Yet another theist fails it

Christopher Braga over at Summer Hill Anglican has tried on more of the usual nonsense, painting strawman arguments, begging questions and using playground-level logic when faced with an argument with an atheist

Christopher's original questions were

Let me ask: who do you think Jesus was?
Where did the world come from?
Why are humans special (if at all)?

My response, after a diversion, was

1. There is no way to know whether jesus was real or fictional. Therefore I cannot speculate. The character as described in biblical text - aside from the miracle claims which cannot be verified by mere text - doesn't seem too remarkable for a time in which itinerant preachers developed large, credulous followings

2. Science has voluminous explanations for where the world came from, all of which are supported by better evidence than simple scripture

3. Humans are special because they are us. Obviously we think we're special.

We're unique as far as we know, for various reasons, though many of these traits are shared by other animals, none have them all or to the degree we have them. Technology, introspection, continuance of culture, etc..

Which is not to say other intelligences don't exist elsewhere - there's just no evidence for it.


Braga then decided to play the ol' christian question begging game with this patheitic attempt at a rhetorical trap-springing:

1. I suppose you and I are pretty fictional since all we have is text at this point to verify our existence. Even if you don't believe I'm real be assured I think you are. Maybe I'm being overly generous, gullible and foolish! Maybe Google has come up with an automatic blogger commenter! Very clever Mr Google.

2. I should have asked about the universe - sorry about that. Where did it come from?

3. So there is nothing inherently special about people. So really it is a delusion to think we are. We are all deluded into thinking we have significance. The cockroaches are all thinking the same thing 'we're special because we're all cockroaches'. If someone gets squished we shouldn't cry (this related to original post). I sure think you are more important than a cockroach and it is not because I'm delusional but because God made people special. :)

To which I replied:

1. You and I are having a conversation, real time, in front of others. Completely different proposition to determining whether a 2000-year old description in a book is real or not.

If you can't see that, then you're probably a lost cause. Really, such a pathetic attempt should be beneath you

2. The universe? Well, the science is not settled, but there are a number of competing hypotheses. We know from very careful and incredibly well-verified measurement of the Cosmic Microwave Background that the current universe dates back ~13.7 billion years. What triggered the expansion remains unclear, and whether anything existed before likewise is unknown.

But you could have looked that up on wikipedia.

3. You're attempting to put words in my mouth. At no point did I say that we don't occupy a uniquely privileged position, and at no point did I suggest that we're no more important than a cockroach. That's your dishonest interpretation.

We *are* special. We're *not* magical.

This kind of sophistry should be beneath you.

It's true. This is absurd. To play the "maybe you're fictional" gambit, an equivocation implying that proving existence in an interactive discussion is equivalent to proving existence from static text, to move the goalposts and try another loaded question in place of the original, and then to strawman my response and imply that my claim is that we're no different to cockroaches? Seriously? Is this the best you've got? Three massive fallacies and nothing else?

You need a new job. I'm pretty sure there are openings in the thriving direct marketing industry. Pushing catalogues through letterboxes seems about the right level.

posted @ Tuesday, February 22, 2011 12:33 AM

 
 
 

Comments on this entry:

# re: Yet another theist fails it

Left by Andy at 2/23/2011 1:39 AM
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Given that our demise can be brought about, sometimes en masse, by mere bacteria - I don't think God considers us to be quite as special as some people believe.

But those bacteria sure look pretty special when they gang up on us and challenge our intelligence.

But really, how do we measure "special"? If it's defined simply by reference to the human experience, then by circular reasoning alone, we must be special.

# re: Yet another theist fails it

Left by RipleyP at 2/23/2011 10:15 AM
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I would suggest that an automatic Woo blogger commenter program could have a database of logical fallacies and standard arguments. It could then do word recognition of the questions and statement and then randomly spout a response based on the recognized words.

Since so many of these debates include the Wooster answering a question not actually asked we may not spot Woo-blogger v1.02 for a while.

I now want to make Skeptic-blogger v 1.01 and let it loose. Just so it can drive the woo followers crazy like they do to me and give the conspiracy theorists something to be right about for a change.
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