Questionable Motives

March 7, 2014

What does honesty from coal producers sound like?

Filed under: Climate Change — tildeb @ 10:32 am

Just like this (make sure you stick to it for a while):

(h/t to Climate Denial Crock of the Week)

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48 Comments »

  1. As an Australian, I support this message.

    Comment by john zande — March 7, 2014 @ 12:56 pm | Reply

  2. Hi Tildeb,
    I recently wrote a blog post adressed to you. It may be found at: http://calebtblog.blogspot.com.au/2014/03/i-believe-in-miracles-so-where-ya-from.html

    Comment by calebt45 — March 17, 2014 @ 8:29 am | Reply

    • Your site refused my comment so I’ll post it here:

      I think you reveal an understanding we use all the time for likelihood when you describe an event and make a causal claim. We need to link the suggested cause with the effect we think we find in an event and then assign some degree of confidence to various models to explain how this link works. We set our oven to 200 C and read an interior thermometer that reads 210 C and know that at least one of these mechanisms isn’t working properly (after waiting an appropriate amount of time to allow both to adjust). The claim that it is the oven or the thermometer requires something more because we have no means simply by observation (or reported observation) to determine which one (or neither) is working properly. We make all kinds of assumptions based on how we know reality usually operates (through reliability and consistency) about these readings and what they mean. None of these assumptions alter the fact that we are responding to having seen two different readings and these assumptions play no part in determining which mechanism (or both) aren’t working properly. To head off into the philosophical rabbit hole of these assumptions does nothing but divert us from dealing with the different readings that can be independently verified (by having different people with different cameras taking pictures that all reveal the same difference in readings, for example).

      Along comes a very wise-looking tildeb who pronounces that the thermometer is under the spell of a demon (that just so happens to be invisible and without physical form or dimension as well as immune to heat and whatever other requirments are necessary to remain immune from any independent verification). Furthermore, the different readings clearly indicates the need for a blood sacrifice to save all the thermometers of the world from an afterlife of horrors and punishments. Tildeb insists that a creator spirit named Phil gave his only begotten son, Bob, to the world save thermometers from demonic possession and that we should pay homage and honour to Phil by sacrificing critters as burnt offerings in the name of Bob. And masturbation is really bad. And people with brown hair are not fit to teach but must be subservient to people who have blue eyes. Phil says so in this pamphlet I found buried in my back yard. Many exorcists with very sophisticated understandings of the demonic world (they’ve graduated from exorcist schools, donchaknow, so they really know their demonic stuff) agree that Bob really lived, that he was born of a virgin in New York, or perhaps London, and was persecuted and eventually killed by the secular authorities. We have a note written centuries ago in Swahili that mentions a Robert who was once convicted of a capital crime and executed and this is to be taken as significant evidence to the claim that Bob really did live and really did die. We know he was resurrected because there have been many reported sighting of Bob.

      Now consider the likelihood of all this stuff – from the different temperature readings to Bob – being true, and meaningfully so as it relates to issue about determining which if any of the selected thermometers is accurate.

      I think we can stop at the different readings and figure out a way to test and validate which (perhaps neither) thermometer deserves our trust. All the rest of it is a diversion. If we want to know anything about these thermometers, we don’t need to bother with all the claims about Phil and Bob and demons. But if we are going to support belief in demonic possession of thermometers and take the claim seriously, then it falls to those believers to establish a reasonable causal chain to link between thermometers and how demonic possession alters temperature readings. The first step is to show compelling evidence that demons even exist before one has to tackle how such a non corporeal being can affect this world in general and thermometers specifically. Pronouncing confidence for a claim that it simply ‘happens’ because it’s ‘true’ and operates by way of ‘miracles’ is not an explanation, not an answer, not a knowledge claim… no matter how many sophisticated exorcists are used in support of the claim; it’s woo because it’s a pseudo-answer that answers nothing independent of the beliefs of these earnest folk.

      We know cellular death alters the properties of the cell necessary for its operation. What’s the likelihood of a cell reanimating after death? Well, if reality is any guide and we consider our understanding of how it seems to operate at the cellular level, and we build therapies, applications, and technologies on this understanding that works for everyone everywhere all the time, then we have a reasonable basis to claim that dead cells don’t reanimate because they are no longer capable of functioning in the reality we share. Claiming that it might be possible from a POOF!ism event because we have some note in Swahili about a Robert being executed is not equivalently reasonable so it is not equivalently likely to have a reanimation event happen… especially when we circle back to the assumptions we started with, namely, that reanimation is therefore evidence for Phil!

      What we do find are daily claims of ‘coming back from the dead’ stories commonly used as evidence for the divine nature of local gurus. These stories are not at all unusual. In fact, they are common… especially in the sub-Asian region. It is a standard motif we can find that seems to be used to try to justify claims of supernatural intervention that promotes divine favour for this guru over that guru. Yet not one supposed reanimation can be successfully demonstrated. The rules we have developed to help us understand cellular biology have yet to be shown susceptible to suspension, not to mention the pseudo-answer of ‘divine intervention’ independent of the belief by certain people that it can happen, that it’s possible or even likely. No one has yet to explain why a divine critter supposedly able to intervene, alter, and reverse cellular death seems to dismiss amputees at all these ‘holy’ sites where piles of discarded crutches and walkers can be found. Reality demonstrates all the time why there is a contradiction between dependent beliefs that contravene how reality functions and those who respect the independent arbitration of reality for claims made about it. It’s not about dissing or hating Phil and/or Bob, nor is it about militating against those who adore Phil and/or Bob, nor is it about assuming Phil and/or Bob cannot exist; it’s simply a matter of recognizing that reality operates independently of our beliefs we try to impose on it.

      Comment by tildeb — March 17, 2014 @ 12:02 pm | Reply

      • No idea why your comment wasn’t let through, but thanks for letting me know.

        “The rules we have developed to help us understand cellular biology have yet to be shown susceptible to suspension, not to mention the pseudo-answer of ‘divine intervention’ independent of the belief by certain people that it can happen, that it’s possible or even likely.

        You also say that it hasn’t been shown that miracles are possible. Do you agree that if God exists, He can perform miracles? Surely miracles are logically possible in that sense?

        The rest of your reply states various reasons why a particular miracle claim might be unlikely. I agree that if these things (e.g. the alleged absurdity of masturbation being sinful, the untrustworthiness of the historical data etc.) really are compelling, this would be a good reason not to believe in this claim. However, despite my use of the Resurrection in my post, I wasn’t actually wanting to discuss any particular example.

        If John says “I believe in Miracle Claim X” and you didn’t know anything about the case, would you say “I haven’t investigated this particular claim, so John may be deluded, but there is no contradiction in believing in both that “We have very good reasons, to believe that non-miraculous causal regularities are the usual operation of the cosmos” and “Miracle X occurred.””

        That was what I was trying to establish in my post. Do you disagree?

        Comment by calebt45 — March 17, 2014 @ 8:07 pm

      • This is a tautology: a miracle by definition is an extraordinary and welcome event that is not explicable by natural or scientific laws and is therefore attributed to a divine agency (OED). But just because we have a word for the idea doesn’t mean it’s either likely or even possible to be caused by a divine agency. To grant any such miraculous claim the confidence of belief above ‘extremely unlikely’ (synonymous with ‘not yet understood’) is not reasonable because we have zero compelling evidence of its possible occurrence. In fact, when tested, claims like these reliably and consistently fail to produce results that indicate any possibility (faith healing, intercessory prayer, and so on). The justification for any confidence in the claim does not come from reality (for it provides no evidence) but solely from the person willing to grant it this confidence for reasons other than what might be likely or even possibly true.

        Comment by tildeb — March 17, 2014 @ 10:56 pm

      • Do you agree that if God exists, He can perform miracles? Surely miracles are logically possible in that sense?

        Do you agree that if vampires exists, They can turn into bats or wolves? Surely turning into bats or wolves is logically possible in that sense?

        Comment by Cedric Katesby — March 18, 2014 @ 4:05 am

      • Thanks for taking the time to reply, and sorry for my delay.

        You wrote “But just because we have a word for the idea doesn’t mean it’s either likely or even possible to be caused by a divine agency.”

        Regarding possibility, if God exists, surely He can perform miracles. On classical accounts of omnipotence, this attribute encompasses all things which are logically coherent. If you think that miracles are inherently incoherent then I’d like to see an argument for that.

        You go on to claim that nobody has ever established any particular miracle as having occurred. I’m happy to concede that even if my point is established, it provides no grounds for believing in any particular miracle whatsoever. So, this objection is strictly irrelevant to my argument.

        “The justification for any confidence in the claim does not come from reality (for it provides no evidence) but solely from the person willing to grant it this confidence for reasons other than what might be likely or even possibly true.“

        I think this is a false view of belief formation.

        A friend told me an anecdote about how he was playing Leaugue of Legends. Apparently one of his teammates became frustrated with their persistent losing, and screamed “IT’S NOT HARD GUYS: JUST WIN!!”

        From what I’ve seen of your writings on the internet, tildeb, it seems that you have a similarly amusing habit of saying
        “Finding out the truth isn’t hard: just stop denying reality!”

        Isn’t it often the case that false beliefs are often formed, not by a conscious “denial of reality” but rather by people improperly understanding information or simply being ignorant of certain arguments?

        ————————-
        Hi Cedric you said: “Surely turning into bats or wolves is logically possible in that sense?”

        Absolutely! If your comment was meant to communicate “This may be a coherent concept, but the entity in question is unlikely to exist” then I fully admit that I haven’t provided a case for the existence of God. Here, I’m trying to address a more specific issue which is commonly raised.

        Comment by calebt45 — March 29, 2014 @ 4:55 am

  3. Here, I’m trying to address a more specific issue which is commonly raised.

    Which is? What is your claim?

    Comment by Cedric Katesby — March 30, 2014 @ 3:58 pm | Reply

    • See my post here: http://calebtblog.blogspot.com.au/2014/03/i-believe-in-miracles-so-where-ya-from.html

      Comment by calebt45 — March 30, 2014 @ 9:14 pm | Reply

      • I’m not answering for Cedric as I feel is more than capable of addressing the post you made on your blog but I’m feeling talkative this morning.
        In your blog, you’ve essentially said the following in your 2 part proposition
        1) We have no reason to believe that people rise from the dead
        2) A person rose from the dead, via a miracle
        What you’ve done is add your “via a miracle” at the end of point 2 as an “explanation” as to why it contradicts statement 1. Very well. You should be able to provide answers to the following questions: How did you come to know this information? How do we test this hypothesis? What, if true, would render this hypothesis null and void? Can we use this hypothesis to make future predictions?
        Simply believing and asserting something is insufficient grounds to believe that it is true. Allow me to demonstrate:
        1) We have very good reasons, drawn from modern science, physics and biology to believe that spaghetti noodles cannot come to life via the processes which normally operate in our world
        2) My spaghetti noodles came to life and did a little dance on my dining room table last night by a miraculous act of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.
        Can you show me what you think the implicit contradictions between those 2 statements are?

        Comment by Ashley — March 31, 2014 @ 8:56 am

      • Are you trolling for blog hits or something? Just get on with it and make your claim.

        Comment by Cedric Katesby — March 31, 2014 @ 7:44 pm

      • Arrg! Badly placed replies. Sorry for any confusion.

        Comment by Cedric Katesby — March 31, 2014 @ 7:46 pm

      • Howdy Ashley,

        You wrote:
        “1) We have very good reasons, drawn from modern science, physics and biology to believe that spaghetti noodles cannot come to life via the processes which normally operate in our world
        2) My spaghetti noodles came to life and did a little dance on my dining room table last night by a miraculous act of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.”
        Can you show me what you think the implicit contradictions between those 2 statements are?”

        Because of the nature of the case, I think that 2. is very unlikely to have occurred but I don’t think there is any contradiction. This is exactly is the point I’m trying to make. I’m happy to do a separate post on those other questions you asked, if you’d like to engage me.

        Comment by calebt45 — March 31, 2014 @ 8:53 pm

    • calebt45,

      If you’re willing to provide me with answer to the questions I’ve posed, I’m all ears (or because we’re on the internet, I’m all eyes). You’ve already admitted, in premise 1 that we have no reason to believe something happens via process which normally operate in our world. Therefore in premise 2, you are asserting that either a process which doesn’t normally operate in our world (making it capricious in nature) OR a process which normally operates outside our world (making it supernatural), is responsible for something that occurred in our world. How you’re going to subject that to tests and falsification processes based in our natural world and expect consistent results, I have no idea, but I look forward to your reply.
      Please explain why premise 2 of your proposition “Jesus rose to life via a miraculous act of God” is likely and premise 2 of my proposition “My spaghetti noodles came to life and did a little dance on my dining room table last night by a miraculous act of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.” is very unlikely.

      Comment by Ashley — April 1, 2014 @ 10:01 am | Reply

  4. 1) We have no reason to believe that people rise from the dead
    2) A person rose from the dead, via magic.

    (shrug)

    Comment by Cedric Katesby — March 31, 2014 @ 7:45 pm | Reply

    • Hi Cedric, you reformulated my post as being:

      1) We have no reason to believe that people rise from the dead
      2) A person rose from the dead, via magic.

      I think that in your rewrite, you’ve excluded critical words from 1.

      1. We have no reason to believe that people rise from the dead via the processes which normally operate in our world.
      1.* We have no reason to believe that people rise from the dead.

      In short, my post argues that 1. doesn’t necessarily entail 1.*

      I’m not trolling for blog hits, I just find it irritating when other people needlessly clog up threads with copied and pasted material, so I rather than do that, I linked to it.

      Comment by calebt45 — March 31, 2014 @ 8:44 pm | Reply

      • “We have no reason to believe that people rise from the dead via the processes which normally operate in our world.”

        What a painful sentence to read.

        “We have no reason to believe that people turn into bats and wolves via the processes which normally operate in our world.”

        If you’ve got to dance that frantically just to make some wiggle room for your invisible friend then it’s over before it’s begun.

        “We have no reason to believe that people turn into bats and wolves via processes which normally operate in our world….but…um…y’know but….what if we consider….magic?”

        No.
        What you are doing is very silly.

        Make a claim. A straightforward claim. In plain English. No pea-and-shell games. Then provide evidence for that claim.

        ‘That which can be asserted without evidence, can be dismissed without evidence.’ Christopher Hitchens

        Comment by Cedric Katesby — April 1, 2014 @ 10:23 am

      • If by painful, you meant that I’m not good at writing, then I beg your pardon in this matter.

        You’ve described this argument variously as “very silly” and “frantic dancing” and a “shell-game”, but I honestly don’t see how it is any of those things. I’ve already addressed how replacing resurrection with vampires doesn’t effect the strength of the argument, and I’ve tried to clarify what I perceive to be your misunderstanding in my previous comment. I’ve made a claim, and the argumentation behind it is in my blog post. If you don’t think it’s a good argument, then please let me know why.

        Comment by calebt45 — April 1, 2014 @ 11:52 pm

  5. I’ve already addressed how replacing resurrection with vampires doesn’t effect the strength of the argument….

    What argument? You have yet to make a claim in plain English. Still waiting for the other shoe to drop.

    “We have no reason to believe that people rise from the dead via the processes which normally operate in our world.”

    ………….but…….?

    Comment by Cedric Katesby — April 2, 2014 @ 4:26 am | Reply

    • 1. We have no reason to believe that people rise from the dead via the processes which normally operate in our world.
      1.* We have no reason to believe that people rise from the dead.

      My post provides the argument that 1. doesn’t necessarily entail 1.*

      Comment by calebt45 — April 2, 2014 @ 7:41 am | Reply

    • This is my blog post:

      “A common objection to the possibility of miracles is the following:

      “If we consider miracles as a possible explanation, then doing science will become impossible, because it’s always possible that God might be miraculously interfering with the results of the experiments.”

      One commenter named “tildeb” (with whom I discussed abortion here) has recently, along these lines, accused Christians of “denying science” by believing in the Resurrection.

      Consider two potential miracles:

      1. You leave a cake with blue icing on the table. You go out of the room. You come back in and see your four-year-old child with crumbs and blue smudges around their mouth. The child says “An angel told me that God has miraculously destroyed the cake.”

      2. A man claims that God will miraculously levitate the Sydney Opera House 100 metres into the sky in one month’s time. 10,000 eyewitnesses report that the Opera House did indeed levitate.

      Now, some might say that we could never ultimately be epistemically justified in postulating a miracle in either situation. But I think most people would recognise that, in the 1st situation, it certainly is less likely that a miracle has occurred. Why? Because of our background knowledge. If somebody said “I’ve only set my oven to 200 degrees Celsius, but my thermometer says that it’s 210 degrees inside the oven. It must be a miracle!” I think I can rightly reject that explanation, not because it is miraculous, but because it is contrived. Even if we allow for the possibility of miracles, we are still able to examine each case on its own merits.

      Thus, a person can indeed consistently affirm the results of modern science concerning cell biology, the carbon cycle, etc. without necessarily excluding miracles from their possible pool of explanations.”

      Comment by calebt45 — April 2, 2014 @ 7:45 am | Reply

      • …accused Christians of “denying science” by believing in the Resurrection.

        Magical thinking isn’t scientific. It’s not based in reality.

        …via the processes which normally operate in our world.

        Dancing will not help you. Use plain English to make your claim.
        Let me help you with that.

        Do you believe that people rose from the dead (ie. The Resurrection)?
        It’s a simple yes or no question.
        Stop dancing and spit out your claim.

        Comment by Cedric Katesby — April 2, 2014 @ 9:29 am

      • Thus, a person can indeed consistently affirm the results of modern science concerning cell biology, the carbon cycle, etc. without necessarily excluding miracles from their possible pool of explanations.”

        I don’t know how many times I have to say the same bloody thing to establish my point: belief in miracles like the resurrection is not based on any evidence reality offers us BECAUSE there is no evidence in reality to support that miracles are LIKELY or even POSSIBLE. On what basis do people then believe in miracles? Obviously, and for the umpteenth time, this belief is not deduced from reality as it is often and erroneously and dishonestly presented… as if the belief is eminently reasonable. It’s not. It is a belief that is imposed ON reality, a belief that it IS likely, that is IS possible, that it IS reasonable. It’s just another bloody belief that stands contrary to how we know reality actually works for everyone everywhere all the time. Presenting a belief contrary to reality as if reasonable without any compelling evidence to establish its likelihood, it’s probability, its reasonableness is equivalent in every way to the beliefs based on any other delusion. Many religious believers may be surprised to learn that the terms ‘delusional’ and ‘reasonable’ are not synonyms. Delusion means “an idiosyncratic belief or impression that is firmly maintained despite being contradicted by what is generally accepted as reality or rational argument, typically a symptom of mental disorder.” And that is NOT the definition of ‘reasonable’ I care to respect.

        Comment by tildeb — April 2, 2014 @ 10:01 am

      • This isn’t “dancing”. Yes, I personally believe in the Resurrection, but I’m making a philosophical argument which can be considered entirely apart from any specific case of miracles. One could accept the soundness of my argument and still remain a staunch metaphysical naturalist who believes that all purported miracle claims are complete hokum. Thus, your query is irrelevant.

        Comment by calebt45 — April 3, 2014 @ 12:46 am

      • “belief in miracles like the resurrection is not based on any evidence reality offers us BECAUSE there is no evidence in reality to support that miracles are LIKELY or even POSSIBLE.”

        Regarding likelihood, you’ve brought forward various reasons why particular miracle claims might be absurd (e.g. accepting them would also involve accepting false moral beliefs). I could accept that all purported miracles are utterly ridiculous because of these kinds of reasons and my argument would still remain sound.

        As for logical possibility, you haven’t presented any arguments as to why miracles are a conceptually incoherent notion.

        “On what basis do people then believe in miracles? [because they are reality deniers!]”

        I could concede that every single person who has ever believed in any miracle has only ever done so because they don’t care about reality, and my argument would stand. It really is a narrowly specified claim that you need to grapple with.

        Comment by calebt45 — April 3, 2014 @ 12:58 am

      • Yes, I personally believe in the Resurrection, but….

        It’s no coincidence.

        We have no reason to believe that people rise from the dead….

        None. You do not present any.

        …via the processes which normally operate in our world.

        This is superfluous. You present no alternatives. There’s no “abnormal”. Or at least, there’s no abnormal that you care to present evidence for.

        Which leaves us with no reason to believe that people rise from the dead.
        Word games will not help.

        We have no reason to believe that vampires change into bats or wolves anywhere on the planet where reality exists.
        We have no reason to believe that people rise from the dead.
        My post provides the argument that 1. doesn’t necessarily entail 1*.

        We have no reason to believe that Santa takes a dump via the absence of magic.
        We have no reason to believe that Santa takes a dump.
        My post provides the argument that 1. doesn’t necessarily entail 1*.

        Sane people do not argue this way.
        If you want to claim that the Resurrection happened then be honest about it.

        Comment by Cedric Katesby — April 3, 2014 @ 2:45 am

      • You present no alternatives. There’s no “abnormal”. Or at least, there’s no abnormal that you care to present evidence for.

        The alternative type of causation I’m referring to is that of a miracle performed by God.

        If what you meant here is: “God doesn’t exist. You haven’t provided evidence for the existence of God, so how can he perform miracles?” then I completely agree that I haven’t provided any reason whatsoever to believe in God in this exchange. And, for my argument to be a sound one, the existence of God is unnecessary.

        You also object that I haven’t provided any evidence that people do rise from the dead. This is correct, I haven’t presented any evidence whatsoever in this exchange that people do, in fact, rise from the dead.

        Regarding adapting my argument to vampires, I’m happy to use this adaption for the purpose of debate if you want. It doesn’t effect the soundness of the argument.

        “If you want to claim that the Resurrection happened then be honest about it.”

        I am being entirely honest. This argument doesn’t establish the occurrence of any particular miracle claim, including the Resurrection.

        Comment by calebt45 — April 3, 2014 @ 3:36 am

      • The alternative type of causation I’m referring to is that of a miracle performed by God.

        You skipped that bit.

        So when the other shoe finally drops we end up with this:

        “We have no reason to believe that people rise from the dead via the processes which normally operate in our world.
        However, we do if we go for a miracle performed by God.”

        It doesn’t effect the soundness of the argument.

        Oh stop it.
        Nobody argues like this. What you are doing is silly.
        You can crop your argument and eliminate all the messy god/miracle/Resurrection business as much as you like but it’s still there like a silent fart.
        Editing it out and referring to it without actually referring to it just comes across as being sneaky and evasive.
        I shouldn’t have to twist your arm to get you to spell out what you really mean.

        If you want to make an argument for whatever miracle from whatever god you choose then do so and good luck with that.
        Just stop dancing with “soundness of arguments”.
        That’s neither here nor there.

        One can make perfectly sound arguments about all sorts of nonsense. Yet you still end up with nonsense.

        “The alternative type of causation I’m referring to is that of a magical spell performed by Gandalf.
        If what you meant here is: “Gandalf doesn’t exist. You haven’t provided evidence for the existence of Gandalf, so how can he perform magic?” then I completely agree that I haven’t provided any reason whatsoever to believe in Gandalf in this exchange. And, for my argument to be a sound one, the existence of Gandalf is unnecessary.
        You also object that I haven’t provided any evidence for magic. This is correct, I haven’t presented any evidence whatsoever in this exchange that magic does, in fact, happen.
        Regarding adapting my argument to vampires, I’m happy to use this adaption for the purpose of debate if you want. It doesn’t effect the soundness of the argument.
        “If you want to claim that Gandalf used magic then be honest about it.”
        I am being entirely honest. This argument doesn’t establish the occurrence of any particular magical claim, including Gandalf using mega magic at the the Battle of Helm’s Deep in the movie trilogy “Lord of the Rings”.

        I have friends that argue like this. Only they’re playing a game for light amusement about things that they know perfectly well not to be true.
        You, on the other hand, actually believe in miracles.

        Comment by Cedric Katesby — April 3, 2014 @ 4:10 am

      • You skipped that bit.

        How so, sorry? I was contrasting miracles with the normal operation of the cosmos from the get-go.

        “Just stop dancing with “soundness of arguments”…. Nobody argues like this.”

        Sometimes, a person makes an argument, and another person perceives it as being wider in scope than it was meant to be, and so clarification is necessary. So people do argue like this, and I think that this is one of those times. What you perceive as my evasiveness and dancing, I think is actually you not understanding the intention of the argument in the first place.

        This objection is one which I’ve seen frequently advanced in the debates over science and religion and so I’m attempting to give my counterargument to this specific objection. I hope that you’ll consider the possibility that this may have been my genuine motive, and that there may have been misunderstanding on your part from the beginning.

        If you think that my argument is unsound, then present your criticisms. If you think it irrelevant, then I would prefer if you bow out of the discussion.

        Comment by calebt45 — April 3, 2014 @ 4:56 am

      • Cale,

        Sorry Cedric, I don’t mean to butt in but I just have to ask Cale this

        “If what you meant here is: “God doesn’t exist. You haven’t provided evidence for the existence of God, so how can he perform miracles?” then I completely agree that I haven’t provided any reason whatsoever to believe in God in this exchange. And, for my argument to be a sound one, the existence of God is unnecessary”

        WHAT?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!? Are you f*&king kidding me?!?!?!?! This is your original proposition (taken from your website, verbatim):

        1. We have very good reasons, drawn from modern medical science, to believe that a human body cannot return to life via the processes which normally operate in our world.
        2. Jesus rose from the dead, by a miraculous act of God.

        The existence of God isn’t necessary in order for Jesus to be resurrected from the dead?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?. How can Jesus be resurrected by God via a miracle, if God doesn’t exist??!?!?!?! Either you’ve forgotten what you were arguing about, what you wrote, or you have gone completely insane. THIS IS RIDICULOUS.
        Cedric is correct in his assessment. Normal, sane people do not argue like this. This is the work of a MADMAN.

        Comment by Ashley — April 3, 2014 @ 9:12 am

      • My proposition wasn’t that 1. And 2. are true, so your description of those two statements as “my original proposition” is erroneous. My proposition was that there was no logical contradiction in affirming both 1. and 2. on the basis of that commonly proffered argument. That’s why those two statement are preceded by

        “I’d like to cordially invite tildeb to show (in the comments section of this post) what he thinks the implicit contradiction(s) between these two propositions are.

        NOT

        “I’d like tildeb to give me his best arguments about how he thinks the historical evidence for the Resurrection isn’t reliable etc.”

        Comment by Cale B.T. — April 3, 2014 @ 9:24 am

      • And yes of course, if God doesn’t exist, then Jesus didn’t rise.

        Comment by Cale B.T. — April 3, 2014 @ 9:27 am

      • I think is actually you not understanding the intention of the argument in the first place.

        I told you to spell out your claim in plain English several times. You kept on dancing.
        It was only after I asked you point-blank about your belief in Resurrection, that you finally said “Yes” and then later allowed the other shoe to drop with the whole God performing a miracle bit.

        This is your original proposition (taken from your website, verbatim):

        Seriously? That’s what he originally wrote?
        I can see why he creatively edited it.

        We have no reason to believe that people rise from the dead via the processes which normally operate in our world.

        That curious wording of the second half was a dead giveaway for me.
        Why would anyone phrase it that way unless they were trying to refer to something without actually directly referring to it?
        Hmm.
        “..via the processes which normally operate in our world.”
        As if somehow there’s some sane, perfectly reasonable alternative.

        “1. We have no reason to believe that the word “Theology” is spelt “Turd” via the processes which normally operate in spelling words in modern, standard English.
        1.* We have no reason to believe that the word “Theology” is spelt “Turd”.

        My post provides the argument that 1. doesn’t necessarily entail 1.*”

        Comment by Cedric Katesby — April 3, 2014 @ 9:30 am

      • …if God doesn’t exist, then Jesus didn’t rise.

        Oh joy.

        “1. We have no reason not to believe that ..if God doesn’t exist, then Jesus didn’t rise via the processes which normally operate according to the Bible.
        1.*We have no reason not to believe that ..if God doesn’t exist, then Jesus didn’t rise.

        My post provides the argument that 1. doesn’t necessarily entail 1.*”

        Imagine if people argued like this all the time? Just awful.

        Comment by Cedric Katesby — April 3, 2014 @ 9:36 am

      • Keep in mind how my post begins:

        “A common objection to the possibility of miracles is the following:

        “If we consider miracles as a possible explanation, then doing science will become impossible, because it’s always possible that God might be miraculously interfering with the results of the experiments.”

        My post argues that this commonly presented objection is false. Not that 1. and 2. are true.

        Comment by Cale B.T. — April 3, 2014 @ 9:39 am

      • “As if somehow there’s some sane, perfectly reasonable alternative.”

        You could say that you don’t think that miracles are a sane, perfectly reasonable alternative because doesn’t God exist, and that wouldn’t effect my argument.

        Comment by Cale B.T. — April 3, 2014 @ 9:43 am

      • That curious wording of the second half was a dead giveaway for me.
        Why would anyone phrase it that way unless they were trying to refer to something without actually directly referring to it?

        Err, because they wanted to make a distinction between the causal patterns which regularly occur and miracles?

        Comment by Cale B.T. — April 3, 2014 @ 9:49 am

      • You kept on dancing. It was only after I asked you point-blank about your belief in Resurrection, that you finally said “Yes” and then later allowed the other shoe to drop with the whole God performing a miracle bit.

        No, I wrote “However, despite my use of the Resurrection in my post, I wasn’t actually wanting to discuss any particular example.” in my first reply to tildeb, well before we began interacting.

        As for me being “shy about miracles”, they were mentioned from the first line of the post, so I don’t know where you are getting that idea.

        Comment by Cale B.T. — April 3, 2014 @ 10:02 am

      • Cale,

        I see you are wholly unfamiliar with the concept of logic. Deists, theists and apologists usually are, which is why your (their) arguments go ’round and ’round in circles without any resolution. Go to google and type in “logical fallacies”. The 4th entry down is “thou shalt not commit logical fallacies”. It’s a nice, concise, printable sheet (in pdf format) with plain English explanations of the various logical fallacies one can fall into when arguing, The one you’re looking for is on the right-hand side of the page in the middle. “Burden of Proof”. It is NOT up to tildeb (or anyone else) to prove that miracles AREN’T possible. You’ve got it exactly backwards. It’s up to YOU to prove that miracles ARE possible.
        Your proposition is:
        1) People don’t naturally rise from the dead
        2) People rise supernaturally from the dead. Ok, fine. There’s no contradiction there.

        Here’ are my propositions:
        1) Spaghetti noodles aren’t naturally animate objects
        2) Spaghetti noodles are supernaturally animate objects.

        1) People don’t naturally become vampires and then change into bats,
        2) People supernaturally become vampires and then turn into bats.

        1) The sun naturally rises in the east and sets in the west.
        2) The sun supernaturally rises in the North and sets in the South.

        1) Gravity naturally causes objects to fall to earth when dropped
        2) Gravity supernaturally allows objects to hover in suspension when dropped.

        There are no contradictions in those statements. Do I have proof that any part 2 of any of the propositions I’ve made are true? No I don’t, but for the sake of argument, let’s just say that I believe them anyways. Right about now, you’d probably be questioning my sanity wouldn’t you if I actually did believe all those propositions?? (Well, at least you should be. Most sane people would). I’ve got exactly the same amount of proof for all of my propositions that you have for yours. BIG FAT ZERO. The difference between us is that I don’t ACTUALLY believe in my propositions. You believe in yours. This is what is referred to as delusional thinking. You suffer from it. Very badly. So badly in fact that you can’t even form a rational, coherent, logical thought in your head.

        Comment by Ashley — April 3, 2014 @ 10:07 am

      • Err, because they wanted to make a distinction between the causal patterns which regularly occur and miracles?

        Oh stop it.
        If you want to make a distinction between stuff that regularly occurs and miracles…then make it.
        Spit it out.
        Spell out the distinction in plain English.
        You don’t get to just wriggle around the awkward miracles bit by omission and hope that nobody will notice.
        The best way to make a distinction between something else and miracles is to mention both the something else and the miracles.
        The shoe must drop with a distinct thud.

        You could say that you don’t think that miracles are a sane, perfectly reasonable alternative because God doesn’t exist, and that wouldn’t effect my argument.

        You could say that you don’t think that spelling Theology as Turd is a sane, perfectly reasonable alternative spelling because blah, blah, blah….
        No.
        What you are doing is silly.
        Theology is not spelt Turd.

        “A common objection to the possibility of miracles is the following:
        “If we consider miracles as a possible explanation, then doing science will become impossible, because it’s always possible that God might be miraculously interfering with the results of the experiments.”
        My post argues that this commonly presented objection is false. Not that 1. and 2. are true.

        A common objection to the possibility of magic is the following:
        “If we consider magic as a possible explanation, then doing science will become impossible, because it’s always possible that Gandalf doing magic tricks might be miraculously interfering with the results of the experiments.”
        My post argues that this commonly presented objection is false. Not that 1. and 2. are true.”

        Comment by Cedric Katesby — April 3, 2014 @ 10:25 am

      • “If you want to make a distinction between stuff that regularly occurs and miracles…then make it.
        Spit it out.
        Spell out the distinction in plain English.”

        Miracle: God intervening directly in causal chains to cause an effect which would not have otherwise occurred.
        E.g. God miraculously causing a 15 ton iron weight to float as if it were cardboard.

        Secondary causation/laws of nature: the usual operation of the cosmos.
        E.g. the oxidation of iron which occurs in the earth’s atmosphere.

        As for your analogy with theology being spelt turd, I’m not understanding it, sorry.

        As for Gandalf, I don’t think I’d disagree with your reformulation of my argument.

        Also:
        http://calebtblog.blogspot.com.au/2014/04/clarification-on-i-believe-in-miracles.html

        Comment by Cale B.T. — April 3, 2014 @ 10:57 am

      • “The one you’re looking for is on the right-hand side of the page in the middle. “Burden of Proof”. It is NOT up to tildeb (or anyone else) to prove that miracles AREN’T possible. You’ve got it exactly backwards. It’s up to YOU to prove that miracles ARE possible.”

        You are right that my argument does depend on miracles being *logically* possible and so I have a burden of proof in that sense. But, if God (having the attribute of omnipotence) exists, then He can intervene directly in causal chains to cause an effect which would not have otherwise occurred. I think I’m quite rational in believing that conditional statement.

        “Ok, fine. There’s no contradiction there.”

        Thanks. People often assert that there is, on the basis of a particular argument, and that argument is what I was setting out to address.

        “I’ve got exactly the same amount of proof for all of my propositions that you have for yours. BIG FAT ZERO.”

        I profoundly disagree, and I believe that the quality of the arguments for the Resurrection is far better than “BIG FAT ZERO”. But we’ll leave that for another day.

        “This is what is referred to as delusional thinking. You suffer from it. Very badly So badly in fact that you can’t even form a rational, coherent, logical thought in your head.”

        A moment ago, you were saying “How can Jesus be resurrected by God via a miracle, if God doesn’t exist??!?!?!?!” and thinking that the entire point of the argument was to establish the Resurrection. And now, you should realise that your only reasons for typing “WHAT?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!? Are you f*&king kidding me?!?!?!?! RIDICULOUS” and so on seem to have been your own misunderstanding about what I was saying.

        Your accusation of my illogicality really does ring hollow.

        My comments on this issue are posted here:
        http://calebtblog.blogspot.com.au/2014/04/clarification-on-i-believe-in-miracles.html

        Comment by Cale B.T. — April 3, 2014 @ 11:32 am

      • Cale,

        There you go. You’re assertions and positions have been crystal clear right from the outset, it’s just that Cedric, tildeb and myself have misunderstood you all along. That’s gotta be the explanation. Crystal clear as this:

        “You are right that my argument does depend on miracles being *logically* possible and so I have a burden of proof in that sense. But, if God (having the attribute of omnipotence) exists, then He can intervene directly in causal chains to cause an effect which would not have otherwise occurred. I think I’m quite rational in believing that conditional statement.”
        or in plain English:
        “If miracles are possible then I have the burden of proof to show that god exists, but if god exists, then he can make miracles possible. I believe that this is a perfectly logical argument.” NO. IT’S NOT. Circular, illogical nonsense. That is EXACTLY why you say “Your accusation of my illogicality really does ring hollow.” Because you wouldn’t know what a logical, rational argument was if it slapped you in the face.

        “I profoundly disagree, and I believe that the quality of the arguments for the Resurrection is far better than “BIG FAT ZERO”. But we’ll leave that for another day”
        What a shocker!!!! You believe that the “evidence” you have for your supernatural claims is far superior to the (non) evidence I (readily admit I don’t) have for my supernatural claims. I certainly didn’t see that one coming!!!!!

        And ’round and ’round we go.

        Comment by Ashley — April 3, 2014 @ 11:59 am

      • Yes. I think you guys have all fundamentally misunderstood the point of my argument. Why is that such an insane idea to entertain?

        You said:

        “If miracles are possible then I have the burden of proof to show that god exists, but if god exists, then he can make miracles possible.”

        The meaning of my first sentence was “If I want to advance an argument which refers to miracles, I have a burden of proof to show that miracles are logically coherent concept” not “If I want to make an argument that miracles are logically possible then I have a burden of proof to show that god exists.”

        See the distinction?

        I’ve already given my definition of what a miracle is, and I’m don’t think it contains any incoherencies and so thus it is logically possible.

        As for the second sentence I wrote:

        “If God exists, then he could *perform* miracles”
        not “if god exists then he can make miracles possible.” (which, presumably you meant in the sense of making an incoherent concept somehow turn logical)

        Comment by Cale B.T. — April 3, 2014 @ 12:27 pm

      • Cale,

        In order for red to be blue, then the sun must be exactly 20.682 kajillion miles in diameter and I must let a big ripper go at precisely 6:35 am every morning in order for there to be a rational reason for me to believe that I am an elf. But in order for me to believe that I’m a tooth fairy, there are limitations on the degree of sweetness of my hot chocolate. Note that I am not arguing that you can’t connect an npt pipe to a Victaulic groove pipe without a coupling but rather that I don’t need to demonstrate that there isn’t any corn in my shit to make that a rational argument. Do you see the distinction? Why is this such an insane idea to entertain? Surely you can see the logic in that? Thank you.

        Comment by Ashley — April 3, 2014 @ 12:47 pm

      • Yes, red being blue is an impossibility, because not-being-blue is intrinsic to the concept of what red is. What is the equivalent contradiction between 1. and 2. ?

        Comment by Cale B.T. — April 3, 2014 @ 7:40 pm

      • You made a claim that I had advanced a circular argument, and I tried to show why you falsely construed my argument. You didn’t respond to my counterargument on this point.

        Comment by Cale B.T. — April 3, 2014 @ 7:50 pm

  6. Errata: my 9:43 comment should read: “God doesn’t exist” not “doesn’t God exist”

    Comment by Cale B.T. — April 3, 2014 @ 9:53 am | Reply


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