Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Why Religious Fools Can’t Properly Answer Questions

Some Fools try to answer questions beyond their ken, and end up going off the "deep end"

Pastor Mike’s approach to my questions can be said to be interesting at best. Unlike me, giving direct answers and no nonsense, Mike prefaces what responses he does deliver with a rather useless and irrelevant quote from Proverbs:

“Proverbs 26:4-5 tell us , "Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou also be like unto him. Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own conceit. "

Then he proceeds to beleaguer his (whatever dull or vapid ) site readers with empty verbal gymnastics that a “fool will remain a fool whether answered or not”. He then adds this incredible cop out:

“Some fools DON'T DESERVE an answer - or answers , because they are clearly not in a mood to LISTEN , and those who try to answer them will simply stoop to their level"

Despite all this foolish hand waving, distraction and humbug, it appears that wonder of wonders - despite the warning of “answering a fool according to his folly”, he seems to have agreed to "stoop to our level":

“I also will be replying to his questions in two (perhaps three ) posts , or as my time allows . Anyway , let's see what the fool , errr , excuse me , Phil , has asked ."

We shall see how he deals with these questions, or if he’s unable to give them the coherent answers they’re due. Let’s go through his list of answers then we’ll score him on his initial set:

Q. 1: Where did his religion come from? When founded? By Whom?

Lots of huffing and puffing with links to his other bombastic blusterings, but no answer given that’s relevant. Score:0

Q.2 Explain how your religion can be called Christian if it had to have spun off from Catholicism which you deny is Chrstian?

More blustering about the deficits and defects of Catholicism and more links - but no relevant answer given. Score: 0

Q.3: Given knowledge of a thing implies epistemology, and epistemology requires necessary and sufficient conditions be given, what are they for the “God” you believe in?"

Answer: "You're talking totalistic relativism , which is an epistemological theory denying any objective , universally valid human knowledge and affirming that meaning and truth vary from person to person , culture to culture , and time to time."

Actually, NO! Epistemology – from the Wikipedia he so likes to use:

“The theory of knowledge or the branch of philosophy concerned with the nature and limitations of knowledge. It addresses the questions: What is knowledge?, How is Knowledge acquired?, What do People know? How do we know that we know?”

In other words, epistemology provides the putative basis for looking at and assessing the quality of knowledge. There is nothing “relative” here, and certain no denial that “objective” human knowledge is possible. (Mikey fools himself here by confusing atheists with Derridian deconstructionists- who don’t accept there’s a Moon really there if no one’s looking, and that all of reality is actually "constructed by the mind".)

Nor is "universally valid human knowledge" rejected. He mistakes epistemology here for knowledge nihilism. Clearly and obviously anyone sincerely invested in the methods of science and testing reality claims via falsification, can't be disclaiming a universality of knowledge or objectivity. I mean, where did the universal law of gravitational attraction come from? From this one answer, the only one he's given so far, we see he is out of his depth. But as I maintain and always have, a religous fool can't help it- because he invests too much in belief, not enough in knowledge, hard won by test. This is a fool who'd probably object (because his little mind can't comprehend) that he's made up of tiny, invisible things called atoms, and he's actually mostly empty space. A scientifically trained mind would appreciate that and likely perceive the knowledge basis, not a mind steeped in biblical literalism)

He doesn’t grasp that in order to know something, one must get at the roots of HOW that knowledge is obtained, e.g. by the scientific method? Or by tossing bones into a circle and "divining" something? The difference matters because it impacts on knowledge quality- and I noted this in prior blogs:

This is why all opinions are not equal in quality. Everyone is surely entitled to his own opinions but not his own knowledge or facts! One may well opine that energy and mass bear no equivalence (a la Einstein's equation: E= mc^2), but that doesn't constitute knowledge.

Score: 0 for total ignorance.

Q. 4: If you refuse to give the knowledge basis for your deity (in n-s conditions at least) please explain how we atheists are supposed to address your queries about our “knowledge” of it(including denial of such), if you refuse to supply the knowledge basis?

Answer: He asked to “rephrase the question”. Score : 0

This question has been asked in at least eight prior engagements, including: 3 on his blog last year, two by email and three on this blog. On every occasion he’s dodged it - despite being given the definitions for necessary and sufficient conditions. (Which, if he misplaced or lost them, he could still google. )

So we give him a big fat zilch for his effort.

Q. 5: God is everywhere and “all powerful” why did he refuse (or was unable) to save 6 million Jews from Hitler’s gas chambers?

Answer: "We cannot possibly answer questions like these in this life because we do not see all that God sees . He has chosen to allow evil in this world for a time . But we can trust God's leading because He has promised to destroy all evil eventually. So why did God let the Holocaust happen ? I don't have an answer for that, and I don't claim to understand God's ways!"

We see here that Mike finally admits he doesn’t really KNOW his God. He thinks he does, but in the end, can’t comprehend how or why an ostensibly infinite and all powerful entity couldn’t raise a finger to have helped those Jews – before being tossed into Hitler’s death chambers.

Note also, that IF such a being allows evil in this world, no matter which way the religious fools try to cut it and get cute- then either:

a) he must be evil himself or in alliance with it, or

b) he is too weak to prevent it, and hence not all powerful.

We give Mikey a 1 for honesty!

However, he makes the mistake of further editorializing as he often loves to do (and he talks about me not giving simple 'yes' or 'no' answers):

“Lastly , if you believe that God does not exist, you take away the basis for objective right and wrong. Evil becomes something subjective. If you do that, why are you arguing in the first place ?!? Because deep-down you know that there is an objective right and wrong !”

Well, not to be too snarky here, but YOU already dismissed the basis for any standards for an objective right or wrong when you essentially already admitted (in your answer to Q. 5) that God's morality is inactionable (for all human affairs, events) and you have no clue why! Thus, either he's totally powerless, OR he chooses to not even act at the level of a minimum, decent human parent - say in helping his child trapped in a burning house (recall as I noted in an earlier blog that this is the minimum standard to judge divine morality - whether it at least acts at a minimal HUMAN standard to save kids. See: Ethics Without God- By Kaj Neilsson.) . In this Holocaust example, the Jews are analogous to the children trapped in the burning house.

Thus, Mike de facto admits (though he will deny it, foolish fellow that he is):

a) God is evil – so allows evil to operate in the world without trying to stop it, even for innocents, OR

b) God is too impotent to halt the evil in the world- and Mike openly admitted he had NO CLUE why God refuses to act on innocents’ behalf.

If he has no clue why, then he has no clue about any divine standards of morality -or if his God would ever act under any conditions to show (demonstrate) his morality trumps the pragmatic minimal codes of humans. Then he has the temerity to ask ME why I am "arguing in the first place"? You've just closed my case for me on your own, pastor!

At least in my non-belief I have a rational basis for why the Jews were exterminated. They were exterminated because a certain group of humans (Nazis) acted from the reptilian brain centers governed by racism, territoriality and aggression as well as genocide. These atavistic brain regions then also co-opted the higher brain centers, to enlist them in building the devices for mass death - from the gas chambers to the crematoria, and also devising the heinous means to slaughter the most in the most efficient ways.

No god stepped in to help them because none existed that could do so. Alas, the Holocaust Jews were on their own! In a purposeless, godless universe this makes total sense. In a universe purported to be governed by an "infinite, loving, personal God" it doesn't!

Thus, I am not saying evil is “subjective”, I am saying it has its ultimate roots in the defective evolution of the brain, which is really three brains in one: a reptile brain, an ape brain and a human brain (Neocortex- frontal lobes). Saying evil is objective in this way, however, is not the same as asserting (as Mike does) that there is a personality that causes it (“Satan”). IF this were remotely true than any religious fool could say at any time: "The DEVIL made me do it!" (Like Jimmy Swaggart back in '88, when caught frequenting a Metarie, La. prostitute). In truth, his BRAIN made him do it, and he lacked the control of his reptilian brain regions! Maybe he can admit "My inner brain reptile broke free!" but don't say: "The Devil made me do it!"

As also noted in a previous blog, no atheist is “taking away the basis for right and wrong” and readers may consult that blog entry here.

We call this moral approach provisionalism because it is realistic and pragmatic realtive to the current potentials of what the human brain is capable of.


manowar said...

Hey Copernicus,
Again I read Mike's blog trying to answer your questions put to him, and noticed he again made quite a few bible quotes along with some proverbs. This is hardly answering questions with one's own mind.

I also liked the pastor's answer on why god didn't think it important enough to save the millions destroyed in nazi concentration camps. Again many of them women, children, and babies. Mike went on to answer with his bible quotes which showed no real relevance to the question. He instead basically says his god was more interested in helping him quit smoking. His god shows it was obviously easier to help the pastor quit smoking than so save millions of innocents from extermination. This doesn't make any sense.

I hear the same bull from other christians, all this god's will crap. Give me a break, it's nothing more than a cop-out answer. His god would rather make sure all these phony evangilist types get what they pray for, such as new cars, plenty of money, rolex watches, etc. Kind of lame if you ask me. The same results could be gotten with what is commonly called "CHANCE", or just luck. No god involved. The praying part was just coincidental to the end result, nothing more, nothing less.

I really don't think this pastor has the mental ability to establish his position on anything having to do with any faith much less his own. He also goes on about himself not being affiliated with or belonging to any religous sect, group, or generally recognized religion. In other words the pastor is nothing more than some guy who picked up a bible and made up his own religion, a hate religion, that in the end, if there is a hell as he states, he'll surely burn in it.

The pastor does remind me of a religion and pastor though. One that comes to mind is the Westboro Baptist Church. A religion based totally on hate. Again Copernicus you have showed us readers that this pastor is incapable of the simplest reasoning or answering of the most elementary questions put to him.

Copernicus said...

manowar writes:

"Hey Copernicus,
Again I read Mike's blog trying to answer your questions put to him, and noticed he again made quite a few bible quotes along with some proverbs. This is hardly answering questions with one's own mind.

I totally agree, which is why he used up all those extra kilobytes for nothing - since I didn't count them. Copying in bible quotes doesn't count in terms of thinking for oneself - which is what I expect when I ask for serious answers to questions I ask. Any FOOL on the street can grab a bible and simply copy chapter and verse. That doesn't prove he knows what he's talking about, far less he knows or grasps the content of the question put to him.

"He instead basically says his god was more interested in helping him quit smoking. His god shows it was obviously easier to help the pastor quit smoking than so save millions of innocents from extermination. This doesn't make any sense. "

Totally concur again, which is why - as You wil note, I totally excluded his monologue on his stroke and smoking as any way relevant. If he can't answer the BIG moral questions, then my insight his the little ones can't be addressed either. I quit smoking too (in 1967) but did it out of sheer cold recognition (after waking up and not b eing able to catch my breath one night) that if I didn't I'd soon be dead man walking (or...smoking). Thus, Mike is prepared to short sell his own human will power in this, while he awards his God this power which the guy can't seem to mamange to extend to 6 million Jews.


"I really don't think this pastor has the mental ability to establish his position on anything having to do with any faith much less his own."

Again, this is why I refer to him as a "religious fool" with appropriate clothing to match. Any jackass can climb aboard the evangelical 'belief in JC' craze and proclaim himself "saved". That doesn't prove diddly. What I want to know is how much inner work have you done? How much interior reflection and heavy lifting in terms of exploring your deepest thoughts, inclinations, the farther reaches of existential matters and human ethics.

Clearly, the pastor has done little of that.

I'm glad he feels he's been saved or "redeemed" by his magical faith and KJV, but he needs to grasp that his magic formula doesn' work for everyone, nor should it. We for some guy named Lee Strobel de-converting from atheism, again- that proves no more to me than telling me about C.S. Lewis. All it tells me is that they were faux atheists to begin with, and their thought and commitment was so weak and insubstantial that any siren song from a padre or bible thumper loon could harness them.

Mike needs to do much more deep reflection before he tries to answer any more questions.

janidebar said...

Of course, you guys realize that all he's going to do now is claim vindication from his Proverbs quote:

"Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own conceit. "

In other words, he will simply say he's answering copernicus according to his own conceit since he's a "fool". Look, he never intended to deal seriously with these questions, and my 12-y/o could give better answers than the mish mash he's put out.

I'm telling you again, you're wasting your time with this guy. Let him live in his own little bizarre net cubbyhole, no one reads him anyway, though his site claims about 7 followers. What are they, zombies? I never see any comments from them.

You had to know these questions would be too formidable for his lower hominid level brain, so why not just ignore him and his nonsense? Why even let your BP go up 1 point because of some foolishness he posts? I wouldn't!

Just my two cents, but I personally wouldn't waste another nansecond on this bozo, he's not worth it!