Friday, March 11, 2016

Moderation Is OFF

Comments at the ready: Fire away!


JBsptfn said...

Uh oh!!! Im Skeptical may be back.

Phoenix said...

IMS, was recently at my place bragging about refuting a post of mine on his blog. I wasn't going to respond because most of what he says basically boils down to a semantic ploy but I may just respond by monday or tuesday. Here is his so called refutation:

When I was at the Atheism Analyzed blog discussing my previous post, one of the commenters there, named Phoenix, was chiding me for suggesting that creationists should read and learn about science, in lieu of spoon-feeding them a full college curriculum right there in the combox. I decided to check out his blog to see if he had anything of substance to say. He has mad two posts there. The first is about ten common atheist lies, and the second is about ten atheist quotes. Both of these posts were made in 2014. In both cases, Phoenix believes he has thoroughly debunked the atheists. The first one received a number of comments, but the second one has remained unchallenged all this time. So without further ado, here is my response to Phoenix on his post 10 Atheist Quotes Demolished .

1. Sam Harris: "There is no society in human history that ever suffered because its people became too reasonable"

Phoenix: This quote is used in response to the connection between Communism and Atheism in a futile attempt to disjoin the two. In other words, Communists were not true Atheists because they were not reasonable enough. Besides the No true Scotsman logical fallacy at play, Harris is forgetting that Communism did not magically appear out of nowhere. It is a deliberate, purposive and systematic Atheist invention, and its ramifications proved without a doubt that Atheists can be as unreasonable as they can be brutal.

Discussion: Harris is not attempting to "disjoin" communism and atheism. He does not deny that communists are atheists, nor does he attempt to make the No True Scotsman fallacy. He is trying to identify the common ground among systems of belief that inspire atrocities. It is dogmatic belief that they have in common. Certainly, not all atheists are communists, and not all atheists are associated with those behaviors, except in the minds of those who would have us believe that there is an equivalence between communism and atheism. Neither Harris nor Phoenix would agree that adopting communism is equivalent to becoming reasonable.

2. Christopher Hitchens: "What can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence"

Phoenix: Also known as Hitchen's Razor. It is not one of the recognized principles of logic, it's only an Atheist principle which fails prima facie because it violates its own condition by failing to present evidence for its supposed truth yet demands evidence from others. Besides failing to meet its own criteria and being a paradox, Hitchen's Razor is also a tu quoque fallacy. "I don't need evidence because you also don't have evidence" is what Hitchen's Razor is protesting.

Discussion: This quote does not demand evidence, nor it is a tu quoque fallacy. It simply states that if there is no evidence for a claim, there is no reason to believe that claim. This is fully in keeping with the broadly accepted principle of skepticism expressed by Hume. It is regarded as a foundational principle of empiricism. As such, it does not involve any self-contradiction. Epistemic justification is reason to believe a claim, and without epistemic justification, the claim can be dismissed. The wording is cute, but it's not an issue of needing evidence to dismiss the claim. It's an issue of whether or not the claim is justified.

Phoenix said...


3. Patton Oswald: "...Look, you have to acknowledge everyone’s beliefs, and then you have to reserve the right to go: “That is fucking stupid..."

Phoenix: Not only has Oswald exposed his inability to use logic but also his poor grasp of the English language. To acknowledge someone's belief and then to disparage it, is a contradiction. Both cannot be true simultaneously. The dictionary defines acknowledgement as accepting something as valid. Yet this Atheist insults and rejects something he has already recognized as truth. Where is the logic in that?

Discussion: This objection hinges on the definition of 'acknowledge'. One definition is to recognize the truth or validity of something. If taken in that sense, Phoenix would be correct. But another definition is to recognize the existence of something. Obviously, this quote used the word in the latter sense. You can recognize that people have beliefs, but you don't have to accept that those beliefs are coherent.

4. Richard Dawkins: “There may be fairies at the bottom of the garden. ... you can't prove that there aren't any, so shouldn't we be agnostic with respect to fairies?”

Phoenix: There are a number of similar gambits on the web by other Atheists such as Russell's teapot, Sagan's dragon, Flying Spaghetti Monster, Bigfoot, etc. They all serve the same purpose and that is to make the theist's position seem as ridiculous as possible, and by contrast the Atheist's position will appear to be the more reasonable one. Instead of using rational argumentation, the Atheist resorts to Weak Analogies, False Comparisons and Straw Men to reach his objective.
Here's why Analogies and Comparisons are not substitutes for evidence and good reasoning:
(i) Analogies can only help to make one's point easier to understand, beyond that they hold no explanatory power nor evidence.
(ii)Comparisons are supposed to highlight the similarities between subjects. In the case of God and Russell's Teapot, it is only that both are not proven under laboratory conditions, beyond that they have no similarities. Comparisons and analogies are always false, some fail sooner than others. To insist that God (a non-physical being) must be proven to be physical using instrumentation that are meant for material purposes only, is committing a Category Error Fallacy
(iii) By using ridiculous analogies and comparisons, the Atheist is attempting to make the opposition's argument easier to attack and is therefore guilty of attacking a ^Straw Man, since there are more plausible arguments available to defend the belief in God.

Discussion: The point of this analogy is not to compare religion to something laughably ridiculous. It is to compare religion to something for which we don't have good reason to believe it's true, and we can't prove one way or the other. The spaghetti monster happens to be something ridiculous. The teapot is just an ordinary object. The point is, it really doesn't matter what kind of object it is - ridiculous or ordinary. If it's anything other than your God, you would be agnostic about it. Dawkins is saying that God belief should not be exempt from skepticism any more than any other thing would be.

Phoenix said...

It goes right up to number 10, too long to post here but you guys see the pattern here which is nothing but sophistry on IMS' part.

JBsptfn said...

On his most recent entry, I told IMS that moderation was off. I was just following up on a comment I made about David Pogge and the Science Against Evolution website.

Stan said...

A couple of quick comments.
First, Harris cannot possibly know that his assertion is true; he has no knowledge of the reasonability the peoples of ALL societies.

Second, it is exactly the case that Hitchen's statement can either be dismissed because it is true, in which case it is false; OR Hitchen's statement is false, so it can be dismissed, making it true. It is indeed a paradox, and therefore noncoherent and irrational.

Third, the "fairies and spaghetti monsters and tea pot" argument, if accepted as valid analogs, despite their obvious non-applicability, will also falsify evolution which is presented with stories and no actual physical evidence or direct observation. If evolution is not falsified in this manner, than nothing else is falsified in this manner, either. So the effect is that the "childish analogy" vs. "evolution is true without observation" is a combination which forms another paradox... But only for Atheists who believe in both issues.

Phoenix said...

First, Harris cannot possibly know that his assertion is true; he has no knowledge of the reasonability the peoples of ALL societies

Yes and of course "reasonable" per Harris and Atheists is defined within the boundaries of Materialism. Whatever appears to present non-materialist concepts (such as free will,morality, consciousness) must be unreasonable because only Materialism is reasonable.
And another thing Harris has failed to grasp is that only him and his fellow Atheists believe they are reasonable. Everyone else is highly skeptical of their claims.

JBsptfn said...

On another entry on his site, Joe told him that atheists like Harris and Dawkins aren't very reasonable, and Victor Stenger is an idiot. Hinman has debunked Dawkins and Stenger on his site:

Atheistwatch: Victor Stenger's Straw God Arguments

Dawkins' Argument Against the Existence of God from The God Delusion