First of all, yours truly wishes to apologise to friends and followers for the lack of posts during the week, I have been quite busy with building the nation, though I did manage to visit most of your blogs.
I need not introduce our resident apologist, Debilis, though he hardly honours us with a visit who has made it his blogging profession to erect strawmen of atheists and New Atheist, whoever they are, whom he then manages to convince his followers that he has made a sound against the claims of atheism. In this post, where, they have a long discussion with our friend the Ark, he sets out to tell his readers that atheists are intellectually poor.
He starts by telling us
Every reason I’ve ever been given to reject the arguments for theism rests on one of two demonstrably false assumptions:
1. That nothing exists other than the physical, or
2. That there is no way of knowing anything except via the senses (including science, of course).
Let us ignore, who has told him this and look at his claims. I would like him to prove the existence of anything else, other than those things, which are evidently the creation of our imagination or are the result of our interactions with one another then we will have a conversation. I would want him to show me and you, dear reader, any way of knowing, whatever he means by that, that excludes the senses. What are these things he knows without experiencing, excepting concepts which are creations of our imagination and history which we read?
Our apologists continues in the same vain to tell us
Those who demand evidence for theism are, so far as I’ve experienced, never open to non-sensory evidence. And those who attack the Bible as being bad science generally aren’t willing to acknowledge that it wasn’t written as science in the first place.
Let us say we are open to non-sensory evidence, which are these and would you be kind to enumerate just a few. And no, this is a strawman, we don’t claim the bible is a science writ. All we have said it was written by ignorant goat herders over a long period of time. It makes claims about the cosmos that aren’t true such as we are told in Joshua 10
“Sun, stand still at Gibeon,
and moon, in the Valley of Aijalon.”
13 And the sun stood still, and the moon stopped,
until the nation took vengeance on their enemies.
Is this not written in the Book of Jashar? The sun stopped in the midst of heaven and did not hurry to set for about a whole day. 14 There has been no day like it before or since, when the Lord heeded the voice of a man, for the Lord fought for Israel.
unless of course our apologists wants to pretend that this is not a claim about cosmology which is a science or Balaam’s talking donkey or making wine from water. So we grant him the bible is not a science book, neither is it a revealed word of deity, simply because such don’t exist, especially so the one claimed in the bible.
In defending his absurd position, our apologists writes
The first view is properly called “metaphysical naturalism”, “physicalism”, or (more casually) “materialism”. To believe this, one has to believe that nihilism is true, that thoughts are never about anything, that there is no reason at all why science works, that you can’t trust your own logic, and that you (in terms of your own inner life and personality) don’t actually exist.
Sad as it maybe for our apologist, life is its own meaning. To expect that there is more to it, some cosmic meaning is a fools dream. If you find nihilism too much to swallow, you are in the right profession, that of supporting superstition for fact. Here, I agree with Camus, who asks the million dollar question, what does one do after finding out that life is absurd? Does he commit suicide? He says no, rather he lives by rebelling against the absurd. He creates meaning in his life. The second claim about thoughts doesn’t make sense. I have read the post which is linked in the OP and, yours truly, was not able to make sense of it. He makes claims about free will which are absurd and nonsensical, the rest of his arguments are of like manner.
He then continues to say
This is the view that, while there might be more than the physical, we should only believe what we can test for scientifically.
which I don’t think is true. The requirement is as Hume said, not to believe anything for which we don’t have sufficient evidence and as Carl Sagan later said, extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. So offer this evidence and we are good to go.
The first thing we should note here is that many of the same problems arise. This idea would force us to reject the idea that we have minds, that our morals are rational, and that our thoughts are either about anything or base their choices in logic. It is also deeply problematic that the basis of science itself is rejected by this view. “Science alone”, if one follows the logic, means “not even science”.
Minds are brain states. Unless of course the apologist thinks the mind is separate from the brain, our morals are rational because we are rational beings though this isn’t the case for a great majority of the human species and our thoughts are given by experience though we are also capable of abstract thought. And lastly am never sure what he means when he writes science. He leaves his claims so open such that it is impossible to identify what one is arguing against.
There is nothing to say about a claim such as this.
The second thing is that this view also contradicts itself. After all, there is no sensory evidence for it. So, by its own standard, it should be rejected.
Having created strawmen, he finishes by writing
The only way that modern atheism can hope to escape the absurd conclusions mentioned here is if it could offer an attack on the arguments for theism that doesn’t rest on one of those two assumptions.
which is another strawman, simply because atheism is only a claim about the existence of gods. The rest are philosophical positions which merit a different discussion each on its own to prove their falsity or truth value. The atheist says he has seen no evidence for the existence of gods, and that the theist has not proved his case sufficiently. He has no reason to provide any argument beyond that.
Some one please tell me am dreaming or I am reading what our christian want us to believe.
After years of encounters, I’ve come across no such thing. This leaves the arguments for theism on the table, with the attempted refutations having been shown to be circular reasoning.
Why are there still atheists? All you of you atheists should pack up your bags and identify a church to join, you are all wrong, the apologists have carried the day!
This shows again how a strong psychological need for “faith” can corrupt even the most intelligent of minds. You do a great job exposing these confused people by calmly but rigorously dissecting their claims.
what I find most disturbing about this guy in particular, is he appears to read atheistic literature but seem to me to never get anything out of them.
He also claims to love science but I can’t, for the life of me, tell what he means when he says science. His definition shifts as the tides
Humans can be, to some degree, compared to computers. How a computer processes input to output, depends on it’s particular programming. Our brains work in an analogous manner, our mental programming (as developed by our genetics and our upbringing) produces a certain output in a certain way. If the mental program is broken, it will produce broken output. However a broken program cannot detect it is producing broken output.
He’s a dickhead. I eventually got fed up. He is like Prayson.
I don’t think he’s a dickhead. He’s willing to have a sensible discussion about his point of view. Why are you so angry, Ark? 🙂
You guys had such a long argument, I didn’t realize you can be that patient 😛
I’m glad you posted on this. I read that post, and found it bizarre, but you’ve torn it apart perfectly here. Debilis seems to think understanding of life or logic is found by rehashing the set arguments of others, rather than looking for actual sense. I have to say though that I’m having a discussion with him on one of his related posts and he’s kind enough to engage usefully, even though I’m lost by some of the basics. He says things like “It contradicts materialism in that there is nothing about matter, as matter is defined by the materialist, that allows for the possibility of intentionality.” I just don’t understand how it’s relevant if humans can’t yet understand how these things work in the physical world. In no sense would it lead to invisible deities.
Dear Violet, he takes a paragraph from a book and makes it a whole post and claims that atheism lacks rigor because of a single paragraph! His is a case of a blind man attempting to lead his fellow blind men across a highway.
I gave up engaging with him, you never know what he is talking about half the time and he shifts goal posts as one of our presidents used to say of the IMF and WB.
We don’t as yet know the essence of matter, to credit immaterial beings with controlling the universe doesn’t help issues but multiplies our problems fourfold.
“to credit immaterial beings with controlling the universe doesn’t help issues but multiplies our problems fourfold.” – Totally!
I’m glad I’m not the only one. I can’t follow what he says either.
Yeah, he doesn’t understand any of this. You should hold him to his grave misapprehension of empiricism and ask him to explain his non-sensory evidence using semantics which do not reference sense-data. Should be possible if these things are comprehensible.
You will tire yourself asking him to explain something like that.
Thanks for reading and commenting.
Intellectually poor? Was he reading his own treatise? None of his work is original. Where is his “intellectual wealth?” Overdrawn on his bank account?
Great arguments, friend! Much love and naked hugs!
Hey nude brother, how are you?
I guess he was must have been referring to his own treatise. He starts by talking about atheism when he means to attack materialism without providing evidence why it fails.
I don’t think he knows what atheism or atheist are.
Be well and enjoy your weekend. Hugs
Sometimes I think that I was very fortunate to have not been raised in a religion because I think I might have wound up being highly religious.
I’m not sure exactly what Debilis means by non-sensory evidence, but I suspect that he’s talking about the kind of experiences William James talked about in The Variety of Religious Experience. (I read it years ago and I’m working from memory, so pardon me if I make some errors.) I have had some of these “non-sensory” experiences which do, in fact, feel very profound and have had an effect on how I view the world. Had I been raised in a religion, I’m almost certain I would have interpreted them as confirmation of the existence of the god I was taught to worship, the holy spirit or something like that. But I didn’t have a ready-made explanation, so to me it’s a feeling, a profound feeling, but still not proof of anything. Is it psychological in origin? Is it a neurological event, like a minor seizure? I don’t know. I think many religious rituals, like prayer, fasting and meditation, are designed in part to create these mental states.
You were fortunate in that respect.
This profound feelings, is it possible that they could be traced to things of possible experience even if at the moment we do not such things? My problem with Debilis and his ilk, is to claim phantoms are responsible for anything that we can’t explain at the moment.
I think it depends on your own acceptance of what sensory experience is, but my guess is that Debilis [which means weak… what is this fixation with Christians and being weak, I just don’t get it?] is parroting what he’s been told by his religion, not what he has actually experienced. That’s what I feel anyway.
I did see the debate that ensued on his blog that you’re referring to, he talks a good fight, but the whole thing achieved nothing other than exercising the use of pseudo-academic english. Linguistic masturbation as Mr.Argus would say.
Argus has a way with words. I didn’t know the name meant weak, which is interesting, because I think many christians want to play victim.
He does indeed 🙂
It goes a way I think to explain perhaps why their arguments are always so unsubstantial. I remember Theologetics possibly, or some such other on another blog arguing that my interpretation of weakness wasn’t the same as his, but that he saw weakness as equal to humility.. oh yes on Ark’s blog I believe, the Martial Arts Priest can’t remember his name and not seen him around since. He was an angry man too. It’s the whole concept of subjugation, or ‘guilt’ if you’re Catholic.
Life is already tough as it is, why someone would want to go through it as a victim and a weakling, which appears to be self chosen, like Paul claims in his letters, is beyond me.