Sunday, June 24, 2012

Reply to Reynold, Part (n+1)

Reynold said
"Ok, it looks like Stan will actually be coming over here I guess, so to simplify things, I'll post my replies here*, and over there I'll just post the links to my rebuttals here.

*no annoying word limit as the blogspot sites do.

NOTE: I will be editing this later, most likely. I have to rush off now and I don't think I've gotten all my points in yet!
”The use of “xians” offends many actual Christians as does the word “Xmas”. However, that is of no importance to this blog, I suppose. You undoubtedly will continue its use regardless of the intolerance which it displays.

And yet again, pot, kettle, black just have a look at all of the things you say about atheists! See for example the list in my first reply on this page.

You may also want to have a look at the tone of every single blog post you ever made, as well.

And you complain about my "intolerance"?”

OK, I guess we’ll just proceed, then, with you calling out names instead of providing any actual evidence supporting your apparent claim that Atheists are moral, all of them, because you speak for them all, or providing any disciplined deductive answers to the questions in my post (which you might have done below, I haven’t gotten there yet).
”Atheism addresses only the issue of a deity. Nothing more.”

Doesn't stop you from attaching all sorts of negative attitudes and negative generalizations to them though, does it?

Oh my no. When I point out the absurdities which Atheists attach to Atheism, that is just awful, isn’t it. Rather than address them, it is best to label them "generalizations", and move away quickly.
”'If you wish to submit a rational answer, you must demonstrate that the Atheist principle, “there is no god”, or even the agnostic principle, “there probably is no god, pending material data which I find congenial”, or the recent intellectual dodge, “I gots no god ideas in my head”, is a moral or ethical statement.'

It isn't a moral statement. All it is, is the belief that there is no god as you admit. That does not mean that atheists can't come up with a moral system though. It just means that we don't get one handed down to us from someone else as your belief system does.”

I claim it, not “admit” it. It is Atheists who make the claim of being universally “good without god”. Now how did they get that idea?
”Good grief. You may as well criticize stamp collectors for not having a set of morals for life laid out for them. After all, any system of morality also falls outside stamp collecting, does it not?”

Maybe you could show us all where stamp collectors are claiming to be “good because of stamps”, and that non-stamp collectors are just children without any character, and that those who don't agree that stamp collecting is the repository of rationality are fools, on and on. There is no rational connection between stamp collecting and Atheism; the Stamp Collector gag fails, always.
” Because that is all there is to the void of Atheism. There is absolutely nothing more to the void of Atheism: read Nietzsche (the only honest Atheist, in my opinion);...”

And here you go with your overgeneralizations: So every single atheist who ever sodding lived except for Neitzche, who is the one atheist who confirms your bigoted statements about us, is a liar?

Did I say liar? No. Intellectually dishonest is inferrable, though I didn't say that either. You are quite free with that word, liar, and your own overgeneralizations. Actually the presence of Nietzscheans in the Atheist world cancels your claim to represent all Atheists. The Nietzscheans could explain the consequences of Atheism to you, if you contact them.

Actually, the longer I am out of Atheism the more I do see that most modern Atheists who blog or write back-stall books or stalk blogs, etc. have much in common generally and are convinced that,

(a) they are the only one who knows any Atheists and they can speak for all Atheists, because their version of Atheism is the only one,

(b) there are no consequences to be attached to Atheism,

(c) anyone who criticizes Atheism is a liar/bigot/idiot/child etc etc,

(d) Atheism really is super moral, and all because all Atheists are oh so empathetic,

(d) there is no need to actually have moral principles which are stateable as moral facts, in fact, there is no truth and no facts, only relativist decisions to be made by individual Atheists, oh wait there is evolution, and that is pure fact, and any critic of that is anti-science and anti-rational and of bad character to boot,

(e) all religious people are evil fools who do have evil moral principles stateable as evil moral facts, and are therefore just children and not real men, who are ready to make up stuff,

(f) there's no need to read any modern Atheist philosophers outside of the four New Atheists, or Nietzsche, (much less can they spell his name), or Hume, or Popper, or Russell, or Ayer, or Plato, or Aristotle, or Boole, or Spencer, and certainly not Aquinas (that spineless child), or really not any one directly, but they have read what the internet Atheists say about them, well, quickly if they need to think they know a little something for an argument in progress,

(g) it's rational argumentation to become angry and emotional when Atheism and Atheist morality is challenged, and so attack the person rather than the argument,

(h) it's not necessary to study the discipline of logic because real men decide things on the fly, and with empathy not logic,

(i) there's no burden of proof on the Atheist, ever, well except to demonstrate that Christians and their beliefs are stupid and evil... no burden for demonstrating the impossibility of non-physical agency, or for demonstrating that Atheism actually produces "goodness" of some sort, via morals acquired somehow, from someone, or just made up, maybe just for a specific occasion for all anyone else knows.

Oh sure, there are some Atheists who don't think this way. Probably a lot, and those must be the ones who don't haunt the blogs, according to what I have seen. And sure, these are generalizations, based on my own experience with Atheists of all stripes. But if someone wants to refute them, they are invited to go right ahead. Calling me a bigot is without evidentiary power, though.

On top of all that, no Atheist has ever provided material empirical evidence for the non-existence of non-physical agency, nor have they provided any actual moral principles in their defense. They are unable to defend the general Atheist claim of being material evidence-based, and logic-based.

Further, the evidence which is still residual at Lourdes is the continuing existence of the spring, which did not exist until the girl was told to remove the handsful of mud, as the claim states. The original claim is not for healing powers of the water, that claim was added on later by I don’t know who. So the empirical refutation of the original claim, physical evidence still residing in plain view, is still required, and the physical feature, the spring still runs, is still available for empirical refutation.
”Don't you see that it's overgeneralizations like that that show you up for what you are?”
Atheism is a very specific assertion; But Atheists cannot support their assertions. Those are facts. Do they apply generally? Yes they do. Sorry you don’t like them, but they are facts regardless of how you feel about them. Because you don't like the facts but don't care to actually refute them in a disciplined manner, you attack me instead. Why don't you specify exactly what you mean by "what you are". Maybe this conversation can be shortened.
“I've said before: Replace the word "atheist" in your rants with the name of any other group, and you'll see yourself for what you are.”

You demonstrated your own fallacy here by trying out the old stamp collector gag. No other groups make the claims which Atheists make, and certainly not while trying to convince the world that they are the sole, logical, evidence-based centroid of rationality, all while failing to provide actual evidence for their own ideology: only Atheists do that, certainly not stamp collectors. Meanwhile Atheists exercise False Analogy Fallacies like the Stamp Collector Gag. BTW and FYI, analogies always fail, some just sooner than others. It would be better to address the actual subject face-on.
” 'This void allows, even necessitates, that the adherent to Atheism either create his own answers to these subjects, or accept the answers which other adherents have created for these subjects, or ignore any further thoughts regarding the consequences of Atheism. But these positions are not engendered by Atheism or a part of the proposition of Atheism, they are separate from but enabled by Atheism.'

If that's how you think, then your later statement that Hitler used a "counterfeit form" of your faith falls apart then. Why? As is shown, Hitler has centuries of christian anti-semitism to fall back on for support of what he did to the Jews.

Look at Martin Luther (a guy Hitler said he admired) who wrote On the Jews and Their Lies. Was he a "counterfeit christian"?

The people over at Creation Ministries International don't seem to think so!

Like it or not, it was your religious faith that enabled Hitler to do what he did. Since you're so eager to blame atheists for everything you hate simply because atheism suppsosedly "enables" those things, then you must accept that your religion enabled a lot of bad things as well. “

You have no idea of whether I have a faith or not, much less what it is (it is not the blind faith of Atheism, and I don't worship Luther, or Creation Whatever, or any ecclesiology); and further, your attack on what you think is my religion or faith or whatever does nothing to obviate these actual facts:

(1) Atheists are claiming to be “good without god”;

(2) Atheism, as a proposition or lack thereof, has no concept of “good” attached to it;

(3) As was demonstrated above, Atheist claims of “good” have no meaning, unless some other philosophical ethic is attached to the Atheism.

(4) There are myriad competing and contradictory Atheist “ethics” available to be attached to Atheism ex post facto.

(5) Not all those ethical propositions can be valid.

(6) Some if not all of those ethical propositions must be non-valid.

(7) In order to validate an Atheist ethical proposition, a standard must be used.

(8) But the standard must itself be validated, thereby entering a Gödel infinite hierarchical regression.

(9) Therefore, no Atheist ethical proposition can be known to be valid.

(10) Certain Atheist ethical propositions do "work", such as Consequentialism, which is actually a tactic rather than an ethic; Atheist Consequentialism dominated 20th Century news with its atrocities. "Working" is not equivalent to "vald".

Your attempts to justify the Atheist claims of self-endowed morality by using the constant Tu Quoque Fallacy which you bang away at relentlessly does nothing to help the fatal case against Atheism. If evilbible is false, if Christianity is false, that has no bearing whatsoever on the case against Atheism. So attacking them is only for your own personal emotional assuagement. None of your arguments address the actual case made against Atheism; you merely take offense that the case is being made and claim that I am a bigot/idiot/whatever for bringing it up.

You make no positive case for Atheism or moral Atheists; you merely make negative cases against a religion which you obviously hate. You are fighting ecclesiasticism as an obvious Red Herring and ignoring the main subject: the fundamental premise of Atheism.
”I won't even mention things like the various religious wars, witch hunts, genocide of north american peoples, etc. “

Of course you just did mention them; we are not the idiots you presuppose us to be. Now demonstrate how those things prove that there is no non-physical agency, and/or that Atheists are moral yet without standards for goodness.
”'...anything which is added to those principles is NOT Atheism, it is added to Atheism. Atheism is the void, a void which can be filled with any ethic whatsoever, or absolutely no ethic at all. And that is what you need to argue against. Or call me more names or whatever.'

No, that is not what I need to argue against. As I said earlier: One may as well criticize stamp collectors for not having a moral system built into their stamp collecting "mindset". The same thing for hockey fans, etc.”

Of course it is. Atheists make unique claims regarding morals, based on a unique claim regarding rejectionism, none of which they can support either logically or with empirical evidence. The hockey fan gag doesn't work, either.
It's an entirely different thing to say that atheism has "no morals attached to it" which is true, since all atheism is is the belief that there are no is quite another to keep saying that atheists have no moral code. We just have to devise our own since there's no god to give us one. I gave some links to some sites but you continue to disregard them. “

But of course: that is what I’ve been saying all along. Atheists make up their own stuff. So, it does extrapolate to Atheists, doesn’t it? You have no more idea what an Atheist in Stalingrad, say Boris Popov, uses for moral principles than anyone else. I read your links and I told you why they do not work; I’ll tell you again:

(1)You cannot know what motivates any Atheist, much less all Atheists.

(2)You cannot know what “common sense” means to any Atheist, much less all Atheists.

(3)Common sense is rejected along with intuition by (probably) every Atheist philosopher.

(4)Your own ethic is relativism, which means that you get to decide something when a situation arises based on no moral theory and only your own empathy, and I’m supposed to believe that your altruism will kick in somehow so that you empathetically decide what is good and right for the other guy. Maybe the other guy wants to decide what is good and right for you, what then? Long and intellectual negotiations concerning what is meant by good and right, and who gets to make what decision for whom? Or maybe fisticuffs when your empathy doesn't match his idea of fairness.
”It seems that unless every single atheist agrees to some unchanging set of rules like you people have then that means that we have "no morality" in your eyes.”
Again, if by "you people", you mean those who have studied actual logic... Right. No discernible principles by which to establish expectations for predicting your behavior. Nope. None. You make yours up on the fly, as you decide the situation requires. You said so yourself.
”Verfied by what you say here:

‘So, since Kant’s idea of what is "good" is at odds with Consequentialism’s concept of "good", and Nietzsche denies that “good” even exists and favors "will to power" instead, then for adherents of Atheism to claim that Atheists are "good without god", is either absurd, false, or it is tautological. Without a single definition of "goodness", the claim cannot be valid that all "Atheists are good without god", unless Atheism is tautological with "good", which is both absurd and false.’

If we're going to argue about the definition of "good" and you're picking apart what various atheists mean when they talk about "good", then let's have a look at what christians consider "good" then shall we?”

Forget the Tu Quoque Fallacy attempt; as an Atheist you have a serious issue, and yes, I'm picking it apart. That's why we are here. You cannot define “good” as a common concept for all Atheists. So why should anyone consider a professed Atheist to be “good”? If all that is known about Yin Gang Yong is that he is an Atheist, why does that confer “goodness”? Or morality of any sort? It cannot, and it does not.
”We dont' actually say that (all) atheists are good without god. From what I remember, we say that we can be good without god.”
Really? Some of the signs said “millions are good without god”. Oddly, most of the sign photos have been removed from the “good without god” articles, including at Dawkins’ place and Huffpo. Huffpo replaced theirs with a "Don't mess with Texas" bumper sticker. Too embarrassing to keep the photos up perhaps?
“And again, all you do Stan, is show that the "morals" you people have is that of a child who has to have his or her parents tell them what to do, instead of being mature enough, having enough empathy to try to get along with other people without someone constantly looking over their shoulder.”
And again, your Tu Quoque Fallacy attempts have no bearing on the rational and moral problems that inhere with Atheism. Further, you have no idea what my belief system might be, if any, but you don't hesitate to generalize, do you?

Further still, claiming to have all that empathy rings hollow, in light of the history of Atheism in the world. Pol Pot empathetic? Really? Not a true Atheist? Really? Your generalized condemnation, above? Hardly. Why would anyone want your empathy to decide their fate?
” This is the basis for the claim that knowing merely that a person is an Atheist gives no hint of what that person’s personal ethical/moral theory might be, or even if that person actually has a moral theory at all.

Doesn't stop you from making broad generalizations though, does it?”

Again, if you have specific issues, then make a rational deductive case. In this case, your charge is not just oblique, it is without any relationship to my statement. Total non sequitur fallacy. And in no manner a refutation of the statement.
” Further, there is no reason to believe that whatever the Atheist’s moral theory is today will be the Atheist’s moral theory tonight.

Exaggeration on your part.”

Really? Then define how you will react tomorrow in an unknown situation, using your personal definition of “good”. Then describe how every Atheist in the universe will react to similar situations, using their definition of “good”. Then describe the half-life of a personal definition of “good”.
Is “good” defined as Atheist empathy? Then define how empathy works for all your Atheists, and whether it is an involuntary emotion, or whether it is a principle to be followed religiously as an Atheist. Then describe the limits of empathy. For example, a man recently was acquitted of wrong doing for beating to death the rapist of his five-year old daughter. Where does your empathy lie? How do you apportion your empathy? Do you have empathy for Hitler? What are your limits? Are you sure empathy is not merely another Atheist buzz word for making stuff up as you go? Making stuff up that you personally feel OK about, and since there are no absolute principles, feeling OK is what it is all about for Atheists?

The charge of exaggeration has no content, and is refuted.
” 'When Atheists proudly claim their superior empathy and morality, my response is to give the actual evidence regarding those claims; then you call that response bigoted.'

This also deals a bit with your "Note 1" that I "can't refute": You use The Barna study to say that christians have greater empathy, but I've pointed out that according to the bible itself the motive for xian to be moral is because of reward in heaven later on. After all, why would those verses be in there otherwise? What evidence do you have that empathy and not future rewards or fear of punishment motivates members of your religion?”

I don't claim to know the motivation of any Christian, much less all of them: that is your claim. Where is your evidence? You know the motivation of all Christians, how? The fictional book called the bible is your evidence?
”This leads to the question that if I remember correctly, you haven't answered: Which is more "moral"? The person who does something expecting a reward later, or the one who does something because one cares about another person (empathy)?”
This has been rehashed. Under pure Atheism, neither one is moral; Atheism has no morals attached to it. However, under Consequentialism, whichever one produces best is the most moral; that would be the one with the rewards. Under Virtue Ethics, empathy must be enforced by the Atheist elite priesthood, because humans are not naturally empathetic enough. So neither one is moral. Under Reciprocal Altruism, the Atheist expectation is for future reward for an empathetic response now, so that single encounters between individuals do not produce the empathetic response that kin selection produces with multiple encounters between individuals (e.g. Chicago politics); again the rewards are part of the Atheist ethical add-on, and the rewards win. That's two for rewards and zip for empathy; should we continue?

The repetitive plaint for “empathy” does not ring true, and falls apart under analysis.
”You use the Barna study to say that atheists have less empathy than xians, but unless you can show that their are other motives from your own bible other than promises of future rewards, and threats of punishments, you really don't have evidence that what motives your fellow religionists is even empathy at all.“

I do not make that case at all. I make the case that the study shows that actual, measurable Atheist empathy is pitifully tiny, with an actual metric of $16.67/month. I make no claims regarding the motivations of Christians, except that the data shows them donating more even to non-religious causes than Atheists and being more likely to help an actual person in need, which could lead to inferences which I do not make. Those are actions not motivations. It's in the report.
”Until then, the numbers from that ONE study are irrelevent in comparing "empathy".

Well, oh sure, of course then. Apparently that is your new rule. But in your competing study link (actually an article, not a study), a second study is mentioned which supports the Barna study. How does two to one fit into your rules of relevance?

But, let’s not measure comparative empathy, since neither of us has any actual empirical data to compare against, and since it has no bearing on the paucity of Atheist empathy: let’s measure the absolute value of Atheist empathy in dollars. OK I won’t rub your nose in it.
”Generally, Stan, what you do is you make wild over-generalizations. As for bigotry, again. Look at the list of things you say about atheists and apply them to any other group. I call you as you act.”

Really? You actually think that comparing Atheism to stamp collecting is a valid excuse for dodging analytics of Atheist statements? That position itself is a gross generalization, right there. And you claim that doing that sort of analysis on Atheism is bigotry, because you know what all Atheists actually think, and what all Atheists have for morals, and that is not what I write about, so I'm a bigot?

That doesn’t wash. Your name calling is capricious and based on nothing whatsoever other than your hard feeling at seeing the truth displayed, and of course your prejudices in the void of any information about me, which actually really is bigotry.
”So far in the past several days you have called me a liar,...

Yes. I believe that you are lying when you say that you've been an atheist for 40 years. Your conduct, your contempt, your attacks against atheists are things I've only ever seen in people who are fundy christians, not "former atheists", and I know a few.”

Then your attack is based on profiling and prejudice and not on a single bit of actual knowledge about me or my history: that right there is the definition of bigotry. You have no evidence. You know precisely nothing about me. And you call me a liar without any evidence to back it up, other than your personal prejudice. You don’t like what I say, too bad; I am not a liar, and I won’t tolerate being called names by you or anyone else.
” idiot, and a bigot. Elsewhere you apparently attack my character.

What kind of character can one have, Stan, if you need someone (ie. "god") to give you the rules to live by? If you can't figure out for yourself for instance, not to hurt people, again, that shows your lack of character, not the atheists you hate so much.”

Again and for the last time, you have no idea what I believe, who I am, where I came from, how I got here, or any other fact other than what I write about Atheism. On that basis you apply your prejudice to the analysis of my character, and strikingly in the complete absence of any principles for the definition of moral character whatsoever. It's not apparent that you actually know what bigotry is.

Shall we ask, what kind of character can you have, Reynold, when you cannot even define "good"? When you have no principles even to define moral character, much less to implement into actual character? When you profile a person with no knowledge of the actual person and declare that person a liar? And especially when you think that obedience to principles of behavior is childish?
“You apparently cannot refute (Note 1) any of the evidence, so you ridicule, which is a staple of Atheism a la’ PZ “ridicule works” Meyers, and a favored technique of that faction.

Again, pot, kettle, black. Look at all of your posts about atheists.”

None of which have you refuted, all of which are presumed valid until refuted, and not ridicule. Clucking one's tongue on the way to the fainting couch is not a refutation. You do not refute anything; you only address your hatred of a specific religion (and try mightily to connect me to it). You have not provided a positive case for,

(a)the rejection of a non-physical agent, or

(b)for your claim that Atheists are moral, or

(c) that for someone to point out the failures of Atheism is bigotry, idiotic, and of low character.

Sorry, you have not made an argument for Atheism; you have made an emotional appeal against a specific ecclesiastic group and against myself for demonstrating that you actually do that rather than provide disciplined, deductive arguments.

If you choose to make an actual rational IF/THEN/THEREFORE case in support of your rejectionism, then we might have something to discuss. Your emotional bigoted tirades against my character show only the weakness of your thought process and your lack of an actual case in general.

If you cannot argue rationally (IF/THEN/THEREFORE), using disciplined logic and without emotional, unsubstantiable, abusive charges against the arguer rather than addressing the argument in a disciplined fashion, then you have no rational capacity to defend your position. If that continues to be the case, then you are wasting my time. Go ahead: make a rational deduction defending your belief system (BTW, Tu Quoques are failures in defending yourself; we all understand that you hate Christians. But that doesn’t have any influence on your need to make a rational or evidentiary case for rejecting a non-physical agent which caused the universe). Alternatively, show empirical data which supports your rejectionism.

If you cannot argue rationally then this conversation is done.

In terms of generalizations, let’s take a look:

1. Reynold speaks for all Atheists.

2. All Atheists conform to Reynold’s Atheist concepts.

3. Anyone who claim to have been Atheists but are not now sympathetic to Atheist fallacies are liars.

4. Christians, all of them, are fear-bound.

5. Christians, all of them, have no empathy but give out of either fear or reward promise.

6. All who aren’t man enough to make up their own rules ad hoc have bad character and are mere children.

7. Empathy, however weak, is better than rules.

8. Always Tu Quoque; never answer the actual challenges.

9. Atheists are exactly like stamp collectors.

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