Triablogue calls me out!
Paul Manata, at Triablogue, gave a cute effort of trying to debunk one of the articles on my site strongatheism.net, where I debunk Mr. Alvin "personal memories are 100% truthful" Plantinga. Here are some highlights from our favourite presuppositionalist:
1) Plantinga confuses nothing like what Tremblay accuses Plantinga of here. Plantinga actually goes through excruciating detail to define terms like 'rationality.' He does so in terms of "proper function."Actually, since Plantinga's definition of "proper function" demands design, his definition of "rationality" is hokum, so I hardly saw the need to mention his silly fallacy in that regard. But since you're going to bring it up, Manata, by all means shoot your own foot...
2) The bulk of Plantinga's career has sought to undermine Tremblay's "definition" of rationality. Indeed, on Tremblay's definition, since we do indeed know that the world has been here for more than 5 minutes, or that our wife is not a robot, and we cannot prove this on the evidential basis of other propositions, that does not mean all humans are "irrational." Actually, Tremblay's case is self-referentially incoherent since, if Tremblay claims to know it, he would have to "validate it only with objective evidence" (whatever that means). But, after he does so, we can ask if he "knows" that he has validated the original claim to knowledge. If so, he must "validate it only with objective evidence." Obviously an infinite regress can be seen here.This kind of juvenile infinite regress can be applied to any claim to knowledge. Manata's reply describes little more than a petulant little child asking "why? why? why?" over and over. In practice, we pass judgment on the evidence presented for a proposition and decide for ourselves whether the evidence is relevant or not. We don't waste our time in constant validation. And of course, unlike Manata's Christian nihilistic worldview, mine has an end point: the axioms.
3) Tremblay says that Plantinga confuses "instinct with rationality." Actually, Plantinga's argument is that the idea that our beliefs are aimed at truth, given N & E, is low or inscrutable.Yes, that is what Plantinga claims. Manata at least scores high on reading comprehension. However, my response concerned the fact that N&E together only pertain to instincts, NOT rationality (which is the product of a personal process of evolution, and far too subtle to be captured by fundamental and vague factors like N and E, just as basic knowledge of chemistry is not sufficient to extrapolate to the complexity of, say, what it means for me to love my wife), and that therefore any epistemic examination on Plantinga's part can only be construed as complete if we assume that thought, which is partly molded by rationality, is purely the product of instinctual behaviour.
This is, of course, patent nonsense. Plantinga's claim is that we should evaluate our truth-generating faculties solely on the standpoint of being molded by an evolutionary process, while excluding the correcting effects of rationality. Based on this extreme simplification, Plantinga concludes that we cannot trust our truth-generating faculties. Plantinga is refuting a caveman from a Geico ad, not a modern human being. We might as well say that, because Von Neumann didn't know anything about the Internet, we shouldn't trust computers to give us correct information about IP packets.
2. Tremblay is stuck on deontological justification, while Plantinga is addressing the alethic aspect of knowledge.This is the sound of a worldview clash completely whizzing past Manata's head.
I hope I don't need to answer this nonsense any further. I would, however, like to mention another point that whizzed right past Manata's head. He contrasted my proposition that our sensory perception is necessarily valid with my proposition that a Matrix-style scenario is possible. However, he completely failed to note the part he himself quoted right after I said that:
But why should we consider this possibility as having any epistemic importance whatsoever?Never mind what I said about Manata. The man obviously failed reading comprehension. How can I be contradicting myself on an epistemic issue when one of the two propositions has no epistemic importance?