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Tuesday, January 14, 2014

The Fifth Horseman 2

I finished Peter Boghossian's A Manual for Creating Atheists yesterday. Needless to say, it did not succeed in creating one. In fact, I suspect Dominic, TGM, and some of the other intelligent atheists here will tend to be mildly embarrassed by it, in much the same way that intelligent Christians are embarrassed by a Kirk Cameron attempt at apologetics. The difference is that Cameron means well, while Boghossian is, quite literally, the sort of person who will kick out a crutch from under a cripple's arm because he doesn't believe the individual is truly crippled. Nor will he likely apologize when he learns, after the fact, that he was wrong.

It is readily observable that Boghossian almost certainly ranks higher on the Aspie scale, or whatever they are calling it these days, than Sam Harris or even Richard Dawkins. He's simply clueless about what (silence) in a conversation means, inevitably assuming that what the dialogue tends to indicate means: (I can't talk to this idiot, he's hopeless) is actually: (oh my goodness, I am struck dumb by the irrefutable reasoning of your beautiful mind). And that is giving Boggie the benefit of the doubt and assuming that he is accurately recalling the dialogues rather than inventing them out of whole cloth.

The funniest part of the book is without question the following conversation with his father. I have a strong suspicion that his father regards Boghossian with mixed embarrassment and pride, the latter over his minor celebrity, the former over the fact that Boggie is the picture of what Bruce Charlton describes as a clever silly.

(Not that these particular sillies are especially clever. The second funniest part of the book comes in the Introduction by the ever-hapless John Loftus:"I thanked God for everything, from getting me into the Christian-based Pepperdine University (my grades and SAT scores were unspectacular) to finding a parking place at theaters and restaurants.")

Unspectacular grades, mediocre SATs, and barely getting into a third-rate university. And these guys are constantly appealing to their intelligence? But back to the two Boghossians and the book's best dialogue:
When I told my father that K–12 educational systems should promote the value of epistemological rigor, he replied incredulously, “Are you kidding me? High school dropout rates are hovering around 33 percent in most [U.S.] cities. We can’t even teach kids how to read. What makes you think we’d be any more successful with instilling ‘epistemological rigor?’”

Whether or not we can be successful in helping people see value in epistemological rigor is an empirical question. I have my own speculation that this can be accomplished through pop culture—for example, comic books and TV shows for children that personify new heroes, Epistemic Knights, and new villains, Faith Monsters.
Didn't even slow him down. Yes, it is an empirical question, but the point that Boghossian the Younger simply ignores is that the question has been answered! As you can see, we're not exactly dealing with a godless genius here.

Boghossian the Elder made precisely the same point that I have repeatedly made concerning the teaching of evolution in the public schools. Both the evangelical evolutionists and Boghossian the Younger are so removed from reality that they are not only wrong, they are making a fundamental category error. How are the children at schools like this one in Queens, where the children have no books, going to develop epistemological vigor even if they spend all day watching what sounds like a bad version of Captain Planet? The total impossibility of the task is only underlined as one reads the book, as one observes that even though the younger Boghossian values the idea of epistemological rigor, he does not actually practice it.

The entire book reads rather like it was written by Otto from A Fish Called Wanda. Aristotle was not Belgian. The definition of faith is not "pretending to know things you don't know". The central message of Scepticism is not "Ecrasez l'infame". More than one argument for the existence of God has withstood scrutiny and many of them have done so for centuries. I should very much like to see Boghossian personally attempt to address my preferred argumentum e maleficus; it would be certain to provide an amount of hilarity.

In any event, now that I've read the manual, I'm not going to go through it on a page by page basis because most of my posts would consist of long quotes followed by short one- or two-word summaries: "exhortation" and "naked assertion". Instead, I'm will begin with critiquing each of the 17 tactical anti-apologetics he presents, after which I will address certain other aspects of the book when I am finished with it. If there are specific sections or assertions you would like to see me address in a post, please download the book from the readily available torrent Pirate Bay and let me know. Even if you are an IP enthusiast, you can do so in good conscience, as Boghossian writes in Chapter 9:

"To prevent doxastic closure it’s also important to read the work of noted apologists. The only two I’d suggest are Alvin Plantinga and William Lane Craig, though I’d urge you not to buy their books; their projects don’t need your support."

It is entirely possible that Boghossian not familiar with The Irrational Atheist, but even if he was, I am confident he would not recommend reading it to prevent doxastic closure because TIA is exactly the sort of thing that Boghossian recommends his Street Epistemologists avoid at all costs: the questioning of atheist assumptions and the criticism of their arguments. The Manual may be intended to be inoffensive, but it is all offense and offers very little in the way of anticipated defense. And therein, as I will demonstrate in this series of posts, lies the tactical Christian response.

Since this has already been a long post, I will begin with one of the shorter anti-apologetics from Chapter 7:

ANTI-APOLOGETIC #12

Defense: “Atheism is just another religion. You have faith in atheism.”

Response: “Atheism is a conclusion one comes to as a result of being rational and honest. Atheism is a conclusion that’s based on the best available evidence for the existence of God—which is that there is none. Atheism is not a religion. Atheism is not a belief. Atheism is, basically, the lack of belief in God(s). Atheists follow no creeds or doctrines. They engage in no particular set of behaviors.”
VD RESPONSE: How old were you when you became an atheist? Most atheists declare themselves to be atheists before they are old enough to be considered mature enough to legally drink, so reason indicates that it is less a conclusion based on reason and honesty than on teenage hormones and temptation. There is considerable documentary and testimonial evidence for the existence of God, the kind of evidence that is legally admissible in a court of law. You are deceptively substituting the subset of scientific evidence for the entire set of evidence, which calls into doubt your evidence-free assertion that atheism is based on being honest.

As for your other claims about atheism, do you believe in ghosts? Do you believe in Feng Shui? Do you believe in evolution by natural selection? Do you believe in abiogenesis? What do any of those things have to do with a lack of belief in God? Your definition of atheism is clearly incomplete, at best.

Finally, the atheist Peter Boghossian declared that an evangelical atheist "offers a humanistic vision". He wrote that his atheist Street Epistemology "offers a humanism that’s taken some hits and gained from experience. This isn’t Pollyanna humanism, but a humanism that’s been slapped around and won’t fall apart." So, how can you say that atheists follow no creeds or doctrines when they are going around actively trying to sell a specific type of humanism? Is that what you are offering to me? A humanistic vision? Then you obviously have faith in humanism! And given what you've been saying about the evils of faith, shouldn't you be addressing that log in your own eye before worrying about any splinters in mine?


PREVIOUS IN THE SERIES: The Fifth Horseman 1

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105 Comments:

Anonymous Toby Temple January 14, 2014 5:37 AM  

So much for atheist being labeled faithless.

Anonymous Crude January 14, 2014 5:43 AM  

You are deceptively substituting the subset of scientific evidence for the entire set of evidence, which calls into doubt your evidence-free assertion that atheism is based on being honest.

Even if he is, he'd still be shooting himself in the foot.

My favorite question to ask each and every time a Boghossian or Jerry Coyne yammers about how science shows there is no God(s), my reply is simple: show me the research, and the experiment. Peer reviewed, please, because that is the gold standard I hear again and again promoted. Show me how science determines 'this was made/orchestrated by God' or 'this was not made/orchestrated by God', either in the omni-sense or even a non-omni sense. The only guys I know of who are running around insisting they have a scientific means to detect design are the ID proponents - has it turned out they're right after all? Likewise for the question of God's existence - how does science detect the existence or non-existence of God(s)? Again, where's that experiment, where's that peer reviewed research?

And I mention each time - I hope they provide some, because it will be an absolutely joy looking at and tearing apart.

This is also where all that 'agnostics are atheists!' talk usually gets exposed to be bunk. When it's demanded that I produce scientific evidence that demonstrates God exists, I say I have none - and that if there's no scientific evidence in favor of or against the view, then clearly we should be agnostic (at least, if we're using science and science alone as the measuring stick.) I have yet to meet one who agrees - suddenly the idea of being agnostic when lacking evidence (of the only kind they say they respect) for or against a claim is enraging.

Anonymous zen0 January 14, 2014 5:56 AM  

2 non-believers I know of were arguing about atheism versus agnosticism. The agnostic explained calmly how agnosticism was the only rational position a non-believer could take. The atheist became irate.

Anonymous VD January 14, 2014 6:00 AM  

My favorite question to ask each and every time a Boghossian or Jerry Coyne yammers about how science shows there is no God(s), my reply is simple: show me the research, and the experiment.

First, the topic is not what you happen to enjoy, but rather, how one deals with a specific anti-apologetic approach. Second, your preferred tactic is actually counterproductive and self-defeating here, because it calls your faith into question, which is the Street Epistemologist's entire goal. He is not defending his atheism, he is attacking your faith, so he's quite happy to have you admit that you are both agnostics.

Focus.

Anonymous The Great Martini January 14, 2014 6:01 AM  

You're way ahead of me, since I'm nowhere near finishing, but...
As I recall, I've already commented on adolescent inception of atheism (if fact based), offering the opinion that it's not all that significant. For one thing, by strict comparison to the irreligious, most religious people are handed their religions in childhood, often, depending on strength of mind, having no real choice in the matter. So the fact that atheists tend to break from religion in adolescence shouldn't really be a big strike against them. Second, when is the appropriate age to make that decision? As often reported, mature, smart people can be as deluded as any teenager, in fact more, since they are able to employ a more sophisticated rationale to justify their belief. In the end, it may turn out that in the distribution of ages, the optimal time to assess the truth of religion, adolescence is something of a sweet spot, elapsing before the stresses and requirements of life in general--remember, those things that often compel people to religion and away from fears of mortality and dissolution--have a chance to work on the soul.

Anonymous VD January 14, 2014 6:03 AM  

The agnostic explained calmly how agnosticism was the only rational position a non-believer could take. The atheist became irate.

Boghossian is exasperated by agnostics too:

Agnostics profess to not know whether or not there’s an undetectable, metaphysical entity that created the universe. Agnostics think there’s not enough evidence to warrant belief in God, but because it’s logically possible they remain unsure of God’s existence. Again, an agnostic is willing to revise her belief if provided sufficient evidence.

The problem with agnosticism is that in the last 2,400 years of intellectual history, not a single argument for the existence of God has withstood scrutiny. Not one. Aquinas’s five proofs, fail. Pascal’s Wager, fail. Anselm’s ontological argument, fail. The fine-tuning argument, fail. The Kalm cosmological argument, fail. All refuted. All failures.

I dislike the terms “agnostic” and “agnosticism.” I advise Street Epistemologists to not use these terms. This is why: I don’t believe Santa Claus is a real person who flies around in a sleigh led by reindeer delivering presents. I am a Santa Claus atheist. Even though there’s nothing logically impossible about this phenomenon, I’m not a Santa Claus agnostic. (That is, a large man in a red suit delivering presents at the speed of light is not a logical contradiction.) “Agnostic” and “agnosticism” are unnecessary terms. Street Epistemologists should avoid them.


Of course, even if it were true that every single argument for the existence of God fail, (which is manifestly not true), that wouldn't make his case. This is merely another example of Boghossian's indifference about intellectual precision, which rivals Sam Harris's sloppiness.

Anonymous VD January 14, 2014 6:08 AM  

I've already commented on adolescent inception of atheism (if fact based), offering the opinion that it's not all that significant.

And your opinion is incorrect. There is no shortage of scientific evidence that demonstrates that teenagers are functional idiots. But that's beside the point. The fact that people frequently abandon their faith during their teenage years and then return to it in their intellectual maturity, and the fact that people tend to convert from atheism to Christianity as intellectually mature adults, is sufficient to, at the vary least, cast real doubt on Boghossian's absurd and naked assertion about it being based on reason and honesty.

All you have to do is point to any number of passionate atheist testimonials. Go read them at PZ's site. There is considerably more emotion and illogic on display than reason and honesty. I mean, "I was 12 when I suddenly realized that there was no God and it was all a big lie" is not a reason-based thought process.

Anonymous VD January 14, 2014 6:13 AM  

So the fact that atheists tend to break from religion in adolescence shouldn't really be a big strike against them. Second, when is the appropriate age to make that decision? As often reported, mature, smart people can be as deluded as any teenager, in fact more, since they are able to employ a more sophisticated rationale to justify their belief.

TGM, first of all, I'm not citing it here as a strike against them. I'm citing it here as evidence against Boggie's claim. Second, you do understand that we don't let adolescents vote, drink, or even be held legally responsible for their crimes, right? It's because they're intellectually immature and unable to rationally control their actions.

Consult your reason: do you really think it's a wise ground upon which to take a stand? Adolescence as an intellectual sweet spot for decision-making? You might want to at least consider first taking a gander at what science has to say.

Anonymous FrankNorman January 14, 2014 6:15 AM  

Of course people like him aren't going to tell you how Aquinas's arguments have (supposedly) been answered. They just choose to believe that they have been.

Anonymous VryeDenker January 14, 2014 6:18 AM  

Of course people like him aren't going to tell you how Aquinas's arguments have (supposedly) been answered. They just choose to believe that they have been.

I guess you could say he's taking it on faith.

Anonymous dh January 14, 2014 6:21 AM  

You have hit another interesting point about humanism/doctrinaire atheism. Bog's et all are literally trying to recreate a doctrine based atheism to replace doctrine based religious faith.

Anonymous Crude January 14, 2014 6:21 AM  

VD,

First, the topic is not what you happen to enjoy, but rather, how one deals with a specific anti-apologetic approach. Second, your preferred tactic is actually counterproductive and self-defeating here, because it calls your faith into question, which is the Street Epistemologist's entire goal.

I'm commenting on how to deal with that anti-apologetic approach, not just 'what I enjoy'. And I don't agree that it's self-defeating here - the only way my faith could be called into question on the SE's terms based on what I said is if I agreed with his claim that the only evidence that counts is scientific evidence, which I'm not conceding - I'm pointing out what's required to be consistent with his own view.

He is not defending his atheism, he is attacking your faith, so he's quite happy to have you admit that you are both agnostics.

He's the one operating with a ridiculously narrow view of what qualifies as evidence - I'm rejecting that, and what he'll have said so far doesn't gain him an inch of ground against my view. All I'm doing is pointing out exactly where his own view is going to leave him right out of the gates if he's consistent with his own standards.

He'd be absolutely delighted to shift me from a theist to an agnostic straightaway, but that's not happening in the exchange. And he's not going to be happy with having to go from 'I'm a 6.999 on the 1-7 scale, just like Dawkins!' to 'Okay, well, now I'm a 3.5' before he even shifts me a decimal point in the other direction - or at least, I haven't run into a single one who's been happy with that so far. I've run into plenty of agnostics and irreligious who are fine with a truly agnostic view, but those aren't exactly the sort of people who are clamoring to be atheist street preachers.

Anonymous The Great Martini January 14, 2014 6:23 AM  


There is no shortage of scientific evidence that demonstrates that teenagers are functional idiots. But that's beside the point. The fact that people frequently abandon their faith during their teenage years and then return to it in their intellectual maturity, and the fact that people tend to convert from atheism to Christianity as intellectually mature adults, is sufficient to, at the vary least, cast real doubt on Boghossian's absurd and naked assertion about it being based on reason and honesty.


Wait a minute, aren't you the guy who says that most people are idiots? And this doesn't refute the theory that people return to religion in maturity not from ratiocination but "fear of life," insecurity, trepidation about mortality, etc.


All you have to do is point to any number of passionate atheist testimonials.


It's tit for tat. All I have to do is point to conversion testimonials, often entirely angst-driven and irrational, often by learned and mature people. Here's Francis Collins:


Lewis was right. I had to make a choice. A full year had passed since I decided to believe in some sort of God, and now I was being called to account. On a beautiful fall day, as I was hiking in the Cascade Mountains during my first trip west of the Mississippi, the majesty and beauty of God’s creation overwhelmed my resistance. As I rounded a corner and saw a beautiful and unexpected frozen waterfall, hundreds of feet high, I knew the search was over. The next morning, I knelt in the dewy grass as the sun rose and surrendered to Jesus Christ."

Anonymous Crude January 14, 2014 6:28 AM  

Zen0,

2 non-believers I know of were arguing about atheism versus agnosticism. The agnostic explained calmly how agnosticism was the only rational position a non-believer could take. The atheist became irate.

That's my experience as well. The sort of atheists who are charged up about Richard Dawkins and Jerry Coyne only count actual agnostics as 'atheists' when they're looking to increase headcount or it's a situation where it's rhetorically effective. I think the problem is that for an actual agnostic, God's existence is still a live option, and certainty or near-certainty that God doesn't exist is judged as unwarranted as certainty in the other direction. Neither are things you want to acknowledge if you're looking to be the next Madelyn Murray O'Hair.

Anonymous The Great Martini January 14, 2014 6:29 AM  


Consult your reason: do you really think it's a wise ground upon which to take a stand? Adolescence as an intellectual sweet spot for decision-making? You might want to at least consider first taking a gander at what science has to say.


I know, I know. I'm offering this point knowing it's an uphill battle, but I'm entirely serious and not even close to trolling. I'm entirely aware of prefrontal cortex development and that it's not entirely mature until mid 20's. There are some things that can be reasonably assessed early in life, and I honestly think this is one of them. And, in fact, there are some things that we grow more deluded about the longer we remain on Earth.

Anonymous scoobius dubious January 14, 2014 6:31 AM  

I'll make this quick, since I can't productively discuss the OP, because in my view, the strongest proofs of the existence of God derive from human history and the study of human nature, rather than science (irrelevant) or logic and philosophy (persuasive but not conclusive). I also believe in mysticism -- the real kind, not the "spiritual" New Age kind.

"It is the heart which perceives God and not the reason. That is what faith is: God perceived by the heart and not by the reason."
--Pascal, Pensee #424

I also highly recommend Pensee #449, one of the best concise short essays on these matters that I've read in a long time. Only about two pages long, worth the trouble.

Now back to our regularly scheduled arguments.


Anonymous VD January 14, 2014 6:34 AM  

Consider this, TGM: "The frontal lobes are the last parts of the brain to mature, not reaching their adult form until the mid-20s. It is precisely this observation that many have seized upon as an explanation for why teenagers make bad decisions."

It would be interesting to scan the brains of atheists to see if their frontal lobes tend to be disproportionately undeveloped. But regardless, the fact that the average age of atheist inception is when the brain is not fully developed is hardly inconsequential.

Anonymous VD January 14, 2014 6:42 AM  

I'm commenting on how to deal with that anti-apologetic approach, not just 'what I enjoy'. And I don't agree that it's self-defeating here

That's because you haven't read the book and you don't understand what his objectives are. Your answer absolutely plays into his hands. I suggest you stop trying to defend your observably sub-optimal response and read the book before you opine further on it. Also, I'm not saying it's a bad point overall, I'm saying it is a bad response in the situation being discussed here.

Wait a minute, aren't you the guy who says that most people are idiots? And this doesn't refute the theory that people return to religion in maturity not from ratiocination but "fear of life," insecurity, trepidation about mortality, etc.

Yes. No. I haven't said anything at all about why people become Christians. I am merely pointing out that atheist-to-Christian conversions tend to be concomitant with intellectual maturity, whereas Christian-to-atheist conversions tend to take place during a time of intellectual immaturity and unfinished brain development. Again, Boggie is the only one to have made any claim at all about why a conversion takes place.

It's tit for tat. All I have to do is point to conversion testimonials, often entirely angst-driven and irrational, often by learned and mature people.

Irrelevant. It's not tit for tat. There is no Christian claim comparable to Boggie's claim: "Atheism is a conclusion one comes to as a result of being rational and honest." Christians come to faith in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior for many different reasons and no one pretends otherwise.

Blogger Crude January 14, 2014 6:43 AM  

And he's not going to be happy with having to go from 'I'm a 6.999 on the 1-7 scale, just like Dawkins!' to 'Okay, well, now I'm a 3.5'

Actually, I guess midpoint would be a 4 starting at 1. Duh.

Anonymous VD January 14, 2014 6:45 AM  

There are some things that can be reasonably assessed early in life, and I honestly think this is one of them.

You have it precisely backward. This is an issue that Man's greatest thinkers have wrestled with for millennia. And you think idiots who can't focus long enough to drive a car without killing themselves or drink in sufficient moderation to avoid poisoning themselves are BETTER equipped to address it than intellectually mature adults?

Let's just say that it's not a winning rhetorical strategy, to say the least. Would you also recommend that we limit the franchise to voters between 12-18 as well?

Anonymous Peter Garstig January 14, 2014 6:49 AM  

The problem with agnosticism is that in the last 2,400 years of intellectual history, not a single argument for the existence of God has withstood scrutiny. Not one. Aquinas’s five proofs, fail. Pascal’s Wager, fail. Anselm’s ontological argument, fail. The fine-tuning argument, fail. The Kalm cosmological argument, fail. All refuted. All failures.

The proofs of the non-existence of God. All failures. Thus, the agnostic position is still the most rational one.

VD, are you possibly overvaluing the importance of this man? It's not your style to pick such easy targets.

Anonymous VD January 14, 2014 6:52 AM  

VD, are you possibly overvaluing the importance of this man? It's not your style to pick such easy targets.

Almost certainly. I didn't pick it. Markku did. But he is making an attempt to become an atheist champion, so it behooves me to stomp him down even if it's about as hard as beating the corpse of Christopher Hitchens in a running race.

Blogger Crude January 14, 2014 6:52 AM  

Peter,

VD, are you possibly overvaluing the importance of this man? It's not your style to pick such easy targets.

Not to speak for Vox at all, but - Bog may intellectually be a lightweight, but his book made a splash within the Cult of Gnu circles - it was #1 in atheism for a while, even if apparently never reaching the large-scale impact of Dawkins' or Harris' books.

He's also advocating some crazy, scary stuff, which will probably be brought up later, and which drives home Vox's TIA point about the dangers of allowing atheists political power.

Blogger Krul January 14, 2014 6:59 AM  

The "FAITH MONSTERS"?! LOL!

Epistemology Knight 1: "Look out! Here come the Faith Monsters!"

Epistemology Knight 2: "Come on, gang! We've got to close our minds quick! Deploy slogans!"

Eknights: “Atheism is not a religion. Atheism is not a belief. Atheism is, basically, the lack of belief in God(s). Atheists follow no creeds or doctrines. They engage in no particular set of behaviors. Blah blah blah...”

First "They didn't have microscopes" and now "Faith Monsters"! I LOVE this guy! I'm seriously thinking of changing my handle to Faith Monster.

Blogger Markku January 14, 2014 7:06 AM  

He's also advocating some crazy, scary stuff

In specific, he is advocating for religious belief to be officially medically declared a mental disorder, instead of just a rhetorical point to make against them. Also, he is advocating that the religious be denied permission to participate in politics.

Anonymous The Great Martini January 14, 2014 7:08 AM  


Irrelevant. It's not tit for tat. There is no Christian claim comparable to Boggie's claim: "Atheism is a conclusion one comes to as a result of being rational and honest." Christians come to faith in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior for many different reasons and no one pretends otherwise.


I assume many different reasons in "addition to that." Otherwise, what's to distinguish the irrationality of Christian faith from, say, the irrationality of prefrontally undeveloped adolescents? If we leave it at that, what makes it not the case that teenagers are just preternaturally talented in sussing out the truth of religion? What I'm saying is that if you're setting up faith as something that lies beyond reason, aren't you kind of shooting yourself in the foot by dismissing teenage atheism? Outside the fact that atheists usually say they arrived at teenage atheism by a reason, which I think is bogus. I think teenagers conclude atheism by a form of organic assessment of reality, but now I'm indulging my own quirky opinion, so you can probably ignore me.

Anonymous FrankNorman January 14, 2014 7:13 AM  

Markku January 14, 2014 7:06 AM
In specific, he is advocating for religious belief to be officially medically declared a mental disorder, instead of just a rhetorical point to make against them. Also, he is advocating that the religious be denied permission to participate in politics.


Do people like him live in some sort of closed social bubble?
Because they talk if "religious people" were some small minority group "out there", rather than the overwhelming majority of the population.

Anonymous VD January 14, 2014 7:16 AM  

I assume many different reasons in "addition to that."

No doubt you do. But notice that the response has been effective in knocking you back on your heels and forced to retreat to defending the intellectual credibility of undeveloped brains. Again, if atheists want to try to claim "teenagers are just preternaturally talented in sussing out the truth of religion", I would love to see them plant that flag.

What I'm saying is that if you're setting up faith as something that lies beyond reason, aren't you kind of shooting yourself in the foot by dismissing teenage atheism?

I'm not setting it up that way at all. I'm not setting anything up. I'm dealing with a rhetorical attack.

atheists usually say they arrived at teenage atheism by a reason, which I think is bogus.

I agree. And, as I noted, you've already abandoned Boghossian's position. The response is effective.

Anonymous MPC January 14, 2014 7:18 AM  

Faith Monsters and Epistemology Knights, ha ha ha. Well, there is a suit of armor appropriate for the Epistemology Knight:

Behold! Sir Eats-a-lot!

Anonymous VryeDenker January 14, 2014 7:21 AM  

Do people like him live in some sort of closed social bubble?
Because they talk if "religious people" were some small minority group "out there", rather than the overwhelming majority of the population.


Not many visitors stop by mom's basement.

Blogger Markku January 14, 2014 7:29 AM  

That's of course what I expect atheists to want, but now that we have it straight from the horse's mouth - in writing - and we can personalize this threat (the street evangelists), I think this opportunity must be seized by our side.

Anonymous Logan January 14, 2014 7:34 AM  

"I don’t believe Santa Claus is a real person who flies around in a sleigh led by reindeer delivering presents. I am a Santa Claus atheist."

I often hear stupid claims like this from some atheists. Along the same lines: "I don't believe that unicorns exist, therefore I'm an atheist with regards to unicorns."

Unlike atheism, agnosticism isn't inherently about God or gods, since the term just means without knowledge. So there's nothing illogical about saying something like "I'm an agnostic with regards to who will win the Superbowl." Atheism, however, is another story.

Since a theist is one who believes in God, and the prefix 'a' is a negation, an atheist is one who disbelieves in God. So atheism isn't just disbelief as such, it's disbelief in one particular kind of entity. So when Boghossian says "I am a Santa Claus atheist", this is like saying "I am a Santa Claus disbeliever in God", which doesn't make sense. The fact that he fails to grasp this simple point is both telling and ironic.

Anonymous Catan January 14, 2014 7:43 AM  

After he declares faith a mental disorder, will he be advocating changing the month of July to Thermidor?

'Street epistemologist' reminds one of the Reign of Terror. Pure reason didn't work out for that bunch too well.

That they actually think they can surmount their emotional base is laughable. How can you claim to be scientific when you deny emotion and claim to be driven by pure reason, as an emotional human being? It's inescapable.

Anonymous Krul January 14, 2014 7:44 AM  

FrankNorman - Of course people like him aren't going to tell you how Aquinas's arguments have (supposedly) been answered. They just choose to believe that they have been.

Well, duh. Obviously you can't believe anything written in books from thousands of years ago, man. I mean, they didn't even have microscopes.

Then we become responsible for ourselves and we don't defer to books that were written thousands of years ago by people who didn't know anything. Anybody alive on Earth today has more knowledge than the people did then. I mean, they didn't even have lens technology. They had these weird flat-earth notions. They didn't have microscopes. They died young. They didn't have advanced dentistry. They didn't have any of that stuff! And so we're taking guidance from these books? Are you kidding me? Using these ancient texts to make objective claims is not valid.

That's how the Epistemology Knights will fight the Faith Monsters. With MICROSCOPES!

(No, for future reference, I'm never letting the "microscopes" thing go)

Anonymous zen0 January 14, 2014 7:46 AM  

@ VD

But he is making an attempt to become an atheist champion, so it behooves me to stomp him down

Biblical shepherds carried a staff with a crook, and a club. The staff to direct and rescue sheep from straying, and the club to beat predators to death.

Anonymous zen0 January 14, 2014 7:54 AM  

@ TGM

And this doesn't refute the theory that people return to religion in maturity not from ratiocination but "fear of life," insecurity, trepidation about mortality, etc.

Interesting theory. A traditional atheist approach, as if these are the only motivating factors available. What do atheists do about their "fear of life," insecurity, trepidation about mortality, etc., or are the religiously inclined the only ones motivated thusly?

Blogger Markku January 14, 2014 8:01 AM  

There are people out there who will ambush you in the street and they have two agendas. First, they want to destroy your faith, and if they can't manage that, they want to see you taken to a mental institution.

Does this not have rhetorical force? Does this not have power to mobilize the troops? I say yes.

Anonymous x January 14, 2014 8:14 AM  

>>>First, they want to destroy your faith, and if they can't manage that, they want to see you taken to a mental institution.

how does this positin differ from typical (political) Leftism?

or is that rhetorical?

Blogger Markku January 14, 2014 8:17 AM  

how does this positin differ from typical (political) Leftism?

As I said, this is what I expect atheists to want, but now we have it in writing. And soon we'll have that Reason Whisperer TV show to point to, in order to demonstrate how this doesn't just come from some random screwball.

Anonymous MendoScot January 14, 2014 8:20 AM  

TGM:
I'm entirely aware of prefrontal cortex development and that it's not entirely mature until mid 20's.


It's not just the PFC. Note the social/affective immaturity as well.

Research has demonstrated that extensive structural and functional brain development continues throughout adolescence. A popular notion emerging from this work states that a relative immaturity in frontal cortical neural systems could explain adolescents' high rates of risk-taking, substance use and other dangerous behaviours. However, developmental neuroimaging studies do not support a simple model of frontal cortical immaturity. Rather, growing evidence points to the importance of changes in social and affective processing, which begin around the onset of puberty, as crucial to understanding these adolescent vulnerabilities. These changes in social–affective processing also may confer some adaptive advantages, such as greater flexibility in adjusting one's intrinsic motivations and goal priorities amidst changing social contexts in adolescence.

Sorry about posting a subscription required link.

Blogger IM2L844 January 14, 2014 8:28 AM  

"Atheism is a conclusion one comes to as a result of being rational and honest."

But it's not the only conclusion. Being rational and honest does not axiomatically preclude the conclusion that the existence of God is perfectly reasonable and logically plausible. Bogg's faith that his ability to reason is superior to mine has not been demonstrated to my satisfaction.

Anonymous Mudz January 14, 2014 8:38 AM  

If we leave it at that, what makes it not the case that teenagers are just preternaturally talented in sussing out the truth of religion?

Probably because that's hilariously self-serving tripe. No offense. We're just going to grant teenagers magical abilities now specifically to reassure atheists that they're totally uber-smart? That's so retarded, I'm actually making it smarter just by bothering to say how retarded it is.

And since the majority of teenagers are Christians, I guess your argument, if so it could be called, would in fact favour Christianity as the Divined Truth. After all, kids believe it, and who are we to argue with children?

I often hear stupid claims like this from some atheists. Along the same lines: "I don't believe that unicorns exist, therefore I'm an atheist with regards to unicorns."

It seems to be some sort of insecurity they have. They're trying to recruit the world population to the validity of their atheism by failing English. A strangely common affliction among their adherents.

And this doesn't refute the theory that people return to religion in maturity not from ratiocination but "fear of life," insecurity, trepidation about mortality, etc.

Sounds like wishful thinking.

It also doesn't refute the theory that people become atheists because they are afraid of divine judgment for their sins, and want to skip court.

You'd have to put up some evidence to support such a proposition before there'd be any reason to refute it. Until then, it's just another opinion. Some more convincing than others.

I think teenagers conclude atheism by a form of organic assessment of reality

Why the heck do you guys keep using this meaningless phrase? You have any idea how silly it sounds?

"Why are you an atheist, TGM?"
"Because I chose the correct answer. It was atheism!"
"Well I'm convinced!"
And THAT'S how Leonidas became President of the Universe!


You're like a crazy person. You definitely shouldn't vote.

Anonymous starr January 14, 2014 8:42 AM  

The problem with agnosticism is that in the last 2,400 years of intellectual history, not a single argument for the existence of God has withstood scrutiny. Not one. Aquinas’s five proofs, fail. Pascal’s Wager, fail. Anselm’s ontological argument, fail. The fine-tuning argument, fail. The Kalm cosmological argument, fail. All refuted. All failures.

I'd wager $100 that he has not read a single one of them himself.

Anonymous zen0 January 14, 2014 8:45 AM  

@ Markku

Does this not have rhetorical force? Does this not have power to mobilize the troops? I say yes.

Already happening:

Thinking Christian

Creating Atheists.com

Blogger Nate January 14, 2014 8:49 AM  

"There are some things that can be reasonably assessed early in life, and I honestly think this is one of them."

Really? I can't help but wonder if you've ever actually spoken to a teenager. Teenagers know everything. They are smarter than you are. They know every mistake you dumb old people have made and what you should've done differently.

The same people you claim are capable of making such judgement about religion never the less think communism is a brilliant idea.

OpenID cailcorishev January 14, 2014 8:50 AM  

The entire book reads rather like it was written by Otto from A Fish Called Wanda.

Ha! That's all you had to say, really; I think we can anticipate the entire book from that.

Blogger tz January 14, 2014 8:58 AM  

They engage in no particular set of behaviors.

I thought Hitchens was the 5th horseman. Or did he just drink 5ths like a horse?

Bosshogian seems not to know the difference "going on the offense", and "giving offense".

One point I remember from Aquinas is that you must fight an opponent dialectically on their home field.

Few atheists even realize this. They go into their inmost non-sanctum and preach arguments which are utterly irrelevant except for the shouts of whatever replaces Allelulia and Amen from their own tone-deaf choir.

So they simply end up as offense street-preachers and are just as ineffective. The same kind that in the "christian" form simply screeches "you are going to burn in hell!" to random passerbys.

Humanism? You see the Salvation Army, St. Vincent De Paul, and the Sisters of Charity.

When was the last time you saw an atheist even give a cup of cold water in the name of humanism or whatever else their negation causes them to worship?

Blogger Random January 14, 2014 9:03 AM  

Again, an agnostic is willing to revise her belief if provided sufficient evidence.

Was bog's example agnostic in question female, or does he use the feminine pronoun as the default throughout his writing?

I ask because that drives me nuts when I read it in RPG books. If I were king for a day, writers who incorrectly use pronouns like this for 'social justice' reasons would be pilloried.

Anonymous Spoos in August January 14, 2014 9:04 AM  

Actually, I think a strong case could be made that even if religion were wholly an invention of man, one could choose rationally which religion to practice, based on the tenets of that faith and their observed individual and social benefits. So conceding that atheism is a rational choice for people of any age might be a bridge too far. Rational behavior has to take emotions into account; you're not going to do well if your lifestyle drives you to depression, for instance.

Blogger IM2L844 January 14, 2014 9:05 AM  

I'd wager $100 that he has not read a single one of them himself.

Well, his understanding of them is, at best, superficial. Pascal's Wager isn't even an argument for the existence of God. It's an argument for the necessity of making the determination.

Anonymous VryeDenker January 14, 2014 9:07 AM  

Was bog's example agnostic in question female, or does he use the feminine pronoun as the default throughout his writing?

I ask because that drives me nuts when I read it in RPG books. If I were king for a day, writers who incorrectly use pronouns like this for 'social justice' reasons would be pilloried.


I think it's just a byproduct of studying their master's tactics. You will recall that the Snake approached the woman, not the man.

OpenID cailcorishev January 14, 2014 9:11 AM  

We're just going to grant teenagers magical abilities now specifically to reassure atheists that they're totally uber-smart? That's so retarded, I'm actually making it smarter just by bothering to say how retarded it is.

No kidding. I was a major dumbass as a teenager, and my thoughts about religion weren't somehow exempt from that. I suspect that smarter people are probably more likely to be teenage dumbasses, too, because being smarter (in raw processing terms) than all the adults you know by the time you turn 12 tends to encourage a certain dismissiveness toward their beliefs. So the teens who are the most capable of understanding adult concepts are also likely to jump to stupid conclusions about them.

Anonymous p-dawg January 14, 2014 9:16 AM  

Obviously, you need a manual in order to not act the same as other atheists. /s
Doesn't the whole premise of a manual to teach people atheist doctrine kind of invalidate the whole premise that atheists have no doctrine?

Blogger swiftfoxmark2 January 14, 2014 9:24 AM  

To be a Naturalist Atheist, that is one who adheres to science as the only source of knowledge, you have to not believe in George Washington either. There is no scientific evidence that he existed, just historical records which could be lies.

Blogger Crude January 14, 2014 9:35 AM  

Markku,

As I said, this is what I expect atheists to want, but now we have it in writing. And soon we'll have that Reason Whisperer TV show to point to, in order to demonstrate how this doesn't just come from some random screwball.

Yeah, one nice thing about Bog is that how explicit he is. And in spite of that I imagine we'll still see atheists playing the 'How come so many Christians/religious people dislike atheists?' sympathy card, forgetting that in their previous breath they were talking about how they regard belief in God as a full-blown mental illness that it should be ethical to medically 'treat' with 'interventions'.

Blogger JartStar January 14, 2014 9:37 AM  

There are people out there who will ambush you in the street and they have two agendas. First, they want to destroy your faith, and if they can't manage that, they want to see you taken to a mental institution.

This is nothing new, but to have it on paper is a good first step to outing their real agenda. I hope they boldly put forth a resolution calling for the institutionalization of all believers whatever the stripe and the majority of them sign it. It will rally the troops on our side and cause dissension in the ranks of theirs.

Anonymous hygate January 14, 2014 9:39 AM  

"To be a Naturalist Atheist, that is one who adheres to science as the only source of knowledge, you have to not believe in George Washington either. There is no scientific evidence that he existed, just historical records which could be lies."

Well, they are lies. A narrative imposed by those in power to justify and retain that power. Post-modernism tells me so.

I've never done this, but have considered attacking athiests from the left.

"What right have you to impose your euro-centric, patriarchal views that reason and science is superior to intuition on me!? Don't you know that your patriachal science is destroying Gaia!? Get away from me oppressor!"

I think you would have to be diverse and/or a women to pull it off though.

Blogger Markku January 14, 2014 9:48 AM  

This is nothing new, but to have it on paper is a good first step to outing their real agenda.

And it's an excellent talking point. A short, simple, easily understood thing to mention at a coffee table. That's worth more than several well-argued books dismantling the arguments as far as real-world impact goes, I daresay. Remember: The majority of mankind is below +1 SD IQ.

Anonymous Pseudo-Nate January 14, 2014 9:57 AM  

The Bukkakelypse is Nye!

Blogger JartStar January 14, 2014 9:58 AM  

I'd say it's also a sign of desperation, not triumph of their now being rejected belief system.

Study: World Is Turning More Religious; Atheism Declining

Anonymous VD January 14, 2014 9:59 AM  

Was bog's example agnostic in question female, or does he use the feminine pronoun as the default throughout his writing?

He's using it as default there. I think he gets away from it as he goes on.

Anonymous Bobby Trosclair January 14, 2014 10:09 AM  

"Humanism? You see the Salvation Army, St. Vincent De Paul, and the Sisters of Charity.

When was the last time you saw an atheist even give a cup of cold water in the name of humanism or whatever else their negation causes them to worship?"

It sounds like Bog wrote this recent piece in the Onion:

http://www.theonion.com/articles/local-church-full-of-brainwashed-idiots-feeds-town,34860/?ref=auto

I've always found it useful to always marginalize an atheist by referring to his views as those of a "subculture," and reminding them that their views have always been those of a tiny subculture of humanity, except when forcefully imposed from above by an atheist communist state. It's hard to claim your daft views are the default "reasonable" position when the overwhelming view of humanity's best scientists, authors, philosophers, artists and musicians have statistically been God-fearing throughout history.

Anonymous FP January 14, 2014 10:22 AM  

Hygate:
"I've never done this, but have considered attacking athiests from the left.

"What right have you to impose your euro-centric, patriarchal views that reason and science is superior to intuition on me!? Don't you know that your patriachal science is destroying Gaia!? Get away from me oppressor!"

I think you would have to be diverse and/or a women to pull it off though."

Dress up in footy pajamas and have a cup of hot coco in your hand when you do it.

Blogger Dominic Saltarelli January 14, 2014 10:27 AM  

"...comic books and TV shows for children that personify new heroes, Epistemic Knights, and new villains, Faith Monsters."

-_-

Blogger Markku January 14, 2014 10:40 AM  

Remember, Dominic, Peter's new TV show is about to come out. What you see here now, known to only a few at this point, will be a big thing in public discourse soon, when he becomes a household name like Dicky D.

Aren't you proud that you'll wear the label "atheist"? I mean, Epistemic Knight; is that cool or what?!

Blogger Trust January 14, 2014 10:42 AM  

A Christian regards his brain as deliberately designed and intelligent. As atheist argues his brain is a random blob of cells.

Anonymous DT January 14, 2014 10:44 AM  

Atheism is a conclusion one comes to as a result of being rational and honest. Atheism is a conclusion that’s based on the best available evidence for the existence of God—which is that there is none.

A rational and honest person acknowledges the mathematical impossibility of life occurring in this universe by accident. The very first evidence of a creator God is the presence of something in this universe which should not be here.

Anonymous DT January 14, 2014 10:45 AM  

A Christian regards his brain as deliberately designed and intelligent. As atheist argues his brain is a random blob of cells.

Apparently those aren't mutually exclusive claims ;-)

Anonymous rubbermallet January 14, 2014 10:47 AM  

how can most atheists do what they learn in this book....from their couches and computer chairs?

Anonymous VD January 14, 2014 10:55 AM  

I'd be interested in your perspective on Boghossian's manual, Dominic, if you happen to have 90 minutes to spare to rip through it. It might not even take you that long. You can find it on Pirate Bay.

Anonymous Cranberry January 14, 2014 11:04 AM  

I hope they boldly put forth a resolution calling for the institutionalization of all believers whatever the stripe and the majority of them sign it.

Social experiment: get a White House Petition started to support this resolution. What is it, 20K signatures and it has to be addressed by the .gov? I wonder how many signatures it would garner before it expired.

Blogger Brad Andrews January 14, 2014 11:14 AM  

I saw that pronoun challenge in some rules to a new game I was reading. They used "her" and then "their," but not "him." I may not have read far enough, but I find that many are hypocrites in that because they just use "her" instead as if being incorrect will right all perceived past wrongs.

(The rules were for the new Nations board game.)

Anonymous Cranberry January 14, 2014 11:22 AM  

re: teenagers and atheism, is it that they become full atheists, or just abandon Christianity for something more New Age-y and one-worldish, in an act of rebellion against their parents and the values they were taught?

I fell into this camp, not an outright atheist but part of the Coexist-bumper-sticker crowd (well before the bumper sticker existed). Kind of the religion-buffet, take the best parts of various faiths and build my own worldview.

Thank God I grew out of that - Vox is right about emotional and intellectual maturity and reversion to faith. I wouldn't say that I ever went full-atheist, but I doubted God and learned in college that Relgion Starts All Wars! and Christianity is Patriarchy and Patriarchy Bad! and that Islam, though a religion, is more akin to humanism because it strives to be humanitarian and treats all people equally, in fact it's so friendly to all people that even feminists love it!

Something about all of this began to strike me as fishy by the third semester of Uni. It would take many years for me to come back to my senses and become faithful again. Questioning my belief, and studying apologetics for answers, brought me back rather than driving me away.

It didn't escape me, early on, that atheists are anti-civilization and thus anti-Christian. They dress it up as disbelief in God(s) but it is one specific person, the Godhead of Christ, that they despise and hope to discredit. It's underhanded and dishonest - no surprise there.

Anonymous Cranberry January 14, 2014 11:23 AM  

other way around: anti-Christian, thus anti-civ

Anonymous Krul January 14, 2014 11:37 AM  

"...comic books and TV shows for children that personify new heroes, Epistemic Knights, and new villains, Faith Monsters."

We laugh, but this is just making explicit what has been done implicitly by left leaning academics, authors, journalists and entertainers for generations. Popular perceptions of history contain plenty of "Faith Monsters", like the Dark Ages and the Spanish Inquisition, and also plenty of "Epistemic Knights" like Galileo, Darwin and Clarence Darrow.

That isn't including the outright fiction. Christains are often intolerant or fanatical "Faith Monsters" there as well.

Anonymous Krul January 14, 2014 11:40 AM  

Dan Brown's books are probably the best recent example of "Faith Monsters" and "Epistemic Knights" in popular fiction, especially Angels and Demons.

Anonymous sawtooth January 14, 2014 11:48 AM  

The Epistemic Knight boldly marches into the ER waiting room. He spots a distraught woman who is weeping while desperately praying for the healing of her teenage son.

Armed with the shining sword of scientific rationality, he advances toward her....

Anonymous Giraffe January 14, 2014 11:49 AM  

Just out of curiosity, VD will you write a review of the book on Amazon?

Anonymous Pinakeli January 14, 2014 12:04 PM  

Trust January 14, 2014 10:42 AM

A Christian regards his brain as deliberately designed and intelligent. As atheist argues his brain is a random blob of cells.


And we find that they are both right!

Anonymous Edjamacator January 14, 2014 12:20 PM  

VD, thanks for taking the time to do this. It's always good to review and learn how to take these guys out. Unfortunately, I think they're main problem is spiritual and unless they aren't totally lost, they won't learn anything.

Blogger Quadko January 14, 2014 12:22 PM  

To be a Naturalist Atheist, that is one who adheres to science as the only source of knowledge, you have to not believe in George Washington either. There is no scientific evidence that he existed, just historical records which could be lies.

Yes, nice! And by those rules, if you've not traveled to China then how do you know it actually exists? Or Mars? Or CERN's supercollider? Did Hitchens, Darwin, Neuton, and Galilleo exist, or are they just invented lies that had to be told? We can't meet them face to face - after all, is meeting someone proof they exist?

What proof does an Atheist have that convinces him that he himself exists? The rest of humanity? The universe?

In general I think we let Atheists get away with too much when starting discussing the existence of God; most of them probably haven't considered whether their nose exists, they just assume it does and that God does not. Why, QED, that must be proof!

Blogger JaimeInTexas January 14, 2014 12:25 PM  

I called myself an atheist when I was around 17 yo. After, K-12 in a private Catholic school. In my experience, hardly anyone in a teaching capacity knew the Bible much. Then, I did not consider God much and God, really, played no role in how I lived or decisions I made. I admitted to what I was by default. That was a long way back on life's road.

Anonymous alexamenos January 14, 2014 12:29 PM  

Boghossian is exasperated by agnostics too:

Agnostics profess to not know whether or not there’s an undetectable, metaphysical entity that created the universe.

I dislike the terms “agnostic” and “agnosticism.”


Bog seems to miss the point on agnosticism as well (perhaps because the word hurts his feelings for whatever reason). Agnostics don't so much profess to not know whether there's an "undetectable, metaphysical" creator but rather that it is not possible to know whether there is an "undetectable, metaphysical" creator.

Anonymous VD January 14, 2014 12:30 PM  

Just out of curiosity, VD will you write a review of the book on Amazon?

No, I don't write reviews on Amazon. It isn't permitted, as per Amazon's policy. But those who have read it are quite welcome to copy from my posts on it.

Anonymous VD January 14, 2014 12:31 PM  

Yo, Alex. Good to see you. Are you up for continuing as a judge on the debate between Dominic and I? We're gearing up to continue it.

OpenID thetroll January 14, 2014 12:32 PM  

> I think the problem is that for an actual agnostic, God's existence is still a live option, and certainty or near-certainty that God doesn't exist is judged as unwarranted as certainty in the other direction.

That strain of outlook, neither side proven, is generally labelled 'weak agnostic'. You also have various flavours of strong agnostic, which posit that your observable universe was likely created somehow, but by what exact flavour of supernaturality is either a) currently unprovable from among the remarkable variety of pantheons and their various individual cults of which we have a smorgasbord to choose from, or b) actually unknowable by the creator's design; call it the 'the rat doesn't get to see a map of the maze' theory. Which also leaves open the various hologram, simulation, etc. options. That's the one I tend to myself. Mainly because starting at Young's double-slit experiment and going on down in scale, the universe shows behaviours that are strikingly reminiscent of the lazy rendering algorithms used to save computing power in video games by computing only at the level of detail necessary for an adequate viewing experience. This is ... suspicious.

Anonymous alexamenos January 14, 2014 12:33 PM  

Vox -- bring it on I'm ready.

Anonymous Edjamacator January 14, 2014 12:49 PM  

OT
Cop shoots guy over texting

Apparently, cops, even retired ones, shouldn't have guns. They shoot people over the stupidest things. Aren't they trained better than that?

Anonymous patrick kelly January 14, 2014 12:57 PM  

The comments and quotes here are amazing. Do these people really exist? They write as if they have some new, novel "gotcha" for Christians and seem completely unaware of the the deep, rich, history of debates and writings of people observably much smarter and wiser than they are.

To explain why they disbelieve or disagree is one thing, but to prance about with such clueless arrogance is just...just...silly.

There are many assaults on whatever little strength my faith may have everyday by sorrows, suffering, and my own failures or sin, but rarely anything written by these new atheist philosophers or evangelist rises to more than a distant rumble in the background noise of my mind.

That I might fall and cross the line over into such self deception awakens such fear of embarrassment and shame it can only drive me to flee into the arms of Christ Jesus and and cry out Lord Have Mercy !!

Seriously, this looks like so much "creating atheist" fail to me......... crush it Vox, crush it !!...lest small rumblings become tidal waves.......

Anonymous David of One January 14, 2014 12:59 PM  

The same people you claim are capable of making such judgement about religion never the less think communism is a brilliant idea. - Nate

So true to the point Nate.

For these dishonest individuals ... being an early adherent to communism/socialism/marxism is directly indicative of indoctrination absent of critical thinking skills with the lack of a sound knowledge of history.

Even so ... there is evidence over the last 20 years or more that present clear object lessons for which most young adults now can reflect upon just in the public school system alone.

For example, public school students are required to purchase school supplies as prescribed by the school. In large part these are confiscated and pooled for the benefit of all - no one should benefit more than any other.

Did you save your allowance to buy something of your own to use at school? Or maybe money saved raking leaves or shoveling snow? In some cases these are again confiscated ... can't have someone, anyone, having something nicer than anyone else because that might make them feel bad or be envious and so follows poor self-esteem.

So follows the "need" for prescribed clothing and uniforms.

And then there is the "zero tolerance" scheme as another example. How many kids know that it is BS and nothing more than power & control by freaks bent on punishing kids & their families? I suspect most kids do know.

Now it is the rabbit speech of "bullying" ... this affords every little turd hell bent on controlling all those around them ... are you male? are you bigger? are you stronger? are you smarter? do you use "big" words? are you not of color? do you believe in God as a Christian? do you exhibit individualism and self-reliance? ... then you are likely a "bully" and a target of the turds of the mob throughout the entire public school system.

Their lives in public schools should serve as clear object lessons of what communism is. It isn't about the betterment of all ... instead it is about the subjugation to be treated as poorly and live as poorly as those who aspire to nothing more than to serve those who crave only power and control of all.

Anonymous David of One January 14, 2014 1:04 PM  

alexamenos

Vox -- bring it on I'm ready.


A cry for a visitor to the prison of one's mind.

Anonymous Ferd January 14, 2014 1:04 PM  

PFFFFTTT....Atheists!!! They haven't got a prayer!!

Blogger Markku January 14, 2014 1:08 PM  

They haven't got a prayer!!

Most likely this Boggery will just peter out.

Anonymous alexamenos January 14, 2014 2:35 PM  

A cry for a visitor to the prison of one's mind.

I really just meant that I still have my notes from the debate, but a cry for a visitor to the prison that is my mind is so much more poetic.

Blogger Scott January 14, 2014 3:54 PM  

Most atheists declare themselves to be atheists before they are old enough to be considered mature enough to legally drink

Like from the toilet?

Anonymous Ridip January 14, 2014 5:15 PM  

Shadowrun 5th Edition has the same heresy written throughout. I suspect it stems from the same atheist rejection of God. Like Saul, their heart is pricked by God and they just kick against the pricks hoping to still his voice.

Anonymous David of One January 14, 2014 9:59 PM  

alexamenos January 14, 2014 2:35 PM

A cry for a visitor to the prison of one's mind.

I really just meant that I still have my notes from the debate, but a cry for a visitor to the prison that is my mind is so much more poetic.


As is my personal weakness ... I may have been a wee bit over zealous at your expense.

I mean really, you are just saying to bring it on ... you've got your notes all in order and at the ready ... to paraphrase - let's do it!

And I happen along waxing poetic ...

Then again, the peanut & popcorn gallery has it liberties as we all wait for the 'bout.

Tell you what, how about I help you out in your corner ... how about some cream over your eyes and on the sides near your temples? Maybe a bit on your cheeks and chin? Maybe some on your forehead near your frontal lobes ... Vox may just forgo with using his hands and just go with head-butts and an occasional knee or two. (This aint boxing ... its mixed martial arts.)

Dang! Used a whole jar of this stuff already! Hmmm ... maybe we should just wipe all this stuff off and use a padded training helmet. It'll feel like your not wearing anything when the blows finally fall but there shouldn't be any blood.

No? Okay. Here's a stool. You just sit here and wait. Oh! Here's a towel ... that half quart of goop is probably going to start dripping in a while.

Here's baggy for your notes.

There! You'll all set.

Vox will likely be by any time now ... any time now!

Still ... here's water bottle and a bucket.

There, your ready and raring to go!

Blogger Markku January 14, 2014 10:04 PM  

Eh, Alex is a judge. One normally doesn't head-butt judges.

Anonymous David of One January 14, 2014 10:05 PM  

Dang!

You want a robe? Something to go with your debate "jams"?

You want me to freshen up your cup of hot cocoa? How about some mini-marshmellows or whipped cream?

Blogger William Smith January 14, 2014 10:06 PM  

VD quoted Bog,
"The problem with agnosticism is that in the last 2,400 years of intellectual history, not a single argument for the existence of God has withstood scrutiny. Not one. Aquinas’s five proofs, fail. Pascal’s Wager, fail. Anselm’s ontological argument, fail. The fine-tuning argument, fail. The Kalm cosmological argument, fail. All refuted. All failures.

I have two hypotheses.
1. Bog has not read J.L. Mackie or Graham Oppy's attempts to refute the arguments above. They essentially entail denying very important axioms like cause and effect or morality.
2. Bog's understanding of refutation is actually asinine. When I worked at a coffee shop during my time in the seminary, these debates usually got to this level, "If you really believe in cause and effect (which you must if you 'love science sooo much'), then you have to posit a persistent, unchanging cause...." The reply, "Look man, if you want me to believe in talking donkeys or that virgins have babies, then count me out!" They typically saw this as a win. The problem is that we weren't talking about miracles, but God. Bog will likely tiresomely do the same. I had this problem when I read Park's book Superstition. (Review here)

Anonymous David of One January 14, 2014 10:10 PM  

Dang! Double Dang!

I soooo totally missed that!

I mean the notes, jams and hot cocoa!

I so apologize.

I'm truly a bumbling idiot!

Wow! Well this doesn't happen but once in a lifetime!

Go ahead keep the marshmallows! They're on me!

Sorry.

Here's a couple of more towels ...

Okay, that's a real mess ... here's a couple of more towels.

Dang.

Blogger Markku January 14, 2014 10:12 PM  

Except cl.

You can head-butt him. I'll look the other way.

Anonymous David of One January 14, 2014 10:24 PM  

No, that's okay Markku.

He's still got all that goop on him ... I'd need a towel if I did that.

His cup said Judg ... I just figured it was some sort of slang or another language or something.

Here I've got a black magic marker ... I'll just add the letter 'e'.

Really quick ... I'll just add the 'e' ... wow, the surface of the cup is ribbed or something.

Oh Crap! Those are your white prim and perfect white gloves of a Judge!

Oh look! Now I see the 'e' once you moved your white gloved fingers!

J-u-d-g-e

Dang.

Blogger teqzilla January 15, 2014 5:47 AM  

Bog, like many of the new atheists, seems to be an adherent of polyatheism. They talk about their atheism in a singular way but from reading them closely they appear to believe in many atheisms that each have different qualities and jurisdictions over man's affairs. Sort of like hinduism if hindusism were secular, way more boring and had been dumb enough to give all it's different gods the same name.

A small example of this is Bog's quoted anti-apologetic where he both defines atheism as a "conclusion one comes to as a result of being rational and honest" and as "...basically, the lack of belief in God(s)". Now, under that second definition it's clear that dogs and pot plants can be reasonably declared atheists. Has fido become an atheist owing to his great powers of reason and refusal to be swayed by foolish superstition? Well, no, so how can the two definitions both apply to atheism unless we are dealing with two differnt things with the same name. If Bog really believed in one atheism it would be ludicrous to imply as he does that reason is both essential and superfluous to it.

Blogger DLAbaoaqu January 16, 2014 2:05 AM  

We laugh, but this is just making explicit what has been done implicitly by left leaning academics, authors, journalists and entertainers for generations. Popular perceptions of history contain plenty of "Faith Monsters", like the Dark Ages and the Spanish Inquisition, and also plenty of "Epistemic Knights" like Galileo, Darwin and Clarence Darrow.

Don't forget Vladimir Lenin, Leon Trotsky, and Che Guevara as "Epistemic Knights" and C. S. Lewis as a "Faith Monster".

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