Saturday, June 04, 2011

The Courtier's Replay and the Fools' Gambit

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I was off line for a week due to loss of A/C . Too hot to get on. Coming back I found a bit of hate mail in the comment box. It was an atheist atheist idiot who can't understand the problem with moronic gimmick known as the "courtier's reply." This is otherwise known as "bully and brow beating." It's a fools gambit, the attempt to force the other person into acquiesce by merely demanding something must be the case and any anyone who doesn't agree is an idiot. This allows the Dawkametnalists who say anything they wish to say about theology, and dodge the bullet of ignorance because they have not read any. So evoking the gimmick know as the courtier's replay is about the stupidest thing one can do.

this little hate monger was loaded with insult. I'm so stupid. i am the "stupidest" person ever, why? becasue his little ideology says anyone who disagrees with the ideology must be "stupid." They way they sling epithets about and refuse to learn anything is proof in and of itself that their "movement" which they can't even admit is a movement is about the stupidest thing no earth.

Atheists are always coming up with little gimmicks. Anytime you trump them with real knowledge they get up set and find a gimmick. The Jesus myth theory was such a gimmick. Jesus was such a compelling figure and there is some decent evidence he rose from the dead, so to counter that they just pretend he never existed, and give it a little name and make up some pseudo intelligent sounding crap pertaining to it. The "default" and the "extraordinary evidence credo" these are all gimmicks atheists made up and they are passed off as pseudo official sounding quasi logical tactics that in actuality mean nothing.



The latest is the Courtier's reply. This is it:




I recently referred to the "Courtier's Reply", a term invented by PZ Myers to rebut the claims of believers who insist that their superstitious beliefs are ever so much more sophisticated than the simple version that Dawkins attacks.


PZ's response deserves much more publicity because it goes to the heart of the debate between rationalism and supersition. I'm going to post his original Courtier's Reply below (without permission, but I'm sure he'll understand) but before doing so I need to remind everyone about the original fairy tale [The Emperor's New Clothes].
This is a statement by a reductionist scientism king Larry Moran is a Professor in the Department of Biochemistry at the University of Toronto. He's on a blog called Sand Walk.

So what this couriter's reply is saying is that if the sketpic says stupid things about theology and demonstrates that he knows nothin gabout it and the theist says "O your criticism is invalid because you don't understand what you are criticizing" then al lthe atheist has to do is say "that's the courtiers reply" and the theist is supposed to go "O my God, I've violated a law of logic!" and give up and stop believing in God. But in realty it's nto a log of logic, I never heard it in a logic class.It's not in a lgoic text book, and the menaing of it is silly. I'ts just saying 'You can't point out my ignorance of theology because I will not allow theology to have any kind of validity or importance and religous people may not not any sort of human dignity." That's all it's saying. It's nothing more than anti-intellectual stupidity.


Here is Myers statement about it:


The Courtier's Reply
by PZ Myers



I have considered the impudent accusations of Mr Dawkins with exasperation at his lack of serious scholarship. He has apparently not read the detailed discourses of Count Roderigo of Seville on the exquisite and exotic leathers of the Emperor's boots, nor does he give a moment's consideration to Bellini's masterwork, On the Luminescence of the Emperor's Feathered Hat. We have entire schools dedicated to writing learned treatises on the beauty of the Emperor's raiment, and every major newspaper runs a section dedicated to imperial fashion; Dawkins cavalierly dismisses them all. He even laughs at the highly popular and most persuasive arguments of his fellow countryman, Lord D. T. Mawkscribbler, who famously pointed out that the Emperor would not wear common cotton, nor uncomfortable polyester, but must, I say must, wear undergarments of the finest silk.


Dawkins arrogantly ignores all these deep philosophical ponderings to crudely accuse the Emperor of nudity.


Personally, I suspect that perhaps the Emperor might not be fully clothed — how else to explain the apparent sloth of the staff at the palace laundry — but, well, everyone else does seem to go on about his clothes, and this Dawkins fellow is such a rude upstart who lacks the wit of my elegant circumlocutions, that, while unable to deal with the substance of his accusations, I should at least chide him for his very bad form.


Until Dawkins has trained in the shops of Paris and Milan, until he has learned to tell the difference between a ruffled flounce and a puffy pantaloon, we should all pretend he has not spoken out against the Emperor's taste. His training in biology may give him the ability to recognize dangling genitalia when he sees it, but it has not taught him the proper appreciation of Imaginary Fabrics.



In other words, knowledge of theological subjects is just plain bull shit and it doesn't matter if Dawkins doesn't understand it because it's not worth understanding. So it's not valid criticism of him to say that. Except the problem is, if he understood theology he would see that his criticisms are wrong. The criticisms he makes are almost always about fundamentalists views. Since he refuses to accept that there are other non fundamentalist types of theology, when you point it out he just says O that's ridiculous because all theology is crap so it doesn't matter--but if he knew that he might not make the criticisms becasue they don't apply. But it's not worthing knowing that. he's just reasoning in a cirlce.

Here's his logic:

Him: religion is evil superstiion because fundies believe X

Liberal: we don't beileve x

him: that doesn't matter becasue religion is all crap no matter what. so even if you don't believe the thing I say is crap you still your own crap that must be stupid because you are religious. I know it's stupid because religion is stupid. Of course that's based on the stuff that you don't believe but that doesn't matter.

Narrow minded anti-intellectual brinkman ship in a most unsophisticated manner.

A very emotionally immature atheist tried this on me recently. Here's how it went.

Brent: All religious people believe in big man in the sky.

Me: process theology doesn't believe in big man in the sky

Brent: that's nonsesne all religous people do so they mustt.

Me; you clearly don't know enoguh about theology to say that

Brent: Courteiers reply! Courtiers' replay!

Like some magic king'x X that's suppossed to mean something. Clearly it's stupid because they are only trying to dodge the fact that their criticisms are based upon things they don't understand and that don't apply. Its' an attempt to hide their ignorance. They are committing an informal fallacy with the use of this gimmick. It's called "ipsie dixit." It means "truth by stipulation." They are saying in effect "I simply stipulate that I will not allow you to have knowledge. AT this point on your knowledge is now void becasue I declare to be so, since it's religion and religion is stupid."

Again their reasoning is quite circular since the reasons they would give for reducing religion to superstition don't' apply to modern sophisticated theology, but the fact that it can be labeled "theology" and they don't even know what that means, they stipulate that it must be stupid. So even though their reasons don't apply they just demand that they must do so any way.

Again they are merely stipulating truth and insisting they are right without any just reasons. It's idiotic to try and criticize a whole field you know nothing about. To make up for appalling ignorance they imply a third rate gimmick that is actually made up of two informal fallacies: ipsie dixit and circular reasoning.

24 comments:

Miles said...

I swear I remember you showing this before on your site.

I know this is normally fruitless but you could show the difference through example. Like the "ground of being is roughly like the Dao and the'big man in the sky' is like Shangdi.

a-hermit said...

Unfortunately a lot of atheists make the same mistake you are rightly objecting to here and take the couRtier's Reply as a call for ignorance. It's not.

The point Myers is making is one we would expect from someone who deos scienific research for a living; if you can't establish the existience of a phenomenon there's not mush point tryin to engage people in debates about the precise nature of that phenomenon.

It's just a way of pointing out to people who want us to think they know the mind of God that their personal beliefs are not sufficient grounds to establish public policy on issues like gay rights, or the teaching of evolution (which is Myers' primary concern.) In other words, theology may have its place, but it's place is not in the laboratoy or the legislature.

Metacrock said...

Ok I'll a whirl Miles, thanks.

Metacrock said...

"The point Myers is making is one we would expect from someone who deos scienific research for a living; if you can't establish the existience of a phenomenon there's not mush point tryin to engage people in debates about the precise nature of that phenomenon."

science is about cotnorl of reality. Its' not one thing to say "I don't find the evidence for this hypothesis because I doubt the crediblity of your method," and saying "this can't be true because it doesn't fit my truth and my truth is the only truth."

It's assign nonsense say there is no reason to believe. That is utter utter utter stupidity. It's obviously well proved there are 42 good reasons to believe in God only a fool or a brain washed lackie would fail to see that.

again, the challneged never never never taken by any athist: name the law of logic by God arguments violate?

it's all ideology.


It's just a way of pointing out to people who want us to think they know the mind of God that their personal beliefs are not sufficient grounds to establish public policy on issues like gay rights, or the teaching of evolution (which is Myers' primary concern.)

whining, stop whining because there are people in the world with different views than yours who have no been brain washed and don't cow tow to your cult.



In other words, theology may have its place, but it's place is not in the laboratoy or the legislature.

the brain washing tells you that those are only valid places where truth is found, but I see through he brain washing.

I freed myself from it long ago.

a-hermit said...

"whining, stop whining because there are people in the world with different views than yours who have no been brain washed and don't cow tow to your cult."

I see. So when some creationist insists that their literal interpretation of the Bible must be given the same consideration in a high school biology class as established science you think that's OK?

Or should we ask them to support their case and demonstrate that the Emperor is indeed wearing clothes?

Myer's isn't dismissing theology as useless; he's objecting to people who try to use theological reasoning to over-rule established science.

"the brain washing tells you that those are only valid places where truth is found, but I see through he brain washing."

But you missed the fact that I was actually agreeing with you; the atheists who use the "courtier's reply" the way you describes are getting it wrong.

a-hermit said...

"whining, stop whining because there are people in the world with different views than yours who have no been brain washed and don't cow tow to your cult."

Try reading what I actually wrote before turning into a complete asshole, OK? I'M AGREEING WITH YOU!

Speaking of different views; should we deny rights to homosexuals because some Christians think their God doesn't like homosexuality? Or should we insist that they clothe their case with something more than "God says so?"

That's the proper application of the "Courtier's Reply" as I see it; it's addressed to people who want to change public policy based on the teachings of their cult without making a secular case for that policy. People who use it as a call for ignorance are missing the point.

Kristen said...

a-hermit said:

"The point Myers is making is one we would expect from someone who deos scienific research for a living; if you can't establish the existience of a phenomenon there's not mush point tryin to engage people in debates about the precise nature of that phenomenon."

This argument might work if they were not using it to counter any reply to their opposition to the existence of God based on the "precise nature of the phenomenon."

In other words, they make a statement about the nature of God: "We don't believe in your magic sky daddy." The theist responds, "But I don't believe in a magic sky daddy either. My understanding of God is not that God is a magic sky daddy." To which they shout, "Courtier's Reply! The nature of what you believe in doesn't matter!"

But they were the ones who brought up the nature of God in the first place, and mocked belief in God based on that supposed nature. They cannot then claim that the nature of God is irrelevant-- because it makes their argument against God on the basis that God is a "magic sky daddy" irrelevant as well.

It is, indeed, circular reasoning.

Metacrock said...

Well Hermit I thought this:

"The point Myers is making is one we would expect from someone who deos scienific research for a living; if you can't establish the existience of a phenomenon there's not mush point tryin to engage people in debates about the precise nature of that phenomenon.

It's just a way of pointing out to people who want us to think they know the mind of God that their personal beliefs are not sufficient grounds to establish public policy on issues like gay rights, or the teaching of evolution (which is Myers' primary concern.) In other words, theology may have its place, but it's place is not in the laboratoy or the legislature."

was a personal attack on me. you were saying I think I know God's mind and I don't scinece for a living so I can't know anything.

that's what made me the most angry the idea that if you don't do scinece (do you do scinece for a living?) then you can't know anything. I'm sure you will try cover up that idea but that's what you said.

Metacrock said...

"But they were the ones who brought up the nature of God in the first place, and mocked belief in God based on that supposed nature. They cannot then claim that the nature of God is irrelevant-- because it makes their argument against God on the basis that God is a "magic sky daddy" irrelevant as well.

It is, indeed, circular reasoning."

right on Kristen

Metacrock said...

Speaking of different views; should we deny rights to homosexuals because some Christians think their God doesn't like homosexuality? Or should we insist that they clothe their case with something more than "God says so?"

You keep brining red herrings like this into the discussion any time you can't get a foot hold. So 200 studies show that religious experince is much better for you than doubt, but so what they killed the Amalekite babies so that trumps eerything, can't be a God.

can't you see that's just a all purpose panacea kind of argument?


"That's the proper application of the "Courtier's Reply" as I see it; it's addressed to people who want to change public policy based on the teachings of their cult without making a secular case for that policy. People who use it as a call for ignorance are missing the point."

that is clearly not the case because such people don't use theology, fundies really hate theology and usually don't know what it is.

everytime I've seen the CR used it's always been agaisnt the argument "you say this because you don't know theology."


the first time it was used on me atheist says all Christians believe God is a big man in the sky. I said no what about process theology where they don't believe God is personal at all he says "that's the CR."

Metacrock said...

sorry if I misunderstood what you were getting at Hermit.

ahermit.myopenid.com said...

"This argument might work if they were not using it to counter any reply to their opposition to the existence of God based on the "precise nature of the phenomenon."


Yes; how many times do I have to say it? I AGREE WITH YOU! I have said a number of times now the people who do that are misusing Myer's original rhetorical device. I'm not sure it's that useful even in it's narrower application, by the way, but I'm actually quite annoyed with the atheists who use t the way you describe. They are missing the point.

a-hermit said...

"Well Hermit I thought this:

...

was a personal attack on me."


You know you'd get into fewer pointless fights online if you weren't so quick to do that.

"that is clearly not the case because such people don't use theology, fundies really hate theology and usually don't know what it is."

OK I'm curious now; to what extent do you think a biology teacher should use theology in their teaching?

How much consideration should be given to theology in passing civil legislation, or setting economic policy? And whose theology should set the standard?

Metacrock said...

Little atheist drama queens love hysterics. See he's not talking about the issues. he's talking about how I'm bad. I do wrong. I can't think properly I am always hurting people blah blah it's just ant Christians awful? Of cousre ignore the atheist mocking, ridiculing hatred constantly being spewed from their little brains.

a-hermit said...

Just for fun here's PZ Myers himself debating embryology with a couple of Muslim apologists:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N4trHH6AuZ0

He's not jumping up and down shouting "courtier's reply!" at them, but this the kind of thing I think he was getting at; pointing out that in a discussion about evolution and human biology the unsupported faith claims of the apologists are not an adequate rebuttal to the established science of embryology.

Metacrock said...

there is no evidence of any kind, not scientific or anything against the existence of God. There is no groundless apologetic that his not backed by logic and empirical data. The God arguments are forceful and fine. they are logical and well written. that's why God is back on the modern thinking agenda again.

It's only the lame atheist who can't reason who has decided there are no arguments, becuase his brain washing gives him circular reasoning that says "there can't be any decent arguments for God therefore the argument you get must not be decent."

a-hermit said...

"It's only the lame atheist who can't reason who has decided there are no arguments, becuase his brain washing gives him circular reasoning that says "there can't be any decent arguments for God therefore the argument you get must not be decent."

Are you ever going to get around to addressing anything I've actually said? Or are you just going to keep repeating the same non-sequitur rant?

Metacrock said...

Are you ever going to get around to addressing anything I've actually said? Or are you just going to keep repeating the same non-sequitur rant?

are you ever going to actually listen when I do?

a-hermit said...

"are you ever going to actually listen when I do?"

We won't know until you actually try, will we? ;-)

Metacrock said...

that you say that proves you don't listen.

a-hermit said...

"that you say that proves you don't listen."

Really? Ok, here once again are the questions I asked:

To what extent do you think a biology teacher should use theology in their teaching?

How much consideration should be given to theology in passing civil legislation, or setting economic policy? And whose theology should set the standard?

Show me where you answered them please...

Metacrock said...

when one argues based upon issues that havent been raised it's all "red herring."

I say you need to know what you are talking about when you criticize theology. you say "would you use theology to measure social policy?"

do you see what's wrong with this picture?

a-hermit said...

I was agreeing with you that the use of the "Courtier's Reply" as you described it was wrong, and trying to point out that the whole thing was originally intended, as I see it, as a response to people who try to use theology (or what they think of as theology, whether it measures up to your standards or not) to over-rule science in the science classroom or secular goals in the legislature.

Your response to that point was to call me "whiny" and "brain washed" so I'm left wondering if you think that theology DOES have a role in science classes and legislatures.

That's not a red herring, it's a request for clarification, because I have a hard time understanding what you're trying to say when you start foaming at the mouth like that...

Kristen said...

A-Hermit:

I am not sure how the "Courtier's Reply" argument applies to attempts to use theology to override science in the classroom or legislative goals.

How, exactly, would such an argument be constructed?