Friday, 27 March 2009

Vagueness


Vagueness is your friend, if you are an apologist. Why do I say that? Well, it's actually not a bad strategy, if you are on the bad end of a debate and can't support your arguments. Let me explain.

Many apologists like to keep their beliefs hidden from view. They won't tell you what they believe, and if you ask, they find some irrelevant tangent to go off on (or they accuse you of various things to take the emphasis off the fact that they aren't answering the question). They do this for a couple of reasons. One is that if they give you some concrete belief, you can point out the logical inconsistencies of it. If they never give you anything to work with, they can safely keep their beliefs out of harm's way.

Another reason is so that they can argue for whatever they think will win the debate without having to admit that they don't even believe the position they are arguing for. Yes, it's highly dishonest, but I've found that most apologists don't care for honesty. For instance, I recently had an encounter where a theist claimed that he didn't know what omni-max meant and that he wasn't arguing for it. On a different blog the next day, he argued specifically for an omni-max deity. Why did he do this? It's because I pointed out the problems with his argument and holding to an omni-max deity. Again, it's dishonest, but most apologists don't have a problem with lying for Jesus.

Lastly, they think it's a good tactic to use so that they can stay on the offense and attack you. If no one knows what beliefs they hold, then they never have to defend, and they can continue to press and attack in the debate. When debating with an apologist, make them play their cards on the table. Point out that they shouldn't be afraid of the truth, because if they believe they are correct, then they have nothing to hide or be afraid of, since the evidence should back them up. Of course, they will inevitably lose if evidence is used, since the only evidence we have points us away from god, but that's what happens when you take the wrong side in a debate over factual matters.

15 comments:

Tiger said...

Isn't omni-max a type of movie theater?

cl said...

I'm not taking a stance one way or the other on the thing with you and Pine, but...

Fer Pete's sake, enough with the crying and whining about lack of full disclosure in discussions between atheists and believers already! Between you and Goyo it's like we're watching Yentl or something. There are very logical reasons for not painting oneself into some silly little mental category that is both culturally fabricated and deduced via personal experience. Perhaps the best reason not to label oneself "Christian" or "Catholic" or "Buddhist" or "Sikh" or "Mormon" or "Atheist" or "New Age" or whatever is to minimize the possibility of people arguing against their personal and differing interpretations of what "Christianity" or "Catholicism" or "Buddhism" or "Sikhism" or "Mormonism" or "Atheism" or "New Age thinking" logically entails. And guess what? Faulty assumptions can be made just as easily with any, all, or none of those labels.

So instead of whining and crying "dishonest" when someone hasn't painted themselves into some silly little intellectual category that quite literally exists separately in each individual's mind, why not just slow down, begin with a clean mental slate by abandoning all assumptions, and ask more questions? That people whine and cry and so badly seem to want others to categorize themselves is intriguing and lends well to psychoanalytical proffering. Perhaps some people feel threatened when they realize their canned arguments might lose a bit of punch?

Don't get me wrong. Labeling is great for categorical thinking, but the whole point of freethought is to think beyond categories. It's not your interlocutor's responsibility to provide detailed exposition of each and every nuance of their particular belief system before engagement so you don't mess up; it's your responsibility to ask your interlocutor if they actually believe what you think they believe instead of assuming and accusing them of error just because you misunderstand their belief system.

cl said...

By the way, what are intarwebs?

GCT said...

cl,
You aren't welcome here. You and your hypocrisy, lies, whining, martyr complex, and vagueness can GTFO. Ya dig? And, no one is crying here, I'm simply pointing out the intellectual dishonesty, but I'm sure you're familiar with crying and intellectual dishonesty, so I shouldn't have to tell you that (it's more intellectual dishonesty that I do have to tell you that).

cl said...

Well gee, aren't my feelings hurt.. (sniffle)

cl said...

"You aren't welcome here."

Then ban me like everyone else. But besides all that, what makes you think that your drive-by cussing, whining, crying, ad hominems, slander and sockpuppetry are welcomed at my blog? Oh wait - such amusing things are welcomed at my blog!

"I'm simply pointing out the intellectual dishonesty,"

You mean, simply assuming without evidence that your opponents are being dishonest because they don't want to wear stupid little labels you consistently malign and misunderstand? That someone doesn't label themselves does not default to dishonesty, you know. Perhaps they just want to avoid being mischaracterized?

For example, let's say I told you I was a Catholic or some other kind of "xian". Then you'd get to flank me with all sorts of illogic you use to flank "xians", like, "Paul says the natural use for women is as sex objects for men," when that's not something Catholicism logically entails. Rather, that erroneous belief is tied to your misunderstanding of Catholicism and bias against religion. My real-world evidence right here, so if anyone rational thinks I'm being 'dishonest' or 'irrational' they can hit the link and see this in action for themselves.

As the host of a blog we both visit once described you in a personal email to me, with a "pit bull who sees fit to attack every theist who comes to the site" running loose, if you were a non-atheist, would you happily oblige to jump in the "xian" clownsuit and run around the yard?

GCT said...

cl,
I've been polite about not wanting you here, and once again you come in here and act like an a-hole and spread lies.

And, say what you want about Ebon, but I've also received email from him and remember that you are the one on probation there, not me.

Lastly, it's not about labels, it's about being intellectually honest and arguing for points that you actually agree with. That you don't see a problem with it doesn't surprise me in the least since you seem to have a problem with being honest, intellectually or otherwise. Now, stop cyber-stalking me (as I've continually asked you already) and bugger off.

cl said...

1) Once again, accusations of "spreading lies" with no evidence. What in my comment constitutes spreading of lies? Seriously. Let's see if we can discuss it like men. I disagree with your claim.

2) Oddly enough, since you actually seem concerned about politeness at this blog, although it's fine to get on a thread and engage a commenter, is it "polite" to pop on a thread at one blog and attempt to smear someone when they aren't talking to or about you? It's fine if you want to discuss something, but save that BS for your own blog, not DA where it's already old hat. You and I both know damn well a big part of my probation was pure math - refusal to let you talk me down equals an inane amount of comments from the getgo because Lord knows OMGF / GCT fisks better than Fisk, not to mention the rest of the gang.

"Lastly, it's not about labels, it's about being intellectually honest and arguing for points that you actually agree with."

I don't argue points I disagree with.

"That you don't see a problem with it doesn't surprise me in the least since you seem to have a problem with being honest, intellectually or otherwise."

I do see a problem with people being intellectually dishonest. And I'm not lying when I tell you I'm not an atheist.

"Now, stop cyber-stalking me (as I've continually asked you already) and bugger off."

Then stop doing stuff like this, or actually provide evidence for your claim about Romans 1:27, for just one example. Maybe you're right? We'll never know if you keep blowing off steam.

Pine said...

OMGF:

Alrighty then. Over at DA I'll post my exact positions on every question you asked. I'll be anxious to see how the examination of my clarity help the discussion... Or if it actually draws us away from the topic of the post, which is my stated reason for my now infamous 'vagueness' over at DA in the first place.

GCT said...

cl,
"1) Once again, accusations of "spreading lies" with no evidence. What in my comment constitutes spreading of lies?"

The other thread you are commenting on is just one example. Thanks for playing, now GTFO.

"Let's see if we can discuss it like men."

I've politely asked you to leave after repeatedly pointing out your lies to you, so you come here anyway and claim that this has not been done and that you wish to act like a man? Please.

"when they aren't talking to or about you?"

Already answered, and don't try and pretend that you weren't taking a potshot at me. C'mon, we can all see through your childish taunts.

"You and I both know damn well a big part of my probation was pure math"

Wah wah. Nope, it couldn't have had anything to do with you refusing to argue in good faith, being dishonest, etc.

"And I'm not lying when I tell you I'm not an atheist."

That's pretty obvious, and I'm glad that you aren't out there representing my arguments.

GCT said...

Pine,
That's all I asked for. Incidentally, I see that you do believe in an omni-max god, after claiming that I was in the wrong for talking about it, even though it is part of the equation since you do hold those beliefs.

Secondly, you now point out that you do believe in hell, while before trying to argue against hell - claiming that evildoers would simply cease to exist.

Perhaps you can now see why I felt that the discussion was not staying honest. I won't call you out on it there - I may not be able to respond right away either.

Pine said...

GCT:

I felt you were wrong for raising the Omni-max point in that discussion as I saw it as more of a tangeant to the discussion at hand. As I stated on DA, I don't claim to be the defender of every Christian doctrine.

Before I argued against how hell is conventially defined. Again we're taking a word and arguig what that word means. I was arguing against the common usage and understanding of the word hell.

GCT said...

Pine,
"I felt you were wrong for raising the Omni-max point in that discussion as I saw it as more of a tangeant to the discussion at hand. As I stated on DA, I don't claim to be the defender of every Christian doctrine."

I'm not claiming you have to defend all Xian doctrines, including ones you don't believe in, but you should defend those that you do believe in.

The omni-max portion of god is highly relevant. If you (or anyone really) want to make claims pertaining to god's nature, morals, etc, then we have to know what kind of god we are dealing with. If god abhors evil but is powerless against it, then I wouldn't hold it against him. If he has the power to stop evil and does nothing, then there's certainly something there to talk about.

"Before I argued against how hell is conventially defined. Again we're taking a word and arguig what that word means. I was arguing against the common usage and understanding of the word hell."

I don't see much difference between the common usage and your usage. You're going to have to delineate the differences a bit more clearly.

Pine said...

GCT:

I think where we're off base is not so much in reasoning as it is in perspective. In creating man as His co-regeant over all creation, made to represent God on earth and lead all creation in worship to God, a part of man's role would require relationship with man. I'll come back to this in a second.

If I were choosing someone to be friends with, would I want someone who hung out because I held a gun to their head, or because they chose to?

If I wanted to have a deep relationship with someone, but chose not to reveal certain things about myself to them... how well could that person ever say they knew me?

Most people assume that God created all of us live our 80 or so years out on earth doing our own thing in our small community bubbles. What if mankind was really created with the purpose of serving as co-regeant over all creation, ruling with God and experiencing the best relationship with God that can be experienced?

That would require choice. It would also require God to reveal Himself to those He was going to have the relationship with. I believe that is why God allowed evil. I believe He desired those who love Him to truly know Him... all about Him. Could He have left all those who would reject Him 'uncreated'? Sure, but then those of us who love Him would have never been able to see,experience or understand certain characteristics of God such as being Holy or Just.

Romans 9:22 says, "What if God, choosing to show his wrath and make his power known, bore with great patience the objects of his wrath—prepared for destruction?"

Does God enjoy punishing wicked people? Does He take pleasure in it? No.

They why did He create them in the first place? To reveal Himself to us fully.

Does that mean God makes people go to hell? No. He allows them to choose it for themselves.

GCT said...

Pine,
"If I were choosing someone to be friends with, would I want someone who hung out because I held a gun to their head, or because they chose to?"

Yet, this is exactly what the relationship we have with god entails. He's basically saying, "Worship me or be tormented for eternity." Hanging the threat of hell over our heads is no different (except that it's even more evil) than holding a gun to our heads.

"If I wanted to have a deep relationship with someone, but chose not to reveal certain things about myself to them... how well could that person ever say they knew me?"

And, that's where we are with god, since there's so much that we don't know about god.

"What if mankind was really created with the purpose of serving as co-regeant over all creation, ruling with God and experiencing the best relationship with God that can be experienced?"

I'm not sure how this differs from heaven, in that the end result is eternal bliss, correct? What about hell? For the people that end up there, was that their purpose? What does it serve? It's a place where people are tortured for eternity, while not having a chance for redemption or rehabilitation. It's a completely punitive place.

"That would require choice."

I don't see why. Please support why a choice is required for us to be in a relationship with god.

"It would also require God to reveal Himself to those He was going to have the relationship with. I believe that is why God allowed evil. I believe He desired those who love Him to truly know Him... all about Him."

I'm not seeing the connection nor the logical necessity of evil in your statement. Please clarify.

"Could He have left all those who would reject Him 'uncreated'?"

Yes. Again, I ask you, if you knew that person A would drown if they were to go swimming at a certain time, would you try and stop them from swimming or wait until they die and shrug your shoulders and claim, "Well, it was their free will after all."

"Sure, but then those of us who love Him would have never been able to see,experience or understand certain characteristics of God such as being Holy or Just."

Again, I see no reason why holiness or justice require evil. Also, if you hold to the tenets of depravity (I don't know if you do or not) and that we all deserve hell and only are saved through god's grace, then god is not showing justice, because he is not giving what is deserved. If you don't believe this, then disregard.

"Does God enjoy punishing wicked people? Does He take pleasure in it? No."

Then why do it at all? It's not like god is sitting there saying, "Well, I don't want to throw you into hell, but I have to." god doesn't have to do anything.

"Does that mean God makes people go to hell? No. He allows them to choose it for themselves."

Sorry, but no one chooses hell. Do you think the millions of Muslims out there choose hell? Do you think that atheists choose hell? Of course not.