Friday, August 8, 2008

Sye-dim presuppositionalism

I have to go off for maybe a week. Will be back. Carry on with out me.

In the meantime, I produce a sketch of my own presuppositionalism I have been developing. It goes like this.

My claim: Sye's mind is addled and his thinking unreliable because he was hit on the head by a rock.

Prove this is false Sye.

Try to, and I will say - "But your "proof" presupposes your mind is not addled and you can recognise a proof when you see it. So it fails."

Ask me to prove my claim and I will say: "But prove to me your mind is not addled, then, Sye". Which you won't be able to, for the above reason. I might then add, with a flourish - "So you see, it's proved by the impossibility of the contrary".

And of course I have a good explanation for why your brain is addled - you were hit by a rock.

Is my claim reasonable, then? Of course not. It's bullshit. I really can't see how
your position is any less of a bullshit position. Can you?

29 comments:

Kosh3 said...

Haha very nice.

Paul P. Mealing said...

I've been away, and I admire you Stephen for avoiding the repetitious efforts of Sye's so-called arguments.

You've kept it fresh and enlightening, especially your 'logic foundations' and this last riposte. Also Rayndeon's links concerning the exact same issue were worth checking out.

I have an unfinished dialogue with Sye, which I may take up with him, though it's off at a tangent.

Regards, Paul.

Geert Arys said...

Brilliant comparison, Stephen.

Kyle P. said...

That's possibly one of the funniest "arguments" I've ever heard. Great work, Stephen.

On a different note, are you back to moving about, or are you still breathing with a respirator and speaking by blinking your eye while someone recites letters to you? Oh wait, I think that was someone else.

Stephen Law said...

actually I might have fractured collar bone. will get X-rayed when I get back home....

But I am mobile sort of, on super strength ibruprofen,

Stephen Law said...

Thanks Paul. I will check Rayndeon's links - have not had time till now....

Anonymous said...

Just seen some references to what appears to be a horrific new behavioral psychology experiment. Looks like Channel 4 have crossed "Big Brother" with church schools to get this...

Make me a christian?

I suppose its cheap if you put the prize in an afterlife.

What next? "Dagon's Den" perhaps?

anticant said...

Wow! Lots of scope for “reality programmes” here. These immediately occur: -

“Politicians’ Purgatory”: A self-selected group of politicians perform their usual offices [debate, ministerial and constituency duties etc.] for three weeks without telling a deliberate lie……

“BE a Christian!” a dozen prominent Christians, including the Pope, the Anglican Archbishops, and sanctimonious preachers of various stripes – among them American televangelists – actually practice what they profess for three weeks at the end of which they will have sold all their possessions and give the proceeds to the poor, actually loved those who differ from them, and become as little children……

“Philosophers’ Stone”: a group of philosophers – on Stephen’s blog and elsewhere – will debate for three weeks without ever contradicting themselves, making baseless assertions, or putting forward fallacious arguments…….

Any more suggestions?

Anonymous said...

Hmm - a lot of these groups would probably benefit from a while on a desert island. That seems to be a recurring theme on TV shows.

And then of course there's "Interfaith Wife Swap"...

Jackie said...

Great post, Stephen. Way to call Sye's bullshit "bullshit." I stopped reading his comments when I realized how disingenuous/ deluded he is.

Anticant, if they made those shows, I'd watch reality TV. I'd love to see any - all - of those. Imagine, a Christian acting like a Christian! I've only known one of those my whole life, and I'm not sure how she'd fair on the contradictory stuff.

Brianne said...

Stephen Law, you are my hero.

anticant said...

Thanks, Jackie. As I keep on monotonously pointing out, attempting to make committed religious believers such as Sye more reasonable by arguing with them is futile, because for them reason is the handmaiden of faith and they only employ it with the object of bolstering up their irrational convictions. They make a positive virtue of believing six impossible things before breakfast, whereas we endeavour through reason to ground our beliefs upon tangible and justified evidence.

However, these discussions aren't a waste of time because, as Stephen says, they clarify basic issues and help us to rethink some of our own unexamined assumptions, which must be good.

Phaedrus said...

Anticant said: "attempting to make committed religious believers such as Sye more reasonable by arguing with them is futile"

I like you Anticant, but on this issue I must disagree. There are fanatics out there that simply need to hear the right words to plant a healthy seed of skepticism. I've known a few former radicals that told me they were givin just the right nudge to doubt their theology, and now they look at the world with a more critical mind.

We should never give up hope on humanity's ability to see reason.

anticant said...

Hi Phaedrus - Down the years, I've known many intelligent and reasonable Christians who didn't use their faith as a bludgeon like these fundies do. I think the current aggressiveness of these guys is a reaction to Islamic militancy. If we're not careful, between them they'll spark off "Armageddon" and plunge us all into a nuclear nightmare. At least those running America and Russia during the Cold War were relatively sane, and recognised the logic of MAD. I doubt whether that holds any more with today's religious nutjobs.

Like your blog. May I link it to my Arena?

Phaedrus said...

Hey Anticant,

No problem. I'm really glad you like my random blog. :)

I agree with your assessment of today's Christian radicals. It seems 9/11 really did a number on the right-wing theists. Ironically, instead of making them reevaluate their religious fanaticism, it strengthened their dogmatic resolve.

That being said, I'm really excited that we have more and more progressive atheist writers who have finally made a considerable impact on today's generation. It's questionable whether these authors could have gotten their foot in the door with credible publicists in the 80's and 90's.

anticant said...

None of us is totally rational: emotion plays an integral part in all our thinking. But the more rational we try to be, the better. [See my Arena post "Does reason matter?"]

The crucial struggle of the 21st century is between those who want to live by reason, and those who aim to dominate by faith. If the reasoners don't win, the future will be very bleak.

Anonymous said...

"None of us is totally rational: emotion plays an integral part in all our thinking."

True enough. Unfortunately it seems to be a criticism often implicitly leveled at rational thought that it abandons this and leads to a rather soul-less (in a derogatory sense) outlook. This seems to find resonance with too many people and leads them gradually into the faith positions of dogmatism and unthinking obedience, ultimately suppressing many of their nobler emotions. The challenge is how to root out the superstition without causing a backlash.

anticant said...

Sane and competent education would help [introductory philosophy and logic courses in schools??].

Sadly, the way I was taught to think and acquire knowledge has been superseded by pseudo-academic rubbish such as 'postmodernism' and mindless moral relativism that inculcates bogus tolerance - in fact, indifferentism - by teaching that nothing is better or worse than anything else, and that all belief-systems, however absurd, are deserving of 'respect'.

These ways of thinking open the doors to religious and political totalitarianism.

DisComforting Ignorance said...

Stephen, you have a new fan. I can't believe I've been wasting all my time on the Internet not reading you. Welcome to my feed.

Stephen Law said...

Well thanks for visiting, Discomforting Ignorance.... keep in touch.

Nutcasenightmare said...

Haha! Amazingly well done, Stephen! I love how Sye loses even when we PLAY BY HIS OWN RULES. Holy blinding irony, Batman!

Your arguments are always so concise, innovative, and entertaining! You're a genius, Stephen!

~Keep it up!
~~Nutcasenightmare

Psiloiordinary said...

"Presuppositionalism"

= strawman argument

?

solo1 said...

I just want to say thank you very much to Stephen Law for posting this.

I never realised I was in such illustrious company in my efforts to deal with Sye.

http://www.solo1.info/ocs1.htm

I generally found, also, that asking these people how old they think the universe is causes them some embarrassment.

Thanks again.

Sye TenB said...

Stephen said: "My claim: Sye's mind is addled and his thinking unreliable because he was hit on the head by a rock.
Prove this is false Sye."


Well, since you have been directing people to this post, I will be glad to address it. Your very demand of proof from me presupposes that I can understand the request, and that my mind is, in fact, not addled.

Nice try though. :-D

Stephen Law said...

Hey Sye, you old bullshitter. You are back!

Stephen said: "My claim: Sye's mind is addled and his thinking unreliable because he was hit on the head by a rock.
Prove this is false Sye."

Sye said: Well, since you have been directing people to this post, I will be glad to address it. Your very demand of proof from me presupposes that I can understand the request, and that my mind is, in fact, not addled.

Stephen replies. Oh dear Sye. You seem to be trying to use an argument against me, and thus logic. But you can't do that until you have first proved you weren't hit on the head and that your use of logic is reliable.

[P.S. Sound familiar?!]

Go on - have another go. This is fun!

Sye TenB said...

Stephen said: "But you can't do that until you have first proved you weren't hit on the head and that your use of logic is reliable."

I have never said that atheists can't use logic, just that they cannot account for what they are doing.

Why not get into the argument Stephen, what are you afraid of? Let's just compare how our respective worldviews account for the universal, abstract, invariant laws of logic, and on what basis we proceed with the assumption that they will hold.

All you are telling us is that you have no account for logic, and no basis for assuming that it will hold, which has been my point all along.

Stephen Law said...

Oh my goodness me!

I made the Sye-style move that I won't allow Sye to use logic against me till he justifies his use of it by proving he wasn't hit on the head by a rock (resulting in his reasoning being unreliable).

Sye just said in response:

"I have never said that atheists can't use logic."

That's right - Sye is saying he never said I can't use logic without first justifying my use of it.

But Sye, you said exactly that countless times. I shall now quote one example (from your comments on my very first post):

"You have not given your justification for the laws of logic, that is why I say that if I allow you to use it, without justification, I lose."

So I now say, just as you did, that I will not allow you to use logic until you have justified your use of it.

You'll have to try something else!

I think, by the way, that we have definitely just caught Sye telling a barefaced lie, haven't we?

Stephen Law said...

Sye just said about me: "All you are telling us is that you have no account for logic."

No,I am NOT even telling you that. I might have such an account. I have provided three atheist friendly accounts or views of logic, at least two of which I think might well be true. You have refuted none of them. In fact you have not even tried.

What I AM telling you is that YOU have no proof of God's existence. A fact that is now perfectly clear. A fact you try to draw attention from by repeatedly asking "But how do YOU explain logic then?"!!!

Aren't you beginning to feel just a bit embarrassed about endlessly making this move? I mean, even some of your fellow presuppositionalists must be beginning to squirm for you by now.

anselmhart said...

After your initial presupposition, you seek to use logic to reach a conclusion about Sye. However, your initial presupposition doesn't give you a justification for using logic, so your subsequent use of logic is an unjustified act of blind faith that logic is always reliable.

Sye's initial presupposition, of the Bible being true (at least that's what I think it is, I don't know him well), gives him a justification for using logic, as logic is apparent from the Bible. That's what makes Sye's presupposition a better one than the one you made up.

Re Sye's most recent comment - "can't" means not being able to. When Sye said that he never said you can't use logic he meant he never said you were not able to use it. Not being allowed to use logic is different, and it seems he had previously not allowed you to use it because you couldn't justify it in your worldview.