Internet Goosing the Antithesis

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

How to deal with faith

"Maybe I don't have any arguments, but I have faith, and you can't take that away !"

From an evangelical perspective, you're still at the beginning there. Of course the Christian has faith, that's assumed as a matter of course. The question is, why ?

From a debate/discussion perspective, many people think this is the end and that there is nothing left to say, but it really isn't and there is still plenty to say. As I've discussed recently in the classification of the positions, belief is not an ontological position. The idea that one has faith is not an ontological statement, but a personal appeal. There are believers of every religion because one's religion is determined by parental indoctrination, not by the evidence.

So the first answer one should give to such a statement is "why are you bringing your personal appeal in a discussion about facts ? We don't care whether you have faith or not". To invoke a personal appeal against arguments of fact is a cop-out.

Of course, the emotional weight of the belief is such that this is unlikely to to convince anyone. And if you are trying to convert someone, it's the wrong thing to say. But it's a perfectly natural reply in a philosophical discussion. Why should we care about someone's faith ? We should care no more than we would about someone's scientific position. Truth is not a vote.

There are many places we can go from here :

* You can use the subjectivity of belief-forming experiences to show how fragile the concept of faith is. "Religious experiences" are only assumed to be of God, or even "religious", because of the believer's presuppositions, and so on and so forth.

* You can also use the dice analogy - you roll a die, and either assume what the number will be based on your favourite numerological belief (faith), or use your senses to look at the die and see what number it is (reason) - to prove that the Christian does not take faith seriously. Parallel to that, you can ask them in general how many things they have faith about, or why they don't have faith in the Spaghetti Monster or other gods.

* You can point out that Biblical characters did NOT need faith, as they had material evidence of the existence of God. Why aren't we all given what Abraham or Paul had ?

* You can take the argument tack and interpret faith as a variant of the arguments from belief, and argue that materialism can give an account of the person's faith, disproving the connection between the personal appeal and the ontology.

* You can attack it outright with materialist apologetics and show that the Christian could not have such a faith without concepts (such as the idea of what "God" or "Christianity" is) and without the nature of whatever it is they use as support.

But never let the Christians off with the excuse of faith. It is really no different from any other personal appeal, just more generalized. If you have any other ways to deal with faith in a discussion/debate perspective, post them on the comments and I'll add them.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Idiot, Liar, or Lunatic?

Paul Manata has made a bold claim at his Press the Antithesis blog. Observe:

First and foremost, it must be remembered that evolution is not a scientific theory.

WTF? Where did he get that piece of information? The Bible? I would love to see him give a source for this one. I think Paul made this up. I think Paul illegitimately granted himself the authority to determine what is and is not a scientific theory. Paul made a rather bold and ridiculous judgment in a too-big-for-his-britches moment.

Paul also likes to call evolution "evolutionism." Never heard that one before. Seems a bit redundant to add an "ism" at the end of an "ion" doesn't it? Two can play at this game! Lets start calling Christianity "superstitionism."

If evolution isn't a scientific theory, then Christianity (excuse me, superstitionism) isn't a religion. I have typed it, and it is so. I mean, I got just as much authority to make these judgments about "superstitionism" as Paul has to make about "evolution."

Manata tries to frame evolution as a religion by claiming that evolutionists want to worship the "God" of "Mother Nature." Where does Manata get this? From Van Til and Bahnsen quotes, of course! Think about it: To judge evolution as a religion and not a scientific theory, he does not look at anything from the scientific community, but instead he get his information about evolution from two religious zealots who had no direct involvement in the scientific study of life and biology. Let me put it this way: When I want to learn about Mustang repair, I don't consult the Quran. And when I want to learn about the words of Allah, I don't consult my Ford Mustang repair manual.

But Manata, being the hardcore presup-superstitionist that he is, probably couldn't tie his shoes without consulting the works of Van Til or Bahnsen.

Manata keeps trying to drive the point home that evolution isn't a scientific theory but a "religious presupposition." By equating evolution with a religious presupposition, whom is he trying to insult? Evolution or his own beliefs? Maybe both? It’s possible that he's secretly trying to insult his own intellect. After all, the central tenet of Christianity is that we are all worthless scum deserving eternal suffering due to the actions of our ancient ancestors. Maybe that self-esteem issue is manifesting itself here. If Manata really thought that his religious presuppositional view was all that glorious, then equating evolution with it would be a compliment to evolution, not an insult, I think.

But at any rate, Manata is wrong. Evolution is not a religious presupposition, nor does modern day evolution owe any of its origins to the Greek philosophical ideas that Manata mentioned. Darwin didn't have any Greek philosophical ideas in his head when he observed the differences between Finches in the Galapagos. But you wouldn't know that by reading Van Til and Bahnsen all day. Earth to Manata: don't read the Quran when you need to learn about Mustang repair, and don't read superstitionist literature when you need to learn about scientific theories.

A superstitionist presupposition comes from divine revelation via a supernatural, immaterial entity. A scientific theory comes from carefully measured observations of natural, material entities. Was evolution handed down by a supernatural entity? No.

Manata introduces a funny little list at one point, saying that we need to believe in this list to believe in evolution. Look at the list carefully and tell me if anything in it relates to evolution:

What does evolution require us to believe, upon analysis?
1) Everything came from nothing
2) Order came from chaos
3) Life came from non-life
4) Intelligence came from non-intelligence
5) Moral nature came from amoral things
6) Personality came from non-personality.
7) The copulating came from the cell dividing
8) Taste from the tasteless...etc!

This list is a strawman, no, a scarecrow, straight from the Wizard of Oz. Look at the first item. Everything came from nothing? Evolution has nothing to do with the origins of the universe. Already, Paul's list exposes his total lack of understanding of evolution; he's crossing it with cosmology. Maybe he's been reading too much Kent Hovind material.

If you want to talk about cosmology and the origins of the universe (Which Manata seems to want to do) then you have to look at physics. The first law of thermodynamics is often referred to as the conservation of matter/energy. It states that all the matter and energy in the universe is constant; it can never be created nor destroyed, and it merely changes forms. Science quite specifically does not say that the universe came from nothing. It instead says that the universe was always here. Keep in mind, that the only thing that proposes a universe coming from nothing is superstitionism (Christianity).

Look at the second item: order came from chaos. Manata again has no idea what he's talking about. Can Manata provide an example of chaos? Can Manata take a handful of different colored marbles and arrange them in a chaotic way? I bet $500 that he can't. Instead, what Manata will only be able to accomplish, is an arrangement of marbles in different types of order. Any arrangement of any amount and variation of entities will be in a combination of sequential or grouping order, and I can prove it given any visual representation in a quantifiable and measured way. See, in reality there is only order; chaos is a figment of our imagination brought about by our perception of two types of order being blended. This whole idea is explained quite eloquently at Everything Forever.

The rest of Manata's list follows from the first two items on it, which I just blasted back into the land of make-believe superstitionism. Manata then continues to equate violent acts between humans with evolution. He then claims that the presup-superstitionist can use "evidences" against evolution. What evidences these are? I don't know, for I only saw scarecrows in his arguments. Maybe Manata counts Van Til and Bahnsen writings as "evidences"?

Finally, Manata tries to rip logic away from naturalism:

If naturalistic processes are at bottom of all things then laws of logic (indeed any laws) don't exist. Laws are not "natural" in character. Natural things have location and particularity. Laws of logic do not. Debate assumes that the laws of logic are real. Thus by debating, they loose.

Did Manata just change his mind? In his debate with Derek Sansone, Manata said that logic is a part of God's nature. In Manata's world, God's nature is whatever he wants it to be, because everything that exists, including logic, is set by the mind of God (nihilism anyone?). So in Manata's world, the laws of logic are arbitrary. If they aren't then God doesn't have supreme power and is therefore not God, because the laws of logic would have been set outside of God's will. So Manata loses the debate by assuming his self-defeating superstitionist stance.

But in a godless universe, things aren't so nihilistic. Matter and energy simply have characteristics about them that cause them to behave and interact with other matter and energy in certain ways. The laws weren't set by any conscious entity, but they are a part of matter and energy's nature. If laws can be a part of God's nature, why not a part of matter and energy's nature? After all, matter and energy are everywhere too; even empty space isn't really empty. The only difference here is that without God, laws are really LAWS; they are naturally inherent to matter and energy (which is everywhere and everything). But in Manata's superstitionist world, these laws are part of a nihilistic supernatural being's nature (if that's even possible) and they aren't set in stone; they are arbitrarily set by the supernatural being's whims. How illogical.

Manata is clearly confused. The best he can do is make strawmen, and he does so in such a way as to hint that he's genuinely unaware of these strawmen. He seriously thinks that evolution has something to say about cosmology(!) and the origins of the universe, for example. He thinks that equating evolution with religion is an insult to evolution, but he conveniently forgets that he is the one who believes in a religion. It's like saying "see, you're beliefs are just as dumb as mine!" And that would be true except for the fact that his portrayal of evolution is a total strawman. Well Manata, you're not in Kansas anymore. You're in the real world, and you got to drop your nihilistic arbitrary, illogical superstitionist concepts if you want to make any sense of this world. In other words, don't use a Quran to diagnose your car, and don't go reaching for Van Til and Bahnsen literature if you want to learn anything about evolution.

In the Name of God

Some juicy extracts from an article in the Guardian by Polly Toynbee.

Enlightenment values are in peril not because these mad beliefs are really growing but because too many rational people seek to appease and understand unreason. Extreme superstition breeds extreme action. Those who believe they alone know the only way, truth and life will always feel justified in doing anything in its name. You would, wouldn't you, if you alone had the magic answer to everything? If religions teach that life after death is better then it is hardly surprising that some crazed followers will actually believe it.

Moderates of these faiths may be as gentle as the carefully homogenised Thought for the Day preachers. But other equally authentic voices of religion, the likes of Ian Paisley or Omar Bakri Muhammad, represent a virulent intolerance that is airbrushed out by an official intellectual conspiracy to pretend that religion is always or mainly beneficent. History suggests otherwise. So do events on the streets of London.

It is time now to get serious about religion - all religion - and draw a firm line between the real world and the world of dreams.

All the state can do is hold on to secular values. It can encourage the moderate but it must not appease religion.


Thursday, August 25, 2005

Proof of Intelligent Designer (Finally)!

When you lose, you lose. Its time to concede victory to the Intelligent Design camp, and the Discovery Institute. This mysterious designer that intelligently designs everything in existence has been positively identified.

What grand intelligent designing entity is this? Why, the Flying Spaghetti Monster, of course!

Finally, we have positive identification of an –until now– unknown designing entity. Finally, we have substance to support these designing claims.

How evolution can survive such an overwhelming argument? I don’t know. Nor do I care, for I am now converting. That’s right! I am no longer an atheist; I am now a member of the brand new and rapidly growing religion which was inspired by the Flying Spaghetti Monster: Pastafarianism.

All hail the Flying Spaghetti Monster, and all hail Bobby Henderson (pasta be upon him)!


Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Untangling the debate

I'm fucking tired of the confusion around all the positions in the debate, so I'm going to settle this for good. Spread this list far and wide.

1. Belief positions
Christian/Islamist/Jew/etc (I believe in a specific god and set of doctrines)
Theist (I believe in God)
Personal-relationship Christian (I believe in having a personal relationship with Jesus)
New Age beliefs
Atheism (I don't believe in God)

2. Epistemic positions
Religious comfort ("know-alls", the truth of religion is unimportant since it provides emotional support)
Believer (In general, belief is justified under X, Y, Z conditions)
Presuppositionalist (Belief is justified because only my worldview can explain X, Y, Z)
Evidentialist (Belief is justified because of the natural/Biblical evidence that points to it)
Agnostic (There is no justified position, as a matter of principle)
Skeptic (Belief is not justified unless proportional evidence is presented)
Cynic (Belief is not justified because it is an extraordinary claim)
Ignostic (The issue is not worthy of epistemic discussion because theism is not falsifiable - scientific method)
Nihilism (Rejection of all or specific claims)

3. Apologetical positions
Theistic : classical, evidential, presuppositional, reformed epistemology, post-modernist
Atheistic : positive arguments (semantic, materialist, incoherency, evidential) and negative arguments (showing how the theistic arguments are wrong and why belief is unjustified). "Strong atheism" and "weak atheism".

4. Ontological positions
"God exists." - supernaturalism, dualism
"God does not exist." - materialism, naturalism

5. Science vs religion
Separate magisteria (Wittgenstein, science and religion speak a different language)
Consilience, non-overlapping magisteria ("no contests", promoted by Gould, science and religion are about different things - science has nothing to say about morality)
Religious metaphor (science and religion speak about the same things, but religion is metaphorical)
Religious interpretation (science and religion speak about the same things, and when correctly interpreted religion is in accordance with science)
Religious superiority ("know-nothings", science and religion are enemies, and religion is the right position)
Scientific superiority (science and religion are enemies, and science is the right position)
Post-modernism and variants (neither science nor religion are valid)

6. Atheistic reactionary positions
Tolerence ("Mother Superior" attitude, opposition to anyone's beliefs, including Christians, should be actively discouraged)
Anti-theist - at a small or large scale (Actively fighting against religion through personal evangelism or at an organizational/political/social level)
Collectivist opposition (religion must be wiped out in order to substitute a new political/pseudo-scientific/cultist belief system)

Friday, August 19, 2005

Sansone-Slick "debate"

You can listen to it on the archive page. We're going to try to have Sansone on the live show Sunday to talk about the "debate".

Until then, here are my conclusions about it :

1. Matt Slick is a manipulative little runt. I will never talk to him or have him on the show again. He devotes all his energy to take control of situations.
2. Matt Slick believes he has transformative experiences of God. He's a raving lunatic. I'm not even going to comment on the story about his dead son.
3. Derek and Matt should get a room.
4. Matt Slick's entire reasoning is one big circularity. He's like a merry-go round. Behold :
He said the validity of the Bible is "spiritual" in nature. Where do these "spiritual" evidences come from ? From the Bible ?
... no wait ! They come from his personal experiences. His whole worldview is based on a GUESS that he is experiencing God (and not, say, Satan, Vishnu, or his own mind), which we know is informed by his Western indoctrination. So he believes it's God that is proven because he believes God exists ?
... no wait ! He knows it's God because his life changed ! And he knows it's God because the changes in his life are positive. And he knows the changes in his life are positive because... he read about them in THE BIBLE ! Go back to the first argument again and keep going... it's enough to make one dizzy !

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Morality in a subjective universe

Part of the sanctity of morality lies in a fact that we live in societies where all moral agents are roughly at the same level of power - defined as the scope and depth of possibilities. Because of this, we have a roughly symmetrical situation where people's interests lie in a harmony of action and organization, instead of coercion/fraud/violence. Trader Principle, non-initiation of force principle, and so on.

Statism is a perversion of morality and the social fabric precisely because it makes "obeying the government" equally or more important than following one's personal values, simply because the government, the ruling class, has overwhelming power. Religion is a perversion of morality for the same reason - the religion, institution, dogma is seen as overwhelming personal values in importance, and that moral factor is in itself manipulated by moral agents (priests, theologians, and so on).

If a god really did exist, there would be a moral agent with a power more overwhelming than either of these - the god. It would have infinite power ! In such a case, the sanctity of morality is destroyed as well, regardless of the intentions of this agent. It doesn't matter if the god is benevolent or not (which the Christian god definitely is not). The only way out of this is to argue that the god has limits to its power (ex. open theism), which reduces it to the level of a powerful alien. The material is that which is limited and defined : the non-material, the non-existant, cannot have limits.

But we can take this further. If God exists, then the universe is necessarily subjective to its will. That means that morality, being a material fact, would also be subjective. This nullifies all moral principles - since principles can only exist in an objective system - and therefore nullifies the concepts of good and evil. And this means that it would indeed be impossible for a human being to morally judge God. But that's because it would be impossible to morally judge ANYTHING, including the decision to be a Christian in the first place, making the whole Christian enterprise meaningless.

On the other hand, this might explain why Christians reject our human judgment of God and why they reify God as their moral standard. Once you accept the subjective Christian worldview, what other choice do you have ? God is now an infinitely overwhelming moral agent. Even an army can't compare to that !

God also has infinite moral responsibility. This means that when God condemns its creation, it is basically condemning itself. When God gives out pseudo-moral pseudo-principles (they are neither "moral" nor "principles"), it is trying to limit itself, scolding itself for not following its own rules in the past. In this scheme, there is no place at all for human life and human interests. To be a Christian is to negate oneself.

Monday, August 15, 2005

What is religion ?

I've come to the conclusion that religion is that layer of interpretation we overlay on our daily experience, personal values and inductive assumptions in order to suppress them or subdue them in the name of a higher, more attractive ideal. In essence, religiosity is this act of adding "of God" or "from God" to everything and thus trivializing it. You don't have an experience, you have an experience "of God", you don't have values, you have morality "from God", your assumptions come "from God".

The paradox which unravels belief is that just adding this "of God" or "from God" completely nullifies that which one tries to explain. One cannot declare having an experience "of God", since that demands one to have prior direct experience of God in Heaven to know what a God-experience feels like. And no one has that, even according to Christian doctrine ! Saying that moral or epistemic assumptions come "from God" is patently false since Christianity, for example, clearly stands against our most basic assumptions, such as :

The assumption that the sun will come up tomorrow - disproven by Joshua 10:12-13
The assumption that the future will be like the past - problem of induction, which Christianity cannot answer
The assumption that other minds exist and that those minds are volitional and have self-generated values (as opposed to robotic action) - disproven by Exodus 10:20
The assumption that a world exists external to minds - disproven by the inherent subjectivity of God's actions.
The assumption that genocide is evil - disproven by the Flood and pretty much the whole OT
The assumption that we are not guilty for the crimes of our ancestors, and born evil - disproven by original sin and many other verses
The assumption that the worth of a man is not based on his beliefs, but on his actions - disproven by the doctrine of salvation by faith

All that atheism does, is remove that layer of interpretation, that belief system that presses the person's individuality down, and free that individuality, permitting self-expression and personal responsibility and control.

By the way, whatever is up with soap bars ? Why do they make them with concave shapes ? It hurts the hands, that's all it does. Those Dove bars are particularly bad. I always ram each jutting end into a solid surface a few times to make them more bearable. Am I the only one who does that ?

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Truth-Seeking, Truth-Generation, Truth-Affirmation

What does it mean for a person or system to be truth-seeking, truth-generating, truth-affirming ? There are many different types of truth-seeking. There is the obvious kind, the one scientists and researchers do, truth-generation. Science after all is precisely a method that, in the long run, generates systematic truths about natural law. So does someone who uses empiricism to arrive at some conclusion about the world around him. If I look at the clock to check the time, that's trivial truth-seeking. If I press someone to reveal something I need to know, that's also truth-seeking, of a somewhat less trivial kind.

But truth reflects on all aspects of life. There is the truth-affirmation of the moral kind, wherein one acts in accordance with the facts of reality. When we act in a certain way instead of another in a principled manner, we affirm truths about reality. Distantly contained within my decision to write this post is the truth about atheism, capitalism, and truth itself. Proximately contained with the decision is the truth about my motivation for writing here : because I want to share my ideas and help other people out there to understand or progress on a given subject.

There is also not truth-seeking or truth-generating itself but a sort of doctrine-knocking which frees the individual's potential for truth-seeking or truth-generating. This is the province of atheism and capitalism/libertarianism. We can basically formulate both positions in a truth-seeking way :

Atheism is - a lack of belief in the existence of God or gods which nullifies the stullifying effects of collectivist religious doctrines, and lets personal values come to the fore, letting the individual free to choose rational truth-seeking.
Capitalism is - a lack of belief in the power of the state which nullifies the stullifying effects of collectivist political doctrines, and lets personal values be expressed in action, letting the individual free to choose rational truth-seeking in his actions.

Atheism and capitalism are radically different from religious and political belief systems, in that they are not fundamentally a system but rather the elimination of a doctrinal, collectivist way of thinking (God is the answer/the state is the answer) in which the individual and his values are constrained. So, insofar as atheism and capitalism are both individualist positions which let the individual express his own values, they are a support for truth-seeking. Without some form of atheism and capitalism, there is no truth-seeking possible.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Some questions for Intelligent Design fanatics

Intelligent Design is a fraud, and you can help expose it a little bit by asking some pointed questions.

1. How can Intelligent Design be falsified ? An unfalsifiable belief is not scientific.
2. Please give a few accepted scientific laws or principles on which Intelligent Design is based. A belief that does not build on established knowledge is not scientific.
3. Please name an Intelligent Design-supporting study published in a peer-reviewed scientific journal.
4. Who is (or are) the Designer ? How can we observe this Designer ?
5. Is such a Designer complex ? If so, who or what designed the Designer ?
6. How does Intelligent Design explain suboptimal, bad or evil design in nature, including but not limited to :
* Predation;
* Sea mammals that cannot breathe underwater;
* The blind spot in the human eye;
* Wisdom teeth.
7. How does Intelligent Design explain vestigial organs, including but not limited to :
* The appendix;
* The leg bones in whales;
* The wings of flightless birds;
* Tails in human embryos.
8. Please define how you measure "complexity" or "information" (depending on your flavour of Intelligent Design). Give us a numerical measure of complexity or information for simple organisms, such as a bacteria of your choice.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Unintelligent Design

Intelligent Design is not accepted by most scientists. And I say this not because I'm helping to Googlebomb the term Intelligent Design... well, I am, but I'm also saying it because it's true.

Intelligent Design is nothing more than part of the Creationists' Wedge strategy to get the illogical Christian dogma that everything popped out of nothing taught in American public schools :

We are building on this momentum, broadening the wedge with a positive scientific alternative to materialistic scientific theories, which has come to be called the theory of intelligent design (ID). Design theory promises to reverse the stifling dominance of the materialist worldview, and to replace it with a science consonant with Christian and theistic convictions.
By using a religiously-neutral term like "intelligent design", which really can mean anything one imagines, including human design - after all, some humans are intelligent - they hope to be able to mimic the scientific approach and speak of God and Jesus in purely abstract terms. But Intelligent Design is not and will never be scientific, because it shares none of the properties of science : it is not falsifiable - at least, not the way Creationists use it - it is not based on observations, it is not based on previous knowledge, and it is not naturalistic.

But it is falsifiable in the sense that we can observe animals and whether their composition corresponds to intelligent agency or natural agency. Given that all animals use the exact same code, that their proteins are coded in the same way, we know for a fact that there is no possibility of our current species being created by divine agency. The possibility of all these things arising by non-natural, random chance is so improbable as to make Intelligent Design ridiculous.

A designer also would also not need vestigial organs (the most obvious being the vestigial legs in whales) or things like marine mammals unable to breathe underwater or the pitiful design of the human knee and back, made for non-upright walking - the fact that we have them shows that what we have here is a natural process that cannot "start over".

If there is any design in nature at all, then it must be Unintelligent Design. And perhaps the most stunning proof of this, is the existence of Creationists.

Friday, August 05, 2005

“I Want What Saul Got”

Derek asked me to post a message on this blog for him, so... here it is.


“I Want What Saul Got”
by. Derek Sansone

Seeing is knowing....Not accepting or believing...

So "Saul" never needed faith. Just faith that Jesus’ propositions were true...But he indeed had an encounter with "a" Jesus. So, Saul had to rely on an empirical encounter....Worldly wisdom! His innate reasoning machine deliberating with his own historical accumulation of experiences….

Then he goes after those who have not had the same empirical encounter as he did....

A little special pleading here, don't ya think...Saul, according to Acts, persecuted the early church....He wasn’t a believer until after he saw and heard the floating/glowing Jesus...But also has a God believing preposition that helped him…But so what, he didn’t really need that since he saw Jesus….I’d be pretty damn convinced after that, how bout you??? But the appearance of Jesus is neither true or false….It simply "is"….

He see "a" Jesus, that particular floating/glowing Jesus blinds him….Any propositional inference from that Jesus would be hard to contest after he just blinds your ass….Maybe there are other Gods and Jesus' up there floating around, but at least in Sauls case, at that moment, he did has a first hand cognition of that particular Jesus…he is justified, and it is not a true belief. It's a knowledge from a first hand experience gained. NOT a gained experience of someone "telling" him about a floating/glowing Jesus....

Justified true beliefs = knowledge are mistaken. Epistemologically speaking.. A justified true belief or acceptance is no better than a simple supposed conclusion from personal calculation and scrutiny….But this is in the realm of propositional inference. Not "object" cognition….If you see an object and you name it "shoe"…then the next day you see another object that resembles the characteristics that you have classified as "shoe", then you are in a state of re- cognition, or re-discovery…But these labels can be yours to differentiate objects for easier communication with your community. Heck, you may even create a new language…

But the "shoe" is neither true or false…If you are being deceived than you don’t know it, you are justifiably ignorant….and are still in a position of cognition…Not having to believe or accept as true…
Saul had a first hand cognition of the floating /glowing Jesus on the road to Damascus, we did not…Big difference…and because of this we are justified in rejecting his propositions regarding Jesus….

But what do we get? Do we get the same deal or even remotely a similar deal?
Nope. We have to take his words for it....We have to rely on hear say and other testimony....We have to rely on blind faith....

Mr. Manata wants to use the empirical worldview to arrive at the bible, then he wants to ridicule those who come to contrary conclusions about it's content...

His bible has to stand on the shoulders of the irreducible axiom of human existence. This is the precondition for logical inference, morality (behavior) and scientific discovery...We are the necessary condition to arrive anywhere...Not "god"....If "God" is the precondition, Paul and the rest of "Six Flags Over Jesus", should show us why, and not just assert this. At best they could say that God is the creator of "us" in our axiomatic state, but this is a design argument, not anything more...

But, I can prove that we are the precondition...Independent of any divine guidance from an invisible sky daddy...Stay tuned for my Matt Slick debate ion August 13th....(Hellboundalleee)
Christians learn who and what God is after they presuppose our material foundations...

Saul, Peter and the rest of the gang, according to scripture, did not have any room for faith....They saw....
1st John 1, says, "these are things that we have seen and heard"
So now do you "see"....They had no need for faith....They are just telling us about their encounters, which aside is another debate on authenticity....But not now....

Saul never needed to believe or have a supposition regarding his experience....

I remember back when I debated Gene Cook, and Paul asked me if I knew there was a fan in front of me…..Well, I learned a lot since then….and the answer is yes, I knew that there was a fan in front of me….

I just didn’t understand his little game he was playing….He was good, and Paul is a crafty individual, I will give him that much…..But, as data comes in and the advancements in knowledge proceed, I have a new perceptive on Epistemology…I have been knee deep in it these last few months….

So, where is this all going? Why is this important in defending our rejections of the Christian worldview?

Well, you see, Paul Manata makes reference to himself giving proofs for the validity of his worldview…But he follows that claim with, ”proof is not persuasion”…

But as we have seen. Paul tried desperately to persuade his fellow Jews…. So here are some verses that I would like Paul to explain if persuasion is not expected to be proof, and how do you know you have proven a proposition? If you have a factual experience with some event, and now poses a first hand cognition/discovery, how can you expect to convey the same experience to someone if they have not the same sensory stimulus that you had? As Paul had his vision, others did not.....

Lets look at some bible verses, shall we?

Peter proclaimed, Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him [Jesus] both Lord and Messiah (Acts 2:36).

How would they know for certain? From Peters proclamation ??? Peters words persuading them??? This is insufficient…

Saul increased the more in strength and confounded the Jews that dwelt at Damascus, proving that Jesus is the Messiah (Acts 9:22).

So Saul again, just blabbed about his own experience, and that is supposed to be proof? That doesn’t prove anything even if it was a fact of reality to Saul……

As his custom was, Paul went into the synagogue, and on three Sabbath days he reasoned with them from the Scriptures (Acts 17:2).

Reasoned huh? So he again spoke about his experience and tried to get them to accept his propositions???? Just by words???

So he reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews and the God-fearing Greeks, as well as[4] in the marketplace day by day with those who happened to be there, [including] certain Epicurean and Stoic philosophers (Acts 17:17).

Again, speaking about this and that, expecting them to appeal and trust him??? To accept his words as the truth? Paul was seriously a very confused man…..Did he not remember that his own acceptance came from a vision, an empirical observation! Why would he not understand the rejection he received from the Greeks? And those who did accept, just had the sufficient preposition…

Every Sabbath he reasoned in the synagogue, trying to persuade Jews and Greeks (Acts 18:4).

Paul entered the synagogue and spoke boldly there for three months, arguing persuasively about the kingdom of God... [and later] reasoning daily in the school of Tyrannus (Acts 19:8-9).

Argued persuasively huh???? You mean he had to rely on his own testimonial words? But his experience had nothing to do with words. He saw something....They did not....

So, if I walked into the seminaries and churches and argued, reasoned persuasively, that God came down in the form of a floating ghost, and told me that there was no Jesus, and that the whole movement was fictitiously created from personal disputes over the reform of Jewish orthodoxy…That all churches were erred.......

Does that mean it’s true? How would I prove it to someone? Proof doesn’t mean persuasions??? So the acceptance of any given proposition is going to be a personal issue, because when one reasons through the incoming data that is presented within the proposition, he deliberates according to his own historic relevance and relative association with the terms ….Also, if they don’t trust Paul, or give merit to him, that moves into a matter of devaluation. Paul should have realized that…… so should have an Omnipotent Omniscient God, and his avatar Jesus….Judgement from such a alleged being is absurd and foolish….Why? We have not the same chances as Paul and the rest of the disciples….They saw. We get to read about what they saw….BIG DIFFERENCE!!! We have darn good reasons to reject those propositions….

So Mr. Manata, can you show us how you can prove without persuasion? Your beloved brothers persuaded and reasoned......Does that mean they are automatically deemed right? And those who don't buy their testimony are wrong?

Christians are like tourists in a boat ride that accidentally discover an island paradise, but won't tell you how they discovered it....


Because they would give away the process, and by doing so, they'd be appealing to Empiricism......which is the real precondition for there new worldview.... (Along with the irreducible axiomatic nature of our individual existence….)

They use Empiricism as a tour guide, then shoot a hole in its boat to sink it, so it can never tell anyone how they actually got there....

They raise their kids on this island and eventually it's a whole new culture...

Here’s the deal. The biblical content in READ or HEARD, via sensory input….. This is a blatant Stolen Concept Fallacy, and I have yet to hear Paul Manata justify his worldview without presupposing and affirming the accuracy of sensory stimulus. Without sensory organs, there would be no convection of his worldview…And as I said in our debate, his worldview presupposes mine…

Now, once a person READS or HEARS the biblical content, he then is capable of deriving multiple conceptions regarding ‘God”….

So, let’s walk through this again….

Step 1 - Reactively Acquire Bible Content

Step 2 - Abstract meanings from the written document pertaining to the concept of God….

Step 3 - Attack and ridicule the very mechanism in which this data had arrived….by appealing to the bible content without giving props to the real necessary preconditions….

Thank you,

Derek Sansone

Monday, August 01, 2005

What is atheism ?

We all know what atheism is. Atheism is the lack of belief in God or gods. No excluded middle, no exception, we all agree with that. And there is implicit atheism and explicit atheism. That's all fine.

Now the question I want to raise is, what does that mean within the context of evangelizing ? Well, I already have a page about the reasons why one should be an atheist. Most of them are, inevitably, negative in nature - they illustrate what you lost when you joined a religion, not what you are gaining from atheism itself. This is natural, since atheism is purely negative in nature. Atheism is not a philosophy or a belief system, it is just one lack of belief in one imaginary construct.

So atheism is a peculiar position for an evangelist in that you don't necessarily have any answers to give. Many atheists don't have any answers and aren't as efficient at evangelizing because they don't provide a safe space for the Christian to look at and feel comfortable with before jumping away from religious indoctrination. This is not great. Ideally, there should be a safe space there, one made of the bonds of friendship, family and love, the power of science, the control and responsability brought about by individualism, the beauty of life and nature, and so on.

We don't tend to be as nurturing as we can be (if you'll pardon me the glib generalization), primarily because natural atheism is not usually correlated with attachment to other people's feelings and ideas. But individualism does not mean detachment : ideally, one should always be able to retain one's borders while sharing other people's opinions and feelings.

Atheism is not a safe space, it's opening the door. Atheism provides one with the mental freedom to regain one's personal values, and to get the tools one needs to rectify one's life, and progress within it. The safe space is on the other side of the door, if one wants to enter. Some born-again atheists just open the door, step out, and then ram their head against the door forever. You can do that too, but it's not very productive.

Since people have many collectivist constructs, not just God, atheism in itself is still not enough to be an individualist. But it is definitely the most popular aspect of it, at least in North America. In Europe, political collectivism is equally popular, so there are more targets there. Religions, communism and nazism are recognized as competing pseudo-religions, competing belief systems (not to mention cults, and some pseudo-scientific beliefs). Basically, the main thrust of any individualist, rational evangelizing is to liberate the individual's life and values from their self-imposed belief systems, so that everyone can live at peace with each other and believe whatever they want in their own private lives. That is the ultimate goal. Beyond that, someone can still be whatever he wants, as long as he has chosen it based on his own values, not based on belief. So an individualist does not have to be against religion or politics of necessity, although he will tend to be.

Paul's hyperbole

In my last blog I showed just how deep a level of commitment Jesus commands his follower to go. It is complete self-abnegation. It has been pointed out that Jesus was not speaking literally here and he is rather using hyperbole to stress a point. I would like to know how one can determine what is hyperbole and what is not. But this is not the thrust of this blog so I will lay that topic aside.

I must confess that while writing that previous blog the issue of hyperbole came to mind. I wanted to address that but the article was getting a little long. In this blog I shall confront the claim of hyperbole.

Paul did not argue against my original conclusion in the previous blog but rather offered up hyperbole as the only rational explanation of Jesus' words. I can only take that to mean that I am right about the literal interpretation. Taken literally one would have to shrivel up and die for the cause of Christ. I must confess – Paul has been the victim of a diabolical plot.

Those of us who follow an objective approach know that in order for the ethical principle of altruism to be followed the follower must default on it at some point. The fact that Paul [by whatever means of deciphering] knows that Jesus is speaking hyperbole betrays the fact that he knows that life, in order to be lived, must have some other basis for living. What Paul embraces implicitly is what a person with objective standards embraces explicitly. That basis or standard by which man lives is life. Specifically, man's life. The question that arises is “Why does man need values?” The answer “To live.” Values are those things we seek in our existence in order to live and the fact that Paul has to use hyperbole to salvage Jesus' ethic betrays this objective fact. At the root, Paul's ethic is bankrupt.

What is even juicier is that because of divine command one follows the ethic of altruism not out of selfless devotion but out of pure selfish motivation. While a person may say that they are following the commands of Christ because they love him they cannot escape the fact that they follow him because their rear end is toast if they don't. So, even in matters of spirit they betray selfish motives for following an ethic of altruism.

One cannot escape the ethic of rational egoism. Paul's hyperbole proves that. Thanks Paul.