Thursday, April 04, 2013

A Lesson on Presuppositional Gimmickry

Okay, over on his blog, presuppositional apologist D.A.N. proves that I called it right in my blog On the Validity of the Senses when I stated in my 4 April comment on that blog that
D.A.N. really does not care about knowledge, how we acquire it, how we can rationally put to rest skepticism’s gimmicks, etc.
D.A.N. is out there spewing the same thing that has already been answered here. Observe:

In a discussion going on currently in the comments of this entry on D.A.N.’s blog, commenter Pvblivs stated:
Knowledge is obtained through observation and reasoning.
In response to Pvblivs, D.A.N. wrote:
Did you use your senses and reasoning to come to that conclusion? Again, is it viciously circular to employ your senses and reasoning to validate your senses and reasoning?
D.A.N.'s first question essentially asks: ‘Did you use your mind to come to that conclusion?’ Apparently D.A.N. thinks it’s fallacious to use one’s senses and reasoning to come to conclusions; he therefore must think that using one’s mind to come to conclusions is also fallacious. The only consistent outcome for D.A.N.’s worldview then would to retreat into utter mindlessness, for any alternative according to assumptions implicit in D.A.N.’s interrogative program would result in fallacy.

Then D.A.N. asks essentially the same question which I have already addressed in my blog On the Validity of the Senses. Thus it has already been explained to D.A.N. that the senses are self-validating in a non-circular way. See, I was right! D.A.N. doesn’t really care about how to resolve what amount to inescapable puzzles for his worldview; he really doesn’t care about knowledge, validity, avoiding fallacies, drawing sound conclusions, logical integrity and the such. He thinks it’s fallacious for one to use his own mind to come to conclusions! D.A.N. has damned his own mind and wants to see others forced into doing the same by using the very gimmicks he himself has fallen for.

Fundamental to D.A.N.’s persisting confusion and evasion in his apologetic is the dishonesty inherent in his worldview and character, which Pvblivs has rightly pointed out. There is nothing anyone else can do to correct this: D.A.N. makes his own choices, and unfortunately some people choose to be dishonest to themselves, to others, and to the facts of reality. That D.A.N. would continue to go around using the same cheap gimmickry that has already been completely defused, is sufficient evidence of his dishonesty in action. Again, he does not care about the issues his questions focus on. These questions are merely the means to his apologetic ends.

But on top of this, to make things worse, D.A.N. does not know what reason is. And he doesn’t know what reason is because his worldview does not teach him what reason is. But why would this be the case? Clearly, reason is antithetical to faith. Reason liberates man’s mind so that he can think and live independently of others. But Christianity is not about liberating individual thinkers so that they can govern their lives independently of others. Christianity is inherently collectivistic and characterizes human beings as belonging to two opposing collectives: the chosen vs. the damned. Independence, rationality, self-esteem – these are not virtues that one will find promoted and defended in the bible. Rather, faith, obedience, submission, unquestioning acceptance of “doctrine” are. So from the foundations of the worldview which D.A.N. has chosen to champion, he has already accepted his place as an enemy of reason.

Reason is the faculty which identifies and integrates the material provided by the senses. And in my blog answering D.A.N., I have already identified the facts which assure us of the axiomatic validity of the senses. We perceive things. This is rationally undeniable. We also have the ability to form concepts on the basis of what we perceive. This too is rationally undeniable. D.A.N.’s own apologetic must implicitly assume the truth of these facts in order to goad other minds into calling them into question. And yet, if we identify these fundamental facts explicitly and acknowledge their proper place in the knowledge hierarchy (i.e., at its foundation), it becomes more and more evident that D.A.N.’s entire apologetic hinges on an entire series of stolen concepts.

Simple questions can be used to tease this out. For example, ask D.A.N.: Is it fallacious for a thinker merely to be aware of things? Is it fallacious for a thinker merely to perceive objects? Is it fallacious for a thinker to use his own mind to think and draw conclusions based on what he perceives? If so, what fallacy is he committing? If D.A.N. wants to say it’s “viciously circular,” then he clearly does not understand what the fallacy of circular reasoning is. As I pointed out in my previous blog, circularity is a fallacy involved in deductive arguments. Merely perceiving objects is not an instance of circular reasoning or any other fallacy. Identifying what one perceives by means of concepts is not an instance of circular reasoning or any other fallacy. So already we should see that by relying on reasoning, we’re off to a good – i.e., non-fallacious – start. If D.A.N. concedes that none of these activities is fallacious, then what is the problem? Blank out.

Another point to keep in mind which prevents Christians from understanding these matters rationally is the fact that their worldview has no theory of concepts. One will not learn about the nature of concepts, the process by which they are formed, their relationship to what they integrate, the process by which multiple concepts can be integrated into higher abstractions, the proper procedures in forming definitions, etc., by reading anything in the bible. The bible is completely silent on such matters. And yet, it is by means of concepts that the human mind identifies and integrates the material provided by the senses. In other words, reason is a conceptual faculty. But since the devotional program of the Christian bible is opposed to reason, it should not surprise us that the bible provides nothing even approaching a theory of concepts. Unfortunately, this can only mean that the Christian worldview has no account for knowledge as such, since knowledge is conceptual, and a worldview which has no theory of concepts has nothing of value to offer on the matter of “accounting for” knowledge.

Meanwhile, we should note the very close relationship between induction and concept-formation. We form concepts – i.e., open-ended mental integrations which include an unlimited quantity of units – on the basis of our perception of only two or more such units. None of us have perceived every man, but we formed our concept ‘man’ on the basis of the men whom we have perceived. And yet, the concept ‘man’ includes every man who lives now, who has lived, and who will ever live. The same is the case with other concepts that we form of concretes. Now compare this with induction: induction follows essentially the same pattern, but with more complex structures – i.e., by integrating several conceptual units – into more refined integrations, very often involving an application of the law of causality. E.g., a rock thrown up in the air will fall back to the earth; a bird flies by using its wings; chopping off your arm with an ax will result in pain; etc. Inductive conclusions can be stated in terms of specifics, as in the case of my examples. But they can be applied generally as well, thanks to the open-endedness of the concepts informing them.

Now, in the case of D.A.N.’s first question (“Did you use your senses and reasoning to come to that conclusion?”), he asked this in response to Pvblivs’ statement “Knowledge is obtained through observation and reasoning.” Now since we do have knowledge, and we acquire it through specific means, there is no reason why the nature of knowledge itself and the means by which we acquire and validate it cannot themselves be the objects of study. Indeed, that’s what epistemology is – the science of studying the nature of knowledge and the means of acquiring and validating it. (Again, we will not find an epistemology laid out in the bible – it keeps the nature of knowledge and the means of acquiring and validating it completely mysterious to the believer.) And since we do have minds, we can use our minds to conduct this investigation. We use our minds to discover and validate knowledge about all sorts of things which exist, and this in itself is not circular (if D.A.N. says it is, he’s essentially condemning all knowledge as fallacious, including the knowledge he assumes in making such a claim, thus it would be utterly self-negating). So there is nothing circular about using our minds to discover and validate knowledge about the nature of knowledge itself and the means by which we acquire it. Thus we do not admit to circular reasoning by answering D.A.N.’s question to Pvblivs by saying that we did conclude that knowledge is obtained through observation and reason by using our senses and reasoning.

So, since presuppositionalists are so fond of soundbite-quality slogans, brief answers to D.A.N.’s questions can be formed as follows:
Q1: “Did you use your senses and reasoning to come to that conclusion?”

A1: Yes, I did. I used my mind to discover the nature of knowledge and the means by which we acquire and validate it.

Q2: “Again, is it viciously circular to employ your senses and reasoning to validate your senses and reasoning?”

A2: Not if we begin by acknowledging the fact that the senses are self-validating in a non-circular way and that reason itself is the only valid means by which man can acquire and validate any knowledge.

Again it must be stressed that we will never learn any of this by reading the bible, which means that presuppositionalism is a bald-faced sham. The bible has nothing at all intelligent to say about the nature of knowledge, validity, how to avoid fallacies, the role of perception in reason, concept-formation, etc. Indeed, this is the dirty little secret which presuppositionalism seeks to conceal from its intended victims, which is precisely why its tactics are designed specifically to put non-believers on the defensive and disarm them with a line of interrogation devised expressly to catch them off-guard and render them speechless. If presuppositionalism’s victims are immobilized by cheap gimmicks ripped off from the skeptical school of philosophy, they are less likely to inquire as to how exactly these same issues are addressed and solved by the content of the bible. The presuppositionalists’ goal is to force open a cavity of ignorance in the minds of its intended victims and fill it with something worse than ignorance – i.e., outright lies borne on irrational premises and stemming entirely from a platform of metaphysical subjectivism.

by Dawson Bethrick

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120 Comments:

Blogger Justin Hall said...

It is simply amazing how clearly TAG is shown to be a house of cards once its bluff is called. Well done Dawson.

April 04, 2013 11:05 PM  
Blogger NAL said...

D.A.N.:

... is it viciously circular to employ your senses and reasoning to validate your senses and reasoning?

I notice that D.A.N. poses what sounds like an accusation in the form of a question. Rhetorically, this may appear to be a good tactic. However, the question can be returned to D.A.N. asking him to answer and justify his answer. So here's the question:

D.A.N., do you think that it is viciously circular to employ your senses and reasoning to validate your senses and reasoning? And why?

April 05, 2013 7:31 AM  
Blogger DawsonsNightmare said...

Justin,

Congrats on accepting Jesus.

I knew you would one day.

April 05, 2013 9:30 AM  
Blogger Justin Hall said...

@Richard

You did take notice of the date on which I posted that did you not?

April 05, 2013 9:47 AM  
Blogger Robert Bumbalough said...

Hello Dawson. Thank you for this splendid blog. Your explanatory faculty continues to improve.

Best Wishes to All

April 05, 2013 10:33 AM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...

Dawson,

I'm not sure if you have seen this, but over on his blog, D.A.N. has responded to the comment you left yesterday. It's a link which reads simply:

"Here is a lesson for your atheism"

Is think this may be the same link that he left over here. Anyway, I clicked on it and it took me to a YouTube webcast featuring... wait for it... [DRUMBROLL].... Sye!

I haven't watched all of it, but from what I've seen, Sye fields live questions from others via Skype, I believe.

Here's the full link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HCXFxrmqIpQ&feature=youtu.be

Ydemoc

April 05, 2013 3:25 PM  
Blogger DawsonsNightmare said...

Justin,

Yea, now you're a fool for Christ.

April 05, 2013 3:28 PM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...

Hi Dawson,

I just left the following over on Dan's blog, in response to the link he supplied:

____________________________________

Hi Dan,

That is a really long video you linked to. And I have no doubt there is value in watching it and that I will do so at some point. But in the meantime, would you mind directing me to the place or places in the vidoe where Sye displays a basic understanding of Objectivism and/or deals in any way with Objectivism?

Also, could you supply the timestamp(s) in the video where Sye deals specifically with:

(a) points Dawson raised in his most recent interaction with *you*, including his latest blog entrie(s) that await your thoughtful reply

(b) any points Dawson raised in the following blog entries:

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

http://bahnsenburner.blogspot.com/2010/08/critique-of-sye-ten-bruggencates.html

-- Answering Dustin Segers’ Presuppositionalism, Parts I - IVb -- all all of which can be accessed here:

http://bahnsenburner.blogspot.com/2012/05/answering-dustin-segers_19.html

(c) issues raised by Dawson in this comment thread:

http://anatheistviewpoint.wordpress.com/2011/11/17/were-still-waiting-for-sye-to-answer/#comment

Thanks.
____________________________________

Ydemoc

April 05, 2013 4:01 PM  
Blogger DawsonsNightmare said...

Justin,

Do you believe in Dawson?

April 05, 2013 4:06 PM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

Hello Ydemoc,

You wrote:

<< I'm not sure if you have seen this, but over on his blog, D.A.N. has responded to the comment you left yesterday. It's a link which reads simply:

"Here is a lesson for your atheism" >>

No, I hadn’t seen that until you pointed it out to me. It’s early AM here in Bangkok, and I’m up going through my messages. Haven’t even had any coffee yet!! But I see the fun has already begun!

So D.A.N. wants me to sit through an hour and three quarters of Sye & co. spouting the same nonsense that I have already answered and put to rest multiple times? For what purpose? As I’ve already pointed out to D.A.N., and as he has already confirmed repeatedly now, he is not truly interested in knowledge, epistemology, validity, logical integrity, fallacies, and the such. He has no answers to the points I’ve already raised in response to his questions, and it’s obvious that he has not thought through these matters at all critically. He simply repeats the mind-numbingly bad apologetic slogans that he’s been conned into accepted as something approaching profundity. But of course, there’s nothing profound about the confusions that inform his apologetic.

I notice that D.A.N. is still willing to go back and forth with others, as he is continuing to do on his blog. But he does not seem to be ready to return here and continue what he himself started. He came over here and started spouting his nonsense, and once it was answered, he runs for safety. Sye did the same thing.

Just call their bluff, and poof! They’re gone in an instant!

Now that’s entertaining!

Regards,
Dawson

April 05, 2013 4:52 PM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

By the way, Ydemoc, nice reply for D.A.N.! Thanks for doing that.

It's clear that he has no way to tackle what's been given back to him. He simply demonstrates that, like a child, he can dish it out, but he can't take it.

What a worm!

Regards,
Dawson

April 05, 2013 4:54 PM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

Ydemoc,

Over on D.A.N.’s blog, I saw that you wrote:

<< Thanks for another link, Dan. Keep in mind, though, that all I requested were time stamps where I might find Sye addressing or dealing with specific issues; I didn't ask about what you were currently listening to. However, now that you've mentioned this, the same questions that applied to the previous link you supplied, would also apply to this one. >>

Nice! You remind him that not only has he failed to answer your previous question, he has just multiplied his tasks! He knows he’s being pursued, so he’s trying to throw out as much debris as possible to throw you off track. But you’re not falling for it, as I know you wouldn’t, and as he now may be realizing. But I suspect he will continue the same efforts to dodge, or simply ignore you at some point.

Anyway, if there were any question that the steam has not been completely sucked out of Sye & D.A.N.’s apologetic, there isn’t any question now.

It puts me in the mood for AC/DC’s “Walk All Over You.”

Regards,
Dawson

April 05, 2013 5:09 PM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...

Dawson,


You wrote: "By the way, Ydemoc, nice reply for D.A.N.! Thanks for doing that."

My pleasure! And, FYI, D.A.N has so far failed to respond with the time stamps I requested... instances in the video where Sye might be found displaying a basic understanding of Objectivism and/or dealing with or addressing the issues you've raised with not only Sye, but also with D.A.N.

Instead, D.A.N chose to post a another link to a different broadcast. By doing so, he's just doubled his workload, as I have put in the same requests concerning this new broadcast!

Ydemoc

April 05, 2013 5:10 PM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...

Dawson,

I see that I was a little late in posting my most recent comment, as you had already taken notice and posted a comment essentially on par with what I wrote.

Ydemoc

April 05, 2013 5:16 PM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

Ydemoc: “D.A.N has so far failed to respond with the time stamps I requested...”

He never will. If D.A.N. could find any snippet in one of Sye’s self-aggrandizing videos where the self-proclaimed presuppositionalist heavy-weight had any answers to any of my criticisms, does anyone think D.A.N. would hesitate for a moment to produce it? I don’t. I think he’d be more than happy to point it out to you. He would love nothing more than to rub our noses in Sye’s shit. He’s trying in his own pathetic way to do this already. But he knows it’s not going to address anything that’s already been raised against presuppositionalism over here.

I have some more thoughts on Sye’s “apologetic” that I’ll be posting in this thread in a few moments. Give me a few – I’m trying to get some coffee ready!!!

Regards,
Dawson

April 05, 2013 5:20 PM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

Over on his blog, D.A.N. quoted Sye in response to Reynold

Sye: “There is no such thing as an ‘honest truth-seeker’ who denies God, as their denial is itself dishonest (Romans 1:18-21).”

This is nothing more than a statement of faith on the Christian’s part intended to shelter the believer and his faith program from criticism. Its chief purpose is to allow the believer to discount whatever anyone else says regardless of its content, since it gives him license within the context of his worldview commitment to discount whatever anyone else says given its source.

Now, it’s bad enough that this is a completely arbitrary affirmation, but because it seeks to discredit content based on its source, it amounts to a classic example of the genetic fallacy:

<< A Genetic Fallacy is a line of "reasoning" in which a perceived defect in the origin of a claim or thing is taken to be evidence that discredits the claim or thing itself. It is also a line of reasoning in which the origin of a claim or thing is taken to be evidence for the claim or thing. [Nizkor] >>

And these are the same folks running around worrying that other people may be committing fallacies? Why don’t Christians follow what Jesus is portrayed as saying when he asked: “why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?” (Mt. 7:3)? Blank out!

To make matters even worse for himself, Sye cites a passage from the bible that is explicitly self-contradictory. Romans 1:20 says outright that “invisible things” are “clearly seen.” But how can something “invisible” be “seen” at all? If something is seen, on what basis do we then turn around and say it’s “invisible”? These guys don’t even recognize contradictions when they’re staring them in the face!

[continued…]

April 05, 2013 5:33 PM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

In the same comment, D.A.N. cites another statement by Sye:

<< I would not use any evidence to convince anyone of something which Scripture says they already know. Evidence is presented to the judge and jury, and I will not elevate the unbeliever to that status and put God on trial. >>

First of all, if Sye had evidence to support his claims, who thinks he would hesitate for a minute to present it? Sye “would not use any evidence,” not because it’s something he thinks everyone already “knows,” but because he has no evidence to offer in the first place! Sye makes it sound like he’s got all this evidence that he’s withholding. This is just more of the usual shell game with this guy.

Meanwhile, Sye is too thick to figure out that, if we already knew something, he wouldn’t need to run to the bible to tell folks that they know it.

Then again, contrary to what he’s said, Sye is trying in his own way to provide evidence – namely a passage in the bible (which, as we saw above, is explicitly self-contradictory). Unfortunately, what Sye does not realize is that a claim is not its own evidence. According to the strictures of reason, a claim requires the support of objectively vetted evidence before it can be accepted as knowledge. (This stricture is consistent with itself, as I show here.) This means, at minimum, that a claim is not its own proof, nor can a claim be cited as evidence confirming its own claim to truth. And yet, that is precisely what sly Sye is trying to do here. Most Christian apologists do this as a matter of habit.

Like D.A.N., Sye is an enemy of reason, which means: he is an enemy of the human mind. Of course, this means Sye is his own worst enemy, for no matter how much Sye will seek to follow the Jesuine requirement that the believer “deny himself” (Mt. 16:24), he will never be able to escape the fact that he is merely human and thus must use human means to acquire and validate knowledge – i.e., reason. But given the fact that he has sworn allegiance to destroy reason, he cannot be caught applying reason in his own apologetic – that would be inconsistent and self-defeating. What he wants is that people simply accept what he has to say on his mere say-so. Ditch your critical thinking skills (in spite of all the relish about committing fallacies); ditch what you understand about truth (in spite of all their claims to having the truth); ditch your recognition of the fact that the imaginary is not real (for in Christianity’s labyrinth of confusion, there is no such distinction).

So in spite of D.A.N.’s reciting of lists of fallacies, presuppositionalists really have no interest in rationality to begin with. This is just part of the hazing process. And notice that, quite typically, these apologists make the charge that a certain fallacy has been committed, but they never explain where or how the fallacy they charge has been committed.

I’m glad these aren’t my problems!

Regards,
Dawson

April 05, 2013 5:33 PM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

Below I will be posting three comments that I left over at D.A.N.'s blog just now.

Regards,
Dawson

April 05, 2013 6:09 PM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

Bahnsen BurnerApril 5, 2013 at 5:48 PM

Not that you really care, D.A.N. (we know you don’t), but the simple answer to your question is: Yes, and I know this by the objective means of knowledge.

So every time you ask “How do you know?” or “How can you be certain?” we can answer: By the objective means of knowledge.

Unfortunately, qua Christian, you do not have access to the objective means of knowledge – neither your bible nor your worldview promotes and/or defends it. In fact, as a Christian, you seek to destroy knowledge. It’s already been shown that you do not know how to validate your own awareness, and your worldview has no theory of concepts.

So here’s a question for you, D.A.N.: How do you validate your consciousness without using your consciousness?

If you claim that your god does this, you’re making use of your consciousness. So that won’t fly. How do you answer it? Or, perhaps you can activate your last line of defense: “What would Sye do?” In other words, blank out.

Regards,
Dawson

April 05, 2013 6:09 PM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

Bahnsen BurnerApril 5, 2013 at 6:00 PM

D.A.N. wrote: “the link I provided, as a whole, refutes your and Dawson's position.”

Are you absolutely certain of this? If so, how are you certain? Could you be wrong? If not, how do you know? Specifically explain each step you took to establish this conclusion.

Are you saying that Sye refutes the fact that the senses are self-validating in a non-circular way? How does Sye do this specifically???? Where? Minute marker please.

Are you saying that Sye refutes the fact that the senses are biological functions and are thus automatic, pre-volitional, and, in terms of their epistemological import, axiomatically valid? How does Sye do this specifically? Where does he do it? Minute marker please.

Are you saying that Sye refutes the fact that we do not need to establish the validity of the senses by means of deductive proof? If so, how exactly does he do this? Where? This would only mean that Sye thinks we need to establish the validity of the senses by means of deductive proof, which would lead him right into the vicious circularity that concerned your original question in the first place. Do you realize what you’re saying, man?????? Amazing!

D.A.N. wrote: “It is a discussion with an Atheist so it would be hard to point out, within that discussion, at what point exactly was the Atheistic position refuted.”

That’s probably because the atheistic position never gets refuted in the first place. At any rate, “atheistic position” is terminally vague. What’s key, as Ydemoc pointed out, is that neither Sye nor you do anything to refute Objectivism. Refuting “the atheist position” won’t cut it, even if you could find some point in the video where it was “refuted.” But I’ve never seen Sye refute anything, except himself, as I’ve demonstrated on my blog.

The point is, D.A.N., all these wonderful questions you like to repeat have philosophical answers, and it’s clear you’re unaware of these answers. It’s also clear that you don’t care that they have answers. You just like to repeat them as if they somehow gave you apologetic leverage. In fact, they don’t. They just expose the fact that you really are dishonest.

Regards,
Dawson

April 05, 2013 6:10 PM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

Bahnsen BurnerApril 5, 2013 at 6:05 PM

I asked D.A.N.: “How do you validate your consciousness without using your consciousness?”

Instead of answering a question which has been posed to him, D.A.N. seeks to divert by asking yet another point-missing question of his own: “So a Relativist fallacy is your big win?”

My big win, D.A.N., my “A game,” is my unflinching allegiance to reason. It buries your ass every time.

Now, if you want to say my question commits the relativist fallacy, please explain this. In the meantime, how do you validate your consciousness without using it? Interested inquirers want to know. We want to know how you validate your consciousness. If you can’t do that, then why should we consider any of your questions to begin with? And if you cannot show that your own consciousness is valid without circularly employing your own consciousness to validate it, why should we worry when you accuse others of fallacies, especially when it’s clear that you don’t mind committing fallacies left and right yourself??????????

Wow, D.A.N., your ship sank long ago. Why don’t you know this?

Regards,
Dawson

April 05, 2013 6:10 PM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

What do you suppose D.A.N. is now frantically trying to make an overseas collect call to Sye right now.

Hilarious!

Regards,
Dawson

April 05, 2013 6:11 PM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...

Dawson,

D.A.N. had quoted Sye, who wrote: “There is no such thing as an ‘honest truth-seeker’ who denies God, as their denial is itself dishonest (Romans 1:18-21).”

You wrote: "This is nothing more than a statement of faith on the Christian’s part intended to shelter the believer and his faith program from criticism."

Hey, didn't Sye once mention that he used to work in the construction industry up in Canada or something? I could be wrong about that, but either way, he might want to think about going back and selling insulation -- and hopefully it's of higher quality than what he's currently peddling. Because what he's currently selling is letting out all the hot air!

You wrote: "First of all, if Sye had evidence to support his claims, who thinks he would hesitate for a minute to present it? Sye “would not use any evidence,” not because it’s something he thinks everyone already “knows,” but because he has no evidence to offer in the first place! Sye makes it sound like he’s got all this evidence that he’s withholding. This is just more of the usual shell game with this guy."

To paraphrase an old legal aphorism: "If you have the facts on your side, pound the facts. If you have reason on your side, pound rationality. If you have neither on your side, pound the the bible."

Ydemoc


April 05, 2013 6:31 PM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

I think it was the automotive industry. Perhaps he was the guy who fit mufflers on Honda Civics as they were winding their way down the assembly line. He got replaced by a robot, so he went into Christian apologetics. He became obselete in one field, and opted for a field that is obselete altogether.

Perhaps he should hire on with Geico and sell car insurance.

But the point you make definitely applies: they do not have either facts or reason on their side, so they pound their buy-bull crap.

Hey, is that a fly or a mosquito that I hear buzzing in here? Did anyone else hear it?

Regards,
Dawson

April 05, 2013 7:12 PM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...

For everyone's convenience, my latest reply to D.A.N., posted moments ago over on his blog.
____________________________________

Hi again, Dan,

I had asked you for specific time stamps in the broadcasts you linked to, hoping I might find where Sye specifically addresses points Dawson raised with both you and Sye.

You respond with: "Are you absolutely certain that these "refutations" of Sye's positions that you provided twice are valid? If so, how are you certain?"

Dan, I'll do what you have yet to do and that is: answer your inquiries with a specific citation, time stamp included. In this instance, Dawson's comment above should suffice, (time stamp April 5, 2013 at 5:48 PM). He writes: "Yes, and I know this by the objective means of knowledge."

Furthermore, since you've raised the concept "certainty," let me ask: Do you deny that the concept "certainty" is a mental integration formed and validated on the basis of perceptual input?

Anyway, back to the matter at hand...

You wrote: "The link I provided, as a whole, refutes your and Dawson's position."

What position is that? Can you state my position for me, a position that you think this link as a whole refutes? Can you cite for me specific instances of something I wrote or that Dawson wrote, which you claim this broadcast "as a whole, refutes?"

Let me ask you something else, Dan: Have you read, in there entirety, all the links I supplied above? If so, was there anything in them that you did not understand?

You wrote: "It is a discussion with an Atheist so it would be hard to point out, within that discussion, at what point exactly was the Atheistic position refuted."

Yes, I can see how that might be tough point out. I was merely asking where such topics (as I alluded to above) were specifically addressed.

How about this then: Can you tell me at what point in either broadcast the term "Objectivism" is mentioned? And I see that Dawson has already touched upon this, but it bears repeating, so I will just use Dawson's own words: "Are you saying that Sye refutes the fact that the senses are self-validating in a non-circular way? How does Sye do this specifically???? Where? Minute marker please.

Are you saying that Sye refutes the fact that the senses are biological functions and are thus automatic, pre-volitional, and, in terms of their epistemological import, axiomatically valid? How does Sye do this specifically? Where does he do it? Minute marker please.

Are you saying that Sye refutes the fact that we do not need to establish the validity of the senses by means of deductive proof? If so, how exactly does he do this? Where?"

You wrote: "I would say the Atheistic position is refuted the very moment they proclaim and atheistic worldview. Because without God, you cannot know, without being omniscient yourself, that Ayn's "Objectivism" positions is even valid. Unless, you're prepared to say you take it on faith. Are you?"

Faith has nothing to do with my position, nor with reason, nor with rationality, Dan. Am I certain of this? Absolutely! All legitimate concepts (i.e., knowledge) reduce back to the perceptual level, or are based upon concepts that do. If they don't reduce back, they aren't legitimate, hence, they don't qualify as knowledge. "Omniscience" is one such concept.

And, hey, why not c'mon back over to Dawson's and deal with his blog entries? Then, after doing so, you can ask me: "Ydemoc, are you absolutely certain I came back to Dawson's and dealt with his blog entries?"

And I can respond: "Am I certain? Absolutely!"
____________________________________

Ydemoc

April 05, 2013 7:52 PM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...

I see that I should have qualified my comment above with regard to the concept "Omniscience," since this concept does have a legitimate use in certain contexts.

For example, it can legitimately be used as a character trait in works of fiction, such as: the character Morgan Freeman plays in the movie "Bruce Almighty"; the character George Burns plays in "Oh, God"; or the one character that gets mentioned the most throughout the work of fiction known as The Bible.

Outside this context which gives rise to such a concept, "omniscience" has no basis in reality.

Ydemoc

April 05, 2013 8:20 PM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

Nice, Ydemoc!

Notice how we put forth effort in trying to get folks like D.A.N. and Sye to explore the issues which their own apologetic raises, and to do so on a mature, adult level. And yet, who is resisting this? They are!

For instance, in response to detailed treatments of his questions and the issues they raise, D.A.N. simply posts a link to what appears to be a completely irrelevant, nearly two-hour video broadcast by Sye, and simply says “this refutes you.” But then we ask D.A.N. to show us exactly where and how the content of the video refutes anything that has been presented so far. He doesn’t do this. Instead, he posts a link to another video. It’s a wild goose chase. We don’t even know if D.A.N. has taken the time even to read what I have written in response to his questions, let alone whether or not he understands what I have presented. That is why it was important to itemize some of the points in my response to him – where does Sye interact with the specific points I raised in my blog entries? D.A.N. seems completely aware of what they are, and if he really believed that Sye dealt with these things, I don’t think for a minute that D.A.N. would hesitate to regurgitate Sye’s statements to that effect. D.A.N. loves quoting Sye. So why doesn’t he quote Sye refuting what I’ve presented? D.A.N. doesn’t even seem to be cognizant of the implications of his claim that Sye has refuted what I’ve presented. For instance, if Sye refuted my point that we do not need to validate the senses by means of deductive proof, this would corner him into making the very fallacy that he has indirectly charged us of committing. And D.A.N. calls us fools??????

D.A.N. must realize by now that we’re not afraid to look at whatever knock-down, drag-‘em out arguments he and his buddies want us to think they have. I’m very happy to examine their “arguments.” But that in itself calls their bluff, just as Justin rightly pointed out in the beginning of this thread. This scares D.A.N. away. He knows he’s in over his head, and that’s because he’s on the opposite side of truth as such, and the only “value” he sees in the issues his apologetic raises (e.g., knowledge, reason, validity, certainty, logic, induction, etc.) is their apologetic purpose, which in itself is INVALID!!! But does this give him pause? Of course not. He doesn’t care about any of these issues. He simply wants to bully others. He couldn’t do it in the sandbox when he was a kid. But he thinks now he can.

Gotta run!

Regards,
Dawson

April 05, 2013 8:26 PM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...

Dawson,

Maybe I've said this before, but it all reminds me of the kind of individual with whom one might compete in some sport with; and though one has thoroughly beaten this individual in whatever endeavor it was the two of you engaged in, this person refuses to acknowledge that they have suffered such a defeat. Instead, they often proceed as if *they* were victorious!

Or maybe they might just pout, take their ball and head home.

Or they just destroy the game itself to avoid ever having to admit defeat in the first place. (Richard comes to mind)

And the next time the game is played, individuals like this think their game strategy is best, even though they keep getting their butts kicked, every single time!

Such delusion. Such evasion. So pathetic.

Ydemoc

April 05, 2013 9:05 PM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

I'd say it's sort of like what you describe, but with one important difference. In the case of folks like D.A.N. and Sye, they never actually compete. It’s more of a poker game than a ball game. They just claim that they have the better hand, but they try their best not to let their hand be put it to the test. They claim that they have the better advantage, but they never want lay their cards down. All they have going for them is bluffing, and that's easy to call. When you call them on it, though, they claim to have another hand that's even better, all the while trying to draw your attention away from the hand they’re holding. We ask "What's that card there?" They won't show it. They just say it's going to beat whatever hand you're holding. Compare Sye’s “I would not use any evidence to convince anyone of something which Scripture says they already know” with “I won’t show my cards to anyone because everyone already knows they’ll beat whatever hand you’re holding.”

It's just a series of empty claims all the way. Observe how D.A.N. avoids examining the issues raised in his questions. He seems to think that just by asking the question, he's defeated us. He's not ready to have his questions examined and answered. Again, he really doesn’t care about the issues raised in his apologetic program. He doesn’t know the first thing about epistemology. And he’s not doing anything to learn about it, either.

Regards,
Dawson

April 05, 2013 9:28 PM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...

Dawson,

You wrote: "It’s more of a poker game than a ball game. They just claim that they have the better hand, but they try their best not to let their hand be put it to the test. They claim that they have the better advantage, but they never want lay their cards down."

I like this much better. You nailed it.

Ydemoc

April 05, 2013 9:44 PM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...

Dawson,

I was just over on D.A.N.'s, skipping around and looking at various comments. In one reply to freddies_dead, D.A.N. writes: "I asked for your source of knowledge, you replied with:

>> It is perception coupled with the application of reason to integrate concepts in a non-contradictory manner.

Thanks for that. Now, could your 'perceptions' and "reasoning" be wrong?"

To even ask if "perceptions" could "be wrong" reconfirms my suspicions that D.A.N. hasn't been paying very close attention.

Did he even read your blog entry, "On the Validity of the Senses"? Does he even understand what he's asking? Does he even know that his question is on par with asking if digestion could be wrong? Or does he know this is the case, but simply not care, choosing instead to ignore or reject this due to the overwhelming pull of his "confessional investment"?

You supplied an answer when you wrote: "We don’t even know if D.A.N. has taken the time even to read what I have written in response to his questions, let alone whether or not he understands what I have presented."

And, clearly, much to his detriment.

Ydemoc

April 06, 2013 8:55 AM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

Hi Ydemoc,

Yes, I saw that exchange on D.A.N.'s blog as well, and I would say that's just more evidence that he really is not interested in answers to his questions that come from a non-Christian source. This ties right in with - and confirms my detection of - the genetic fallacy that is expressly set up in the statement D.A.N. quotes from Sye that I cited above. So long as D.A.N. recognizes that the source of the information he's being exposed to is non-Christian in nature, he's not going to examine it, he's not going to make any effort to understand it, and he's certainly not going to try to integrate it into his thought process. And yet, he will still continue asking the same questions to other individuals, as if he’s never gotten a response to them, as if everyone’s supposed to be stumped by them. It is all extremely dishonest. This has been pointed out to D.A.N., and not just by me. Many have pointed out this and similar evidences of D.A.N.’s dishonesty to him for a long while. But he doesn’t care. He has already sacrificed his character for his god-belief, and now he’s stuck groveling before the likes of Sye Ten Bruggencate for approval. Now, if there’s such a thing as hell, D.A.N. is basking in it right now. He has morally decapitated himself and subsequently prostituted himself to the first Witch Doctor to come along and take his fixations captive. His dishonesty is now systemic. There would be far too much for him at this point to walk away from to recover his conscience. He would have to “lose face” big time, and the price of his evasion will just continue to grow the more he indulges in his religious pretenses.

Yep, glad these aren’t my problems!

Regards,
Dawson

April 06, 2013 9:13 AM  
Blogger Robert Bumbalough said...

Hello Friends:

Matthew McCormick, in his book "Atheism and The Case Against Christ" cites W.K. Clifford who noted:

If I let myself believe anything on insufficient evidence, there may be no great harm done by the mere belief: it may be true after all .... But I cannot help doing this great wrong toward Man, that I make myself credulous. The danger to society is not merely that it should believe wrong things, though that is great enough; but that it should become credulous, and lose the habit of testing things and inquiring into them; for then it must sink back into savagery." ~ (AATCAC p.228, from Clifford "The Ethics of Belief" in "Lectures and Essays" ed. by Stephen and Pollock, 1886.)

Sinking back into savagery is what people like Dan and Sye want because they recognize such savagery, as expressed by the medieval Catholic inquisition, as the most proper form of Christianity. Though their wet dreams of presiding over ecumenical executions by burning people like Dawson at a stake warms them, they dare not actually express such sentiments for fear of being found out. Thus their passive aggressive posturing via an intransigent arrogant stance for presuppositionalism can't be helped.

April 06, 2013 9:19 AM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

Thanks for the quote, Robert.

I get the impression, more and more, that folks like D.A.N. and Sye were bullied in their youth and always wished they could be the bullies. Now they've found a way to approximate this behavior that they envied so much. I hate to think what they might do to me if they had the opportunity. No doubt they'd find a way for their worldview to give them license. After all, notice how Warren Buffet's use of the "golden rule" gives him license to think it's just fine to raise everyone's taxes: When Buffet says "I'm willing to pay more taxes," he's essentially saying "do unto others as I would have done unto me." (Thanks to Diana Hsieh for connecting that dot on her podcast on the golden rule - simply beautiful!)

We should never forget that Christianity endemically and systematically advocates the initiation of the use of force. It nowhere condemns the initiation of the use of force, and it enshrines the use of force on the part of its god. As Rand so brilliantly pointed out, faith and force are corollaries. So when the religionists get control, watch out!

Regards,
Dawson

April 06, 2013 9:33 AM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

Okay, more confirmation of one of my points directly from D.A.N.’s blog.

Above, I wrote the following:

<< According to the strictures of reason, a claim requires the support of objectively vetted evidence before it can be accepted as knowledge. (This stricture is consistent with itself, as I show here.) This means, at minimum, that a claim is not its own proof, nor can a claim be cited as evidence confirming its own claim to truth. And yet, that is precisely what sly Sye is trying to do here. Most Christian apologists do this as a matter of habit. >>

Compare that with this brief snippet of an exchange between D.A.N. and freddies_dead on this entry on D.A.N.’s blog back on 4 Jan.:

freddies_dead: << Now you can present us with the evidence for your explicit claim that He HAS revealed Himself to all >>

D.A.N.: << Have, Ad nauseam, Romans 1:18-23 is all the evidence you need, but not the only evidence >>

This is clear and unmistakable evidence that D.A.N. thinks a claim is equivalent to evidence supporting itself.

No doubt he likely sees nothing wrong with this. But can he cite any logic text that would back him up on this????

If I claimed that a dragon was living in my garage, would D.A.N. accept my claim as evidence that (a) I even have a garage, and (b) a dragon was living in it? D.A.N.’s “epistemology” is nothing but a formula for utter credulity. Of course, he’s going to special plead the bible here, saying its claims are to be treated differently from everything else. But special pleading is a well known fallacy. What then happened to D.A.N.’s urgent concerns for avoiding fallacies? Again, more nauseating blank out!

Regards,
Dawson

April 06, 2013 9:51 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Correct me if I'm wrong, but Buffet was NOT saying that taxes should be higher BECAUSE he personally would be fine with higher taxes. His comments about being fine with higher taxes were addressing concerns that higher taxes discourage investment by the wealthy, pointing out that he personally never found that this was the case in his career. I believe he has also argued that effective tax rates are not especially fair across income brackets, and that people at the top should pay at least as much as those at the bottom, hence comments about how he thinks his taxes should go up for that reason.

April 06, 2013 10:39 AM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

Hello Unknown,

Thanks for your comment.

I do not have enough information either to correct or confirm what you have written. But I found this statement of yours interesting:

You wrote: “His comments about being fine with higher taxes were addressing concerns that higher taxes discourage investment by the wealthy, pointing out that he personally never found that this was the case in his career.”

If that was his reasoning for advocating higher taxes, it sounds very much like he was saying, “It’s okay for me, so it should be okay for everyone else,” a la the “golden rule.”

I remember seeing reports some months (if not a year or so) ago quoting Buffet to the effect that Hsieh characterized him in her podcast. When I heard the podcast, I remembered what Buffet had reportedly said, and was struck by how accurate Hsieh’s point was. Of course, to be fair to Buffet, it would be optimal to go back and get his exact wording. He may have spoke on the matter several times, and what you saw him arguing may have been from a different instance from what Hsieh or I saw. But so far as I can tell, even in your recap of Buffet’s argument, it looks like an application of the “golden rule” to me.

Regards,
Dawson

April 06, 2013 10:54 AM  
Blogger photosynthesis said...

freddies_dead: Now you can present us with the evidence for your explicit claim that He HAS revealed Himself to all

Once these Christian idiots say that we all know that their god exists, I consider the issue settled. Since what I know is that their god is nonsense, they are wrong, therefore they lose. That's it.

April 06, 2013 7:23 PM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

Curious development here:

Saddleback Church Says Rick Warren’s Son Has Committed Suicide
http://losangeles.cbslocal.com/2013/04/06/saddleback-church-says-rick-warrens-son-has-committed-suicide/

<< LAKE FOREST (CBSLA.com) — Pastor Rick and Kay Warren’s youngest son, Matthew, has committed suicide, Saddleback Valley Community Church announced Saturday.

The evangelical megachurch announced the death of the 27-year-old in a statement. He died Friday night.

Described as “an incredibly kind, gentle and compassionate young man whose sweet spirit was encouragement and comfort to many,” the statement said Matthew suffered from mental illness that resulted in deep depression and suicidal thoughts.

“Despite the best healthcare available, this was an illness that was never fully controlled and the emotional pain resulted in his decision to take his life,” the statement said. “We ask everyone to join us in praying for the entire Warren family and that God’s comfort and peace will be with them as they deal with this difficult situation.”

Founded in 1980 by Pastor Rick Warren, Saddleback Church serves the Southern California community with several locations, including one in Lake Forest.

Warren is also known for authoring, “The Purpose Driven Life,” which has sold more than 30 million copies worldwide, according to the church’s website.
>>

Perhaps growing up with Rick Warren as his dad contributed to his life of chronic depression.

Regards,
Dawson

April 06, 2013 9:10 PM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...

Hi Dawson,

I saw that earlier today. What caught my eye in a report over on Huffington Post was this snippet:

“In spite of America’s best doctors, meds, counselors, and prayers for healing, the torture of mental illness never subsided. Today, after a fun evening together with Kay and me, in a momentary wave of despair at his home, he took his life.”

In spite of... prayers for heaing"?

Now why doesn't *that* surprise me?

Ydemoc

April 06, 2013 9:33 PM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

While it's true that nothing fails like prayer, Christians and other religionists still wish that their prayers meant something. Prayer is intended to fill an emotional need created by their belief system. Only, this need is irrational and can never be satisfied. I suspect it's very much like gambling addiction: "I just need one more shot and I'll hit the big time!"

Regards,
Dawson

April 06, 2013 9:38 PM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...

With this talk of prayer, I'm reminded of the website "Why Won't God Heal Amputees?" I should visit there again. I haven't been there for a while.

Ydemoc

April 06, 2013 9:49 PM  
Blogger Justin Hall said...

Reality and fantasy are different things and wishing don't make it so. Why is this so hard for some people to understand? I really don't understand most people at all.

April 06, 2013 11:07 PM  
Blogger Robert Bumbalough said...

Hello friends.

Justin commented Reality and fantasy are different things and wishing don't make it so. Why is this so hard for some people to understand? I really don't understand most people at all.

At the roots, this phenomena results from a wide spread confusion in our species between believing that something is true and believing in something as true. In the former, belief is acceptance of fact. The earths's gravitational field exerts a force on matter. Water boils at 100 degrees C at seal level. The chair is solid and will hold me up. We believe these ideas as a matter of course. Believing in an idea is related to hope for some sort of benefit or improvement often sourced in the imagination. When religious adherents talk of belief, they're equivocating between these two sense of the word. I think they do this because their hopes overwhelm their prudence.

April 07, 2013 6:32 AM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...

No doubt most of you are already fully aware of the happenings over on D.A.N's blog. Nevertheless, I thought I'd post a little update, if for nothing else than the sheer entertainment value of doing so.

Someone using the moniker First Veridican Church, (aka Edward Gordon), posted a comment for D.A.N.

Here's my response to part of what he wrote:

"Hello First Veridican Church (aka, Edward Gordon),

I hope you don't mind if I ask you a question or two about something you wrote, even though your comment was addressed to D.A.N.

You wrote: 'If you read our Articles of Faith, I think you will see we have a lot in common, but we also have some major doctrinal differences, and most Christians end up hating me for those differences.'

Major differences? Then you've probably heard the following question quite often, from Christians as well as from those who subscribe to a rational worldview. I pose my query to you as one of your fellow Christians might. Doing so allows me to put on display my poetic flair:

'But how could this be, these doctrinal differences, if the same Holy Spirit that guides you, guides me?'"

___________________________________

Ydemoc





April 07, 2013 5:40 PM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

Good questions, Ydemoc. I'm curious to see if this Gordon fellow replies, and if so, what he comes back with. His "Veridicanism" represents yet another example of internal division within Christianity. Given that so much in the bible is left vague, and that there are so many differing and incompatible traditions assembled within it, and the bible's deliberate mishandling of ideas and its many ways of keeping believers guessing in the dark on matters that would be very important to any conscientious believer, the development of differing and competing strains within Christendom is inevitable. In fact, we should not forget that there is plenty of evidence of competing traditions even in the Pauline epistles – the earliest documents in the New Testament, where Paul was battling against all kinds of things that he considered deviations from his message and version of the gospel. The divisions within Christendom long predate any canon.

By the way, where’s D.A.N.? I don’t think I’ve seen him posting in that very lively thread at all for the past couple of days. He certainly hasn’t answered the many questions I’ve asked him. Is he off having a pow-wow with STB?

Regards,
Dawson

April 07, 2013 6:17 PM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...

Dawson,

You wrote: "By the way, where’s D.A.N.?... Is he off having a pow-wow with STB?"

Well, I don't know about a pow-wow with STB, but D.A.N certinaly is "off," that's for sure!

(Note to Dan: If you're reading along, I'm only kidding around... a little.)

Seriously though, what is it I often hear from Christians... "Disagree. But never divide"? Is that the one?

As you point out, that hasn't exactly panned out, has it?

And if you really think about it, why would a loving God place such a burden on "His children" anyway!? What is *that* all about?! Why not just snap his fingers and POOF! -- all division disappears!?!

Or why even division in the first place?

Ydemoc

April 07, 2013 6:43 PM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

Hmmm… “Disagree. But never divide.”

I don’t think I’ve heard that one before. But I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s a common slogan in some Christian circle. I’ve known many Christians – perhaps you have too – who tend to treat disagreement, at least on certain things, as cause for division. After all, disagreeing with “approved” doctrine is typically what leads to the charge of heresy.

I remember back in my church-going days, any hint of disagreeing, or simply not fully and verbally expressing full agreement, with whatever the pastor said, would usually get me many scowls of disapproval quite quickly. As new believers – “baby saints” – are led deeper and deeper into the faith, it becomes clear to them that anything less than complete nodding in agreement was tantamount to thoughtcrime. Of course, believers would not put it in these terms, and they typically try to shield this behavior from outsiders. And in more lukewarm churches, this kind of reinforcement behavior may not be quite so prevalent. But it does go on in the hardline churches. I was putting myself through college at the time, and it was clear that merely going to college and getting an education was perceived as ‘spiritually dangerous’ by the congregation. The danger that concerned them was not only the exposure to non-Christian ideas that one gets in (at least a secular) college, but also the intellectual self-empowerment that often results from pursuing a higher education. A strong self-esteem is anathema to Christian indoctrination. The street-preaching ministers would openly admit that it was much more difficult to evangelize educated people than those who were not educated, as well as (and this is important) people who were *happy* (as opposed to people who were emotionally down and out). Most if not all of the other congregants were not college-educated, and it was clear that they were encouraged to consider a college education with suspicion. They certainly were not going around hoping that their kid would one day get a college education. That’s for sure! A pastor has no control over what a person might be exposed to or learn in a college classroom, so this can be very disconcerting to those trying to affect a mind-control program on recently netted fish.

There’s no question that Christianity is a cult. Even more, it provides a very effective template for creating the social atmosphere necessary for a cult to achieve momentum and flourish. It’s no accident that many of the suicide cults we’ve seen in recent decades, such as Jim Jones’ “People’s Church,” Branch Davidians, Heaven’s Gate, etc., are either explicitly framed on the Christian template, or at any rate find their core religious constitution in Christian teaching. Look at Fred Phelps’ church. Look at the Fundamentalist LDS church where Warren Jeffs had entire townships – including the local law enforcement – completely wrapped around his finger. Look at Christianity in Africa. The mainstream churches which are more visible, such as (perhaps) Rick Warren’s megachurch or the friendly little Methodist church down the street, can be pretty tame compared to some of these more militant bible sects. And who knows when the next Jonestown massacre is going to happen. There could be hundreds of such things in the making anywhere on the planet.

Regards,
Dawson

April 07, 2013 7:43 PM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...

Dawson,

I heard the "disagree, never divide" notion from a relative (yes, that one), who was quoting Hank Hanegraaff. I just found the full quote, in context, on some Christian forum. Here it is:

"Finally, as strongly as I believe that Scripture supports the security of the saints, I readily acknowledge that there are believers who disagree. Methodists, Lutherans, Pentecostals, and Catholics, by and large, affirm the possibly of apostasy. While I take strong exception, this is a doctrine that we may debate but over which we must never divide." (Hank Hanegraaff, Christian Research Newsletter, Vol. 9, Issue 2, p. 5)

Ydemoc

April 07, 2013 8:05 PM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...

Dawson,

You wrote: "I was putting myself through college at the time, and it was clear that merely going to college and getting an education was perceived as ‘spiritually dangerous’ by the congregation."

I think I remember you mentioning something like this before. That's terrible. An utterly depraved mindset.

You wrote: "A strong self-esteem is anathema to Christian indoctrination. The street-preaching ministers would openly admit that it was much more difficult to evangelize educated people than those who were not educated, as well as (and this is important) people who were *happy* (as opposed to people who were emotionally down and out)."

Hence, their pursuit of young, impressionable minds, as you've written on previously. This has been substantiated for me by the fact that, as I've gotten older, strangers coming up to me and wanting to "witness" to me -- at the beach, on the street, at the mall, etc. -- has dropped off considerably... pretty much to nothing.

You wrote: "There’s no question that Christianity is a cult."

Yep. And, based upon another quote I supplied in a comment thread a few months back, Hank Hanegraaf wouldn't disagree. Yet other Christians would part ways with Hank, perhaps setting the stage for even more division!

You wrote: "It’s no accident that many of the suicide cults we’ve seen in recent decades, such as Jim Jones’ “People’s Church,” Branch Davidians, Heaven’s Gate, etc., are either explicitly framed on the Christian template, or at any rate find their core religious constitution in Christian teaching."

It's tragic what some people can be baited into. They renounce reason in favor of faith, swallowing it hook, line, and sinker, only to end up hooked, lined up, or sunk.

All this, when all they really had to do was think.

Ydemoc

April 07, 2013 8:57 PM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

Ydemoc wrote: “as I've gotten older, strangers coming up to me and wanting to "witness" to me -- at the beach, on the street, at the mall, etc. -- has dropped off considerably... pretty much to nothing.”

Now that I’ve been living in SE Asia now for nearly two years, I must admit that among the things I miss about living in the States (e.g., cool weather, Mexican food, Safeway, dark beer, carpet, hot and cold running water, etc.) is the occasional evangelizing religionist who happens my way and sparks up a conversation about the program he’s selling. By far most who have done this in my experience have been LDS missionaries and JW door-knockers. I don’t think I’ve ever been approached by a Calvinist or a Lutheran.

There are two general categories of public religionizing that I have observed:

1) the street preacher, who usually stands on some elevated platform and yells his garbage out to people generally as they pass by, engaging anyone who might respond – this type is not targeting any one person for a dialogue – he’s casting his nets far and wide.

2) the door-knocking evangelizer, who goes door-to-door, often with a partner, and seeks to engage people individually. I’ve been approached by folks outside my home by this kind as well, so it’s not restricted to door-knocking exclusively. But these folks are typically targeting people individually, hoping perhaps that by catching one fish, they’ll get a whole family.

I remember back in the early 80s a Pentecostal minister approached my brother when he and I were in the supermarket one day. My brother was wearing a crucifix on a chain around his neck, and the minister used that as an opportunity to initiate a dialogue with my brother. The guy did not seem interested in talking to me. He seemed to prefer one-on-one conversation, so I just watched from afar. My brother promised to attend a service and did the next Sunday. He came back just shaking his head from the experience. He told of little kids who would come up at the altar call and the minister would put his big hands over the kids’ faces and scream and shout at imaginary demons which were supposedly causing the kids to misbehave in school or something. The minister would also strike the kids on their backs to “drive” the devil out of them. My brother came back pretty spooked and thought the whole thing was a form of child abuse. Needless to say, he did not get netted by this group!

Regards,
Dawson

April 07, 2013 9:26 PM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...

Dawson,

Some crazy stuff there, that's for sure! Thanks for sharing it.

I think I've mentioned this before, but there was a Baptist preacher at a church my dad would take me to, who I remember utilizing some poster board that showed a big 'E' on a stick-figure throne. It was supposed to symbolizing man's ego... man on the throne... controlling his own life and choices.

The goal, according to this preacher's sermon, was to replace the 'E' with a 'C' -- standing for Christ -- and put him on the throne instead.

I was too young to fully grasp what he was talking about as far as "ego" was concerned, but I did grasp the 'C' part of it. And now that I look back on it, I think that letters like "S" "A" and "M" would've fit nicely alongside that large "C," because then it would've spelled out the word "SCAM."

Ydemoc

April 07, 2013 9:48 PM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

My, what an awful thought that must be for the religious mind - that individuals would dare to try to control their own lives and choices. And Christians think their worldview is the intellectual force behind championing individual liberty that has distinguished America (at least in its inception) from other nations throughout history? If that were the case, why were the Enlightenment thinkers who forged the US Constitution primarily deists? Why doesn’t the US Constitution reference the bible anywhere, or Christ, or (gulp!) the 10 commandments? Why weren’t all the other nations existing prior to the USA and dominated by a culture of Christianity distinguished by the championing of individual liberty? Why did it take so many centuries, most of them painfully mired in the Dark Ages, since the advent of Christianity for America to be born? What about countries today where Christianity is the dominating influence on the culture, such as So. America? Are these countries bastions of individual liberty?

People everywhere, wake up!! It’s not that difficult to figure out.

Okay, I need to get some lunch. I’m starving!

Regards,
Dawson

April 07, 2013 10:06 PM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...

Dawson,

Lunch for you, but for me, it's time to hit the sack. I have an early day tomorrow.

Thanks for the interaction!

Ydemoc

April 07, 2013 10:32 PM  
Blogger Robert Bumbalough said...

Hello Friends: Here's what I posted on Dan's blog in response to Edward Gordon. So far no acknowledgement or response.

Hello Mr Edward Gordon of the First Veridcan Chrurch.

Ydemoc pointedly asked: "But how could this be, these doctrinal differences, if the same Holy Spirit that guides you, guides me?"

This is a precursor to the argument from religious confusion by Ted Drange. Indeed, since the religious landscape of Abrahamic Theism is so very confused, diverse, and mutually antagonistic to the point of occasional open warfare between opposing sects and varieties of faiths, it is properly rational to believe there isn't any magic immaterial consciousness responsible for Abrahamic religions. This speaks to a stronger point that weakness of the Christian, Islamic, Jewish, and Mormon cases is good evidence supporting rational non-belief and even positive dis-belief. If it were to be the case that there were a magic immaterial consciousness that wanted all people to know it was real, that it cared about human beings and wanted to share some benefit with humanity, then such a magic being, if it were nominally rational, would employ an efficient means of communication rather than the nonsense, confusion, dogmatism readily apparent in the Abrahamic, Vedic, Buddhist or sundry other faiths.

Since you claim to have started a religion or religious movement, I think it safe to think you would probably also claim to have some special revelation from your alleged deity. If that is the case, then why should anyone think what you claim to be distinguishable from what you've simply made up or imagined?

Best Wishes.

April 08, 2013 6:04 AM  
Blogger Robert Bumbalough said...

Here's a bit of brother Edward Gordon's thought as posted at http://www.skepticalcommunity.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=36145 (Sorry, I can't find a way to directly link to his post.)

Rob Lister wrote:
Some of you are not being as nice as you could be. There is no rule so that's okay. It does get in the way. grayman is being nice. I will take from grayman.

Brother Edward wrote:
1. God is monistic in nature.

By this, I mean that everything that exists is made from the substance of God; therefore, God is really the only thing that actually exists. Everything else He created from His substance.


From what is that substance made? Unless you worship the Higgs particle (do you?), the substance of your god must be made of something. Or am I misunderstanding?


The Higgs particle would still be made from the substance of God. And when you ask what made the substance of God, you're getting into the cosmological argument, which would then lead to the logic of the ontological argument.


This dude is pure primacy of consciousness - mental subjectivism. That could be pretty erotic depending upon the views of his temple prostitutes as noted by forum commentator Doctor X.

April 08, 2013 7:20 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Hello Dawson

You wrote:

If that was his reasoning for advocating higher taxes, it sounds very much like he was saying, “It’s okay for me, so it should be okay for everyone else,” a la the “golden rule.”

Well, technically he was advocating for certain kinds of higher taxes for the wealthiest Americans, not everyone as such.

Also, what I was trying to say was that he never encountered ultra-wealthy investors scared off by the prospect that their gains would be taxed, even when tax rates were dramatically higher as was the case earlier in his career. At least, that's what he maintains. And he doesn't cite this as a reason to raise taxes as such, it's just an issue he felt he could speak to in the overall context of his argument.

That's how I read him, at any rate. Even if he outright said "I'm fine with higher taxes so therefore they should go up", I doubt that that would be a charitable way to interpret his position, given the entirety of his statements. It would likely be a jocular, off-the cuff remark. I am, however, open to correction on that.

Crom

April 08, 2013 10:04 AM  
Blogger Robert Bumbalough said...

I like Nyarlathotep's comment regarding Brother Edward

Brother Edward wrote:
I especially like it when atheists tell me I don't "know" atheists. I know atheists better than most atheists do.


5000 Quatloos says this guy is going to start "Disproving atheism" by defining it to mean anything he wants it to mean.

Anyone want to take me up on it?


http://www.skepticalcommunity.com/forums/viewtopic.php?p=659430#p659430

April 08, 2013 12:35 PM  
Blogger Justin Hall said...

@Robert

5,000 Quatloos, man thats steep. Would you be willing to accept 5,000 in monopoly money?

April 08, 2013 4:53 PM  
Blogger First Veridican Church said...

I'll keep checking out your blog. But in white-on-black it's very hard to read, and like all blogs, it's not intended for community discussion.

I invite you to check out "The Veridican" and I hope you will. Nonetheless, I'll add this blog to my daily reading list.

Ed
http://veridican.org/forum

April 08, 2013 11:27 PM  
Blogger First Veridican Church said...

Oh, no. I can't believe you have to approve the posts. That's just not even modern blogging anymore.

If my posts and my sig link don't make it through automatically over the next couple of days, I won't continue reading or responding in this blog.

Just sayin...

Ed
http://veridican.org/forum

April 08, 2013 11:29 PM  
Blogger Robert Bumbalough said...

Hello Ed. Over on The Skeptical Community forum, you wrote in response to Nyarlathotep the following.

As for issuing a Gospel by fiat. I just did what God told me to do. It's not "my" Gospel. It's the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is the Gospel for this generation of humanity. It is essential, and though you may doubt it, there is more to this life than just being born, eating, mating, and dying. God expects more--He demands it. ~ http://www.skepticalcommunity.com/forums/viewtopic.php?p=659802#p659802

This is very interesting on several levels, but for brevity's sake allow me to restrict the following question to the "why" category.

If were to be true, as you have asserted on the The Skeptical Community forum, that your God is the substance of existence and that substance equates to consciousness, then it would be the case that your brain, my brain, Doctor X's brain, Dawson's Brain, all sentient brains would be composed of God stuff and ultimately God consciousness. That being the case and all other things being equal, why would God demand any actions or beliefs from human beings? Never mind the question as to how humans could then have free will, for I think a greater weakness in your case so severe as to render it untenable.

To demand obedience presupposes the one making the demands to have some reason for so doing. That reason in turn, given a rational actor, presupposes some positive benefit to be obtained through the obedience of those upon whom the demands are incident. But if God is pure consciousness and the substance of existence, then there couldn't possibly be any benefit it could obtain to under any change in circumstances at all. Consider an eternal, immortal, indestructible, completely self-sufficient, self-actualizing android-robot. It would need for nothing. Nothing could harm it. Nothing could benefit it. Consequently, it would have no desires or wants. Your view of God is somewhat like this android-robot. It needs for nothing and cannot need for anything, so it would not have any wanting or desire for a change in circumstances of any sort. This renders the probability that a super intelligence contacted you astronomically minuscule. It's thus irrational to think your harmonization of the NT Gospels with the Gospel of Thomas anything other than your own work.

In light of this, I think it rational to conclude that the voice in your head that you thought was God was actually a facet of your own imagination. Fortunately you don't seem to be mentally ill, however, it might be a good idea to book an appointment with a psychologist-counselor just to talk things over and about the voices in your head.

Best Wishes

April 09, 2013 7:22 AM  
Blogger NAL said...

Ed,

I agree with your white-on-black comment, but, it's not difficult to get used to. I hardly notice it anymore.

I don't think Blogger allows comment moderation based on some form of user ID. There may be some third-party software that will do it.

Comment approval does make back-and-forth exchanges difficult. The time difference between Thailand and the US doesn't help either. However, this is Dawson's blog and if he thinks comment approval is required, it's his call.

April 09, 2013 7:54 AM  
Blogger First Veridican Church said...

Wow. I just noticed this blog's been around a long time. Kudos. Looking forward to your next post.

Ed
The Veridican Forum

April 09, 2013 8:54 AM  
Blogger First Veridican Church said...

Wow! This blog has been around a long time. I'm looking foward to your next post.

Br. Edward

The Veridican Forum

Ending Atheism--One Mind at a Time

April 09, 2013 8:57 AM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...

Hello Edward,

Nice to see that you've ventured over here.

You wrote: "This blog has been around a long time."

Yep. Eight complete years (and going on nine) of very fine thinking and writing, not only in the blog entries themselves, but also in comment threads.

Earlier you complained: "I'll keep checking out your blog. But in white-on-black it's very hard to read, and like all blogs, it's not intended for community discussion."

I'm not sure what you mean by "... like all blogs, it's not intended for community discussion," as Dawson's blog entries are chock full of all sorts of lively discussions.

If the white-on-black bothers you, I believe some browsers (Safari?) have a function called a "reader," which allows a user to view and read any page in standard black-on-white format.

Also, Dawson's archived work is presented in black-on-white at the following links:

Sundry Essays

http://katholon.com/writings.htm


Dawson on CARM

http://katholon.com/CARM.htm


Dawson's Messages to the Atheism-Theism Web

http://katholon.com/dialogos/archive.htm



Ydemoc

April 09, 2013 12:52 PM  
Blogger Robert Bumbalough said...

hello Friends: Over at the Skeptical Community Forum, Doctor X summed up Brother Edwards interactions.

http://www.skepticalcommunity.com/forums/viewtopic.php?p=659961#p659961

Rob Lister wrote:
Okay, point taken. Let me know if he actually makes any sort of valid point: even the likes of a Kent H. can make some sort of social point from time to time.


He has yet to do that. To "review the catechism:"

1. He FAIL'd to provide any evidence of a god--despite his claim to have reams of it. He could only apply Well Poisoning fallacies.

2. He demonstrated frightful ignorance of the biblical texts--despite claiming he could rewrite them. Hard to do that if you cannot actually read them nor know what is in them.

3. In his mocking he revealed utter ignorance of reality--basic science "is something that happened to other people." In fact, his claims about evolution and cosmology prove less sophisticated than Felon Kent H. Almost up there with the clown who believes light from stars is all reflected light. Almost up there with the clowness who believes sight is efferent. No, I am not inviting THAT complete FAIL of a creduloid. Waste of banwidth. Pyrrho might suddenly proclaim: "I become D'Rat, unmaker of posters!"

4. His style was to ridicule and run away. He has had no answer for any question.

So really, I have to admit, a completely boring waste of time.

There is complete lack of curiosity in him. When I noted his "gospel" messages multiply contradicted the apparent source texts, he expressed surprise--one can wonder if he read them!--but never asked for evidence. Hence I never wasted my time explaining how, for example, Mk's gospel is exclusionary. Blah . . . blah . . . for that is all it would be. A waste of my time. No one else would care nor need a lenghthly . . . lenghly . . . leng . . . a long dissertation on the respective passages.

--J.D.


Br. Ed probably is as Doc X surmises, yet I'm willing to give him the benefit of the doubt to see if he has any argument to support his metaphysical views.

How about it Ed? Can you show that subatomic particles are made from consciousness? What evidence can you muster beyond your own credulity, conviction, and charm?

Best And Good

April 09, 2013 1:03 PM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...

Edward,

By the way, I happen to enjoy the color scheme on Dawson's blog.

I find the colors that have been chosen for labels, titles, etc., quite festive. Like neon at night.

As for the non-traditional white-on-black lettering in the body of the blog entries, I find that this often helps me focus better on what I'm reading.

Additionally, the white lettering set against a black background strikes me as quite symbolic -- of the bright light of reason shining through all the darkness to expose theism for what it is: An irrational worldview.

Ydemoc

April 09, 2013 1:49 PM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...

Hi again, Edward,

Just one other thing...

I'm not sure if it will matter much to you, but Dawson's moderation policy is a rather recent development. Nearly eight full years, and he never had to activate it.

It was only instituted after two individuals became so disruptive -- copying and pasting what they had just written... general non-responsiveness -- that their posts virtually became spam.

If you're interested in seeing an example, check out the 939 comments in this thread:

http://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=11714522&postID=9122054024799182020&isPopup=true

And then check out the 680 comments in this thread:

http://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=11714522&postID=8142465704328096960&isPopup=true

Ydemoc

April 09, 2013 2:35 PM  
Blogger photosynthesis said...

Br. Ed probably is as Doc X surmises, yet I'm willing to give him the benefit of the doubt to see if he has any argument to support his metaphysical views.

Well, the most of a benefit I would be able to give this guy is that of whether he will be entertaining enough in his nonsense. But nonsense is all I expect him to produce.

April 09, 2013 6:44 PM  
Blogger Robert Bumbalough said...

Hello friends. I finally made it back home, but I earned an extra $125 tonight doing a consumer marketing demographic focus group about use of a Groupon like service that would be configured like Paypal and linked to ones reward Visa debit/atm checking account card and activated by gps enabled smart phone. It would work by monitoring where the user was and sending her discount coupons for whatever enrolled merchant she might visit. Groovy, so it seemed. Except it always tracks one's location. Don't know what bank will be sponsoring it, but the money pays for a new tablet pc. This'll be my first Android device. It has the Jelly Bean OS. Funny name. Now it's time for ZZZZZZZZZ, then back to another work day.

I'll read and post when on break.

Chat ya later.

Best Wishes to All and Many Thanks to Brother Edward for coming about with some interesting conversation.

April 09, 2013 8:43 PM  
Blogger First Veridican Church said...

RB said:
[i]it might be a good idea to book an appointment with a psychologist-counselor just to talk things over and about the voices in your head.[/i]

I was going to give you a full response to your theory until you pulled this garbage, which atheists always pull so as to avoid any response that might change their mind. It's a little way you all hide from the truth. It's pathetic and it's intellectual cowardice.

Br. Edward

The Veridican Forum

Ending Atheism--One Mind at a Time

April 10, 2013 9:45 AM  
Blogger First Veridican Church said...

RB wrote: How about it Ed? Can you show that subatomic particles are made from consciousness? What evidence can you muster beyond your own credulity, conviction, and charm?

I haven't disrespected you in anyway. I haven't insulted you. I haven't demeaned you. If you want a response, you're going to have to act like you have the same manners online as you do, I'm sure, in your 3D world.

You're not going to insult me and then get a response that I have to have time to think about, write and edit. Because there's one thing you need to wake up to: I already know God exists. You don't, or won't, or can't. So, you're the one wanting--not me.

Now, if you want me to treat you like Dr. X, I will, and I'll just breeze past your posts when I see your avatar. It's up to you.

Br. Edward

The Veridican Forum

Ending Atheism--One Mind at a Time

April 10, 2013 9:51 AM  
Blogger Robert Bumbalough said...

Hello friends. I appreciate you good people and am grateful for the opportunity to interact and communicate with each of you in discussing these important philosophical issues. As always it is my position that people deserve respect, but ideas must earn respect. From that springboard, it is easy to dive into the following.

Brother Edward wrote How would you know? You're an atheist. I don't think you're really capable of judging what is the Word of God and what is the word of man. You wouldn't know God's word if it bit you. You are an atheist. in response to forum commentator ed. ~ http://www.skepticalcommunity.com/forums/viewtopic.php?p=659976&sid=e75b7b462b73611fb1cd8638c8ac95e6#p659976

It think this very significant in that it seems to indicate Br. Edward equates belief with knowledge as the statement claims one who lacks belief in Br. Edward's God lacks knowledge sufficient to discern writings purportedly by Br. Edward's God. Please correct me if I'm wrong. Rational philosophy identifies knowledge as

“Knowledge” is . . . a mental grasp of a fact(s) of reality, reached either by perceptual observation or by a process of reason based on perceptual observation. ~ Ayn Rand: “Concepts of Consciousness,” Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology, 35 ~ http://aynrandlexicon.com/lexicon/knowledge.html

while analytic philosophy claims knowledge is true justified belief. If the former concept is the case, then .skepticalcommunity.com forum commentator ed was correct in stating What I read in the document (the Veridican Gospel) was the work of a human being. Nothing from any advanced being. Not the word of God in the least. The one thing that it would be impossible to fake is a message from and advanced entity. You haven't done it, no one has. Fakes. because there is a total dearth of facts of reality or perceptual observations foundational to a process of reasoning whereby one could integrate pertinent facts into a concept supporting Br. Edward's claim that his God inspired him to make a harmonization of the NT Gospels plus Thomas. On the other hand, if knowledge is true justified belief, then since there is no way to establish Br. Edward's claims as true of justified, and although he firmly believes the the Veridican Gospel to be inspired, his belief fails to meet analytic philosophy's criteria for knowledge.

What does Br. Edward think would be sufficient justification and evidence of truth to transform the simple belief the Veridican Gospel is the word of a super intelligence into knowledge? How could some person other than Br. Edward reliably ascertain that whatever Br. Edward might suggest as sufficient justification and evidence of truth differs from something Br. Edward simply imagines?

These are thorny questions, but in no way are they intended to cast dispersion upon Br. Edward as a person.

April 10, 2013 11:07 AM  
Blogger Daniel GodIsTime said...

I was raised in a strict fundamental baptist church/school. I just want to tell you thank you, dawson.Your work is helping me regain my mind.

In Humanity,
Daniel

April 10, 2013 12:27 PM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

Hello Daniel,

Thanks for your comment and for reading anything on my blog. And you're welcome. I'm glad you find my work helpful.

If you have any questions, please feel free to chime in any time, anywhere.

Regards,
Dawson

April 10, 2013 3:45 PM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

Hello Edward,

Welcome to my blog. I have seen your earlier comments, but I’ve been quite busy so far this week with other priorities. You mentioned that the comment moderation policy on my blog can impede dialogue. I fully understand and appreciate this. I frankly don’t like it either. I started this blog back in March 2005, and I did not invoke comment moderation until January 2013. So for many years – by far the vast majority of the time that my blog has been active – there was no comment moderation. However, because of some flagrant and persistent abuse by two posters back in December last year and early January, I was pretty much forced into this decision in order to keep things from unraveling due to that abuse. I fear that if I turn off comment moderation, one or both of those characters, who apparently view my blog as a threat to something in their lives, will resume their abuse.

As for your reaction to Robert’s comment, I’m a bit puzzled by it. For one, I don’t think Robert intended to offend you. There are people in this world who become at least a bit concerned when others report that supernatural beings are talking to them. I’m sure that you can understand this, especially given many of the high-profile tragedies which have been associated with people making such claims. I certainly don’t think Robert’s comment was borne of cowardice of any kind, so I’m not sure what exactly you meant by this charge.

You also wrote: “there's one thing you need to wake up to: I already know God exists. You don't, or won't, or can't. So, you're the one wanting--not me.”

Here at IP and elsewhere on the internet, and in our “3D world,” all of us have encountered many people who claim to know that a god exists. So we are used to this. And if this were something that any of us thought to be legitimate knowledge and we wanted it, we know of many places where we could go to find it. I doubt anyone who wanted to “know God exists” would be hanging out in my blog’s comments. Meanwhile, given your tagline in your signature, it would seem to me that you are wanting in some way. If you’re up for a challenge, you’re welcome to present your case here.

But your comment does raise my curiosity. I’m not interested so much in “know[ing] God exists,” rather I’m interested in what it is you think you know and, more importantly, *how* you know what you claim to know when you say “I already know God exists.” What is “God” per your understanding, and do you have direct awareness of your god, as when I have direct awareness of the furniture in my house, or my wife, or my daughter, or the clock on the wall (i.e., by means of sense perception)? Or do you have some other means of awareness by which you have direct awareness of your god? If so, can you identify these other means, explain how they work, identify any biological structures that may be associated with them (such as the sense organs in the case of sense perception)? Or, did you *infer* your god’s existence by means of some course of reasoning? If so, I would like to examine this.

That will have to do for now.

Regards,
Dawson

April 10, 2013 3:51 PM  
Blogger First Veridican Church said...

@ Dawson

Hello Edward,

I fear that if I turn off comment moderation, one or both of those characters, who apparently view my blog as a threat to something in their lives, will resume their abuse.


I completely understand, and that’s cool. It seems to be working fine as it is. So, by all means, do what you have to protect your blog. I’m happy to work with it.

As for your reaction to Robert’s comment, I’m a bit puzzled by it. For one, I don’t think Robert intended to offend you. There are people in this world who become at least a bit concerned when others report that supernatural beings are talking to them. I’m sure that you can understand this, especially given many of the high-profile tragedies which have been associated with people making such claims. I certainly don’t think Robert’s comment was borne of cowardice of any kind, so I’m not sure what exactly you meant by this charge.

You’re wrong, I’m afraid. He was trying to offend me and he knows it. I don’t really care. Like I said, I can simply ignore him. If he wants a response, he’s going to have to give me the same respect I give him. Same goes for anyone in here. In my forum, I give people respect. You give—you deserve to get. Pure and simple.

You also wrote: “there's one thing you need to wake up to: I already know God exists. You don't, or won't, or can't. So, you're the one wanting--not me.”

[snip}... If you’re up for a challenge, you’re welcome to present your case here.


I just want to respond to your posts. If I want to argue the existence of God, I’ll have to do that in a forum where I can post an original post.

[snip] Or, did you *infer* your god’s existence by means of some course of reasoning? If so, I would like to examine this.

That will have to do for now.

Regards,
Dawson


To answer all the questions you just put in that last paragraph would require I write you a book. I’m not going to do that. But what I will do is answer one of them, probably the one that matters the most: “How do I know God exists.”

I know God exists because in my mind there is an observer that perceives the rest of my mind working. It doesn’t seem affected by my emotions or any external stimuli. In addition, I have had several instances of precognition. Also, I have observed paramecia swimming about with will and purpose, but they have no nervous system at all. They also can be trained. Then I see that animals have instinctual knowledge that they have no means of obtaining. In addition, I have dreams that contain elements I have never seen before, and then scientific experiments show us behaviors involving subatomic particles that seem to change if they are being observed. All of this leads me to conclude that consciousness is not part of any nervous system, but exists apart from it. That being the case, I see no means for it to end. In other words, it’s not “me” per se, and it can’t die. That consciousness I consider to be God, and I define God as the fundamental monistic consciousness.

Miracles, prayer, presence, guidance, thought-to-thought communication from God, all these things I experience, I wouldn’t expect you to subscribe to as an atheist. But, everything in the above paragraph is readily available to you.

You can pick this all apart, but I wouldn’t waste your time. I’m here to respond to you, not you to respond to me. I’d rather you spent your time posting a new entry. I’m looking forward to reading what you write.

Sincerely,

Br. Edward
First Veridican Church

April 11, 2013 12:06 AM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

Hello Edward,

I wrote: << As for your reaction to Robert’s comment, I’m a bit puzzled by it. For one, I don’t think Robert intended to offend you. There are people in this world who become at least a bit concerned when others report that supernatural beings are talking to them. I’m sure that you can understand this, especially given many of the high-profile tragedies which have been associated with people making such claims. I certainly don’t think Robert’s comment was borne of cowardice of any kind, so I’m not sure what exactly you meant by this charge. >>

Edward replied: << You’re wrong, I’m afraid. He was trying to offend me and he knows it. I don’t really care. Like I said, I can simply ignore him. >>

I grant that I could be wrong here. I confess that I cannot read Robert’s mind in order to know the intimate details of his motivations. Same with anyone else. But perhaps you are able to read people’s mind. If so, can you give us a demonstration? What was I thinking at 2:05 pm today?

At any rate, I base my assessment of Robert’s motivations on my past knowledge of him. He has always struck me as quite cordial and charitable. I have never had the impression that he is out to offend anyone, though there are naturally some who are rather thin-skinned and tend to take a lot of things personally and become offended by them.

But since you say you “don’t really care,” I don’t see why it would matter to you.

Edward wrote: << I just want to respond to your posts. If I want to argue the existence of God, I’ll have to do that in a forum where I can post an original post. >>

I understand – you have your terms. That’s fine with me. If you ever get to the point that you have an argument for the existence of your god that you would like to share with us here at IP, please feel free either to post it in its entirety here, or to post a link to it. (I just request that you give the actual link – please do not use URL shortening services, like tinyrl, if you can avoid it.)

[continued…]

April 11, 2013 3:11 AM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

In response to my questions about how Edward “knows” that his god exists, he wrote:

<< I know God exists because in my mind there is an observer that perceives the rest of my mind working. >>

Edward starts off by admitting that the means by which he “knows” that his god exists begins by looking *inwardly* - i.e., by consulting internal contents of his own mind. Of course, what he states here does not indicate the existence of a consciousness distinct from his own. After all, he could be the “observer” who introspectively examines the contents of his own consciousness. This would simply be a consciousness (Edward’s own mind) looking inward on itself. This does not indicate or imply the existence of a supernatural consciousness.

Edward wrote: << It doesn’t seem affected by my emotions or any external stimuli. >>

So Edward’s god-belief is not based on external evidence. He says that it is not, so far as he can tell, “affected by [his] emotions.” But how does he know this? If it were affected by his emotions, would it be possible to suppress this knowledge and claim otherwise? Since what he claims to know apparently has its source within his own conscious states, how would anyone on the outside be able to confirm one way or another?

Edward: << In addition, I have had several instances of precognition. >>

What does this mean? How would one claiming to have an instance of precognition be able to distinguish what he calls “precognition” from something he’s merely imagining?

Edward: << Also, I have observed paramecia swimming about with will and purpose, but they have no nervous system at all. >>

Where did you observe this? How did you determine that the paramecia you observed swimming about had a “will”? Purpose itself is biological, so I would expect biological organisms, including paramecia, to act in order to achieve some goal. But the goal-orientedness of biological actions does not necessarily imply a “will” which governs those actions. My heart beats in order to circulate blood, but it does not have a will of its own. And while my heart is connected to an organism which does have a nervous system, I am not willfully governing the activity of my heart. Indeed, my heart continues to beat when I’m sleeping, when my will is inactive. Plants process nutrients and sunlight in order to generate energy to help them sustain their own lives. But there’s no objective reason to suppose that this activity is governed by some will. It is a simple matter of biological causality.

Edward: << They also can be trained. >>

I can train the muscles in my left hand. What implication do you think this has? Can a rock be trained? If not, why not?

[continued…]

April 11, 2013 3:11 AM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

Edward: << Then I see that animals have instinctual knowledge that they have no means of obtaining. >>

How do you know that they have no means of obtaining the instinctual knowledge that you attribute to these animals? Are they conscious to begin with? Do you think that consciousness is something other than a biological faculty? What else in nature other than biological organisms possess consciousness? Rocks, perhaps?

Edward: << In addition, I have dreams that contain elements I have never seen before, >>

Ah, dreams, eh? Really???? Are dreams a means of acquiring and validating knowledge of reality in your view?

Edward: << and then scientific experiments show us behaviors involving subatomic particles that seem to change if they are being observed. >>

I’ve heard of such experiments. I’ve also written about them. (See here.)

Edward: << All of this leads me to conclude that consciousness is not part of any nervous system, but exists apart from it. >>

Really? That’s your conclusion? Can you cite a genuine, scientifically verifiable example of consciousness in something that does not have a nervous system? What you’ve cited so far is not at all persuasive. Do you have anything more substantial?

Edward: << That being the case, I see no means for it to end. >>

Specifically, you “see no means” for *what* “to end”?

Edward: << In other words, it’s not “me” per se, and it can’t die. >>

What specifically are you talking about here? Do you mean consciousness as such? If so, why do you suppose that consciousness cannot die? I had a pet cat which died back in 1979. While it was alive, it was clearly conscious. Are you telling me that my cat’s consciousness is still alive somewhere? How do you know this? Where is it?

[continued…]

April 11, 2013 3:12 AM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

Edward: << That consciousness I consider to be God, and I define God as the fundamental monistic consciousness. >>

Well, I suppose you may be persuaded that the “reasons” you’ve offered in response to my question are somehow adequate. But I would contend otherwise. If you find it necessary to posit a “will” in paramecia (you seem to be inferring a will from mere biological goal-orientedness), to appeal to *dreams* (!), or to accept superficial interpretations of the meaning of things like the double-split experiment, I’d suggest you go back to the drawing board and re-think all this.

Edward: << Miracles, prayer, presence, guidance, thought-to-thought communication from God, all these things I experience, I wouldn’t expect you to subscribe to as an atheist. But, everything in the above paragraph is readily available to you. >>

You’re right – I do not subscribe to miracles, prayer, divine presence or guidance, or the other things you mention. I admit that I can *imagine* them, but my worldview tells me that there is a fundamental distinction between what is real and what I imagine. So unless you think I need to jettison this fundamental recognition, how do you expect to end my atheism?

Edward: << You can pick this all apart, but I wouldn’t waste your time. I’m here to respond to you, not you to respond to me. >>

You mean, you want only a one-way conversation, where you can have your say, and I’m supposed to remain silent? I hope you’re not offended, but that’s not about to happen here, Edward.

Edward: << I’d rather you spent your time posting a new entry. I’m looking forward to reading what you write. >>

Yes, I have more entries in the works, and they’ll come in time. In the meantime, however, I’ve posted some 300 blog entries already. I don’t think you need to wait for the next one in order to do some reading right now.

Regards,
Dawson

April 11, 2013 3:12 AM  
Blogger NAL said...

Edward:

Also, I have observed paramecia swimming about with will and purpose, but they have no nervous system at all.

So, ignorance of how a paramecium responds to external stimuli without a nervous system is evidence of your god?

Actually, the paramecium has a cytoskeleton that acts like as a primitive nervous system.

April 11, 2013 8:50 AM  
Blogger First Veridican Church said...

@ Dawson

Well, I suppose you may be persuaded that the “reasons” you’ve offered in response to my question are somehow adequate. But I would contend otherwise.

Then you have a problem, don't you?

April 11, 2013 9:06 AM  
Blogger Robert Bumbalough said...

Hello friends. I'm swamped at work. The industrial furnace business is booming at least for this month. I'll read and reply to the thread Friday night. Gotta run and get with it.

Best and Good

April 11, 2013 10:40 AM  
Blogger photosynthesis said...

Curious: if some living thing that has no nervous system can be trained there must be a consciousness apart and all around. Also curious, I never thought of a god who could be trained in the form of paramecia.

Anyway, here my comment. Consciousness is given a mystical meaning by the religious and thus they can't think of it properly as being transitive. Consciousness is consciousness of something. That allows us to forget the myth and allows us to recognize that consciousness is a bit more pervasive, even if not equally complex, among living things than the mystical would allow us to notice. For example, bacteria can be conscious of sources of food and of toxins, and react to either accordingly. Paramecia of course they have perception. That they could be trained seems to be still debatable, but I would not be too surprised if they could, as long as we could define clearly what training could mean in that situation. I doubt, for example, that they could be trained to bring a beer to their owner. Anyway, many unicellular organisms have photoreceptors, and such devices, blah, blah, blah. Therefore, the lack of a nervous system does not preclude consciousness. Dawson dealt quite well with the goal part, which, by the way, can be interpreted as will, again depending on how will is defined.

By the way, I trained myself to be able to "witness" my own thinking and such, and I developed that enough that it feels as if someone else was doing the observing. The observation feels detached from my own emotions. Did I create or domesticate some god according to Ed's worldview? Hey! Maybe I am a god!

Hum, this piece of paperweight is telling me that she wants to go play outside (therefore god wants to go play outside). So, if you excuse me ...

April 11, 2013 12:19 PM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

NAL: << So, ignorance of how a paramecium responds to external stimuli without a nervous system is evidence of your god? >>

Photo: << Consciousness is given a mystical meaning by the religious and thus they can't think of it properly as being transitive. >>

Both of you are correct here. Religious belief, to be sustained, needs to nourish itself on ignorance of the nature of consciousness. In her novel Atlas Shrugged, Rand points out that “faith in the supernatural begins as belief in the superiority of others.” It is very common for young children to assume that their parents and other adults are essentially omniscient (though they wouldn’t know this concept or its meaning if they heard it). My daughter (who is now five) seems to think I must know everything, and she’s puzzled when I tell her that I don’t know something she’s asked about. I explain to her that I don’t know everything and that I’m always learning, too. I tell her that all people are like this. But in spite of this, she continues to seem to think I should know everything, and eventually, with my help, she will grow out of this.

The religious mind never seems to grow beyond this stage of development. The religious mind, not understanding what consciousness actually is, accepts the assumption that consciousnesses either must rule other consciousnesses, or must be ruled by them. Consequently unquestioning obedience to authority is one of the chief ‘virtues’ of the religious worldview. This is definitely the case in Christianity, but it is by no means unique to Christianity.

Encouraging this mind-set of a child is what is behind the biblical teaching, put into Jesus’ mouth in passages like Mt. 18:3-4, that

<< Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven. >>

At no point in the bible does any character or author say, “Hey, look, this is what the nature of consciousness is. It requires an object, it has identity, man must acquire knowledge by a specific means, and here’s how that works,” etc. No, of course not. This would be anathema to the mindset which religion seeks to instill in its adherents. To empower thinkers with such understanding would certainly go against religious ambitions. Religion’s goal requires exploiting the mystification of consciousness.

We see evidence of this in apologetics all the time. This is essentially what’s behind Sye Ten Bruggencate’s “proof that God exists”. He argues that “the laws of logic are immaterial,” and because of this they point to some “immaterial” super-being that “transcends” this world of motion and change. However, once we grasp the actual nature of consciousness and understand that logic is conceptual in nature, with all that this means, such arguments disintegrate like a vapor. That is why Sye will never attempt to produce a refutation of my critique of his argument, for it calls his bluff outright. Without that bluff, there’s nothing left to his apologetic.

Regards,
Dawson

April 11, 2013 3:36 PM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

I wrote: << Well, I suppose you may be persuaded that the “reasons” you’ve offered in response to my question are somehow adequate. But I would contend otherwise. >>

Edward reacted: << Then you have a problem, don't you? >>

Edward, did you read and consider the points I raised in response to your comment? It’s not clear what your statement here is supposed to imply. Many people on this earth have essentially been tricked, fooled and deceived by religious thinking. I’ve become aware of this, and I understand now what happens in religious indoctrination which feeds on people’s ignorance. This means that, so long as I adhere to reason, I will always be able to outsmart the fishers’ nets. But that was not always the case with me. Luckily I got away. I realize that this raises the ire of Christians. They are encouraged to resent atheists; they’re encouraged even more to loathe ‘apostates’. I suppose there’s also more than a twinge of implicit envy in there; many Christians probably secretly wish they could be free of the psychological shackles into which their religion has locked them. They certainly do not like me exposing their bluffs, their frauds, their deceptions, their ignorance, their fallacies, their errors, etc. And they also do not like the confidence I have in my own mind. Why else would so many apologists have adopted strategies which essentially try to undermine a person’s confidence in his own mind? Why would religion need to disable man’s confidence in his own mind if indeed its teachings were true?

You say that I have a problem when I acknowledge that you may be persuaded that the reasons you’ve offered are adequate. But I’ve already pointed out some serious issues in your points, and Robert, NAL and Photo have contributed many points as well.

It seems to me that, if your only reaction to all this is nothing more than “you have a problem, don’t you?” that our work with you may be finished and we can happily say: "First Veridican Church: Case Closed." That is, unless, you have anything more to offer here?

Regards,
Dawson

April 11, 2013 3:49 PM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

NAL: “Actually, the paramecium has a cytoskeleton that acts like as a primitive nervous system.”

That’s very interesting, in fact. If already at the level of the single-celled organism there is what can be considered a primitive nervous system of sorts, it seems that the implications this has for evolution is quite far-reaching. It would mean that we would not need to locate some point further up the evolutionary ladder where the most primitive nervous system suddenly came into being. I’m out of my league on these matters as I haven’t studied biology formally for a few decades now. But it’s all very fascinating.

As for a ‘will’ per se, however, we need to iron out what exactly this is supposed to denote before we can say much more about it. At this stage of the conversation, ‘will’ seems to be a rather loose term with quasi-indefinite meaning. I’m confident that paramecia do not have consciousness as we know it. I’m curious even about ants and bees and other insects and arachnids. They definitely react to their environment in ways that indicate consciousness at some level. Whether it is merely sensory in nature, or perceptual (there is a major difference between these), is unclear to me – I wouldn’t really know how to go about determining either way. It seems that the compound eyes that flies have would give it the ability to have awareness of objects as entities, at least in some rudimentary form. But I could be mistaken on this.

Photo wrote: << That they could be trained seems to be still debatable, but I would not be too surprised if they could, as long as we could define clearly what training could mean in that situation. I doubt, for example, that they could be trained to bring a beer to their owner. >>

I was wondering about this as well. What can I train my paramecia to do for me? Perhaps the folks at the Pentagon could train a crack team of paramecia for special ops deployments – you know, halo drops, reconnaissance missions, and the like. Then we don’t have to risk sending service men into dangerous situations. If there’s another situation like the Iran hostage crisis, just send in the Paramecia Swat Team. A tagline comes to mind: “They’re trained to work from the inside.”

Regards,
Dawson

April 11, 2013 4:06 PM  
Blogger Negative Entropy said...

Dawson,

Whether it is merely sensory in nature, or perceptual (there is a major difference between these)

Would that be whether they can form mental images/abstractions? Manipulate the concepts in their minds? I'm asking because you have that long but quite clarifying way of explaining. I never thought of a difference here, but kinda get it, if I'm truly pointing to what you were thinking.

April 11, 2013 4:15 PM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

<< Would that be whether they can form mental images/abstractions? Manipulate the concepts in their minds? >>

Great question. Here’s a brief overview:

Basically, there are three levels of consciousness. (I use ‘levels’ here because they are hierarchical in nature – one builds on the basis of the preceding one.)

Sensory level: this is the most basic, most primitive level of consciousness. It is consciousness by means of sensations – isolated, momentary stimulation that lasts only as long as the sense organs are stimulated. These are not retained in memory so that they can be experienced again upon recalling. Organisms with only the sensory level of consciousness operate essentially on the pleasure-pain mechanism, reacting to stimuli accordingly.

Perceptual level: In the perceptual level of consciousness, different sensations (caused by the same stimuli) are automatically integrated into percepts (not ‘precepts’). Rand explains (The Virtue of Selfishness, p. 19):

<< The higher organisms possess a much more potent form of consciousness: they possess the faculty of retaining sensations, which is the faculty of perception. A “perception” is a group of sensations automatically retained and integrated by the brain of a living organism, which gives it the ability to be aware, not of single stimuli, but of entities, of things. An animal is guided, not merely by immediate sensations, but by percepts. Its actions are not single, discrete responses to single, separate stimuli, but are directed by an integrated awareness of the perceptual reality confronting it. It is able to grasp the perceptual concretes immediately present and it is able to form automatic perceptual associations, but it can go no further. >>

A distinguishing feature of perception over sensation is the awareness of objects as entities - of things as wholes.

Conceptual level: Vastly more sophisticated than the prior two levels, the conceptual level is the capacity to integrate different entities into mental units, to isolate attributes of different entities and integrate them into mental units, to integrate previously formed mental units into wider or more specific abstractions, etc. This is a volitional activity – a thinker forms concepts by actively selecting units (e.g., whether entities or attributes of entities) to integrate into conceptual form.

So there’s clearly a hierarchical structure involved in all this well before we even get to philosophy. This could be considered evidence of ‘order’ which is entirely natural and caused by evolution. I.e., no basis or need to point to some supernatural designer.

Hope that helps! Let me know if you have any further questions.

Regards,
Dawson

April 11, 2013 5:01 PM  
Blogger First Veridican Church said...

@NAL
Actually, the paramecium has a cytoskeleton that acts like as a primitive nervous system.

No, it doesn’t. The cytoskeleton is for cell structure; it is not a neurological network. Please, don’t even go there with the quantum computing new age speculation. It makes you look silly.

But even if we get silly for a moment: The mind is as unfathomable in animals with brains as animals without. Consciousness can’t come from physical matter. It’s two different natures entirely. That mind can come from matter is like expecting Jello to emerge from boiling water.

Br. Edward
First Veridican Church

April 11, 2013 10:29 PM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

Edward wrote: <>

What exactly are you trying to say here? Are you saying that the presence of a neurological system in an animal is not what makes its ability to sense objects? Are you saying that consciousness is not a biological attribute? If you’re claiming any of these things, what evidence do you have to support it, and where exactly does the evidence lead? I know of no scientifically verifiable example of consciousness outside the realm of biological organisms. If you know of a consciousness which belongs to something other than a biological organism, and the existence of this consciousness can be in fact scientifically verified, please share.

Edward: “It’s two different natures entirely.”

Again, I’m not sure what exactly you’re trying to say here. We know that at least some biological organisms do in fact possess some faculty of consciousness. And as I mention above, I know of no actual instance of consciousness outside the biological realm. Additionally, there is, so far as I know, no element or atomic structure occurring in biological organisms that cannot be found in inorganic states. Organisms have elements like carbon, nitrogen, iron, etc. These are naturally occurring elements. And yet, when they are in certain combinations forming a complex causal context, i.e., biological structures, they support certain types of activity, including conscious activity in many cases. Physical matter is not an activity. Consciousness is an activity. This seems to be what is missed here, and yet it answers your claim that they’re “two different natures entirely.”

By the way, are you getting your understanding of the nature of consciousness and physical matter from the bible or some other “revealed” source? If not, are you getting it from secular sources? Just curious.

Regards,
Dawson

April 11, 2013 10:48 PM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

Edward,

My first paragraph in my comment above is in reaction to your following statement:

<< Consciousness can’t come from physical matter. >>

For some reason, Blogger did not recognize this as a quote.

Regards,
Dawson

April 12, 2013 3:53 AM  
Blogger NAL said...

Edward:

No, it doesn’t. The cytoskeleton is for cell structure; it is not a neurological network.

From here:

The cytoskeleton of these organisms interacts with cilia at the cell surface to control cell movement, feeding, and environmental responses.

Sounds like the functions of a nervous system, but, that's only from a peer reviewed journal of molecular biology.

April 12, 2013 5:51 AM  
Blogger photosynthesis said...

Ladies and Gentleman,

Notice that Br Edward did not even try to deal with my comment. I suspect because demystifying consciousness is not something he would like to happen, as evidenced by his answer to NAL:

No, it doesn’t. The cytoskeleton is for cell structure; it is not a neurological network.

Well, when I studied cell biology about 20 years ago, it was already known that the cytoskeleton had functions beyond cell structure. So, I checked around and read a few abstracts, and found that there's clear evidence that the cytoskeleton is involved in how paramecia process information and learn. For example, molecules that bind to certain places in the cytoskeleton render the paramecia "unconscious." Quite similar to experiments showing changes in neuronal structure when animals learn something, from the simpler models, like snails, to more complex organisms.

Please, don’t even go there with the quantum computing new age speculation. It makes you look silly.

There's no need to go there at all. If experiments show so, then it is so: The cytoskeleton can work as a way to process information and learning mechanisms, at least in paramecia.

But even if we get silly for a moment: The mind is as unfathomable in animals with brains as animals without.

Just because you say so? This looks much more like denial and shielding from the evidence, than proper knowledge about what you are talking about.

Consciousness can’t come from physical matter.

Again, just because you say so? hardly convincing.

It’s two different natures entirely. That mind can come from matter is like expecting Jello to emerge from boiling water.

Curious because damaging the brain certainly harms cognitive capacities in people, damaging the cytoskeleton certainly damages paramecia's ability to learn. Molecules can alter our abilities for perception. Lots of evidence for a physical reality being irremediably connected to cognition. None saying that the mind is "unfathomable." Progress is being made while brother Edward closes his eyes and turns deaf to the evidence. It has to be magic! It has to be magic!

I think Dawson dealt with your complains much more effectively than me here. Only I wanted to point out that your attempt at an answer is merely an attempt to keep mythological views about the mind alive. Sorry Ed, your say so does not make it so. Reality has this habit of being what it is regardless of our preferences.

(Dawson, by the way, that Rand lady was truly thinking and writing about all the important things about reality, wasn't her?)

April 12, 2013 6:43 AM  
Blogger freddies_dead said...

NAL, how dare you introduce facts and evidence into proceedings?!? Don't you know they only make you look silly?

April 12, 2013 8:30 AM  
Blogger photosynthesis said...

For some reason, Blogger did not recognize this as a quote.

That's because blogger also shares the universal consciousness named god, which is monistic in nature, yet fails differently in different entities, can be trained to our liking in some entities, not in others, all of which is contradictory, but who cares! Got ya evil atheist!

April 12, 2013 9:32 AM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...

Dawson,

I'm currently about to read your latest replies to D.A.N. over on his blog.

I notice that rather providing a thoughtful summation of the material presented, he whines: "So, I finally got the answer to my simple question. That is, after the entire proof by verbosity blathering... Now, I am exhausted from the sheer volume of the answer. You wonder why people drop off your blog, and not comment anymore?"

And yet not a peep from D.A.N about Bahnsen’s 700-page "Van Til’s Apologetic: Readings & Analysis," let alone any complaints about the length of the bible.

Perhaps you've already brought this to D.A.N.'s attention in the replies, but as you've rightly pointed out in the past when faced with such grousing:

"That’s the problem with arbitrary standards: you end up wiping out much more than you first intended."

( http://bahnsenburner.blogspot.com/2010/08/critique-of-sye-ten-bruggencates.html )

Ydemoc

April 12, 2013 3:02 PM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

Oh, yes, great quote, Ydemoc!

Yeah, D.A.N. won't have a problem with the length of Bahnsen's Van Til's Apologetic, the bible, or any other Christian source. In fact, the bigger, the better, so far as they're concerned. And not so that they can learn something from it, but only so that they can use it in a way that clearly overwhelms themselves when they are confronted with something more than half a page. It's more projection and hypocrisy.

The underlying fact is that D.A.N. wants nothing to with actually understanding the issues that his apologetic brings up. He doesn't want people who understand, just as he doesn't care to understand either. He wants people to be immediately stupefied, "slayed in the spirit" by a mere few words carefully chosen to entrap. That’s what presuppositionalism is all about. Sye has simply made it much more concentrated exclusively on this strategy. That’s why he wants it always to be an oral exchange. He doesn’t want to interact with people who take their time to carefully examine the issues, to investigate the apologist’s claims, to do research, to pull resources together and strive for understanding. They shun these things like a vampire is supposed to shun the sign of the cross. When D.A.N. asks how one knows whether his reasoning is valid, the proper thing to do is to ask what he means by each of these key terms. Most likely he won’t explain himself, in which case this only means he doesn’t take his own question seriously, so why should we. He certainly will not take anyone’s answer to them seriously. He just wants people to fall over and renounce their minds the moment he poses such questions. Pointing all this out is calling his bluff. It completely deflates his apologetic into an empty vapor.

Anyway, let’s see if he comes back.

Regards,
Dawson

April 12, 2013 3:25 PM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...

Dawson,

While D.A.N insists going on and on, asking over and over if we are "wrong" about this, that, or the other, it seems to me that he completely takes for granted (indeed, his very question assumes) that our faculties are just fine and dandy when it comes to such knowledge as the very concept "wrong"!

Amazing!

Ydemoc

April 12, 2013 3:32 PM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

Exactly. It never occurs to D.A.N. and other presuppositionalists are committing yet another insidious performative inconsistency in their apologetic scheme.

But consider: Sye & Co. go on and on accusing non-believers of being unable to justify their knowledge of the most mundane things (e.g., one’s own existence, the existence of a backyard, the existence of tree in one’s backyard, etc.). And yet, they then turn around and tell us that we “know” their god exists. If we put these two sets of claims together, they could only mean that on the one hand, we know that Sye’s god is real, and on the other, we could not justify this alleged knowledge. The whole thing is utterly self-refuting.

And these guys keep asking us how we know that our reasoning is valid?

Amazing!

Regards,
Dawson

April 12, 2013 3:38 PM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...

Dawson,

By the way, a great read over on Dan's blog!

FYI, I'll be away from the keyboard for about an hour, so I'll have to catch up on any forthcoming comments a little later.

Ydemoc

April 12, 2013 3:38 PM  
Blogger photosynthesis said...

Oh Ydemoc, but you are missing a very important issue with the presuppositionalist set-up. They do not contest that we can know right from wrong, they assert that we know because their god told us, we just "deny such truth in unrighteousness." So what they "want" is to "show" that we do such thing, not that we do not have those faculties/knowledge.

See ya.

April 12, 2013 3:45 PM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

Yes, Photo, they do say such things, but yet they continually try to undermine our conscious faculties by calling their validity into question. So if they say on the one hand that we can know right from wrong, that their god is real, that their worldview is true, etc., and yet on the other say that we can never know if our knowing and reasoning are valid, we would have no way of validating our own acceptance of what they claim as knowledge. And yet, at the same time, when they ask us these questions, they expect us to understand what they're asking: we're supposed to understand what knowledge is, what reasoning is, what validity is, etc. None of this knowledge which they grant us is being called into question, and yet if the question were premised in a consistent analysis of the human mind, none of these points should be granted. Indeed, they should not even be asking us any questions to begin with.

But the broader point that should not be missed is that their whole apologetic involves the rapid-fire of all these clumsily assembled questions that we are supposed to answer, and yet they habitually evade the questions that have been posed to them. And yet (again), it is their worldview which claims to have “knowledge” supernaturally revealed to them from an infallible and omniscient source. It seems that if this were the case, they wouldn’t be asking so many questions, and they’d be more than happy to share their pearls of wisdom in response to our questions. This never happens. They run from questions, they run from knowledge, they run from reason. It’s all bullshit, flat and simple. And look at what they end up endorsing: a parent which willingly allows his child to be tormented and executed by evil people. That’s “love”? That’s “moral”? Who acts this way other than an utter monster?

Regards,
Dawson

April 12, 2013 4:04 PM  
Blogger photosynthesis said...

Dawson,

I agree. And this very contradiction, denying but implicitly acknowledging such and such (that our reasoning and senses are valid, et cetera), when pointed out to most of them will stop them to think for a while. It took D.A.N. to consult with Sye before he could post an "answer" to that. All I was pointing to is that we should know the many forms of their bullshit.

Talking about gruesome beliefs, did you hear this fundamentally flawed podcast?

April 12, 2013 4:18 PM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

Yes, you're right, Photo. They have a number of tactics, and we should be familiar with all of them and expose their "folly," as they themselves like to put it. If our responses do ever cause them to stop and wonder, or consult other sources, however, it's only so that they could have some way of deflecting what has been taught to them. They don't want to learn. They want others to submit. These are two very different goals.

I have not heard the FF podcast. Thanks for recommending it. I will put it line with some other things I want to listen to this weekend.

It's Saturday AM here, and already I've had a busy day! Much more ahead as I dive into my weekend. An FF podcast will make a fine dessert!

Regards,
Dawson

April 12, 2013 4:25 PM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

Okay, Photo, I couldn’t wait. I downloaded the FF podcast you liked to and started listening to it. So far I’m enjoying it quite a bit. I’m not quite 18 minutes in, so there’s still much to come. But so far I’m gratified to hear Alex arguing from the primacy of existence. Kudos to him for that! I’m eager to see how that plays out with Mr. Hughes

At one point, Rob Hughes states (17:11 – 17:16)”

<< There’s a difference between real knowledge, and knowledge that cannot be accounted for. >>

Now, this is the from a guy who affirms the presuppositionalist approach to apologetics. And earlier in the podcast, he seemed unable to present a consistent policy on whether or not we should test claims. (That in itself was an interesting labyrinth that Hughes tried to take Alex down… But Alex seems quite prepared for this guy!)

But let’s grant that this difference which Hughes identifies is real and apply it to the presuppositionalist claim that we non-believers “know” the Christian god exists. Okay, so let’s say for argument’s sake that I know that the Christian god exists. So the task is to determine if this alleged “knowledge” is “real knowledge” or “knowledge that cannot be accounted for.” So, how do I account for this alleged “knowledge that the Christian god exists”? I’m supposing that presuppositionalists would say that this has been “revealed” to me somehow by the Christian god itself (mind you, the very god which, as a parent, allowed its own son to be tortured and executed by evil people). So the “account for” *how* I know that the Christian god exists itself depends on the premises that this god is real; in fact, now the claims are multiplied: not only do we have the claim that this god exists, we now have the additional (and causally subsequent) claim that it “revealed” knowledge to me. So this method of “accounting for” this “knowledge” I’m told I have is indeed viciously circular. And we can know this because, as Segers would put it, the “circle” does not go beyond itself – it’s entirely self-referential in an internal manner. There’s no “going outside the circle” here, so even on Segers’ own “test” for circularity, this seems to fail in a most textbook fashion.

But how else could I “account for” this alleged “knowledge” that the Christian god exists? Well, can I account for it in any objective manner? Not from what I can tell. Objectivity is the systematic and wholly consistent application of the primacy of existence to the realm of knowledge. But Christian god-belief assumes the primacy of consciousness, which is in diametric conflict with (i.e., contradictory to) the primacy of existence. An objective method will never be able to be applied consistently and validate a presupposition that is contradictory to itself. So while Hughes does not mention that the “account” one provides for his knowledge should be objective in nature, I don’t know what rational objection he would have against this requirement. But if we do accept this requirement, it turns out that this “knowledge” he wants us to accept cannot be accounted for in an objective manner. It has its basis in metaphysical subjectivism, which would seem to disqualify it entirely from the “real knowledge” category he listed.

Where is Hughes? I’d love to get his reaction to this.

Regards,
Dawson

April 12, 2013 5:39 PM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

Between 18:00 and 18:10, Hughes affirms that “knowledge is justified true belief.”

Now, many thinkers accept this view, but I do not. But before getting into the reasons why I reject this view, let’s ask: Is this the biblical view of knowledge?

I don’t see how it could be.

For one, I’ve never read anywhere in the bible that “knowledge is justified true belief.” Unless someone can show me that this definition of knowledge can be found explicitly laid out somewhere in the bible, this seems to be an instance of interpolated borrowing from some secular source.

Also, how would this apply to the Christian god itself? The Christian god is said to “know” things. Is the Christian god’s “knowledge” really just a special form of “belief” at its core? It seems odd to suppose that Christians would hold that it is. And if “knowledge is justified true belief,” this suggests a sequential process is involved: first you formulate the belief, then you determine that it is true, then you justify it somehow. But this implies both non-omniscience and non-infallibility. By contrast, an omniscient mind would have all knowledge already canned into its mind for all eternity; it would not need to go out and acquire knowledge through some process. Similarly, an infallible being would not need to apply any process to safeguard against error.

So this whole view seems at odds with what we know Christianity to affirm.

As for my view, I reject the JTB analysis of knowledge since it ignores the conceptual nature of knowledge. Take any example that a Christian would call a belief (even a JTB), such as: there’s a tree in my backyard. As you can see, this belief is propositional in nature: it strings a number of concepts together to form a specific proposition about something. But on the JTB model, where did these concepts, which are clearly constituents of any belief, come from? Indeed, to affirm the belief “there’s a tree in my backyard,” one would first have to know what a tree is. So how would this more fundamental knowledge look like as a belief? Perhaps it would be: “a tree is an organism of the XYZ order.” But then again we’re faced with the same issue: we have a belief which is propositional in nature, and as such, it is composed of concepts. We need to know what these concepts mean before we can even formulate any belief which incorporates them.

So one of the problems that I see with JTB is that it fails to identify the actual fundamental elements of knowledge, and this in turn simply enables the persistence of one of the Christian worldview’s most damning epistemological oversight – namely the failure to offer an account of concepts as such.

Okay, I’m going to back to listening to more.

Regards,
Dawson

April 12, 2013 6:02 PM  
Blogger photosynthesis said...

You're up to much more fun Dawson. Hughes present a sub version of presuppositionalism I didn't know about (his definition of "virtuously" circular, which is incredibly obviously stupid and fallacious, and which I think Alex did not have enough of an opportunity to exploit and expose). But was honest enough that Alex was able to show that he (Hughes) was able to agree with horrid stuff, like the allowing a child to be tortured and such that you pointed out so clearly and devastatingly to D.A.N. (I bet that all you will have is deflexion and red-herrings.)

April 12, 2013 6:04 PM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...

Hi photo,

I'm back!

You wrote: "... but you are missing a very important issue with the presuppositionalist set-up. They do not contest that we can know right from wrong, they assert that we know because their god told us, we just "deny such truth in unrighteousness." So what they "want" is to "show" that we do such thing, not that we do not have those faculties/knowledge."

Yes, I happened to be considering what I think was the very point you raise while I was on my walk up to the grocery store, just a few moments ago.

I recall a while back I posted a series of comments over on D.A.N.'s blog, which attempted to deal with the issue you raise. But of course, my words have obviously fallen on deaf ears, i.e., D.A.N's.

But something good did come out of it, for in crafting my comments at the time, I was inspired to write this absurd one-liner: "“Man is fallible. But, hey, I could be wrong.”

If you're interested, here are the links to those comments:

http://debunkingatheists.blogspot.com/2012/06/irrational-exuberance.html?showComment=1341085838091#c5046782545927406557

http://debunkingatheists.blogspot.com/2012/06/irrational-exuberance.html?showComment=1341086126662#c4839760469751743353

http://debunkingatheists.blogspot.com/2012/06/irrational-exuberance.html?showComment=1341086607551#c4794955036320659972

And those are just the first three comments. There's plenty more after that in the thread, but I don't want to take up space by posting them here. They're easy enough to find over there, simply by searching or scrolling down.

And feedback is always welcome!

Thanks.

Ydemoc

April 12, 2013 6:06 PM  
Blogger photosynthesis said...

Yes Dawson, and there's more to the inconsistencies between what presuppos affirm and Christianity affirms. If logic was how "God" thinks, we would have to ask: what's this god's problem that needs thinking? This god knows everything, therefore it would have no use for thinking since there's nothing to solve in the first place. Why would this god need any intelligence if it knows everything therefore there's nothing to solve? Hell, how could this god know if it's intelligent if it has nothing to solve? Long et cetera ...

Christianity and presuppositionalism are sicknesses. No question about it.

April 12, 2013 6:16 PM  
Blogger photosynthesis said...

(I bet that all you will have is deflexion and red-herrings.)

I meant that all you will have from D.A.N. is deflexion and red-herrings (if anything) ... I know you know, but with dishonest imbecilic presuppers lurking around I rather clarify.

April 12, 2013 6:29 PM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...

Dawson,

You wrote: "Sye & Co. go on and on accusing non-believers of being unable to justify their knowledge of the most mundane things (e.g., one’s own existence, the existence of a backyard, the existence of tree in one’s backyard, etc.).And yet, they then turn around and tell us that we “know” their god exists. If we put these two sets of claims together, they could only mean that on the one hand, we know that Sye’s god is real, and on the other, we could not justify this alleged knowledge. The whole thing is utterly self-refuting."

Great point! And here's something else, which you wrote earlier over on D.A.N.'s: "Meanwhile, since we do have an objective starting point which is conceptually irreducible and whose truth is perceptually self-evident, we are not the ones faced with the false dichotomy of either (a) arguing in a circle, or (b) chasing the tail of an infinite regress."

And this made me think: Not only are they without a starting point that is conceptually irreducible and perceptually self-evident, but they actually champion what amounts to the "imperceptibly self-evident" -- clear contradiction in terms -- whenever they resort to Romans 1:20. I know you've commented many times on this, but I don't think theists can be reminded too many times how incoherent this is!

How absurd!

Ydemoc

April 12, 2013 6:36 PM  
Blogger Robert Bumbalough said...

Hello friends: After briefly scanning the thread, I see that Br. Edward invoked the false notion that conscious observers cause wave function collapse in some unnamed quantum experiment in an attempt to validate his claim that subatomic particles are made from "consciousness". Setting aside Doctor X's correct statement posted in the Skeptic Community Forum thread that "Consciousness is not a substance.", Br. Edwards attempt at validation fails because it is known that the results of double slit experiments are consistently the same whether a living person is present to observe or not. If the experiment is run in a sealed room without observers or recording devices, the characteristic interference pattern manifests on the experiment's phosperesent screen if particle detectors mounted on the slits are turned off, and if detectors are turned on then the resultant particle scattering centered on a straight flight path through the slits develops on the screen. This happens if there is not any observer present. Wave function collapse is due to particle interaction with the instrument detectors and not due to the presence of a conscious observer.
Other than that, I do not find any defense mounted by Br. Edward of his claim that subatomic particles are made of consciousness.

Over on Youtube, Dhorpatan has once again refuted monistic idealist, Johanan Raatz's latest argument that only some super-cosmic-God consciousness exists.

http://youtu.be/mmRd5HFQjx8

Nothing, I've written should be construed as a personal attack or insult. I do not conflate prudential excuses to believe that Objectivism is true with fact based reasons to think Objectivism is true contrary to the practice of most religious adherents.

April 15, 2013 7:32 AM  
Blogger Justin Hall said...

@Robert

Yup, quantum mechanics is not metaphysically subjective. If you want experimental result x you just do y, just like every other damn thing in reality. The thing that is trippy however is that in certain circumstances a particle can have multiple values for say energy, position or momentum all at once. However validate mysticism this does not.

April 15, 2013 8:24 AM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

All,

I suspect that D.A.N. has now decided to moderate my comments (or, at any rate, prevent them from immediately appearing on his blog once I’ve submitted them). I submitted a comment on D.A.N.’s blog responding to a comment by freddies_dead this evening, and even though I received an auto-generated e-mail from D.A.N.’s blog containing my comment (perhaps others may have also?), it has not shown up on D.A.N.’s blog. I have refreshed the page, but it still is not showing up.

If D.A.N. is indeed moderating my comments (or however he may otherwise characterize his action), I would wholly agree that he has complete right to do so. However, given a statement he made about comment moderation on my blog recently, it does not seem that his action was intended as a form of flattery. In the comments of my Year Eight anniversary post, D.A.N. wrote the following (March 30, 2013 1:16 PM):

<< if anyone moderates me and does not allow my comments, like many of the Atheist blogs do and have done, then I do not return to that blog ever again. It is such a slap in the face, I take it to heart >>

Later, D.A.N. wrote (April 01, 2013 4:16 PM):

<< I do not moderate (do unto others…) >>

Now, it may be that D.A.N. is not putting a hold on my comment and that I am somehow mistaken in suspecting that he has done so. Perhaps my comment is not showing up for some reason other than D.A.N.’s intervention somehow. But it still seems strange that my comment would arrive in my inbox as an e-mail (I have subscribed to D.A.N.’s blog entry for updates in the comments) but my comment does not show up in the comments of D.A.N.’s blog entry as such.

I will post my comment here so that readers can see what I wrote.

Meanwhile, I just posted a new entry on my blog:

Dear Apologist: Can You Demonstrate that You’re the Real McCoy?

I would really like D.A.N. and other apologists to read this, and return with their reaction to it.

Regards,
Dawson

April 15, 2013 8:24 AM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

Below is the comment I submitted this evening to D.A.N.’s blog:

Freddies wrote: “I thought you professed to believe in a God who doesn't like lying? Or is it all OK because you're only lying to a non-believer so it doesn't count?”

Surely any moral indiscretion on the part of the believer when a non-believer is involved does not count against the believer. But we also have to keep in mind that D.A.N. worships a god which is said to have “a morally sufficient reason for the evil which exists” (Greg Bahnsen, “The Problem of Evil,” Always Ready, p. 172). This not only means that the Christian god is on cozy terms with evil, it also means that it makes use of evil to achieve its aims. With faith, the ends always justify the means. Plus we’ve already seen that it is indifferent to values.

Now, it is most curious to me that Christian apologists fire off all these questions about epistemology for non-believers to respond to, and then complain when the answers given to those questions are a few paragraphs long (as opposed to a 700-plus page book or simply a hyperlink to a whole website with the instruction “see here”). It’s clear that D.A.N. has never done a full study on epistemology – the literature on the topic is virtually endless, and yet attempts have been made here to feed D.A.N. bite-sized nuggets of knowledge so that even with his wavering attention span, he’d at least recognize that there are answers to the questions his apologetic program has him ask. He shows neither interest in increasing his knowledge and understanding nor gratitude for the attention that has been given to his oh-so pressing questions (which his own worldview cannot answer in the first place!).

I’m glad these aren’t my problems!

Regards,
Dawson

April 15, 2013 8:25 AM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...

Dawson,

You wrote: "Meanwhile, I just posted a new entry on my blog:

'Dear Apologist: Can You Demonstrate that You’re the Real McCoy?'"

Very nice!

And with this being a day off from work, I'm looking forward to settling in and giving it a good read!

With the little extrime time I have today, I also plan on responding to an apologist named "DanOhBrian" who, over on Debunking Christianity, wrote: "“Not one person gave evidence that there was no such thing as God.”

Using a couple of your quotes, I've already provided him with a little instruction on why it is not the atheist who must shoulder this burden. But I don't think it sunk in.

Next, I plan to explain to him that in the act of making his truth claim (or any truth claim), he himself is providing evidence that there is no such thing as god.

Then I plan to direct him to your two blog entries:

A Proof that the Christian God Does Not Exist

http://bahnsenburner.blogspot.com/2011/07/proof-that-christian-god-does-not-exist.html

And:

The Imaginitive Nature of Christian Theism

http://bahnsenburner.blogspot.com/2010/05/imaginative-nature-of-christian-theism.html

Ydemoc

April 15, 2013 9:54 AM  
Blogger wakawakwaka said...

http://www.jasonlisle.com/ hey Dawson I think you might want to take a look on this website and make a few posts..

May 30, 2013 1:36 PM  

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