Thursday, October 09, 2014

“Atheism Can’t Ground Objective Morality”?

In a blog entry titled flogging, Steve Hays of Triablogue attempts to wrestle with rules given in the Old Testament (specifically Exodus 21:20-21, 26-27) concerning what should happen if a slave-owner beats one of his slaves.

Specifically, the law stipulates what should happen if a slave-owner strikes his slave: if the slave dies immediately (“under his hand”), then the slave-owner is to “be avenged”, but “if the slave survives a day or two, [the slave owner] is not to be avenged, for the slave is his money.” No matter how one seeks to interpret this, one thing is certain: the biblical code is positively affirming the premise that an individual can be a piece of property belonging to another. (There goes the concept of individual rights in toto.)
I’m reminded of how the authorities in Thailand are reputed to tabulate highway fatalities. The roads in Thailand are extremely dangerous, and matters on highways here are complicated by not only the fact that there is virtually no law enforcement presence on the roads, but also by the fact that anything and everything can be found traveling on them – from speeding passenger vans to slow-moving, over-laden trucks, motorcycles carrying infants, bicycles, food carts, push carts, tractors, jaywalkers, occasional livestock, you name it. (On several occasions I’ve even seen elephants cruising along under the watchful supervision of a hopefully experienced mahout.) Now if an accident occurs and a person dies on the scene, he is counted by the authorities as a traffic-related fatality. If he goes to the hospital and “survives a day or two,” his death is not counted as a traffic-related fatality. Many do in fact die on the scene; but a good percentage are reportedly still alive and taken to a hospital where they die “a day or two” later, and since these are excluded from surveys about highway safety, the record appears at least a bit better than it would if it included the ill-fated survivors of highway accidents.

On the other hand, in the case of the biblical code regulating slavery, it’s even better if you beat your slave and he “survives a day or two.” If your slave dies at the scene of your beating, too bad or you. But, if he crawls off into a corner someplace and dies the next day, well, you simply lose you money, but otherwise all is peachy.

Now by referring to such a law as “controversial,” Hays acknowledges that there may be, to put it mildly, some contention in accepting such a law into practice. Indeed, no doubt many critics of Christianity have pointed to this law as an example of biblical morality’s fundamental incongruence with the idea of individual rights and personal liberty. But since it is affirmed in the bible as coming from “the Lord,” it must be vindicated somehow, even though the practice of slavery has been abolished in civilized societies.

The abolishment of slavery in the Enlightened West is a major achievement in the progress towards civilized culture. But it’s hard to see how one could credit Christianity with this achievement. Indeed, slavery was not abolished while Christianity enjoyed its reign from the fall of the Roman Empire to the Age of Reason. And even today we have the likes of Dustin Segers on record gleefully proclaiming that “slavery is biblical.” Specifically, and in context, Segers wrote:
As to slavery, i believe you are correct: slavery is perfectly biblical--always has been, always will be until Christ comes again and sets up a society that is free of all work, hardship, suffering, and servitude of any kind."
When I asked Segers to clarify his remarks so that I was sure I wasn’t misunderstanding them, he responded:
Yes, slavery is biblical and I'd agree with my BLACK friend TreyFrog. OT/NT believers owned slaves and were slaves, the Mosaic law legislated slavery and and the NT gives principles of ownership re: slaves, slaves were instructed to submit to their masters in the OT & NT, both freedom and slavery could be considered a blessing, and some form of slavery will continue till the end of time. Slavery is considered to be neither "here nor there" by the Apostle Paul and is a recognized social institution in the NT. What is condemned as sin in the OT, and especially in the NT is the mistreatment of slaves. I've written a fairly detailed paper on biblical slavery demonstrating that it was not considered sin in either the OT or NT eras yet I also demonstrate that it would be sin to practice it in the modern USA. More later if you're interested. [sic]
It’s curious that Segers would find agreement on the part of someone who is “BLACK” significant to his point. Segers does not explain why he thinks this is relevant. I suppose it’s like today’s congressionals posturing a piece of legislation as the right thing to do because it has bipartisan support, even though it constitutes another attack on individual rights. The parallels are indeed rich! But Segers does confirm that “the Mosaic law legislated slavery” – meaning the practice of owning slaves was legally sanctioned by a civil code alleged to have been set by the Christian god.

And indeed, Segers is entirely correct that the practice of slavery is sanctioned by the biblical legal code. Consider this tell-all passage from Leviticus:
Because the Israelites are my servants, whom I brought out of Egypt, they must not be sold as slaves. Do not rule over them ruthlessly, but fear your God. Your male and female slaves are to come from the nations around you; from them you may buy slaves. You may also buy some of the temporary residents living among you and members of their clans born in your country, and they will become your property. You can bequeath them to your children as inherited property and can make them slaves for life, but you must not rule over your fellow Israelites ruthlessly. (Lev. 25:42-46)
This is part of the civil code of the bible; the edicts permitting slave-ownership do not appear to be “ceremonial” in nature. And since the New Testament characterizes Jesus as endorsing the laws given in the Old Testament (cf. Matthew 5:17-20), an argument for the “truth” of Christianity constitutes, along with other forms of injustice, an argument for the “right” to practice slavery.

Given grievous shortcomings such as this as well as the examples of faith in action (such as Abraham indifferently going along with the command to prepare his own son as a burnt offering and the Christian god standing idly by as its own child is being tortured and executed), it should strike any conscientious thinker as outrageously dubious when Christian apologists attempt to defend Christianity as though it were somehow morally superior to other worldviews (such as when they claim that their religious “morality” is objective in nature). And yet, apologists are continually doing just this as though their worldview actually did have something of value to offer on the topic of morality.

Hays writes:
Whenever we respond to unbelievers who attack OT ethics, we must constantly remind them that atheism has no basis for human rights. Atheism can't ground objective morality.
So Hays announces that “atheism has no basis for human rights” and “atheism can’t ground objective morality.”

To this atheists around the world can safely say: So what?Notice that Hays says *atheism* - as opposed to atheists - “has no basis for human rights” and “can’t ground objective morality.” This is significant. If it’s not clear why, keep reading.

But back to Hays’ announcement about *atheism* not having any basis for human rights or not being able to “ground objective morality.” Seriously, what is so earth-shaking about this? The same could be said about calculus, architecture, and computer science. Does anyone think that music theory provides us with a “basis for human rights” or “grounds objective morality”? I kinda doubt it. And no one should. But we don’t throw these things out as though it were some failing of sorts.

Here Hays commits a fallacy identified by Anton Thorn as the allegation of the neglected onus. According to Thorn, this fallacy
constitutes an illegitimate attempt to discredit a position by asserting a charge that such a position does not sufficiently deal with an issue that does not legitimately belong to it.
In this case, Hays is seeking to discredit atheism as such by claiming that it fails to offer something that should not be expected from atheism as such in the first place. Atheism is essentially nothing more than an individual’s lack of a god-belief. It is the task of a philosophy to “provide” – or more accurately, identify - the proper basis for human rights and “ground objective morality.” But that’s just the problem for Hays: atheism is not a philosophy, no matter how much baggage he wants to pack into this concept.

Given this, atheism has no more onus to provide a basis for human rights or “ground objective morality” than do either geometric proofs or sonata form. We do not expect atheism to give us a “basis for human rights” or “ground objective morality” any more than we expect a-mermaidism or a-ghostism to do either, and for precisely the same reasons. A lack of a belief in something – especially something imaginary – does not constitute a worldview and thus cannot be held to the expectations that a worldview proper must live up to.

And let’s face it: we can (and must) say the same thing about theism: theism is no basis for objective morality. A moral code is objective only if it is uncompromisingly based on facts relevant to man’s need for values, facts which we discover by means of reason (not faith in invisible magic beings which we can only imagine), and if it consistently coheres to the principle of the primacy of existence, which is the fundamental basis of the very concept of objectivity.

But theism constitutes a radical departure from the whole realm of facts by seeking an imaginary substitute: the will of an invisible magic being whose unconstrained say-so governs all reality and determines what men should and should not do. Also, since theism affirms that reality conforms to the dictates of a supernatural (i.e., imaginary) consciousness, no objectivity whatsoever is possible in the context of theism given its starting point in metaphysical subjectivism. As Van Til put it, “the starting point, the method, and the conclusion are always involved in one another” (The Defense of the Faith, 3rd ed., p. 101).

For Christianity, the starting point is the primacy of consciousness: the assumption that some form of consciousness is the source of everything else that exists, that everything in reality conforms to its dictates, that whatever is and whatever happens, is and happens because the ruling consciousness wishes it so. As Van Til puts it elsewhere, “God controls whatsoever comes to pass” (Ibid., p. 160). As the believer’s ultimate starting point, the primacy of consciousness infects his entire methodology, including the very essence of his epistemology, where faith in revelations, belief in primitive storybooks, even dreams serve as substitutes for reason as man’s cognitive means of knowledge. And it is clear that the primacy of consciousness is also their conclusion, as when they try to argue for the existence of the god they concoct in their imaginations. And just as Hays himself puts it, “an imagined Jesus is just an imaginary Jesus,” so too is an imagined god just an imaginary god. And we should not lose sight of the fact that the epistemology of a worldview whose fundamental metaphysical premise essentially boils down to “wishing makes it so,” cannot in any way outrun the overt subjective implications of its foundations.

So the claim that the so-called “moral” codes found in the bible are somehow “objective” can only tell us that the one making such a claim has no objective understanding of objectivity.

Moreover, look at what Christianity in fact teaches. Many of its “moral requirements” are expressly contrary to man’s values. In Luke 14:26, for example, Christianity sets the following as a condition for being a follower of Christ:
If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple.
A few verses later (vs. 33), the requirement gets even steeper:
those of you who do not give up everything you have cannot be my disciples.
This is all part of Christianity’s fundamental bait-and-switch scheme. To lure converts, Christianity poses as though it offered a benevolent, loving community where one can rest his soul and find peace and joy. Many of these words – “love,” “peace,” “joy,” etc. – are routinely used to attract newcomers to Christianity as hallmarks of its evangelistic marketing ploy. If a person falls for this gimmick, he will find an entirely different reality once inside. Where he thought he was going to find love, peace and joy, he finds resentment, turmoil and sacrifice. To become a Christian, he must accept its doctrine of unearned guilt. This unearned guilt is then constantly used as a psychological cudgel to bring him in line with Christianity’s devotional agenda. It’s all emotional manipulation from there. Its entire aim is to destroy man’s spirit. It’s certainly not intended to teach man how to produce values or that he is worthy of the values he produces. Quite the opposite!

Also, as we saw above on the topic of slavery and the bible’s sanction of this rights-negating practice, the biblical worldview is no basis for the concept of individual rights. Even worse, the concept of individual rights is entirely incompatible with a worldview which condones slavery and allows men to treat others as property. One will find no defense of the concept of individual rights in the bible because the biblical worldview simply does not allow for the concept of individual rights. All human beings, according to the biblical worldview, are servants of some sort, either to a god or to a devil, but in each case to something that is accessible to the human mind only by means of imagination. The biblical worldview does not view men as free individuals. Not even close!

Some years ago, Christian apologist Robert Turkel (who was writing under the pseudonym “J.P. Holding”) published a response to Anton Thorn’s “Christian Questionnaire.” I have a copy of Turkel’s interaction in my files, but I cannot locate it anywhere on the web now; Turkel seems to have removed it from his present site. But what Turkel offers in response to Thorn is instructive. Two of the questions in Thorn’s Questionnaire ask the following:
According to your belief in Christianity, does man have the right to live for his own sake? Yes or no? Please cite references to support your answer.  
Does the Bible offer any doctrine in support of man’s individual rights? Yes or no? Please cite references to support your answer.
How did Turkel reply to these questions? Here’s what he wrote (exactly how he wrote it – I have made no edits to this text – so major [sic] warning here):
The questions, like many from modern individualists, are misplaced. The idea of individual rights is a byproduct of modern individualism, a way of thinking that has only emerged in the last hundred or so years (with the Industrian Revolution) and only in Western nations. The ancients, and most of the world today, does not speak of "individual rights" but of group obligations. Thus there is no "right" to do anything. This is not in the Bible itself since it is a given in their cultural background, but those who are interested may wish to refer particularly to Malina and Neyrey's book Portraits of Paul: An Archaeology of Ancient Personality. As a matter of course we expect critics to not be bigoted and dismiss other cultures as "backwards" etc. based on this difference.
It’s unclear why one should think that Thorn’s questions are “misplaced.” Today those of us in the West have enjoyed the freedoms and the fruits of living in a civilization premised on the concept of individual rights, and those rights are evaporating at an alarming rate. Apologists tell us that morality and even the progress we’ve had in America are based on biblical teaching. So the question seems quite appropriate: where does the bible present and defend the concept of individual rights which has been so crucial to the successes of western civilization? Turkel knew very well that he could not point to any passage in the bible answering Thorn’s questions in an affirmative fashion, so he finds it necessary to pooh-pooh those questions at the outset.

But notice how Turkel rationalizes the bible’s failure to present and defend the concept of individual rights: it’s “a given” of the “cultural background” of the “ancients” – i.e., of the primitives who produced writings such as those we find in the bible – that individuals have “no ‘right’ to do anything.” That man has no rights is just “a given.” On this view, a man has no right to think, no right to act, no right to pursue values, no right to defend himself and his family, no right to love, “no ‘right’ to do anything.” A man may be forced to work, but he has no right to the product of his labor. Without individual rights, there is no such thing as property rights (thus the bible’s own premise that a slave is the slave-owner’s property commits the fallacy of the stolen concept). But Christians today enjoy property rights because they live in a culture far removed from the culture of “the ancients” who never developed the concept of individual rights in the first place.

Also notice Turkel’s multicultural bent in all this, a relativistic stance needed to excuse the biblical worldview and the culture from which it sprang of its offensive nature to civilization based on individual rights. We are not to turn our nose, as it were, to the views of the biblical primitives because their culture was primitive. Even though the culture overshadowing the bible’s so-called “moral” code is backwards, we are not to hold this against what they proclaim. On the contrary, we are to sacrifice what we have learned and secured by means of reason to an irrational worldview. Why? Because Turkel says so.

Turkel is correct, unfortunately, when he mentions that “most of the world today… does not speak of ‘individual rights’, but of group obligations.” Indeed, it seems that fewer and fewer voices are even making a passing mention of the concept of individual rights. And it’s certainly true that the authors of the bible speak pretty much exclusively of “group obligations,” giving the concept of individual rights a complete miss altogether. They do not present any rational case for the notion of “group obligations,” a notion which is essentially collectivistic in nature and thus as at home within Christianity as it is within Communism. Instead of defending the notion of “group obligations,” it is taken for granted since it is just “a given in their cultural background.” The notions of “group obligations,” self-sacrifice, self-suppression, and self-denial were also “a given” in the “cultural background” of the Soviets.

See, Christianity and Communism really are kissin’ cousins.

Only when thinkers moved away from theism were they free to adopt reason as their philosophical guide, and only as thinkers adopted reason as their philosophical guide were they able to take the concept of individual rights seriously. (E.g., America’s founders were primarily deists or at any rate influenced by and sympathetic with notions which had gained wide currency among deists.)

But here’s the real clincher: I am an atheist (which only tells you that I do not hold to any form of god-belief), and I’m also an Objectivist. So while atheism (like geometry, metallurgy, diatonic theory, etc.) do not give us any basis for individual rights and objective morality, Objectivism does.

What Hays needs to do is present an argument concluding that no philosophy or worldview that is non-theistic can identify the proper basis for individual rights and/or “ground” objective morality. But this would put him in the position of arguing for a universal negative, a notoriously dubious task. Even worse, such an undertaking would be doomed to failure from the outset since only a rational worldview can have any hope of meeting such expectations, and this would eliminate all forms of mysticism, including Christianity, from the very outset. In essence, Hays would have to borrow from a worldview in order to argue against one of its chief contributions to the arena of human civilization.

by Dawson Bethrick

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20 Comments:

Blogger wakawakwaka said...

Speaking of levticus 25:44-46 Dawson i found a really interesting way someone tried to explain away the absurdity of that verse

"
The laws for servants who were non-Hebrews were slightly different. For them there was no automatic release, either in the Jubilee year (Leviticus 25:44-46), or the seventh year of debt cancellation (Deuteronomy 15:3). These foreign indentured servants were outside the covenant community, and did not receive the benefit of debt cancellation. The Hebrews were permitted to pass them on as an inheritance to the next generation until their debts were repaid, which is the meaing of ‘olam’ in Leviticus 25:46 (translated ‘perpetually’). The text does not mean they were permanent possessions, but is an explanation as to why they do not go out at the seventh year of release or the Jubilee as the Hebrews do (the reason being that their debts are not cancelled)"
"http://bibleapologetics.wordpress.com/slavery-in-the-bible-25/

what do you think of this explination Dawson?

October 09, 2014 12:09 PM  
Blogger l_johan_k said...

Thank you for all the work you put down!

Perhaps this could be of some interest for your blog: http://answersforhope.org/portfolio_item/response-leonard-peikoff/


/Johan

October 09, 2014 12:44 PM  
Blogger photosynthesis said...

This was beautiful Dawson.

October 09, 2014 5:11 PM  
Blogger photosynthesis said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

October 09, 2014 5:11 PM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...

Dawson,

I'm looking forward to reading it all, but I just wanted to comment on something you wrote which I came across very early on:

"No matter how one seeks to interpret this, one thing is certain: the biblical code is positively affirming the premise that an individual can be a piece of property belonging to another. (There goes the concept of individual rights in toto.)"

Exactly! And since this is the case, the only recourse available for the apologist at this point is what we've seen come from them over and over again: some form of rationalizing, e.g., "that was just the culture of the day," etc.)

Ydemoc

October 09, 2014 8:35 PM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

Hi all,

Thanks for the feedback. I really appreciate it! I have plenty more where that came from, and I'm hoping this month I can crank some of it out.

Wak, in response to your question, briefly, see the statement Ydemoc quoted from my blog. If how I would respond to the paragraph you posted still seems hazy, re-read what I've written and give it some more thought. By now you should be able to do some of your own thinking on these things.

Johan, thanks for the link. I have opened it and am examining it now. Expect a post in the next week or two, or sooner if time permits. Really, it almost seems unfair - like fishing in a barrel. Jason Petersen is really out of his element, but a response might be instructive to readers here and everywhere.

Okay, I have to run.

Regards,
Dawson

October 10, 2014 5:10 AM  
Blogger Robert Bumbalough said...

Many Thanks Dawson.

October 10, 2014 9:28 AM  
Blogger l_johan_k said...

"Johan, thanks for the link. I have opened it and am examining it now. Expect a post in the next week or two, or sooner if time permits. Really, it almost seems unfair - like fishing in a barrel. Jason Petersen is really out of his element, but a response might be instructive to readers here and everywhere."

Really appreciate it!
Love your work!
regards, Johan (Sweden).

October 10, 2014 11:05 AM  
Blogger Jason Petersen said...

Bahnsen Burner,

You made the assertion that "I am out of my element." I assure you, should you choose to challenge my article, you will be eating those words.

I also found it interesting that someone from the "presup is wrong" facebook group came over here to ask for your help after they repeatedly insulted me and said that I had no relevant points that are worth concern.

I look forward to your response as it will be yet another opportunity to demonstrate how objectivism leads to a self-refuting skepticism.

October 10, 2014 10:37 PM  
Blogger Zeta Male said...

@Jason Petersen

I am no objectivist and I recognize what see as faults in its philosophy. However I can not fathom the pretzel logic you would have to employ to reach the conclusion that it leads to self refuting skepticism. I look forward to witnessing the train wreak of an argument for its entertainment value I am sure it will provide.

October 11, 2014 12:33 AM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

Hello Jason,

Welcome to my blog!

I’m still working on my response to your comments against Peikoff’s statements. Please be patient as I just learned of your paper yesterday.

In the meantime, I googled your name on Youtube and found quite a few hits. I started listening to one in particular, and I found it quite thought-provoking.

In a video titled (6:03 – 6:17), you make the following statement (this is my own transcription of what you said here; please pardon me if I have made any glaring errors):

<< If you cannot explain how you can know anything, there’s no point in talking about science, there’s no point in talking about creation or evolution. So if you can’t even justify how you know anything, then how are you going to be able to skip over it and say I know what’s right or wrong in the world? >>

A worthy question indeed! There’s a lot of things that come to mind in response to this question you ask.

But suppose I respond by saying we know without knowing how we know? How would you respond to this, Jason? I’m curious, because as you probably know, many thinkers would answer you this way, and many would proceed as if this were their answer even if they did not spell it out this way.

I await your thoughts.

Regards,
Dawson

October 11, 2014 5:16 AM  
Blogger Robert Bumbalough said...

Thanks to Zeta Male for stating:

However I can not fathom the pretzel logic you would have to employ to reach the conclusion that it leads to self refuting skepticism. I look forward to witnessing the train wreak of an argument for its entertainment value I am sure it will provide.

It is Christian apologist who must embrace and argue for universal skepticism if they are to generate opportunity to smuggle in their faith fallacies with all the attendant deleterious religious baggage.

I will schedule time to analyze Dawson's deconstruction and refutations of Petersen's theological fantasies.

October 11, 2014 7:49 AM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

By the way, Jason, and anyone else who is interested…

Here’s the link to your (Jason’s) video on Youtube which I quoted in my previous comment:

Jason Petersen on Epistemology in Secular Philosophy.

The point at which I quote from what you say occurs at 6:03-6:17 in this video. So as best I could do, I am faithfully transcribing your own words.

Anyway, I’m still looking forward to what you have to say in response to my query above.

Regards,
Dawson

October 11, 2014 3:16 PM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

Hi Robert,

Thanks for your comment.

You wrote: “It is Christian apologist who must embrace and argue for universal skepticism if they are to generate opportunity to smuggle in their faith fallacies with all the attendant deleterious religious baggage.”

Yes, it’s true: Christian apologists are routinely retreating to skepticism in their defenses. So often we hear apologists inserting “You can’t know X!” in one form or another into their predictable harangues. Universal cognitive incompetence of the human mind is the cave in which apologists are constantly seeking refuge. But we must keep in mind that believers themselves accepted this insidious premise on behalf of their own minds long before they set out to defend their worldview. Only an individual who denies the efficacy of his own mind can turn around and say things to the effect that man cannot discover certain truths by means of reason. And as has been pointed out before, when a man sacrifices himself to his god-belief, the first thing to go is his mind. Believers will find many passages in the Christian storybook to warrant such self-immolation. E.g., “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me” (Mt. 16:24). Quite simply, if the believer hasn’t sacrificed his mind, he’s holding something back from Jesus. Jesus demands it all. As Christian Paul Washer neatly puts it, “It is really what Jesus said: die and give your life to Him. Die” (Die to Self, Surrender to Christ).

Death is the believer’s spiritual rite of passage. He can have it! I’ll go with life, thank you.

Readers who are interested in which worldview – Christianity or Objectivism – is more aligned with “radical skepticism,” are invited to examine my blog entry What Alternative Do “Apostates” Have After Leaving Christianity? in which I examine this matter.

Regards,
Dawson

October 11, 2014 3:21 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

I don't think Turkel understands that within the context of Western society (and especially American culture) the lack of the concept of individual rights in the bibles is a death blow to the claim of perfection by Christian apologists.
No one but fanatics think that the advent of the concept of individual rights is a bad thing. The lack of such a philosophy in the bible shows that the book was a product created by the humans of its time.

October 11, 2014 4:02 PM  
Blogger photosynthesis said...

Jason Petersen,

I am sorry, but after reading the first few paragraphs of your response to Peikoff I have to say that you're way out of your element ... your problems do not need to be addressed from an Objectivist viewpoint. It's enough to notice how quickly and unconsciously you change the meanings of any words within a single sentence.

We could re-interpret the meaning of "being out of one's element" and then say that in a different sense, you;re way into your element, since presuppositionalism is an open compromise with irrationality and subjectivism, which you played quite well in that thing. But I will leave it alone, as Dawson wants to give you some words himself, and you would learn nothing anyway.

October 11, 2014 8:45 PM  
Blogger wakawakwaka said...

what i find very ironic about Jason's comment is that he is studying for a degree at a diploma mill school, the same as "Dr" James White.So yeah you are out of your element

October 11, 2014 11:44 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

A quick note;

The unknown comment 3(?) up was by me, Philip Rose A.K.A. TheTruePooka on YouTube.

I was quite amused that after receiving numerous warnings from the blog software that it doesn't allow anonymous posts, that it posted my comment as "unknown".

Kudos to you fickle Gods of the internet for this humorous moment in my day!

A quick question; what blog piece is Jason Peterson ranting about? I didn't know of the man's existence until he came into a Facebook group comment thread because he apparently had some sort of petulant fit and felt the need to childishly hijack it to discuss something of a personal nature to him (we were in the process of having a civilized conversation about Randian Objectivism).

I find it hard to believe he has anything of merit to say but his immature behavior aside, it could be interesting. What's the title and the name of the piece and the name of his blog?

https://www.youtube.com/user/TheTruePooka

October 12, 2014 4:46 AM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

Hi Philip,

You wrote: “I was quite amused that after receiving numerous warnings from the blog software that it doesn't allow anonymous posts, that it posted my comment as ‘unknown’.”

Actually, that is quite funny. I had no idea on this end. I’ve seen numerous comments by “unknown” before. Perhaps a similar “malfunction” was occurring with those visitors as well. Interesting.

You asked: “A quick question; what blog piece is Jason Peterson ranting about?”

The article getting sudden attention is Petersen’s A Response to Dr. Leonard Peikoff on the Existence of God.

I am currently in the midst of preparing a full, blow-by-blow interaction with Petersen’s attempts to critique Peikoff’s statements. The first in what should be a series of five posts is already up. You can find it here:

Petersen’s Failed Attempts to Refute Leonard Peikoff: Preamble

Most of my interaction with the entirety of Petersen’s article has already been drafted. I just need to do the usual review/editing and create introductions. I will roll them out over the next several days, assuming I don’t get impatient and roll them out all at once…

You wrote: “I find it hard to believe he has anything of merit to say but his immature behavior aside, it could be interesting.”

Yes, I’ve noticed his behavior is quite unbecoming from the perspective of a civilized discussion. I realize that many presuppers are infected with a ‘bunker mentality’ of sorts and are eager to run around and tell any non-believer they meet how stupid they think he is. Christianity seems to bring out the “best” of the immature ones… (and they are legion).

Regards,
Dawson

October 12, 2014 5:08 AM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

Hello Jason,

You wrote: “Thank you for your response.”

You’re welcome! Really, it was my pleasure entirely.

You stated: “I will be responding shortly as you made quite a few unjustified presumptions about the definitions of words,”

Really? Since definition is the final step of concept-formation, I would surmise that you would need a theory of concepts in order to raise any substantial epistemological objections against any given definitions. But that’s the problem for you: your worldview, namely Christianity, has no theory of concepts to begin with, which means you would have no worldview-consistent integrated basis for raising objections to any stated definition (that is, without borrowing from some non-Christian perspective on the matter). Therefore, if you are going to challenge any definitions affirmed by Objectivism, then you’re going to have to cite biblical definitions in contrast to them, otherwise you’ll be seen as borrowing from a non-Christian worldview. If borrowing from a non-Christian worldview is okay with you, then by all means, do your worst.

You wrote: “my knowledge of objectivism,”

Yes, your alleged “knowledge of objectivism.” If what you have published on your blog is any indication, your knowledge of Objectivism couldn’t be more superficial. But this will come out in further postings.

You wrote: “and my intention with the original article that I wrote.”

Backpedaling already? I quoted your own statements about what you had set out to accomplish in your “original article.” Now you want to say that your intention is something other than what you yourself stated there?

You wrote: “I hope that my response will show you that you should be careful rather than overly presumptuous.”

You “hope”? Hope is pretty cheap. Anyone can hope for anything. If what you’ve presented so far is any indication of what you can produce, you’re better off sticking to prayer. I believe that means you need to be on your knees, right?

Regards,
Dawson

October 12, 2014 8:01 AM  

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