Saturday, November 16, 2013

A Failure of Logic


 Oh, that steely cold logic of Teddy B. A couple of days ago he posted some advice to a rational person who was having a crisis of faith given the lack of evidence for God. Of course Vox did what he does best, and that was give terrible advice. What's more interesting is his ridiculous intellectual reasoning. It just goes to show how hard he works to make his logic fit his beliefs instead of the other way around.

He also lists all the faults of atheists in the article but they're laughable so  I don't feel the need to address them. He throws out the 'social autism' phrase again, which is hard to argue against since it's something that doesn't exist. Literally, he just made it up. So how can you refute something that has no definition other than what Vox says it does?

So anyway, here's Vox's supposed "...effects of God in this fallen world."



 

Stand outside in the cold autumn breeze, close your eyes, spread your arms, and feel the unseen wind on your face. Read the Book of Proverbs, read the latest professional manual on child-rearing, written with the benefit of more than two thousand years of collective human experience, then go to a park and observe the children interacting with their parents. Go drop one rock on top of another 500 times and do your best to convince yourself that all the life you see around you began as a result of a singular accidental collision. Go to a funeral of a stranger, observe the grief of the friends and family, and tell yourself that the rearrangement of atoms involved in the transition of the deceased from life to death was of no more material import or significance than the shattering of a rock into dust.

All of this stuff is interesting, and totally irrelevant.  "The universe is fantastic" does not equate to "God exists". And dying is of no more material import than a rock breaking, but far more important to humans.

Speak to a murderer and ask him to tell you why he committed his horrific crimes. Look at the pictures of the aftermath. Then look deep into his eyes and try to tell yourself that neither good nor evil exist.
An atheist may deny that there's no objective good an evil, because if there was there'd be no gray areas in life. But there are, that's reality. But no atheist (who isn't an asshole) would deny that serial killer is awful and has done horrific things and deserves to be punished. Equating atheism to psychopathy is just propaganda.

Immerse yourself in the atheist arguments with your eyes and your mind open. Not until you fully understand them, not until you reconstruct them from their foundational assumptions, can you grasp how superficial and foolish they are from a purely rational perspective.
 This is a nice thought, but Vox has proven atheism to be irrational because it's not. What's irrational is believing that one religion is right and another wrong. Or that a religion holds secrets to creation. Or that God is somehow manipulation anything on earth, or anything humans have ever encountered.

Empirical mysticism isn't a path I would recommend for everyone, but the excessively logical often struggle with the reality of the mystery. They simply cannot accept that Man is not capable of formulating the questions, let alone finding the answers. That is why allowing themselves to experience and accept the manifold mysteries of life, the universe, and everything can be necessary for them to permit themselves to be convicted of things not seen.

To rehash, because people are limited their must be a God. And because their must be a God you must be a Christian. That's some incredibly fuzzy logic. Just because something is unexplained doesn't mean it can't be explained. And it sure as hell doesn't mean we should give up trying to explain something and just insert God into the equation. That's taking the easy way out. Intellectual suicide.

18 comments:

  1. Pox wrote: **What's irrational is believing that one religion is right and another wrong. Or that a religion holds secrets to creation. Or that God is somehow manipulation anything on earth, or anything humans have ever encountered.**

    Pox there are good reasons (though no proof) to think that something called a 'God' (or more than one) can exist. However, Vox's followers are not actually trying to find God. They are trying to create a justification for their particular set of beliefs. They are irrational in a few main ways:

    1. They want to plug 'God' into the first unanswered question they see, partly to prove the bible completely true, partly so that they can give this 'God' any properties they want, which mainly consist of wishful thinking that God will reward them for hating and persecuting certain people that they are naturally inclined to hate anyways.

    2. Thinking that what the 'God' they worship will behave one way during their life (such as valuing hatred, violence, stupidity, and conscienceless obedience), then suddenly do a 180 degree about face after they die and do the opposite (suddenly reward them with love, peace, transcendent intelligence, etc.). A contradiction like this can't exist. At best, they are worshipping nothing. At worst, they are worshipping and aligning themselves with some sort of evil spirit that values hatred, stupidity, and lack of conscience, but will find that it still values those same things AFTER they die, regardless of their fantasies to the contrary. Things work according to their nature, not according to wishful thinking and what erroneous label you slap on them. Which the theologian CS Lewis wrote about, an act that is vile will be accepted by the devil, not by God, no matter if you do the act in the name of 'God'.

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    1. "Vox's followers are not actually trying to find God. They are trying to create a justification for their particular set of beliefs."

      This is exactly right. I think it's possible to believe that something God-like exists and still be rational. But I'm not willing to go much further than that.

      Still, I self-identify as an atheist because if you call yourself agnostic people think you're just a lost sheep ready to hear their message and come running. And I just can't bear that much religious propaganda. It's religion I take issue with, not the idea of a God.

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  2. You two are made for each other.

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  3. **You two are made for each other.**
    If you have an opinion on something I say, point out where and why I am wrong. Insults simply prove that you disagree for emotional reasons, but can't prove that what you disagree with is wrong.

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    1. Your response to my PUOSU question concerning the definition of rights and their source was exhibit A in why you got banned. You didn't answer the questions, you twisted and turned as much as you could to avoid answering a very simple questions, you meandered, rambled, evaded, dissembled etc.

      All I wanted was a straight answer from you. Not even close.

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    2. First of all, your question was not simple.

      Secondly, I gave you an answer. The simplest answer I could. Claiming your question was 'simple' does not make it simple, nor does a simple question necessarily have a simple answer.

      Thirdly, by the admission of several of the people there, the usual posters have such a short attention span that their brain fogs up when reading something more than 100 words long. In other words, they can't comprehend complex answers. That doesn't mean the complex answers are 'evasions'. An 'evasion' is something like an obscenity or a shut-up in place of answering the question, much as I frequently got from Vox.

      Lastly, I think what you really mean by your post is that you are trying to claim, without really saying so (in other words, an evasion on your part), that I was failing to give the 'simple' one-word answer you wanted, that 'God' was the source of human rights, which is not the only possible source of human rights, and that I was supposedly 'evading and meandering' not because the answer I was giving you was complex, but because I was supposedly trying to avoid giving you this one-word 'God' answer that you wanted.

      **All I wanted was a straight answer from you. Not even close.**

      No, all you wanted was for me to agree with your God theory of being the only possible origin of human rights, and you got annoyed because I wouldn't.

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  4. **This is exactly right. I think it's possible to believe that something God-like exists and still be rational. But I'm not willing to go much further than that**

    Probably actually more than one. If you look at nature, it would be extremely peculiar to find something which was so unique, that there was only one example of it. Yes, I know that there is only one Mt. Everest, and only one Kohinoor diamond. But there are other mountains and diamonds. Pointing out the universe as something there is 'only one of' doesn't work either, partly because there could be other universes, partly because including 'all of existence' as something there is only one of is a circular argument. Claiming that a 'God-like being' can or would be the only 'God-like being' isn't an assumption that can be made without more evidence.

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  5. **It's religion I take issue with, not the idea of a God.**

    Religion is a tool for learning about God, much like a telescope is a tool for learning about the stars. It's also much like a telescope in that what you learn is dependent on what you are looking for. If you are looking for darkness, you'll find it. But claiming that the darkness is light is self-delusion.

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  6. As a Christian I would argue that the Bible is both evidence for and a tool for learning about God. Anything else is just philosophy. That's why Vox's arguments lack intellectual rigour, he makes stuff up the whole time.

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  7. Anonymous: The bible could be considered 'evidence' for some sort of God. It is not, however, proof. And parts of it are either contradictory to facts (such as the Earth being created only 6000 years ago), or so morally reprehensible that you either must conclude that God is a monster (in which case, why would you want to worship him out of love rather than fear?), or that evil spirits were impersonating God, or that the Israelites were attributing to God nasty things that they wanted to do on their own.

    There is nothing preventing old stories or poems from containing mixed facts and myths. Greek myths contain some things that are obviously impossible (the human body can't generate enough power to fly with wings) but does mention things that are real, like certain mountains and cities.

    As for a tool for learning about God, that is a valid use for the bible (though it is not the only tool for learning about God. But bear in mind as I said before, a tool like a telescope is only as good as the user. If you want to use the bible to find out not about God, but rather to find a justification for things you are inclined to hate anyways, you are going to find the latter and not the former. There are things in the bible I think are rather interesting, such as some prophet who saw 'wheels within wheels'. Which to me sounds much like a description of a rotating or moving 4-dimensional sphere from the perspective of a 3 dimensional human beings. But searching for the truth is not always going to be pleasant, or provide convenient justifications for what you want to do or believe. Mark Twain knew this back in the 1800's, when he commented on astronomy. He said that someday in the future, human beings were going to look up at the skies farther than they ever had before, with a telescope lens an acre in extent, and that they were going to see something that was not to their liking. And that applies to me as well as to those who disagree with me, btw. There are almost certainly realities in the universe that are not going to be to my liking.

    The trouble with trying to find out things about God, is very similiar to trying to find out things about space and time. You can't create a 'control' situation. You can't make an area where there is no space and time, and compare it to the rest of our universe. If God exists, we have no way to create a place where he doesn't exist, by way of comparison.

    As for Vox, he is a moron. First of all, I'm not impressed by his double standard, whereby science is only considered proven when it reaches the engineering stage (can be physically demonstrated to work) but religion is considered 'proven' if people who lived 3000 years ago, say so. Having a double standard in such a way is a sign not of being interested in the truth, but being interested in whatever it is that has the 'easier' standard being accepted as 'proven'.

    Secondly, among other subjects Vox knows absolutely nothing about would be dairy farming. My father used to be a dairy farmer, and according to him (when I told him what Vox had to say on that subject), Vox doesn't know anything about the economics of dairy farming (including massive government intereference in the market). Or any other form of agricultural production for that matter. I'm not sure how Vox will prove he knows better than my father on this, since my father is male, white, and conservative (thus 'proving' he has 'wherewithal' according to Vox), and actually worked in dairy farming. But I'm sure Vox will claim he knows better than a former dairy farmer. Because Bible.

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  8. Anonymous: Another problem with Vox is that he doesn't grasp (or IMHO pretends not to grasp) that the technical meaning of a word affects it's emotional, moral, or spiritual meaning. You cannot properly give a word one technical value, yet claim that it then has the emotional, moral, or spiritual value of a different meaning of the same word.

    This is actually a logical fallacy known as 'equivocation'. The website: http://www.logicalfallacies.info/ambiguity/equivocation/

    has this to say about equivocation:
    The fallacy of equivocation is committed when a term is used in two or more different senses within a single argument.

    For an argument to work, words must have the same meaning each time they appear in its premises or conclusion. Arguments that switch between different meanings of words equivocate, and so don’t work. This is because the change in meaning introduces a change in subject. If the words in the premises and the conclusion mean different things, then the premises and the conclusion are about different things, and so the former cannot support the latter.

    Anti abortion activists are frequently guilty of equivocation. They will first use a mental definition of the word 'human' and get their audience to accept that a 'human' has a right to life based on being an intelligent being with a functioning brain. Then, however, they will switch to (without telling their audience that they are switching to) a strictly biological definition of the word 'human', and claim that an embryo without a functioning brain still has a right to life, because it is 'human'. Now, I shan't get into a debate with you about whether abortion is right or wrong. But that particular argument is fallacious.

    Vox does much the same thing. The concept of 'sin' or 'evil' to most people has an emotional value, one of something that they shouldn't do and should feel guilty for doing, because it is inherently wrong and hurts others. However, his definition of 'sin' is disobeying anything God says, regardless of WHAT it is. According to him, if God told you to go around killing all the 2 year olds in the world, it would be good to do that, and a 'sin', (for which one should feel ashamed, guilty, and all the emotional baggage that goes with sins that hurt people) to not do that.

    And yes, I can prove Vox said that:
    http://voxday.blogspot.com/2007/02/mailvox-sharpening-knives.html

    Sorry, you don't get to do that. You can't take the emotional meaning from one technical definition of the word 'sin' and claim it applies to a completely different technical definition of the word 'sin'

    Also, on another subject, Vox's position that it would be just fine to kill 2 year olds (or anyone else) if God said so, also proves that he is a liar. He claims to be a libertarian, but a libertarian is someone who believes in the zero aggression policy. That is to say, they believe that nobody has the right to initiate force against another human being, or to delegate or advocate the initiation of force. If Vox would kill people on God's say-so, then he is admitting there are circumstances under which he would initiate force. Ergo, he is not a libertarian, and is lying.

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  9. The bible could be considered 'evidence' for some sort of God. It is not, however, proof. Ann

    You say evidence, I say proof. - Yes we disagree and no I don't have to prove nothing. I am not obliged to you or anyone else on my beliefs. Nor are you.

    And parts of it are either contradictory to facts (such as the Earth being created only 6000 years ago), or so morally reprehensible that you either must conclude that God is a monster (in which case, why would you want to worship him out of love rather than fear?), or that evil spirits were impersonating God, or that the Israelites were attributing to God nasty things that they wanted to do on their own. Ann

    Show me in the Bible that dates the creation of the Earth to 4,000 B.C. How long was Adam and then Eve in the Garden of Eden? Scientists have decided the Earth is 4 billion years old. Do you believe that? Just so you know, man has been known to be wrong, but very few people question scientists. The ones that do are estranged by everyone else who accepts everything a scientist says. Just think, I have heard many people say there is no faith in this world. I say there is extrodinary faith in this world, it's just misguided.
    Careful how you accuse God of doing the works of Satan. That could be unhealthy. God won't take being mocked forever. Just ask Israel.


    As for a tool for learning about God, that is a valid use for the bible (though it is not the only tool for learning about God. But bear in mind as I said before, a tool like a telescope is only as good as the user. If you want to use the bible to find out not about God, but rather to find a justification for things you are inclined to hate anyways, you are going to find the latter and not the former. - Ann

    Here I agree with you. There has been people for many thousands of years using the words of God to justify their agenda. If their agenda is different from God's, then there is a huge problem. I find it difficult to go to Church anymore becuase of this. People want to control other people through shame and guilt using Gods word. Then other people go and attribute this to God. It's all rather disgusting.

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  10. The trouble with trying to find out things about God, is very similiar to trying to find out things about space and time. You can't create a 'control' situation. You can't make an area where there is no space and time, and compare it to the rest of our universe. If God exists, we have no way to create a place where he doesn't exist, by way of comparison. - Ann

    Yes you are correct. He is not bound by this 3rd demensional existence like we are. So he can appear or communicate with people he chooses. So just be cause you and I cannot see him doesn't mean he isn't there.

    As for Vox, he is a moron. First of all, I'm not impressed by his double standard, whereby science is only considered proven when it reaches the engineering stage (can be physically demonstrated to work) but religion is considered 'proven' if people who lived 3000 years ago, say so. Having a double standard in such a way is a sign not of being interested in the truth, but being interested in whatever it is that has the 'easier' standard being accepted as 'proven'. - Ann

    I am not about to defend Vox Day. You think he is a moron? Ok.. Moving on..

    As for science. Like anything invented by man - it is flawed. 90% of the time we get it pretty right. But science isn't 90% right. Science in high school is radically different then when I went there a long time ago. I am pretty sure the science I learned (except for physics) is now only about 20% correct. This disturbs me in a sense but it is interesting that scientists and their related fields and people are willing to change and correct it.
    The Bible Old and New Testaments have been attacked and critiqued for 2000+ years now. No one has proven it wrong. If evidence or debates ended up proving the Bible wrong, it would be all over the media. Never has happened, never will. Problem atheists and nay-sayers is that the world keeps proving that the Bible is accurate in its prophecy. You can disagree but you can only give an opinion on that. You have no evidence.



    And please... Shall we not disguss murdering 2 year old children? God commanded whole cities to be destroyed, man, woman, child, oxen, everything was to be killed and destroyed. Why? Well God did forbid Israel from destroying certian cities because "the fullness of their sins had not come in yet". Israel also reported of giants in the land of Canaan. Giants?! But it doesn't go into depth of that. Where did these giants come from? The only giants were called Nephalim(apologize for the spelling, I am at work - heh). The were the product of fallen angels taking human women as wives. God considered them an abomination and destroyed the world to get rid of them(aka the flood). In the past it seems like some things tried to manipulate God by manipulating mankinds genes and DNA. From what I can tell, this infurates God. And now scientists are manipulating mankinds DNA again. The end results won't be good....

    These are just my opinions but I do accept the Bible as fact and as the Word Of God. A lot of people disagree with the Bible and dismiss me as a moron. Perhaps I am, but in my line of work, a moron doesn't last long. I have lasted 35 years in it. I do not consider most people to be morons. A lot are merely misguided. Some are dellusional. But morons.. no.

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    1. The Bible Old and New Testaments have been attacked and critiqued for 2000+ years now. No one has proven it wrong.

      Really? Remind us again - do hares chew their cud?

      Leviticus 11:6.

      The only reply I've seen on that last from Christian apologetics is to literally make stuff up by claiming that since the Bible is never wrong, the Hebrew word must mean something different, proving that the Bible is never wrong.

      These is bullshit, of course, using a conclusion to prove a premise. The premise "The Bible is never wrong" is demonstrably false.

      And if the Bible is wrong in one detail, you cannot use it as the sole source of any claim without admitting that it could be wrong in that claim as well.

      Especially when it comes to contradicting scientific evidence for, say, evolution.

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    2. You missed the part where the bible claims that a bat is a bird. The Christian 'defense' for this is that the word for 'bird' is a supposed mistranslation and the word actually means 'creatures that fly'. But this is not a good defense, because if you admit that the bible is mistranslated in one place, then you can't claim that it could not be mistranslated in other places as well, simply because you want or don't want it to be. Qualitatively, the bible being 'mistranslated' in any spot is no different than it being factually wrong. It's no longer infallible.

      What's probably worse than the fact that the bible is wrong, is that Vox likes to alter the bible to suit himself. Case in point, Jesus was very specific in the bible regarding the fact that people should not hurt children. But apparently my bible is missing some pages, because I can't find the part where Jesus went to to say, as Vox claims, that it's fine to hurt children(including sexually molesting them) so long as Vox and his ilk find them 'obnoxious'.

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  11. Apollo wrote: **Just think, I have heard many people say there is no faith in this world. I say there is extrodinary faith in this world, it's just misguided.**

    That's definitely true.

    **Careful how you accuse God of doing the works of Satan. That could be unhealthy. God won't take being mocked forever.**

    I beg your pardon, I didn't accuse God of doing the works of Satan. What I said was that in regards to certain passages of the bible where 'God' supposedly tells the Israelites to do reprehensible things, there were 3 possibilities:

    1. God is a monster. Or doing the works of Satan as you put it. I find this to be personally unlikely.
    2. Evil spirits (such as Satan) are pretending to be God and telling people to do reprehensible things.
    3. Human beings want to do the reprehensible things of their own accord, and are attributing them to 'God' so they can feel proud of doing them, rather than ashamed.

    I didn't intend to mock God by including the first possibility, but I try to be as thorough as possible when considering all possibilities.

    Regarding giants in the bible... I have a degree in biology and find it unlikely that human DNA could get 'contaminated' with something that was not only non-human, but not even related to any species on the planet. Chimpanzees have something like 99% of their DNA in common with humans, and can't interbreed with us. Horses and donkeys are even more similiar, but can't produce viable offspring. (mules are sterile).

    Bear in mind a couple of things when the bible talks about people being giants, or Nephilim:

    1. People a few thousand years ago were much smaller than people today, mainly due to poor nutrition. I heard once that the average size sandal for a typical Roman soldier was the equivalent of a boy's size 8. Someone who happened to get to the size of, say, an large football player today would very likely have been regarded as a giant by standards a few thousand years ago.

    2. A few thousand years ago, the world was in a transitional state between being hunter-gatherers, and being farmers. Primitive hunter-gatherers actually got far more nutrition than almost all farmers (until fairly recently) and were consequently much larger and healthier. Giants, basically. The downside of that is that since you can't support as many people in a given area with hunting and gathering as you can with farming, at least some hunter-gatherers did not-nice things like practicing infanticide with excess infants. They probably were uncivilized in other ways, as well.

    3. Until very recently, people didn't know what a psychopath or sociopath was. Mohammed actually inspired a lot of awe due to his psychopathic behavior. People thought that nobody could possibly behave so horribly unless they were somehow inspired by God. It isn't necessary to be a Nephilim to engage in horribly evil behavior. Ed Gein and Jeffrey Dahmer did just fine on their own. And in the case of such places as ancient Carthage, the horrible behavior was actually part of their culture.

    4. People have always used unrealistic propaganda against their enemies. Hitler claimed the Jews were subhuman. The US has claimed that blacks and Japanese people were subhuman. It's entirely possible that claiming various tribes were 'Nephilim' was simply the propaganda of the day, back then.

    5. Giants existing (rather than simply people who would be on the large end of normal height) is actually a premise that could be proven or disproven. Finding a skeleton of someone more than 9 feet tall, and having it in a museum would prove there were people that tall. Just a photo, such as I've seen on the internet, and no skeleton in a museum doesn't count. Photos can be faked, I used to work at an orchard where they had a photo of the owner standing next to a 'giant' apple that appeared to be at least 10 feet in diameter and occupying most of a large trailer.

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  12. Bear in mind a couple of things when the bible talks about people being giants, or Nephilim:

    6, Bronze Age people probably saw the odd big bone fossil as well, and passed on stories of such bones. And then pasted an explanation into the collection of history, mythology and fairy tales that became the Bible.

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    1. I heard the greek myths about cyclops got started because they saw a few elephant skeletons. The nasal cavity where the trunk connects is the right shape and in the right position to resemble a giant single eye in the middle of the skull.

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