Sunday, March 31, 2013

A Necessary Being is Necessarily Necessary!

The pastor’s Round Five claim that “a necessary being is necessarily necessary!“ sums up the whole presupp project. It’s circular, because it’s circularly circular. And it’s a bare assertion, because, well, he said so.

In this debate, Round Three is where the pastor stopped making sense. As Russell points out, Rounds One and Two were spent rope-a-doping. When Russell presses him to make an argument or concede the debate, the pastor responds as if it’s a personal affront, and discards any pretense of making a sensible argument. He instead tries to throw every sciencey, philosophy-ey, theology-ey word or phrase he can muster at Russell.

Round Four was worse.

It doesn’t surprise me that his Round Five effort bounces, skids and rolls along the bottom of the Grand Canyon of bad thinking.
the Grand Canyon of bad thinking

I’m going to occasionally make some disrespectful comments about PSF in this post, so tune out now, if that offends you. I’m several degrees removed from the debate, don’t have a requirement to maintain collegiality, and I feel like venting.

The pastor’s words come off as so aggressively stupid - it pisses me off that a human being with this avowed frame of mind has influence over other human beings. Can you imagine being this guy’s kid??? You’d be screwed up for decades.

Pastor Stephen comes off like an apologetics trash-picker. He’s rummaged through the waste of Van Til, Bahnsen, and probably others. He picked out shiny things that he thinks might be nice to have, and he throws them in his presuppositional shopping cart. When confronted with a counter-apologist, he starts throwing them. At first he exercises care, then he becomes frenzied and empties the cart of all of shiny presuppositional things - picking up others that have fallen nearby to throw over and over again.

Now, on a calmer note, I can still make observations about the pastor’s style with fractionally less vitriol. He comes off as someone that really, REALLY wants to be important. He wants you to nod your head and accept his idea(s) without him having to do the hard work of thinking rationally and organizing the words and phrases in a persuasive manner. I’ll admit, both debaters seemed irritated, but the pastor’s words were often outright peevish, as if something RG said was a personal slight that must be avenged. Such quirks help paint a picture of a human being that is thin-skinned, ill-tempered, argumentative, with a tendency towards not thinking clearly.

I won’t go into a deep philosophical analysis of his points, because by this time in the debate, the pastors’s words are a jumbled mess. But there IS some fun to be had here. Some of his individual phrases or sentences are complete nonsense, and depending on your sense of humor, downright funny.

Let’s have a look:
I thank you for your response, and given its length, I may not be able to be as brief as I would have liked.
Russell spent about 4956 words responding to Stephens 5455 word fourth round post (discarding the administrivia at the outset of each post). What is he complaining about? This very first sentence gives us an indication of how close these guys are to crapping all over each other. Complaining about the length of each other’s posts - they both did it - is the least of their problems. The pastor has two points to justify, Russell has one. It shouldn’t take that long. Instead, Stephen will spend around 7800 words on this lengthy reply, and won’t move the ball forward an inch.
I did prove that atheism was impossible, and therefore by your own statement in your second response, I claimed victory.
That's delusional. The pastor proved nothing, so his claim of victory is based on ... nothing. We see this a lot in rounds four and five. He thinks he’s made an argument, but darned if I can detect it. (Remember Russell in round four? “’ve spent your most recent post trying to get people to reread the third post to mine out arguments that aren’t there.“) the pastor says argument-y sounding things, but they don't reach a conclusion based on rational or evidential support. For instance, he went on and on about induction in round three, but the closest he gets to developing a case that it renders lack of belief in the supernatural impossible, is to say that it renders lack of belief in the supernatural impossible. He doesn’t do the hard work of showing how the claim is believable.
I am starting to think that the presuppositional argument is going over your head
This is a riot.

Russell’s response: “A scientific paper that bragged that its readers are too dumb to comprehend the author’s wisdom would fail to advance its subject.“

I noticed that this prior quote of Stephen’s, and several others, specifically caught Russell’s eye as well as mine, so I won’t repeat the others. I do want to quote a couple of different gems, however. committed the red herring fallacy by putting the same argument you made in your second post, namely that I need to demonstrate that the existence of the Biblical God avoids the “so-called” arbitrariness.
This one pretty much confirms just how self-unaware the pastor is. It is not a red herring to request that Stephen demonstrate the existence of the biblical God. It is at the very core of Stephen’s argument, that this God exists. He doesn’t seem to recognize that we (everyone, theist and atheist alike) need to have good reasons for believing something is true. He hasn’t provided it. The core of his whole argument is still, due to his inaction, mere conjecture.
By definition, the universe cannot be self-existent
I picked out this snippet because of the modifier “by definition”. People like to say “by definition” without any idea of what the definition is or how it can be associated with the word that they’re claiming the definition applies to. It appears that the pastor wants us to believe that the universe cannot be self-existent, so that he can use that in building a case for some mysterious “other” that can swoop in out of the timeless, spaceless void and create it. So, the phrase “by definition” acts as a magic get-out-of-jail-free card that protects him from having to actually prove what he claims. Crafty!
...a necessary being is necessarily necessary!
This is now my favorite apologetics saying of all time! Do I need to explain this? Didn't think so

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