Comments

  1. Monocle Smile says

    Grayson’s question was fantastic. Why indeed do Christians attempt to avoid something they deserve?

    Perhaps my favorite Don talk was “They don’t believe that,” because there are indeed quite a few pieces of Christian theology that Christians themselves obviously don’t believe. This is yet another point on that topic.

  2. Monocle Smile says

    Eh, I don’t know about Charles. Some of the stuff he says is Poe-esque, but there are other times where he seems honestly confused. Either way, his entire thought process is ass-backwards and he doesn’t know what science is.

    There seems to be this pattern with theist callers recently. They don’t want to stay on topic and say anything concrete. They just want to jump around and avoid actually talking about anything.

    Also, someone needs to smack these people and tell them to stop staring into their own navels to answer questions about reality. This is a severe problem.

  3. BluePrint says

    I don’t have opportunities for 1:1 conversations with creationists, but I have this approach I would like someone to try on arguments from ignorance like the one Charles brought to this show.

    After the creationist says they believe god over science as an explanation for… whatever (usually life), I would ask: “So for you, saying “someone is responsible” is a better explanation than an elaborate description of processes down to microscopic detail?”

    My guess is it would avoid arguing about detail in the scientific explanation (like IDiots like to do), skip the unnecessary interrogation of what the creationist mean when he says ‘god’, and take the discussion directly to theology, scripture, and why should it be taken seriously when it disagrees with observations. Possibly to talking about the difference between a story and an explanation.

  4. favog says

    I think I’m glad to be watching it on ustream instead of blip tv; blip didn’t have after-show. So they sucked already, really.

  5. corwyn says

    The thing I wish someone would ask them is “So, you are saying that when science shows what natural mechanisms caused that, (life, universe, morals, whatever) you will stop believing as that will prove your religion false?

    …But first, put them on a bike hooked up to a generator, then see how much energy they produce, backpedaling.

  6. says

    First let me preface by saying I like the show and it’s really progressed over the years, but… good grief, people. How freakin’ hard is it to master the apparently impossible task of picking up the right phone line? Every show you guys punch at those buttons as if you’re attempting to navigate an alien spacecraft, accidentally hanging up on people, etc. And yes, I realize, thanks to the enormous amount of grumbling you guys do, that the studio phone system sucks. But after this many years… c’mon.

  7. Russell Glasser says

    You really don’t have any idea what you’re talking about, Edna. I know how the phone box works. It is broken. Right now, half the time pushing the button will pick up the caller, and half the time it will disconnect them. I have no way of knowing when this will happen; it was working fine for the first caller, and then it started dropping everyone. There is nothing I can do to prevent this, because I have to push the button to take the caller. That is why I had to ask the people in the studio in back to do it. Do you understand? It’s the equipment, not us.

  8. Rod says

    You are right – in general folks in Canada are less “religiously adamant” than in the US. There ARE regional differences though much as there are S of 49. I believe your caller was from Calgary. You have to allow that Alberta is Canada’s equivalent of Texas. Lots of oil men and cowboys and a similar if milder approach to reality. They also KNOW global warming is a hoax.

    Calgary gave us our PM Stephen Harper who has been cutting science funding, muzzling government scientists and generally making sure nobody bothers his knowledge with facts.

    Still, I’ll take Alberta over Texas – much less extreme.

  9. says

    Yes, as I said, I understand that it’s the equipment, because you guys grumble about it a lot. Also, as I said, it’s still ridiculous. Do you guys have any ability whatsoever to get the studio to fix it? After all these years of having a call-in show, with faulty equipment, there’s no one associated with the studio who cares enough to fix it? It can’t be just axp that’s affected.

  10. Monocle Smile says

    Edna, it’s a public access studio. Bitching on this blog won’t do anything and makes you sound petulant and entitled. This issue is orders of magnitude more annoying to the hosts than it will ever be to you.

    Also, good job pretending like you didn’t call the show hosts stupid and/or incompetent. Your last post was pretty dishonest.

  11. Mas says

    Over the years, I would guess at least half the time the hosts are given incorrect info about the lines/callers. “Next we’ve got.. *click* Joe. Joe, are you there?” “This is Dave.”
    …But I think this is a net positive and adds to the fun!

  12. says

    Oh, gimme a break. I didn’t call them stupid or incompetent, and I don’t think that of them. But watching a bunch of intelligent, grown men and women plunk away at those line buttons with so much trepidation that it looks like they’re a bomb squad deciding whether they’re about to cut the right wire becomes absurd after so many years. You can call me petulant all you want, but they advertise this as a place to comment about the show, and this is the comment I most want to make because I honestly think it’s the biggest glitch of the whole show.

    It’s a call in show with a barely functional phone system. The glitches ruin the flow, throw off the content, and you know it’s gotta be putting off potential callers who see how likely it is that they’ll wait their turn on hold only to be accidentally dropped.

    Axp has apparently been voted the most popular public access show in the Austin area. That’s great. I don’t think it’s an “entitled” attitude, after so many years, for axp to petition for a working phone system.

  13. corwyn says

    …for axp to petition for a working phone system.

    What makes you think they haven’t?

    One can always toss some extra money in one’s next cable bill, if one thinks public-access stations are underfunded.

  14. Conversion Tube says

    I’ve heard the word petulant several times this week. Sounds like an awesome descriptive word for douchbag. But the actual sound PETTTUUULANT, just awesome. I had an idea what it meant but I thought I better look it up.

    of a person or their manner) childishly sulky or bad-tempered.

    Meh, I liked the word better before I knew what it meant.

    But ya Edna is super Petulant. To say something once about shit you don’t know about but then to respond several times attempting to defend your position of not even being entitled to a position. Stop it.

  15. says

    I agree, Mas. It’s not some slick, overproduced, commercial venture. It’s just people getting together to discuss what they’re most passionate about in the public access square, and that’s there the agenda ends. And sometimes things go wrong which sort of add to the public access experience. For example, I got a kick out the the show the other week in which Tracie was winging the intro because Russell was running late due to a host schedule snafu. It’s also fun when honest confusion erupts on the lines. But I don’t think anything valuable would be lost if the phones worked.

    Constantly malfunctioning phones sabotage the purpose of the show, and, I’m sorry to report, can easily come off as incompetence. When I was first getting familiar with Axp on YT, I’d see the hosts grumbling about faulty equipment and gave them benefit of the doubt. It’s just a public access studio, budgets are non-existent, etc. But sometimes the phrases they use denote personal responsibility. “Am I hitting the right…?” “Oops. Sorry about that.” “Let’s see… is this line so-and-so, or am I punching the wrong….?” I don’t think the hosts and crew are being dishonest. Even if it’s sometimes their own mishandling, I’d guesstimate that the problems seem to be around eighty percent technical malfunction and twenty percent host/crew oopsies.

    But as you get an idea of how many years Axp has been around, the skeptic within starts raising an eyebrow. If they were in their start-up phase and/or unpopular, I could understand why they’d put up with a crappy phone system. What makes me speak up is knowing how long they’ve been on the air, that the show has achieved some status, and that the technical problems really do compromise it.

    To answer Corwyn’s question, having the same technical problems since the nineties is what makes me think they haven’t tried to get it fixed, or at least not tried very hard. And what makes you suggest that I’m a cable subscriber? I’m not. I would, however, make a donation should Axp announce a fundraiser specifically devoted to fixing their phones.

  16. says

    “To say something once about shit you don’t know about but then to respond several times attempting to defend your position of not even being entitled to a position. Stop it.”

    I’m impressed. That was a spectacularly craptastic comment, Conversion Tube.

  17. Matt Gerrans says

    Following up on Monocle Smile’s comment (#2 above), I would like it if the hosts would ask the caller to think about why it is that when he is navel-gazing for answers about reality, he inevitably comes up with conclusions that exactly match the dogma with which he was indoctrinated for 18 or so years. An amazing coincidence to be sure. Contrast that with the navel-gazing discoveries of a Hindu, Mormon, Scientologist, Muslim, etc. and the “amazing” discoveries take on a certain pattern. Now, don’t start taking, start thinking.

  18. Frank G. Turner says

    @Matt # 18
    I have said in other posts that many people think that they ARE their ideas, that if they change their conclusions that they change who they are as a person. Of course this is an incredible delusion that they are the same person they were before EVEN IF their ideas don’t change. Muscles grow and atrophy, skin grows and replaces itself (as does hair, at least in some of us), blood recycles, etc,. Even some neurons can regrow at certain points in our life.
    .
    The desire to think that one does not change seems to be very strong psychologically. Hence the assertion that one’s god does not change given that their god is basically an extension of the person themself, often a personification of their hopes and dreams (which many don’t realize that they can have WITHOUT needing to personify them). Staring at the navel rather than thinking may be a drive to stay the same rather than accept that one needs to change and adapt to new situations (hence the objection to evolution too).
    .
    And one’s children and other people can be an extension of a person as well. To quote AronRa on your show I believe, many people feel the need to raise their children (and treat others too) like mushrooms, keep them in the dark and feed them bullshit.

  19. StonedRanger says

    Edna #16
    The phones don’t belong to AXP, so you could donate to AXp all year and it wont do a thing to get the phones or the equipment fixed. It belongs to the cable company, not AXP. In the Beginning I used to have the idea that the studio gave them the crappiest equipment because they don’t agree with the shows content, but have no choice but to let them put it on. Im sure it bugs everyone who watches the show, not the least the people who produce and participate in the show. If it bugs you so much, perhaps you can be persuaded to donate to the cable company with the express interest in having the phone system fixed. And if you think its so easy to put on a live television show without mistake or error (especially when its live) then maybe you could volunteer to show them how its done. Coming and whining on their blog really isn’t going to accomplish anything other than giving people the opportunity to comment back at you. Just like this, imagine that.

  20. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @Frank G. Turner #19:

    The desire to think that one does not change seems to be very strong psychologically. Hence the assertion that one’s god does not change

    A god that changes its mind might turn against you.
     
    Article: Epiphenom – A general-purpose “need to belong” drives belief in God
     
     

    god is basically an extension of the person themself, often a personification of their hopes and dreams (which many don’t realize that they can have WITHOUT needing to personify them).

    Not hopes and dreams, so much as an idealization of themselves. God’s beliefs are their own.
     
    Article: Epiphenom – What you want, God wants
     
    The other part is an existential threat made to anyone contemplating leaving the church: without God life will be without meaning/purpose/joy/etc (making Christianity into a bleak nihilism with a security blanket). It’s akin to that fear of going on a murderous rampage, if deprived of a moral compass from divine command theory.
     
    Another is the way God, invisibly involved in every event, steals the credit for anything personally considered good or worthwhile. This habit glorifies God and, by conflating sudden disbelief of God with sudden disappearance of God, leads to the existential threat. Never mind that farmers will continue to harvest regardless of whether grace is said at the dinner table.

  21. John Iacoletti says

    N. O’Really – thanks, I fixed it!

    Edna – we report malfunctioning equipment to the studio as soon as it happens, and sometimes they get around to fixing it — eventually. Or we have to live with it. In the case where the wrong person is on the line, what happens is that the call screener will put someone on hold and then for whatever reason, the person hangs up or drops off before the host gets to them. As soon as that happens, a new person will call in on that line and the host will end up picking up a different caller than the original one who was on hold for that line. There’s really nothing we can do about that other than what Russell did — put them back on hold for the call screener.

  22. xscd says

    Religious people seem to be so intentionally blind and dogmatic that it has frustrated me engaging with them in conversation on the Internet. It helps though to understand a little more about them as a class of people, why they are the way they are, how they think (or intentionally don’t think), etc. Recently I discovered a short book by Bob Altemeyer, “The Authoritarians,” that is helping me to understand religious fundamentalists and conservative authoritarians (many of whom are of course religious fundamentalists or “evangelicals”). Anyway, the book has a free PDF version on the Internet, if anyone else might be interested in it–
    http://home.cc.umanitoba.ca/~altemey/

    This book is helping to ease my frustration as it educates me on the brick walls I’m trying to have a discussion with. Part of their dogmatism is to intentionally stop or sidetrack any constructive discussion if they fear it might threaten their comfortable, all-important (but unsubstantiated) beliefs.

  23. Frank G. Turner says

    @ Sky Captain # 22
    I said:


    god is basically an extension of the person themself, often a personification of their hopes and dreams (which many don’t realize that they can have WITHOUT needing to personify them).

    You said:

    Not hopes and dreams, so much as an idealization of themselves. God’s beliefs are their own.

    I think that we agree as I would argue that this are different ways of saying the same basic thing with a few minor differences, but I appreciate your interest and the link to the article either way.
    .
    You said,

    A god that changes its mind might turn against you.

    As compared to a god that doesn’t change its mind and is already against you? (e.g.: the problem with Pascal’s wager). Wouldn’t the safer thing be to have a god that can change his mind and won’t ALWAYS disagree with you?
    .

    Another is the way God, invisibly involved in every event, steals the credit for anything personally considered good or worthwhile.

    This sounds suspiciously like a false dichotomy, can’t it be both? If you pray to get better and accept surgery for a tumor that is lethal and a doctor removes it and saves you, can’t you thank the doctor AND god (presuming that you believe god exists)?
    .

    Never mind that farmers will continue to harvest regardless of whether grace is said at the dinner table.

    Which sounds suspiciously like “the sun will continue to rise even if the rooster does not crow.” Such events are correlated, not causally related. I find that a lot of our so-called evangelical friends don’t seem to have a firm grasp on statistical relationships much of the time (or ignore them and try not to apply them to their beliefs, ::cough:: cough:: steele ::cough:: ::cough::).
    .
    @xscd # 26

    Part of their dogmatism is to intentionally stop or sidetrack any constructive discussion if they fear it might threaten their comfortable, all-important (but unsubstantiated) beliefs.

    I said it before and I will say it again.
    I interpret “go out and spread the good news to others” as “this is such flimsy bullshit that if even a single person believes something contrary to this then EVERYONE will realize that it is flimsy bullshit, so we have to convince absolutely everyone that it is not flimsy bullshit.”
    AronRa said that many people are like mushrooms, raised in the dark and fed bullshit. I almost see it like Plato’s Parable of the Cave. The evangelicals are the prisoners trying to avoid the new sunlight and any threat to the shadows on the wall not being the real world. Funny how they talk about “seeing the light” when what they really see is darkness and imprisonment (metaphorically speaking).
    .
    @Edna Pierce, overall
    I recognize that it may not have been your intent to whine, even though that seems to be how it came across. Unlike many others I am willing to give you the benefit of the doubt. I do this for a reason.
    .
    Much of what is understood is not said directly. Many things are implied but we cannot know for sure if they were meant that way. I try to be a more explicit communicator and bring implications into explicit light. The difficulty is that people read between the lines of THAT. I could go on an infinite loop of defining my purpose, and defining the purpose behind the definition of my purpose, and defining the purpose of my definition of the purpose behind my definition of that purpose, etc. (That is why many of my posts get long). Even THEN things are missed, like I say “you” when I mean “a person” as I mean something generally and not personally, which is difficult to get across in English sometimes, or more specifically, American (not to be a dick but what they speak in the UK is different from the USA).
    .
    As a result of this life experience I am more than willing to give individuals the benefit of the doubt, as one could do so here. It is a good practice as it is something I would like returned to me but often is not. I don’t think anything was intentional on the part of the hosts of the show so I personally would not have said something about it, but you choose to do so and that is fine. I am guessing that you meant well.
    .
    @John and Russell and Enlightenment Liberal
    I don’t think you are incompetent and given what you have to work with I understand too. You guys do great work and you rock. Hugs to all 3 of you from me too. And a hug to Edna too.

  24. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @Frank G. Turner #27:

    If you pray to get better and accept surgery for a tumor that is lethal and a doctor removes it and saves you, can’t you thank the doctor AND god (presuming that you believe god exists)?

    Sure, you could.
     
    On the other hand: according to my aunt, God’s the one who put medical knowledge into the doctor’s head (eliding all the human effort that went into discovering, teaching, studying, and practicing).

  25. petrander says

    That Charles caller was an obvious fake. I know you cannot just hang up on people on that suspicion, however strong. I also understand that it can sometimes be really hard to pick the fakes out, If I may suggest: Perhaps you could cut these kinds of conversations, that are not going anywhere anyway, just shorter? He ate away time from subsequent genuine callers. What a prick anyway!

    In any case, you’re doing a great job and I don’t underestimate your challenges!

  26. Frank G. Turner says

    @ Sky Captain # 28

    On the other hand: according to my aunt, God’s the one who put medical knowledge into the doctor’s head (eliding all the human effort that went into discovering, teaching, studying, and practicing).

    .
    I don’t really see this as “on the other hand” as one can still give thanks to both the doctor AND a god if you believe that one exists. They are not mutually exclusive. The only argument that I could see where one was mutually exclusive of the other would suggest that the doctor had absolutely no free will whatsoever. If a god put all of the knowledge into the doctor’s head without the doctor engaging in ANY discovery, teaching, studying, or practicing at all, then you are basically saying that we are puppets on strings with no will of our own.
    .
    Even if one believes that, it is still good social practice to give thanks to the people who help oneself, one would want this in return, correct? I doubt that you will hear much counter argument from your aunt regarding that. If you do then feel free to never thank her for anything as god put it in her head to do it and see how she feels.
    .
    I used to hear a similar argument from my mother as your aunt gave, although my mother being socially trained to give appreciation to everyone she could would thank the people around her as well as god and would argue that it was important to do so. My mother gave the argument that one cannot go around making sure to thank absolutely everyone on the medical staff who helped as it was more than just the surgeon who did the work. Nurses, technicians, anesthesiologists, radiologists, etc all play a part and you may now even know about them. She feels that in thanking god she shows thanks to those people through god. Of course if she knew an individual was involved she would not pass up an opportunity to show her thanks at the moment.
    .
    She had found out about others involved such as anesthesiologists in her own surgeries and would thank them when she interacted. She was often the one saying to family in waiting areas that “while we are waiting here praying and giving thanks to god let us also thank the great medical staff for their work on this issue” which would often get big waves of approval from family members.
    .
    I was the one to point out (even as a supposed theist) that while we could not thank everyone involved that it was their job, they took it up because it was rewarding enough. Even when one does not receive direct thanks, many other workers knew that they would not get direct thanks from patients as they would not have been known to be involved. (As a laboratory technician doing research work I often received no direct thanks but that was ok, I preferred to be behind the scenes).
    .
    The point is, would your aunt really try to argue AGAINST giving direct thanks to the doctor involved as if to do so was WRONG as only god should receive the credit? Would she seriously stop someone from thanking the doctor who saved their life (regardless of whether they also prayed and thanked god)?
    .
    I am guessing that she wouldn’t as outright refusing to thank that individual would make her look like a real asshole socially and she knows it. Using the Socratic method though it would be a good question to ask her. I am guessing that someone already has and she probably looks back at them with a blank stare as internally she knows that it would go against what is socially accepted but does not want to give ammunition to the counter argument and can’t find a way to have her cake and eat it too.
    .
    @ Narf
    This is likely what is going on with the JWs you talk to sometimes. They know that an answer of “yes” will result in one outcome they don’t like and an answer of “no” will result in another outcome they don’t like and they can’t loose so they just don’t answer. Adam on here seems to have gotten into this situation a number of times.

  27. corwyn says

    This sounds suspiciously like a false dichotomy, can’t it be both? If you pray to get better and accept surgery for a tumor that is lethal and a doctor removes it and saves you, can’t you thank the doctor AND god (presuming that you believe god exists)?

    No, if you believe that a god is responsible for the universe, then the tumor is the fault of the god, and the cure is totally responsibility of the doctor. If one is going to credit god for adding the knowledge to the doctors mind, one would need to explain, why so much work on the part of all the doctor throughout history was required, and why it took 2 Million years to get to the point we are, AND why we can’t have the amazing cures NOW that will be developed in the future.

  28. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @Frank G. Turner #30:

    would your aunt really try to argue AGAINST giving direct thanks to the doctor involved as if to do so was WRONG as only god should receive the credit?

    She was arguing against being thankful for any human effort. Farmers deserve NO acknowledgment when she thinks about dinner (not even silently or implicitly) because goddidit. I’m suppose in-person, she might compartmentalize that away, or she might only give docs lip service to meet social expectations.
     

    then you are basically saying that we are puppets on strings with no will of our own.

    It would not surprise me if she thought docs were “instruments of god”, followed a “calling”, etc. She thought her marriage was decided by fate. That she hadn’t thought about the implications wouldn’t be surprising either.
     

    I am guessing that she wouldn’t as outright refusing to thank that individual would make her look like a real asshole socially and she knows it.

    Once, her brother-in-law was planning to drive several hundred miles for a visit and needed a place to stay. She wouldn’t let him stay at her place because of the “appearance of evil”. His wife had died recently, and a single man must not be allowed unsupervised around a married woman. So he had to pay for a motel. She was always genial on the phone many times before and when they met.
     
    When conversation stumbles onto an aspect of her indoctrination, she’s fine with looking like an asshole. Offending god is far worse.

  29. Frank G. Turner says

    @ corwyn # 31

    No, if you believe that a god is responsible for the universe, then the tumor is the fault of the god, and the cure is totally responsibility of the doctor.

    True enough, unless you are going to make the “we have no free will as we are only puppets on strings pulled by god” argument, in which god is responsible for ALL of them. You make a good point with this and I won’t put it down.
    .

    If one is going to credit god for adding the knowledge to the doctors mind, one would need to explain, why so much work on the part of all the doctor throughout history was required, and why it took 2 Million years to get to the point we are, AND why we can’t have the amazing cures NOW that will be developed in the future.

    Or even 6000 to 10000 years if you are going to get into that evangelical bullshit. Of course that does not change the argument. Like I said, you make a good point and I feel it is not frugal to challenge it here.
    .
    The point I was making is that you can give thanks to both. I really don’t see why that is an issue unless one really does not have their head screwed on properly. I mean how would it piss off a god if you gave thanks to the people too? Isn’t that thanks to others ALSO part of the plan? Of course refusing to give thanks to one’s fellow human might ALSO be part of the plan, if there even IS a plan.

  30. says

    @ Sky Captain # 32

    When conversation stumbles onto an aspect of her indoctrination, she’s fine with looking like an asshole. Offending god is far worse.

    I am guessing that she is not a Catholic huh? Among my family and other Catholics I had known looking like an asshole to your fellow man IS how you piss god off. References to Matthew 25:40 or Proverbs 14:31 are appropriate here.
    .
    Of course this same logic was often recited to me as to why I needed to follow in my family’s belief system. Catholics are good at guilt.
    .

    It would not surprise me if she thought docs were “instruments of god”, followed a “calling”, etc. She thought her marriage was decided by fate. That she hadn’t thought about the implications wouldn’t be surprising either.

    .
    Yeah sounds like thinking deeper wasn’t her thing, that “look of evil” sounds really simple minded to me. I am finding that common among evangelicals, intellectually illiterate in so many ways.

  31. xscd says

    It’s hard to have a satisfying conversation with a Christian presuppositionist. I feel that it is a challenge just to maintain one’s own under those circumstances. Today I have engaged in a conversation with BibleThumpingWingnut at his YouTube channel. It may not be over yet, but here is the conversation so far–

    * Me–
    Regarding the statement, “Truth is what comports with the mind of God,” I think it’s more accurate to say that truth is what happens to exist that we can perceive in some way. What we can’t perceive may or may not exist.

    * BibleThumpingWingnut–
    That is not what the Bible says. Jesus said, I am the way the truth and the life…

    * Me–
    Well, I think it’s more accurate and useful in a general sense to say that truth and knowledge are what we happen to be able to perceive of what exists. People can argue about the Bible and what it means (Christians do that all the time), and about God (atheists and Christians do that all the time), but it seems that no one could argue with the fact that truth is what exists, and that we don’t know (cannot perceive) all of what exists, which leaves the possibility open that God (or a god of some sort) exists, although atheists would say that although the theoretical possibility of God exists (can’t be ruled out), there is little to no evidence for it.

    * BibleThumpingWingnut–
    Why would you exclude God from your explination of how truth is percieved?

    * Me–
    At the most basic level, our knowledge gathering mechanism is a conscious process. Our consciousness enables us to perceive and to experience, to come into contact with some of a reality that is larger than ourselves.

    * BibleThumpingWingnut–
    And how do you account for knowledge, consciousness & reality without God?

    * Me–
    We know reality exists because we can perceive and experience it. Knowledge is just our perception of reality; consciousness is the means by which we perceive reality.

    * BibleThumpingWingnut–
    How do you know your experience is valid? How do you know your not dreaming, in a matrix or insane insane?
    
    * Me–
    What we can consciously perceive is all we know, and all that forms our practical experience whether awake or dreaming. That’s all we can know, but we can extrapolate from that experience in order to better make decisions and determine the actions in our daily lives.
    
    * BibleThumpingWingnut–
    So you have no idea if this conversation is a dream, SIM or actually happening.

    * Me–
    Of course I do. I know that this conversation is actually happening because I can consciously perceive it and it forms a part of my experience. However, neither you nor I know all of the details involved, in the same way that we do not know and are unaware of most of what is around us when we are driving.

    * BibleThumpingWingnut–
    It’s happening but you don’t know the details? How do you know your reasoning about this is valid?

    * Me–
    It’s not reasoning; it’s experience. No one knows all the details. You don’t know the color of the room I’m sitting in. Our conscious perception and experience is all we have to guide us. If a person is afraid that those are not enough, then that person will often feel an urgency to rely upon another source for a sense of comfort and security to assuage his fear, despite the fact that his trust is probably misplaced.

  32. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    @xscd
    Mmm… I disagree with some of your responses.

    I think the critical juncture is here:

    How do you know your experience is valid? How do you know your not dreaming, in a matrix or insane insane?

    My reply would have been: I don’t know, and neither do you. I have a presupposition that using evidence works to inform my beliefs, and/or I have a presupposition that I should use evidence to inform my beliefs – colloquially “science works”.

    Further: I do not know if I am in The Matrix. I do know that it does not matter if I am. Because it does not matter, I do not care. If there is no way to tell the difference between “The Real World ™” and The Matrix at all ever, then it does not matter. If there is a way to tell the difference, then I will start caring as soon as someone shows me how they differ, and shows me evidence of which world I am in, and not a moment before.

    Similarly:

    It’s happening but you don’t know the details? How do you know your reasoning about this is valid?

    I have no justification for why my reasoning is “valid”. I have a presupposition that I am sufficiently capable of reason, and/or I have a presupposition that I should use reason to inform my beliefs. Note that I do not claim to be perfectly rational. I am capable of making mistakes, but I assert that I am sufficiently capable to identify those mistakes at least some of the time.

    I probably would have ended with: I admit that I am not perfect. I admit that I am a flawed, finite human being. I admit that I might be wrong about any particular material fact about our shared reality, such as the existence of your god. However, to be convinced that your god is real, you need to show me compelling evidence and argument. That standard is the beginning of honesty and wisdom. You seem to assert the exact opposite. You seem to assert that you are perfect, infallible, and cannot be wrong on certain subjects.

    IMHO, there is no other proper response to these questions of Christian presuppositional questions. I don’t know if this is effective, but IMHO it’s the only correct and honest way to answer these questions.

    PS:

    And how do you account for … consciousness … without God?

    I don’t. I have no account of consciousness. I don’t have to have an account for consciousness. I don’t know. The beginning of honesty and wisdom is recognizing when you don’t know, and admitting when you don’t know. Whereas, it again seems that you consider admitting that you don’t know some sort of supremely bad personal flaw to admit that you don’t know when you have insufficient evidence and argument. Again, this is literal make-believe and willful delusion. It is textbook argument from ignorance. You: “I don’t know how it is or why it is. Thus a wizard god did it.”

  33. corwyn says

    The point I was making is that you can give thanks to both.

    Sure, and if someone throws you off a bridge, and then holds your head under water, and another person comes by, scares them off, and resuscitates you, you can thank them both. My question is why that makes any sense.

  34. xscd says

    To EnlightenmentLiberal–

    If one is arguing with a presuppositionalist, and they ask how you know you’re not just a simulation or “a brain in a vat,” and you reply that you don’t know, and neither do they, they often reply with something like–

    “You don’t know, but I DO know, with certainty, because God gives me that knowledge and that certainty.”

    So the “I don’t know” answer always seems to trigger the next step in the presup’s script. I wis just trying to avoid that. Like I said, I consider it a challenge to have any conversation with them at all, since they are determined to be the brick wall you bang your head against.

  35. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    @xscd
    Ok… but I favor honesty and accuracy. I don’t know if I’m a brain in a vat or not. Neither do they, despite their protestations otherwise.

    I like to get them off script by saying “Wait, wait, you’re infallible?”. I know Sye’s next step is to say that he can know something for certain because someone all-knowing told him, but that doesn’t do anything to solve the problem. He’s still claiming infallibility as an imperfect person. Even if there was something which knew everything, you still cannot be sure of it.

    IMHO, that’s the key part. That’s the part they’re missing. They’re missing the skepticism part. As soon as they admit to being infallible on a topic, that’s what IMHO they should be pressed on. I don’t know if it’s effective – I doubt anything is that effective – but again IMHO that’s the honest point of contention and their flaw, and in the interests of honesty and accuracy I have to focus on that.

  36. Russell Glasser says

    I agree completely with EnlightenmentLiberal’s approach. While it is definitely important to throw an apologist off his script, there are multiple points where you can do that. The problem is that if you give an answer that is dishonest or even misleading, you’ve only left the main branch of the script, and entered into a new use case that they are prepared for, and worse, it makes you sound unreasonable. Claiming you have absolute knowledge of something is a very dangerous road to go down in that regard.

    “So you’re infallible?” is a good response to the next step, or if you want to use simpler words: “I don’t believe you,” “Convince me of that,” and “How do you know?” are great tools in the same situation. The presuppositionalist is making bald assertions, and relying on the fact that people will be too confused, flustered, or agitated to get confrontational about those assertions. You don’t even have to prove the assertions are wrong, you just have to go back to “Justify that,” which is a flip of the script they’re try to use.

  37. xscd says

    Thank you Russel for your comments about presup arguments. You said, “The problem is that if you give an answer that is dishonest or even misleading …”

    Did I happen to do that, in your opinion, in the transcript of my discussion with a presup posted above? I was trying to be honest and not trying to be misleading. When a presup asks, as this one predictably later did, ” Explain how you can reason to truth when you don’t even know if you are in a matrix or not. How do you know your reasoning about anything is valid?” I was inclined to answer that there is no reason to reason truth (which is simply what exists) if we can perceive it, and no reason to reason truth if we cannot perceive it in some way, although we might be able to extrapolate some of what we can’t perceive from some of what we can.”

    Anyway, the conversation with the presup did continue up to that point, which was a restatement of an earlier comment of his so I didn’t answer it. Instead I left the conversation after this exchange–

    Presup (ignoring all of my previous comments and their implications)
    “So you don’t care to know truth.”

    Me
    “On the contrary, I care a lot about the truth. That’s why I question the Bible and religion and anyone who claims that his god is the best or only source of truth.”

    Since only the last

  38. Monocle Smile says

    I don’t find discussions with presups to be of any value. I appreciated Matt’s debate with ten Bruggencate purely because I think it showed just that.

    I personally have a “dishonesty quotient” above which communication is not possible, or at least not productive. Presups hit it almost immediately, at least for me.

    My other big apologist hangup is when one of them brings up “other ways of knowing.” Dude, if you had a good reason to believe something, you wouldn’t have to go on a journey through obscure philosophy that ultimately lands on an argument from ignorance.

  39. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Thank you Russel for your comments about presup arguments. You said, “The problem is that if you give an answer that is dishonest or even misleading …”

    Did I happen to do that, in your opinion, in the transcript of my discussion with a presup posted above?

    I looked again, and I think no… Sorry for saying otherwise.

  40. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    My other big apologist hangup is when one of them brings up “other ways of knowing.” Dude, if you had a good reason to believe something, you wouldn’t have to go on a journey through obscure philosophy that ultimately lands on an argument from ignorance.

    Meh – this one is at least a little plausible to me compared to the idea that the speaker is infallible on some topic. This conversation is generally frustrating in its own right because it’s like pulling teeth to get the speaker to describe this other way of knowing. Generally, if I can get that far, it’s usually pretty easy to show an obvious contradiction or absurdity.

  41. xscd says

    Thanks, Enlightenment–

    My own stance regarding “truth, knowledge, reason” in presup arguments I guess could be reduced to the following.

    Truth is nothing more than what exists.
    Knowledge is what we have discovered of truth by means of our perception.
    There is no need to “reason the truth” when we can actually perceive it in some way.
    There is no need to “reason into existence” something we cannot perceive.
    We can extrapolate some probable truth from the knowledge we have already gained.

    Presuppositionalists like to think that we’re nothing without God, that we are vile creatures only worthy of contempt, except for the mercy of the Almighty. I think that’s why it’s so easy for Sye ten Bruggencate to drag people down to his own spiritual gutter. He knows he’s a guttersnipe; but he’s a guttersnipe for God!

  42. Frank G. Turner says

    @ corwynn # 38

    Sure, and if someone throws you off a bridge, and then holds your head under water, and another person comes by, scares them off, and resuscitates you, you can thank them both. My question is why that makes any sense.

    ROFL, interesting way to look at it. I have been trying to figure out the psychology behind religion and thinking of it as a very advanced and odd form of Stockholm Syndrome is what we seem to have come upon.
    .
    The reason I was getting at the “it can be both” argument is that I look at some individuals needing to become psychology comfortable with not having a security blanket (how I am coming to view religion). The kind of uncertainty it indicates sounds like it is very tough for some people and, well being willing to acknowledge thanking other people (even if one thanks god too) sounds like a step in the right direction. People may not be able to psychologically give up their security blanket all at once.
    .
    Furthermore, a lot of people seem to feel that acknowledging he possibility that something could be false (which is a sign of intellectual honesty and to me how you know that something really is real) which is not the case.

  43. Frank G. Turner says

    Correction, the last line should read

    Furthermore, a lot of people seem to feel that acknowledging he possibility that something could be false (which is a sign of intellectual honesty and to me how you know that something really is real), means that it IS false, which is not the case.

  44. Matt Gerrans says

    #48. Frank – Yeah, that is a fallacy that Sye Ten Bruggencate often employs and I’ve yet to see him get nailed for it. I think even in that last debate with Matt he quickly segues from “Matt could be a brain in a vat” to “Matt IS just a brain in a vat.” He use the equivocation fallacy quite liberally, eg. with things like “you could be wrong” changing to “you can’t possibly know ANYTHING.” I guess the aggressive style of his attack is so distracting that people fail to rip these idiotic fallacies apart. Really, to have a meaningful discussion, you can’t let people get away with such abject stupidity. You have to stop right there and point it out. Preferably with a firm smack up side the head.

  45. Frank G. Turner says

    @ Matt Gerrans # 49
    Funny I kept thinking that you were that Matt. I know, Dillahunty and not Gerrans but I thought maybe usage of a middle name on here. After all, Tracie uses a handle/pseudonym on here.
    .
    The fact that Matt Dillahunty was able to completely pre-plan his argument and not say a thing different tells you how predictable people like STB are getting, it is kind of pathetic. We’ve said before its like a spoiled child who doesn’t want to clean his room and just keeps repeating the same crap over and over again to his / her parents. I’ve listened to quite a lot of anti-evolutionists (I won’t even call them creationists any more) and they do the same shit.
    .
    The agressive style of StB appeals to people who put emotions first and rational thought second. Politicians use this tactic, acting completely confident about somethign that they cannot possibly know will work in order to get support for it, then try to accept praise if it does work and shift the burden of proof or the blame unto someone else when it doesn’t work. Preachers do the same thing. I have claimed that it is basically the same as one of those room working psychics.
    .
    It would be nice if people prioritized the other way around, rational thought firts and emotion second, but they don’t. Sometimes you have to use emotional appeal to get them to think rationally, however contradictory this seems. (We can’t turn off their emotions….yet). And even those who tend to think rationally in general are still human and subject to emotion. Heck Matt is one of them (and you do need to appeal to them sometimes).

  46. bbrennert says

    Hey guys, just listened to this weeks show… Might you be able to bump up the encoding bit-rate to improve the quality? Perhaps even 96Kb/s? That would be much appreciated by many. Peace.

    Bob.

  47. Kamil Gregor says

    Charles’ analogy with a murder is flawed – if you find someone dead you need to first provide evidence that he or she was actually murdered and not e.g. committed suicide. Only then you can start looking for a murderer. Similarly, in order to ask what created the universe you need to first provide evidence that the universe is a creation.