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How laughable can Christian anti-intellectualism get?

I’ve probably mentioned before that I have somehow ended up on the mailing list of the wackos at Christian Worldview Network, a group of fundies who are so hardcore they can honestly be said to be living in a different world, not only from most of humanity, but most other Christians as well. These people are old school, “turn or burn” fire-and-brimstone Biblical literalists. Their newsletters excoriate such movements within contemporary Christianity as the “emergent church,” in which pop-pastors like Rick Warren and Joel Osteen preach like motivational speakers a form of inoffensive I’m-okay-you’re-okay soft religion that the Worldview Network crowd considers appallingly watered down. (And from a Biblical standpoint, you’d have to say they’re right. Scripture really makes it clear that God is a vindictive, hateful bastard who loves to kill people, and that refusal to accept his divine “love” will get your ass fast-tracked to hell in a turbocharged handbasket.)

Occasionally, one of their articles will catch my eye, and one titled “The Limits of Human Reason”, by some nincompoop improbably named Israel Wayne, had me chuckling the instant I saw it. In it, you will see the feeble justifications of fundamentalist misology laid bare. It’s quite obvious these are people who simply do not know how knowledge works, and their flawed (to put it politely) thinking is exactly the sort of thing that feeds the absurd rhetoric you hear from fundies who want to argue, for instance, that evolution and creationism are simply two different “worldviews” and thus both should get equal time in class.

The whole theme here is that human reason is untrustworthy because everybody’s ideas are skewed through their worldview. Bask in the following for a thoroughly riotous example of burning stupid.

For example, let’s say that you are with a team digging for dinosaur bones in Alaska. You come across some fossilized remains of a duck-billed dinosaur laying in a certain rock strata. An evolutionist on the team says, “Ah! This dinosaur is from the beginning of the Triassic period! That means this dinosaur is about 858 million years old!”

“How do you know?” you ask.

“Oh that’s easy, you can tell from the rock layers. You date the fossil by the surrounding strata.”

You turn to a creationist who is also part of the team and ask him for a second opinion.

“I’d say this dinosaur is less than 4,500 old and was probably buried during or shortly after the flood of Noah’s day.”

You scratch your head. “How can your assessment be so contrary to your evolutionary colleague?”

“Well, he is using General Revelation, and interpreting it through his worldview, which excludes Special Revelation, but I am using a mix of both observable facts and the recorded history of Someone who was around in the beginning. Namely…God.”…

So you can see that the “facts” do not always speak for themselves. Our presuppositions affect the way we perceive and interpret reality.

I’ll give you a minute to stop laughing at all of that. (A creationist part of a paleontological dig? Uh-huh.) Exactly how much absurdity can be packed into a single argument? Clearly a lot, if this is any indicator.

One tiny little detail that this dimwit Wayne is missing is that of evidence. You see, scientists don’t just find stuff in the dirt and pronounce it to be one thing or another by fiat. There are any number of ways a paleontologist would know how to identify a dinosaur bone he’s dug up, and all of them involve recourse to bodies of evidence available to the scientific community at large, gathered and collated and verified over a process of study spanning years and years.

How does a scientist know the age of the rock strata in which he’s digging? Wayne, being an idiot, thinks it’s just a wild guess the scientist pulls out of his ass, filtered through his “presuppositions” and “worldview,” whereas in reality, that strata has been subjected to a number of reliable dating techniques. (Not to mention there is a complex, advanced field of science called geology dedicated to such study.) There are probably other samples of fossils of the species unearthed already on record, too, which have been tested and dated and fit into their appropriate position in history through such advanced disciplines as cladistics, taxonomy, etc. In other words, in science, “worldview” is irrelevant and filtering your findings through whatever “presuppositions” you might have is already known to be an improper way to go about determining your findings, and is in fact why there is the whole process of peer review in the first place.

In short, science recognizes — better than this fool Wayne, to be sure — that people are prone to inaccurate, prejudiced thinking, and has self-correcting methods in place to guard against such thinking producing untrustworthy results. And these self-correcting methods are, sadly for the creationists, what keeps their pseudoscience out of the club, by catching out people who think that the purpose of science is to validate their “presuppositions” and “worldviews” in the first place.

What does the creationist have in place to ensure that he’s not off-base in his babblings about floods, a young Earth, and his god? None. (Which is why you don’t tend to see those people wasting everyone’s time out on legitimate digs either. For one thing, they wouldn’t have passed muster scientifically to qualify for such a team in the first place.) All he has are his bizarre, invented concepts like “General Revelation” and “Special Revelation,” which Wayne capitalizes as if they were actual terms referring to something real. The evolutionist in the above story could easily trounce the overconfident babbling of his creationist “colleague” simply by sending the fossil sample back to the lab to see what the evidence actually showed.

When talking about the conflict between science and faith, fundies like Wayne always leave out little details like evidence, independent confirmation of facts, concepts like falsifiability — in other words, all the proper methods of determining facts that science actually does employ. And they leave those things out because religious pseudosciences like creationism do not have those methods at their own disposal. Or, when they do employ them, the findings tend not to jibe with their precious “presuppositions.” Creos can whine all they like, but when the findings come back from the nuclear dating labs, the results of that fossil will, in fact, be 251-199 million years (the actual date of the Triassic period, not 858 million, as Wayne could easily have found out if he’d devoted two seconds to Googling the topic — or maybe such a basic fact-checking process was beyond the limits of Wayne’s reason) and not 4,500.

Time and again, Christians who want to stamp out evolutionary biology education through bogus “academic freedom” bills and what have you always come from the same false premise: that there’s no such thing as a fact, that everything is all just “worldviews” and “beliefs” and “opinions.” It’s postmodernism in a nutshell. They ignore entirely the voluminous body of work that actually exists, either out of sheer pig-ignorance or defiant contempt, and then they wonder why science is so willing to lend its support to the evolutionary “worldview” and not their invisible-magic-man-in-the-sky one. That the former is backed up by mountains of independently verifiable evidence and the latter is only backed up by an ancient holy book, lunatic conspiracy theories and petulant hand-waving is hard to get through their skulls.

Sure, facts in science are provisional, always subject to disconfirmation should compelling new evidence arise. But that is far, far different from Wayne’s asinine misrepresentation of the whole process as being one of “everyone just makes stuff up based on their worldview.” That may certainly be how religious pseudoscience does its busin
ess; it is the polar opposite of how real science goes about its own.

Can Wayne get sillier? What do you think?

Because an unconverted man has a rebellious heart, he choses to reject the clear Revelation of God. Autonomous man has listened to the voice of the serpent and cut himself off from the only certain source of truth. In our apologetic method, we must remember that we will not be able to “reason” someone into the Kingdom of God. The problem isn’t that they don’t have adequate information or reasoning capabilities, but rather they have “suppressed the truth in unrighteousness” (Romans 1:18).

I believe in the military this is what is known as a “target rich environment.” One hardly knows where to begin.

Let’s just settle for cutting to the chase, which is that Wayne all but admits that Christian faith is an irrational process. Truth is redefined, not as that which one can confirm and verify through the scientific method, but simply as that which comes from God. A believer cannot use reason to persuade the unbeliever because reason is, in fact, a hindrance to understanding truth and not the proper method to use in its pursuit. God, we are told, gives us reason (why, since it’s so useless, he would bother is not explained, but then logical consistency is not these people’s strong suit), but ultimately the only way to know the capital-T Truth is through emotions, by cutting through to the “rebellious heart” of the unconverted man.

Well, I can only say that, if surrendering my rational mind in favor of being stupid on purpose is the only way for me to appreciate the “Truth” of Christianity’s God, then I can only wonder what possible value this “Truth” can have, given that only irrationalism will reveal it. And why would this God give us minds if, in Ben Franklin’s hilarious phrasing, he wished us to forego their use? What kind of idiotic God would bestow reason upon his creations, only to require that we dispense with it utterly in order to know the great “Truth” of his existence and our salvation? What value can such salvation have, if you have to be a moron first to receive it? Why would I want to spend eternity in Heaven surrounded by a bunch of remedial clods?

Israel Wayne has essentially handed science and atheism the whole debate here. By admitting to the open irrationalism of his religion, by freely testifying that you have to disdain reason itself, to refuse to demand evidence for claims, simply to not think at all in order to receive this “Special Revelation” into your “rebellious heart,” then he’s basically conceded his whole religion is pure emotionalism and wishful thinking, stupid from the ground up and stupid from the roof down on the other side. And if I have a “rebellious heart” towards anything, it isn’t Israel Wayne’s imaginary sky-friend. It’s the stupidity I’m told I must embrace to believe in it.

Comments

  1. says

    Wow. Just. Wow.Yeah, I’m with you on the whole article falling apart with the presumption that a creationist would be anywhere near a legitimate, scientifically sound dig. And, what pot does someone have to smoke to fall for the creationist’s dating method? I think I’d have to turn to him and ask how he scientifically can date the great flood he’s referring to? The Bible doesn’t count.

  2. says

    “Ah! This dinosaur is from the beginning of the Triassic period! That means this dinosaur is about 858 million years old!”TriassicFrom Wikipedia, the free encyclopediaThe Triassic is a geologic period and system that extends from about 251 to 199 Ma (million years ago). I wonder where Israel Wayne got the 858 Ma figure? /Rhetorical question.

  3. says

    Well, I happen to filter my perception through the prism of “the revelation of the flying spaghetti monster.” Equal weight be mine!

  4. says

    “Israel Wayne was home educated and currently serves as Marketing Director…”Explains a lot.“He is the author of the book, Homeschooling From A Biblical Worldview, published by Wisdom’s Gate. Israel and his wife Brook (also a homeschool graduate) have five young children.”Oh good, passing the ignorance down to the next generation.

  5. says

    Hello Martin, This VLOG talks about the group that recruited Chuck Colson. http://bloggingheads.tv/diavlogs/11164Free Will: The Family’s SecretsThe Family: the spookiest Christian group you’ve never heard of (07:35)What the Family borrows from Hitler (11:52)Who’s profiting from “Biblical capitalism”? (11:39)Will takes stock of religious folly (08:26)Jeff calls for transparency in Christian political strategizing (05:02)A new convergence of populist and elite fundamentalism (07:45)

  6. says

    “I wonder where Israel Wayne got the 858 Ma figure?”I was thinking just that. Is it too much to suppose it possible that this Wayne guy is a complete and utter tool?

  7. says

    I love this – you’re just like Dick Dawk. You seem actually to think that-you lack a worldview-that your devotion to “just the facts, just evidence” and “evidence is the best way to discover truth” is not in fact a worldview-that you actually did arrive at those ways of thinking by following evidence-that that’s NOT an infinite and vicious regress. You know, you don’t have to give into the peer pressure from the doofuses around you like Dick Dawk, Harris, and Hitchens. This is such an elementarily stupid mistake that it’s kind of embarrassing for you.Peace,Rhology

  8. Martin says

    What is a worldview anyway? Considering it’s one of those weasel words creationists and other religious scientific ignoramuses use in their attempts to equate their beliefs with scientific facts, I thought I’d look it up. After all, maybe I shouldn’t have taken it for granted that what creationists mean when they say “worldview” is the best or even a proper definition. Here’s what I found.1. The overall perspective from which one sees and interprets the world.2. A collection of beliefs about life and the universe held by an individual or a group.I’m perfectly happy to cop to having a worldview under definition one. It seems perfectly reasonable, and under that definition, trusting in facts supported by evidence — as opposed to unsupported magical claims made by ancient holy books, for instance — is a worldview I can be proud of.But it’s also entirely clear that what Israel Wayne and most of his ilk mean by “worldview” is definition two, and you see it all the time in their writings. Creationism and evolution, to them, are just two opposing “beliefs about life” held by “different groups,” so golly gee, shouldn’t both be taught?So it’s definition two, the one creationists use, that I was responding to in my original post, and I stand by my remarks there. In science, the definition-two variety of “worldview” — defined by such vacuous religious concepts as “General Revelation” and “Special Revelation” — is completely inappropriate. I’m happy to be able to clarify this with the help of good old dictionary.com, though of course, we all know such clarifications don’t stop Rhology and his weekly whines.

  9. says

    Wow, dictionary.com. Martin is in over his head, and considering the simplicity of the topic, that’s kind of amazing.Let the reader judge who is obscuring the issue with angry rhetoric. Here are Martin’s statements that are wrongheaded in the way I described.The whole theme here is that human reason is untrustworthy because everybody’s ideas are skewed through their worldview.One tiny little detail that this dimwit Wayne is missing is that of evidence. -”Evidence is a good way to discover truth” is a statement from presuppositions. -Facts are just bare facts until interpreted thru the grid of a worldview.all of them involve recourse to bodies of evidence available to the scientific community at largethinks it’s just a wild guess the scientist pulls out of his ass, filtered through his “presuppositions” and “worldview,” whereas in reality, that strata has been subjected to a number of reliable dating techniques.This is my favorite:In other words, in science, “worldview” is irrelevant by catching out people who think that the purpose of science is to validate their “presuppositions” and “worldviews” in the first place.When talking about the conflict between science and faith, fundies like Wayne always leave out little details like evidence, independent confirmation of facts, concepts like falsifiabilityThat the former is backed up by mountains of independently verifiable evidence and the latter is only backed up by an ancient holy book, lunatic conspiracy theories and petulant hand-waving is hard to get through their skulls.facts in science are provisional, always subject to disconfirmation should compelling new evidence arise.Truth is…defined,…as that which one can confirm and verify through the scientific methodif surrendering my rational mind in favor of being stupid on purpose is the only way for me to appreciate the “Truth” of Christianity’s God, then I can only wonder what possible value this “Truth” can have, given that only irrationalism will reveal itAnd why would this God give us minds if, in Ben Franklin’s hilarious phrasing, he wished us to forego their use?…remedial clods?By admitting to the open irrationalism of his religion-Presupposing that rationality exists.reason itself, to refuse to demand evidence for claims-Presupposing that demanding evidence for claims is a good thing.-What’s the evidence for that claim?You could’ve worded your rant a lot better so as not to expose your lack of philosophical sophistication, is all I’m saying.Rant about evidence and stupidity all day long, just don’t act like you know what you’re talking about. It’s OK to say “Oops, I made a mistake” in a combox and let the post stand as is, you know.Peace,Rhology

  10. Martin says

    If you are really of the view that spouting absurdities like “presupposing that rationality exists” (I agree in your case it’s an iffy thing) and “presupposing that demanding evidence for claims is a good thing” (I assume you take the view it isn’t) as if they were valid replies to anything I wrote, let alone examples of what you consider “philosophical sophistication,” then I believe I need say no more.Rant about evidence and stupidity all day long, just don’t act like you know what you’re talking about. It’s OK to say “Oops, I made a mistake” in a combox and let the post stand as is, you know.LOL and other cliched internet abbreviations. Pot, meet kettle. I assert that it is rational to want claims to be supported by evidence, especially extraordinary claims regarding the divine or supernatural, and furthermore that it is stupid to believe such unsupported claims without evidence. Am I right or am I wrong? Explain please, without recourse to your usual indignant bluster and projection.

  11. says

    LOL indeed.I assert that it is rational to want claims to be supported by evidenceWell and good. I assert that Jesus Christ is the Lord of the universe and that you must repent and bow before Him.See how lazy these naked assertions are?Provide a justification for that statement.Also, I note in passing that you’ve abandoned the defense of my original objection. That’s telling. it is stupid to believe such unsupported claims without evidenceMaybe you could do a post where you provide evidence that it is stupid to believe such unsupported claims without evidence.Or you could just admit that this is a presupposition after all and that your rant was misguided.Peace,Rhology

  12. Martin says

    Well and good. I assert that Jesus Christ is the Lord of the universe and that you must repent and bow before Him.See how lazy these naked assertions are?Provide a justification for that statement.God, I keep forgetting just how catastrophically thick you are. You are, after all, the guy who needs concepts like “harm” defined for him, followed by an explanation as to why it’s a bad thing — something you don’t get asked by your average grade schooler. Are you really claiming your assertion about Jesus is on the same footing as the statement that claims ought to be supported by evidence? Okay, support that statement.Here’s my support. Let’s say someone makes the claim that the one dollar bill features a picture of Bozo the Clown flipping the bird. Let’s say the person who hears this claim has never seen a dollar bill, for whatever reason. The person could A) believe the claimant sight unseen, or B) decide it might be a good idea to check the evidence by actually looking at a dollar bill to see whose picture it features. Now, of those two choices, and knowing whose picture actually is on the dollar bill (at least I hope you do), which of the above is the more rational approach to the claim?Now, unless you’ve got some moronic explanation to offer up as to how the above example does not support my assertion that requiring evidence for claims is rational, I will consider it supported, and now ask what you offer in support of Jesus being Lord of the Universe and whatever other title you want to give him. Hint: let’s have something tangible…stories in ancient holy books don’t qualify.Also, I note in passing that you’ve abandoned the defense of my original objection. That’s telling.If you’re talking about your objection to the effect that science is a “worldview,” I didn’t abandon it, I answered it, by clarifying the definition of the term and noting which definition Israel Wayne was obviously using. That you couldn’t acknowledge the point is telling, too — to wit, that your personal hate-on towards me doesn’t really let you hear the things I say if you don’t want to hear them.Anyway, I note in passing that you haven’t answered my direct question: Is it rational to want claims to be supported by evidence? Yes or no, straight up. And if wrong, why?Maybe you could do a post where you provide evidence that it is stupid to believe such unsupported claims without evidence.There’s a giant fire-breathing dragon in my garage! Do you believe me? Yes or no? If no, why?Or you could just admit that this is a presupposition after all and that your rant was misguided.Since my post was neither a rant nor misguided — and you have done nothing to show it is, other than through dadaist remarks like yeah-but-does-rationality-even-exist which, I suppose, qualify as arguments in your world — I can’t help you there. I’ve given up on your ever actually being able to understand when people try to explain things to you, Rho. Perhaps you could admit that you’re just throwing punches wildly here, and you put your increasingly desperate need to attack me on a once-a-week basis over the need to think your responses through before you write them. After all, that would be the rational thing to do,

  13. says

    Unless you can prove particle creation from nothing, then evolution is a dead philosphy.Even Dawkins admits this in his debate with a Christian professor of Oxford university (John Lennohan.)Dawkins says “The origin of the universe is a mystery awaiting it’s Darwin”.In this debate Richard Dawkins raises some good points, but does not convince anyone that evoultion is fact.We are dealing with philosophy when we talk of evolution.Christians have a faith that is NOT provable, if it was it would no longer be faith.Intellect and reason play their part in Christianity, but at some point intellect must give way to faith.It is interesting in the debate Richard was very coy when asked by John “How do you know your wife loves you.”He said “I just know” and when pressed the best he could say was by her actions, but ones actions does not always prove love.The intent or sincerity of a human being cannot be known through science.Subjective matters such as Intent and committed love are not testable.If we could know for certain through science the intent of a man’s heart we could eradicate crime and erase divorce.It comes down to what you belieive.

  14. says

    I assert that it is rational to want claims to be supported by evidenceProvide a justification for that statement.Being reasonable doesn’t mean merely “having reasons”. It matters whether the reasons are untrue or improbable or that they are even be relevant to one’s conclusion. Evidence is the key in determining whether reasons are true/untrue or probable/improbable.

  15. Martin says

    Unless you can prove particle creation from nothing, then evolution is a dead philosphy.Again with the stupid nonsense that evolution somehow has to explain the origin of matter. Newsflash, dude: nothing of the kind. Evolution is a scientific discipline dealing with the development and diversity of living organisms. There is no claim of any kind that evolutionary science makes that states “particles were created from nothing,” or anything even remotely close to it — so that whole criticism is the flimsiest of straw men. And evolution does not deal with the ultimate origins of life either; that field of study is called “abiogenesis”. Evolution only examines how life forms change in response to their environment once they already exist. All that is required for evolution to take place are three factors: reproduction, heritable variation, and selection. And we’ve got comprehensive, ironclad, indisputable evidence for all of it. It’s got nothing to do with cosmology or quantum physics or anything like that. It’s a science, not a philosophy. For further reading, I suggest this and this for starters.I would suggest that before you go around proclaiming what is and isn’t science, you should endeavor to make yourself less scientifically illiterate. Fundamentalists who pretend to scientific expertise they don’t have look more than a little foolish.Christians have a faith that is NOT provable, if it was it would no longer be faith.Intellect and reason play their part in Christianity, but at some point intellect must give way to faith.Well, at least, like Israel Wayne, I can give you props for admitting to the irrationalism at the heart of belief.The intent or sincerity of a human being cannot be known through science.Subjective matters such as Intent and committed love are not testable.Bullshit. Of course they are. Actions do in fact attest to a person’s character. Certainly, people lie all the time; things like politics and religion wouldn’t exist if they couldn’t. But one of the core tenets of behavioral psychology — criminal profilers rely on it all the time — is that behavior reflects personality. Yes, a person could pretend to love you, and do things to make you think they really do when in fact they’re doing nasty deceitful things behind your back, but in those cases, those deceptions are always uncovered in the end, and the truth will out. If a person’s behavior is observably consistent, you can deduce things about their character. You would not say that a person who spent every day napping on the sofa was a driven and highly-motivated hard worker, nor would you say that someone who habitually put in 80-hour work-weeks was a lazy shiftless bum.If a person never does anything to intentionally harm or betray or deceive his spouse, and indeed devotes his life to caring for and honoring his spouse, then you’ve got what you need to determine that he does, in fact, love his spouse. Certainly observations like this will never be 110% percent error-free. But these observations are what we have to work with, and we get through in life the best we can by working with them. There’s a big difference between the “faith” Dawkins and his wife (and every married couple) have for each other, based on years of living with and knowing every intimate detail of that person, and the kind of “faith” that asks you, sight unseen, to believe in invisible magic universe creating deities. Christians always want to draw an equivalency between the two, but they’re really quite far removed in practice.If we could know for certain through science the intent of a man’s heart we could eradicate crime and erase divorce.Actually, we can know the intent of a man’s heart. In criminal investigations it’s called “motive,” and it’s what solves almost all such investigations.(I find your second sentence amusing. I bet if more married couples knew what was in their spouse’s hearts, there’d be way more divorces than there already are!)It comes down to what you belieive.To the rational mind, it comes down to what you can demonstrate.

  16. says

    Eh, I was tempted to go on, but I’m happy to leave this where it is, since the original question remains unaddressed. Maybe I’ll sink some more time into this combox if Martin (or someone) would interact with my original points.

  17. says

    I guess demonstrating that looking on the dollar bill is the best way to find out the truth of a dollar bill wasn’t good enough for Rhology. I think he needs you to define why finding out empirical truth is actually good, and not harmful. I have a few dollar bills that say: “No matter how cogent, no matter how coherent, you will not be able to explain it to his satisfaction.

  18. says

    your personal hate-on towards me doesn’t really let you hear the things I say if you don’t want to hear them.“Look on the bright side Martin, at least you’re not on his Wall of Shame like I am! :-)

  19. says

    It’s not a hate-on, it’s just that I feel compelled to present a counterview that actually makes sense when you go too far. Which is frequently. jdp said:I guess demonstrating that looking on the dollar bill is the best way to find out the truth of a dollar billThis kind of simplistic thinking is highly vulnerable to solipsism, for one thing.It’s part of your worldview that you trust your senses’ input (getting back to my original point). The buck stops SOMEwhere; otherwise you’d have to present sensory evidence that your sensory faculties are reliable. And just how would one do that?Peace,Rhology

  20. says

    Isn’t that brain-in-a-vat skepticism? So, because we can’t prove that we aren’t really just “in the matrix” we might as well just believe in a god, because all beliefs are on equal footing (as far as being true) in extreme philosophical skepticism?

  21. says

    Stop your sentence at “in the matrix”, and you’re 100% right. I’ve not proposed anythg like the 2nd half of your statement. I recommend you believe Christianity b/c it’s true.What you were proposing is vulnerable to the solipsist brain in a vat objection, though theism isn’t. Fortunately.

  22. says

    So essentially what you are proposing is Cartesian in the sense that all things can be doubted except a god because you believe that pure ideas were placed in our heads by a divine being.

  23. says

    This is silly. How is theism not susceptible to the brain in a vat objection? How is it that you came to believe in God in the first place, and how can you not be sure that it is not the result of the demon influencing your perceptions from outside the vat?There is no reason that you cannot give, that I cannot reduce to a sensory input that could be sent directly to your brain in some fashion. In other words, you have no idea what you are talking about.

  24. says

    This worldview bullshit is little more than a pile of excuses for creationists to engage in a vicious little postmodernist diatribe against science. Everything’s down to “beliefs”. Never mind that we have actual REASONS for taking evidence seirously. Evidence-based notions actually work because they give results congruent with what we actually see in the world.

  25. says

    Not to mention that if evidence based thinking weren’t superior to belief based thinking we would not have modern healthcare, microwaves, cars…

  26. says

    jdp,No, it’s b/c Christianity is true that the brain in the vat is impossible.But if atheism is true, there’s no reason that I can see to discount the brain in the vat. But maybe you could enlighten me. Lui apparently didn’t feel like it and resorted to a stream of invective, and amazingly committed the same error Martin did. I didn’t think anyone would be drunk enough on the Kool-Aid to come to his support, but I guess I was wrong. Let cooler heads prevail, people.Steven,B/c Christianity is true and the God of the Bible has revealed that that’s not how the world or humanity is. Now, on atheism, how is such an idea undermined?

  27. says

    Ok Martin,evoultion does not require you know how the universe was created, but atheism does.How can you be an atheist and a rationlist?Unless you can prove how the universe was created and in doing so also disprove there is a God,then atheism is not rational.Jay

  28. says

    Tommy, he was talking to me. “Tommy” and “Rho” aren’t very close, even in Latin characters.jdp,The impossibility of the contrary. One element of that is presented here – not only (for one thing) are some principal atheist apologists denying that a worldview is necessary, unavoidable, or implicitly employed by their statements, but atheism is also highly vulnerable to solipsism, which is self-refuting. Atheism is open to all kinds of self-refutation; this is just one example.In brief, I’m a Christian b/c no other worldview makes sense.See these three links for more info on that.

  29. Martin says

    Ok Martin,evoultion does not require you know how the universe was created, but atheism does.Wrong. Atheism is simply a statement of disbelief concerning the existence of gods. It does not require knowledge of how the universe was created any more than disbelief in leprechauns requires you to know why rainbows exist.(In the case of rainbows, of course, we do know why those occur, but a person would not have to know this in order to disbelieve in leprechauns.)Unless you can prove how the universe was created and in doing so also disprove there is a God, then atheism is not rational.This is the fallacy of shifting the burden of proof. Your statement assumes the truth of your conclusion, to wit, that God exists because atheists cannot prove God does not exist. The flaw in this argument is glaringly obvious simply by a slight edit to what you wrote.Unless you can prove how the universe was created and in doing so also disprove there is a Flying Spaghetti Monster, then a-spaghetti-monsterism is not rational.Literally any mythical being can be substituted for “God” in your statement. So your statement is a fallacious argument rooted in a false premise. The burden of proof for a claim always rests upon the person claiming the existence of the thing in question. There is no such burden upon those who take the skeptical view. If someone wishes to tell me that fairies live in his backyard, it is not my obligation to prove to him that they don’t, it is his to prove to me that they do. If he fails, I will not believe in his fairies. Similarly, not knowing precisely how the universe was created does not preclude someone saying, “I don’t believe the cause was the Biblical God or any other god, including Zeus or the Flying Spaghetti Monster, because I don’t think there is adequate evidence for it.”And that’s how atheists are rationalists. When it comes to questions with as-yet-unknown answers, such as exactly how the universe originated, we admit the limitations of our knowledge and look at the whole mystery as a compelling subject for ongoing study. We’re not inclined simply to place our ignorance on an altar and call it “God.”Feel free to try again.

  30. says

    Tommy, he was talking to me. “Tommy” and “Rho” aren’t very close, even in Latin characters.The last time I checked, freedom of speech was still a right in this country. If you have a problem with that, take it up with Martin.

  31. says

    I’m a Christian b/c no other worldview makes sense.And we’re not Christians because it does not make sense to us. But again, if it does the trick for you personally, then wonderful for you.

  32. says

    Martin,I applaud your patient, logical approach to your debate with Rhology. Unfortunately, Rhology is a locked door to a closed up house. Nothing ever gets in and nothing ever comes out. He is of the breed that would burn witches at the stake and stop science in it’s tracks, relying only on the “holy” book. As most of us have been christians, it’s easy to recognize this rigid, righteous “worldview.” He’s not interested in debating. It’s obvious that he can’t. He simply looks for ways in which to parse words. Logic clearly means nothing to him. If I didn’t know better, I would guess him to be six years old. His retorts are truly childlike. Ignore this ignoramus. He’s hopeless. You’ll feel better for it and you’ll gain time to debate with an adult.

  33. Martin says

    agnostos: Oh, I wouldn’t put Rho in the category of witch burners, by a long shot. But it is clear he thinks he’s a lot more brilliant at arguing than he actually is. Most of his arguments are sheer rhetorical contrarianism, where, for instance, I’ll say something sensible, like “it’s best to have evidence for claims before choosing to believe those claims,” and he’ll retort with something right out of some stoner college student’s late night party talk after the bong has made the rounds, like, “Yeah, but it’s only due to your worldview that you think you can trust your senses at all!” I must admit it gets a little old spinning around in these little pop-philosophy cul-de-sacs Rhology seems to love, but it’s pretty much all you’re left with if your whole belief system is about disdaining such things as reason and evidence-based thinking in the first place.

  34. says

    Christians like Rhology imagine that we humans are too “limited” in our senses to get at the truth, so we must look to some higher power who is outside of human reckoning, which can provide a standard by which truth claims are to be judged. In other words, Rhology and Co. judges that we are too limited to get at the truth on our own, yet he imagines that, somehow, we can judge that God is the path to truth. On what sound basis does he establish this? On God’s existence, of course! How do we know that God is real? Because of all the “evidence” for it that creationists and their ilk keep blabbing about. In other words, we CAN trust our senses after all (but only when we find evidence for God. When we find evidence for naturalistic processes, we’re back to “Oh, but you can’t call that evidence, because it’s just being interpreted as part of your worldview“).I know, it’s pretty schizo. Christian apologetics collapses in deepest humiliation before it even attempts to cross the starting line because it negates its own presuppositions. It requires that humans be “limited”, but that, nevertheless, this is exempted when we mention the word “God”. But to actually make that work, the prior human limitations must be drastically cut down to make God compelling in the first place.

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