Wednesday, November 11, 2015

W.L. Craig, the Resurrection, and the Complaint of Presuppositional Bias

Apologists often presume that they’re scoring significant debating points when in fact they’re only succeeding at multiplying their own burdens. A clear case of this can be found in the common complaint that non-believers approach the topic of Jesus’ resurrection and other miracle stories with an “anti-supernatural bias.” This bias, they allege, is philosophically unwarranted and thus marks non-believers as operating from personal preferences, protecting emotional safe zones, and unfairly ruling out the possibility of the resurrection and/or other miracle claims before they get off the ground.

In this video segment featuring Christian apologist William Lane Craig, the following question is asked:
What role do one’s philosophical assumptions play in doing historical research, particularly related to the resurrection of Jesus?
Before getting to Craig’s answer to this question, consider the following alternative scenarios.
Scenario 1: the investigator approaches historical research on the basis of the recognitions that (a) existence exists independent of conscious activity; (b) a thing which exists is itself and acts according to its nature; (c) knowledge is something we must discover by gathering facts which we find in the world when we look outward and validate by an objective method; (d) reason is man’s only means of knowledge, standard of judgment and guide to action; (e) wishing doesn’t make it so; (f) logic is the conceptual process of non-contradictory identification; (g) truth is the non-contradictory, objective identification of fact; (h) science is the systematic application of reason to some specific area of study (including not only natural phenomena, but also moral values and human history), etc.  
Scenario 2: the investigator approaches historical research on the basis of the assumptions that: (i) existence is a product of conscious activity; (j) things are whatever a ruling consciousness wants them to be and act in conformity with a ruling consciousness’ will; (k) knowledge is something we “receive” by assimilating dogmatic affirmations which we acquire by looking inward; (l) dreaming – cf. Mt. 1:20; 2:12-13, 19, etc. – and “visions” – cf. Acts. 9:10-12; 10:3-19; 11:5; 12:9; 16:9-10; 18:9; Rev. 9:17, etc. – are “valid” sources of “knowledge”; (m) wishing in fact does make it so; (n) logic is the “reflection” of a being which is said to be supernatural and infinite; (o) contradictory notions are only “apparently contradictory” to man because of his “finitude”; that “truth” is whatever the ruling consciousness wills; (p) man’s cognitive faculties have been corrupted by “the noetic effects of sin”; (q) reason (which the venomously anti-Semitic Martin Luther called “the devil’s greatest whore”) has the power to “deceive” (see for example here); (r) foreskins are more important than an understanding of conceptual integration; (s) advances in science typically represent a threat to religious adherence and therefore must be resisted, etc.
Just mull on these two alternatives and consider which approach is better equipped to accurately assess the relevant facts.

Not sure yet?

Now let’s take a look at Craig’s response:
I think that one’s philosophical presuppositions will be an important guide in doing historical work with respect to the New Testament narratives. Because these narratives overtly present a supernatural Jesus – a Jesus who performs miracles, a Jesus who rises from the dead. And if you come to these narratives with a presupposition of scientific naturalism, or even methodological naturalism – that is to say that, as a historian you will not allow supernatural causes to enter the picture – then these events will be ruled out of court in advance, regardless of the evidence.  
And I think this is fundamentally the problem with the methodology employed by the infamous Jesus Seminar of the Westar Institute in California. In the introduction to their edition of the five gospels, they make it very clear that for them the first pillar of scholarly wisdom, as they put it, is scientific naturalism. They point out that Strauss in the last century distinguished between the Christ of faith and the Jesus of history precisely on the criterion of supernaturalism, and that anything that had supernatural aspects to it was by definition relegated to myth rather than history.  
Now this is not a matter of argument. It’s not a matter of evidence. This is simply a matter of definition. The supernatural is defined as being in the category of mythical, not historical. And if you begin with those sorts of presuppositions, then of course the resurrection will be evaluated as unhistorical because you defined it to be unhistorical.  
So when the Seminar comes for example to the words spoken by the risen Jesus, they state by definition the words ascribed to the risen Christ cannot be historically verified. But, they add, sometimes words spoken during Jesus’ lifetime are placed on the lips of the risen Jesus, and so they say we will evaluate these sayings as though they were uttered by a historical person. Well it couldn’t be clearer that they think of the risen Christ as not a historical individual, and that this is done so, not on the basis of evidence, but on the basis of presuppositions.  
So these presuppositions are going to be critical. R. T. France, who is a British New Testament scholar, has remarked that on the level of their literary and historical quality, the gospels deserve to be taken seriously as sources for a life of Jesus. He says that compared to sources for ancient history in Greco-Roman times, the gospels compare very favorably. But he points out that the degree to which one will be ready to trust these documents depends more upon one’s openness to a supernatural worldview than it does on their literary and historical qualities.  
So I think this is absolutely crucial. And all that I suppose that needs to be added here is that, philosophically, I see no reason to adopt such philosophical naturalism. It seems to me that only an atheist could be justified in saying that miracles are impossible, because unless you have some proof of atheism, you have to be open to the possibility that God exists, and if that is even possible, then it’s possible that he’s acted in history. So in the absence of any proof for atheism, which I don’t think anyone has, we have to be open to the possibility of the supernatural and let the evidence speak for itself.
Two closely related points that Craig markedly emphasizes here should be clear. The first is that acceptance of specific miracle stories (such as those found in the New Testament) as true is secondary to the broader question of philosophical presuppositions. The second is that “openness to a supernatural worldview” is “crucial” to accepting those stories as historically true. Thus, “openness to a supernatural worldview” is both more fundamental to and necessary for accepting the miracle stories of the New Testament as true accounts. Craig’s point, then, is that we first have to accept supernaturalism generally before we’ll be in a position to accept any specific miracle claims like “the Resurrection.”

With this fundamental point in mind, it is instructive to note that Craig and other apologists who voice this complaint are quick to accuse non-believers of a “presuppositional bias” against supernaturalism, all the while ignoring their own presuppositional bias for supernaturalism, or at any rate treating their presuppositional bias in favor of supernaturalism as though it did not need any defense.

Roughly speaking, supernaturalism is some set of beliefs in so-called “supernatural” beings (hence the name) which to one degree or another have allegedly manifested themselves in human history (or in pre-history, as the case may be, as in creation stories). The supernatural is held to be exempt from the application of natural laws, and supernatural beings themselves are believed not only to exist beyond the reach of our perceptual faculties (thus their imperceptibility, we are told, cannot be held as evidence against their existence), but also to have power over material objects. A supernatural being is said to have the power to bring things into existence by means of conscious intention, and/or alter, re-arrange or revise concretes into whatever form or shape it might choose, and it can make anything it has created perform any action it wants it to perform by a sheer act of will. This power is essentially a form of magic. For example, if a man dies, a supernatural being can bring him back to life if it so wills. Supernaturalism, then, by granting metaphysical primacy to the subject of consciousness, is an expression of subjectivism.

So a quick question at this point: Does supernaturalism more closely resemble Scenario 1 or Scenario 2 above?

In my transcription of Craig’s response to the topic question I have added my own italics at certain points. In the first italicized portion, we should notice how Craig insinuates that the pro-scientific position is essentially subjective. According to Craig, if one adopts a pro-science orientation to history (“scientific naturalism”), he “will not allow supernatural causes to enter the picture... regardless of the evidence.” Craig’s use of “allow” here suggests the rule of personal preferences, as though the scientists in question dismiss “the supernatural” simply because they don’t like it or resent its implications, even though there’s supposedly all this evidence supporting claims that “the supernatural” really exists. Craig’s intended implication is that the “allowing” here is purely arbitrary, especially when he follows it up with “regardless of the evidence,” likely characterizing scientists as being motivated from a desire to evade something one does not want to confront (for with Christians, the presumption of inescapable doom for man is always lurking in the background).

Craig’s use of the term “supernatural causes” itself is specious at best. Causation is a natural phenomenon. To say that A caused B is to relate the action of A to the nature which A has, thus explaining its leading to B. This is because an entity acts in accordance with its specific nature. Thus causality is a law of nature, not a law of something allegedly “outside” of nature. A rational understanding of causality is necessary for causality to be understood as an objective principle. But the notion of a “supernatural cause” defies this explicitly, positing causality outside of and apart from nature. Craig would be better off if he just came out and appealed to an invisible magic wand.

Of course, Craig never explains or defends the notion of “supernatural causes.” Then again, which apologist does? In fact, his use of “supernatural causes” is really nothing more than code for an imagined form of wishing which is believed by the supernaturalist to hold metaphysical primacy over existence. A “supernatural cause” can turn water into wine, enable human beings to walk on unfrozen water, cast mountains into the sea, raise dead people back to life, and anything else that might be possible in a cartoon.

And yet, Craig wants to give the impression that the pro-science position necessarily involves arbitrary, whim-based dismissals of so-called “historical events” which are in fact supported ultimately only by at best hearsay. That this is Craig’s intended meaning is confirmed by the next portion which I have italicized, namely “by definition.” It is, Craig tells us that, simply “by definition,” the scholars of the Jesus Seminar “relegate” stories involving supernaturalism to the category of “myth rather than history.” Craig does make passing reference to the Jesus Seminar’s writings (“the introduction to their edition of the five gospels”), but he does not actually quote anything stated there or elsewhere in the Westar Institute’s publications to support his characterization. Are we to suppose that Craig is a reliable source for accurate characterization of other thinkers’ positions? On this, let me just say I’ve already presented ample justification for wise caution in this area. I’ll just say that in the case of the adage “trust but verify,” the weight is much more heavily slanted towards the “verify” part than on the “trust” part.

But undiscriminating trust is what Craig, in his characteristically slippery fashion, is trying to inculcate with the scholarly persona he seeks to project. It’s clear that his position, calling for the acceptance of supernaturalism without any argument in support of it, does in fact require a deadening of our critical faculties. The only mental Novocain that he offers to ease this along is the supposed stigma of adopting an unfair bias for accepting the pro-scientific orientation to history, an orientation that would only be objectionable from the perspective of a position which rejects science to begin with.

This is no more clear than when Craig acknowledges that “the degree to which one will be ready to trust” the New Testament miracle narratives “depends more upon one’s openness to a supernatural worldview than it does on their literary and historical qualities.” In other words, the alleged “evidence” (i.e., “historical qualities”) which the New Testament stories supposedly have going for them is ultimately of no value unless one is first “open” to the general notions entailed within “a supernatural worldview” – i.e., the primacy of consciousness metaphysics.

This means that appeals to evidence for specific miracle claims are essentially irrelevant unless one accepts supernaturalism in the first place. Apologists might claim that there’s all this “evidence” supporting Jesus’ resurrection, for example, but if one does not first accept the underlying premises of “a supernatural worldview,” he is very likely not going to accept whatever is proposed as “evidence” as actually supporting the New Testament stories to begin with.

Thus in arguing for specific miracle claims like “the Resurrection,” apologists first need to present a defense of supernaturalism as a general premise before ever getting around to discussing what they might consider “evidence” for specific miracle claims.

So where is Craig’s argument for “a supernatural worldview”? He presents none!

Isn’t it ironic that on the one hand, Craig offers no argument for the presupposition of supernaturalism, which he acknowledges as a necessary precondition for accepting the New Testament’s miracle claims, while accusing the non-believing position as not being “a matter of argument” but “simply a matter of definition… regardless of the evidence”? I means seriously, does this guy ever listen to himself?

Thus it’s quite curious that Craig admits that “only an atheist could be justified in saying that miracles are impossible.” Apparently Craig rightly senses that anyone who is consistent with the presuppositions of Scenario 1 would have to be an atheist.

I happen to agree with the broader point that Craig makes, namely that one accepts more fundamental general premises, even if only implicitly, before accepting specific claims which are rooted in those more fundamental premises. Only apologists like Craig want to characterize those who accept a fundamental position more or less resembling Scenario 1 as though it stemmed from some unwarranted, unfair bias, while treating their acceptance of Scenario 2 as though it prevailed by default, in spite of its lack of evidence, in spite of its obvious retreat to the imaginary.

Consider the following example: If we come across a narrative text which speaks of zombies crawling out of graves and going up to normal people, perhaps scaring them, or even blending in somehow unnoticed, with the “presupposition” that zombies are in fact merely a fiction, then we will – to the apologists’ bitter disappointment – “rule out of court in advance” such stories as fictions rather than possibly true accounts. Or, if we read a text about abductions by space aliens with the “presupposition” that space aliens are the stuff of make-believe rather than fact, then we will of course “rule out of court in advance” such stories as made up rather than authentically true reports.

By contrast, if we accept belief in “the supernatural” and we find ourselves selected for a jury in a case in which a woman drowned her five children because she was told by a supernatural agent that she had better do so because otherwise they would grow up to be evil sinners and thus lose their salvation (cf. Andrea Yates), we would have no rational justification for disputing or rejecting such a claim, since the very basis of rationality would have already been discarded as a result of accepting the presuppositions assumed in supernaturalism. Indeed, Craig himself, as can be seen here, says that he believes in “the salvation of infants or children who die,” that children who die in their early years are “the recipients of an infinite good,” and that “it would be far better for them than continuing to be raised in [a] reprobate… culture.”

In sum, Craig’s response to the leading question comes across as the complaint “you don’t accept my falsehoods because you define falsehoods as untrue! Yes, it may have all the hallmarks of being a falsehood, but it’s only because of your presuppositional bias against falsehoods that you’ve ruled out of court in advance the possibility that it is also true!”

Now let’s get back to the approaches to historical investigation that are represented by the two scenarios which I outlined above. Which of these, Scenario 1 or Scenario 2, is one more likely going to have to adopt in order to go along with Craig’s position? By now it should be clear that Scenario 1 will never satisfy Craig and that his pro-Christian position requires a set of presuppositions more or less matching those of Scenario 2 (even though he likes to pretend his presuppositions have the rational character that is only possible on Scenario1).

But where does Craig, or any other Christian apologist, present any kind of defense for the presuppositions entailed by Scenario 2? Craig offers no defense here. In fact, he seems to think that the approach represented by Scenario 2 should be accepted as a matter of default, and that no one has any valid rationale for rejecting it or adopting the approach represented by Scenario 1.

The Christian believer does not have a lot of options here, but even among those to choose from, not one is at all rationally viable. She can do what Craig does in this video snippet and assume that one should be open to supernaturalism for no reason whatsoever. But this embarrassingly flimsy alternative obviously won’t do: when pitted against Scenario 1 above, Scenario 2 would have nothing of any intellectual value to recommend itself. Also, as history has documented with mesmerizing consistency, a proponent of one variant of Scenario 2 will be philosophically defenseless against proponents of rival variants of Scenario 2. Consider, for example, the persisting conflicts between Catholics and Protestants, Calvinists and Arminians, presuppositionalists and evidentialists, etc. Neither side can point to authentic facts to settle their internecine disputes since both sides have already abandoned facts as having any bearing on fundamental truths.

Now it may be that the believer has contented herself to follow Craig’s model here and strand herself on the unforgiving rocks of sheer credulity and uncritical acceptance. When Ephesians 6:11 says “put on the whole armor of God,” perhaps it really means put on the straitjacket of self-imposed arbitrariness. Nothing screams “I don’t care for the intellectual health of my mind” like swallowing another individual’s chicanery on faith.

Of course, the believer could claim that she has evidence supporting supernaturalism. But what would this supposed evidence look like? Without some concrete bit of supernatural stuff that all parties to the conversation can freely inspect for themselves, how would the believer be able to avoid arguing in a vicious circle here? Typically believers cite – you guessed it! - miracle stories as “evidence” supposedly supporting their claims about “the supernatural” being real instead of merely imaginary. But if the believer takes this route, she would, given what Craig has presented here, simply be arguing in a circle. Essentially, we would have something like the following:
Believer: “The resurrection really did happen!”  
Non-Believer: “Why would anyone believe that?”  
Believer: “Well, as I learned from Dr. William Lane Craig, one is more likely to accept individual miracle stories, like that of the resurrection, if he’s open to the supernatural in the first place.”  
Non-Believer: “But why should anyone be open to the notion of ‘the supernatural’ in the first place?”  
Believer: “Well, because there’s evidence for the supernatural.”  
Non-Believer: “Such as?”  
Believer: “The resurrection!”
And round and round we go.

But what better can defenders of the faith offer? Sadly, apologists throughout history have had a notoriously difficult time trying to come up with “evidence” for their beliefs in the supernatural that can be reliably distinguished from something that is merely imaginary. Instead of evidence, they have relied fundamentally on the implicit acceptance of the primacy of consciousness metaphysics on the part of their cowering pew-sitters.

Since we are on the topic of presuppositions, let us ask: Does one need to provide a rational justification for Scenario 1 in contradistinction to Scenario 2? In response to this question, we should ask: which scenario would a rational justification presuppose in the first place if not Scenario 1 itself? How would one defend the position that rational justification as such presupposes Scenario 2?

Fortunately, we have the axioms and the primacy of existence as well as the objective theory of concepts.

One can’t help but suppose, then, that Craig is in fact simply projecting here. It is his position that is so deeply arbitrary and emotionally motivated, steeped in a desire to protect a confessional investment “regardless of the evidence,” and thus he casually assumes that any opposing viewpoint must be similarly motivated and thus equally arbitrary. He denies the possibility that opponents to his position might have a rational justification for rejecting supernaturalism, and he makes no attempt, even a bad one (at least in the excerpt above), to present a rational defense in favor of supernaturalism.

What’s noteworthy here is Craig’s cavalier treatment of the matter: he makes no suggestion even remotely acknowledging that a defense for accepting supernaturalism would even be in order.

One might expect this from a young believer raised in a church environment with little or no exposure to opposing viewpoints. But Craig is supposed to be this highly credentialed “professional philosopher,” not only keenly aware of opposing viewpoints, but presumably also tutored in epistemology. And yet he comes across conspicuously unconcerned about the role which epistemological methodology would supposedly occupy a thinker concerned for critical thought in such areas. After all, “the supernatural” is not something that can be detected by sense perception or verified by “unaided reason.”

So we are wholly justified in posing the apologists’ own favorite question here: “How do you know?”

Knowledge is primarily something the mind holds positively; knowledge is chiefly positive content. We only know what is not against our knowledge of what is. Acquiring knowledge is an active process performed by our non-omniscient, fallible minds, which is why we need epistemological standards to guide us in accepting some content as true and rejecting other content as not true. To enter the mind and be accepted as truth, content needs to be examined, scrutinized, understood, integrated with other knowledge that has been accepted without contradicting any of it.

In essence, a rational individual sifts content through a process of quality control before accepting it and stamping it with the label “genuine truth.”

One certainly does not say, “I believe in the Tooth Fairy as a matter of default, for I know of no good reasons not to believe in the Tooth Fairy.” And yet, this is precisely the attitude which Craig models on behalf of accepting supernaturalism; he does not require a reason for accepting supernaturalism, but he insists that one must have a very good reason (or many!) for rejecting supernaturalism (and most likely he’s not going to “allow” that any reasons proposed for rejecting supernaturalism would be at all sufficient). This is entirely backwards!

What Craig ignores (while ironically admitting under his breath) in all this is the fact that once one accepts the arbitrary as his standard for QC’ing ideational input into one’s mind, he’ll accept anything, no matter what its deficiencies. Thus if an individual first accepts the notion of “the supernatural” as legitimate, he “opens” his mind to an entire category of arbitrary, irrational and untrue ideas with no rational guide to help him steer clear of falsehood and error. Since he has already accepted a fundamental error (beginning with the primacy of consciousness), he has no way to protect himself from accepting subsequent errors and falsehoods and will thus be at the mercy of the first charismatic personality who comes along and passes himself off as some kind of “inspired” authority.

As Ayn Rand so poignantly observed, “Faith in the supernatural begins as faith in the superiority of others” (Atlas Shrugged). Since before recorded history, religionists have delighted in using man’s fallibility against him. It is thus harrowingly ironic when Steve Hays compares atheists to vampires. With predators like William Lane Craig fronting for Christianity, believers need a good long look in the mirror.

Sadly, for far too long William Lane Craig has flagrantly abused his public platform by delivering an output of such stenchful hogwash that I propose his spewing be measured in terms of gallons per flush.

by Dawson Bethrick

Labels: , , , , , , ,

134 Comments:

Blogger Secular Outpost said...

I think you are being massively uncharitable to Craig. He is well known for defending several arguments for God's existence, which defend theistic supernaturalism.

November 11, 2015 8:46 AM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

Thanks for your comment, Secular Outpost.

You may not know this, but in fact I have interacted at length with eight of Craig’s “arguments for God’s existence” and found them, to put it mildly, unpersuasive. You can find this series here:

Intro

“God is the best explanation why anything at all exists”

“God is the best explanation for the origin of the universe”

“God is the best explanation of the applicability of mathematics to the physical world”

“God is the best explanation of the fine-tuning of the universe for intelligent life”

“God is the best explanation of intentional states of consciousness”

“God is the best explanation of objective moral values and duties”

“The very possibility of God’s existence implies that God exists”

“God can be personally known and experienced”

As can be seen by the titles here (which are taken directly from Craig’s own presentation), these arguments try to defend the view that “God is the best explanation” for some specified feature. They do not actually present arguments for “the supernatural” as such. In fact, one might gather from Craig’s statements in the present video segment that one would be more predisposed to accepting the conclusion that “God” exists if he first accepts supernaturalism, just as he does here with miracle stories. I would agree with him: a person who has accepted the primacy of consciousness metaphysics is going to be more likely to accept any specific type of god-belief. In fact, I’d argue that at least the implicit acceptance of the primacy of consciousness is a necessary precondition for any form of mysticism, including theism.

But perhaps you can point me to an argument that Craig has presented specifically for “the supernatural.” Trying to argue that “God” is the “best explanation,” for example, of morality, doesn’t fly. How does Craig define “supernatural”? By what means does he have awareness of it? Does he have direct awareness of it (such as through dreams and visions)? Or, does he infer its existence from shabby syllogisms which ignore the nature of the subject-object relationship (e.g., that wishing doesn’t make it so, that the imaginary and the real are fundamentally distinct, etc.)?

Regards,
Dawson

November 11, 2015 9:15 AM  
Blogger Robert Bumbalough said...

bump

November 11, 2015 10:42 AM  
Blogger Joe said...

Jeff, I think you are going to have to give a little bit more substance to your comment so Dawson can understand how you think he is being uncharitable.

November 11, 2015 3:13 PM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

Why not, instead, observe how uncharitable William Lane Craig is *generally* to men of reason and science? Clearly he wants to give the impression that such thinkers are subjectively biased against "the supernatural," rejecting "the supernatural... regardless of the evidence," when Craig himself treats acceptance of "the supernatural" as perfectly normal, as a default of sorts.

Which of the two scenarios which I outlined above, #1 or #2, does Craig champion? If anyone can show how these scenarios are somehow compatible, please make your case. If Craig has argued for "the supernatural" from a position which is explicitly similar to Scenario 1, I'd like to see it. I've examined many of Craig's articles, presentations and debates, and I've not seen it.

Regards,
Dawson

November 11, 2015 5:24 PM  
Blogger Robert Bumbalough said...

Hello Friends.

In metaphysics, “subjectivism” is the view that reality (the “object”) is dependent on human consciousness (the “subject”). In epistemology, as a result, subjectivists hold that a man need not concern himself with the facts of reality; instead, to arrive at knowledge or truth, he need merely turn his attention inward, consulting the appropriate contents of consciousness, the ones with the power to make reality conform to their dictates. According to the most widespread form of subjectivism, the elements which possess this power are feelings.

In essence, subjectivism is the doctrine that feelings are the creator of facts, and therefore men’s primary tool of cognition. If men feel it, declares the subjectivist, that makes it so.

The alternative to subjectivism is the advocacy of objectivity—an attitude which rests on the view that reality exists independent of human consciousness; that the role of the subject is not to create the object, but to perceive it; and that knowledge of reality can be acquired only by directing one’s attention outward to the facts.


The Ominous Parallels, 62

http://aynrandlexicon.com/lexicon/subjectivism.html

Craig, like all evangelical Christians with whom I've ever interacted, operates from his feelings. He accords them primacy as his feeling of his "God" is the evidence for his "God" belief. Note that feelings about that which cannot be perceived or detected can't be used as evidence of the entity in question. His apologetic ignores this, so his argumentation is actually a polemic against proper reasoning.

November 13, 2015 7:17 AM  
Blogger Robert Bumbalough said...

Also, as history has documented with mesmerizing consistency, a proponent of one variant of Scenario 2 will be philosophically defenseless against proponents of rival variants of Scenario 2. Consider, for example, the persisting conflicts between Catholics and Protestants, Calvinists and Arminians, presuppositionalists and evidentialists, etc. Neither side can point to authentic facts to settle their internecine disputes since both sides have already abandoned facts as having any bearing on fundamental truths.

Sunnis vs Shites ; Theravada vs Mahayana Buddhism ; many thousands of versions of Hinduisms ; the list goes on.

Here's a link to Rand's "The Anti-Conceptual Mentality"

http://praxeology.net/rand.htm

She wrote:

The anti-conceptual mentality takes most things as irreducible primaries and regards them as “self-evident.” It treats concepts as if they were (memorized) percepts; it treats abstractions as if they were perceptual concretes. To such a mentality, everything is the given: the passage of time, the four seasons, the institution of marriage, the weather, the breeding of children, a flood, a fire, an earthquake, a revolution, a book are phenomena of the same order. ...

Do you think this pathology has a role in formation of the mental subjectivity of supernatural superstitions?

November 15, 2015 8:42 AM  
Blogger Robert Bumbalough said...

Hello Dawson.

What was Rand's idea on rights and how did she inductively reason to those ideas?

Many Thanks

Best Regards for Happy Holidays

December 10, 2015 7:49 AM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

Hi Robert,

You asked: “What was Rand's idea on rights and how did she inductively reason to those ideas?”

Rand presents her theory of individual rights as well as her defense of it in the essay titled “Man’s Rights” from her book The Virtue of Selfishness, from which I quote (p. 93; see also here):

<< A “right” is a moral principle defining and sanctioning a man’s freedom of action in a social context. There is only one fundamental right (all the others are its consequences or corollaries): a man’s right to his own life. Life is a process of self-sustaining and self-generated action; the right to life means the right to engage in self-sustaining and self-generated action—which means: the freedom to take all the actions required by the nature of a rational being for the support, the furtherance, the fulfillment and the enjoyment of his own life. (Such is the meaning of the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.)

The concept of a “right” pertains only to action—specifically, to freedom of action. It means freedom from physical compulsion, coercion or interference by other men. >>

I will not attempt to summarize all the points in Rand’s case for individual rights, but her basic approach begins with her conception of man (qua “rational animal”) and from this argues that man needs individual liberty (and thus individual rights in social contexts; a man stranded alone on a desert island need not worry about such matters) given the fact that he must be free in order to exercise his reason consistently. Rand reasons inductively (about the entire class of existents we call human beings) by taking a number of key facts into consideration.

For example: man is a biological organism and as such, he faces a fundamental alternative: life vs. death; in order to live, man needs values; thus he needs to distinguish between what is a value and what is not; thus he needs reason (he does not automatically know what is a value); he needs to act to achieve those values which his life requires (they won’t leap from the ground up into his arms); thus he needs reason to determine those actions he needs to take in order to achieve the values he needs, etc.

Man’s need for reason is incontestable, just as are his need for values and his need to act in order to live.

Values must be produced by productive work, and productive work is something individuals do. When individuals work to produce their own values, the product of their work is their property. Rand explains (ibid):

<< The right to life is the source of all rights—and the right to property is their only implementation. Without property rights, no other rights are possible. Since man has to sustain his life by his own effort, the man who has no right to the product of his effort has no means to sustain his life. The man who produces while others dispose of his product, is a slave.

Bear in mind that the right to property is a right to action, like all the others: it is not the right to an object, but to the action and the consequences of producing or earning that object. It is not a guarantee that a man will earn any property, but only a guarantee that he will own it if he earns it. It is the right to gain, to keep, to use and to dispose of material values. >>

Because of these facts, when men live amongst each other, they need individual rights to protect their liberty, their reason, their values, their lives.

Man also has the right to protect himself. So if another individual initiates force, coercion or fraud against him, he has the right to retaliate in self-defense.

Does this help answer your question?

Regards,
Dawson

December 12, 2015 11:44 AM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...

I haven't watched it all yet, but I thought the regulars here might be interested in this:

Ayn Rand's Sacred Atheism (OCON 2014)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uU2eEHTRFJU

From YouTube:

In this lecture and Q&A, recorded at Objectivist Summer Conference 2014 in Las Vegas, Nevada, philosophy professor Robert Mayhew examines this aspect of Ayn Rand’s distinctive approach to atheism.

Ydemoc

December 12, 2015 7:34 PM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

Thanks for sharing this, Ydemoc. I haven't had a chance to check it out, but it's on my list!

Hope all is going well for you.

Regards,
Dawson

December 14, 2015 5:43 PM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...

Dawson,

You're welcome! What I found particularly interesting (in Mayhew's presentation (thus far) was the section where he cites several specific Storybook passages. This happens around 25 minutes in. For instance, he cites Colossians 3:5:

"Put to death whatever in you is earthly -- fornication, impurity, passion, desire, and greed."

He also cites John 12:25:

"Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life."

Just the other day I asked my Christian relative whether or not he hated his life (in this world). This nearly Calvinistic Christian relative of mine replied, "No."

I said, "You haven't studied your Storybook, have you?"

He ended up telling me I was taking things out of context.

Crazy stuff.

Ydemoc

December 14, 2015 8:47 PM  
Blogger Ed Dingess said...

Bahnsen Burner? Seriously? You use Luther's quote as if to imply that the reason is neutral intellectual tool. Luther had in mind a very certain type of arrogant, finite, twisted, perverse reason...you know....the kind employed by you.

I am studying presuppositional apologetics with Mike Butler. Care to dance?

December 17, 2015 5:07 PM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

Ed Dingess:

“Bahnsen Burner?”

You rang.

“Seriously?”

As opposed to what?

“You use Luther's quote as if to imply that the reason is neutral intellectual tool.”

How do you figure that? I don’t think reason is neutral. Reason is uncompromisingly on the side of facts. Why imagine that’s neutral?

“Luther had in mind a very certain type of arrogant, finite, twisted, perverse reason...you know....the kind employed by you.”

Indeed, Luther scorned and vilified man’s rational faculty – i.e., man’s ability identify and integrate what he perceives in the world in conceptual form. This attribute which distinguishes man from everything else in the universe we know, Luther hated. He was right to recognize reason as antithetical to religion.

“I am studying presuppositional apologetics with Mike Butler.”

Is this supposed to impress someone?

“Care to dance?”

I’m not sure what it is you’re trying to ask here. If you’re looking to interact with something, I’ve got nearly eleven years worth of blog entries right here for you to peruse at your leisure, as well as some additional material on my website (http://www.katholon.com/). All free of charge (yes, you’re welcome). If your goal is to instruct me on something, you’ll find that I’m a grateful learner. If you’re looking to persuade me to a position which I do not currently hold, you’ll need an argument. If you’re looking simply to intimidate, you’ve come to the wrong place. Choose wisely. Your character is on display here.

Regards,
Dawson

December 17, 2015 7:20 PM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

By the way, Ydemoc, I did get a chance to check out the lecture by Robert Mayhew - thanks for sharing that! Unfortunately I could listen with only one ear as I puttered around my place working on some homekeeping and the such. I found it all very interest and will try to give it another listen soon.

As for your relative telling you that you're taking words put into Jesus' mouth out of context, we've all heard that before. Unfortunately, 98% of the time there's no attempt to show that a teaching of the bible actually has been taken out of context, and out of the remaining 2% of the time when some attempt is made, it's nearly always unconvincing. At least in my experience. Perhaps your life stats are more forgiving.

Regards,
Dawson

December 17, 2015 7:24 PM  
Blogger Brandon Dickens said...

Ed,

There really is no reason (beyond self-aggrandizement, perhaps) to couch your comments in antagonistic language. Not that Dawson or the readers of his blog cannot handle it, but it does tend to make effective communication and mutual learning difficult.

Even if neither those things are your goal here, maybe it would just be worth it for you to appear as a good ambassador for your supposed Christian faith. In my experience, Dawson generally gives respect to people who show respect, even if he does not agree at all with their ideas (which are, of course, fair game).

Sincerely,
Brandon D Dickens

December 17, 2015 8:07 PM  
Blogger Ed Dingess said...

So that I understand you correctly, Brandon, you accuse me of using antagonistic language on a blog that carries the name, Incinerating Presuppositionalism? That is a howler if ever there was one.

My goal is to demonstrate that this silly blog does not live up to its name because what it incinerates is not Van Tillian Presuppositionalism, but rather, a method of apologetics that no one uses, and surely not one that Greg Bahnsen used.

December 18, 2015 2:16 AM  
Blogger Ed Dingess said...

Bahnsen Burner,

I laugh because Bahnsen would fry your puny arguments for breakfast.

Martin Luther was railing against a purely naturalistic version of Christianity that relied entirely upon a very specific view of human reason: the autonomous variety. Luther had great appreciation for the role of philosophy and reason in theology but only insofar as they were used appropriately. Guys who uses tactics like this reveal their limited understanding of such issues and demonstrate an egregious disdain for me like Luther who deserve nothing but the highest esteem for their contributions to these important issues. You are flat out wrong about Luther and its time someone else counter your arguments with the facts, less your mindless little minions get carried away in their worship of you.

My disclosure that am friends with Mike Butler and study this subject under him is simply to say, you can't get any closer to this method of apologetics than I am. Basically I am saying that I am a student of a student of the man you claim to be able to burn. If you cannot burn me, you certainly would not be able to burn him. That's all.

As far as what I am looking to do, well, I am looking to demonstrate to you and to others that your blog is just one more among many others that portends to answer the presuppositional approach, but instead, it simply fails to understand it. You question about whether or not I am looking to persuade you to (Christianity) is a perfect example that you fail to understand that men do not conclude Christ as a result of arguments and impressive evidence. That is a naturalistic version of Christianity that is foreign to Biblical Christianity. My hope is that God would open your heart to believe in Christ. Unless God does so, what will result from our exchange is anybody's guess. It will be entirely up to you. But I would take caution in how you interact with me. Your character is on display here.

December 18, 2015 2:30 AM  
Blogger Brandon Dickens said...

Ed,

Thanks for displaying more of your character and intentions.

By the way, it actually is possible to separate criticism of ideas from criticism of people, whether or not it is possible for you personally.

Best of luck.

Sincerely,
Brandon D Dickens

December 18, 2015 8:12 AM  
Blogger Ed Dingess said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

December 18, 2015 8:43 AM  
Blogger Ed Dingess said...

Hi Brandon,
I do think it is possible to criticize ideas without criticizing people. I do not recall criticizing a person at this point. I have said that Bahnsen would fry your "puny" arguments for breakfast. That is a criticism of the nature of the arguments you employ, not you personally, or anyone else. I would also criticize your limited understanding and knowledge of Martin Luther's thought as either terribly uninformed or dishonest. I do not know which it is, but neither are very flattering.

Basically I am going to argue that you do not understand Christian theism as revealed in the Christian Scriptures and therefore it is impossible for you to criticize the one apologetic method that is actually the product of that system. If it is true that presuppositional apologetics is THE apologetic method necessarily produced by a sound understanding of Christian theism as revealed in the Christian Scriptures, then one must understand the former system in order to understand and therefore critique the latter one. And since you are not a Christian, it logically follows that you cannot understand Christian theism. And if you cannot understand Christian theism, logically speaking, you surely cannot understand presuppositional apologetics. And if you do not understand presuppositional apologetics, you should shut your website down because it is impossible to criticize that which you do not and cannot understand. In short, your critiques against presuppositional apologetics are irrational at the most basic levels because they fail to understand the very system they seek to evaluate and criticize.

December 18, 2015 8:48 AM  
Blogger Brandon Dickens said...

Ed,

In your latest reply, you stated: “I do not recall criticizing a person at this point.”

However, you wrote earlier: “You are flat out wrong about Luther and its time someone else counter your arguments with the facts, less your mindless little minions get carried away in their worship of you.” (my emphasis)

I am not quite clear on how referring to people as “mindless little minions” is a criticism of ideas and not of people.

You stated: “Basically I am going to argue that you do not understand Christian theism as revealed in the Christian Scriptures and therefore it is impossible for you to criticize the one apologetic method that is actually the product of that system.”

While I will freely admit that there is likely quite a lot that I do not understand, on what basis do you claim that I do not understand your apologetic method? As far as I am aware, we have never interacted before. Perhaps I do understand it and I also reject it – but how would you know?

You wrote: “...if you do not understand presuppositional apologetics, you should shut your website down...”

To be clear, this is Dawson's blog. I have not offered up any critiques of presuppositional apologetics, nor is shutting down this blog within my power to do, as it isn't mine. However, this a great example of force and faith as corollaries.

Thus far, you have only interacted with a very limited sample of Dawson's writings and there are 11 years worth available on this blog. So, if you want to challenge his ideas, you certainly have your work cut out for you.

For me, every flavor of theism I have encountered (including the many, many different forms of your faith) subscribe to a false metaphysic, i.e., they are false at the most fundamental philosophical level. If you would like to demonstrate that your particular brand of theism does not do this, you can begin by answering a relatively simple, binary question: In your worldview, does wishing make it so?

Sincerely,
Brandon D Dickens

December 18, 2015 9:32 AM  
Blogger Ed Dingess said...

As I see it, a personal criticism is directed at a specific person.

I gave you an outline of my argument for why you do not understand presuppositional apologetics, and in fact, why you cannot understand it.

In order to understand presuppositional apologetics, you must understand Christian theism.
Non-Christians do not, and cannot, understand Christian theism.
Therefore, Non-Christians do not and cannot understand presuppositional apologetics.

The argument would turn on the fact that presuppositional apologetics requires faith in Christ. The approach holds to a distinctly Christian epistemology, revelation to be specific. And that revelation is the outworking of faith implanted in the heart by the work of the Holy Spirit. Apart from this view, presuppositional apologetics generally gets confused with the more traditional approaches to Christian apologetics. Presuppositional apologetics employs a transcendental argument form but one that is uniquely Christian in nature.

December 18, 2015 10:00 AM  
Blogger Ed Dingess said...

The point of contact we have with the unbeliever is the Imago Dei. However, that being said, the unbeliever, as Kant rightly observed, does something with the data. Having a fallen mind, the activity of the on the data contorts the data. He engages in the psychological phenomenon known as self-deception. Another issue of course is analogical knowledge vs. equivocal knowledge. The unbeliever, and Dawson's blog specifically, will have to account for his rational foundation for, well, rationality. Does it hang in the air? Where is the anchor? What is the unifying principle that make knowledge possible if the universe is what atheists claim it is? There can be no unifying principle in such a scheme. Skepticism prevails, knowledge proves impossible, and conversations about these issues end up being a waste of time if we want to be consistent, but then again, that phrase just further begs the question.

December 18, 2015 10:25 AM  
Blogger Brandon Dickens said...

Ed,

You make argumentation look easy. Allow me to try it in your style:

1) In order to understand that theism is false, you must adhere to a consistent metaphysic.

2) Christians do not, and cannot, adhere to a consistent metaphysic.

3) Therefore, Christians do not and cannot understand that theism is false.

The argument would turn on the fact that having a consistent metaphyic requires a stringent application of reason.

Seems that we are at a stalemate. Perhaps we should try a different approach?

If you do not mind, would you answer the question I posed in my previous post? Also, I would be very curious about a so-called "Christian epistemology." I was not aware that Christianity has a theory of knowledge.

And finally, much of what you have written has already been addressed in this blog. With just a little bit of effort, you could probably find it.

Sincerely,
Brandon D Dickens

December 18, 2015 10:39 AM  
Blogger Ed Dingess said...

I would challenge your inference that Christians do not employ a stringent application of reason. Once again, you don't have a corner on definitions or criteria. You see, Brandon, I am not going to run from your argument and come up with another one so that you and I just dance in circles. What I am going to do is attack your foundation for rationality. It happens to exist within a worldview that claims that reality is all one giant accident, a swerve of a molecule at some point. Humans are nothing more than molecules in motion. From that you basic belief rationality does not follow; at least not rationality in any meaningful sense of the word.

Rationality --> an absolute unchanging perfectly rational mind
~absolute unchanging perfectly rational mind (according to atheism)
/ no rationality (in atheism)

Presuppositional Apologetics
Rationality --> God
Rationality
/ God

or
Rationality --> God
~God
/~Rationality

In order for you to claim that Christianity must adhere to a consistent metaphysic in order to be true you will have to provide a rational foundation for logic within your atheistic worldview. I do not think you can do this. What we need from you is the necessary precondition for rationality. What must be the case in order for there to be real laws of logic that we all must adhere to in order to be deemed worthy of a hearing?

December 18, 2015 2:07 PM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...

Hi Ed,

One of Dawson's "minions" here, chiming in.

As Brandon mentioned earlier, Dawson has dealt with concerns such as yours extensively throughout his blog. For example, back in April of 2012 he published this entry:

Answering Dustin Segers’ Presuppositionalism, Part II: The Nature of Logic

For your convenience, here is the link:

http://bahnsenburner.blogspot.com/2012/04/answering-dustin-segers_08.html

I've identified at least two wrong-headed assumptions in your latest comment. First, where does Objectivism say that "reality is all one giant accident, a swerve of a molecule at some point"? Second, where does Objectivism say that "[h]umans are nothing more than molecules in motion"?

Ydemoc

December 18, 2015 4:00 PM  
Blogger Brandon Dickens said...

Ed,

It was not my intention to you run from anything, and I am not sure where all your bravado is coming from. My "argument" above was simply to demonstrate that "arguments" which are little more than assertions do not move the conversation forward.

Also, you seem to be attributing things to my worldview that I do not actually hold. For example, I do not hold that reality is an "accident," nor do I hold that human beings are "nothing more than molecules in motion."

In any event, I am getting the distinct sense that you will likely not interact with much that I write. For example, as I stated before, your challenges have already been answered on this very blog. You are not the first Van Tillian presup to come across Dawson's writings -- and you have yet to offer anything new (including the habits of presumptuousness, evasion, and antagonism). You would know this, of course, if you spent even a little time searching Dawson's blog.

Best of luck to you in whatever it is you hope to accomplish here. If Dawson chooses to, he can answer your challenges. For me, I will wait until the conversation gets more interesting, if it does at all. I do not have anywhere near his level of patience.

Sincerely,
Brandon D Dickens

December 18, 2015 4:00 PM  
Blogger Ed Dingess said...

Ydemoc, Dustin happens to be a very close friend of mine. I will review Dawson's comments on Dustin's "Nature of Logic." As for Objectivism, I am wondering if you are really advocating that we take Rand seriously? This begs the entire question of a unifying principle and does nothing to solve the epistemic problems it introduces, such as its foundationalist proclivities.

Brandon, perhaps you would do me the kindness of sharing with me exactly what you think reality is and then giving me a glimpse into how you know or why you believe reality is that as opposed to something else.

December 18, 2015 6:10 PM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...

Hi Ed,

You wrote, among other things: "I will review Dawson's comments on Dustin's "Nature of Logic."

Great! I'm looking forward to your response.

You wrote: "I am wondering if you are really advocating that we take Rand seriously."

Are you really wondering that, Ed, or is this just a rhetorical question?

You wrote: "This begs the entire question of a unifying principle and does nothing to solve the epistemic problems it introduces, such as its foundationalist proclivities. "

I'm sorry, but I might have missed something. **What** exactly is it that "...begs the entire question of a unifying principle..." ? I wasn't making an argument. And I was always under the assumption that "begging the question" dealt with assuming the conclusion of an argument. What argument did I make?

Even though I'm not that great of a dancer, care to dance some more? :😃
Ydemoc

December 18, 2015 9:04 PM  
Blogger Ed Dingess said...

Ydemoc,
I was referring to objectivism and the fact that it begs the question of a unifying principle in reality. A reality that is independent from existence requires a unifying principle. Moreover, if one posits that existence exists, then they will have to provide a explanation for how existence can be conceived of apart from anything else, that is, in and of itself. Otherwise, when we speak about existence, we must confess that we are always speaking about a subject of which existence is the predicate. And even this is hotly contested.

And yes, I am serious when I question if you take Rand's objectivism seriously. To make the mind of the individual mind the final authority is indeed a most profound failure to, uh, well, think. It is an absurd proposition to place morality within the minds of men...which men? It can't be all men because all men do not agree. We rejected Hitler and we reject ISIS. They are men with minds too.

December 19, 2015 3:20 AM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

Ed,

Pardon my absence yesterday. I worked a long day and entertained guests in my home in the evening. I therefore had no time for you.

It’s fast becoming clear that you fit a stereotype which readers of my blog have observed for years, namely that of an individual who has sold out his mind to a fantasy. Christianity preys on those who have a really difficult time consistently distinguishing between reality and fantasy (this is why Christians typically prey on children; it’s also why Christianity teaches adults to “become as little children”), and this mental disorder is impossible for them to conceal when they come into contact with Objectivism.

So, in a very short time, you have succeeded in demonstrating that you are a textbook specimen of the modern mystic: you treat reality as if it were a fantasy in your mind, and all of us other human beings are supposed to fit your precast narrative. This is already clear to me after just a short time of exposure to you.

Now, let’s look at the remarks you made in the comment you posted earlier this morning:

You wrote: “I was referring to objectivism and the fact that it begs the question of a unifying principle in reality.”

Statements like this are unhelpful because they cause the conversation to stop so that we can try and figure out what you’re really trying to say. Specifically, they show that your engagement in discussion with Objectivists at this point in your life is woefully premature, since it’s so clear that (a) you don’t know what you’re talking about and (b) you are very careless when it comes to communicating whatever it is you think you have to say.

So let me ask:

First, what does it mean to say that something “begs the question of a unifying principle in reality”? What do YOU, Ed Dingess, mean by this? Apparently it’s something bad. So explain why you think it’s bad, too.

Second, please ARGUE FOR this assertion. Specifically, show how Objectivism’s teachings (with citations) do whatever it is you’re trying to attribute to Objectivism. You have already come to us posturing as someone who possesses superior understanding in all related matters. So *teach* us: after you’ve addressed the first question above, SHOW us how Objectivism “begs the question of a unifying principle in reality.”

Also, help us understand how your position avoids this (if you think it does). Be prepared for your answers to be scrutinized, for no one will simply take your assertions on your own pretended authority.

“A reality that is independent from existence requires a unifying principle.”

Earlier I was going to ask you how much you’ve examined Objectivism and how much you understand it. Now I don’t need to do this – statements like this only show that you don’t know what you’re talking about. The question now becomes: Are you willing to learn? Or, like so many who have come before you (see the comment sections of my blog entries), are you interested only in battling straw men? This is a choice you need to make all by yourself.

“Moreover, if one posits that existence exists, then they will have to provide a [sic] explanation for how existence can be conceived of apart from anything else, that is, in and of itself.”

Again, you show your unfamiliarity with Objectivism here. Objectivism does not conceive of existence “apart from anything else, that is, in and of itself.” This is basic Objectivism 101 stuff. Does Michael Butler teach *all* his students to go rushing into debates without understanding the most basic principles held by their opponents, or just you?

[continued…]

December 19, 2015 8:09 AM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

“Otherwise, when we speak about existence, we must confess that we are always speaking about a subject of which existence is the predicate.”

*Who* “must confess” this, and why? Where are the arguments for your assertions?

“And even this is hotly contested.”

So what? Why does this worry you?

“And yes, I am serious when I question if you take Rand's objectivism seriously.”

Let me settle your question once and for all then: I *do* take Objectivism very seriously. If you’ve come to my blog, in which I have made it very clear for nearly 11 years that I take Objectivism very seriously, and you have to ask this question, you only demonstrate (again!) that you haven’t done any homework here. We’ve seen this many, many times before. After you shoot your bravado wad, you’ll tire out and go home, never to be seen or heard from again. (Like Dustin Segers. How’s his depression coming along, by the way?) Happens every time.

“To make the mind of the individual mind the final authority is indeed a most profound failure to, uh, well, think.”

Then you should applaud the virtues of Objectivism. We don’t think any *mind* is an authority over reality. We recognize explicitly that wishing doesn’t make it so, that reality does not conform to conscious intentions, that reality exists and is what it is independent of conscious activity. Reality is the authority: we either identify reality on its own terms and govern our choices and actions accordingly (which is why man needs reason), or we retreat into a fantasy, such as Christianity, and pretend that reality conforms to its narratives. Good luck with that. I’ll go with Objectivism. You can have your cross – an instrument of torture.

“It is an absurd proposition to place morality within the minds of men...which men?”

What do you mean by “place morality within the minds of men”? Again, you show that you have a habit of making characterizations without explaining them or their relevance to any broader point you may be trying to make.

We can discuss morality at some point, if you make the choice to learn something here and address these matters in an honest, adult manner. But right now, you’re so not ready for this.

“It can't be all men because all men do not agree.”

This statement is most curious, as it exposes a subtext underwriting your approach to knowledge and the world. Why do you think it’s so important for “all men” to agree on something? Why does universal agreement matter to you? What about what *you* think, regardless of what others might think? What you *your* mind, Ed? Why do you assume that the content of your mind needs to conform to the content in other people’s minds? I suggest you cordon off some quiet time in your life and do some serious introspection here. You might discover something.

Regards,
Dawson

December 19, 2015 8:09 AM  
Blogger Brandon Dickens said...

Ed,

Against my better judgement, I will offer you a deal. If you answer my questions and to the best of your ability, I will answer your questions to the best of mine (time and life circumstances permitting).

Only one catch: we both have to answer our own questions first.

If nothing else, it should make it very difficult for either of us to evade, and we may just learn something from each other.

Sound fair?

Sincerely,
Brandon D Dickens

December 19, 2015 10:24 AM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

Hi Brandon,

You wrote: “Only one catch: we both have to answer our own questions first.”

I like that!

But just so I’m sure I have it right…

Suppose I ask the following question:

<< According to your worldview, would it ever be moral for a father to allow his own innocent child to be tortured and executed by vicious persons when he (the father) has both opportunity and ability to intervene and prevent his child from being harmed? >>

And then, in keeping with Brandon’s catch, I answer from the perspective of my worldview first:

My answer: NO, according to my worldview, it would never be moral for a father to allow harm to come to his child in such circumstances.

Do I have that right, Brandon?

If so, I'm interested how Ed can answer this question consistently from the perspective of *his* worldview?

Regards,
Dawson

December 19, 2015 11:35 AM  
Blogger Brandon Dickens said...

Ed,

I recently discovered two blog articles that appear to have been written by you on March 09, 2013 and March 15, 2013, respectively. (http://reformedreasons.blogspot.com/2013/03/the-tragedy-of-contemporary-apologetics.html; http://reformedreasons.blogspot.com/2013/03/the-sine-qua-non-of-biblical-apologetics.html ).

I found the following passages most interesting:

From the March 09 post (http://reformedreasons.blogspot.com/2013/03/the-tragedy-of-contemporary-apologetics.html):

"Notice that Biblical apologetics has nothing to do with Christians taking the offensive by going out and looking for a fight. Too many amatuer [sic] apologists, so-called, are very poor representations of the Christian worldview, not to mention the Christian message. These amatuer [sic] apologists read a book, gain some knowledge, maybe even a lot of knowledge, marry that with their insatiable lust for the intellect and for intellectual pugalism [sic] and the results are tragic and embarrasing [sic]. These are men who care far more about their own ego, about being right, about how they appear to others, than they do about lovingly and gently proclaming [sic] the gospel with respect in all humility." (my emphasis)

From the March 15 post (http://reformedreasons.blogspot.com/2013/03/the-sine-qua-non-of-biblical-apologetics.html):

“It is more than just ironic that Christian blogs, websites, and even apologists themselves can resort to name-calling, pejorative language, insults, and the like all in the name of defending the message of Christian hope and love. Still, the sad truth is that this behavior is more common than many realize.”

Do you still stand by these words, Ed? Your behavior thus far seems to indicate otherwise.

Now might be a good time to try to reset the tone of the conversation, if you so desire. And, for the record, I wholeheartedly agree with your assessment of amateur apologists (as far as I have encountered them, anyway), though I would not limit that critique to only amateurs.

Sincerely,
Brandon D Dickens

December 19, 2015 11:46 AM  
Blogger Brandon Dickens said...

Dawson,

You have it exactly right. Now, I would have to reply with my answer (which, incidentally, would also be "no").

Were this our deal, we could both have confidence that 1) we are both actually interested in the issues we are discussing, 2) neither of us are attempting to pose questions that we do not have answers to, & 3) neither of us are evading.

And, as a bonus, we learned something about each other!

Sincerely,
Brandon D Dickens

December 19, 2015 11:56 AM  
Blogger Ed Dingess said...

Hi Brandon,
I do still stand by these words. Perhaps you should venture over to Triablogue or perhaps JP Holdings place. These guys will provide you with a distinct experience that you would not be too slow to forget. That is the sort of behavior I am referencing in that blog.

I am simply trying to understand why a person would have a blog titled Incinerating Presuppositionalism and why you would have a screen name called "Bahnsen Burner" and then object for being criticized for having puny arguments and not understanding the system which you oppose. I think my criticism is fair and I think it is likely on target. But if I am wrong, I will be more than happy to admit. Christians believe that no one is perfect and we sometimes do not do such a good job of disciplining our old self so as to avoid sin.

There is no such thing as a perfect apologist. My views shift as my understanding grows and as more coherent views replace less coherent ones. You are either growing or you are dead in my opinion. God made life a puzzle and we're still fitting things together. Even though the revelation has been once for all delivered, each of us are in our own place, growing, learning, and wondering.

December 19, 2015 11:57 AM  
Blogger Brandon Dickens said...

Ed,

Ed,

I am not Dawson, and this is not my blog. Furthermore, my comments to you were to try to facilitate what could be a great conversation and mutual learning experience. And Dawson certainly did not object to the manner in which you presented yourself – as you can see from his reply, he can give at least as good as he gets.

And no one is perfect, but you have to seriously ask yourself what you hoped to accomplish by presenting yourself as you have so far. If you want a great conversation (albeit, also critical and analyzing), you can find that here, but you are setting the tone and pace of that conversation.

Sincerely,
Brandon D Dickens

December 19, 2015 12:10 PM  
Blogger Ed Dingess said...

Brandon,
I cannot respond to a book. Perhaps we keep the remarks a little shorter. This way we can deal with one question at a time. In terms of reality, I do not disagree with a mind independent reality. However, I do not have to accept the idea of brute facts just because I admit the mind plays a role in understanding that reality. There is no such thing for the individual as a reality untouched by the mind. How could there be?

Now, that being said, I do not think just any interpretation of reality will do. How could I? I am a Christian. And if you are as familiar with presuppositional apologetics as you claim and you have read Van Til and Bahnsen, then my answer should be predicable. God's prior interpretation of reality is the only one that obtains truth. Truth is that which corresponds to God's thought. I understand reality, albeit in a most limited fashion, only when I interpret that reality in accord with God's interpretation of reality.

I suppose the best place to start with our conversation is your definition of what you are. What am I? It is often argued that until we can define ourselves, we cannot begin to understand reality. Of course I also wonder how we can understand ourselves without understanding reality. But knowledge has to begin somewhere. I am curious where yours begins. We can delve into the strengths and weaknesses of Objectivism soon enough if necessary.

A unifying principle means that if I exist and I am independent from there reality that exists, where do I and reality meet? What is the unifying principle that brings me into contact with and helps me understand and function in this thing you all reality? Perhaps you could also explain what you mean by reality and especially facts of reality as if there are such things as uninterpreted brute facts.

December 19, 2015 12:16 PM  
Blogger Ed Dingess said...

<< According to your worldview, would it ever be moral for a father to allow his own innocent child to be tortured and executed by vicious persons when he (the father) has both opportunity and ability to intervene and prevent his child from being harmed? >>

It is not so cut and dry. Let's say a father is yanked out into the streets by ISIS, a Christian father. And the ISIS terrorists demand that he recant his Christian confession or his son will be brutally butchered right before his very eyes. Then yes, the father has an opportunity to deliver the child, but his faith will not permit it. The father is perfectly moral to allow his son this violent death in this instance.

On the other hand, if a father witnesses a thief breaking in with the desire to simply butcher his son or anyone else in his care, the father would be totally immoral not to protect his family.

There are other instances where the violent death of your child would be considered moral I am sure. It depends on the situation. Christian morality is distinct in that the highest aim is obedience to the revealed will of God. In some cases that obedience means that you refrain from preventing lessor evils.

Fair enough?

December 19, 2015 12:26 PM  
Blogger Ed Dingess said...

My turn:

According to your worldview, why would it be always immoral to allow your child to be tortured and executed by vicious persons if you had to opportunity and ability to intervene?

December 19, 2015 12:28 PM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

Ed wrote: “I do still stand by these words. Perhaps you should venture over to Triablogue or perhaps JP Holdings place. These guys will provide you with a distinct experience that you would not be too slow to forget. That is the sort of behavior I am referencing in that blog.”

I think Brandon is suggesting that you take a good look at your own behavior, for your expressed statements do not seem to match your behavior at all well. Perhaps you’re just not seeing this?

“I am simply trying to understand why a person would have a blog titled Incinerating Presuppositionalism and why you would have a screen name called "Bahnsen Burner" and then object for being criticized for having puny arguments and not understanding the system which you oppose.”

So, when you are “simply trying to understand” something, what do you normally do? Do you normally barge into the scene announcing “I am studying presuppositional apologetics with Mike Butler” and then ask, “Care to dance?”? Or, do you try different methods when you “simply try… to understand” things?

If you don’t like the title of my blog or my moniker, what are you going to do? Emote like a Kent State University crybaby? What will that accomplish? I get that you’re personally offended. But my blogging activity was never directed at you personally.

“I think my criticism is fair and I think it is likely on target.”

Well, that apparently makes only one. Is there anyone else reading here who thinks similarly of Ed Dingess’s unargued critical remarks?

“But if I am wrong, I will be more than happy to admit.”

Really? Somehow I’m not convinced that this is the case. Both Ydemoc and Brandon have pointed out some mischaracterizations of Objectivism that you have repeated (others have stated them many times before you), and you have yet to admit that you’re wrong.

“Christians believe that no one is perfect and we sometimes do not do such a good job of disciplining our old self so as to avoid sin.”

How about you, Ed Dingess? How can we know that you’re really a true Christian? How can we know that you’re a “new person in Christ”? How can we know that you’re the real McCoy? How can we be sure that you really do understand presuppositional apologetics? Would you claim that it’s impossible that you’ve misunderstood presuppositionalism or that you’ve been deluded about a wide range of matters touching these matters?

“There is no such thing as a perfect apologist. My views shift as my understanding grows and as more coherent views replace less coherent ones.”

That’s good. Be open to new facts that you’ve never considered before. That’s what I did. I used to be a Christian, well over 20 years ago now. But I made a decision in my life not to fake my mind, not to fake my conscience, not to fake the reality around me. Incidentally, within a week of making that decision, I abandoned Christianity for good.

“You are either growing or you are dead in my opinion.”

Many continue living, albeit in a kind of stupor, as they stagnate rather instead of growing. So don’t overlook these. They’re not dead yet.

[continued…]

December 19, 2015 12:29 PM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

“God made life a puzzle and we're still fitting things together.”

Why would an all-loving, all-good, all-knowing and all-powerful being “[make] life a puzzle”? Isn’t your god supposed to be alive as well? Is life a puzzle for it?

Also, if life is so puzzling, why get so flustered when people choose to use their own minds independently, to understand themselves, their experience, the world they interact with, and come to conclusions that are quite different from the notion that an invisible magic being created it all and is calling all the shots? Why get angry about this? Why let this offend you? I’m curious about this.

“Even though the revelation has been once for all delivered, each of us are in our own place, growing, learning, and wondering.”

But many are not growing, learning and wondering. Indeed, the very notion of “revelation” stifles intellectual progress. History is very, very clear about this. For example, if I’m told that a god has “revealed” itself to all human beings, and I start wondering, “Gee, really? I acknowledge that I can imagine this is the case, but I find nothing in reality that objectively corroborates this claim,” I’m told that I’m a wicked and inherently depraved person guilty of all kinds of logical errors and fallacies, that I’m “begging the question of a unifying principle of reality,” that my arguments are “puny,” etc., etc., etc. Such attitudes do not cohere with the view that we’re all growing and that we should continue our wonder for learning.

Regards,
Dawson

December 19, 2015 12:29 PM  
Blogger Brandon Dickens said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

December 19, 2015 12:38 PM  
Blogger Brandon Dickens said...

[delete my previous post because of the ridiculous amount of grammatical errors]

Ed,

I am having a little difficulty understanding who it is you are responding to. Your reply is addressed to me, but you seem to be interacting with what Dawson has written.

Dawson (the blog owner) uses the name "Bahnsen Burner." I use my own name, "Brandon Dickens."

Am I right in assuming that your latest was to Dawson? He asked about morality. He also wrote the reply that you termed a "book."

Any clarification would be helpful.

Sincerely,
Brandon D Dickens

December 19, 2015 12:39 PM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

Ed wrote: "Truth is that which corresponds to God's thought."

This is one of many expressions of the primacy of consciousness in Christian theology. The primacy of consciousness is the view that reality and truth conform to the activity of consciousness. It's basically an affirmation that wishing makes it so. It is a complete abandonment of objectivity at the most basic foundations of one's understanding of reality.

Christianity's adherence to the primacy of consciousness is why I am convinced that Christian believers, like believers of other religions, are walking around in a daze of waking fantasies. They cannot consistently distinguish between what is actually real and what is merely imaginary.

I'm so glad these aren't my problems!

Regards,
Dawson

December 19, 2015 12:48 PM  
Blogger Ed Dingess said...

<>

If you have some logical objection to why God would do such a thing or why God could not be all-loving, all knowing, and perfectly good AND make life a puzzle I would love to hear it.

Puzzles are not inherently unloving. They are not opposed to knowledge. And puzzles are not inherently evil. Puzzles say nothing against an all-powerful God. The one piece of the puzzle I have solved is this: God has a good reason for everything He does, a perfectly good reason. Now, I may not always know what that reason is, but then again, there is no injury to logic just because I don't know the precise reason now is there?

A puzzle and "so puzzling" describe two different things now don't they. Our objection to autonomous reason is that it attempts to disobey God's model. Humans were created to know things as God has created them, to follow God's thoughts, to interpret reality in accord with God's interpretation of reality.

Revelation does NOTHING to stifle intellectual progress. Saying it doesn't make it so. That is a non sequitur and you should know better. Misuse of revelation is not fodder to be used against proper use of revelation.

<< I acknowledge that I can imagine this is the case, but I find nothing in reality that objectively corroborates this claim,” I’m told that I’m a wicked and inherently depraved person guilty of all kinds of logical errors and fallacies, that I’m “begging the question of a unifying principle of reality,” that my arguments are “puny,” etc., etc., etc. Such attitudes do not cohere with the view that we’re all growing and that we should continue our wonder for learning>>

This is not an argument. It is a bunch of statements, none of which follow from the previous ones. Saying something like this does not make it true. If if I accuse someone of having bad or puny arguments, somehow that impedes progress? It doesn't at all impede progress if it is true. And as you are demonstrating thus far, it is holding. If there is a mind-independent reality, there a unifying principle between the abstract and concrete must exist or knowledge is at an impasse. How could the mind ever know to categorize anything the senses take in? Regardless of how you slice it, prior knowledge is necessary for any knowledge. It is in the accounting of that prior knowledge that your system totally collapses. You provide no coherent or rational foundation for such knowledge.

December 19, 2015 12:53 PM  
Blogger Ed Dingess said...

Hey Brandon,
Apologies. You are correct, I was responding to Dawson.

December 19, 2015 12:56 PM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

I asked: “According to your worldview, would it ever be moral for a father to allow his own innocent child to be tortured and executed by vicious persons when he (the father) has both opportunity and ability to intervene and prevent his child from being harmed?”

Ed replied: “It is not so cut and dry. Let's say a father is yanked out into the streets by ISIS, a Christian father. And the ISIS terrorists demand that he recant his Christian confession or his son will be brutally butchered right before his very eyes. Then yes, the father has an opportunity to deliver the child, but his faith will not permit it. The father is perfectly moral to allow his son this violent death in this instance.”

So adhering to one’s religious beliefs holds moral primacy over an individual’s loved ones. Got it. (I’m glad I’m not your kid!)

Suppose the question goes like this:

“According to your worldview, would it ever be moral for a father to allow his own innocent child to be tortured and executed by vicious persons when he (the father) has both opportunity and ability to intervene and prevent his child from being harmed, and no harm can come to the father as a result of intervening to protect his child?”

My answer from earlier remains the same: NO, it would not be moral.

Ed, what is your answer to this?

Ed wrote: “There are other instances where the violent death of your child would be considered moral I am sure.”

Can you give an example?

Ed wrote: “It depends on the situation.”

In other words, on your view, ethics is situational, not universal.

“Christian morality is distinct in that the highest aim is obedience to the revealed will of God.”

I’m reminded of the SS officers at the Nuremburg Trials: “I vas only folloving öders.”

Ed wrote: “In some cases that obedience means that you refrain from preventing lessor [sic] evils.”

Ah, but not the bigger evils. Got it.

Regards,
Dawson

December 19, 2015 12:58 PM  
Blogger Brandon Dickens said...

Ed,

I do not want to make this too confusing by interjecting here, but I would like to respond to some of your comments.

You wrote: “Revelation does NOTHING to stifle intellectual progress. Saying it doesn't make it so.” (my emphasis)

Later, you wrote: “This is not an argument. It is a bunch of statements, none of which follow from the previous ones. Saying something like this does not make it true.” (my emphasis)

From the perspective of your worldview, why is this the case? Why doesn't saying something make it so? What (if any) metaphysical claims are being made in your statements here?

My answer: In my view, this is the case because of the primacy of existence, i.e., existence is not altered by conscious activity (whims, wants, wishes, etc.). Not only is this principle immediately testable, I would also contend that it follows necessarily from the actual preconditions of knowledge, which are denoted by the axioms of existence, identity, and consciousness.

Sincerely,
Brandon D Dickens

December 19, 2015 2:00 PM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

Ed wrote: “This is not an argument.”

The paragraph you quoted was not intended as an argument, but rather a series of observations. I suggest you learn how to distinguish the one from the other.

Ed: “It is a bunch of statements,”

I can’t think of any argument that cannot be characterized as “a bunch of statements.” Can you?

Consider the following:

P1: If Morris is a cat, he needs to eat food.
P2: Morris is a cat.
C: Therefore, Morris needs to eat food.

That’s an argument which follows a classic logical rule of inference. And yet, anyone could come along and dismiss it as “a bunch of statements.”

Ed: “Saying something like this does not make it true.”

Brandon already addressed this very nicely. My answer to his question is essentially the same as his. What’s yours?

Ed: “If if I accuse someone of having bad or puny arguments, somehow that impedes progress?”

Well, it depends on what is assumed by ‘progress’ here. If you just come along and call “puny” any and every argument that Jones offers, and never make any robust attempt to show that those arguments are “puny,” do you think you’re making any progress? By what I would consider progress (namely furthering personal integrity and virtue), I would say no.

Ed: “If there is a mind-independent reality, there a unifying principle between the abstract and concrete must exist or knowledge is at an impasse.”

Why? Please explain this. Argument please. Clarify your premises.

Ed: “How could the mind ever know to categorize anything the senses take in?”

I would really like to know how the Christian bible addresses specifically this question. Ed, you have the floor.

Ed: “Regardless of how you slice it, prior knowledge is necessary for any knowledge.”

What do you mean by “prior knowledge” here? Prior to what? And why is “prior knowledge necessary for any knowledge? How does one avoid the infinite regress which this statement so obviously invites?

Ed: “It is in the accounting of that prior knowledge that your system totally collapses.”

Okay, another assertion in need of an argument. Please, if you want to press this, cite Objectivist teachings and show how this is so. Don’t simply blurt it out there like exhaust, otherwise that’s all it is.

Ed: “You provide no coherent or rational foundation for such knowledge.”

This is your fantasies talking. It’s as though you’re trying to cast spells here. But as you yourself have stated, “Saying it doesn't make it so.”

Regards,
Dawson

December 19, 2015 2:50 PM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

Ed stated: “God made life a puzzle and we're still fitting things together.”

I asked: “Why would an all-loving, all-good, all-knowing and all-powerful being ‘[make] life a puzzle’? Isn’t your god supposed to be alive as well? Is life a puzzle for it?”

(Note to readers: Observe how Ed nowhere addresses these questions. Also observe how defensive he becomes in response to it.)

Ed: “If you have some logical objection to why God would do such a thing or why God could not be all-loving, all knowing, and perfectly good AND make life a puzzle I would love to hear it.”

You mean, you can’t figure this you yourself? Do you have a wife? Are you a parent? Do you love any human beings? Do you love anything that’s real? Or, do you really take the terms of Christian discipleship put into Jesus’ mouth in Luke 14:26 seriously?

Ed: “Puzzles are not inherently unloving.”

Never said they are. The deciding question is: What’s at stake?

Ed: “They are not opposed to knowledge.”

Never said they are.

Ed: “And puzzles are not inherently evil.”

Never said they are. Again, the question is: What’s at stake?

Ed: “Puzzles say nothing against an all-powerful God.”

Why would they need to? Again, read the questions that I asked. You can save yourself time by not addressing questions that I did not ask.

Ed: “The one piece of the puzzle I have solved is this: God has a good reason for everything He does, a perfectly good reason.”

Here you state that you’ve made some universal evaluations. Great! So you must know every reason why your god has done whatever it has done. So why don’t you address the questions I posed above?

In his book, Always Ready, Bahnsen offers as his solution to the problem of evil the assertion “God has a morally sufficient reason for the evil which exists” (p. 172). Bahnsen nowhere identifies the reason in question, and yet he evaluates it as “morally sufficient” to the task he specifies. Without identifying that reason, how can we know that his evaluation is logical? How can we be confident that this is not simply a statement of faith to which Bahnsen adheres out of emotional insecurity? What exactly was his method of evaluation? How can he evaluate something if he doesn’t know what it is? If he knows what that reason is, why doesn’t he identify it?

It is precisely in this way that Christian rhetoric destroys perfectly legitimate concepts, as the concept ‘good’ in this case. It also reveals that Christians worship a god that is on cozy terms with evil.

[continued…]

December 19, 2015 3:28 PM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

Ed: “Now, I may not always know what that reason is, but then again, there is no injury to logic just because I don't know the precise reason now is there?”

Is this a question for me? You’ve already presented your evaluation for whatever might be the reason. How can you do this responsibly when you yourself acknowledge that you “may not always know what that reason is”?

Suppose I make a pot roast, but you haven’t tasted it yet. Can you tell me that it tastes good before you’ve tasted it? Maybe it’s delicious, but maybe it’s awful. How would you know? Are you omniscient? If so, then you must know what that reason is, in which case you’d be lying when you say you don’t always know what the reason is. If you’re not omniscient, then you’re speaking beyond your knowledge. Neither alternative bodes well for you at all.

Ed: “A puzzle and ‘so puzzling’ describe two different things now don't they.”

Not if they’re used in reference to the same thing.

Ed: “Our objection to autonomous reason is that it attempts to disobey God's model.”

And, don’t tell me, your god isn’t big enough to handle that, right?

I’ll go with reason. Ultimately, your ire is that I don’t fear the god you imagine.

Ed: “Humans were created to know things as God has created them, to follow God's thoughts, to interpret reality in accord with God's interpretation of reality.”

This teaching of Christianity only demonstrates that Christianity has a false understanding of the nature of human consciousness. It’s pure mysticism.

Ed: “Revelation does NOTHING to stifle intellectual progress.”

How do you know?

Ed: “Saying it doesn't make it so.”

Now you’re borrowing from my worldview. Tsk tsk.

Again, notice that Ed has not answered my questions.

Regards,
Dawson

December 19, 2015 3:28 PM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

Ed asked: “According to your worldview, why would it be always immoral to allow your child to be tortured and executed by vicious persons if you had to opportunity and ability to intervene?”

If you had done your homework (i.e., studied up on Objectivism before you started commenting on my blog), you’d know the answer to this already.

Put briefly, the surrender of a higher value for the sake of a lower value or a non-value is always immoral, because morality is about achieving and preserving values, not about discarding or destroying them. Morality is a code of values which guides one’s choices and actions, and the facts relating to our nature as biological organisms are its basis and its standard. Morality is pro-values, vice is anti-values. The truly moral does not strike compromises with the vicious, nor does it defer to vice.

I have a daughter. I value her very much. If anyone attempts to harm her, I’ll do anything in my power to protect her. True, I am but a “puny” man, to use your word, and I might not be successful. But perhaps I will be successful. I know that I won’t succeed in protecting my values if I don’t try, and I know not to expect all my values simply to protect themselves.

Moreover, I certainly would not turn my back in indifference and allow vicious persons to harm her. I certainly value my daughter over any vicious persons who might attempt to lay a hand on her. And I’m mature enough to know that people like that do in fact exist in this world. After all, most people have been raised with a “morality” which teaches that sacrifice (i.e., the surrender of a higher value for the sake of a lower value or a non-value) is the moral ideal, the measure of one’s moral character, the proper response to any choice one might face in life. I reject such a view in toto.

Consider the Christian model: God the all-knowing, all-powerful and indestructible father could have intervened at any time to rescue his own innocent child from vicious people seeking unjustly to torture and execute him. But instead of acting to stop his own child’s suffering, the Christian god sat back and watched the carnage, apparently approving of it as part of some twisted voyeuristic "plan." The ideal was sacrificed to the non-ideal. That is precisely what Christianity models.

Christian believers today have been reduced to the sick task of trying however they can to justify such indifference to one’s own values. The model is clear: values are not worth protecting. This is certainly not a religion based on empathy. Its indifference to values would not stand for empathy. It is a form of death worship.

Regards,
Dawson

December 19, 2015 5:07 PM  
Blogger Ed Dingess said...

<>

If morality is the product of rational thought, I would imagine that values would be as well. And if this is the case, then what is moral and what is valuable is simply determined by a rational mind. Could be mine, your's, Hitler's, whoever. There is no rational foundation for value or meaning in a world that simple is, however you think it came to be so long as it has no teleological origin.

Your argument for values basically amounts to you value your daughter because your daughter is valuable and your daughter is valuable because you value your daughter. What you fail to demonstrate is that your daughter is intrinsically valuable apart from the value you place on her. Absent you, your daughter is without value. In other words, without a rational mind there to value your daughter, then she is without value. Moreover, some people would do the same for their pets. I value my doberman. If anyone tried to harm my doberman (rofl), I would do my best (not a puny man here) to prevent them. Does this mean that my doberman and your daughter are of equal value? Maybe, maybe not. What about a hamster? Gerbil? Snake? Spike? Ant?

Your morality begs the question. You are simply telling us that you would protect your daughter because you value her. Your decision to value your daughter is a moral choice. Others make different moral choices about their daughters and choose to molest them, put them out to prostitution, sell them into the sex slave, physically and mentally abuse them, etc. Why should someone value their daughter in just the same way that you do? Do you value ants and spiders and rocks the same way? Why not?

By the way, I never called you a puny man. Interesting that you should have been dishonest in this way. Is that moral?

You don't understand the Christian model Dawson. That much is abundantly clear. The divine act of Christ's sacrifice is a display of immeasurable love. Your mischaracterization of it is another indication of your own willingness to be dishonest in your criticism of it. Usually, when men begin employing these kind of tactics it is because they realize their arguments are weak or completely ineffective.

God was not indifferent in any way. You set up your own arbitrary values that are without a rational foundation themselves, and indefensible I might add, and then use such nonsense as fodder to attack Christian theism. What a philosophical howler that one turns out to be.

The only way God could have intervened to rescue His Son would have been to decide to let the rest of us perish. God is perfectly holy, perfectly good. Sin could not go without the exact sort of punishment it merits. If God did not punish sin in precisely the way He does, He would cease to be God. The only hope for rescuing sinners like me and you was that Christ would willingly die in my place, taking my sin and being punished in my place so that I could live in His place. The exchange is beyond remarkable. God's justice and mercy are both perfectly preserved in the atoning work of Christ. Place you faith in Him and you too will know what I know, believe what I believe, and experience what I experience.

December 19, 2015 5:34 PM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

Ed: “If morality is the product of rational thought, I would imagine that values would be as well.”

On my worldview, morality is the application of reason to the task of living. Man is a biological organism which possesses a consciousness capable of identifying perceptual input in conceptual form. As with any biological organism, man faces a fundamental alternative: to live or to stop living. In order to live, man needs values. Values are those things which make life possible and worth living. These include food, water, shelter, clothing, money, sex, happiness, skills, pleasure, medicine, technology, etc.

Morality is not something we invent, like rules to a game. Rather, we discover certain relevant facts about our nature and, if we choose to live, govern our choices and actions according to those facts. We need reason in order to identify and integrate those facts and to identify and integrate the actions we need to take in order to achieve and preserve those values which we need. That’s the Objectivist view, put very, very briefly.

Ed: “And if this is the case, then what is moral and what is valuable is simply determined by a rational mind.”

Again, speaking from my worldview, what is moral and what is valuable are discovered by the rational mind. They are not conjured up as if by magic (as in Christianity).

Ed: “There is no rational foundation for value or meaning in a world that simple is,”

We don’t get to pick which world we live in. Your statement here suggests that there’s no rational foundation for value or meaning in a world that is itself not a product of conscious activity (cf. as if were wished into existence by an invisible magic being). I have no idea why anyone would suppose this, but clearly the acceptance of the primacy of consciousness metaphysics (e.g., wishing makes it so) as well as an irrational understanding of what morality is are central to errors of this nature.

Ed: “however you think it came to be so long as it has no teleological origin.”

I don’t think reality “came to be” (as though at some point before there was no reality to begin with) in the first place. I don’t think that reality is a product of conscious activity. All evidence that I am aware of (from my first waking moments till I put my head on my pillow head at night) declares unanimously that existence exists independent of conscious activity.

As I’ve asked other Christians before: If I go into my backyard and pick up a pebble from the ground, what in that pebble suggests that it was created by an act of wishing? I find absolutely zero evidence for such a view. And certainly wishing that this were the case won’t make it the case.

I suggest we put away childish fantasies when it comes to our understanding of reality. Wishing doesn’t make it so, and reality is fundamentally distinct from what we imagine. Our understanding of reality needs to conform to these facts without compromise. I know of no philosophy other than Objectivism which advocates such a view.

[continued…]

December 19, 2015 7:18 PM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

Ed: “Your argument for values basically amounts to you value your daughter because your daughter is valuable and your daughter is valuable because you value your daughter.”

Where did I present such an argument?

Look, if we can simply proceed by putting words into each other’s mouths, why carry on a discourse? Why not seek first to understand? The problem is, Ed, like so many before you, you’ve come here with a settled, premeditated commitment that my position must be wrong no matter what, precisely because it does not enshrine the fantasy you call “God.” That is simply irrational. My whole blog effort is an invitation to put the fantasies down and start using your mind like an adult human being, with all the privileges and responsibilities that come with the ability to reason.

Ed: “What you fail to demonstrate is that your daughter is intrinsically valuable apart from the value you place on her.”

I don’t subscribe to the intrinsic theory of values. The intrinsic theory of values is irrational. Moreover, I don’t need to demonstrate that my daughter should be a value to anyone else. I’ve already accepted the responsibility of taking care of her. After all, she’s one of my highest of all values!

Ed: “Absent you, your daughter is without value.”

You speak for yourself here, Ed. Moreover, you seem to think she is incapable of valuing herself. That says a lot.

Ed: “In other words, without a rational mind there to value your daughter, then she is without value.”

Value is a moral concept, and morality is a rational discipline. I’m not sure what you’re unclear on, but what is clear is that you’re trying to argue to some preferred conclusion by incrementally distorting my position along the way. This only suggests that you have no argument against my position as it is actually informed.

Ed: “Moreover, some people would do the same for their pets. I value my doberman. If anyone tried to harm my doberman (rofl), I would do my best (not a puny man here) to prevent them.”

You’re a better man than the Christian god. But it’s true: we do choose what we’re going to value. Rational choices are fact-based choices. Irrational values are choices which ignore the facts. (No, you’ll not find this in the bible.)

[continued…]

December 19, 2015 7:18 PM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

Ed: “Does this mean that my doberman and your daughter are of equal value?”

It very well may be that you value your dog over many other things in reality, including a stranger’s daughter. After all, you’ve never become acquainted with my daughter, so why would I expect you to value her?

Ed: “Your morality begs the question.”

So, a morality informed by facts and guided by reason “begs the question”? How so? Please explain this.

Ed: “You are simply telling us that you would protect your daughter because you value her.”

I seek to protect all my values. I certainly do not accept any teaching which holds that I should surrender my values.

Ed: “Your decision to value your daughter is a moral choice.”

Sure. In concert with other values I hold, she makes my life worth living.

Consider a parent who seeks to sacrifice his children because he believes the god he imagines commanded him to do so. In such a scenario, the real is to be sacrificed to the imaginary, just as in your example of the father whose son was captured by ISIS. If the imaginary is more important to you, then clearly your worldview teaches you to treat reality as though it were a mere fantasy.

Ed: “Others make different moral choices about their daughters and choose to molest them, put them out to prostitution, sell them into the sex slave, physically and mentally abuse them, etc.”

Such destruction is not moral, but vicious and immoral. Again, the moral is pro-value, vice is anti-value. I realize this is still very unclear to you, which is why I cautioned earlier that you’re not yet ready for an intellectual discussion of morality.

Ed: “Why should someone value their daughter in just the same way that you do?”

This is ultimately up to the individual to discover for himself what he should or should not value.

Ed: “By the way, I never called you a puny man.”

I did not say that you did. You used the word “puny,” a word you have used on more than one occasion (and introduced) in this conversation, and I credited you (“to use your word” – note the singular here).

Ed: “Interesting that you should have been dishonest in this way. Is that moral?”

How is acknowledging your use of the word “puny” either dishonest or immoral?

[continued…]

December 19, 2015 7:19 PM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

Ed: “Does this mean that my doberman and your daughter are of equal value?”

It very well may be that you value your dog over many other things in reality, including a stranger’s daughter. After all, you’ve never become acquainted with my daughter, so why would I expect you to value her?

Ed: “Your morality begs the question.”

So, a morality informed by facts and guided by reason “begs the question”? How so? Please explain this.

Ed: “You are simply telling us that you would protect your daughter because you value her.”

I seek to protect all my values. I certainly do not accept any teaching which holds that I should surrender my values.

Ed: “Your decision to value your daughter is a moral choice.”

Sure. In concert with other values I hold, she makes my life worth living.

Consider a parent who seeks to sacrifice his children because he believes the god he imagines commanded him to do so. In such a scenario, the real is to be sacrificed to the imaginary, just as in your example of the father whose son was captured by ISIS. If the imaginary is more important to you, then clearly your worldview teaches you to treat reality as though it were a mere fantasy.

Ed: “Others make different moral choices about their daughters and choose to molest them, put them out to prostitution, sell them into the sex slave, physically and mentally abuse them, etc.”

Such destruction is not moral, but vicious and immoral. Again, the moral is pro-value, vice is anti-value. I realize this is still very unclear to you, which is why I cautioned earlier that you’re not yet ready for an intellectual discussion of morality.

Ed: “Why should someone value their daughter in just the same way that you do?”

This is ultimately up to the individual to discover for himself what he should or should not value.

Ed: “By the way, I never called you a puny man.”

I did not say that you did. You used the word “puny,” a word you have used on more than one occasion (and introduced) in this conversation, and I credited you (“to use your word” – note the singular here).

Ed: “Interesting that you should have been dishonest in this way. Is that moral?”

How is acknowledging your use of the word “puny” either dishonest or immoral?

[continued…]

December 19, 2015 7:19 PM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

December 19, 2015 7:19 PM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

Ed: “You don't understand the Christian model Dawson.”

If it’s true that I don’t understand it, then I certainly would be in no position to say it’s true. How can I call something that I don’t understand true? But it’s not difficult to understand. I’m just not emotionally beholden to it. So I can assess it soberly.

Ed: “The divine act of Christ's sacrifice is a display of immeasurable love.”

“Love” for the non-ideal, for the vicious, for the evil-doers. Certainly not love for the ideal, the virtuous, the good on its own terms.

Ed: “God was not indifferent in any way.”

Moral agents, including fictional characters, are to be judged ultimately on their actions. As Rand put it, “Judge, and be prepared to be judged.”

Ed: “You set up your own arbitrary values that are without a rational foundation themselves,”

Which values are those? Are they relevantly dissimilar to the things you value, such as food, water, shelter, pleasure, skills, happiness, and other things that make your life possible and worth living? What makes you think factually based values are arbitrary? What could a Christian possibly have against anything that is ultimately arbitrary?

Ed: “The only way God could have intervened to rescue His Son would have been to decide to let the rest of us perish.”

Isn’t that what Christianity says we all deserve? So to make the immoral actions of the Christian god even worse, he allowed his innocent son to die at the hands of vicious people in order to deny justice. Two wrongs don’t make a right.

[continued…]

December 19, 2015 7:23 PM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

Ed: “God is perfectly holy, perfectly good.”

Your “perfectly good” god, according to Bahnsen, is not absolutely opposed to evil. According to him, as I pointed out earlier, the Christian god “has a morally sufficient reason for the evil which exists,” which is a complete contradiction in terms. It’s no surprise that Bahnsen did not elaborate.

Ed: “Sin could not go without the exact sort of punishment it merits. If God did not punish sin in precisely the way He does, He would cease to be God.”

But see, by allowing his son to be executed, he didn’t punish sin – he punished his own son. As we hear time and time from Christians, “Jesus paid the price.” Every Christian fails to explain how this is rationally moral.

Ed: “The only hope for rescuing sinners like me and you was that Christ would willingly die in my place, taking my sin and being punished in my place so that I could live in His place.”

In other words, justice was turned on its head. This is the “justification” given by Christianity for the Christian god allowing his son to be executed. And to call this an “act of love” is to make a mockery of love.

Ed: “The exchange is beyond remarkable.”

You only say this because Christianity characterizes you as being on the receiving end of unearned favor.

Ed: “God's justice and mercy are both perfectly preserved in the atoning work of Christ.”

If that’s the case, then “God’s justice” is not justice at all, but rather a compromise with evil in which values are sacrificed on behalf of vicious murderers who are supposed to accept that sacrifice as some kind of act of redemption.

Granted, I realize that from within the bubble of Christian fantasy, it’s difficult if not impossible for believers to cut through their emotional fog and grasp these truths. But I’m going to point them out nevertheless.

Ed: “Place you faith in Him and you too will know what I know, believe what I believe, and experience what I experience.”

And here comes the alter call.

No thanks, Ed. If you’re looking for converts, you’ve come to the wrong place. The only reason you could possibly want to stick around here now is to save face.

Regards,
Dawson

December 19, 2015 7:23 PM  
Blogger photosynthesis said...

Ed Dingess,

I am studying presuppositional apologetics with Mike Butler. Care to dance?

Muahahahahahaha! You're studying that self-refuting piece of shit called presuppositional bullshitologetics and come here to try your newly developed skill at making a fool of yourself? Neat!

December 19, 2015 8:48 PM  
Blogger Ed Dingess said...

Dawson,
My argument for knowledge is pretty straightforward and it does not commit the fallacy of an infinite regress. Knowledge is required for knowledge. Without knowledge, knowledge cannot get started. I would think it a fascinating argument for one to make the contrary argument just to see what it might look like.

Now, to be more specific:
A posterior knowledge--> a priori knowledge
A posterior knowledge
/ a priori knowledge

Or
A posteriori knowledge --> a priori knowledge
~ a priori knowledge
/ ~ a posteriori knowledge

Christian theism tells us that all the treasures of sophia and gnosis (wisdom and knowledge) are apokruphos (hidden) in Christ. God is the beginning of knowledge of human beings. Knowledge, by its very nature requires knowledge. Now, before you demand that God must then have acquired knowledge someplace else, let's be clear: God, by His very nature possess infinitely perfect knowledge of all things past, present, future and otherwise. A human being, having a beginning, must have necessarily had a beginning of knowledge. But such a beginning is impossible for knowledge by its very nature. Knowledge cannot appear from nothing or simply begin. Such a position fails to understand what knowledge is in itself.

Either knowledge from no knowledge is possible or knowledge from no knowledge is not possible.
Knowledge from no knowledge is not possible.

The conclusion that knowledge from nothing is not possible is self-evident because if it were possible, we could know it which would make it impossible. Therefore, since knowledge from no knowledge is not possible, prior knowledge is necessarily true.

~(knowledge & ~knowledge) or if you prefer, ~knowledge or ~~knowledge.

The Christian theory of knowledge is that all knowledge is revealed knowledge, transferred knowledge from God to man. But that transfer of knowledge was finite on the one hand and know suffers from the noetic effects of sin. It is upon that knowledge that man builds and progresses in and toward greater knowledge.

By the way, there is no way I can keep up with multiple posts from multiple people. I was thinking that perhaps a man who put up on blog called Incinerating Presuppositionalism might have some new and interesting things to say about the approach. But what I am finding is more of the same old tired failed arguments and of course nasty, insulting comments like the one Photo put up above. What an ugly character he must be.

December 20, 2015 3:23 AM  
Blogger Ed Dingess said...

Dawson,
It is true that you cannot call something true that you cannot understand. I agree with you. But neither can you call it false and you also cannot do a fair evaluation of it because you do not understand it. Seriously, one of the most basic tenets of Christian theism is the atonement and your characterization of it is not only ignorant, but absolutely deplorable.

December 20, 2015 3:28 AM  
Blogger Ed Dingess said...

Dawson stated:
Your “perfectly good” god, according to Bahnsen, is not absolutely opposed to evil. According to him, as I pointed out earlier, the Christian god “has a morally sufficient reason for the evil which exists,” which is a complete contradiction in terms. It’s no surprise that Bahnsen did not elaborate.

Ed's Response:
Saying that something is a contradiction and demonstrating that it is a contradiction are different things.
God is absolutely opposed to evil
Evil exists
Therefore, God must have a morally sufficient reason for the evil that exists

I am opposed to evil. My son being butchered by ISIS could be prevented by recanting my Christian confession. I allow my son to be butchered by ISIS because I have a morally sufficient reason for the lessor evil.

There is no contradiction in that argument. You have a lot more work to do if you want to show that there is.

That being said, Christianity certainly has enough paradox to to around. But apparent contradictions and demonstrable contradictions are not equivalent. And worse still, you appeal to laws of logic without providing the slightest rational foundation for how such laws are made possible in a world such as you claim exists.

December 20, 2015 4:33 AM  
Blogger Ed Dingess said...

Responses will slow after this one:

Dawson said:
<>

First, you say morality is located in the rational mind while Christianity claims it is located in the divine nature of God. Somehow your claim has warrant (which is laughable) and my claim is characterized as magic (and that is somehow respectful?).

Folks, the problem with Dawson's view is that it is hopeless subjective. His morality in his worldview has no transcendent ability. Hitler was perfectly moral given that his morality was the product of his rational mind operating within his worldview. This is utterly absurd. It is true, atheists simply cannot provide a shred of rational support for objective morality in any meaningful way whatsoever. Such exchanges have provided nothing interesting so far and it seems that only a fool would hold out hopes that they would. *Sigh*

As for human beings having some sort of capabilities by their very nature, nothing could be more controversial. This is sloppy philosophy at best. It seems to be based off a naive common-sense approach as far as I can tell. But what should you expect from a philosophy that has its roots in a fictional project anyways.

What I want you interact with more than anything else is my comment about knowledge. You are assuming way more than I will allow you to in this conversation. And to be honest, so far, there isn't even anything in the blog that Greg Bahnsen would find interesting, let alone challenging at this point. But that doesn't mean there is nothing there. I am still looking, still searching. Perhaps I will find something along the lines of TAG.

December 20, 2015 4:48 AM  
Blogger ActionJackson864 said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

December 20, 2015 5:41 AM  
Blogger ActionJackson864 said...

Hello Ed, thank you for taking the time to dialogue with Dawson.

Dawson, thank you for your continued well thought out writings, comments and blogging.

I appreciate both of you taking the time to interact with each other, as I know this is a time consuming process.

It's been awhile ( what, close to a year?? ) since an apologist showed up here in an attempt to show how "foolish" the denial of an all powerful God is.

I am looking forward to what may transpire between the two of you and your interactions.

*grabs popcorn and puts on reading hat*

December 20, 2015 5:42 AM  
Blogger Brandon Dickens said...

Dawson,

I really do not know how, after all this time, you continue to have the patience to deal with the same unargued assertions and communication styles from online presups. There have been so many Eds over the years that follow the exact same behavioral patterns, it astounds me. So much so that I would be curious if any of them could pass the Turing test.

When I am not involved in the conversation here (which is most of the time), it is not so troublesome, but being invested, it is quite frustrating because it feels mostly like a waste of time. However, in my conversations with presups in real life, they seem much more respectful, receptive, intelligent, as well as far less sensitive, and I have generally had an enriching experience with them, even if nothing was resolved between our worldviews. But, perhaps these are outliers.

In any event, I appreciate and enjoy what you do here, and I am looking forward to a new entry before the new year (maybe?).

Sincerely,
Brandon D Dickens

December 20, 2015 5:46 AM  
Blogger Ed Dingess said...

Hey Brandon,
Would you like a tiara to go with your drama? For crying out loud Brandon, be a man for a change. I have not insulted anyone at this point. I have no doubt that Dawson and others in here are very intelligent individuals. I am sure you are just a bright. I would never imply that I am smarter than anyone commenting on this sight, to include you or Brandon. But criticism is not for the thin-skinned. I am not insulted when someone says my argument is specious or ridiculous or some other adjective they wish to employ. All I ask is if that is the case, then we ought to want to demonstrate why it is the case. After all, we really do want to persuade each other of our world view. And I have more intrinsic motivation than anyone else to do that. If you feel I have personally insulted you as a person, I apologize. My aim is your beliefs or perhaps at times, your behavior, but it is never you personally.

December 20, 2015 6:06 AM  
Blogger photosynthesis said...

Ed,

Would you like a tiara to go with your drama? For crying out loud Brandon, be a man for a change. I have not insulted anyone at this point.

Of course you have Ed. But no worries. Brandon was not dramatizing anything. I wonder why you had to make a demonstration by actually insulting the guy here. However, you're also a hypocrite. You ran away from our conversations at youtube because you felt insulted (Kertesian here).

I have no doubt that Dawson and others in here are very intelligent individuals. I am sure you are just a bright. I would never imply that I am smarter than anyone commenting on this sight, to include you or Brandon.

Ha! Come on Ed. Don;t be such a hypocrite. You indeed think that you are smarter than the rest of us combined, only to show the opposite.

But criticism is not for the thin-skinned.

Your skin, like your arguments, rips apart with too much ease Ed. I have witnessed it.

I am not insulted when someone says my argument is specious or ridiculous or some other adjective they wish to employ.

Bullshit. You run away from the arguments when you feel insulted. I have witnessed so.

All I ask is if that is the case, then we ought to want to demonstrate why it is the case.

Bullshit. You don't read for comprehension in the first place, and, when the arguments are presented in the colourful terms that your rhetorical bullshit deserves, you use that as an excuse to justify the lack of attention that you are happy to employ regardless.

After all, we really do want to persuade each other of our world view.

I know you don't actually want to persuade anybody here. You want to persuade other imbeciles like yourself that you have some argument that will make "atheists" shut up. Persuading atheists is not within your goals. It would be against the "method." Not only that. If you wanted to persuade, you would be much more willing to pay attention, but you aren't. You just want to have the feeling of "winning" and be done with it.

And I have more intrinsic motivation than anyone else to do that.

Your system starts with the very idea that only "God" can and will save people of "His" choosing Ed. Don't be such a hypocrite.

If you feel I have personally insulted you as a person, I apologize. My aim is your beliefs or perhaps at times, your behavior, but it is never you personally.

Holy crap Ed. You stated quite the opposite before. What makes you think that contradicting your own words and your "system" along with it will help your case? I know that hypocrisy and double standards abound in your "truly biblical system," but you have to be a little less obvious.

December 20, 2015 6:38 AM  
Blogger photosynthesis said...

Brandon,

I'm surprised that you have had actual conversations with arrogant hypocrites bound to the presuppositional bullshit. I have never found one who had the slightest of honesty or integrity as human beings. I suspect that the "method" attracts arrogant imbeciles like Ed in the first place. I would be surprised if I ever found a decent one. This is why I have no respect for any of them. They're full of shit, and they're proud of that. So I give them what they sow.

December 20, 2015 6:44 AM  
Blogger Brandon Dickens said...

Ed,

You wrote: "Would you like a tiara to go with your drama? For crying out loud Brandon, be a man for a change. I have not insulted anyone at this point."

I am not quite following you here, Ed. You have misunderstood something if you think I am personally offended by you (despite your attempt above to question my masculinity). As I have maintained, my goal was to facilitate effective communication and mutual learning -- two things that you have demonstrated, repeatedly, that you are not all that interested in. To be fair, it is also my fault to think that this conversation would evolve into something different from all the conversations started by presups on this site (which was the point of my comment to Dawson). I would love to be wrong about this.

You wrote: "I have no doubt that Dawson and others in here are very intelligent individuals. I am sure you are just a bright. I would never imply that I am smarter than anyone commenting on this sight, to include you or Brandon."

That is interesting, I thought we were "mindless little minions." I bring this up not because I am personally bothered by it (who are you to me, anyway?), but as just a sample of your ongoing inconsistency and apparent desire for self-aggrandizement.

You wrote: "After all, we really do want to persuade each other of our world view."

Again, interesting, in light of what you wrote earlier: "You question about whether or not I am looking to persuade you to (Christianity) is a perfect example that you fail to understand that men do not conclude Christ as a result of arguments and impressive evidence."

Seems like you do not know if you are coming or going, Ed.

You wrote: "If you feel I have personally insulted you as a person, I apologize. My aim is your beliefs or perhaps at times, your behavior, but it is never you personally."

It should be clear by now that I am not personally insulted by you, Ed. Just, at the moment, rather bored. Maybe that will change.

Sincerely,
Brandon D Dickens

December 20, 2015 6:45 AM  
Blogger Brandon Dickens said...

Photo,

I actually have found quite a few decent presups -- if by "decent" we are meaning intelligent, respectful, and receptive, though I generally avoid conversations about morality, as each of us sees the other as morally bankrupt.

However, I have made some progress discussing metaphysics and epistemology, and some presups have actually helped me better understand some classical philosophy, not to mention enlightening me on the views of some early Christian thinkers. As I find the subjects of religion and philosophy infinitely interesting, I tend to get quite a bit of enjoyment out of the conversations.

Sincerely,
Brandon D Dickens

December 20, 2015 7:31 AM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

Ed: “It is true that you cannot call something true that you cannot understand. I agree with you. But neither can you call it false and you also cannot do a fair evaluation of it because you do not understand it.”

I understand it, Ed. And it’s false, irrational, and poisonous to the human mind. And I know this, and I’ve shown this. You *feel* otherwise. I know that, too.

Ed: “Seriously, one of the most basic tenets of Christian theism is the atonement and your characterization of it is not only ignorant, but absolutely deplorable.”

In other words, you don’t like it. But that doesn’t make it either ignorant or absolutely deplorable. Again, much of this is a question of character: you worship a father-deity which allowed his own child to be sacrificed – and, mind you, in circumstances that are not even remotely similar to the scenario you came up with to evade the matter, namely the father whose son is being threatened by ISIS. We already have your answer to my question: you would rather coddle your fantasies than do anything to rescue your own child. The god you imagine must be very proud of you. But then again, only he who endureth to the end will be saved (cf. Mt. 24:13). You, Ed Dingess, assuming you really do believe you’re now saved (how could anyone confirm that you are?), may in fact not endure to the end. For all you know, it might suit “God’s good pleasure” to allow you to go to hell, just as it allowed Jesus to be executed. It’s no skin of your god’s back, right?

Ed: “First, you say morality is located in the rational mind while Christianity claims it is located in the divine nature of God.”

I guess you simply haven’t read what I stated about morality; either that, or you have not integrated anything I’ve written. Go back and read it again. If you’re unwilling to understand what I’ve written, just say so and I’ll devote my time to more productive things.

Ed: “Somehow your claim has warrant (which is laughable) and my claim is characterized as magic (and that is somehow respectful?).”

Let me see. According to Dictionary.com, the term ‘magic’ denotes “any extraordinary or mystical influence, charm, power, etc.” I can think of no clearer example of this than the Christian notion of divine creation. According to this doctrine, the Christian god desired that the universe come into existence, and as a result of enacting this desire, the universe popped into existence. It’s essentially an act of wishing producing material that did not exist before the act of wishing. Neat trick. Why believe this is anything other than a children’s fantasy?

Ed, I know it frustrates you, but I don’t believe any of it. And no, I don’t respect utterly mind-negating irrationality masquerading as truth.

Meanwhile, I consider morality a hugely important intellectual discipline, and children’s fantasies have no place in it.

You don’t have to like this, Ed. But you’re not going to change it. You can call my arguments “puny”; you can insult the readers of this blog (“mindless minions”); you can disparage my views (“laughable”), etc., all you like. But no matter how hard you wish, your wishing won’t change anything. I think more adults need to learn this all-too obvious truth. But they won’t if they’re spending every Sunday getting sermonized about some invisible magic being which “controls whatsoever comes to pass” (VT, DoF, p. 160) from an imaginary throne.

[continued…]

December 20, 2015 10:13 AM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

Ed: “Folks, the problem with Dawson's view is that it is hopeless subjective.”

So views that are based on facts and developed in accordance with reason are “hopeless subjective.” You tell us about yourself here, Ed.

Ed: “His morality in his worldview has no transcendent ability.”

What is this supposed to mean?

It really shouldn’t be that difficult to understand, Ed: “The purpose of morality is to teach you, not to suffer and die, but to enjoy yourself and live” (Ayn Rand, For the New Intellectual, p. 123). I want to live and enjoy my life, Ed, not suffer and die. Therefore, I’ll go with the Objectivist ethics. The fact that you resent this, Ed Dingess, tells us all we really need to know about you.

Ed: “Hitler was perfectly moral given that his morality was the product of his rational mind operating within his worldview.”

How do you figure? On the contrary, Hitler seems to have many things in common with the Christian god. After all, Hitler appealed to the Christian god in many of his speeches, and he believed that he had “a morally sufficient reason for the evil which exists.” Hitler expected to be obeyed on his own authority, and he backed up is authority with threats (cf. “believe or burn”). Hitler presumed for himself the power to choose who lives and who dies, and how. This does not resemble anything in Objectivist philosophy. But it has all the telling marks of religious mysticism.

Ed: “atheists simply cannot provide a shred of rational support for objective morality in any meaningful way whatsoever.”

I guess you simply have a different understanding of what “objective” means, Ed. Somehow, you have the feeling that the concept of objectivity as a philosophical principle is compatible with religion’s wishing-makes-it-so fantasy-hysteria. I’ve asked many Christians over the years to explain this, but unsurprisingly they can’t. Apparently they simply don’t know what objectivity is.

Ed: “Such exchanges have provided nothing interesting so far and it seems that only a fool would hold out hopes that they would.”

A common trait among the religions of the Near East is to vilify and scapegoat outsiders (e.g., “atheists”) simply for being outsiders. I suspect this collectivistic tendency has its roots in primitive ages when one tribe feared the tribe settled on the other side of the hill. It shuts down empathy and it closes the mind to learning.

Ed: “As for human beings having some sort of capabilities by their very nature, nothing could be more controversial.”

Ah, here’s the appeal to lack of universal agreement again I suppose. So, given our nature, we don’t have any capabilities? That’s the Christian view? What does this say about our alleged “designer”? Our “designer,” according to Christianity, must have made us completely incompetent. And Christians complain that atheism leads to nihilism? This is beyond comical.

Ed: “What I want you interact with more than anything else is my comment about knowledge.”

Ed, I’ve interacted with garbage like that for years. I’ve already spoken to it in numerous blog entries. If you’re really interested in learning more about my views of knowledge, my blog has over 400 entries just waiting for you to read them. But I don’t think you’re really interested in my views. You just want to argue and, apparently, make yourself look like a good fool for Jesus. You’ve achieved this last goal, whether you set out to accomplish it or not.

If you want me to piece through your recent droppings on knowledge, I will have to charge you a fee. But I doubt you’ll pay it.

Ed: “You are assuming way more than I will allow you to in this conversation.”

You have no jurisdiction over what other minds will or will not assume, Ed. You have no authority here. Your wishing is worthless.

Regards,
Dawson

December 20, 2015 10:14 AM  
Blogger Ed Dingess said...

Brandon,
If you are bored, then find someplace else to be. That's what I used to tell my kids and my mom and grandma used to tell me when I whined to them that I was bored, which was rare.

It seems to me that you don't want to talk so, don't talk. It doesn't won't hurt my feelings at all if you ignore the conversation. I do what I do because it is one way for me to share and defend the Christian gospel. I don't do it so that people will have something interesting to read. How it impacts others is not something I spend a great deal of time thinking about. God is the one that opens the human mind for true knowledge, not me or my arguments or my style.

But we are just getting started. So you may want to stick around a while.

December 20, 2015 10:15 AM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

Ed wrote to Brandon: “If you are bored, then find someplace else to be.”

Brandon, please ignore this message from Ed. You are perfectly welcome to comment here, regarding anything that might be on your mind. Ed does not have any authority to tell anyone to leave this blog.

You got that, Ed????

Regards,
Dawson

December 20, 2015 10:45 AM  
Blogger Ed Dingess said...

Dawson,
Done! I will do my review of your positions at my blog.

You got that, Dawson?????

December 20, 2015 1:04 PM  
Blogger ActionJackson864 said...

"That's what I used to tell my kids and my mom and grandma used to tell me when I whined to them that I was bored"

why are presuppers generally in favor of using childish gibes as such? I find this common with Van Shillian followers.

It seems they are not seekers of truth, they just want to degrade atheists who do not have the tools to deal with their gimmickry.

December 20, 2015 3:30 PM  
Blogger Brandon Dickens said...

Dawson,

I do sincerely appreciate the backup, but Ed does not bother me in the least, nor does he have any significant influence over my actions. As he has repeatedly demonstrated, he is only interested in trying to puff himself up, and a big part of that is trying to control others (faith and force, after all).

If you recall, his original purpose was to get you to shut your blog down, though he has backtracked on that purpose quite a few times.

As I stated in my reply to him (none of which he addressed), he cannot stay consistent, even to his own words. Of course, that is to be expected, as his worldview does not teach him to be consistent, nor does it consider consistency important.

Thanks again, though.

Sincerely,
Brandon D Dickens

December 20, 2015 4:05 PM  
Blogger photosynthesis said...

Apparently we should now all be impressed that Ed has his own blog. You know, like the feeling we had when we learned that he was being taught the presuppositional bullshit with some guy whose last name is Butler.

December 20, 2015 4:41 PM  
Blogger Ed Dingess said...

Dawson,
As promised:

http://reformedreasons.blogspot.com

December 20, 2015 6:04 PM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

Hi Brandon,

You wrote: “I do sincerely appreciate the backup, but Ed does not bother me in the least, nor does he have any significant influence over my actions.”

Yes, I realize that is certainly the case. What I will not tolerate, however, is when some antagonistic commenter starts trying to take over the comment section of my blog and tries to boss other commenters around. Such pompous and childish presumptuousness is among the worst of human vices. The guy couldn’t even go one week before trying stunts like that. Seriously, I think he has some really profound emotional problems, another witch doctor wannabe filled with resentment and envy who probably has some deep, unresolved issues going back to his childhood and the parenting style he was raised with.

Whenever apologists like Dingess come here and try to start a rage war with their boastful, chest-pounding antics, I’m reminded of the Schoefield Kid in Unforgiven. He’s taken by his own big talk and apparently thinks he’ll have some charismatic sway over others. When this does not go the way the apologist had hoped, he starts to unravel quite quickly. At least the Schoefield Kid grew from his experiences – but for him, the people he saw die were real.

“As he has repeatedly demonstrated, he is only interested in trying to puff himself up, and a big part of that is trying to control others (faith and force, after all).”

I really think that part of the problem is that, in the mind of someone like Ed Dingess, we’re not actually real people. Rather, we’re characters in a fantasy, with no individuality or life or minds of our own, and our only purpose in existing (to whatever extent he allows that we are real) is to serve as targets for his assertions and incantations. Any time we show that we do in fact have minds of our own and call him on his falsehoods, he gets frustrated, angry, and redoubles his spell-casting efforts which are intended to put us into his preferred categories.

It’s obvious from the beginning that his apologetic cannot interact with rival positions on their own terms, so the only way he can prevail (in his mind, at any rate) is to try to dictate those terms and tell everyone what they actually believe and hold to be true.

Dingess demonstrates in a most profound manner (as have many who have tried the same over the years – I don’t need to name names) what one might call ‘cabbage head mentality’. The idea relates to any garden variety cabbage: you can hold it under running water for five minutes if you want, but no water ever soaks in – it just runs right off it and down the drain. Similarly with folks like Ed Dingess: they refuse to allow any new knowledge come into their minds, especially if it comes to him from sources which his fantasies require to be targets of his scorn.

Am I mistaken on any of this? I mean, there’s a clear pattern here that seems to be on eternal repeat among the presuppers especially. What are the Michael Butlers of the apologetic world telling these youngsters? They’re the Wahhabists of Christian evangelism.

Regards,
Dawson

December 20, 2015 6:39 PM  
Blogger photosynthesis said...

That interesting Dawson. I never thought of it that way.

December 20, 2015 7:07 PM  
Blogger ActionJackson864 said...

Thats a new point of view on the cartoon universe.

These presup types think they have some kind of "super KO punch" type argument. And it works ok when an atheist or agnostic (one who hasn't encountered this argument before) type has it sprung upon them.

But when they try to use it on someone who understands what they are doing, it is countered and they don't know what to do.

So they just resort to the bible verses that say "don't talk to atheists" or whatever. "Don't rely on your own understanding".

And then tell us we better turn, so we don't burn. At this point, they realize they have to lie to themselves and everyone they know when they understand what's being presented with the axioms of Objectivism...among countless other arguments presented in this blog.

December 20, 2015 7:15 PM  
Blogger Ed Dingess said...

Dawson,
You are free to stop by reformed reasons with your best arguments and chat anytime you wish. You boys remind me of a bunch a juveniles, gathered into your little group, grumbling about how your right and everyone else is wrong. Stop on over to reformed reasons and chat. Or, there is always google+. There is nothing stopping us from having a conversation there as well.

December 21, 2015 2:51 AM  
Blogger photosynthesis said...

It's interesting that Ed expects us to feel offended by his "judgement" of what we look like after so obviously contradicting himself, and conducting himself like a "juvenile." It's interesting that these guys think that kindergarten bravado will compel us to go and "chat" with him, when we already know that he has no challenge to offer, other than the challenge of getting him to understand that we're not the cartoons he would like us to be. That his wishing won't make it so.

December 21, 2015 6:12 AM  
Blogger Brandon Dickens said...

Dawson,

Generally, I am cautious about attributing the behavior of people like Ed to either psychological problems or parental upbringing, as it makes it seem as though Ed were a victim of some kind external circumstances. While those are two things may in fact be contributing factors, Ed is ultimately responsible for his own actions and behavior. I honestly think that he could correct his errors, if he chose to. But that would require more character than Ed has displayed so far.

As I stated previously, I have met several presups that did not behave in his ignorant and arrogant manner, despite holding similar beliefs and likely growing up in similar circumstances. I am much more inclined to believe that someone like "Bawling Rawling" actually suffers from some type of disorder that might require more than just self-reflection and a character check than I am some amateur apologist who wanders in here.

Regarding your hypothesis that people like Ed do not see us as people, there may be some truth to that. After all, in Ed's fantasy, we are all hell bound. Just from a sheer empathetic viewpoint, I think it may be a defense mechanism -- he cannot invest in us as people because he honestly believes that we will be tortured for all eternity (boundless love of his god and all).

Also, I think it is important to remember that because people like Ed's beliefs have no objective basis in reality, those beliefs become intimately entwined with their view of themselves. In a very real sense, rejecting Ed's fantasy is a rejection of Ed himself (in my view, anyway). Combined with the generally awful way people tend to present themselves online, this turns in to the habits of frustration, evasion, and antagonism. It also makes sense of the "cabbage head" mentality -- changing yourself (in Ed's case, his beliefs) is a difficult thing to do.

My two cents.

Sincerely,
Brandon D Dickens

December 21, 2015 6:20 AM  
Blogger Robert Bumbalough said...

Hello Friends. I found Ed's comments among my messages and thought to chime in with a brief comment.

Ed Dingess > // You question about whether or not I am looking to persuade you to (Christianity) is a perfect example that you fail to understand that men do not conclude Christ as a result of arguments and impressive evidence. That is a naturalistic version of Christianity that is foreign to Biblical Christianity. My hope is that God would open your heart to believe in Christ. Unless God does so, …. //

Ed has already lost the conversation by invoking metaphysical primacy of consciousness, asserting the stolen concept fallacy comprising the invalid notion of his fairy tale god, and committing a pure self-reference fallacy in asserting a form of consciousness somehow 'exists' outside of reality when there are no (as in none or zero) facts from which a valid concept that could be symbolized by the term "GOD" (the Abrahamic fantasy deity YHWH) occur. There is no way for him to demonstrate presuppositional Christian apologetics without factual evidence because magic is impossible. Only those willfully ignorant could actually "believe in" magic given what is now known about cosmic origins, spontaneous symmetry breaking, and gauge invariance, so it's amusing to read his blathering; although, it's rather sad that human genes code for ability to perform such silly brain activity.

Cheers; Happy Holidays; (Don't drink and Drive. Take a taxi, or get a sober person to drive.)

December 21, 2015 7:26 AM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

Hi Brandon,

Thanks for your thoughtful comments. Everything you’ve stated is well worth considering.

In regard to parenting, obviously my thinking on this has evolved over the years as I am raising a child myself. There are a gazillion things to bear in mind being a parent. I think parenting is extremely important, and while I certainly agree that adults are responsible for their choices and actions and for developing their own character, I also think that a lot of adults (probably most of us) are carrying around “issues” which began in our childhood, partly as a result of poor parenting (to some degree or another), and which we have not yet confronted and resolved in our adult lives. (I think a good example of this is how willing many young people are to go into debt to finance their education while thinking that a job at McDonalds is somehow beneath them – what did their parents teach and model all those years before?)

This is not meant to provide an excuse for poor behavior among adults in any way. I would also resist the interpretation of such analysis as meaning that adults are victims, even though there may be good arguments for such conclusions on a case by case basis. (Consider adults who were mercilessly abused when they were children; they were victims then – when did they all of a sudden stop being victims? The scars of abuse in childhood can last a lifetime.)

As adults, however, I think it is entirely incumbent upon us to overcome any deficiencies we may have suffered in childhood. That may be easier said than done. But playing the victim will only impede progress. (Again, I’m not an expert in these matters, so I’m certainly open to learning more!)

For someone like Ed Dingess, yes, absolutely he is capable of correcting his anti-social proclivities. But to do this he would first need to become aware of the fact that he has something to correct. I don’t think he’s there yet. Honest self-examination is crucial, but I’m convinced that religions impede just this in a more or less systematic manner. (Edmund Cohen offers some fascinating food for thought in his book The Mind of the Bible-Believer.)

And yes, the Ed Dingesses of the world are naturally prone to reacting to rejections of their positions as personal affronts. They are personally offended if you don’t believe as they do, and they’re personally offended when you don’t accept their claims as truth on their mere say-so. They seem to expect that the authority they imagine their god has should transfer to themselves in some way – “The Word” is supposed to work like magic, and it’s a big let-down when it doesn’t.

There may be much involved in this, but I think a large part of it is the commanding role which emotions are given in aligning with and clinging to those religious views in the first place. Like other religions, Christianity has a way of intensifying one’s emotions, especially given that the stakes are maximally high given whether or not one is committed. Given what their religion teaches, they do not view themselves as rational individuals existing in a universe of wonder and endless potential for discovery, but as foot soldiers in an ongoing narrative which began long ago and has already been planned for the rest of eternity. (This distorts everything, especially their views of knowledge and morality.)

This set of background “presuppositions” can only encourage the tendency to view others as props of a sort, not entirely on equal footing with themselves, for they are encouraged to view themselves as “chosen” ones, while the rest of us may very well be nothing more than fodder for their god’s wrath. As you put it, “he cannot invest in us as people because he honestly believes that we will be tortured for all eternity” (though I would replace “honestly” here with “actually” – I would need some strong convincing to suppose there’s any honesty involved here, and even “actually” may be wrong – I think Christianity positions believers into finding emotional comfort in viewing non-Christians as hell-bound).

[continued…]

December 21, 2015 8:37 AM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

I would also concede that the internet provides an outlet for certain behavioral tendencies that we would not likely see in people when we meet them face to face. Some have attributed this to the anonymity which the internet affords an individual. But I think this anonymity is simply cover for something more intimate. When people try to communicate primarily through a written medium, such as in an online forum, a chatroom, a comment section, emotions can run high of course, and the medium lacks the several dimensions available to communicators when they meet face to face. Various modes of emphasis, such as tone, pacing, volume level, hand gestures, facial expressions, etc., are not available in the written medium, consequently participants often try to find other ways to add emphasis to their communication. Name-calling and ridicule are immediately available, and often even otherwise stable adults have a difficult time resisting this avenue. The anonymity simply dispels any consequences to such behavior (or so it seems…). It’s something I’ve wrestled with myself over the years. But I’m aware of it, and that’s 50% of the battle.

As an example, my daughter has recently picked up the habit of responding with a flippant, “Whatever!” when I ask her to do something. She was not aware that she had this habit until I pointed it out to her. I calmly asked her why she says this and informed her that it is a form of rudeness. Now she’s become aware of the habit, and every time it starts to slip out, she catches herself and says sorry. I praise her for making the effort to correct herself and grow. She doesn’t want to be rude, but she probably picked this habit up from her school mates. It’s not from TV because we don’t have a TV. (I’m happy to have gotten rid of that blasted thing!)

I would also suspect that, if you encounter presuppositionalists outside of flame-war gatherings (which could be in public with street evangelists as well as online), like at work or in a calm social setting (where the religious defense mechanisms are not sparking with a hyper-adrenaline rush), I’m confident that many of them would project a different persona and may actually be agreeable fellows. I would hope at least! I have never encountered bona fide “Vantillians” outside of my online activity (if they’re out there, they aren’t calling attention to this aspect of themselves in my presence), so I have no firsthand anecdotes to go on here. But then again, I’m not going around promoting Objectivism in everyone’s faces either (not that I’m exactly doing that here on IP). My co-workers, for example, have little if any idea what I’m all about philosophically. I’m not pushing something. While I think philosophy is very important (obviously!), I’m not on a mission to evangelize everyone I encounter. I see no reason why a Vantillian couldn’t govern himself similarly, save for the fact that his religion teaches him to preach to all the world (which is kind of significant…).

I welcome your thoughts!

Regards,
Dawson

December 21, 2015 8:37 AM  
Blogger ActionJackson864 said...

"You boys remind me of a bunch a juveniles, gathered into your little group, grumbling about how your right and everyone else is wrong."

Why would I want to dialogue with someone who is constantly making condescending remarks like this?

This guy is not seeking truth, he is seeking validation from his presup buddies by acting disrespectful. At the same time he only wants to make atheists look stupid, he does not want to have a discussion. He wants nothing more than to denigrate.

December 21, 2015 10:03 AM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

Hi AJ,

You asked: “Why would I want to dialogue with someone who is constantly making condescending remarks like this?”

There’s not much draw there, is there?

But even more, if Ed really thinks this about us, why would he want to engage us in dialogue? He clearly wants me to take notice of his blog and continue the discussion there. But why would I want to? Why does he think I would want to?

“This guy is not seeking truth, he is seeking validation from his presup buddies by acting disrespectful.”

But are his presup buddies (whoever they are?) observing the discussion here? I don’t know. Maybe they are.

There seems to have been a spike in viewership on my blog over the past couple of days according to blogger.com. It’s quite curious though.

After the US, the highest number of page hits on my blog comes from the following countries (in this order): Russia, Canada, Poland, Ukraine, United Kingdom, Germany, France, Australia, Finland.

Who from Russia, Poland and Finland is reading my blog? If you're out there and reading this, please feel free to say hello. I'd love to hear from you!

“At the same time he only wants to make atheists look stupid, he does not want to have a discussion. He wants nothing more than to denigrate.”

I admit that it’s hard, given Ed’s behavior here, to infer otherwise. As I mentioned, I think he has some deep emotional problems. Apparently he thinks he’s proving something to the world. What exactly he thinks he’s proving is anybody’s guess.

Regards,
Dawson

December 21, 2015 10:52 AM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

Hi Robert,

Thanks for chiming in.

You wrote: “Ed has already lost the conversation by invoking metaphysical primacy of consciousness, asserting the stolen concept fallacy comprising the invalid notion of his fairy tale god, and committing a pure self-reference fallacy in asserting a form of consciousness somehow 'exists' outside of reality when there are no (as in none or zero) facts from which a valid concept that could be symbolized by the term "GOD" (the Abrahamic fantasy deity YHWH) occur.”

Yes, I agree, these are some of the devastating deficiencies afflicting Ed’s worldview.

But clearly he is not open to considering and understanding these things. That is what is so curious. If an individual thinks that his understanding of the world is really important, why would he be closed off to considering the possibility that he’s mistaken on crucial matters?

I’m reminded of Doug Jones’ Brief Introduction to Christianity which begins with the instruction that you (the reader) “imagine that you are mistaken about everything you hold dear.” I can do this by going through all the facts that I’ve come to “hold dear.”

For example, I can imagine that I’m mistaken that my consciousness does not hold metaphysical primacy over reality, that my wishing does not make it so, that what I imagine is not real; I can imagine that I am not a living biological organism; I can imagine that I won’t die one day; I can imagine that I’m mistaken in being concerned about my values; I can imagine that I’m mistaken that reason is the proper epistemological standard for the kind of consciousness I have; I can imagine that I’ve misunderstood Jones’ desire that I imagine that I’m mistaken about everything I hold dear, etc.

I can do what Jones asks here, but since I already know that what I imagine and what is actually the case are fundamentally distinct, that the real is not imaginary and that the imaginary is not real, Jones’ entire apologetic is a failure straight out of the gate. As part of my development of being self-aware, I know when I’m imagining, so Jones’ mirage can get no foothold with me.

The question then becomes, can believers question their views in a radical fashion, just as they insist that we question our own views in a radical fashion?

Thanks, Robert, for all your contributions over the years, and everyone else, too!

Yes, be safe over the holidays. Like Robert said, don’t get behind the wheel if you’ve been drinking. I don’t think anyone reading my blog would do that, but either way, just don’t. Life is precious. It is not a fantasy. It is real. Live your life as the real value that it is.

Regards,
Dawson

December 21, 2015 10:54 AM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

Photo,

Apparently you've encountered Ed Dingess elsewhere.

You wrote (above): "You ran away from our conversations at youtube because you felt insulted (Kertesian here)."

Got any links to share? If this guy has been trolling elsewhere, it would be handy to have things on record here.

Regards,
Dawson

December 21, 2015 11:31 AM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...

Hi Dawson,

After you mentioned the uptick in visitors to your blog, it made me think that maybe Ed had recently published and shared something about his interactions over here. Soo I clicked on his hyperlinked name above and discovered that, sure enough, he has!

You can access by doing what I did (clicking on his hyperlinked name above which will open his GooglePlus blogger page). Or you can go to YouTube and watch the video. It's titled "Applied Apologetics Incinerating Presuppositionalism," and he introduces it by stating, "We are just beginning to incinerate 'Incinerating Presuppositionalism' here and over at my blog 'Reformed Reasons.'

Here is the YouTube link to the video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j4gFyR7rHvk

Ydemoc

December 21, 2015 11:57 AM  
Blogger ActionJackson864 said...

Thanks for the link Ydemoc. Oh man...what a video. I'm beginning to think Ed is not going to read any of Dawson's posts, but is instead going to pick and choose comments and then "rebut" them with Van Tillian slogans and think he has "defended the faith".

He has completely misrepresented Objectivist morality in that video to the point that it makes me laugh.

What he is doing would be like trying to refute math without knowing the meanings of numbers.

December 21, 2015 12:34 PM  
Blogger photosynthesis said...

Hello guys!

Yes Dawson. I encountered this guy before. He got some public at a couple videos, one of them here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9gMiFl5nMfo

I interacted with him in a couple of the threads he opened. He dismantled himself quite a few times. I just pointed it out for him.

December 21, 2015 2:54 PM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...

ActionJackson.

Regarding supplying the link to the video -- my pleasure!

Ydemoc

December 21, 2015 4:34 PM  
Blogger Ed Dingess said...

I could not have hoped for more entertainment! Pass the popcorn Action!

You fellows are a hoot and a holler!

December 21, 2015 6:01 PM  
Blogger photosynthesis said...

Poor self-deluded Ed, as every imbecile taken by the presuppositional bullshit, claiming triumph after they have ridiculed themselves.

Anyway, here his admission of defeat after a few exchanges where he contradicted himself again and again:

"All that the believer needs, in order to be logically consistent in treating an apparent contradiction as an exciting impetus to greater discovery, is personal assurance from God that his revelation-based knowledge is true and sufficient, even though finite"

Yup. That's Ed admitting defeat, but trying to save face. In other words, no matter how ridiculously he's shown to contradict himself, no matter how profoundly and basically wrong he's shown to be, he's still right, because he has the reassurance from "God."

Still, soon after that admission, he "forgot" his defeat and insisted that we believe in a "random chaos universe," and that we should explain how the random chaos universe blah, blah, blah. he insisted on mistaking abstractions for their referents, etc.

These guys are a lost cause. They won't grow up. They won's learn anything. We cannot be what we are. We are and we believe what they want us to believe!!! Etc, etc, etc.

December 21, 2015 6:29 PM  
Blogger photosynthesis said...

Notice how quickly we showed him to be contradicting himself in this very conversation, and how conveniently he ignored the facts staring him in the face. These guys are hypocrites to the extreme, and they could not care less. The presuppositional bullshit destroys their character. Leaves them as mere cartoons of human beings.

December 21, 2015 6:32 PM  
Blogger Brandon Dickens said...

Dawson,

Thank you for your insights and analyses, especially in regards to parenting and emotions. It may be the case that I am downplaying the significance of both those factors, so I will be chewing on your comments for a while. Also, thank you for the literature recommendation -- the title alone sounds fascinating.

Regarding your online behavior, you certainly do better than most that I have encountered. However, there are certain subjects (e.g., morality) and certain character traits (e.g., persistent arrogance, willful ignorance) that seem to consistently strike a nerve with you and cause a change in your communication style. My natural tendency is to react similarly, which is why I applaud your patience -- I do not think I could last as long as you do.

On the subject of behavior, I do have a question about your exchange with Ed. Near the beginning of the conversation, you cautioned him that he was not adequately prepared for a discussion of morality. However, shortly thereafter, you more or less goaded him into the topic with your response to the "deal" I offered.

Not that you owe me any explanations for whatever it is you choose to do on your blog, but would you might sharing why you did that? It struck me as odd then and still does now.

Sincerely,
Brandon D Dickens

December 21, 2015 10:05 PM  
Blogger Ed Dingess said...

I would hope that someone would step over to my blog or you tube channel for conversation. I was curious to see if this blog had anything particularly interesting or perhaps even moderately challenging and so far, it seems to be that it does not. I will continue to comb through the posts and on occasion provide counter arguments and refutations at You Tube or my blog at reformed reasons. While it is true that I came in for some practice, it is also true that I always hold out hope that someone may be interested in taking the conversation further.

I will follow up with a couple of very short posts on morality. Keep in mind fellows that my you tube and blog is not designed for those trained in philosophy. It is designed for those who are good thinkers, want to be better thinkers, and who want to be faithful apologists. This means that it will mostly be simplistic in its approach, always focusing on the basics and avoiding the mundane complexities of vain speculations produced by men seeking to suppress the knowledge of God in their possession any way they can and as a result successfully engaging in the psychological phenomenon of self-deception.

December 22, 2015 6:26 AM  
Blogger photosynthesis said...

"successfully engaging in the psychological phenomenon of self-deception"

The darn irony. This Ed guy is too much of an idiot.

December 22, 2015 7:02 AM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

Hi Brandon,

Thanks for your comments!

You wrote: “thank you for the literature recommendation -- the title alone sounds fascinating.”

Cohen’s book is fascinating, though I have to warn everyone that it’s not all good. I myself have a number of criticisms of Cohen’s work, but I think the value of what he does accomplish overall outweighs what I consider defects. It’s packed with a lot of deep probing of what Cohen calls the mind-game of the Christian devotional system. He maps out (in tremendous detail that is all too often unfocused and digressive) the seven devices of the Christian mind-game: (1) The Benign Attractive Persona of the Bible, (2) Discrediting “the World,” (3) Logocide, (4) Assaulting Integrity, (5) Dissociation Induction, (6) Bridge Burning, (7) Holy Terror. Folks like Ed Dingess exemplify every one of these devices to varying degrees, and with sadly ordinary predictability.

“Regarding your online behavior, you certainly do better than most that I have encountered. However, there are certain subjects (e.g., morality) and certain character traits (e.g., persistent arrogance, willful ignorance) that seem to consistently strike a nerve with you and cause a change in your communication style.”

Really? I thought it was obvious that it all strikes a nerve with me.

“My natural tendency is to react similarly, which is why I applaud your patience -- I do not think I could last as long as you do.”

Sometimes it requires more effort than at other times. But since I think I’ve already had my say on so many topics that come up, I end up only repeating myself. The detractors who come here hoping to practice their apologetic, almost without exception, show that they come completely unprepared, having examined virtually nothing (that, or understanding nothing) that I have already published here on my blog. That’s rather irritating. I’ve done the work. Apologists come and recycle the same BS that’s been refuted time and time again, in all its guises.

“On the subject of behavior, I do have a question about your exchange with Ed. Near the beginning of the conversation, you cautioned him that he was not adequately prepared for a discussion of morality. However, shortly thereafter, you more or less goaded him into the topic with your response to the ‘deal’ I offered.”

Well, for one, I really liked the deal that you offered. I thought it was a gesture of fairness, one that apologists usually cannot return. Also, I thought it would be good to have an example of what you were offering, so I thought I’d give one. Last, since I know that apologists can’t resist jumping into what they consider morality, I figured I’d give Ed something to chew on. Sadly, what these apologists never seem to grasp is the fact that there is a distinction between morality (which is person-centric) and political theory (which has to do with interpersonal relationships). A discussion of a Hitler, for example, belongs in the second category, which cannot be properly understood without first laying down the principles of the first. But for Christians, whose worldview essentially lacks a genuine morality (what should the individual do if he has no one to sacrifice himself to?), this distinction is pretty much lost on them. Again, quite predictable. And I admit, their self-inflicted ignorance put on display with such glee is quite annoying. They’re like mosquitoes.

Regards
Dawson

December 22, 2015 7:35 AM  
Blogger Ed Dingess said...

I wonder if a person's political theory is capable of being moral or immoral. On Dawson's view, I support all political theory is morally neutral.

Dawson's comments (But for Christians, whose worldview essentially lacks a genuine morality (what should the individual do if he has no one to sacrifice himself to?), this distinction is pretty much lost on them.) continue to demonstrate that either he loves to maliciously misrepresent Christian theism or he is wholly ignorant of it.

The attempt to separate political theory from human morality is illegitimate on so many levels. Political theory is the outworking of one's philosophy, their worldview, in the area of political thought. Is abortion a political issue or a moral one? Both! Is genocide a political issue or a moral one? Both! One's morality shapes their political theory and to separate the two is simply not tenable.

In short, apologists like me soundly reject your distinction between morality and political theory or, "fill in the blank". It is a rescuing device among many rescuing devices that are designed to give your worldview the appearance of coherence, which it lost as soon as Rand opened her mouth which is why it has gained no footing among real philosophies or the philosophy community for the most part.

You say more things without demonstration or argument than just about any atheist I have encountered. I looked at your response to the Bahnsen-Stein debate and just could not believe that anyone would post something so empty, so lacking in critical analysis. You never even interacted with what Bahnsen was doing and I am beginning to think it is because you haven't a clue what he was doing. I realize its a lot more fun criticizing me than it is engaging me.

December 22, 2015 7:57 AM  
Blogger rob19902112 said...

http://triablogue.blogspot.com/2013/04/ed-dingess-troll.html

http://www.tektonics.org/eddingess.html

December 22, 2015 1:09 PM  
Blogger Brandon Dickens said...

Rob,

Thank you for the links. This one quote pretty much sums up the past few days here:

"Dingess has only his own pride to defend, and childishly uses authoritarian tactics to get self-satisfaction. He may be convicted by his own words as a bully, hypocrite, and misogynist."

No wonder he is so desperate for attention if even others of his faith will not have him. I should have trusted my initial judgement.

Sincerely,
Brandon D Dickens

December 22, 2015 1:51 PM  
Blogger Ed Dingess said...

I didn't think you guys liked JP Holding. Oh, I get it. You like him when he is convenient to like. That fits with your overall incoherence.

December 22, 2015 3:18 PM  
Blogger photosynthesis said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

December 22, 2015 3:41 PM  
Blogger photosynthesis said...

Ed,

Please point to the exact sentences that say that we like JP Holding.

I trust that you would not like us to think that you were just assuming from the posting of a link. You wouldn't be that incoherent and stupid, would you?

December 22, 2015 4:06 PM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

Gee, I didn't realize that I had anywhere affirmed that I like JP Holding. Seems like yet another leap of faith here on Ed's part. Must be another example of "Christian epistemology" at work. That is, going by one's emotions and imagination, one can infer just about anything one feels and imagines. See, it's "coherent" in this very respect.

But if I'm not mistaken, Holding is a Christian. Is this another example of a Christian condemning another Christian? What did Jesus say about a house that stands divided against itself?

Regards,
Dawson

December 22, 2015 5:01 PM  
Blogger Brandon Dickens said...

Photo,

Obviously, Ed thinks that you must first "like" something before any determination of facts can be made -- i.e., one's emotions are the final arbiters of reality.

Accordingly, Ed thinks that we should have ignored Holdings' extensive decrying of his character (despite Holding offering pretty robust evidence: direct quotations, links to discussion threads, etc.) because we do not "like" theism.

Makes perfect sense, if you don't think about it.

Sincerely,
Brandon D Dickens

December 22, 2015 6:24 PM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

Hmmm.... Seems that Mr. Ed has ticked off a number of other bloggers before coming here. The following statement appears to come from 2011:

<< For someone who claims he stands for the truth and defends the truth, Ed sure is afraid of owing up to his faults and admitting the truth. >>

See here: Ed Dingess Nude

Some things never change...

Regards,
Dawson

December 22, 2015 6:33 PM  
Blogger Ed Dingess said...

Here is Jason Peterson literally eating your lunch:
http://answersforhope.org/bethrick/

And here he is incinerating Objectivism
http://answersforhope.org/response-leonard-peikoff/

And again:
http://answersforhope.org/response-dawson-bethrick-part-2-objectivist-christian-epistemology/

Notice the difference between our focus? My focus is on your claims, silly though they may be. Your arguments are indeed puny, untenable, and irrational. Your links are ad homs put up by crude individuals who do not know how to defend their claims...not far removed from you at all.

December 23, 2015 2:38 AM  
Blogger Brandon Dickens said...

Dawson,

Do you have any thoughts as to why Ed has become obsessed with you? I would think that, at this point, most people who were in his position would have moved on. But alas, Ed continues to show a seemingly pathological need for your acknowledgement and interaction -- and by citing Peterson, no less!

While I recognize that he has been cast out by his fellow Christian believers due, in part, to his emotional and intellectual deficiencies, are we to believe he is completely unaware of your thorough refutation of Peterson?

For example:

http://bahnsenburner.blogspot.com/2014/10/petersens-failed-attempts-to-refute.html

http://bahnsenburner.blogspot.com/2014/10/petersens-failed-attempts-to-refute_12.html

http://bahnsenburner.blogspot.com/2014/10/petersens-failed-attempts-to-refute_12.html

http://bahnsenburner.blogspot.com/2014/10/petersens-failed-attempts-to-refute_14.html

http://bahnsenburner.blogspot.com/2014/10/petersens-failed-attempts-to-refute_15.html

http://bahnsenburner.blogspot.com/2014/10/jason-petersens-abysmal-ignorance-of.html

http://bahnsenburner.blogspot.com/2014/10/jason-petersens-epistemology.html

http://bahnsenburner.blogspot.com/2014/11/jason-petersen-on-fallacy-of-pure-self.html

http://bahnsenburner.blogspot.com/2014/12/jason-petersen-on-objectivism-and-laws.html

What do you think is driving this individual to continue to want attention from those he claims are "mindless" and "crude" and whose arguments are "puny, untenable, and irrational?"

Interested to hear your thoughts.

Sincerely,
Brandon D Dickens

December 23, 2015 3:33 AM  
Blogger Brandon Dickens said...

To all,

My apologies about misspelling Petersen's name as "Peterson". Coffee is still kicking in.

Sincerely,
Brandon D Dickens

December 23, 2015 3:58 AM  
Blogger Ed Dingess said...

Brandon,
You are a very sloppy reader. No wonder you blindly subscribe to Dawson's nonsense. I referred to JP Holding as crude. Pay attention.

December 23, 2015 4:27 AM  
Blogger rob19902112 said...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Narcissistic_supply

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychopathy

December 23, 2015 5:16 AM  
Blogger Brandon Dickens said...

Rob,

Thank you for the links, especially the one about "narcissistic supply." Fascinating stuff!

In a Psychology Today article about this disorder, the author quotes the following from a self-professed narcissist:

"The narcissist actively solicits narcissistic supply--adulation, compliments, admiration, subservience, attention, and being feared--from others in order to sustain his fragile and dysfunctional ego. Thus, he constantly courts possible rejection, criticism, disagreement, and even mockery.

The narcissist is, therefore, dependent on other people. He is aware of the risks associated with such all-pervasive and essential dependence. He resents his weakness and dreads possible disruptions in the flow of his drug--narcissistic supply. He is caught between the rock of his habit and the hard place of his frustration. No wonder he is prone to raging, lashing and acting out, and to pathological, all-consuming envy (all expressions of pent-up aggression)."

(https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/stop-walking-eggshells/201110/what-borderlines-and-narcissists-fear-most-part)

While I did realize that trolls need to be fed, I did not realize that trolling itself could be considered an actual psychological disorder. I will definitely be looking into the research on this.

Thanks again.

Sincerely,
Brandon D Dickens

December 23, 2015 5:49 AM  
Blogger Ed Dingess said...

What an absolute hoot! After a few hours I began to question the credibility of this site. With each passing comment, the degree of credibility (which began at a pretty low point anyways) dropped. Little did I realize that idiots and Randian minions were so infinitely stupid that they would think they could perform psycho-analysis via the internet, using internet produced psychological articles as their authority, and do so in record time.

No point is returning. All hope for serious intellectual dialogue is lost. I can imagine what sort o juvenile response that will garner. Your just like your Lord Rand....heavy on rhetoric and emotion, light on intellectual and philosophical acumen.

December 23, 2015 6:05 AM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

Hi Brandon,

Some good questions. I don’t want to claim that I have all the answers here (at this point, I’d say Ed’s case is clinical), but I do have some observations.

We have to keep in mind that we’re dealing with a religious mindset here, in the case of Ed Dingess, just as the western world is having to deal with a religious mindset in the case of Islamic jihadists. Religion is in essence devotion to irrationality. Believers in the west (where reason still has some respect culturally – though this is slipping) resist admitting that their religion is irrational, and there is an assortment of devices which religion supplies (cf. Cohen’s research) for the purpose of sustaining the delusion that they are right and everyone else is wrong.

Presuppositionalism provides additional devices of its own which are intended to rationalize and intensify the antithesis between themselves and the rest of the world – cf. notions like “autonomous reasoning,” emphasis on their preferred interpretation of Rom. 1, their confused notion of “presupposition,” a series of contrived defense mechanisms, including the rattling off of lists of fallacies which they don’t understand (and to which they are blind when they themselves commit them), and so on. Time and time again, we see every variation of “I’m right, you’re wrong” dangled before us, often in a very off-putting, immature manner, against the backdrop of deterministic mysticism, all in defense of an elaborate fantasy-narrative which they hope to spread (just as Islamic jihadists hope to enlarge their caliphate).

In Ed’s mind, we are all infidels, and he is a valiant lone soldier carrying out his god’s will as he enacts his self-styled jihad. And like the jihad of Islamic terrorists, Ed’s jihad is every bit as self-destructive, though apparently not in the violent sense (so we hope).

But clearly Ed feels personally betrayed when it is pointed out that his fantasies are in fact merely fantasies. I have pointed out that Ed’s god is imaginary. Perhaps deep down he knows this is true (unless he’s completely deluded), and he has no way to prove otherwise. This of course makes him hot with anger. It’s personal with him, just as we have seen it become immediately personal with folks like Sye Ten Bruggencate and other apologists hoping to make a big name for themselves. Thus he lashes out in an attempt to intimidate. He’ll have to do a lot better than exhuming Jason Petersen. That he points to Petersen’s blog only shows (yet again…) that he really hasn’t done his homework before barging in here at IP. That in turn, coupled with his behavior, only tells us that he’s really, really not serious about ideas and the intellect (not that there was any question here at the beginning). And now that we’re finding out that he’s exhibited a pattern of self-destructive behavior several years now, he’s simply not worth our time.

But he has apparently succeeded in driving more traffic to my blog, so that’s alright by me!

What can I say? The Force is strong with Ed Dingess.

Regards,
Dawson

December 23, 2015 6:49 AM  
Blogger ActionJackson864 said...

"literally eating your lunch"

Really? What was Dawson planning to have for lunch? And Jason ate his lunch? Literally?!

" Little did I realize that idiots and Randian minions were so infinitely stupid that they would think they could perform psycho-analysis via the internet, using internet produced psychological articles as their authority, and do so in record time."

I'm sure you had such high hopes for the "idiots and Randian minions"

I suspect that this comment is a reflection of your goal in the first place. Which is not to discuss anything, as you are not a seeker of truth. You only want to make others with different views than yourself look stupid. That is your one and only goal.

Since you thought any and everyone here was stupid anyway, why would you post in the first place?

It's pretty clear...to humiliate others. NOT to discuss anything, ONLY to humiliate, and denigrate others.

December 23, 2015 10:37 AM  
Blogger ActionJackson864 said...

Ed Dingess is the new Nide.

The force awakens.

Sorry I had to make a star wars joke...I just couldn't resist.

December 23, 2015 10:39 AM  
Blogger Brandon Dickens said...

AJ,

Apparently, Ed self-identifies as either a troll or a narcissist, as I do not recall explicitly or implicitly stating that I was referring to Ed when I shared that quote. In actuality, narcissistic supply made me think of Rawlings' epic meltdown and, to a lesser degree, Nide. All that said, it is more than a little amusing that Ed thought a brief discussion about narcissism was all about him. In any event, as you stated, Ed's true purpose and nature were revealed (again).

And the "literal lunch" comment was almost too hard for me to resist, as well. The mental image alone (one blogger yanking another blogger's sandwich out his mouth and eating it) made me spill my coffee this morning.

Sincerely,
Brandon D Dickens

December 23, 2015 11:34 AM  
Blogger Robert Bumbalough said...

Hello Friends

Ayn Rand wrote of pathologies like that Ed exhibits.

// "Let a man corrupt his values and his view of existence, let him profess that love is not self-enjoyment but self-denial, that virtue consists, not of pride, but of pity or pain or weakness or sacrifice, that the noblest love is born, not of admiration, but of charity, not in response to values, but in response to flaws—and he will have cut himself in two. His body will not obey him, it will not respond, it will make him impotent toward the woman he professes to love and draw him to the lowest type of whore he can find. His body will always follow the ultimate logic of his deepest convictions; if he believes that flaws are values, he has damned existence as evil and only the evil will attract him. He has damned himself and he will feel that depravity is all he is worthy of enjoying." // ~ AS, p. 490 ; Francisco d'Anconia to Hank Rearden

Dawson correctly remarked:

// But clearly Ed feels personally betrayed when it is pointed out that his fantasies are in fact merely fantasies. I have pointed out that Ed’s god is imaginary. Perhaps deep down he knows this is true (unless he’s completely deluded), and he has no way to prove otherwise. This of course makes him hot with anger. It’s personal with him, just as we have seen it become immediately personal with folks like Sye Ten Bruggencate and other apologists hoping to make a big name for themselves. Thus he lashes out in an attempt to intimidate. He’ll have to do a lot better than exhuming Jason Petersen. That he points to Petersen’s blog only shows (yet again…) that he really hasn’t done his homework before barging in here at IP. That in turn, coupled with his behavior, only tells us that he’s really, really not serious about ideas and the intellect (not that there was any question here at the beginning). And now that we’re finding out that he’s exhibited a pattern of self-destructive behavior several years now, he’s simply not worth our time. //

Ed's self destruction will take others along for the ride. Hopefully someone will stop him before it comes to that.

Cheers and Happy Holdidays

Robert Bumbalough

December 23, 2015 7:15 PM  
Blogger Robert Bumbalough said...

Dawson wrote // Two closely related points that Craig clearly emphasizes here should be clear. The first is that acceptance of specific miracle stories (such as those found in the New Testament) as true is secondary to the broader question of philosophical presuppositions. The second is that “openness to a supernatural worldview” is “crucial” to accepting those stories as historically true. Thus, “openness to a supernatural worldview” is both more fundamental to and necessary for accepting the miracle stories of the New Testament as true accounts. Craig’s point, then, is that we first have to accept supernaturalism generally before we’ll be in a position to accept specific miracle claims like “the Resurrection.”

With this fundamental point in mind, it is instructive to note that Craig and other apologists who voice this complaint are quick to accuse non-believers of a “presuppositional bias” against supernaturalism, all the while ignoring their own presuppositional bias for supernaturalism, or at any rate treating their pro-supernatural presuppositional bias as though it did not need any defense. //

Religious believers with whom I've interacted as unanimously held that "anything is possible" as if A does not equal A. But that is nonsense, and it is known with as complete a certainty as can be had by and in science that the great conservation principles by which nature self-relates and that use as physical laws to make models of reality to obtain predictive power regarding phenomena are directly contingent to the fundamental symmetries of space-time. That's been proven by Noether's theorem that's used as the basis of point-of-view or gauge invariance in physics. Thus the doctrine of special miracles is patently false, for it is impossible for spacetime symmetries to be invalid in any particular reference frame. Craig and his followers are wrong and are simply indulging their rich fantasy lives as Objectivism has always stipulated.

December 24, 2015 8:14 AM  
Blogger Brandon Dickens said...

Robert,

Although I do not think that I have had the pleasure of directly interacting with you, I would like to tell you that I often find your comments very thought-provoking and they often motivated me to research many physics concepts that I might not have investigated otherwise (though educated, I am a simple country boy). That said, I would love for you to update your blog more often so that I could benefit more from your unique perspective and experience, if you have the time and interest.

Wishing you well over the holiday season.

Sincerely,
Brandon D Dickens

December 24, 2015 10:37 AM  
Blogger Robert Bumbalough said...

Hello Mr. Dickens.

Thank you for your kind words. I post my thoughts and educational regurgitations on my facebook page; I discuss matters of Objectivism with users on a facebook group called "For the New Intellectual". Most users there are ARI/Peikoffian style O-ists who are somewhat to quite critical of The Atlas Society, David Kelly and the Brandens (as if what happened between Ayn and Nathaniel was entirely his fault and therefore his understanding of Objectivism is entirely invalid while Piekoff's having wormed his obsequious way into Ayn's graces was somehow noble.) Nevertheless, there are some interesting persons who post there offering an opportunity to practice the trader principle while avoiding nagging suspicions of second handedness. Experiencing improved opportunity for interactions with nominally qualified Objectivists while improving my own inductive grasping in a psycho-epistemological and emotive sense of Objectivism's principles motivates me to use Facebook in lieu of my blogger account.

Link to little Bobby's facebook

http://www.facebook.com/robert.bumbalough.1

Lately I've been interested in the facts and arguments used to oppose human caused climate change by CO2 emissions. This is a boring topic, but people interested in freedom and individualism need to fight that battle to avoid being assimilated into a collective.

Many Thanks and Best Wishes


December 24, 2015 12:25 PM  
Blogger Robert Bumbalough said...

Hello again Mr Dickens

My very poor understanding of cosmic origins and basic physics beyond what I think I recall from my undergraduate college classes oh so long ago comes from reading pop cosmology and quantum mechanics books including those authored by Victor Stenger especially regarding ideas about gauge invariance and Noether's theorem. On Spontaneous Symmetry Breaking, Sean Carroll's talk in debate with William Lane Craig is excellent.

Link to Youtube video > https://youtu.be/07QUPuZg05I?list=FLRhV1rWIpm_pU19bBm_2RXw

Carroll's first discussion starts at about 44 minutes. His second talk addressing Craig's rebuttals starts at 1:16:30. Craig is an excellent debater. Carroll defangs Craig's points and presents rational alternatives based on what is observed in reality.

Cheers and Merry and Happy.

December 24, 2015 12:51 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home