Friday, January 22, 2010

Clearing the Air - Once and for all!

It’s come to my attention that my brother, “Pastor” Mike- in the course of a slurry of new blog posts against atheism -continues to labor under the delusion (illusion?) that I “conceded” in the course of a debate on his All Souls I-Net church blog last year. This is to correct that mal-perception, and indicate that any “concession” transpired exclusively in Mike’s confused mind, not in any way by me.

In the exchange – which I had with Mike and an equally impervious cohort named Renee- the debate ranged from issues of the definition of atheist and agnostic (in which I offered standard definitions) to the question of atheist morality to whether Albert Einstein was in any manner a god believer or remote religionist. In the latter case I presented actual quotes from Einstein (from his book ‘Ideas and Opinions’) to show how both Mike and Renee had skewed their interpretations to what THEY wanted. Einstein had no truck with any personal deity and certainly accepted no afterlife.

Using my final contribution to his "I-Net" site (which I happened to save), I now document word for word what I actually wrote and readers can judge for themselves whether I at any time used the term “concession” or "concede":



Mike wrote: "Phil ,stated in his post that atheism is NOT a "religion" , but it IS - because , as my 'brother' Rene said , it's a worldview . "


NO, NO AND NO!!!! A "worldview" is NOT a religion!!!! THIS is exactly why it is impossible to conduct a productive debate with you both because you incessantly conflate and obscure words, definitions and terms (as your "brother" Rene with 'atheist')

You corrupt all debates by the misuse of terms and then render them useless. Look, a WORLDVIEW is a WORLDVIEW. For example, the worldview of neo-liberal capitalism which extols the free market is just that - NOT a religion.

If we continue to confuse worldviews and religions and use these terms interchangeably then we confuse and corrupt thought and make all languages more debased and impoverished than it is.

BUT I am thankful to Mike for showing in the clearest terms yet why debates are impossible and indeed futile with him so long as he engages in these tactics.


Note the words used above. MIKE showing in clearest terms WHY debates are IMPOSSIBLE. Let's go on:

Mike wrote:
"So , I , MYSELF ask , can the atheist present a logical reason how his worldview can account for the abstract laws of logic?"

This is another example. He is using CIRCULAR reasoning here, basically asking the atheist to use LOGIC (present a logical reason) to account for the LAWS of logic. This again is unworthy of him. One cannot use or invoke circular reasoning by invoking a mechanism, in this case logic, to explain logic!!! This is what we call making a meta-statement which only ensures one remains within a closed loop.

IF now Mike asks how rational thought came to arise, we can provide an answer. And let us bear in mind that logic is an outcome of rational thought. IF one is therefore irrational one cannot employ logic.

The answer is that in the course of brain evolution certain specific neurons developed in a new layer ( the neo-cortex) and from here the ability for abstract thought (which includes logic) ensued.

Once more this is a sterling illustration of why debate is futile. Since in one of my first comments to Mike I referenced the book that explained all this, 'The Evolution of Consciousness' by Robert Ornstein.
Again, attend to the language-words used. At no time or point is "concession" or "I concede" ever used. What I was asserting is that debate was futile. If one persists in relying on strawmen, red herrings, malpropisms, circular logic, appeal to authority, ignotum per ignotius - or no logic- then, as Isaac Asimov once noted, "rational debate is futile". Asimov also added that: "in any irrational 'debate' - the irrationalist will always have more comebacks simply because there is more irrational gibberish in the world than rational substance. Just as garbage grows exponentially from simple consumption - so does irrationality from the inability to exercise critical thinking ( from the Lecture at Queen's Park - Barbados, Feb. 1975)

Saying a debate is futile , then, is not the same as a concession! It is saying that an activity (in this case a putative "debate") is sterile, unproductive and useless. It also carries the subtext that the person you are directing arguments act is incapable of making equal, substantive arguments in return. In other words, it's a waste of time. Einstein was the one who also made the famous remark:

"When the same action is repeated over and over without success and the outcome is the same each time, that defines insanity".

So my ending debate was simply to terminate the insanity ongoing with Mike and his disciple, Renee. The insanity of them using the same circular arguments and nonsense and not getting anywhere - just wasting time. Mike, in his fervid, delusionary hallucinations, has wrongly interpreted that as "concession". (He actually apparently even goes to a dictionary in one of his blog posts - which is of course, useless since I myself never used the term - hence the meaning of the word is not at issue but his interpretation of simply rescinding a bad judgment: to wit, to rationally attempt to engage Mike & Renee in the first place.

We go on (this segment had to do with Einstein and God):

In truth and in fact then, IF Einstein were alive today and writing this, he'd be just as excoriated on Mike's "False Doctrines" page as Mormons, Catholics and atheists are now.

I do hope he finally processes this without adding any more confusion, when in his lead-in comments to this blog he promised to mainly stay out of it. His incessant intrusions only show he is not only hyper-religious but a control freak as well.

And this IS my final post.

If again people superimpose their own subjective meanings and interpretations on words, we get no where. No logical or rational exchange is feasible. My hope is that one day, my zealous brother will at least spend as much time taking a course or two in Logic (and mayhap some basic science) as he spends devoted to his bible and attacking any form or manifestation of belief (or unbelief) that doesn't bear him imprimatur.

But I am not too confident this can be the case, especially - since our father's untimely departure from this world - he seems to have grown even more combative (against atheism and atheists - with posts including images of boxing gloves) and hyper-religious.

Added Note:

I have been advised to moderate the comments to this blog on account of several spurious, attempted comments that appear to have originated from Chinese or Japanese sources. So, henceforth, all comments will be assessed first, and if they are warranted to add to or enhance the discussion, or the main article- will be allowed. If not, they won't be posted.


Caleb Shay said...

Thanks, copernicus, for coming out strongly against your brother's tirades - not only against atheism but against you. In trying to foist this "concession" nonsense on you.

What you've shown here is a good illustration of why it's probably unwise to attempt any sort of reasoned debate or exchanges with these folk. They are so entirely committed to their supernatural belief systems that they can't see anything outside.

Facts from science and scientific sources and texts make no difference because they only read one book: the Bible. If any argument doesn't agree with what their good Book says they don't want to see or hear it.

Maybe you can also do a blog piece on the Bible and how it has been useless as a real standard for human morality.

Good work!

Unknown said...

"Asimov also added that: "in any irrational 'debate' - the irrationalist will always have more comebacks simply because there is more irrational gibberish in the world than rational substance"

That makes SO much sense! I wish more people would take note of that. If Asimov were alive and beheld your "debates" with Pastor Mike he'd have probably told you that you could never win because: a) it was obvious your brother was never reading and registering anything you wrote, only preparing his stock replies (which is what they are - because if you look - he always writes the same things on the same topics over and over and over again!), and b) Because he uses the bible in an unfilitered, literal way he will always have more irrational nonsense to counter your rational thoughts. I mean, think of it, how can you argue with people who believe humans can live in whales' bellies for three days, or a guy (Joshua) could stop the Sun (actually Earth's rotation) or a guy could walk on water?

You can't! Because they believe and accept this nonsense, they can believe anything else except the very facts that show their nonsense is untenable. So rather than meet you or me or Caleb on a logical level, it will always be the irrational.

This confirms for me that atheists and fundamentlists simply can't have open and rational exchanges or debates because it isn't in the fundies' nature to do so. Debate implies minds must be at least part way open to have an honest dialogue. But fundies' mind are permanently closed to everything but their own narrow bibilical universe. Just look at the "Slurry" (as you called it - and I like that coinage: "Flurry" plus "slurs") of his anti-atheist articles on his blog.

The funny thing is while he blabbers all this nonsense of atheists avoiding truth or God or not knowing anything he himself won't accept our powerful arguments. There must have been at least five replies by both Caleb and me in which we quashed his nonsense, but he wouldn't put it up. So, he knows he can't argue on an equal level with us.

We are too much for him. I'm also glad that for whatever reason you put up a moderation filter because now you can prevent him from commenting just to make more noise without producing results. As you said, enhance the debate.

Copernicus said...

Thanks to both of you for your endorsements. I do agree it is futile to really debate any fundies, not just my bro, because to do so would mean having to think outside the frozen beliefs of their bibles. This - as you note, jani, they don't wish to do.

I am planning a blog article on why biblical morality can't be used as any normal human standard, on accojnt of the inhumane it's dispensed, especially in the OT. I just need to collect all the examples I want to show in one place.