Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Warden's Persisting Failure to Integrate

Over on his blog, Christian apologist Rick Warden posted a new comment summing up his case for his claim that the Objectivist concept of metaphysical primacy is “flawed.”

Here is Warden’s comment in full:
Hi Dawson,  
One of the valid points posted at RationalWiki is the fact that Randian objectivists incorporate "strange definitions"  
I had asked you to acknowledge the flawed definition you incorporate in your argument against God's existence, as noted at the following link: http://templestream.blogspot.com/2014/01/metaphysical-primacy-timeless-truth-and.html  
"If anyone disagrees with any of the premises and arguments I’ve offered in this second rebuttal to Bethrick’s primacy argument, please point out specifically which premise or premises you disagree with and why."  
As noted in the comments of that post, Bethrick did not address his specious definition of POC. Rather, he offered to discuss snow flake colors instead.  
I'll try again. Here I'll present my criticism in the form of a logical argument Could you please point out where you disagree with the following points and conclusion, Dawson?  
1. Objectivist Bethrick claims that theism supports a primacy of consciousness metaphysics (PCM) that violates primacy of existence metaphysics (PEM).  
2. This claim is based on the fact that theism describes a supernatural God who created the material universe through an act of volition.  
3. According to Bethrick, his definition of PCM excludes two aspects that undermine his claim.  
4. First, Bethrick claims that the fact that a supernatural and eternal God cannot logically nullify his own existence or recreate Himself is excluded from his definition of PCM.  
5. Second, Bethrick claims that the fact that theists cannot generally create objects through an act of volition is excluded from his definition of PCM.  
6. Objectivist Bethrick has created a highly specialized definition of a universal concept that denies the universality of that concept and arbitrarily excludes aspects that refute his claims.  
7. Any highly specialized definition of a universal concept of reality that denies the universality of that concept and arbitrarily excludes aspects for subjective reasons is an invalid and false definition of that concept.  
8. Therefore, Bethrick’s definition of primacy of consciousness is invalid and false.  
It's difficult to debate with someone who chooses to use highly subjective definitions for metaphysical concepts.  
Before we can continue debating, we need to clear up some major problems with your definitions. Can you address this, Dawson?
Notice that here, Warden is still complaining about my definition of the primacy of consciousness. But notice also that he does not explain what exactly is wrong with it. The task of a definition is to distinguish a concept from other concepts thereby keeping its units differentiated from all other existents. Definitions do this by isolating the essential(s) which distinguishes its units from other existents. To find fault with a definition, then, one would need to conduct an analysis of the definition in question to determine whether or not it fails in isolating the essential(s) which distinguishes its units from all other existents. Warden has not conducted such an analysis. In fact, I suspect such an endeavor would far exceed his ability. But so far, such an analysis has not been presented.
 
Instead, he parrots the claim he found on “rationalwiki” that Objectivism’s definitions are “strange.”

In a comment responding to this reaction on Warden’s part, I wrote the following:
Calling a definition “strange” is not an argument against its legitimacy. That something is “strange” to someone is simply a matter of one’s point of view and is thus autobiographical in this sense. Things are strange to people when they are not familiar with them. After driving for 30 years in the USA, driving on the lefthand side of the road here in Thailand was quite strange at first. But there’s nothing illegitimate about it. Besides, why is the primacy of existence “strange” when this characterizes the relationship between human consciousness and its objects while treating fantasies like “God created the universe by an act of will” as though they were true is not “strange”?  
The entire Christian worldview is all about the strange – with deities, demons and angels lurking behind what we perceive causing mischief and bestowing favor, virgin births, walking on water, turning water into wine, zapping planets into existence by wishing, causing worldview destruction by an act of will, commanding mountains to remove themselves to the sea, raising people from the dead, walking through walls, curing congenital blindness by moistening dirt with spit, etc., etc., etc.
To me it’s “strange” that someone would get so worked up about a definition of a term while simultaneously twerking for a worldview like Christianity that delights in conjuring strange images in the imagination which we never find in reality. At least Objectivism defines its terms! This is quite a contrast to Christianity which tosses around all kinds of terms which its bible never even uses, let alone defines. For example, Christians are always telling us about how their worldview is so necessary for morality. But I can’t even find the word ‘morality’ in any of my bibles, let alone a definition of the concept ‘morality’! This is not only strange, it is intellectually irresponsible.

In a comment on my blog, frequent visitor Justin Hall made some valuable points when eh wrote:
It is really starting to show how desperate he is with his quibbling over definitions. I work in the IT profession. We out of necessity have taken common words and redefined them within the preview of our profession to mean very certain and precise things. This is necessary in any sufficient detailed and technical subject. When I speak of a bus when discussing computer processors for example I sure don't mean the number 9 to down town. I mean the architecture for passing information between memory and cpu. We are dealing with precise philosophical issues here and any argument should define its terms at the outset as you have done. Rick bitching and moaning about them just shows me that he cant actually deal with the argument, neither its premises nor its conclusion. To date Ricks argumentative style could best be summed up as the “HEY LOOK OVER THERE!” strategy.
And this is entirely accurate. It is very common for specialized use of terms to carry with it definitions for those terms which do not attend those same terms when used in everyday contexts. Justin’s example of the word ‘bus’ is a good example.

At the same time, however, I don’t see that this what’s happening in the case of the Objectivist term ‘metaphysical primacy’. It is not as though people commonly use the term ‘metaphysical primacy’ to mean one thing and Objectivists have come along and redefined it to mean something entirely different. Warden certainly has not shown that this is the case. But even if it were, Justin’s example of the term ‘bus’ shows that giving a term a new definition is not in itself illegitimate. Indeed, a perusal of a good dictionary will show that many if not most words in the English language have two and sometimes many more different meanings. What’s important is that definitions be made clear and that they are applied consistently; it is also important that they have conceptual integrity. But that’s one of the beautiful things about Objectivism – Objectivism has a theory of concepts which provides an objective analysis of the nature and formation of concepts, including the final step of the concept-formation process, which is definition!

Moreover, any rational individual should see that the Objectivist doctrine of the issue of metaphysical primacy addresses a fundamental and important philosophical matter, namely the relationship between consciousness and its objects. Since the relationship between consciousness and its objects is ever-present in all areas of thought and knowledge, the issue of metaphysical primacy is a most legitimate area of philosophical inquiry. Regarding the relationship between consciousness and its objects, the issue of metaphysical primacy essentially asks:
Do the objects of consciousness exist and are they what they are independent of conscious activity?  
Or  
Do the objects of consciousness depend on consciousness in some way for their existence and/or their identity?
The primacy of existence is the recognition that the objects of consciousness exist and are what they are independent of conscious activity. By contrast, the primacy of consciousness is the view that the objects of consciousness depend on and/or conform to conscious activity in some way.

Now it is curious that the Christian bible nowhere raises any of these questions. In fact, it completely ignores them altogether. (If Christians think their bible does raise these questions, they are invited to cite book chapter and verse where it allegedly does this.) So it keeps believers in the dark about such matters. Hence believers are likely to think questions about the nature of the relationship between consciousness and its objects is “strange” upon first encountering them. But it does not follow from this that the issue of metaphysical primacy therefore does not apply to the Christian bible’s teachings. On the contrary, since the issue of metaphysical primacy relates to the relationship between consciousness and its objects, it relates to all areas of thought and knowledge, including religious beliefs.

So there is no question of not only the legitimacy of the issue of metaphysical primacy as Objectivism informs it, but also its fundamental relevance to philosophy as such.

Now Warden writes that I “did not address [my allegedly] specious definition of POC.” He refers to my definition (and really, it’s not really mine in the first place) as “specious,” but nowhere has he shown that it is specious. In fact, time and time again Warden has shown either that he does not understand the issue of metaphysical primacy to begin with, or that he is simply bent on talking around it – the “HEY LOOK OVER THERE!” tactic that Justin points out above.

Warden then says that I “offered to discuss snow flake colors instead.” Warden clearly wants to trivialize matters, but by doing so he only reveals himself to be dishonest. In this way, he has fallen under the influence of the likes of WL Craig and other apologists who have already sacrificed everything – including their character – on behalf of their god-belief.

So let's look at his enumerated list:

His first point is clumsily stated. I do not claim that theism “supports” the primacy of consciousness metaphysics (PCM) – for there is nothing in reality that actually does “support” the primacy of consciousness to begin with. Rather, I have made it clear through ample repetition (necessary as it has been to clarify matters to people who don’t want clarity) that theism assumes the primacy of consciousness. I have provided abundant evidence for this, both in the form of teachings directly from the OT and NT, and also in the form of statements by theistic apologists as well (including Warden!).

Warden is right, in his second point, that “this claim is based on the fact that theism describes a supernatural God who created the material universe through an act of volition.” In fact, it’s based on a lot more than this, but this alone is sufficient to demonstrate theism’s assumption of the primacy of consciousness metaphysics.

In his third point, Warden refers to what he calls “two aspects that undermine [my] claim.” This is most odd. How can anything undermine the recognition that the notion of a supernatural consciousness wishing the universe into existence and causing miracles assumes the primacy of consciousness metaphysics? Keep in mind, an individual can affirm a wide variety of views on a whole spectrum of issues, and it is possible for those views to be inconsistent with each other and in fact incompatible with respect to their metaphysical assumptions. We’ll see that Warden has not taken this fact into account. But in fact it is the case with theists and theism proper: as is already clear, theism assumes the primacy of consciousness in its notion of a supernatural consciousness to whose will everything distinct from itself conforms (such as when it creates the universe ex nihilo, assigns objects their identity, manipulates them, etc., all by an act of will); on the other hand, it is clear (as my argument points out) that merely affirming that this figment of imagination is real attempts to apply the primacy of existence (for theists affirming that their god is real are not saying that this is the case because they merely wish it to be the case). So already we find clear evidence of mixed metaphysics swarming around in the theist’s worldview – an attempt to blend the primacy of existence with the primacy of consciousness. Objectivists have consistently pointed out that the primacy of existence is inescapable and that even those who affirm notions assuming the primacy of consciousness cannot do so consistently. Indeed, that’s the point of my argument: it exposes a fundamental contradiction in the very claim “God exists.”

Let’s look at the two aspects that Warden indicated and see if they really do “undermine” my identification of the primacy of consciousness being assumed by theism.

The first is:
Bethrick claims that the fact that a supernatural and eternal God cannot logically nullify his own existence or recreate Himself is excluded from his definition of PCM.
Notice that Warden has not quoted my words here. From the beginning, Warden has sought to defend theism against the charge that it assumes the primacy of consciousness by pointing out that Christians do not suppose either that their god created itself or that it can cause itself to go out of existence. But this is irrelevant to the matter, and it’s most curious that Warden does not recognize the irrelevance of this point to my case. We already have more than sufficient evidence that theism assumes the primacy of consciousness metaphysics: it holds that a supernatural consciousness created the universe, assigns identities to the objects which populate that universe, alters their identities at will, and “controls whatsoever comes to pass” (Van Til, The Defense of the Faith, p. 160). Saying that the same supernatural consciousness did not create itself and/or cannot cause itself to go out of existence does not cancel out the points assuming the primacy of consciousness metaphysics which theism does affirm.

By analogy, suppose someone is caught lying. The evidence that he was lying is clear, and he even admits that he was lying. It will not do to say that in some other situation he was not lying, as if this would cancel out the fact that he was indeed lying in the first case. A lie is still a lie.

Similarly, if some item of one’s set of beliefs assumes the primacy of consciousness, it does no good to say “But these other beliefs don’t assume the primacy of consciousness, so your claim is undermined.” This is as ridiculous an example of crass context-dropping as I’ve ever seen! Since the definition of the primacy of consciousness distinguishes the instances it subsumes from everything else, an instance of the primacy of consciousness is still an instance of the primacy of consciousness (just as A is A, just as a lie is still a lie), no matter what an individual may affirm elsewhere in his worldview or belief system. The definition is thus performing its task as a definition, and since the instances it subsumes are in fact united by a fundamental similarity and distinguished from everything else, the definition is legitimate.

So the recognition that theism assumes the primacy of consciousness is not undermined by the claims that theists hold that their god did not create itself and cannot cause itself to go out of existence.

Warden’s next aspect which he says undermines my case is as follows:
Bethrick claims that the fact that theists cannot generally create objects through an act of volition is excluded from his definition of PCM.
Again, Warden does not quote my actual words. But that’s fine. He really doesn’t need to, for this too is another dry well. That the primacy of existence characterizes the relationship between human consciousness and its objects does not in any way cancel out the fact theism’s notion of a supernatural consciousness creating objects, assigning and altering their identity, etc., all by an act of will, assumes the primacy of consciousness metaphysics. To suppose that Warden’s point here somehow undermines my case borders on lunacy. It’s just more of the “HEY LOOK OVER THERE!” tactic that Warden has taken on as a habit now.

Of course, Objectivists hold that the primacy of existence is true. In fact, the primacy of existence characterizes not only the relationship between human consciousness and its objects, but the relationship between any actual consciousness and its objects, whether this consciousness belongs to insects, mammals, reptiles, fish, etc.

As I pointed out in a comment I made in reply to Warden:
Objectivists have always pointed out that one cannot affirm the primacy of consciousness consistently. It is always intermingled with assumptions of the primacy of existence – just as my argument points out! In other words, your worldview assumes two opposite and mutually contradictory metaphysical paradigms – the primacy of consciousness in the case of your god’s consciousness (which you have affirmed), and the primacy of existence any time you want to say that something is true (since you clearly are not suggesting that what you say is true because you wish it to be the case). This does not mean that our definitions are somehow contrived in some inconsistent manner. On the contrary, Objectivists are being entirely consistent here. Ultimately your complaint boils down to: “Objectivists use their definitions consistently! Wahhh! I don’t like that!”
And it is true, Warden has openly conceded that his theism assumes the primacy of consciousness. Here are two examples from Warden’s own hand:
In essence, Lanza proposes that consciousness holds supremacy over the material world. This, of course, is in keeping with the biblical account of Genesis in which the material world was created by the consciousness and will of God. (Affirmed by Warden in his Nov. 14, 2013 blog entry Quantum physics proves that there IS an afterlife, claims scientist)
With regard to the physical world, however, God's conscious volition holds supremacy over all. (Comment by Rick Warden on Jan. 12, 2014 Bethrick’s Refined Primacy Argument Against God Refuted)
Now notice in the second quote that Warden asserts that “God’s conscious volition holds supremacy over all.” Regarding this, I pointed out the following in a comment relying to Warden:
Here you openly affirm the “supremacy” of consciousness. But thesaurus.com shows that ‘supremacy’ is essentially synonymous with ‘primacy’. Compare: “God’s conscious volition holds supremacy over all” and “God’s consciousness holds metaphysical primacy over all.” Are you saying that you affirm the view that “God’s conscious volition holds supremacy over all” but reject the view that “God’s consciousness holds metaphysical primacy over all”? Do you think there’s a difference? Oh, you’re going to try and trump up a difference now? That would be quite ridiculous.
Earlier Warden parroted “rationalwiki” complaining that Objectivism’s definitions are “strange.” And yet here Warden uses very similar language to clarify the nature of the relationship between his god’s consciousness as he imagines it and the world in which we exist. His other complaints do not show that Objectivism’s definitions are in any way illegitimate or “flawed”; indeed, he has nowhere conducted an analysis of Objectivism’s definitions. In fact, what we are consistently finding as we examine Warden’s complaints is that he can only grasp at irrelevant matters and apply his habit of failing to integrate in order to fabricate charges against my position. None of it sticks of course, and even his own words elsewhere reveal that my argument is right on target.

Warden’s next objection is:
6. Objectivist Bethrick has created a highly specialized definition of a universal concept that denies the universality of that concept and arbitrarily excludes aspects that refute his claims.
Here Warden reveals the severity of his confusion. We saw above the legitimacy of philosophical inquiry into the nature of the relationship between consciousness and its objects. The two possible viewpoints on the matter are indeed distinct from each other and thus require identification which recognizes this distinction rather than blurs it. Thus we have the terms primacy of existence to denote the recognition that existence exists independent of consciousness, and primacy of consciousness to denote the view that existence depends on or conforms to conscious activity (such as the notion of a supernatural consciousness creating the entire universe by an act of consciousness).

So these terms and their meanings are entirely legitimate philosophically. Nothing in Warden’s blog entries or comments shows that there is no relationship between consciousness and its objects or that philosophers are wrong to raise questions about this relationship. So there’s nothing arbitrary here. Nor is there any denial of universality here. Universality is a property of concepts, and Objectivism’s use of these terms is entirely in keeping with this fact.

But chiefly what Warden fails to grasp as a result of his failure to integrate is the fact that a worldview can in fact affirm various positions which are not consistent with each other in terms of their orientation to the issue of metaphysical primacy. The very claim that “God exists” is a fine example of a statement assuming contradictory metaphysics. Observe:

In terms of the content of this claim, it affirms the existence of a supernatural consciousness from whose will everything distinct from itself is said to originate (“God created the earth and the heaven” by an act of will), which assumes the primacy of consciousness: in the relationship between consciousness and its objects in the case of the Christian god’s consciousness, the Christian god’s consciousness holds the upper hand – i.e., it holds metaphysical primacy over its objects.

On the other hand, the affirmation of this claim as a truth implies the opposite orientation between consciousness and its objects – i.e., that the objects of consciousness hold metaphysical primacy over the subject of consciousness. When a person states “X is the case,” quite typically he is affirming this as a statement reflecting reality as it is independent of anyone’s wishing, feelings, likes or dislikes, preferences, imagination, dreams, etc., which means he is tacitly making use of the primacy of existence metaphysics.

Thus in terms of the relationship between consciousness and its objects assumed in the statement “God exists,” we have a performative inconsistency stemming from a contradiction at the most fundamental level of cognition – i.e., at the level of metaphysical primacy. For not only are the primacy of existence and the primacy of consciousness contradictory to one another, they are also jointly exhaustive, as this paper explains.

So we see that even in just a simple claim as “God exists,” a thinker can be performatively contradicting himself by affirming content which assumes the primacy of consciousness metaphysics while tacitly making use of the primacy of existence metaphysics just in making the claim. Moreover, given the many positions on the wide variety of issues in philosophy that a worldview can affirm, it is quite possible – especially if that worldview never raises questions about the proper relationship between consciousness and its objects in the first place – for a worldview to rest on mixed metaphysics – i.e, attempts to blend notions assuming the primacy of consciousness (such as Christianity’s notion of its god and other supernatural beings) with recognitions of the obvious fact that existence holds metaphysical primacy over consciousness. That one holds some views which are consistent with the primacy of existence does not mean that other views he affirms which do assume the primacy of consciousness are thereby metaphysically rehabilitated. On the contrary, they still assume the primacy of consciousness and the individual has allowed contradictions into his sum of knowledge. In the case of Christianity this reaches points of extremes in which the believer has at various points in his life lost sight of the distinction between reality and imagination.

Warden follows this point with his seventh point:
7. Any highly specialized definition of a universal concept of reality that denies the universality of that concept and arbitrarily excludes aspects for subjective reasons is an invalid and false definition of that concept.
This may very well be the case for those definitions which qualify as such. But Warden has not shown that any definition that I have affirmed qualifies in this category. We have seen repeatedly now that Warden’s charge that the definitions pertaining to the issue of metaphysical primacy constitute such cases rests on his own confusions, lack of understanding and failure to integrate points which have already been clearly and explicitly laid out.

Warden then affirms as a conclusion the assertion he’s been wanting to convince himself of all along:
8. Therefore, Bethrick’s definition of primacy of consciousness is invalid and false.
Notice that none of what Warden has presented involves an analysis of any definitions which Objectivism has applied to its terms. They may be “strange” to untutored individuals like Warden upon first encountering them, and they are likely to be “strange” to many people given their ignorance of the nature of the relationship between consciousness and its objects and the importance this relationship has for knowledge and philosophy. But just as the novelty of an idea does not constitute an argument against its legitimacy, neither does an individual’s ignorance of a key area of philosophical inquiry constitute an argument against the need to investigate it and understand its relevance to cognition.

The bible nowhere raises questions about the proper relationship between consciousness and its objects. It busies itself with stories of desert wanderings, debates over circumcision, abstinence from certain foods, codes regulating slave trade, stoning prostitutes, prophets having dreams, sacred meal traditions, temple building, missionizing campaigns taking heroes to far away places, etc., etc., etc., none of which is philosophically useful to man. The bible nowhere presents a frank discussion about the nature of consciousness, the relationship between consciousness and its objects, how the mind forms concepts, how to properly define concepts, and other things that are philosophically important. So bibliolaters like Warden are essentially outsiders when it comes to discussions of metaphysical primacy. His lack of familiarity in this area results in discussions of this nature appearing “strange” and contributes to persisting confusions on his part as he fails to integrate key factors that determine the relevance of their application. And in spite of my efforts to help educate him on matters, Warden proves himself over and over again to be attitudinally opposed to learning, and thus strikes me as one who insists on being unteachable.

Warden ended his comment with the following complaint:
It's difficult to debate with someone who chooses to use highly subjective definitions for metaphysical concepts.
Indeed, this is certainly true. Notice how Warden’s insistence on subjective assumptions (e.g., his entire theistic worldview and the contradictions contained in it) continually puts him at a disadvantage in debates of this nature. Attempting desperately to sidestep the issue of metaphysical primacy, Warden has reached for just about every tactic in the book – from fabricating charges of fallacies to “HEY LOOK OVER THERE!” to “I don’t like your definitions.” Indeed, what could “subjective” possibly mean according to Christianity? At one point in his writings Warden cited The Oxford Dictionary’s definition of ‘subjective’. But why go with a clearly secular source for one’s definitions? Cornelius Van Til famously asked: “Is not the important thing that Christian meanings be contrasted with non-Christian meanings?” (The Defense of the Faith, p.23n1). But what are Christians to do for definitions when their bible does not even provide any? And what hope can a Christian apologist have when he encounters topics in philosophical debate that his bible completely ignores, leaving him without any distinctively Christian approach to the matter?

The words “You’re screwed!” come poignantly to mind.

by Dawson Bethrick

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6 Comments:

Blogger wakawakwaka said...

hey Dawson, I dunno were to put this comment but I was wondering, do you know any way I could contact Mike Warren who made that "Christian Civilization" weste

January 16, 2014 11:16 PM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

Hi Wak,

The only e-mail address I have for Mike Warren is the following:

mike-warren@usa.net

The last time I corresponded with Warren on this (or any) e-mail address was back in 2004.

Good luck!

Regards,
Dawson

January 17, 2014 3:03 AM  
Blogger Robert Bumbalough said...

Greetings Dawson: There is an additional reason why Christianity assumes primacy of consciousness metaphysics. The doctrine of Divine Conservation as expressed by the author of Colossians 1:17,
(American Standard Version)
"and he is before all things, and in him all things consist."

Thus according to the author or editors of Colossians consciousness is responsible for continuously holding all entities in existence.

Best and Good

January 17, 2014 11:17 AM  
Blogger wakawakwaka said...

thanks! but did you think his arguements for "christian civlization" was as pretenious as i thought it was?- i mean wow just wow... its hard to find words to describe him

January 17, 2014 11:49 AM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...

Dawson,

Off Topic:

This afternoon, while running an errand in Culver City, I had an encounter with a couple of apologists.

I was just sitting on a bench, waiting for my wife's car to be serviced -- just me and my dog, enjoying the unseasonably warm weather -- when two guys approached.

After it became clear that they were out, peddling Christianity, I invited them to give me their spiel. When one of them began asking me questions about morality (Is there such a thing as "good"? Why is it wrong to steal?, etc.) I headed him off at the pass, asking him to tell me what morality is. I wanted him to define his terms, not simply start in midstream like he was doing.

But, as often happens with encounters like this, the discussion was disjointed -- quickly started going in all different directions. However, as soon as this apologist asked me about the universe -- "where do you think all this came from?" -- that's when I said to him, "You're dealing in stolen concepts. What do you mean by 'universe.'" He looked at me askance and, before I had a chance to explain to him my position -- why his question made no sense -- he said, "I'm done. You're playing semantic games. Nice to meet you. Take care."

He shook my hand, and that was that.

His apologist buddy, however, remained behind, and he started in with questions about "absolute truth." It was then that I said, "Ahhh, you sound just like Sye. You do know who Sye is, right?"

He admitted he did indeed know who Sye was. And Dustin Segers, too!

Anyway, before I could get very far into a discussion with any substance, curiously, he too said he had to rush off. But before he did, I informed him about the existence of this blog -- in fact, an a piece of his apologetic literature, I wrote down "Incinerating Pressuppositionalism" for him (as well as "Dawson Bethrick"), and then I gave it back to him. I believe he said his name was "Anthony" and that this is the name he uses to post things online. We'll see if he shows up.

Now, almost as soon as I'd started talking to these guys, two other people showed up -- a young guy and what I believe was his girlfriend. When they came over, the young guy started asking the apologists questions about dragons (a la Carl Sagan). These two folks were on my side! I don't think I've ever experienced that kind of thing before!

Anyway, it was really interesting how quickly these apologists split the scene when they realized that they were talking to someone who was not going to buy their snake oil, (sadly, I'm not all that sure that these apologists knew that this is what they were selling.) It seems they weren't prepared at all to get pushback, especially from someone like me who happens to enjoy pushing back.

By the way, I told the young guy and his girlfriend about this blog, also -- I wrote it down for them. And they said they would Google it. His name was "Andreas," I believe.

Hopefully he shows up so that I can thank him again for jumping into the discussion.

Ydemoc

January 17, 2014 6:37 PM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

Hi Ydemoc,

Fascinating story! I wish I could've witnessed that! What must apologists think when their intended victims on the street know the names of their online mentors like STB and Dustin Segers? Wouldn't they find themselves at least a little disadvantaged when you know the names and teachings on their side, but they don't know the names and teachings on your side?

And even before this comes to light, to fold up and say "I'm done" after just a couple questions only suggests that the guy was not very confident in his position. Really, they're not about teaching truths that they understand and can actually defend, but about snow-coning people and bamboozling them with deceptive trickery and cheap gimmicks. Very much up Sye's alley. Notice that he does not come around here defending his argument or his theism.

Well, let's see if this generates any new visitors. I'm grateful for the advertising! But will those who need to read this blog take the time to investigate what it says?

By the way, I have a new blog entry up. This one is a reply to Matthias McMahon of Choosing Hats who left a few comments recently. Yes, it's long, but I had a lot to say... as usual!

You can find it here:

A Reply to Matthias on Imagination and Its Role in Theism

Enjoy!

Regards,
Dawson

January 19, 2014 1:34 AM  

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