On Speaking to Brick Walls

Paul Baird responded. He still doesn’t get it. (Surprise, suprise.)

I wonder when they are going to learn that it takes an argument to respond to an argument?

Paul asks “Where’s the beef?” – Which, of course, leads me immediately to ask “Would you know it if you saw it?” He addresses nothing whatsoever that I said. Nothing at all. Further, if he wants to know why I turned the comments off, he can look at our site rules to find out.

Here is his assertion. “It seems to me that the Pagan worldview I put up stands undefeated by Joshua Whipps.”

Isn’t that special? (To quote another 80’s pop culture meme) Now, care to tell us something, anything, about how you plan on demonstrating that? It’s all very well to give us an insight into your personal phantasmagoria, but it really is helpful if you actually say something substantive, instead of giving us your opinion, sans argumentation. Did you plan on dealing with what I said, or did you even bother reading it?

“Every criticism that you’ve made and every piece of firm ground that you claim, I can make and I can claim.”

Which, of course, he states without dealing with anything I’ve argued, specifically, that says this is not the case, and cannot be the case. That, however, would require critical thinking and logical argumentation – which he apparently can’t be bothered to apply himself to.

“It’s annoying isn’t it ? Now if your god would only just turn up it would settle everything wouldn’t it ? Without that your argument is no better than mine.”

What is annoying, Paul, is speaking to a brick wall. Just once, I’d love to encounter just a smidgen of critical thinking on the subject, instead of this bloody-minded obstinacy. At this point, I really do wonder if Paul even reads these. I’m really beginning to think that he doesn’t even bother, and just throws out condescending retorts when he doesn’t have a clue as to what he is responding to. If he is reading it, it’s patently obvious that he doesn’t understand it.

Lastly – he takes a quote from me, and clearly shows he has no idea what I’m actually saying – which is what I was telling him he was doing, and is proceeding to tell me I’m wrong about. Unfortunately, all he had to do was read the context, instead of skimming it for things to respond to with one-liners. He quotes:

“If he persists in doing so, he is going to be left as the only one discussing what he is discussing.”

What was I talking about, folks? Let’s, you know, actually read the context – like people interested in reading what other people are saying do.

“Reinterpreting our statements through his personal experience has done nothing but lead him astray from where the discussion is. If he persists in doing so, he is going to be left as the only one discussing what he is discussing. This is the case, because it bears no resemblance to what we are saying, nor does it accurately reflect what we believe. If he wants to rectify his problematic interpretation of what is being said, all he need do is begin asking questions, rather than making pronouncements about what the subject is. It’s really that simple. The problem is not that we are somehow “hiding” the argument away – it’s that Paul has shown almost no effort whatsoever toward understanding what the argument is, or what it means. It is not especially difficult, were he willing to put in that effort. I hope he does, and begins to ask, rather than to tell us.”

Notice: I point out that he is reinterpreting our statements through his personal experience. What did he just do? That exact thing. It led him astray. I am saying: “Paul is talking about what someone else believes, not what I believe, and eventually we’re going to give up on his perpetual strawman machine.” Paul, apparently, thinks I’m saying: “I don’t want to talk to you anymore”, and his response is “but you keep doing it!” His interpretation of what is being said is problematic. This needs to be rectified. To do so, he needs to ask, instead of pronounce. He doesn’t understand what we’re saying, in even the simplest of matters, and we’ve definitely put in an effort to help him to understand. Instead of taking what was said, he tells us what it means. Sorry to burst his bubble – but I said what I meant. If we are to take what I actually said, and respond with what he actually said, we are left with the fact that it “suits him” to be dealing with something no one else is talking about. As in, something that no one believes, where nobody thinks like he says they do, or holds to what he is critiquing. Apparently, this is adequate, to Paul Baird.

In any case, he doesn’t show any desire to learn, and less evidence of understanding what we’re talking about. So, unless he’s willing to start learning, and converse in an adult fashion, I really don’t have anything else I can say to him. As I said, I really hope he learns something from this – but sadly, he doesn’t seem willing. If he’s interested in having a conversation, he needs to listen to, and comprehend what his conversation partner is actually saying. Thus far, he simply hasn’t shown the least inclination toward doing so.


14 Comments

BK

I found this interesting …

“Every criticism that you’ve made and every piece of firm ground that you claim, I can make and I can claim.”

Except the firm ground we claim is the Bible.

and this …

“Now if your god would only just turn up it would settle everything wouldn’t it ? ”

No, it most definitely would not. God has “turned up” before in the past, and it didn’t settle everything. Even so, it clearly demonstrates that PB is missing the *nature* of the argument. It isn’t about evidence (God turning up), it is about the *nature* of Evidence. It isn’t about facts (God exists), it is about the *nature* of facts.

I realize this can be pretty difficult stuff to grasp, but PB doesn’t seem to be making any effort to understand our position, even though the internet has made it extremely simple for him to do so.

BK

shadow

there is a comment at the other blog to the effect that since C.L. Bolt and RazorsKiss have offered a substantial number of arguments in support of their side it follows that pb&j take an “impressive” amount of “effort” for presuppositionalists to “debunk,” but this is a non-sequitur and, if i may, quite a silly one. it is clear to me that pb&j are in well over their heads and likely know it.

Ben W.

Paul Baird, in denying his reliance on the Christian worldview, is much like the child with crumbs on his face when Mom comes asking about the cookie jar.

Nicholas

I see things a bit differently. I would say Paul is pretty much right on target with his criticism regarding the fallacy of special pleading. He also is on target when he asks, “Where’s the beef?” Presuppositionalism is not an argument for the existence of God, rather it is an attempt to critique the worldview of anyone who does not believe in the “bibilical God”. Anybody with a cursory knowledge of the problems of philosophy can poke holes in the worldviews of others. What I would be interested in seeing is an actual argument that demonstrates the impossibility of a godless universe.

RazorsKiss

I see things a bit differently.

While this is easy to say, wouldn’t be much more effective to make an argument, rather than simply assert that it is so?

I would say Paul is pretty much right on target with his criticism regarding the fallacy of special pleading.

Again, while it’s easy to assert, wouldn’t it actually make your case to argue it?

He also is on target when he asks, “Where’s the beef?”

You haven’t dealt with anything that Chris or I have argued thus far.

Presuppositionalism is not an argument for the existence of God, rather it is an attempt to critique the worldview of anyone who does not believe in the “bibilical God”.

Actually, you’re wrong on both counts, and falling prey to a simple category error. Quite obviously, Presuppositionalism is not intended to be an argument, nor should it be considered to be such. It is an apologetics methodology. This is incredibly basic stuff. The argument, obviously, is the transcendental argument, which you fail to address at all. Instead, you’re speaking as if the methodology is the argument, which is… rather problematic. Further, the internal critique is not “presuppositionalism”, but merely part of the transcendental argument.

Anybody with a cursory knowledge of the problems of philosophy can poke holes in the worldviews of others.

Really? How would one do this if one’s own worldview is incapable of justifying knowledge, for instance?

What I would be interested in seeing is an actual argument that demonstrates the impossibility of a godless universe.

Then I suggest that you study the difference between presuppositionalism and the transcendental argument, instead of making assertions with such a fundamental confusion involved.

Nicholas

Razorskiss, I stated that presuppositionalism is *not* an argument and in reply you stated that I was wrong and that presuppositionalism was not intended to be an argument, i.e. presuppositionalism is not an argument. I also never stated that it was intended to be an argument. This is incredibly basic stuff.

I agree that it is a methodology and the way I have seen this methodology practiced is to critique the worldviews of atheists. Thus far, all I have seen are a muddled paragraph or two written that I think are intended to resemble an argument, however what I would suggest is to lay out the logic of the argument in a more concise manner.

“Really? How would one do this if one’s own worldview is incapable of justifying knowledge, for instance?”

You are the one who needs to justify knowledge. SO far you have zero justification for God. As far as I can tell, God and knowledge are a product of your imagination. Lay out the argument clearly and demonstrate the impossibility of a god-less universe. Thank you.

RazorsKiss

Razorskiss, I stated that presuppositionalism is *not* an argument and in reply you stated that I was wrong and that presuppositionalism was not intended to be an argument, i.e. presuppositionalism is not an argument. I also never stated that it was intended to be an argument. This is incredibly basic stuff.

If you knew that presuppositionalism isn’t an argument, then why were you making a point that it wasn’t? That’s like saying water isn’t supposed to be steel. Now, the argument *in* presuppositionalism is the transcendental argument. If you haven’t seen that argument, I suggest you use your little fingers and type “transcendental argument” into the search box to the upper right. When you do that, you’ll find that unlike the artificial limitations of the contents of a single post, there is a *wealth* of information on that argument to be found!

I agree that it is a methodology and the way I have seen this methodology practiced is to critique the worldviews of atheists.

Then perhaps you’ll understand that this is perhaps due to the limitations of your reading on the subject, not the limitations on what has been written on it? Studying primary sources is the best way to study any topic, I’m sure you’ve noticed by this point – but even secondary or tertiary sources such as this blog and others will enable you to rectify this unaccountable gap in your reading.

Thus far, all I have seen are a muddled paragraph or two written that I think are intended to resemble an argument, however what I would suggest is to lay out the logic of the argument in a more concise manner.

Again, I would simply suggest to you that this is due to the lack of study on your part. For instance, all I’ve seen from you, were I to limit myself to your comments on this blog, is a muddled paragraph or two. (The argument I just made, incidentally, is called “retortion”.)

“Really? How would one do this if one’s own worldview is incapable of justifying knowledge, for instance?”

You are the one who needs to justify knowledge. SO far you have zero justification for God. As far as I can tell, God and knowledge are a product of your imagination. Lay out the argument clearly and demonstrate the impossibility of a god-less universe. Thank you.

Why don’t you need to justify knowledge in order to make this assertion, sir? I can justify knowledge, and have, in formal debate. If you had made even a cursory attempt to search this blog, you would know that this is the case. I’m unable to do searches for you, but I can drop you a lmgtfy.com link, if you wish? In any case, you really have no reason to believe that I have “zero justification for God”, as you obviously can’t be bothered to avail yourself of even a search function to discover whether or not this is the case. As far as I can tell, using your standards, logic and knowledge are a product of your imagination. As far as I can tell, using your standards, you’ve failed to lay out an argument clearly, and demonstrate the impossibility of God-ordained universe. Now, if you don’t mind, use the search function we’ve so kindly offered, and please rectify the shameful lack of preparation and study of the subject that you’ve been demonstrating. Thank you.

Nicholas

I am familiar with the transcendental argument, however it would have been nice for you to write it out using symbolic logic. That would remove the ambigious language and provide a more concise logical outline of the argument, giving your readers a better understanding of the argument. Do it for the benefit of your readers. In any case, good luck with your arguments.

RazorsKiss

Would you please make up your mind and pick an objection? I mean, first there wasn’t an argument, then there was, but it was muddled, and now, it’s that it isn’t in symbolic. Talk about ambiguous… Tell you what. Why don’t you write your objection out in symbolic for us? That would remove the ambigious language and provide a more concise logical outline of the objection, giving our readers a better understanding of the objection.

shadow

like most other atheists on this site Nicholas is trying to change the topic again. this whole thing started with a demand for a formal proof and it was satisfied. now the atheists all want something more when they have not gotten the first thing.

Nicholas

Unfortunately, the last comment I wrote did not get through and is still awaiting moderation. I don’t expect this one will make it through either.

Mr. “shadow”… When I ask for Razorkiss to write his argument in symbolic for the sake of clarity, I am referring to the argument in which his conclusion is that “only a self-sufficient knower (such as God reveals Himself to be) can grant us a functional, intelligible epistemology”. The argument is essentialy attempting to establish the real existence of God from God’s abstract existence, i.e. it is just a re-formulation of the ontological argument.

Now I could be wrong, but I don’t think that Razorkiss wants to try and defend the ontological argument.

RazorsKiss

Then your expectations are incorrect. Perhaps “as we have the time to do so” should have been in symbolic? As you could probably tell, I’ve started another post series, and I was working on that. I do responses to comments as I have time. Someone noted to me the other day; “atheists are sure a bossy lot.”

What you cite from me is one element of a transcendental argument; namely, the conclusion. Also note, you keep saying “the argument” – since you claim to know what the transcendental argument is, you should also know that a tenet of presup is that the *only* proof of God’s existence is that without him, we can’t prove anything. As such, and as I said, this is a transcendental argument that Bahnsen is making, in the book cited.

It is not “my” argument – it’s Bahnsen’s. It is not the ontological argument any more than it is the cosmological argument. It is not an argument to establish the real existence of God from God’s abstract existence. You’re right, I don’t want to defend the ontological argument; but you’re the only one saying it *is* the ontological argument. Paul says it is the cosmological argument! I do have to admit that it purely baffles me how it can be seen to matter whether I type it in symbolic or not when 1) The argument’s creator didn’t see fit to do so 2) You haven’t read the original text from which the argument comes, and neither has the person you’re on here saying is “right on target with his criticism” – when you are saying something else entirely.

If Paul is “right on target” with his criticism, as you said earlier in this exchange, then why on earth are you saying it an ontological argument, when Paul says it’s a cosmological argument, the author of the argument says it is a transcendental argument, and I am saying it is a transcendental argument? Especially considering that you haven’t read the 3 appendix chapters in which Bahnsen makes the argument to begin with! You have already contradicted yourself, Nicholas. Please don’t compound that mistake.

Nicholas

My objection isn’t that the argument isn’t in symbolic, rather I’m requesting that you write it in symbolic for the sake of clarity. Afterall, according to you I don’t have an understanding of the argument. And how is it that you can ask me to object to an argument that you have yet to provide to me as I requested?

RazorsKiss

My objection is that your objection isn’t in symbolic, rather I’m requesting that you write it in symbolic for the sake of clarity. After all, according to you, you do have an understanding of the argument, and I don’t understand any of your objections. How is it you can ask me to make an argument you say you understand already, and have made objections to? I mean, they’re fallacious, as the answer to my next question is going to show you – but that has nothing to do with whether it’s clear – it has to do with whether you are even listening.


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