Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Alan Roebuck said it! Guess that must settle it?

On Evangelical Realism, I said,

" [Mr.Roebuck said, quote]“…it is absurd and dangerous (not to mention invalid) to reject theistic evidence unless you have very good evidence for naturalism being true.”[end quote]

Not only shifting the burden of proof, sneeringly shifting the burden of proof!
Are we going to hear a couple of ‘nuggets’ which compose this ‘mountain’ of theistic evidence?
I doubt it.",

to which Mr.Roebuck replied,

"Your responses so far have been underwhelming. Perhaps this is just a site where atheists meet to kibbitz and I have committed a faux pas by intruding on a private conversation and asking that you justify your atheism. But you criticized my essay, so I defended myself. I wonder if you can defend yourselves.
My language is harsh, but fair and not insulting. Since I have to interact with you (I have to defend my essay), I might as well try to knock some sense into you."

Okay, I think that Mr. Roebuck is tacitly admitting that this is just a debate(let the best debater win!), and subject to each and every rhetorical trick in the book.

"There is no symmetry between our positions. Your position is defined by the “No!” you say to a vast sum of evidence and arguments. My position is that some of this sum is valid, and you need to justify your rejection of obviously good evidence. If you cannot justify it, you are probably wrong."

Seems to me that Mr. Roebuck hasn't read many atheist blogs if he doesn't know, and he doesn't seem to know that what atheist bloggers do is point out fallacies in anything remotely regarded as 'evidence' by theists. So, apparently we are being invited to step out of reality into Mr. Roebuck's 'world' as per usual when it comes to Christian apologists.

"Are you even aware of your own reasons for rejecting all the evidence?"


" How much of the evidence do you even know?"

Quite a bit more than I need to know to decide my position on this.

" Are you capable of doing more than sneering?"

This is a bit 'to quoque'ish, don't you think. I say that he is 'sneeringly shifting the burden of proof' and would you look at that, didn't even bother to look up a synonym!

"Do you know how one might investigate something that is not physical?"

Sure, you investigate something that isn't physical by it's effects on the physical world.

" There is at least one non-physical thing that you know exists: Your consciousness. Don’t say “Consciousness is caused only by the functioning of brain cells.” Even if that were true, consciousness itself, the thing you experience, is obviously not brain cells, nor is it functioning of brain cells. Your consciousness does not have weight or a chemical makeup, so consciousness does not equal brain cells. And your consciousness cannot be measured in volts and amps, so consciousness does not equal brain cell activity. Your consciousness is an irreducible thing, and non-material.
So at least one non-material thing exists. (Technically, I’m claiming it’s a “substance,” that is, something that exists in and of itself, and not as a property of something else.) Therefore other non-material things may exist.
We don’t have a direct experience of God, as we do of our minds. So how, in general, does one discern whether a non-material thing exists? Not by empirical evidence, because we cannot detect a non-material thing with our senses. Some other line of reasoning must be used.
The basic evidence for God is that the various aspects of reality cannot generate themselves, and therefore need a cause. Here are brief summaries of two lines of argumentation.
The universe (including space and time) did not always exist. Therefore something outside of matter, space and time caused it. Sure, this analysis does not show that the cause is God. But it does shows that the cause is not the matter that you tacitly assume causes everything.
Darwinists only believe that Evolution can account for the origin and development of all life because they assume God did not do it, and therefore matter is all that could have done it. But they are assuming their answer, not proving it. It is more plausible (unless you have an irrational presupposition of naturalism) that an intelligent Being caused life.
Question: If one does not beg the question by assuming that God is impossible, why specifically is a naturalistic explanation of the origins of the cosmos and of life more plausible than a theistic one?
Saying “science has proved Evolution” is an invalid answer. Science assumes the materialism that I am asking you to justify.
Saying “The Bible is full of mistakes” is in invalid answer. Mistakes do not justify naturalism.
Saying “Religious believer say and do many evil and foolish things” is an invalid answer. Mistakes and evil do not justify naturalism.
Can you justify your rejection of all the evidence?"

I haven't even read all of this yet, there's just so much meat here.

So far I've replied thus,

"Mr. Roebuck says, “There is at least one non-physical thing that you know exists: Your consciousness.”
Consciousness is a process or a word, the first word in this sentence. Now we both know we’re not talking about the word ‘consciousness’ here,so an analogy to consciousness would be ‘the flowingness’ of a river. The ‘flowingness’ is not the water itself, much like the consciousness is not the chemical reactions themselves.
Hey, you came here to teach us something, perhaps you might learn something instead, Mr.Roebuck?
I am underwhelmed(to use your word) that you can point out ‘things’ which don’t materially exist. I think you’re just mixing and matching your categories here.
(Please come to my blog and defend yourself there too! )",

but there's more coming!!!


Harry C Pharisee said...

What the fuck is 'theistic evidence?'

Reductionism concerning 'mind' is THE most sensible, reasonable, rational, what have you, method of "cracking" this supposed puzzle.

We have all these organs and their processes... we give them gerunds, by which the focus is on the work, even when used as nouns. Unfortunately we don't use 'thinking' the way we should so it comes up as a watered down substitute for 'mind.'

"Everybody say 'thank you' to Descartes."

"Thank you Renee!"

Pliny-the-in-Between said...

From the Pliny version of the SAT:

Theistic evidence is to empirical evidence as marketing is to
a) Truth
b) Facts
c) bull dung
d) truthiness

mac said...

I might be inclined to believe theistic evidence, were I ever to see any.

pboyfloyd said...

At the moment, I'm trying to hold Mr. Roebuck's feet to the fire regarding his belief that consciousness is a substance, an immaterial substance, which I'm claiming is an oxymoron.

Pliny-the-in-Between said...

You sucked me into this one!

Pliny-the-in-Between said...

I tried responding over at that other site but it's not shown up.

pboyfloyd said...

If you're a first time poster he'll 'moderate it'.

It'll show up.

pboyfloyd said...

Okay, Pliny if a comment on Evangelical Realism hasn't showed up by now, it's never going to.

Did you fill in the blanks. Your email/name/website(optional)??

Pliny-the-in-Between said...

I did - when I looked on my iPhone it still shows the comment as in moderation. I make it a habit to not comment on most sites that require this.

pboyfloyd said...

Hmm. It is a bit different though. The name field is not your email, that might be the problem, or, maybe Deacon Duncan took off for Independence Day and left the comments on hold 'til he gets back. Who knows.

Pliny-the-in-Between said...

pBoy - for your amusement, here is what I tried to publish over at Ev Real. on this topic.

Consciousness is not a substance, it is a word. It's a word that was created to describe something long before humans had any knowledge of the underlying physical processes. It’s just a label we insist on clinging towhen describing a complex set of neurosensory perceptions created by well studied anatomic and physiologic structures and processes. These processes are accessible to anyone with an interest in neuroanatomy and physiology. These disciplines form the strong basis for taking a material view of issue of the mind. Most (if not all) of the emotions, perceptions, mental states (including deeply religious ones) can be reliably duplicated by stimulation of specific regions of the brain or the application of either neurotransmitters or their analogs. As a corollary, damage to these regions results in predictable alterations in emotion, cognition, perception, notion of self, or even spirituality. These constitute very strong evidence of a material explanation of thought processes. No evidence of any consciousness outside of the constraints of neuroanatomy has ever been demonstrated in any valid test. Claims to such have always been anecdotal, biased or poorly tested. Such claims have not been repeatable nor have they demonstrated any findings that cannot be explained by the neurosciences. Neuroscience experimentation has resulted in enormous support for a material explanation of the mind while other explanations fail to provide any support outside of philosophy debates.

Another problem of course is the claim that because consciousness is just a process, that one’s identity is not real, isn’t a compelling argument. The fact that I am a series of neurochemical processes doesn’t make me unreal. It just means I have to be more careful and not fall for biased arguments absent any repeatable evidence. We are free to make up what we wish inside our heads, except the underlying limits of the material processes that govern even our most insistent wishful thinking.

pboyfloyd said...

Yea, sounds great to me Pliny, too bad you can't get it to go up.

Oh well, Alan Roebuck stopped responding, I'm thinking, because he thought he could just keep steering the conversation back to telling us that we couldn't provide satisfactory evidence(to him) that we're not assuming materialism.

This is his main tu quoque to the Courtier's Reply(assuming God), it's just a debater's argument, and of course it's a fallacy too.

Pliny-the-in-Between said...

Since the only evidence that exists is material, and it exists in great abundance, I'm not sure why it's so bad to assume it ;)

pboyfloyd said...

Yea sure, why wouldn't we who don't believe in gods assume materialism?

Good comment to Alan Roebuck by Jared.