- Five days ago, I wrote a piece about how social pressure is the proper tool by which antitheists can achieve the end of faith. That piece was mostly for antitheists, particularly since I hear from them all too frequently that making rational arguments against Christians is a waste of time since they won't listen. Rozumalski commented on that post, using it to shoehorn in his idea that liberal Christianity is above criticism, which we all know is an example of the special pleading fallacy since Christianity in total doesn't have evidence to support it and since therefore there is no reliable method by which we can tell the validity of one Christianity from another. Rozumalski, like every Christian ever, wants his beliefs to be treated differently from other ones, which he sees as darkening the name and legacy of Jesus.
- I responded to Rozumalski, indicating why I choose to go after Christianity of all stripes as my first target (since he accused me of being mean to Christianity when Islam is clearly the trouble-maker, using my citation of 9/11 as insight into my thinking). I could retitle this post "Green Letter Wars, Episode IV: A New Hope for Rozumalski," but I won't. I hadn't thought of the Star Wars allusion yet.
- Rozumalski replied to me again. It was pretty epic--in the sense that it spanned four long comments.
- I replied to Rozumalski a bit more harshly, "Green Letter Wars, Episode V: Rozumalski Strikes Back." Particularly, I indicated for him that without evidence, particularly given the burden of proof upon every theist, he has no case for Christianity. I don't think he realizes that I already blew up his Death Star, because he replied to me yet again. This link is the most relevant to this post, because it's the one I'll be quoting and responding to. No, there will not be Jawas or speeders in the forest.
Rozumalski starts "strong":
No, this leads to an argument that I have formulated from our dialogue. Here it is:Keith, please support #2 with more than a bald assertion. Your #3 depends upon it. I'm willing to bet that you will have a very difficult time convincing anyone other than people who already believe (and thus warp the evidence before their very eyes) that #2 is supported. I'd bet that most rational people will stop reading this here, in fact, seeing that you debunked yourself completely.
1. Antitheists would be reasonably justified in undermining Christian faith if the Christian faith causes Christians to commit acts of violence or if Christianity is obviously false to most rational people.
2. The Christian faith does not cause Christians to commit acts of violence and it is not obviously false to most rational people.
3. Therefore antitheists are not reasonably justified in undermining the Christian faith. (from MT)
Do not resort to cherry picking to support #2. It is easy to find decent Christians that directly cause no problems. No one doubts this--even if they could live better without the unsupported beliefs that warp their moral and "spiritual" thinking (See chapters 8-11 in my book). The problem with the decent Christians has already been covered: they create and maintain the context that gives rise to and affords the societal protection that allows fundies and other problematic believers to come about and to flourish.
Let me elaborate: the First Amendment ensures that we can make no law limiting how someone practices their religion so long as it doesn't directly violate other laws. That means that we cannot legally stop a fundie from being crazy based upon their insane and damaging beliefs. Social pressure, however, can. That social pressure is super-weak, though, if tons of people are still Christians and defend the Christian scriptures as being above being seen for what they are (ancient mythological literature) and the Christian way of life (obviously, to be determined by the believer, including in your case).
Therefore, your syllogism breaks at #2 since it isn't supported except on bald assertion. But it's worse. Your #1 isn't even right. Christianity is a set of ideas that exists in the marketplace of ideas, as it's been called. Therefore, being unsupported by evidence (with evidence suggesting that it can be problematic), even if no Christian committed violence or was actually sophisticated enough to appear true, it would still be within the purview of antitheists to say "show us the evidence, or belief actually is not rational."
Admittedly, if the conditions in #1 were met, that no Christian is ever violent (or even that they're better about that by far on average) and the doctrines appeared more reasonable, antitheists possibly wouldn't have ever said too much. Unfortunately, that's not the case. Ask almost any antitheist why he/she is an antitheist. It's not about philosophy for better than 90% of them, I'd wager.
Now throughout the dialogue you asked me repeatedly to prove that God exits, and have pointed out that I’m not capable of proving to all rational people that God exists.First, let me amend that for you: you're actually not capable of proving to any rational person that God exists, however many you can convince. This difference is not inconsequential.
With that fixed... Right, so why are you still here? I won't say "case closed," because, who knows? Maybe you'll come up with something. I'd bet incredibly long odds (infinitely long, actually, see Chapter 5) against it.
The problem with all this is that you’re committing the argument from ignorance fallacy.Um, no. I'm committing the "don't believe anything on insufficient evidence" anti-fallacy. You're the one claiming something exists when you don't have proof. That means you're actually the one committing this fallacy while trying to use this line, which you think sounds clever (and would be if it were accurate), to shift the burden of proof, another fallacy you repeatedly commit.
I can't fault you too much for committing the burden-shifting fallacy. It is the core of theology to commit the burden-shifting fallacy.
The only way that you can rationally say that something doesn’t exist is if you’ve made an exhaustive search for that thing and you can’t find any evidence for it.Perhaps. Have you heard of Russell's Teapot? It's full of coffee, you know. How about the Pink Invisible Unicorn? Flying Spaghetti Monster? Zeus?
See this is the point. It's not about categorically saying something doesn't exist. That would be disproving a negative. This reveals that you really don't understand this burden of proof thing, for all the philosophical-sounding jargon you're using. This is about refusing to believe in things on insufficient evidence.
To believe in your brand of Christianity is to believe in some ideas (without evidence for them) that would radically change my behavior. Many theists jump at this point and say "A HA!" and try to say that atheists are just interested in living their lives outside of God's laws. That's bullshit. We don't see any reason to believe that there is a God, thus don't see any reason to believe there are any laws from God, and thus don't see that it is reasonable to sign up for sets of rules, sometimes quite arbitrary and at other times quite restrictive (often both), without having sufficient reason to sign up for them. It's not about "wanting to sin," it's about not wanting to put unjustified limitations upon oneself based upon the imagined demands of an imaginary God.
To believe in your brand of Christianity is also to believe in all kinds of things that displace purpose, meaning, and value in our lives (please, read my book for my arguments about these things, particularly Chapters 6, 8, and 9 in this case).
For example if you look around a room and see no elephant then you can rationally say that no elephant exists in that room. We can also rationally conclude that unicorns almost certainly don’t exit on earth since we’ve found no evidence for them.If I were to argue like you here, so you can know what it feels like, I'd suggest that perhaps the elephant in the room is invisible or tiny or perfectly camouflaged. I'd also suggest that you cannot exhaustively search the entire room because the elephant could be moving very fast while being very hard to see, and so everywhere you look, he has already moved.
Then you mention unicorns on earth and contradict the very point you're trying to make. Nicely done.
Since God is said to be an immaterial entity and we currently don’t have the ability to detect immaterial objects we can’t rationally conclude that our lack of evidence is proof that God doesn’t exist.Immaterial entity? Then how does it interact with material? Or does it not interact with material. Did you read the title of my blog and my book: God Doesn't; We Do.
I argue that God doesn't exist, in all likelihood, because it follows from parsimony on my real thesis: God doesn't DO anything. For all intents and purposes, an immaterial entity that doesn't do anything is identical to an entity that doesn't exist. Of course, you'd know that already if you had bothered to read my book.
What’s more it is quite possible that God is the metaphysical cause of the universe and everything in it, so we actually might have indirect evidence of Gods existence.Chapters 4 and 6. Also, this doesn't really mean anything, does it? The "metaphysical cause of the universe and everything in it"? "Might have indirect evidence"? Yeah, if we define all of that stuff to be that way.
This brings me back to the axioms bit (again, See Chapter 4). If you want to define God as the "metaphysical cause of the universe," what the hell do I care? What does that do? Isn't that the deist's God? What does it have to do with Christianity? What does it DO? You can't answer any of those questions from that definition of God.
This definition is quite popular with philosophers. They usually parse it out better, though: the necessary agent cause of contingent reality. They can't explain why a necessary cause has to be an agent, though, so they just shove that in there.
Again, rational people are supposed to sign up for all of this Christianity nonsense because God can be defined to be the metaphysical cause of the universe and thus that we might have indirect evidence for God (but not Christianity)? That word "rational" you keep using. I do not think it means what you think it means.
It should also be noted that God is logically possible in all possible worlds unlike contingent beings like us. Humans are not logically possible in worlds without matter or worlds without planets or worlds without heavier elements. God who is said to be a necessary, self-existent and immaterial being is logically possible in all of these possible worlds.Not content with teleology, Rozumalski quickly switches to ontology. No one has ever pulled that gambit before. Reality is not determined by logic. Reality determines logic. You can read more about my opinion of St. Anselm's ontological argument for God in Chapter 6. You can read more about my opinion of this slightly more sophisticated ontological argument here. You're essentially paraphrasing Gödel's ontological argument in this one. Follow that link (labeled "here") and see what I think of it. Maybe I'll make it a post here as well, so it's easier for folks like you to find.
The only way that something could be obviously false to most rational people is if we have made an exhaustive and conclusive search for evidence of that thing or if that thing is logically impossible.Wrong. The search need not be "exhaustive" in the technical sense. We can estimate the likelihood of finding such a thing to be sufficiently low to be getting on with without having to look everywhere. See your argument about unicorns, just above.
What’s more, as I said before theists have formulated several valid arguments capable of persuading some rational people that God exists.First, the arguments are actually not valid. They all assume what they want to show or leap a non sequitur to get there from some "first principle" that is also just assumed to exist.
Second, homeopaths have formulated several "valid" arguments capable of persuading some rational people that homeopathic medicine works. Racists have formulated several "valid" arguments capable of persuading some rational people that other races are inferior. Chinese con men have formulated several "valid" arguments (with demonstrations!) that by doing certain esoteric looking exercises for long periods of time that magic powers like knocking people over without touching them is possible from using magical "empty forces."
Those things all must be true too, right?
Given all this information we can conclude that the second half of premise two is correct.No we can't. We can, however, conclude that you're a fool. You want it to be true, so you are convinced by the unconvincing.
Since premises one and two are true and are validly constructed it logically follows that the conclusion that antitheists are not reasonably justified in undermining the Christian faith.Categorically wrong. Premises 1 and 2 are not established.
What’s more is that you also never demonstrated that a content theist’s existence is really marred if they are wrong. You talked about short term affects, but you never explained how this would carry on past the 0 to 120 years of someone’s life. You never explained how the effects of false belief persist after all traces of human existence has been wiped away from the universe.Yes I did. I wrote a few chapters in a fucking book about it--a book that you haven't read yet.
Wait, though. I "never explained how this would carry on past the 0 to 120 years of someone’s life"? What the hell are you talking about? First, it does--because we teach other people about our beliefs. That's why you know about Christianity in the first place. Jesus died 2000 years ago, and yet here you are talking about it after the 30-some-odd years of his life. Why? Because we share those beliefs with others. You can't be serious.
I don't think this is what you meant, though. I think you meant after we die how it matters what we believed. It doesn't, except in the impact it had on others. It doesn't, except that during that time, that brief window between birth and death when our everything is, we traded out much of what could have been for what we hoped was (on no good evidence). Ultimately, that doesn't matter too much, but for the person that made the trade, it's profoundly sad.
That last bit, "You never explained how the effects of false belief persist after all traces of human existence has been wiped away from the universe." Now... that's something. I actually did. I said I don't think that there is any reason to believe in ultimate purpose. I don't think those effects persist at all at that point. Why should I?
Unlike you, most likely because of your religious beliefs, I am concerned with the quality of life here and now for the living that are actually experiencing it, which is the only thing we have evidence for (barring almost empty philosophical bullshitting about if that can be proved or not). I do not give a rat's ass about what happens after all traces of life are wiped from the universe. I don't think anyone should.
This is very good evidence for me of one of the serious costs of your religious beliefs. Your thinking is warped away from the meaningful now into the literally meaningless immeasurable future. You are literally hung up on the fact that your one precious life isn't good enough. It makes your religion look so petty and pitiful. It also makes it a death cult that is obscenely preoccupied with that which does not matter at the cost of that which does. And you preface this revelation with the audacity to tell me I haven't demonstrated how these beliefs are damaging. You, sir, are the proof--without even having to get into the details of how you're helping to maintain and protect the context by which gems like the Westboro Baptists do their thing.
If you enjoy my writing, you can read more of it in my first book, God Doesn't; We Do: Only Humans Can Solve Human Challenges. If you choose to pick it up, I thank you for your support of myself, my family, and indie authors in general.