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New Apologetics Tactic?


crazyguy123
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A while ago, I was attempting to debate with a Christian fundamentalist who was attempting to defend the position of Jesus in the Bible being God and though I do not think he successfully defended his position, he did at one point say something that screwed me up and had me confused, unable to reply.

 

I was attempting to point out that he was using circular reasoning to defend his position and then out of nowhere, he said that defending logic using logic was also circular reasoning and at the time, I didn't know if he made a valid point or if he just said it to confuse me, hoping to succeed in doing so, which he did.

 

The debate ended a long time ago with some frustration and a personal attack from me, which I did apologize for, regardless of whether or not the personal attack was deserved, and him giving up saying that I would never change, so the debate itself is and was pointless from the start and I won't go back to it again. I was just wondering if this thing he said to me was some tactic I have never heard of that has been used before in the past or if it is a new one.

 

I did not know where to post this topic, so I hope the Lion's Den is an alright place. If it could have been posted somewhere better, then any moderators who desire to move the topic, let thy will be done.

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Well, you were not "defending" logic.  All you were doing was applying logic (or the lack thereof) by identifying his use of circular reasoning.

 

His statement (that you were using circular logic) was simply incorrect.

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I haven't heard that one yet. But it sounds like he was just grasping at straws to try and make a quick, improvisational come back.

 

Even if you did grant him that you were 'also' using circular reasoning then at the very best we'd be looking at two people both using circular reasoning, and therefore both equally emerged in a logical fallacy. And I don't see how exactly that would help an apologetic argument in any way. 

 

At the very best it would be the case of some one trying to grab on to their foe as they've been pushed off the side of a cliff in a desperate attempt to make their foe die along with them. Both die, both parties fail, there is no victory, hence Christianity is still fallacious and the point stands.

 

But since you weren't using circular reasoning by using sound logic to point out that the apologist was using circular reasoning, then it's more like you pushed him off the side of a cliff and he tried to grab on to you but his greasy little palms couldn't take hold any ways and Christianity failed alone without taking anything else down in the process...  

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Debating fundies is pointless. Once they cannot use the babble as "evidence" they are only left defending cognitive dissonance and experiential evidence which is not evidence either.

 

Folk need to deprogram their indoctrination themselves. You cannot deconvert anyone, they need to do it themselves. Just keep presenting hard facts like age of the earth. There are many things like geological formations with measured erosion rates, lake varves, cave formations.

 

My favourites are, the Victoria waterfall gorges (100,000 years old), Kango and Sudwala caves in SA (oldest in the world and still active 1.5Bn+ years old) Various canyon formations around the world, they all look similar, Antarctic Ice cores (2" precipitation per year, 730,000 years of data which puts the fludd to rest as landlocked ice would float off and melt in a non existent global flood) To get technical, extinctions are immanent once the breeding pairs is below 50. This is due to genetic constraints.

 

You can also have fun with shit like Revelation's 200M horsemen. Just put them nose to tail or even a column of 6 side by side, the length would be observable from space, the amount of shit the horses would deposit would render the back of the column seriously climbing a mountain of shit unless of course they can synchronise shitting. Of course there are not even 200M horses in China where teh woos think this army will come from. Like debunking Exodus 2-6M water requirements, this is logistically impossible and of course if China had an issue with Israel, a nuke would be quicker and less cumbersome.

 

You have to be a complete fucktard to take any of the babble literally.

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Debating fundies is pointless. Once they cannot use the babble as "evidence" they are only left defending cognitive dissonance and experiential evidence which is not evidence either.

 

Folk need to deprogram their indoctrination themselves. You cannot deconvert anyone, they need to do it themselves. Just keep presenting hard facts like age of the earth. There are many things like geological formations with measured erosion rates, lake varves, cave formations.

 

My favourites are, the Victoria waterfall gorges (100,000 years old), Kango and Sudwala caves in SA (oldest in the world and still active 1.5Bn+ years old) Various canyon formations around the world, they all look similar, Antarctic Ice cores (2" precipitation per year, 730,000 years of data which puts the fludd to rest as landlocked ice would float off and melt in a non existent global flood) To get technical, extinctions are immanent once the breeding pairs is below 50. This is due to genetic constraints.

 

You can also have fun with shit like Revelation's 200M horsemen. Just put them nose to tail or even a column of 6 side by side, the length would be observable from space, the amount of shit the horses would deposit would render the back of the column seriously climbing a mountain of shit unless of course they can synchronise shitting. Of course there are not even 200M horses in China where teh woos think this army will come from. Like debunking Exodus 2-6M water requirements, this is logistically impossible and of course if China had an issue with Israel, a nuke would be quicker and less cumbersome.

 

You have to be a complete fucktard to take any of the babble literally.

2.1 billion people believe in the bible, thats alot of fucktards.
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Strictly speaking, your opponent is correct. (Damn you Godel!) You can not use logic to "prove" logic.

 

However, if one grants a priori that we are able to "know" then the circle is broken in that we can know that if a > b, and b > c, then a > c. That said, I'll leave as an exercise for the reader to follow Kant's reasoning on this in A Critique of Pure Reason. (It's been too many years since I tackled that and the reason one does is to later learn that it is wrong even though much of it is right.) Once you have mastered that, you can move on to Whitehead and Russel and read approximately 400 pages that prove 1 + 1 = 2. Then you can read Godel and see that all of the foregoing is unreliable.

 

This is part of the basis for my opinion that it is not possible to either prove, or dis-prove, that the concept of "God" or "gods" is valid. The other part is that even if logic were complete in itself, you can never reach a set of premises that can be "known" a priori to be true. (Though I suspect that one would be more likely to dis-prove an anthropomorphic view of "God" such as that in the Bible than one that has no predicates at all, such as what nat has informed us Ein Sof represents in some Jewish schools of thought.)

 

Now I need some more Scotch.

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There isn't anything they won't resort to so don't be surprised or take anything they say seriously. I've seen similar things as well especially during this past 12 months or so. Lately they've been turning our own accusations of them back to us:

1. Calling atheism a religion

2. Saying we're deluded in our non-beliefs which they actually call beliefs

3. Only responding to what they want to address and ignoring more difficult challenges by us, etc

 

They on the run - their churches are dying out - more and more people are finally waking up about their delusionary cult.

 

So, like I said, don't take anything they say seriously. They have their god glasses on and nothing penetrates them.

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Hello crazyguy, it sounds as though your fundamentalist was trying to use a form of TAG, the Transcendental Argument for God.  That argument says that we can't know that logic is true unless we have some guarantee of its truth, and since we fall into an infinite regress if we try to prove logic by logic, we need some source of truth outside of logic and language.  Presto - God!  Then, presto, the Bible!

 

They call it Transcendental in the sense in which Kant used that term, i.e. as referring to a necessary condition for experience and thought.  They muddy the waters by introducing another entity, God, into the mix.  Since they themselves already rely on the basic laws of thought in order to form their discourse, sticking God into the picture doesn't add anything.  They could not formulate an argument at all without using basics that underlie logic, like the law of non-contradiction (something cannot be A and "not-A" at the same time in the same respects).

 

Aristotle already addressed this problem.  Against people who said that the basic laws of thought have to be proved by other ones, which are proved by other ones, so you get a circle, Aristotle pointed out that even these people rely on the basic laws of thought to argue against basic laws of thought.  He therefore explained non-contradiction, excluded middle (if p is true, its denial is false, and vice versa), etc. as what we might call undeniable and inescapable axioms for discourse.  If you deny them you annihilate all discourse (if something can be A and not-A, all statements are true and we can't say anything meaningful).  Aristotle said that people who demand a proof of the basic laws of thought just display "agroikia," i.e. lack of education (literally it means "being a hick"), since those very laws would operate in their proof.

 

Fundamentalists who go on to say, "fine, but why are we hard-wired this way?  God must be behind it all" don't solve any problem.  They just add another problem by postulating a God.

 

Here's a paper about axioms, i.e. undeniable and inescapable laws of thought.  It's by an Ayn Rand person, and I am not one, but I think it offers some good summaries:

 

http://mol.redbarn.org/objectivism/writing/RonMerrill/AxiomsTheEightFoldWay.html

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Well, you were not "defending" logic.  All you were doing was applying logic (or the lack thereof) by identifying his use of circular reasoning.

 

His statement (that you were using circular logic) was simply incorrect.

 

This basically describes what I was doing quite well. I was applying logic to attempt to explain what was wrong with what he believed and the arguments he was using, but then his statement about me using circular reasoning confused me and basically led to me using circular reasoning, attempting to defend logic, but since I had no idea how to defend logic without also using logic to do it, it really tripped me up in the discussion and the whole debate ended not long after that. 

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IMO, debating the existence of God is pointless. As far as I know the existence of God cannot be conclusively proven or disproven. The creation and evolution of any religion, as well as their sacred text, does have a paper trail that can be identified, analyzed, explored, interpreted, and documented. The factual discrepancies and inaccuracies of these religions can be identified and exposed to the light of day.

 

Such discrepancies and falsehoods are generally ignored or rationalized by fundamentalist because they are viewing the information through the lens of indoctrination. Since I am aware of that I don't waste my time engaging them in what will inevitably be a pointless and frustrating waste of time.

 

 

 

 

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IMO, debating the existence of God is pointless. As far as I know the existence of God cannot be conclusively proven or disproven. The creation and evolution of any religion, as well as their sacred text, does have a paper trail that can be identified, analyzed, explored, interpreted, and documented. The factual discrepancies and inaccuracies of these religions can be identified and exposed to the light of day.

 

Such discrepancies and falsehoods are generally ignored or rationalized by fundamentalist because they are viewing the information through the lens of indoctrination. Since I am aware of that I don't waste my time engaging them in what will inevitably be a pointless and frustrating waste of time.

 

 

 

 

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I agree about god talk/debate being pointless however 2 points:

1. It's just SSSOOOO much fun taking their arguments apart, word by word and

2. god talk can lead to my real pleasure - bible talk. And once I can get them to the bible then it's a sheer joy for me. I just had one hit me with how much more reliable the bible is than ancient historical texts referencing Alexander the Great, Caesar, et.al. She also said the cult has much more earlier manuscripts, plural, dating all the way back to the 2nd century.

 

I was able to shoot back facts without ever leaving my seat and looking them up; ie-she was appealing to numbers/authority regarding the amounts of manuscripts and it was meaningless anyway since they still had over 300,000 various errors,deletions,additions,changes,etc. And regarding manusripts, plural, dating back so early - I told her they had ONE postage size piece of a manuscript purporting to be something from John's gospel. I ended by saying the use of the name, John, was done for reference only because none of the writers of the gospels were actually the persons whom the books are assigned to. And what she had in her hands, the bible, was probably a compilation of what was finally decided on in the ninth century (around 890 AD according to Ehrman in a debate he had). All of this just from memory with no effort at all. So, in a way it is worth it just in case someone is reading quietly and thinking about these things.

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That doesn't make any sense, because then wouldn't every argument be circular because everyone uses logic to some extent in thier arguments? And besides, logic isn't a belief...it's just looking at things and seeing if they make sense...or that's what I would think. I mean, I guess someone's logic could be wrong, but they aren't consciously, or at least I don't think, using 'logic to prove logic.' I think it's just similar to the "God's ways are not our ways" argument my grandparents always use.

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Everything hinges on our ability to "know" a priori what a true statement is, or rather, what the quality of "true" is. You can not prove that using any given system without falling back on a priori knowledge, which is by definition outside the scope of the system.

 

Everyone engages in an unspoken agreement that reasonable people have an inherent ability to "know" what "true" is.  When the antagonist portrayed in the OP resorted to saying using logic to defend logic was circular reasoning he was essentially correct, but at the same time implicitly admitted that all of his arguments were also invalid for the same reason. Without the basic assumption that we know within ourselves what "true" is all of logic falls apart.

 

Everyone "knows" that 1 + 1 = 2. Yet it took Whitehead and Russill about 400 pages (in a three-volume publication of many more pages) to prove that is true using logic. A few decades later Godel "proved" that it is incomplete.

 

Of course, all of this applies in a very strict and formal sense. For everyday applications, including this post, we all just go with our basic assumption or else even the simplest of discussions would be impossible. :)

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That's the double edged sword of my previous analogy - the apologist can not accuse him of circular reasoning without shooting himself in the foot in the process. So that type of apologetics is akin to a suicide mission of sorts.

 

"Dammit, if Christianity is going down and there's no stopping it then I'll take down freethinking and every form of human thought in the process." 

 

This is like using postmodernism as a suicide bomb while in debate. 

 

But the trick is being entirely comfortable with UNCERTAINTY, living in it, breathing it, swimming in a cosmic sea of it knowing full well the reality of the situation we're actually in. The only real deep truth at the very bottom of it all would seem to be the truth of uncertainty. We don't have to know absolutely or claim to know absolutely, and that's ok. For the apologist that is very uncomfortable territory because they depend on absolute truth claims (Biblical / Theistic) and they also depend on trying to force others to share in their absolutist position taking so they can try and fight you on their own lower level.

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