Sunday, November 22, 2009

Participating in the Internet: I'm on a [Blog]Roll!

Hi, the internet! D here. I just jumped onto another bandwagon, Mojoey's Atheist Blogroll. It is big and huge and awesome, and you need to check it out!

I've added the blogroll to my sidebar, and also made a few updates, too: I added my Why oh Why? bit to my introductory section, as well as linking to my Symbolism piece under the Big Red A over there, too, and re-ordered all the bits in vague order of increasing size and decreasing relevance.

Also, as many of you may or may not have been aware, I've recently been arguing on the internet with some interesting folks (I don't think Gideon has a blog, so there's a nice introduction to him there). The idea behind this was about half pure iconoclasm, half social experiment, and half research for The Quantum Mechanic (it was a big idea, OK?).

The iconoclasm was mainly because I saw some flame wars and I decided, "Screw this, I'm gonna make some new friends." Well, that seems to have gone well enough, so goal accomplished! The social experiment tied in to this last, but went beyond it, in that I wanted to see just how serious things could get if I actually put my beliefs on the table. Well, I did, but there seems to have been a communication breakdown because I keep asking these folks for reasons to believe, and they keep saying, "I won't even tell you about my evidence because I'm worried I'll get sand in my vagina if it doesn't convince you, and you can't get the evidence you want because I say you can't." Seriously, I keep asking, "Why should I buy any of this," and they keep changing the subject or trying to shame me into believing by telling me what I already know: I can't justify absolute certainty in my beliefs. Well, fuckin' duh.

What I don't think these well-intentioned but ill-informed men realize is that I really and truly walk in doubt. I continuously revise my beliefs in light of the evidence I'm able to find and the experiments I'm able to perform. I doubt everything at first, and only endorse something with my belief when I can get some kind of proof (and when I get better disproof, then I abandon the belief post-haste). And yes, this means that I am a very bookish person, but that's the price you pay for, y'know, learning things. My worldview is a continuous work in progress, and they just don't seem to get that. Oh, well. I've repeatedly offered to clarify my justifications for anything I believe in (I've never been taken up on the offer), but I'm met at every turn with straw-men being hurled at me, being told what I believe instead of asked, and so on and so forth. Anyway, you become what you behold, and this is turning into one of cl's bullshit martyrdom rants on how wronged he's been by everyone else (and I'm sure that the shit flies both ways here, it's just that nobody on the other side seems to give a shit about his thoroughness except me - I find it a perverse kind of admirable, but then again, I also think that bondage porn stars are classy ladies for realz - seriously, not joking here), so I'm moving on.

The third half of my abnormally large idea, as I mentioned earlier, was research for The Quantum Mechanic. I needed to expose myself to some dialogue with theists so that I could give a fair shake to some of the people on the losing side of the story, and they helped me set the tone. So, thanks are in order for that (the main plot is over, all I have to do now is dash off a few vignettes to cross the 50K mark - click "NaNo Stats" to check my progress - and flesh out some unclear plot points). Also, they'll probably disagree, but I don't really give a shit at this point. I'm bored with those guys, and moving on to something else more fun, now that I got what I really needed (even though I didn't get what I asked for - a reason to believe in their shit and nobody else's shit).

Anyway, I'm taking another day off to do some meta-writing, sorting out just how I want to present some of my next vignettes. I still plan on crossing the 50K mark before I leave for The Frigid Northlands this Thursday, so that way I can just move things around in the more-or-less-finished document and still, y'know, have fun with teh fambly. Have a great one, everybody!

31 comments:

metamorphhh said...

D:

I'll have to admit, I'll miss your rare acumen over there. It was a real treat watching you cut through the bullshit. And kudos for stepping off the epistemological whirlygig with such style! I'm trying a different tack right now at my place, surrendering the argumentative last word in hopes of avoiding the tedious convolution that inevitably follows in the back-and-forths.

Anyway, you've been a rare treat to behold. By the way, love your 'walking in doubt' mantra, although I fear it's being misinterpreted by some of the players. It is, nevertheless, appreciated from this end.

Have fun!

D said...

Thanks again for your kind words, metamorphhh. By the way, did you check out Gideon's fond farewell? I could swear he's an atheist, masquerading as an idiot, but if he were really that smart then I doubt I'd be able to see through the act. Or maybe I'm just getting Poed in layers, I dunno.

But yeah, confusing know-it-all attitude (when all I've been saying, over and over, is that I don't know it all), followed up by an excellent date suggestion (...I actually have fucked to science, and it's awesome), and concluded with rabid denialism (has he even heard of demographics?). Fun times from a fusty old fuddy-duddy, eh?

PhillyChief said...

The jury is till out on whether he's a Poe or a mentally disturbed theist. Wait, that last part was sorta redundant, wasn't it? Well you know what I mean.

I understand the lure of arguing with these clowns. At first it's to test yourself, then it's purely for fun, and finally you'll probably get to the point where you generally avoid it or at least avoid talking directly to them in favor of addressing a point or two which they raised instead. Most are trolls, plain and simple. The rare few you find who actually can carry a conversation and will respect argumentation standards sadly either disappear too soon or eventually lapse into fallacies or some similar nonsense and your realize their starting behavior was probably an act.

Let's face it, religious belief is a farce so how do you defend a farce? You can't, so you either argue fallaciously or you instead argue for the right to indulge in the farce and cite the supposed benefits of that indulgence (ie - makes you happy, keeps people out of trouble, etc). Every religious argument reduces down to those two options.

D said...

Rarely is anything so simple as that... but I think you boiled it down really well! I think I remember Voltaire saying something like, "Once fanaticism has poisoned the brain, the disease is almost impossible to cure. How can you reason with someone who would rather obey God than men, and who hopes to win his way to Heaven by cutting your throat?" I can't find the quote anywhere, I think it was from the middle of an essay I read in high school (my junior year history teacher was awesome, you see - we had to go to Crown Books and buy The Story of Philosophy by Bryan Magee for our textbook).

But yeah, trolls to the core. I have the decency to know the boundaries of my own sandbox. Sure, I sometimes forget, but I think I do OK.

I don't bear the guy any ill will, though. I really just wanted to make friends, and that happened, and it was cool for a while. But then he lost that glimmer that so attracted me, the willingness to keep pursuing a line of thought - I thought he was going wherever it led, and that would have been really interesting to follow, but it turned out he was only going in circles. Bo-ring.

PhillyChief said...

Generally when those types lead you to what you think is an interesting place, it's not, and the tangent is merely a tactic to get away from wherever the discussion currently is at.

cl said...

jim,

"It was a real treat watching you cut through the bullshit."

Hence my hesitancy. Your comments continue to suggest your not in this to learn. I am. I could just as easily point to what I think are instances of "bullshit," but what's the point? I'm still over there discussing things and methodically meeting my epistemological responsibilities, regardless of whether you or D deem it acceptable.

"I'm trying a different tack right now at my place, surrendering the argumentative last word in hopes of avoiding the tedious convolution that inevitably follows in the back-and-forths."

D,

"I could swear [Gideon]'s an atheist, masquerading as an idiot,"

I also cannot shake that thought from my mind. This crew - Ex, Philly, Chaplain, Evo, etc. - already have a genuine sockpuppet that they unleashed on me when we first met: Trinity. That's why I suspect Gideon might be just another one of their trolls.

PhillyChief,

And the whole time you sit here making assertions, people like me are writing post after post challenging them. You are not a freethinker, my friend: just another member of Team Scarlet A who resorts to "refutation by denigration."

The proof of your pudding would be to sustain objections with evidence and sound argument, not just puff up your chest and proclaim your opinion. That's what Fundies do.

PhillyChief said...

You are a clown, cl. Which kind, fool or clever comic, I don't know, although I'm leaning to the former. Your continued attempts to dismiss or ignore my entrees due to their garnishes of what you're calling denigration for example could point to either flavor of clown.

And as if sensing that I needed an example for tangential distractions and typical theist discussion shenanigans, cl appears. Kind of spooky how that happened. Uncanny!

cl said...

"You are a clown, cl. Which kind, fool or clever comic, I don't know, although I'm leaning to the former. Your continued attempts to dismiss or ignore my entrees due to their garnishes of what you're calling denigration for example could point to either flavor of clown."

I don't know how else to put this: shut your mouth and compose a friggen' argument for cryin' out loud.

"And as if sensing that I needed an example for tangential distractions and typical theist discussion shenanigans, cl appears. Kind of spooky how that happened. Uncanny!"

Blah, blah, blah. I came here to see what D was up to. Get over yourself.

PhillyChief said...

shut your mouth and compose a friggen' argument for cryin' out loud.

And that's my point, you can't or won't see my arguments because at the end of them I call you a Jackass, and continuing to act as if the arguments don't exist further validates the Jackass label for you. It's quite comical and helpful so please, don't stop.

Anyway, I could get caught up in exchanging comments with cl again and again and then what? Discussion derailed, which is his goal in joining any discussion, which further supports my earlier comment about these types' tangential tactic.

So thanks cl for having my back and helping out to prove me right not once but twice. You're a prince!

Toodles!

cl said...

You don't make arguments Philly, and when I challenge you on what you think are arguments, you just break out more names. For example, your denial that your responses to T4T were subjective opinion, and your claims about Christians: What forbids a Christian from abiding by current US laws? What forbids a Christian from abiding by the Constitution? What forbids a Christian from becoming a government agent or serving in the military? What forbids a Christian from acknowledging the sovereignty of the President?

You make the assertion, then you chicken out when it comes to supporting it with evidence. Every time. If you want me to see your position, you gotta support with something other than your mouth. Then you constantly spin the whole thing awry.

We already know what you think of me. Nobody cares and it was old last year.

cl said...

The only time you ever really attempted to rebut me with decent argument was the time where John Evo ended up busting your balls for not doing any research. Let me know if you need the link.

"Anyway, I could get caught up in exchanging comments with cl again and again and then what?"

See? Yet another convenient excuse for why you can't come up with a decent argument to save your life.

"Discussion derailed, which is his goal in joining any discussion, which further supports my earlier comment about these types' tangential tactic."

Yeah, 'cuz you can read other people's minds, right? Gimme a break. Besides, how is the discussion derailed? jim and yourself were the ones that started blathering on about your opinions of me, which D encouraged by doing the same in her post, so my comments are entirely in line with the context of both the OP and the subsequent discussion. So don't try to blame me for derailing the thread.

Grow up and argue with reason. By definition it is you who's the clown, Philly: Always cracking jokes, always trying to be clever, always trying to be the comedy man and get a rise. As I said, I write and blog to learn, and I question my positions daily.

I encourage you to get a breath of fresh air by stepping outside the prison of your own self-certainty once in a while.

D said...

Ooh, can we have a flamewar in my sandbox? Pretty please? I do so love to see the boys get all involved in their flaming dick-measuring contests - no, really, I do! I can't view my own blog or post to it from work, but I can access my personal e-mail, so getting the comment notifications really brightens up my day.

cl, you call jim out on not wanting to learn, but what exactly have you been trying to teach him? Is it something that he can check, or are you merely demanding that he take someone's say-so? You write in RIR&B, "...when I say belief, I refer specifically to the belief that God exists as described in the Bible." That's fine and dandy, but then you say at the end, "Again, belief cannot be effected by our reason, intellect, science, religion, evidence or rational abilities. ... If it is true that belief cannot be effected by our reason [et cetera], the onus is on the skeptic to either humbly ask God to help them accept this limitation, or risk perishing in their stubbornness." Well, asking a deity for help presupposes that I believe the deity exists in the first place. You say that to believe the deity exists, I have to first ask it for help, but I can't honestly ask it anything without first believing that it exists to be asked in the first place. I also see no reason to believe that there's any risk involved here, and you've offered nothing except the same old "start by believing, and then you'll get it." Hmm...

Fine, maybe that's my problem. But what have you done that has actually helped bridge that gap for jim, or me, or anyone? My problem here is a simple one: I can't find a way to take step one without first being able to distinguish between "God actually talking to me" and "me conditioning myself to believe in nonsense." How do you get around that problem? How do you know that you're "stepping outside the prison of your own self-certainty," as you put it, unless you walk in doubt?

Also, PhillyChief clearly came to say hi to me, just like you said you did. What confuses me is how, in coming to see what I'm up to, you decided that that should involve calling the other boys out. I mean, I'm no sociologist, but it looks like you were trying to start a fight. Or are you unable to ignore other people in peace?

cl said...

I'll only address this one thing at the moment:

"Also, PhillyChief clearly came to say hi to me, just like you said you did. What confuses me is how, in coming to see what I'm up to, you decided that that should involve calling the other boys out. I mean, I'm no sociologist, but it looks like you were trying to start a fight. Or are you unable to ignore other people in peace?"

PhillyChief did not stop by and say "Hi" to you. He stopped by and mouthed off about Gideon and implied that I was a clown. He knows damn well what he's doing; it's the same old thing he always does: refutation by denigration.

Yes, I can ignore people in peace. You'll never know how many times I do this, because there's no direct evidence of ignoring somebody, now is there?

Be real with me, D: this post was (partly) about me. jim's first comment was to imply that whatever I have to say is "bullshit." Philly then chimed in that Gideon and I are "clowns." It's not like you guys were talking about the peculiar properties of spins that distinguish them from orbital angular momenta, and I just popped in with an unrelated screed. This was clearly a "denigrate cl" thread, so I stuck up for myself.

Are you really gonna say I'm in the wrong, or starting a fight, or derailing a thread in a post that was explicitly about me? Will you really gloss right over the fact that you, Philly and jim took the first digs?

PhillyChief said...

That's amusing how cl assumed I was referring to him before he showed up. Geez, someone has issues.

Like I said, the jury is still out on Gideon.

D said...

What I'm saying is, "So what?" Who gives a shit, really?

jim & PC were talking to me. You came in and talked to them. They responded. You complain about their insults rather than moving on. You are continuing to stagnate the conversation by dwelling on this pointless bullshit. Why do you complain about it rather than lead by example? If they're so contemptible, then why oh why do you let yourself get taken in by it?

So yeah, now that we've established that nobody cares about name-calling on the internet, back to my actual questions as to how your arguments are of value when all you do is point out to skeptics what they already know (by virtue of the fact that they're skeptics): that they have cause to doubt anything they believe. Well, fuckin' duh. This doesn't add to the conversation. It never has. You're telling people who don't believe in absolute certainty that they're not justified in being absolutely certain in things.

So what have you got to replace it? How do you justify the idea that the leap of faith is worth taking at all? You've rather clearly enumerated what happens once you're in the circle, and we're almost there! We're so close! We see the circle: step one is believe that there's a deity to ask for help believing and forgiveness for imaginary slights, step two is practice at believing until you actually do believe, and step three is to walk in faith (or "lather, rinse, repeat"). Blaise Pascal went through pretty much the exact same thing. So why should we believe that any of that is worth pursuing in the first place? Why should we even take step one? And how do you justify maintaining the circle to yourself?

My view (I won't speak for others) is a simple one, too: be skeptical of everything at first so you're less likely to be taken for a ride, then believe in things you see to work or that make mathematical sense based on other things you've seen to work, and never place all of your certainty chips on anything because you could always be mistaken. So you've explained what your view is, now explain why it's better. Mine gets results. What does yours get that you can show me? (And if you can't show me, then how do you know you're getting it?)

D said...

That is a very good point, PhillyChief! I totally missed that you didn't actually mention cl at all until he addressed you. Neither did jim, for that matter - he never even so much as implied that the bullshit was cl's.

Also, I think I just hit the big-time! My post on Squid Invasion was commented on by one of the crew. Apparently, she thought my criticisms were worthy of response. I can't wait to see where this goes!

PhillyChief said...

Well that's it, isn't it D? A simple request for the demonstrable. I really don't see what's so difficult about that. That's what's necessary to convince another of something. Now what SHOULD be something one relies on for personal conviction is corroboration. What I mean is, if you find yourself in the great outdoors and suddenly have a bush catch fire and talk to you, well, I'd be reluctant to accept that that happened without someone to verify it for me. That's why personal revelation is bullshit on two counts - it's not enough to convince another and it shouldn't be enough to convince you. You could be going nutters or simply had a bad piece of cheese.

I remember debating a theist once who said rather smugly, "atheists would deny the existence of god even if an angel stood before them." My question to him was simply "how would you know it was an angel?" I never got an answer. Shocking, right? ;)

cl said...

Here's an easy way to settle this, provided everybody's honest:

jim,

Tell D with a straight face that you weren't talking about my blog in your opening comment of this thread.

D,

"That is a very good point, PhillyChief! I totally missed that you didn't actually mention cl at all until he addressed you. Neither did jim, for that matter - he never even so much as implied that the bullshit was cl's."

Yes, jim and Philly were talking to you, but clearly about Gideon, and me, who were the subjects of your post, right?

For example, jim said, "I'll have to admit, I'll miss your rare acumen over there. It was a real treat watching you cut through the bullshit. And kudos for stepping off the epistemological whirlygig with such style!"

As jim does not comment on Gideon's blog, and neither do you, who do you think he was referring to when he said "over there" other than your parting comment at my blog the other day? What do you think "stepping off" referred to? Be honest.

Also, I was fully aware Philly's "out with the jury" remarks were about Gideon. When he said "clowns," he knows damn well that I'm included in that category. This post was about Gideon and I.

"If they're so contemptible, then why oh why do you let yourself get taken in by it?"

Why did you feel the need to speak out against what you feel were Gideon's false representations of yourself? Therein lies your answer.

"You're telling people who don't believe in absolute certainty that they're not justified in being absolutely certain in things."

Oh really? Where did I say that?

"We see the circle: step one is believe that there's a deity to ask for help believing and forgiveness for imaginary slights, step two is practice at believing until you actually do believe, and step three is to walk in faith (or "lather, rinse, repeat")."

And you have the nerve to run your mouth about strawmen!

"My view (I won't speak for others) is a simple one, too: be skeptical of everything at first so you're less likely to be taken for a ride, then believe in things you see to work or that make mathematical sense based on other things you've seen to work, and never place all of your certainty chips on anything because you could always be mistaken."

That's essentially what I believe, too, except for the last sentence, which you don't believe either, because all your certainty chips are on the proposition that one should "never place all of [their] certainty chips on anything because [they] could always be mistaken."

See? You walk by faith, too.

PhillyChief said...

So if I mention clowns, idiots, or jackasses I must "clearly" be referring to cl. LOL! That's a fascinating argument.

cl said...

In response to your first comment,

"..you call jim out on not wanting to learn, but what exactly have you been trying to teach him?"

No. It's, "I'm interested in what he can teach me about how his world views have better explanatory power for real world occurrences than mine." When presented with a challenge thusly, instead of offering honest attempts at parsing the things I share with him, he resorts to denial and handwaving, or accuses me of "sophistry," or calls me "liar." How can that possibly advance a so-called "good faith" dialog? How can you learn from someone who - instead of using cogency - goes on and on both on his own blog and others, about how the other person is a troll, and a douche, and jackass, and a liar? Do tell.

"Is it something that he can check, or are you merely demanding that he take someone's say-so?"

Yes. The relationship with God that I'm describing is something that can be checked. If you are open, God can give you what you need. That does NOT mean you can put God in a bottle, or videotape God regrowing an arm, or combine some chemicals in a beaker such to beckon His presence in a reliable, repeatable manner. If you're not asking for absolute certainty, this shouldn't be a problem.

"Well, asking a deity for help presupposes that I believe the deity exists in the first place. You say that to believe the deity exists, I have to first ask it for help, but I can't honestly ask it anything without first believing that it exists to be asked in the first place."

You were the one that said "doubt all assumptions," so doubt your own here. You don't have to believe in God at all to pray. The only thing you have to believe is that if God does exist and is in fact capable of enabling your belief, that what you ask for is possible. There's nothing wrong with telling God that you doubt His existence, but that you're willing to believe, right? I'd say a decent measure of the Bible's cast is recorded as struggling with doubt.

"But what have you done that has actually helped bridge that gap for jim, or me, or anyone?"

I can't bridge that gap for jim, or Philly, because their heads are already completely full of their own conclusions about me. Until something changes, they will never take me seriously. Of course, that shouldn't prevent either of them from cogent rebuttal (and unlike Philly, in that regard jim does try to honestly cooperate, despite his fondness for ad hominem stuff) but the point is that I can't do anything for anybody that's not interested.

As far as you and I are concerned, that's also the impression I'm starting to get from you. You gave our discussion a month's worth of interest, had a few clashes with Gideon, then bailed. You told me that I was your "pet project", and that you want to see me have a "faith crisis." IOW, I'm a little wind-up toy to you, and you want to see what happens when you put me under water. If that's not the impression you wanted me to get, now's the time to clarify that one, and get back to the "pleasant" conditions we enjoyed before Gideon and yourself butted heads.

I'm still around D, and I'll still be writing my posts and doing everything I've promised to do, regardless what the haters say. What you get out of my work is up to you; the last thing I'll say here tonight is that I'm disappointed to see you lump me in with Gideon in this post, and that I'm disappointed to see you expressing more fondness for team politics than pursuit of truth. Especially when I treated you honestly, fairly and respectfully when I felt Gideon crossed the line in statements about you.

cl said...

"So if I mention clowns, idiots, or jackasses I must "clearly" be referring to cl. LOL! That's a fascinating argument."

That's not what I said, but I don't expect you to actually be concerned with anything I say. I've tried to tell you that rationalists don't think in black-and-white extremes, but you continually miss the hint.

D's post was about Gideon and myself. Your comment contained the word "clowns." Among other things, you continually refer to me as a clown. Whether you had me in mind or not, my assumption that you did is most certainly rational and based on evidence.

I'd ask you what I asked jim, but I think you'd lie to smear me in a heartbeat, whereas I think jim wouldn't. So drink a beer, enjoy your turkey, and just forget about me unless you wanna actually have a decent discussion sometime.

I detest your comments, your arrogant pride, and your "my way or the highway" attitude, which is the REAL fundamentalism. I detest the way you constantly belittle whoever DARES to see the world a degree off of your angle. If you'll PROMISE to not run your mouth about me or any comment I leave on blogs we both visit from this day forward, I'll gladly do the same, and at least we can inhabit mutual space in peace. I would really love to forget about you, because nothing positive ever comes from interaction with you.

One last thing: think about what it is that makes you unable to admit when you are wrong, and that makes you want to insult and denigrate whoever doesn't see the world like yourself.

D said...

...except for the last sentence, which you don't believe either, because all your certainty chips are on the proposition that one should "never place all of [their] certainty chips on anything because [they] could always be mistaken."

See? You walk by faith, too.


Hold on, cl - did you seriously just confuse an epistemological rule of thumb with a proposition about the World?

BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

OK, back to business. Yeah, fine, the most reasonable interpretation is that they were trying to poke you with sharp sticks. Again, so what? My behavior with Gideon got him to lay off the harsh invective long enough to clarify his meaning for me - the results were constructive. How have your results been so far? Is this kind of thing more or less par for the course? If it is, you may wish to consider changing your technique, because it doesn't seem to be getting you what you want (insults and banhammers are what I'm referring to here).

Then I said goodbye - and yeah, I probably could have said it better - and Gideon seemed to go right back to insults & stuff. Maybe because of how I said goodbye, and not that I said goodbye, so whatever. And if you're so interested in what jim has to teach you, then why did you call him out on not wanting to learn? I don't see the relevance at all, there's something of a schism between the two comments - unless you and jim pretty much explicitly told each other that you wanted to learn from each other, as you and I had.

I believe I mentioned my "open offer" to all powers supernatural. It's a standing offer, and I remember the fact of its occurrence from time to time, so I'm not sure what else I'm supposed to take from the complete lack of magic in my life. And yes, there is a great deal of wisdom in the Bible (my favorite book is Ecclesiastes for just that reason), but there's also a lot of barbarism and authoritarian dick-waving, too. Consider the book of Job, where as soon as Job asks God for an explanation, God turns around and starts making fun of him for not creating the Universe. It's like, LRN 2 CONSTRUCTIVE CRITICISM, NOOB.

And yeah, I gave our discussion a month's worth because that's about how long National Novel Writing Month is. I said I needed research, and I was satisfied with my goal of provoking a crisis of faith when you said way back when that the creation of beings with the capacity to sin was puzzling in light of the idea of a sinless creator. That's, like, the shit! Also, our e-mail discussions have been really good, too - I really appreciate that you shared that Symphony of Science stuff with me! I was just saying that I'm pretty much done commenting on your blog, unless I see something more suited to my current style of belief-formation (or if my taste changes). When you say things like, "you need God to help you believe," I just start wondering why God doesn't help everyone from day one, if so much depends on him - and it makes life on Earth look like a puppet show. Well, if that's the case, fine - but then why doesn't the puppeteer ensure a happy ending for all?

Oh, and just so you know, I only meant to "lump you in with Gideon" insofar as you're both theists who responded to me on your blog. That's where the similarities end, as far as I can see. But that was also the bulk (though not the entirety) of the relevant context of both our relationships, so take that as you will.

D said...

cl has been having an error trying to post a comment. If anyone knows what a "bX-p43cdf" error is all about, please let me know. Here is cl's comment as he e-mailed it to me earlier this evening:

"Hold on, cl - did you seriously just confuse an epistemological rule of thumb with a proposition about the World?"

No, I didn't: I pointed out that "never place all of your certainty chips on anything because you could always be mistaken" is an epistemological rule of thumb that you accept on faith as your best possible rule. But yeah, let's not spend too much time there.

"Yeah, fine, the most reasonable interpretation is that they were trying to poke you with sharp sticks. Again, so what?"

So what? So quit being so quick to be taken in by Philly's BS if you want to make accurate judgments. As far as your confusion between jim and I, don't worry about it. It's not your business and I won't bring it up again here, unless of course it's in response to him.

Your comments about Job and Ecclesiastes and your opinions on the Bible are out-of-place in the larger context of our discussion and quite frankly I'm not interested in changing the subject. Answering them would just introduce another tangential angle likely to further distract us away from the matters at hand.

"I said I needed research, and I was satisfied with my goal of provoking a crisis of faith when you said way back when that the creation of beings with the capacity to sin was puzzling in light of the idea of a sinless creator."

I'm not your toy, D, and your comment reveals your true intention. If openness to God is really your goal, that right there is your stumbling block. Further, me implying that something is "puzzling" or needs further thought is not synonymous with a "crisis of faith."

"When you say things like, "you need God to help you believe," I just start wondering why God doesn't help everyone from day one, if so much depends on him - and it makes life on Earth look like a puppet show. Well, if that's the case, fine - but then why doesn't the puppeteer ensure a happy ending for all?"

I see that you still have questions. They won't ever get answered if you're done with me now that I've served your puppeteering purposes.

End part 1.

D said...

cl's comment, part 2:

"I only meant to "lump you in with Gideon" insofar as you're both theists who responded to me on your blog."

Then perhaps you should have considered making that more explicit in comments like, "..they keep changing the subject or trying to shame me into believing by telling me what I already know: I can't justify absolute certainty in my beliefs... What I don't think these well-intentioned but ill-informed men realize is that I really and truly walk in doubt... I'm met at every turn with straw-men being hurled at me, being told what I believe instead of asked,"

Note that "they" and "these" indicates you intended those criticisms towards both of us, and from someone as fond of subject-changing as your verbose self, I found that interesting (note that 'verbose' is not an insult): I never changed the subject to anything that you didn't inquire about. I didn't erect any strawmen of your position. I am not ill-informed; I understood from your initial declaration that you "walk in doubt."

"How have your results been so far?"

I can't help that you got impatient and bailed, D, and you've expressed positive sentiments several times. Among other things, you've said that I've done a good job clearly delineating my position, and that you believe I question my position. Were those lies? Further, my "results" are summarized on the "feedback" section of my blog. People tend to express either highly favorable - or highly vitriolic - sentiments. Other than that I have no need to justify my work to you.

"Is this kind of thing more or less par for the course?"

What's "par for the course" is the strategy of "refutation by denigration" that my detractors consistently appeal to, and it was troubling to see you taking steps in that direction (refutation by denigration).

Now - where do you suggest we go from here?

D said...

cl,
I guess that what it comes to, for me, is that you appear to take yourself way too seriously and get butt-hurt over nothing. You act as if people owe you respect or something. I just don't get it. But then again, I come from the internet, where expecting people to do things like "play nice" is seen as super-naive (and that's putting it nicely).

And as I've said before, I'm not interested in "believing in God," so much as I am in "believing what's reasonable." Also, I never said that my epistemological one was the best one, or that I had belief without evidence that it was anything other than my rule of thumb. Have you got a better one? What's better about it? Otherwise, it seems to me like a matter of taste.

Have a happy Thanksgiving!

PhillyChief said...

Actually, I'm the one who must be naive since I expect people won't enter a discussion simply to ruin it and that they'll actually respect standard rules of argumentation. Instead, you get douchebags. The internet sucks.

D said...

Now, now, Chief - don't forget Hanlon's razor. And if meeting new and interesting people means that sometimes I won't get along with them, that's a price I pay gladly.

PhillyChief said...

That's an interesting one. I admit I tend to assume malice before stupidity. I think that tendency is changing for me though. It's becoming more apparent that when it seems someone might have a clue, they actually don't and are more like Otto for A Fish Called Wanda.

D said...

Man, I almost want to wait and see if someone honestly says, "Don't call me stupid." 'Cuz, I mean, if you have to tell people...

"Apes don't read philosophy."

"Yes they do, Otto, they just don't understand it! Let me correct you on a few things; Aristotle was not Belgian! The central message of Buddhism is not "Every man for himself!" And the London Underground is not a political movement! Those are all mistakes. I looked them up."

(Favorite quote)

cl said...

"I guess that what it comes to, for me, is that you appear to take yourself way too seriously and get butt-hurt over nothing. You act as if people owe you respect or something. I just don't get it."

I don't take myself seriously. I am an idiot. We're all idiots. We all make mistakes, we all do stupid stuff and we operate from emotion at times. I don't get butt-hurt at the hands of mockers and fools. I get frustrated because I want to pursue these arguments to their ends. If anything, it's the arguments I take way too seriously.

As far as respect, hey, I kind of assumed that was a given in good-faith debates. My bad.

cl said...

"I'm the one who must be naive since I expect people won't enter a discussion simply to ruin it and that they'll actually respect standard rules of argumentation. Instead, you get douchebags."

Yeah, some "standard" - simply assume the other person operates in bad faith, then puff up your own chest, break out the ad hominems and act like a tough guy.

Have fun with these "intellectuals" and "rationalists" D.