the contrary, he accepts the question and gives both a yes and a no answer. This is compatible, as I point out in my blog, with Greg Bahnsen’s treatment of the problem of evil: “God has a morally sufficient reason for the evil that exists.” Clearly the bottom line for Christianity is: yes, evil is morally justifiable.

Contrast this with Objectivism: According to Objectivism, evil is *never* morally justifiable, and cannot be. Morality is pro-value, evil is anti-value. There can be no compromise between the two.

Leper Watcher: “Sure, if we find a contradiction in our worldview, it is time to check the foundation or the building blocks.”

Agreed. But unfortunately, Christians will simply deny the presence of contradictions in their worldview, even when they’re pointed out to them. Their fantasies about a god are more important to them than reason.

Regards,
Dawson

December 08, 2011 2:10 PM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

Nide wrote: “Welcome you're exactly right in an ‘atheist world’ all is relative and meaningless and hence communication is impossible.”

By ‘atheist world’ Nide most likely means a universe which was not created by the conscious activity of some supernatural entity which can only be apprehended by man through his imagination. It’s unclear why one would think that everything in the universe would be “relative” if it weren’t created by such a being. The Christian god is said not to have been created, so is it “relative and meaningless”? Nide would probably say that’s not the case with his god, which means: he thinks something can be objective and meaningful even though it was not created by the conscious activity of some other being. So Nide dismisses atheism by applying a rule which he cannot apply consistently, for he makes an exception in the case of his worldview. In essence, his dismissal of atheism here trades on special pleading.

Nide: “Or as van til put it the ‘atheist’ destroys predication.”

Predication is a conceptual operation, and thus, contrary to what Nide says here, can only imply non-theism. As a Christian, Van Til had no account for concepts; he didn’t have a conceptual understanding of the nature of predication. Van Til’s approach to predication is theologically expedient, and hinges on ignorance of the nature of predication. His view is basically no more valuable than saying “Gee, I have no idea how man could possibly be capable of predication, so it must be because of God!”

Don Collett’s formalized treatment of the argument from predication shows that its theistic conclusion is affirmed regardless of what is stated in the premises offered in support of it. I explore this in my blog The Argument from Predication and interact with the presuppositional view which claims that the existence of the Christian god is preconditional to predication (showing why in fact such arguments are false).

I also defend my own anti-apologetic argument against theism, which proceeds as follows:

Premise 1: If predication is a conceptual operation, then predication does not presuppose the Christian god.

Premise 2: Predication is a conceptual operation.

Conclusion: Therefore, predication does not presuppose the Christian god.


If readers examine and understand my defense of this argument, I’m confident that they will come to agree that my conclusion is unassailable.

Regards,
Dawson

December 08, 2011 2:12 PM  
Blogger Hezekiah Ahaz said...

Dawson,

I have been causing a little "storm" over at Alex's blog. It's pretty hilarious. Stop by.

Alex claims that your famous question "how is what I'm imagining not imaginary" is unintelligible.

Just wanted to thank you for it. It's brilliant

Remember, Dawson, since God created everything even our imagination. It follows that Concepts and our Imagination presuppose the Christian God.


By the way when you claim that your argument is unassailable the only alternative I have is to imagine it's true so how is what I am imaginary not imaginary?


P.S. Objectivism the "Philosophy of Reason" that's pretty funny. Thanks

December 08, 2011 2:43 PM  
Blogger Alex B said...

Trinity, not going to mention that, in the context you've used, the question IS meaningless gibberish?

December 08, 2011 3:04 PM  
Blogger Hezekiah Ahaz said...

Hi Alex,

Ok, let me try again.

You say you lack belief in YHWH.

It's either I take your word as true. Which is going to take a lot of work.

or

I have to imagine that you lack belief in YHWH. So, how is what I am imagining not imaginary?

December 08, 2011 3:34 PM  
Blogger Cydonia said...

Dawson,

I had 2 comments on this post:

You quoted Greg Bahnsen "God has a morally sufficient reason for the evil which exists."

Since I am not all powerful, I might be faced with a "lesser of 2 evils" choice. But, Since God is all powerful he will always, in every case, have an option that is not evil. To say he doesn't have that option is to say he is not all powerful. So, if God "ordained" or chose to allow evil to exist he couldn't have had a morally justifiable reason given the fact that he could have just clicked his fingers, scrambled the rules of the universe and resolve whatever problem he was going to use evil to justify, without evil.

You wrote: "Evil results in the destruction of values. Why would an all-good, all-holy, all-perfect and all-loving deity choose to have values destroyed? What value is gained by destroying values? And if it’s “morally justifiable” to destroy values, isn’t any supposed “value” that is said to be gained by destroying values also justifiably subject to destruction as well?"

I thought of Ayn Rand in The Virtue of Selfishness:
"...try to imagine an immortal, indestructible robot, an entity which moves and acts, but which cannot be affected by anything, which cannot be changed in any respect, which cannot be damaged, injured or destroyed. Such an entity would not be able to have anyvalues; it would have nothing to gain or to lose; it could not regard anything as for or against it, as serving or threatening its welfare, as fulfilling or frustrating its interests. It could have no interests and no goals. Only a living entity can have goals or can originate them. And it is only a living organism that has the capacity for self-generated, goal-directed action."

If God has no values, he cannot have a moral code. If such a God existed, what we see today is completely consistent with a God that had no moral code(world filled with evil). This is something I suspect Sye would try to avoid.

January 20, 2012 4:14 PM  

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