Saturday, January 27, 2007

Games Athesits Play

The games atheist play. I knew some atheists once who loved to play monopoly. They loved it so much they decided that atheism monopolizes science. I've also known many an atheist who loved doge ball. But then who doesn't sometimes? Hide and seek? No, atheists don't like seeking. They definitely do not like things being hidden. They like scrabble, where things are spelled out clearly and they control the vocabulary.

There are two things I find atheists doing on message boards that drive me up the wall.

(1) Assume no givens of any kind

(2) Confuse real logic with personal taste

The first one, assume no givens, I should say allow no givens. I've seen this in many forms. It's basically the idea that everything has to be totally proven. This tendency to demand that everything be proven is an outgrowth of their epistemology, which through going empiricism, and empiricism in a inductive, scientific sense. True empiricism in the old philosophical sense is not good enough. They demand total absolute proof of any assumption made. This is so extreme I find atheists asking me to prove the assumption that God is love. They will not accept the idea that this comes with the package of a Christian belief system or that it is empirically experienced my own sense of the presence of God.

But the ultimate example of this kind of thinking gone wild was seen a board the other dad (AARM--or RE-AARM) there was a thread called "why would God?" Meaning why would God allow pain and evil. So I began discussion on my soeteriolgoical drama idea, which begins by saying "here are the assumptions I make for this argument." This guy puts my word "assumption" in big blue font and says "you are just assuming!" Yes, chicken pie I know, that's what I said I was doing. Of the idea that all studies, arguments, treatuses, essays and any other sort of heuristic device employs assumptions, is foreign to this guy. Then he really took the cake, he says "This is circular reasoning, because you are assuming God!"

Now, friends, the name of the thread was "why would God?" So the thread assumes God from the get go, and to answer the thread is to assume God. Moreover, the question was about the belief system of Christianity. If you as a Christian believe that God is good, how can you explain that God allows pain, ect ect. The very nature of the question demands that anyone attempting to answer assume God in the answer. But this guy wants to argue that it's circular reasoning just to have a belief a prori. So not only will they not allow any sort of belief things must be proven form the outset, but they confuse this with logic to begin with. I was not making an argument to prove he existence of God. I was explicating my belief system. thus it should perfectly fair and understood that to explain beliefs I have to assume my belief.

But this response of the atheist also highlights the second problem, not understanding logic. How many times have I heard atheists say "your ideas are not logical," only to find that they have no clear idea of any logical rule violated. To them logic just "I like this" and illogical means "I don't like this." When accused of circular reasoning I always ask them to tell me what makes something circular reasoning. Nine times out of ten it turns out they confusing circular reasoning with saying something unproven. In direct response to this question (what is circular reasoning in my argument) the will say things like "we don't know what came before the big bang." This means my argument is circular because I'm making an assumption not based upon absolute evidence but speculation. When I point out that circular reasoning means the premise rests upon the conclusion of an argument, and none of my arguments do this, they just poo poo it like "O how can I be expected to keep track of all those rules." This makes the charge of "circular reasoning" pretty meaningless.

The idea that we know God exists because they Bible says so, and the Bible is the word of God so we can believe it, is a prefect example of circular reasoning. This is entirely because the premise (God exists) rests slap dabe upon the conclusion (God's existence is proven by the bible). The authority of the Bible comes from the thing in question, God. This is akin to begging the question. Circular reasoning is a lot like and is a form of question begging. The proof is based upon the thing in question, and the thing in question is proven by the proof that rests upon it.

None of my arguments have this quality. But what really gets me is these guys are not even assuming that unproven arguments are resting a premise upon a conclusion they are just using the term "circular reasoning" because they've heard it before and its sounds like a logical buzz to employ for the idea "I don't like this idea."


Anonymous said...

As you can see with Grayling (thanks for showing up on the Guardian site, by the way), this stuff you note is all too real--not just on the Sec Web but even in (albeit British) academic & public discourse. Grayling is an extreme example, but the telltale signs are there--no logic, badly handled evidence (if at all), stubborn ignorance + arrogance... Does not bode well for learning on any front.

J.L. Hinman said...

I think a lot of the problem is the death of learning, the one-dimensional man stuff.