Showing posts from February, 2014

More on Absolutes, Qualifying Claims, and Addressing some Objections

Designated; Interplanetary Space Unicorn As the debate continues, I decided to respond directly to those who have said I am "shifting the goal posts" or trying to "play semantic games." Neither is true. I am following the basic logic of how you qualify the claims, which is why I linked to a college text book on how to argue properly. I've taught argumentation and rhetoric in the past, so I am quite familiar with the subject. So, let me respond to some of the comments. A theist wrote in saying: I think you are trying to be too clever and falling over yourself in the process. There is absolutely nothing conditional about the sentence "there are no absolutes". This is true. We have no context to supply any conditions of not having any absolutes, therefore we cannot qualify the claim as an absolute one. More on this in a minute. Our friend goes on to say: You are merely saying that you can be lazy about what you are meaning to say beca

Dead-Logic and The A-Unicornist

Both Bud and Mike are my brothers-in-blog. Check out their blogs, which are really worth your while (I guarantee it), along with these nifty new banners I made for them. Dead-Logic The A-Unicornist I also made a black one for Dead Logic that I like a lot. And a blue one of The A-Unicornist.

Arguing Logically: Qualifying Claims and On Why “There are no absolutes” is NOT an Absolute Statement

It seems like I may be flogging a dead horse here, but it’s come up again, even after I recently blogged about this very same topic. So I thought I would take the time to write a thorough refutation which puts down the horse once and for all. Needless to say, it amazes me that theists and religious apologists continually contend that “There are no absolutes” is, in itself, and absolute claim. This is false. I would say it is obviously false, but rhetorical flourishes like this often place one in danger of sounding overly arrogant. After all, it’s not actually the theists fault that they don’t understand basic high school level grammar. But I suppose it is their fault for not correcting the mistake once it has been pointed out to them in clear and intelligible language. So, the pressing concern here is why exactly is the statement “There are no absolutes” not an absolute claim? Simple. The statement has not been qualified as an absolute claim. In other words, it’

Quote of the Day: Sean Carroll

"If we would presume to contemplate theism from an intellectually honest perspective, we would try to decide what kind of universe we would expect to live in if theism were true; then we would do the same for naturalism; and finally we would compare those expectations to the real world. But when we do that we find theistic expectations failing to match reality over and over again. Now, I know perfectly well (from experience as well as from cogitation) that you can never make headway with theists by claiming “If God existed, He would do  X , and He doesn’t” (where  X  is “prevent needless suffering,” “make His existence obvious,” “reveal useful non-trivial information to us,” “spread religious messages uniformly over the world,” etc.) Because they have always thought through these, and can come up with an explanation why God would never have done that. (According to  Alvin Plantinga , our world — you know, the one with the Black Death, the Holocaust, AIDS, Hurricane Katrina, an

What would my life be like today if I had never become an Atheist?

Before I came to Japan the first time I was in love with a woman I had never met in person. We had known each other for seven long years intimately, through correspondence, both online and through traditional written letters. Remember, this was back in the early days of the Internet, long before social media. There was Outlook and AOL and that was it as far as reliable email went. I guess that marks my age pretty well, since I'm as old as the World Wide Web (from the time the Internet went global). Our early romance was a lot like the Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan romcom "You've Got Mail" and this strange new technology allowed us to become long distance soul-mates, so to speak. In fact, she was the closest to me of any of my friends because she knew my mind, and she knew it intimately. And I knew hers. We were a match made in heaven, or so it seemed. Eventually, we did meet and it was one of the most surreal experiences of my life. It was like meeting my bes

Religion, Sex, Guilt and Porn!

My good friend Kaede Matsushima is one of the most sexual women I know. She is also one of the most amazing and intelligent women I know.  The very notion that the mother of Jesus is a perpetual virgin is a type of sexual perversion. It caters to a dangerous purity myth which, like the virgin sacrifices of old, objectifies the woman as a sexual object to be had, owned, or manipulated by gods and men while denying her her very own sexual identity.  That's pretty damn perverse, if you ask me. The point I'm trying to make is this, the impure thought here isn't the notion that a woman may like sex and therefore not be a virgin (because there's nothing wrong with that), but rather that because she is a sexually active woman who likes sex she isn't valued by her religion or society (and clearly there is a lot wrong with this). If you're a thinking person, you can clearly see that the purity myth, i.e. the virgin fetish, is itself a kind of sexual

Why I didn't Watch the Bill Nye vs. Ken Ham Debate: And on the Near Extinction of Christianity

Let me clarify, Evangelical, Creationist, and Fundamentalist Christianity are most certainly doomed. In other words, any version of Christianity that does not embrace science will simply begin to gradually disappear into the vastness of its own blinkered absurdity until there's nothing left. After all, the tell tale signs are written all over Bill Nye's face in the above image. I did not watch the Bill Nye "The Science Guy" vs. Ken Ham debate. I didn't feel I needed to. I'm sure Bill Nye did just fine. He has fact and figures, information and genuine knowledge to share. Ken Ham, as I'm told, simply has a book. Another reason I did not watch the debate is because I'm not scientifically illiterate. Bill Nye was, thank goodness, exactly what Ken Ham's audience needed. He is not what I need in terms of gaining knowledge on scientific matters. But I do love Bill Nye's dedication to science and what he stands for, and bow-ties are pretty

On Self-Refuting Claims: Reductio Ad Absurdum, The Road Runner Tactic, and There Are No Absolutes

When I was a religious believer I would often employ what is known as 'The Road Runner Tactic', as coined by Christian apologist Norman Geisler, who overuses it in his philosophically illiterate book I Don't Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist . The Road Runner Tactic is a form of the  reductio ad absurdum  argument employed as an argument to counter a statement made that is untenable. It is used to show how the statement might yield a nonsensical or absurd result.  But theists often use it wrong, using it to counter an argument when it isn't actually intended as a contra-argument. Arguments, after all, consist of numerous interelated claims. Even if one claim is untenable, it doesn't mean all the others are. All it means is that the argument needs revision. Applied absolutely to any claim, 'Road Runner' style tactics will almost always lead to absurd results. But this distortion arises due to a misapplication of the method. Argumentum ad absurdu