The thing about presuppositional apologetics… »« We get email: And they call us censorious bullies?

Open thread on AETV 837: Russell and Tracie

Today we discussed “spirituality” in healthcare. Issues like hospitals becoming more religiously affiliated, Nursing standards including praying with patients, and Religious Trauma Syndrome’s development toward becoming a recognized issue.

One surprise I had was a blindside where a Deist, Dale, called in to quote-mine something I’d posted as a comment on an unofficial fan page, causally, several months ago, while I was at home watching Russell and Don host TAE. For the record, the OP of the original thread back in April (posted by the page’s creator and main admin, who is not affiliated with TAE) was this:

Caller Dale in Knoxville, TN. Is looking forward to talking to someone about Deism. Wants to talk to Matt, but Matt’s not on. The caller thinks he’s aligned with atheism, but doesn’t realize that it’s still irrational belief.

And here is my full comment, in that same thread, where I was posting as any other viewer, not as a TAE personality in any official TAE capacity. Dale was clearly trying to say, on the air today, that I was equating Deism with Westboro Baptist Church with respect to harm caused to society, and quoted only the final line of this full comment:

Just to note the phones at TAE call into the studio–not out. So, anyone who calls in, has contacted the show to present/defend their position. If he puts forward Deism, it should be shredded for the woo it is. It wouldn’t matter to me if it were 100% harmless, I’d still shred it based on it being unreasonable. It’s indefensible and illustrates an irrational position. And the person should be laid bare for that unreasonable position if they publicly espouse it. It might not be the thing someone sees as the number 1 enemy of society (short of promoting that believing irrational things is fine–which makes the position no more tenable than the theist position in terms of “is it reasonable?”), but it promotes bad reasoning, is irrational, and should not be protected from being called out as such. Luckily there is no economic pie that stops people from lambasting irrational beliefs that are both more harmful and less harmful, at the same time. I can say that everyone who supports their irrational views as “OK” is promoting shite and doing a disservice to society–and blast the Deist and Westboro Baptist together in one fell swoop.

Again, Dale quoted only the last line, totally ignoring everything above it. He badly wished to portray me as promoting that Deism and WBC are equal in all ways. As I got him to give up more info during the call, trying to jar my memory (I post a lot online and didn’t recall this line specifically), it became clear to me that a context was sorely missing. I then began to see how the line fit into my overall philosophy of “anti-woo.”

So, I tried, painfully, to explain to Dale that one might say “Examples of physical violation to another person might include slapping someone, or even raping them,” without attempting to assert that a rape is the equivalent of a slap. I explained I was saying “woo/unreasonable beliefs run a range of social harm, from things like Deism to things like WBC, but they are all examples of irrational thinking.” And if I were hosting on his original call, I would have approached arguments toward theistic groups and Deists from the same “it’s not reasonable” position, not by assessing whether they harm society (which has zero relevance to assessing their truth values). I believe the quote above cements my assumption during the show about my context, repeatedly, and shows Dale was absolutely not acting in good faith with regard to his presentation of my statement.

In the end, what I observe here is this: Dale called TAE back in April to defend Deism. He then found the fan page and the response to his call, all of which was negative (not just my comment). He was able to recognize my name as someone shredding his call, as well, and knew he could use my identity to confront me on TAE, and try and make me look bad by calling and hitting me with a quote from several months back, out of context, that there would be almost no way I could defend on the fly. In essence, he got butt hurt that he was called “unreasonable,” and decided to try and malign me on the air by misrepresenting my position in a situation where I would have no way to confirm the claims against me in the moment I was accused. I only knew on the phone that I know my philosophy on woo, Deism, and WBC, and I knew I absolutely would not assert that Deism and WBC are “the same” in any regard but “both are unreasonable.” My term “shred” simply refers to “how I would dismantle this if I were sitting in the host’s chair during this call.” Remember this thread was while the call was on TAE live. We’re all commenting in terms of armchair quarterbacking “if I were host on this call.”

After seeing my original quote, in context, I do hold to the context and meaning of my original quote, that all woo falls under the same heading of “unreasonable”—and that surely WBC is a much more harmful brand of woo, something I also acknowledged without hesitation, on the air, and also clearly in the April post.

If Dale was not happy with my assessment of his views on TAE back in April, then he won’t be much happier with my assessment of his personal character today: One positive thing I can say about Deists, in general, in addition to “you do not do the social harm that WBC does,” is that Deists are not, as a rule, as dishonest and unable/unwilling to understand a simple context as Dale. The Deists I’ve encountered would not have behaved so dishonorably.

Comments

  1. unfogged says

    Dale sounded very insecure about his position. It was interesting when you asked him why he cared whether somebody he doesn’t know agrees with him or not. He was so desperate for validation that it just left him speechless.

    I think part of the problem is that he may be using the word reasonable in the sense of ‘moderate’ more than ‘based on evidence’ as in “I use a reasonable amount of sugar in my coffee”. When you said that his beliefs were every bit as unreasonable as the WBC you may have been talking past each other. You clarified that equally unreasonable didn’t mean equally extreme but I’m not sure he got the distinction.

  2. says

    What I found most funny about it was that I raised that issue before my name even became associated with the topic. So, by the time it got to “Tracie Harris said…” I’d pretty well already hit “and why does that even matter?” His talk about “being friends,” just made no sense at all: “WHO are you? Do I even know you? What is the impetus for two people who don’t know each other to be friends–with only one point we know about one another, and upon which we don’t agree???” I don’t choose my friends by selecting people (1) I know nearly nothing about, and (2) making sure I disagree with them on what little we do know about each other.

    And when he announced that after the call he may not want to be friends, I wish I’d thought to say “Good, then I’ve helped you get over this need for being positively accepted by total strangers. You can thank me later.”

  3. says

    LOL…I recall saying “Wait…when did I describe the universe?” When the Presuppositionalist Caller started to talk about my description of the universe. I was like “where did you get that from? When did I offer that???”

  4. says

    Also, on Dale’s call specifically, one of the most telling moments to me was when I asked him something along the lines of whether he honestly could not see the difference between saying two beliefs are both unreasonable, versus saying two beliefs are equally harmful. When he replied he didn’t see a difference, that was pretty much the stamp of dishonesty. My question was actually rhetorical, I would never have expected anyone to say “No, I think those are the same statement.”

  5. says

    That was the most bizarre call I’ve ever heard in the several years I have watched and/or listened to TAE. Yes, many were stupid, many were funny, many were frustrating, but never once have I heard someone about to burst into tears over something someone posted on the internet that wasn’t even about him directly. That’s seriously messed up. No offense to Tracie, who I find one of the most interesting people on any podcast or tv show (and I listen to and watch quite a few of them), but why should her opinion, or anyone’s opinion for that matter, be that upsetting to anyone. You didn’t accuse him of a crime or slander his good name or have an affair with his wife or something that would have been genuinely upsetting. You criticized his unsubstantiated belief. Is he that fragile? That was easily one of the strangest things I’ve ever heard from a caller to any kind of show like this. Tracie didn’t say anything wrong (and she didn’t say what he seemed to think she did) but even if she had said “all deists are doodie heads” is that really that upsetting? And if so, why?

  6. says

    There was a lot of strawmanning on today’s show. Almost every caller did some version of “but atheists say/believe…” always followed by something I’ve never actually heard anyone say. #facepalm

  7. says

    I’ve heard you talk about this phenomenon on Godless Bitches before. Why does someone who has never met you care what you think about his belief system. I seriously thought the dude was going to break down and cry. You could hear it in his voice. That was just weird.

  8. says

    It was weird, because it was not honest. If he were calling to talk about something I’d said on a prior show, or even a prior call with him, and expound more on that, it would have made more sense. But he was trying to shoe-horn a personal hurt feelings issue, and USE TAE to try and air that as dirty laundry. That’s why it seemed so disjointed and displaced. The appropriate thing for him to have done, would have been to post back a rebuttal comment to my comment on the same thread at the fan site. Taking a comment I posted as a viewer that week, and then trying to force that onto TAE to me in an official host capacity, was a boundary problem. It’s like over-hearing a co-worker say they don’t like you, at a happy hour where they don’t know you’re eaves dropping, and then bringing up in a work meeting that you have personnel issues with this coworker, as you begin to repeat what they’d said to someone else outside of the work setting. It’s just a very bizarre thing to do. That person’s point isn’t that there is any real issue with the work, but just to make sure they have an audience to say “Jim said he didn’t like me!” It’s drama.

  9. Angela says

    Just to play nice, I at least have to give him credit for confronting Tracie on air to HER face, rather than to other hosts, like that one dick head who was bashing Matt to Jenn and Tracie. He is still a douche, but I’ll throw him bone for that :)

  10. says

    What I enjoy is the absolute glee he must have felt when he finally got on and started to gush what must have been building for months like a cancer. Actually I fear that I find him a pathetic ass that would have to struggle mightily for years at studying to graduate from moron to imbecile, only to miss the passing grade by one point.

  11. Aaroninmelbourne says

    Maybe presuppositionalism should be treated in the same manner as the now-famous Matt & Jeff “You’re a solipsist?!” hang up from Episode 656.

    Okay I jest… But to be serious about it, presuppositionalism self-refutes: if the only way to know ‘anything’ is to first know about “Gus the Cosmic Bunny Rabbit” as though attribution is required for knowledge in the same way knowing who invented the wheel is required to make use of wheels… then how do you get to knowing about “Gus the Cosmic Bunny Rabbit”? After all, you can’t know anything, so you can’t ever get to knowing anything. It’s a vicious, self-destroying circle. Even worse, the presuppositionalist must necessarily believe that they’re trying to convince someone who doesn’t know anything about the validity of a position that the person cannot (according to the presuppositionalist’s position) understand, on the basis the person doesn’t know anything and can’t without knowing this thing they can’t know because they don’t know anything.

    And the nail in the coffin is it fails “The Matrix” test: if something is only being asserted without evidence, then I can just say “We’re all in the Matrix and what you’re claiming is just the result of our evil Robot Overlords’ programming” and if your idea and mine are equally “likely” on the basis of evidence, then your idea is not worth considering. Same with presuppositionalism.

    From the perspective of the show, if the whole point is “what do you believe and why” and the person can’t or won’t get to a “why” and refuses to even consider evidence, then (ahem) why are they calling?

    I guess we’ll never know…

  12. says

    It would have been OK to confront me on the original thread where I’d made the comment. Since I had commented in a personal capacity at a fan page on Facebook, I think that is where his response should have gone. At most if he was going to call, he might have simply said “I read something you posted on a fan site, and was hoping you could explain your views on Deism more?” I would have happily talked to him about what I think of Deism. I would have said exactly what I said in the comment on the fan site, but in a more meaningful context on the air. If he wanted to say “how do you think they compare to something like WBC?” I would have honestly answered that as well. There was no need to try and make me look like I was saying the two groups were just alike–when it’s abundantly clear from the quote he used (since he was viewing it in full) that this was not what I’d expressed. If he took issue with a TAE e-mail exchange we had, something I’d said on a prior show, to a prior caller, to him on a prior call, at the TAE page or blog–that’s all fair game for calling the show and asking me about something I did that was TAE-role related. Any of those things I would expect to discuss on the air.

    What he brought up, I’m willing to discuss as it relates broadly to atheism on the air. But I’m not going to allow my personal life interactions to become a focus of the show. It was reminiscent to me of a time someone had some issue with something Matt had done/was doing, and wanted to argue about that while Matt was not on the show, and I finally said “I don’t even know if we should be discussing this. Did you just call to say you have a problem with Matt’s ego? You need to e-mail Matt, I think.” He was trying to say that Matt always sits to the right, because it’s a power position. I pointed out the host always sits on that side, because the computer has to be near power outlets. They just thought Matt was on a power trip and wanted to discuss. That was just not appropriate. The show is not about the hosts. It’s about the ideas and the public dialog. When people try and make it about the hosts, they’re really missing the point.

  13. says

    >From the perspective of the show, if the whole point is “what do you believe and why” and the person can’t or won’t get to a “why” and refuses to even consider evidence, then (ahem) why are they calling?

    Yeah, I think that was what Russell was ultimately asking the caller when he said we seem to have different starting points, different methods of assessing reality, and the twain shall never meet, so where do we go from here?

    It’s rhetorical: Nowhere. There can be no forward progress under those conditions.

    For myself, I don’t quite get how he could agree with me that “true” means that which aligns with reality–using the example of the mug in my hand–and then not understand the implication of my question about how we can assess a claim like “god exists”? If “true” means what I demonstrated, then assessing “god exists” as true is problematic. Where do we see it in reality? The Logic Absolutes aren’t helpful–I see them EVERYWHERE. In fact, there is NOWHERE I don’t see them. Grab any item and just see if it is what it is (or not)? See if it’s not what it’s not? See if it is or isn’t? And just keep going. You can’t escape those things–it’s like calculating pi…you just know the next thing and the next thing and the next thing…same result forever.

    But god cannot be so demonstrated. And I end up back to “how are you able to say it aligns with reality? What reality are we talking about? What are we examining?”

    He never answered it. And so I don’t think it’s just his assessments or axioms that diverge from ours–but his definition of “true,” because it CANNOT be the one I explained at the onset that HE agreed was fine to use.

  14. Ethan Myerson says

    Part of the problem I see with many callers is that they don’t listen to what is actually being said to them. To the presuppositionalist caller, Tracie made the point (clearly and repeatedly) that to assess a claim we need some way to compare it to things we can test here in the real world. And, apparently, the caller only heard “If I can’t see it, it’s not real”.

    A generous observer might say the caller couldn’t hear well what was being said. A less generous observer, like me, might conclude that when Tracie deviated from the presuppositionalist script, the caller was forced to shoehorn it back in whatever way he could.

  15. Aaroninmelbourne says

    Part of the problem is that theists are given strawmen of atheism by priests and other believers, which includes the strawman of scientific inquiry. Science uses a term called “observation” which is shorthand for measurements of variables which are consistent and specific (there’s more to it but you get the picture). However, theists conflate this with the everyday concept of “I observed (saw, heard) this thing”. This is where the nature of the preacher story of a “see, taste, hear, touch, smell” Professor being trumped by air comes from: you can’t see, taste, hear, touch or smell air, therefore it’s “unobservable” in lay-speak yet science has observed air in terms of consistent and specific measurements of its properties.

    So when Seth was talking with Tracie he likely was hearing “observation” but conflating it with “see”.

    The particularly silly thing about it is that if a deity existed and made any sort of impact on our universe, we could indeed “observe” that scientifically: miracles would be scientifically observable phenomena because they would be measurable variations from what would be required physically. Claims about the efficacy of prayer were measurable, and when we made observation, found that prayer works no better than chance (that is, they don’t appear to do anything). Any form of “supernatural” phenomena could be measured in the same way we measure something like black holes: we can’t ever “see” a black hole but can observe its effect on the matter around it.

    Part of the problem is that theists have presumed that supernatural phenomena are “outside the realm of science”. Yet supernaturalism is merely the claim that an effect can be caused by thought or intention; either the individual intending something results in the effect with no physical effort directly, or through the use of a magical object which allows the individual intent to manifest such as using a magic wand to turn a pumpkin into a coach. Thus, supernatural phenomena would be absolutely just as observable as natural phenomena, and indeed we tried to do so when claims of supernatural power such as telekinesis was scientifically tested. If it existed, and someone intended to turn X into Y and we measure X turning into Y without the individual or anything else physically making changes to X, then supernatural phenomena would be observed.

    But like you said, that doesn’t fit into the script, so theists don’t like to discuss such things.

  16. Muz says

    I took it more as rage, but I know what you mean.
    It might be a bit of a stretch but it reminded me of people’s reactions to some things in elevatorgate. The suggestion that women might be alarmed by being stuck alone with strange men because some of them are rapists seemingly deeply offended people because they were men and they were being lumped in with rapists (which went around to stupid places like women should control their security feelings because it offends men in their innocent maleness, or something. Who knows with this crap).

    Anyway, point is self identification is very important to lots of people. Particularly in special intellectually defined groups like Deist and Atheist, a lot of the time. Don’t want anyone thinking what they think is the wrong thing about their label.

  17. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    If anyone cares, this is how I would attack the first caller.

    I would start immediately as Tracie did by getting agreement that there’s a mug in my hand, but I would diverge from there. I would drop the mug – or a less fragile object – and talk about evidence based reasoning, aka inductive reasoning, aka informal and formal scientific reasoning.

    He was able to object to Tracie by saying that you can’t “see” the laws of logic. I would be able to counter by saying I reject absolute truth. The laws of logic seem to work according to evidence in exactly the same way that the mug seems to fall every time I drop it, and that’s good enough for me.

    I would say that: yes, I have presuppositions that we live in a shared material reality, and that evidence based reasoning is a reliable method for learning about our shared material reality. Furthermore, I bet that you share these presuppositions. If you don’t, then we can’t have a conversation. However, you go one presupposition further – that the christian bible is more accurate than most books. I don’t accept that as a presupposition. Furthermore, your presuppositions can come into conflict, and they do. What do you do if evidence based reasoning shows that the christian bible contains many gross falsehoods that destroy the plausibility of the central stories?

  18. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Man, I need to finish the call before commenting. Tracie and Russell got to most of my points. Good job!

  19. Chikoppi says

    I must admit to not quite understanding the usefulness of deism. If the deist claim is that there is a deity(ies), but no direct knowledge of the deity can be possessed, how is that useful? Theism at least posits a system of rewards and punishments. I assume a true deist symply asserts that a deity is necessary for existence, but that deity does not interact with nature in a manner that is distinguishable from natural events (attempted proofs are always ontological rather than evidence-based).

    If I am correct in my assumptions, isn’t deism merely a “god of the gaps” or “argument from ignorance” fallacy?

    At best, even were the deist claim true, it adds no new knowledge or understanding to the human experience. It neither predicts nor illuminates.

    I’d like to hear that question put to a thoughtful deist. “Assuming your claim is true, is your behavior or understanding therefore any different than were your claim proven false? Is life plus belief in an unknowable deity at all distinct from life without a deity?” I think any affirmation would require a claim of specific knowledge, and therefore an immediate shift into theism.

  20. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    To Tracie, you might try this phrasing instead: I need some reliable way to distinguish if you are saying something true vs making stuff up vs being honestly mistaken. “How can I tell if you’re just making stuff up?”

  21. says

    I have a regular engagement with a libertarian who is always cranky because people have (what she considers to be) misconceptions about Libertarians. When I ask for specifics I get vague generalities. And then there’s the relative who sent me a forwarded email that was debunked on a half dozen sites (and she would know if she had bothered to google the email header…four characters in got me “dhimmitude snopes” as a frequent search option) who got angry and defensive because she’s not as educated as I am but the email came from someone who is highly educated (but didn’t write and obviously didn’t bother to check to see if it was true). People are the most emotional when someone calls them out on how irrational they are being. Funny how that works.

  22. says

    But a great deal of our media (esp radio and tv) works this way. Something is taken out of context and then used to badger someone, often not even the person who said it. You were trying to have a rational conversation and he wanted to have a pity party. There really wasn’t any possibility of anything constructive coming from that.

    I would like to thank you because I have in the past fallen victim to that kind of thinking. “Someone said something mean about people like me. boo hoo hoo” I’m learning to get over it. If someone isn’t actively interfering with my life or my legal rights, what the hell do I care what they think about me? it’s a good message and we’d all be better off with more of that kind of thinking.

  23. says

    We live in bizarre times, don’t we?

    1) You are right not to talk about what Matt thinks on the air. Matt is on most weeks and is better able to explain his own viewpoints. Besides that, some of us find all the hosts interesting and want to hear what they think when they are on the show.

    2) I hate being blindsided with something I may have said once five years ago. I confront this on the singer boards where someone will quote something they claim I said a long time ago. maybe I was wrong. Maybe I hadn’t had my coffee yet. So what? That’s been stuck in their craw for all this time? Seriously?

    3) I think it’s funny that people call into a show and think they have free reign. It’s your show and you are free to select callers, cut them off, interrupt them and whatever you want to do. I would only draw the line at abuse (which is common with call-in shows overall) and misquoting people or misrepresenting their point of view. But for some reason people think that their right to free speech includes right to your airtime. It doesn’t, and it never did.

    Again, strange times.

  24. says

    Yes, it’s just someone who adopts the Intelilgent Design argument–with all it’s fallacious concepts and problems, and then goes on to make a ton of claims about god in the negative. Basically they do claim knowledge of god, in that they assert god is not involved, for example. It’s like the classic agnostic variety that posits that we can have no knowledge of gods–how do they “know” that without having knowledge of some sort about gods? So, it’s the same core fallacy as theism–the assumption there is a god. I don’t really care–as far as “unreasonable”–where they proceed from there. But, as noted repeatedly above, that is NOT a statement or assessment about harm. A person could be totally off in their own world and utterly unable to be reasoned with, and do no harm or damage to anyone else. I still don’t see how that impacts my assessment of their positions as “more reasonable.” Less harmful does not equal more reasonable. I still don’t get what the caller was driving at in that regard.

  25. says

    >2) I hate being blindsided with something I may have said once five years ago. I confront this on the singer boards where someone will quote something they claim I said a long time ago. maybe I was wrong. Maybe I hadn’t had my coffee yet. So what? That’s been stuck in their craw for all this time? Seriously?

    Yeah, I thought on that last night as well. I think what also gave away the dishonesty was his framing of the issue as “atheist” animosity toward “deists”–when what he actually meant was that he thought *Tracie* had an issue with *his* position. He purposely selected one quote from one atheist to demonstrate animosity manifested in all of atheism? Wasn’t it an amazing coincidence that he chose one quote from a host who just happened to be on, from an informal fan page thread? I think saying “Well, Dawkins ran an article awhile back that many atheists agreed with in comments,” would be a FAR better justification of some overarching animosity between “atheists” and “deists”–than one quote from an ACA volunteer who wasn’t even working as a volunteer at the time it was said on a Facebook page that doesn’t even have 500 likes…right?

    I am not the queen of atheists. I don’t represent atheists. I give my views, and try to stay in line with the mission of ACA–since they actually provide the show. In the end, it was clear he was calling because he had a highly specific bone to pick with me personally, and this had zero to do with his heartfelt concerns about relations between atheists and deists. As though that wasn’t bound to become obvious at some point during the call? Did he really think he’d get by with that and not be able to keep his actual agenda from oozing out all over? He sure showed me….LOL

  26. says

    Absolutely yes. If someone isn’t actually doing things to stop you from being free and living your life, any time spent working on your part to garner approval from them is wasted effort. Certainly it’s fine to want to be generally liked. But it’s just a fact that not everyone is GOING to like me. And, oh well. So, the best I can hope for is that those who dislike me will also not interfere with my rights or give me a hard time in life. At that point it’s sort of like, “Ok…you think I’m unreasonable and stupid…and…why exactly do I care?”

    Consider the very intrustive way many people who disagree try to oppress and impose upon one another very openly and frequently. Those people who dislike us or disagree with us, and don’t bother us in our lives–are really something to be glad about. “Dislike me all you like…and I’ll see you…never? I guess?” Works for me.

  27. John Kruger says

    That was a real good example of dishonest discussion by Mr. Offended Deist. Even if I completely disagree with someone on a number of levels, I try to give them the benefit of the doubt and have them restate outrageous claims. “Do you really think I am as bad as a Nazi?” “Do I really seem completely incapable of morality?” Stuff like that you have to give them a chance to clarify or back off of before you jump on it. You want to address and counter their best arguments, not nitpick their grammar or misspeaking something to show you are better than them.

    What you absolutely don’t do is insist that your opponent meant something they did not, even after they clarify several times, just so you can have your “gotcha moment”. I think it was pretty clear to everyone watching that he was “winning” an argument about a premise that was never actually stated or held to be true by anyone.

  28. chikoppi says

    - – – – – – – – – –
    I still don’t see how that impacts my assessment of their positions as “more reasonable.” Less harmful does not equal more reasonable. I still don’t get what the caller was driving at in that regard.
    – – – – – – – – – –
    It doesn’t. I think he believes the “deist” position superior to the “theist” position and took umbrage at being lumped together. I think he was looking to validate or otherwise defend his own self-perception by asserting that deism and theism are wholly distinct and that no equivocation is possible.

    My point is that there may be a handy rhetorical shortcut to illustrate the lack of meaningful distinction between deism and theism. “Does the deist have access to any applicable knowledge that the atheist does not? Yes? Then aren’t you really a theist? No? Then there is no meaningful distinction between +deity or -deity.

  29. ptburnham says

    I know all these comments are about Mr. Offended Deist, but I was really happy to see people talking about spirituality/religion increasingly creeping into healthcare. I happen to be a nursing student and it totally blows my mind to look at the NANDA and see garbage nursing diagnoses like “Disturbed Energy Field” or others which were pointed out on air. Often when I’m doing assigned paperwork about clients, I will give them this absurd nursing diagnosis and list silly interventions like Reiki as a means of poking fun at these “spiritual” concepts.

    Now, I’ve never seen these nursing diagnosis used in actual charting (yet…). Most people seem to have enough sense to use actual reasons for a person’s psychological state. But I think this is largely because nurses work within the framework of a doctor’s diagnosis. And really, what doctor is going to say, “the devil is causin’ that thur confusun, not a UTI! Nurse, pray ’round the clock for that poor patient’s soul!”

    I think spirituality within healthcare is primarily a consumer choice though. It has been presented to me at school that prayer, faith healing, ect. are largely comfort measures for the client. As long as the measures “do no harm” or don’t retard healing, nurses on the whole would gladly let you get a no touch massage and take sugar pills. I may think it’s a waste, but I see no danger if they are taking their meds and letting me perform necessary procedures.

    Do I think the government should pay for this crap? Of course not, but that’s another debate. And if I ever saw an order to pray for a client, not only would I be able to abstain simply because of my beliefs (on the same basis that all healthcare providers can abstain from participating in an abortion based on their beliefs), I would probably start looking for another job.

  30. Angela says

    To basically everything you just said – WORD. I agree. There are ways he could’ve made a successful call or email. Had he framed it differently, it would not have been an issue. It’s bad enough he didn’t understand the pretty clear message of the full text in the first place, but to bring it up on air and just *cling* to his assumption of what he *thought* you meant, rather than really listen to your response, was such a waste of time for the hosts and the viewers (well, in my view). The other caller you mentioned was in fact the same caller I also referred to, and yes I put them in the same category of BS callers, and jokingly gave Dale credit for at least having the host there to defend themselves.

    My main thing is this, I watch the show because it’s interesting, it’s educational, and entertaining; I couldn’t give a shit less about what some dude thinks about one of the hosts (which was clearly the intent of both of those calls). I like all the hosts, so it’s annoying to me when people call in to play “frame the TAE host”. It’s unproductive. I would rather hear you guys shred a Christian, because it gives me ideas on how to respond to my uncle who bombards my phone with religious texts, and engages me specifically because I’m an athiest and he’s studying to become a minister or some shit. Don’t get me wrong I don’t spew TAE arguments like rhettoric, but I may not have heard about the Silver Fox experiment for example, and that kind of stuff is useful. These types of callers are just a waste of time. But maybe other viewers enjoy these calls or the hosts do, the show isn’t made specifically for ME after all ;)

  31. mrlynne says

    “The Logic Absolutes aren’t helpful”

    He probably is thinking (but didn’t state) that the absolutes are contingent on a god. In this way, he thinks they are helpful to him.

  32. says

    Not that you should care but I just love when you talk like this. This was a hard concept for me to get my ego around for a very long time. Boo hoo there are people who don’t like me. Yes, welcome to the club. it’s called everybody. No matter who you are someone doesn’t like you, and it doesn’t matter so long as they aren’t in your way.

  33. Jeff Pearson says

    Ptburnham,
    You are right. As much as Hippocrates might hate it, superstition is creeping back into medicine. I started to mention this at the end of the show as a sort of “I agree with Tracie on her show’s opening point olive branch,” but it didn’t work out.
    I was a Psych Tech in the military. Years later, I worked within a medical corporation that contracted out many medical services including clinical psychiatry. I had occasion to work on the Psyche floor and was flabbergasted with all the religious ideology. Mentally ill folks are invariably in a frail and suggestible condition. To plaster Bible verses and biblical cartoons on the wall and end therapeutic sessions with prayer was/is malpractice (as far as my training is concerned.) The organization that got the contract for the psychiatric floor was of course, evangelical.
    Hospital’s permissive attitude toward superstition is indeed growing. Healing touch has already crept into some nursing curriculum. Scientology practitioners already seek insurance reimbursement to cover charges for praying with the patient. In a not-to-distant Bizzaro future. I can imagine nurses being obligated to pray with the patient as part of her duties with an accompanying hospital bill to the patient’s insurance company or (failing insurance) to the patient himself.
    I once worked in a hospital where two anesthesiologists (both SDA) prayed with every surgery patient. I remember thinking, I don’t want someone working on me, who, if they screwed up, could console themselves by saying, “Well, it’s just God’s will that he went to the afterlife a little sooner.”

    Dale

  34. jacobfromlost says

    Problem is…even if a god DID exist, he would have to be contingent on the Logical Absolutes by definition.

    If he exists, he is what he is, and isn’t what he isn’t, and can’t be both.

    It reminds me of the theist’s rhetorical question, “Can something come from nothing?”, in which they expect the answer “no”.

    So which is god? Something or nothing? If he’s something, he had to come from something else. If he’s nothing, we already have something (the universe around us at the very least) and so there is no problem at all.

  35. roythesnake says

    Someone needs to get Russell a stopwatch. Or maybe Lynnaea can time travel next time and stop him.

  36. Schlumbumbi says

    Just a quick thought:

    If this universe, and the laws which govern it, are the product of some overlying natural realm (which creates universes with their specific properties), wouldn’t it be actually correct to refer to that realm as the “true supernatural” ? Just like the “true nothing”, which has properties, could easily replace the outdated notion, held by believers, which just sees “nothing” as a abstract negating concept ?

    I’d like to think that replacing the believers’ beloved old weasel words, effectively establishing, and firmly insisting upon these new “positive definitions” in the future, could bring a whole new drive to the discussion.

    Any takers?

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