Hope You Brought the K-Y, Josh

kellym78's picture

This is a response to a nagging little pest we've had around here lately, to whom I was essentially blackmailed into responding. The original thread is located here. You'll see in the thread that this lovely young man threatens to send one email per day until he is answered to his satisfaction, and then proceeds to post relentlessly to that end. In an attempt to end this idiocy, I've tried to answer all of his extremely lengthy posts at once; therefore, this is extraordinarily long, and for that, I apologize.


I had planned on not responding to you, seen as how I already opted out of this never-ending argument which ultimately comes down to fundamental philosophical differences, as well as arbitrary differences of opinion. Fortunate for the sake of your continued enjoyment, I feel compelled to respond since you've dragged me and practically everybody I know into this circle-jerk.

(To Brian: ) I think by that very fact alone you should not be able to claim atheistic positions. You have not earned them and your beliefs are no more the result of logical inquiry than any of the pietists you pity.

This is an absurd statement. Essentially, what you're saying is that nobody can hold a position on anything until all possible arguments have been thoroughly researched by them personally to YOUR satisfaction. I certainly hope you don't have a stance on car manufacturers since you likely don't understand the mechanics of a reciprocating piston engine. Not to mention the thousands of other issues on which one can have a position. If a person is lacking necessary information, and you have it, then certainly, enlightening them is helpful. However, attempting to make your standards the sole arbiter of the "right" of a person to hold a position/stance/opinion on any subject is egregiously arrogant.
Also, your attempt at omniscience is laughable, as you cannot possibly know what "logical inquiry" in which any person other than yourself has engaged.


Sadly, it seems public school and whatever community college you flunked out of have failed you lamentably.

I thought we were the rude ones? Not that I need to justify myself to you, but I guarantee that the schools I have attended and will be attending soon are of a higher caliber than UNCC. Not to mention that I maintain a 4.0 in the Honors Program in an accelerated Master's program. Sorry--I don't tend to brag about such things, but you brought it upon yourself.

So, in closing, while you and your internet buddies might enjoy a laugh over this, those in academia (re: those with qualifications and decent grasp of material who have earned their right to debate instead of just paying for an internet domain) will continue to utilize your points to evince fallacies, arrogance, and unjustified belief states.
To those of us in academia? Well...let's just say there's a reason most scholars won't debate you. (Craig, et al)

I was unaware that almost having a bachelor's degree made you a member of the academic elite. If this is the result, I'll gladly opt out. Not to mention the asinine assertion that people such as Dawkins, Dennett, Harris, and Hitchens are not in this "academia" of which you speak. You may disagree with them, but you certainly can't contest their credentials and educational histories.

Belief in the existence of God is not the same as the position that we can have knowledge of God. The former is a doxastic state, the latter an epistemological. These are being conflated here, which is simply illogical.

Nobody is conflating the two:In fact, you were told multiple times that we consider them to be two completely separate, but complementary, concepts. A/Theism deals with belief--A/Gnosticism deals with the nature of knowledge and one's ability to acquire it. It can't get any more simple.

Agnosticism "suspends judgment". Is that clear?

No. Is that clear?

Ask me if The Smiths are a good band. Tell me I have to say "yes" or "no", and that "I don't know" implies "no". Is this valid? Not at all.

Do you have any experience with The Smiths? If so, you should be able to formulate an opinion, or maybe you don't care either way. An opinion on a band is slightly different than making a determination on your belief in a deity, though. I think that's a false analogy.

One is allowed to "suspend judgment" if one adopts the agnostic/skeptical view. This is utilized in science all the time, is it not? One, observing Ockham, does now wish to posit entities beyond necessity. However, being modest, one does not also wish to completely rule them out. Thus one says "I suspend judgment", "I'm not sure", etc

True, which is the weak/negative atheist position. Skepticism is slightly different in that the very nature of reasoning faculties is questioned and it is possible that there is no truth that can be ascertained. Science certainly doesn't follow that epistemology as they do believe that the conclusions drawn from valid science are likely accurate. Essentially, if you are suspending judgment, you are living in practicality as if there is no god until such time that you can make a decision, if ever. So, functionally, you're still an atheist.

I find it completely predictable and telling that you didn't address a SINGLE CRITIQUE that was supplied against the anti-Kalam article. Of course you couldn't. That was my strict goal, and that has, again, been fully realized. You claim to be an atheist, but in the absence of any capability to refute theistic arguments concerning cosmology, where is the justification for your beliefs? I have dealt with these arguments - have you? I have thus earned my doxastic position - you have not.

Not everybody has the time or desire to address every argument from every person. I believe it was also pointed out to you that the reason we are a group and not an individual is because everybody has separate areas of interest/expertise. Mike was typically the science geek, but he is busy studying cell membranes and getting lots of accolades in his field with a recently published study. I guess he's a dumbass as well, though, considering his affiliation with RRS.

...So, back to Mary. She is not born an atheist. Why? Because beliefs are about something, and she has no concept (a mental "about something" ) to apply beliefs to. You may not get this. I won't be surprised. Ignore that snarky comment and think hard. Again. Now if Mary is not born an atheist (because she cannot apply beliefs to a lack of a doxastic object) this means that the lack of being a theist does not imply atheism. And thus your definition is clearly inadequate and flawed...Even IF "atheism" only ever meant "not-theism", which is dubious, it does not mean that today. The semantic value of the word "atheism" is not simply "without theism", for then a skeptic could be both an atheist and theist, and so could an ambivalent person, and so could a confused person, etc. And we have already seen that an infant would be neither atheistic nor theistic. The semantic value of "atheist" is best understood through the definitions that were provided by outside sources which contradict the very peculiar definitions this site makes use of. I am not saying this to "escape labels", so take your speculative ad hominem and keep it to your fallacious self. I say this because it's the goddamn linguistic fact.

Atheism is the default position--the natural state of one without theism. You can argue semantics all day, but I have people on my team regarding that issue such as George H. Smith, Austin Cline (very impressive credentials and an occasional site visitor, BTW), Antony Flew before dementia, Russell Blackford (whose credentials include completing a second PhD thesis,  Adjunct Professor School of Philosophy and Bioethics, Monash University, Fellow with the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies,  Editor-in-chief of the Journal of Evolution and Technology and has recently asked me to contribute to his next collaboration of atheist essays to be included in a book), Dan Barker, Michael Martin (who doesn't press the issue of the complementariness of the two, but rather equates negative/weak atheism with agnosticism, and is a Philosophy Professor at Boston University), among many others whose credentials aren't in question.
The people that you mention as "skeptics" would in fact be defined as "peculiar reasoners" in doxastic logic. Hey--I didn't make up the label.

When binary choices are forced upon agents where there exist more than two choices, one has committed a false dichotomy. You say "there is only atheism and theism and all non-theism is atheism". Well, that's nice. But you are looking at the word itself instead of the concept it implies. This, again, is a form of etymological fallacy. You might say that the etymological fallacy only contrasts what the word originally meant versus what it now means. This is not accurate, and I'm sure if you look into it, if you actually care to, you'll see why. Hey...you like wikipedia, right?

You have already been pointed to the Oxford English Dictionary for the respective definitions, thus proving that there is no etymological fallacy occurring here, considering the fact that they are the standard authority on the English language.
I would argue that you haven't earned the position to determine for us what the criteria for qualification to hold a position is.

Now then. Respond to what matters. Oh, that's right - you can't! You're philosophically impotent and completely worthless concerning any actual debate.

More rudeness and immaturity. You want to see it done differently? Great. GO DO IT.

Brian, despite your best efforts, you've only proven that you are incapable of confuting arguments that you are required to should you be considered to hold "justified true beliefs". That is the very definition of "knowledge", mind you (crack a book on epistemology one day). Having none, it seems YOU are the agnostic, not an atheist...
Not based on authority, pal...it's based on the principle of justified true beliefs. Virtually all philosophers already hold this position. Justified philosophical belief concerning creation and justified scientific belief on the same matter is not the liberal privilege. You have to earn it.

He is required to do nothing, particularly not by you. You may have a certain philosophical position on "justified true beliefs", but we are not bound to the standards of a methodology that we have not espoused or adopted. Go impose your criteria on those of like-mind in that regard. Your extreme version of reliabilism is littered with its own host of problems. Knowledge as a JTB necessarily implies "knowing" a proposition to be true--of which we have none other than the existence of god has not been sufficiently proven. It also means that said proposition MUST be true for it to be knowledge. Why then your defense of theism? One cannot know a false proposition (ie "God exists" ) and therefore, no religious people would have a JTB in your view either. And what's your solution to the Gettier problem, which demonstrates that the tripartate method of JTB has been shown to be insufficient? Furthermore, what about the subjectivity of exactly what endeavors must be undertaken to arrive at a JTB? It must only be something arrived at through the cognitive faculties.
Technically, lack of god belief is a priori justified as a dispositional belief because without any kind of experience, one has no god belief, and if you ask any person (likely a child) who has never heard of god if such a being exists, they will find the concept absurd. The argument for god would necessarily have to be an a posteriori conclusion after one has the experience of being introduced to said concept.
And Brian is an agnostic atheist, AKA negative/weak atheist. A person with no god belief based on a lack of knowledge of said entity. Your whole argument here that one must refute theistic theories before claiming "atheism" is therefore absurd given that we up front are basing our lack of belief on a lack of knowledge.

...that no one is entitled to any belief unless they have reviewed the opposing views and come to at least some response. Why, you might ask, do I hold this? Well, I cannot very well believe in whatever I should happen to like. In the face of evidence to the contrary, I am required to suspend my beliefs and simply deal with the argument. Notice the methodology here: I am to suspend my beliefs. Why? So that I do not color my conclusions.

First of all, I feel that everybody is entitled to whatever belief they choose based on the available evidence. Available is the key here. Even Descartes, who held that nothing could truly be known with certitude besides Cogito ergo sum recognized the impracticality of that position and acknowledged the necessity of operating with the resources available to one at the time. That doesn't mean that one must have no opinion during the discovery period, as the discovery period for scientific endeavors will continue forever. You can never rule out the possibility of future discoveries or lack thereof. Avoiding confirmation bias is a worthy endeavor, but one in which you are accountable only to yourself.


 It is already been demonstrated that this is the true method of science, which is so exalted here, yet still there are detractors and antagonists who claim that one must either be an atheist or a theist. This is beyond stupid. If one has not reached the end of their inquiry, it is only violence and tyranny to impose the choice upon another. That RRS countenances this practice is objectionable beyond repair...Concerning the veracity of the hypothesis, he suspends judgment.

The "true method of science" only requires that one "suspend belief" in the sense that you do not allow your own preference to color the results. In fact, hypothesis development requires that one predict the outcome of the study using deductive reasoning before experimentation. In reality, if one has already formulated an opinion, even one with little evidence, like a hunch, it will be there. You must realize that it is there in order to not even subconsciously taint the results.
As far as forcing somebody to take a position, anybody can change their stance at any point--the question is typically about the presence or lack thereof of belief at the time. You don't have to write it in stone or anything, and changing your mind isn't punishable by death or anything. *rolls eyes*

What applies in one area of ontological investigation or causal explanation applies in all. That scientists, researchers, etc. suspend judgment is proof that theologians/philosophers/etc. may as well. This is an answer to your question and a refutation (again) of Brian's position. I do not know if he has studied philosophy, so I'm not sure where he is qualified to comment on it.

Theology/philosophy is different from other sciences dependent on empirical evidence and reasoning. Theology be definition means the "study of god". Please explain how that is an "ontological investigation." I happen to be a noncognitivist positivist, so any statement about god is factually meaningless and only the presence of actual evidence should be considered, so I guess as you are holding me to your personal doxastic stance on epistemology, I can hold you to mine.
Also, are you claiming that autodidactic people do not exist and the only way to acquire knowledge is through an accredited university? If so, I'm sorry that you want to live in that world. I find it is the bastion of insecure people with moderate intelligence.

I do not expect Brian to know all the facts. I expect him to know the necessary refutations of arguments which are most strongly against his own. I consider this an essential requirement, just as any chemist should understand solutions and valency. That he has not personally addressed (or is perhaps incapable of addressing) a stock cosmological argument I take as sufficient evidence that he is unjustified in his position, and, moreover, that he has certainly no right to found an organization and parade himself as an overlord of the movement (RRS). A fool with no knowledge of economics should probably not lead the next revolution against laissez-faire capitalism, right?
He has demonstrated that he does not care to address arguments that are opposed to his position (nor, having no background in Cantorian set theory, an adequate understanding of equipollence, metaphysics, and cosmology, could he). Again, this isn't MY say-so. This is the judgment in the face of philosophical rigor...Brian has to refute an argument that is different from the arguments he has been dealing with, which typically are only ID theories.

The necessity of such knowledge is your OPINION, not to mention the fact that by your own standards, your belief that Brian does not have said knowledge is not a JTB. Therefore, you have not earned that doxastic position since it is not necessarily TRUE or based on anything other than speculation. How do you like that one?
Also, there are different theories regarding what qualifies as justification, so yours is not necessarily TRUE either, making it not a JTB as well.

Brian is a militant atheist. He should at least know the most standard arguments against his positions and have ready refutations of them that HE HIMSELF has constructed..Linking me to a page where someone else responded is, by the way, not a response, since you had nothing to do with the study and formulation of reply.

So, a person is unable to refer somebody to a source that is better/more concise/more accurate than what they have produced? How absurd. I guess professors should never use text books, then. Hell, we might as well do away with referencing and sourcing altogether.

The stated purpose of the RRS is eradication of religious faith (amongst other abhorred practices) from the planet. Is this not so? Militant atheism. Is this consistent with the very modest position Brian promotes now? ("Don't believe in god now, but would if there were reason to" )

We would like to see religion end, yes. We find it to be dangerous, divisive, and harmful. I could care less what a person's individual beliefs are as long as they don't interfere in public policy and the legislation of their morality. We all feel that if sufficient evidence came to light, we would necessarily be compelled to believe it. At the same time, we also feel that Yahweh definitely does not exist along with any other god concepts with which we are acquainted. (Yes, I have actual reasons for that, as well.)

anything which points to the arguer and not the argument is an ad hominem

Not necessarily true. It is only an ad hom if the insult is intended to detract from the argument either through distraction or discreditation. Some insults are just insults. Like, you're an asshat. I'm still dealing with your arguments, though, so it's not an ad hom. Not to mention that you do your fair share of insulting.

And no, Kelly, you cannot refute metaphysical causality problems in a five-page paper. (seriously, say that at any philosophy conference and be laughed out of the room) Is this all clear?...
I have dealt with Aquinas' Five Ways (was that a page per way, Kelly?)

LOLZ! You're so clever and funny! I never said I did, first of all (that would be a straw-man)--I said I wrote a ten-page refutation on the Kalam argument once to a former pastor when I first deconverted. You asked if I was familiar with the argument, and I responded. No more; no less. So, save your laughter for yourself because all you have shown to be clear is that you are so desperate to bolster your argument dishonestly that you are resorting to ridicule. Keep it up. It's motivating me.

Sapient and everyone involved in the blasphemy challenge are only laughed at by theists because they can't even blaspheme right. And, by the way, that's not a theistic principle - it's simply understanding a goddamned text. No wonder the radio sound has been out for months...I wouldn't trust these goons to replace a watch battery.

How exactly do you properly blaspheme an entity in which you do not believe? You are leading me to believe that your reliance on formal learning has left you with the inability to infer the actual point of the blasphemy challenge. We don't believe in god or hell, so blaspheming would be pointless. It was about giving atheists a voice, a presence, and making a point that we are not afraid of their hell. The actual definition of blasphemy, which does include simple "denial", is absolutely irrelevant. Plus, more pleasantries. Such a delightful demeanor!

Do you believe in your free will? That is, do you believe that you are capable of moving your arm to respond to me right now should you like to? Yes? Where is the evidence for this? Quite simply, you will never find any. The notion of "will" is entirely inscrutable to empirical investigation or "evidence", if we use your terminology. So "will" is something you must toss out as well, right? But don't you believe you are free to do what you like? Why is that? Show me the evidence that you are a freely acting agent? You can't. So drop the belief, Mr. Physicalist. (If you are actually a determinist, then I feel sorry for whomever loves you, for they will have to accept that your feelings are the result of only chemical and material causality. Happy Valentine's Day!)

Actually, I am primarily a determinist, although I still struggle with some aspects of it. I believe that an infinite number of unknown causes lead to any actual event. Moving my arm right now may be my choice, but the ability to move my arm is not. My belief in determinism is based on my belief in the truth of scientific materialism. If materialism is true, then all events can be reduced to physical processes and the "will" as an object exists only as a metaphor for the decisions that you are predisposed to make based on your brain structure/chemistry, just like every other behavior you exhibit.I also feel that love is a physical process--the resulting emotion experienced due to the release of neurotransmitters such as dopamine and oxytocin. Brian and I share that belief, and we're both entirely accepting and cognizant of that fact. So, we are careful to ensure frequent oxytocin/dopamine release by having frequent sex and other skin to skin contact. (Look up the studies yourself. I'm about done instructing you.)

I've got a challenge for you! Will you take a logical reasoning exam if I pay the fee? I will, you know. In fact I think everyone on the board should...but it must be an official, mutually agreed-upon exam that addresses deductive symbolic logic, inference patterns and rules, assumption recognition, and critical reasoning. I'll personally bet 500 bucks of my own meager subsistence that it won't be instated. Rationality is categorically absent from this abyss, and is certainly no requirement to join.

Still interested? Ready to put your money where your mouth is?

Publicly, the debate has been documented and the foundations of the RRS have been not only called into question, but weakened and possibly even dissolved. I should like to point out this came an accidental consequence of confronting blowhards and blustering sophomores.

ROFLMMFAO! That's all I can say to that one.

Honestly, Sapient, why do you even allow these fools to speak? They only further discredit your organization by continuing to spew solely irrational, emotive, philosophically vacuous rancor. And when pinned into a corner against their own dyslogic and nonsense, they simply close their eyes and blindly cast aspersions. Some pedigree!

Project much?

Let me then ask this penultimate question: how do you disprove a belief? Most likely you cannot. I believe I will have fun tomorrow night. Disprove it right now! What's the difference, here? Well, what you are actually disproving is a theory. In philosophy we have propositions and propositional attitudes and doxastic states. You seek to eliminate doxastic states and propositional attitudes of a certain sort, but that is not your place...unless you're into fascism.

You are, once again, wrong--and missing the point. A belief is only justified if it is supported by actual evidence. You yourself adhere to the principle of justified true beliefs, right? Or was that just something you read that you thought you could use against us? Also, refer back to my earlier answer on the eradication of religion.
You could look at it from a deontic perspective that it is immoral to hold any belief for which there is insufficient evidence and thus you are obliged to hold only supported beliefs, but I dislike the introduction of a sense of duty or dogmatic adherence. I feel that people should strive to be as rational as possible in these matters, but I would not attempt to force it upon them.
BTW - You do know that "penultimate" means "next to last" or "the one before the end", right? Try to limit yourself to words that you understand or the fact that you're trying too hard becomes glaringly apparent.

Perhaps you seek to eliminate these "beliefs" (or, more properly, theories) by disproving the propositions contained within. Alright, well, let's investigate that option. How exactly does one "disprove" any proposition? Well, if it is analytic (we'll stay pre-Kripke here), then we deal with logic. If it is synthetic, then we appeal to empiricism. But what if the object of inquiry is inscrutable? If this entity is ultimately historically inaccessible, immaterial, and not subject to observation, then how can it be disproven? Being inscrutable is not being disproven, you must admit.

First of all, you should know that nothing can be empirically disproven except by way of proving the counter-position. Come on now. Logically, though...
Michael Martin makes a revised version of the Scriven Principle in Atheism: A Philosophical Justification:
    A person is justified in believing that X does not exist if (1) all the available evidence used to support the view that X exists is shown to be inadequate; and (2) X is the sort of entity that, if X existed, there would be available evidence that would be adequate to support the view that X exists; and (3) the area where evidence would appear, if there were any, has been comprehensively examined; and (4) there are no acceptable beneficial reasons to believe that X exists. (p 282)
To my knowledge, there has been no evidence sufficient to prove said being's existence and all arguments are contested and there is no general consensus from an unbiased source. Assuming this deity has the attributes given the Abrahamic god, there should be evidence, and in fact, the bible claims that this fact is self-evident. The earth is where said evidence should appear, considering it is our habitat that was supposedly created specifically for us, and it has been "comprehensively examined". There are no acceptable beneficial reasons to believe in this deity as arguments like Pascal's Wager present a false dichotomy, and the danger of holding this belief in spite of the penury of evidence outweighs any other potential benefits.

From a Bayesian probabilistic perspective, this holds true as well. Absence of evidence is always evidence of absence; therefore, one can be justified in the stance that the probability of the existence of any supernatural being is extraordinarily low.

I would like to know how one disproves this entity. You may at best persuade others with logical argumentation. I have said before that if you should like to observe Ockham (whom you probably haven't even read) you may choose not to multiply entities beyond necessity. I think that is an excellent principle. But it doesn't "disprove" anything.

NO!! REALLY?!?!?! I am also familiar with old William of Ockham, progenitor of Occam's Razor. Can you remove your arrogant head from your anus now?

In order to be disproven, a proposition must be falsifiable, yes? The whole reason science has yet to definitively disprove this entire theistic matter is that the object of inquiry is, for the last time, inscrutable, ergo unfalsifiable. All the scientific theory in the world doesn't, and will never be able to, disprove god.

Assuming you go with the Popperian philosophy of science, yes. Nobody disagreed with this point. Are you arguing with yourself again?

I know Kelly said there are intelligent people who believe in god. That is inconsistent with the position of RRS ("theistic beliefs are irrational, primitive, and unreasonable" ). It is not the mark of an intelligent mind to be "irrational, primitive, and unreasonable", is it? We'll ignore that part about compartmentalization. I haven't memorized the whole show, sorry.

So, you can't see the distinction between the person being stupid or irrational and the belief being irrational? As far as compartmentalization goes, it is the process by which ordinarily rational people maintain irrational beliefs. Should I excoriate you for your obvious lack of psychological study now and proclaim you my inferior? Besides, if you haven't thoroughly examined every facet of our work, how can you be sure that you are justified in your belief that we are as you claim? I propose that you have not earned the right to that belief given your apparent lack of knowledge.

Well no one I have encountered (student or faculty) has both heard of you (more than half of them don't know you) or thinks your argumentation is sound (that's the other half). I'm sorry, but you're just really not that effective. But I'm only being viciously contentious.

And that proves what exactly? I can't imagine you find that sample to be statistically valid. Your limited experience with people in your particular circle hardly warrants the claim that we aren't effective across the board. I have tons of proof that states otherwise. And don't pretend like everybody who has communicated with us or come to our site in the past two years is a fan. Your proposition is unjustified and presumptuous.

Awww..how cute of you! No, Dennett is laughed at (I've already been over this) because he maintains an epiphenomenalist position. Maybe that's not really subject for laughter in its own right, but still, anyone who denies free will is going to be generally disregarded. He's also kind of a dick, from what I hear. Dawkins is just a joke. Seriously. Taking on only those who are intellectually inferior and refusing to debate those who have open invitations extended to him, as well as making wild anthropological and biological/genetic claims while holding no professional background in these fields has him completely derided by anyone who knows anything, really. Jonathan Marks has a nice critique of him, as does any biology sophomore.

I really don't care that much what people think of Dennett or Dawkins, and I REALLY don't when, again, the sample is only representative of your own acquaintances. Somebody you know, likely a professor that you worship, dislikes Dennett or Dawkins and so you accept that as a blanket statement on their validity or accuracy. Typical of the pseudo-academic.
What would Dennett's demeanor have to do with his arguments, Mr. Philosophy? Hmmm...nothing? I have found him to be quite pleasant, personally. Of course, you know so much more about him than I, though, even if I have actually had conversations with him.
Are you getting the point that what your buddies down there at UNCC think of anybody has no bearing on their work whatsoever? I would say that for someone as dedicated to precision as yourself, you must admit that claiming that "any biology sophomore" or "anybody who knows anything" would be broad, unsubstantiated generalizations. You're getting sloppy.

So cute! Ten pages. Wow. Ten pages. Do you mean to say that - as a professional, here - your "rebuttal" to Aquinas, which was sufficient enough for you to leave metaphysics altogether, was thoroughly explicated in the space of a mere ten pages? Again, forgive me if I remain doubtful of the veracity of this claim. I would really like to read this. In all honesty, though, you may have been incredibly precise and you may have completely demonstrated that modality, motion, quality, design, and causality are all irrelevant and insufficient for metaphysical proofs of god. So I shouldn't say anything, really. Sorry.

Here we go again with the straw-men. Never said any of the above, so save your condescending and sanctimonious bullshit for somebody who gives a fuck what you think, because I don't.

"Also, point me to one instance of me personally employing the naturalistic fallacy or using a prescriptive moral argument."

--I'm sorry, I thought you held positivist positions. It was my impression that propositions can only be verified through science for you, or - more accurately - that only propositions/theories which have evidence that can be scrutinized and experimentally verified were valid. Is this not the reason you reject theistic positions? If not, please elucidate.

I do hold positivist positions, but that doesn't mean tht I have committed the naturalistic fallacy (assuming that "is" equals "ought", in case you forgot) or have appealed to a code of ethics or morals to which everybody must adhere. If anybody has done this, it has been you with your subjective determination of what must be studied before one can hold any position.

[insert diatribe defending Todd Friel, professional con-man]

Your entire rant here was silly and lacking the necessary background to understand the hostility. Again, you clearly don't have sufficient knowledge of the situation to be justified in holding any position with a degree of certitude.


1) Kalam cosmological argument: personal response?

First of all, your friend was wrong. It did not originate with Muslim scholars; it was merely refined by them. Secondly, I suppose that the "reworking of Aquinas" statement was an opinion of mine. The major difference between the two was that Aquinas doubted the creation of the universe as it relates to temporal notions and was more focused on the sustainment of the universe. Other than minor variations, most cosmological arguments can be broken down to the same core components, which all can be reduced to an argumentum ad ignorantium. How I respond to this particular one is of little consequence. At best, it does nothing more than prove that something created the universe. Craig seems to indicate that it is ex nihilo, but that is unsubstantiated, as well as the assumption that it was not just one deity, but HIS deity. The possibility of acquiring new knowledge always exists within science, and just so I don't have to answer this question again, I really hope that it can explain "creation".
Just FYI, I have no "problem" with the jargon or terminology employed by Craig. I was merely stating that he was dressing up an old argument.
As far as the possibility of an actual infinity, I never said it was impossible, nor do I feel you can. Also, this is another example of you using straw-men--maybe you should start to look at your work objectively. I never said anything about it being "impossible" to conceive of anything; just difficult. And while the existence of actual infinities would be metaphysical, this is something that will never be witnessed or experienced and thus remains an exercise that will occur solely within the mind. There are possible ways to make it work, thus casting doubt on his claim that it de facto cannot exist.

Honestly, you have no shame.

Apparently, neither do you.

1) Do you agree with Mr. Atheist that skepticism is a valid and acceptable position? (don't worry about the ramifications to your cause, just answer the question honestly)

I think that the popular usage of the word is not the same as the philosophical concept, and I do not think that Mr. Atheist believes that nothing can be known of reality.

2) Have you even read through a full treatment of the kalam cosmological argument?

Yes. From both sides.

3) If the answer to 2) is in the affirmative, have you a response or, even more, a refutation? The one you linked to was very poor indeed and I have already addressed it. I have a meeting with some friends tomorrow night and I'm sure one of them or myself will happily articulate its flaws if you like.

But that wouldn't be an argument since you didn't come up with it or construct it yourself. Hypocrite. Where's your refutation?

4) Do you have a response to the charge of RRS' position on atheism/theism making use of etymological fallacies?

I believe I have given it to you.

5) Do you actually hold positivist positions?

Yes. Now kindly fuck off. I will not waste one more second of my life dealing with your immature nonsense that has become increasingly vitriolic. Attack the position, you hypocrite. You sure seem rational, you hypocrite. Any more personal attacks or baseless assertions and I will never read another one of your posts, much less respond. It's certainly not because I am afraid of your oh-so-powerful argumentation. Rather, I don't want to waste time reading your novels full of condescending rhetoric. So why don't you just go back to your friends and whine about how stupid and mean we are, k?

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RaspK's picture

Against the Attacks on Academic Knowledge

I'd like to point out something for the people who'd ever like to repeat any insult directed at any person's academic knowledge:

  1. If rational and reasonable throught processes could only ever arise from academic education, then none of us would ever really be rational and reasonable, since the institutes were created by people who had at least some rational and reasonable thought processes and created the foundation of academies and curricula alike.
  2. The above would also mean that nobody would ever be able to make a logical construct without an education that is, as such, apparently impossible to exist.
  3. If the aforementioned arguments hold any water, and I think they do quite well, then we are all talking nonsense - an apparent contradiction.
Therefore, one can formulate any sort of rational theory, provided he or she has an at least basic understanding of the subject; the academic courses only provide said understanding.

P.S.: Once again, very well said, Kelly. Smiling

I see the light

Who needs god when you have Kelly?

HisWillness's picture

Simpler, even

I'm not sure why the general assumption seems to be that atheists (or rationalists, materialists, whatever) have the burden of proof. It's ridiculous to get into an argument over whether or not Josh has an invisible friend.

"Go on! Prove I don't have an invisible friend! You can't, can you?"

"Uh, no, you're right ... I can't."

Here's my proposition: Let's find a shorthand version of the common arguments used by Josh and others. This will save Sapient the four hours moderating, and Kelly from having to respond at such length to gibberish.

  1. Burden of Proof - see above.
  2. Ad hominem - completely covered. I've even read Sapient refer to it as "ad hom", which inspired this list. There's really no point in getting baited into that kind of thing (Cf. that creepy post Jacob Stein left about Kelly's breasts ... creepy). That's just "ad hom".
  3. Qualification Side Step - this is a form of "ad hom" wherein an argument can be ignored simply because of its source. It's a side-step because it doesn't address the actual argument.
  4. Epistemological Masturbation - "but we can't know what we don't know that we know we don't know ..." stop it. You still haven't proven with evidence that your invisible friend is somehow real.
  5. Logical Jump - So many examples. I like "The Smiths" one, or the guy who argued that a Coke can is manufactured, therefore the only explanation for humans is that we are manufactured. Wow. Still haven't given me evidence for your invisible friend.
  6. Specific Invisible Friend - Not Thor, not Amon Ra, not Jimmy the Invisible Squirrel, but Yaweh is who we're talking about. Okay. It's just that He's Invisible.
  7. Invisible Mind - your invisible friend has an opinion, and you know what it is. You don't actually hear this opinion directly from your invisible friend, you "just know".
  8. Nicholas Nickleby - Your invisible friend appears as a character in a book, and it's the proof that your invisible friend exists. That's equivalent to stating that Nicholas Nickleby is a character in a book, therefore Nicholas Nickleby exists.
  9. Multiplicity - That there is a creator AND an intervener AND a forgiver, etc. and they're all the same. Why? Couldn't one invisible friend get the process going for additional invisible friends? Since they're invisible, would you even know which one was NOT talking to you? (It boggles the mind, it really does.)
  10. Mystery = Invisible Friend - anything we don't know is the domain of my invisible friend. K. That's just wacky.
  11. Petulant Omnipotence - This one's my favourite: my invisible friend is omnipotent, but needs mortal worship or sacrifice or he'll get pissy. An invisible friend that transcends time and is all-powerful already has everything he wants. He's all powerful! You can't actually want anything when you're all powerful and transcend time, because there's no time between when you want something and when you get it. An all-powerful invisible friend is already completely satisfied. He, by definition, cannot have desire OR be pissed off that you aren't grovelling.

I'm sure that's not complete, and that there are real names for the fallacies I bring up, but I don't know them, so any help would be appreciated. It's my honest hope that these could be used to save time, considering the burden of proof really can't be on us, and people are actually making political decisions based on their invisible friends.

Saint Will: no gyration without funkstification.
fabulae! nil satis firmi video quam ob rem accipere hunc mi expediat metum. - Terence

darth_josh's picture

Great reading, Kelly.It's a

Great reading, Kelly.

It's a shame the thread title was sooooo misleading. LMAO.

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Good job Kelly.

I thought Josh was an unlettered blowhard when I first started reading his comments, then as I continued to read, he removed all doubt.

Kelly I recommend not wasting your time on this person.  To paraphrase Mark Twain: trying to reach Josh is like trying to teach a pig to sing; its' a big waste of your time and just annoys the pig.





I would add to BIG KAHUNA's post:


Cast not your pearls before swine.


Good job, Kelly.  Keep up the great work!