Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Jumping Ship - A Time of Transition




IS GOING!!
SHOULD GO??



This is a time of transition in Australia, for our world of belief and unbelief as well as our politicians. On the parliamentary front we have seen politician after politician give tearful self justifying valedictories as they head for escape hatches.  Has parliament ever been as lachrymose? Has it ever been so righteous?  Well self justifying righteousness is a badge of public office so we should not be too surprised at that.
Now the world faith and faithlessness is being invaded by body snatchers.  A couple of ancient but significant bods are departing the scene.
David Nichols has retired from being the Supreme Commander of the Atheist Foundation of Australia (AFA). Archbishop Peter Jensen is retiring  as the leader of the Sydney Anglicans and Cardinal George Pell has been begged to follow their splendid example.

DAVID NICHOLS

David is a significant person.  David has held the position of President of the AFA for 8 years during which the profile of Atheism in Australia has grown dramatically.
Notable achievements under David’s presidency include the 2010 and 2012 Global Atheist Conventions, the controversial Bus Ad Campaign of 2011, the 2012 Census Awareness Campaign, addressing the Commonwealth Senate enquiry into charitable tax exemptions and commissioning the first television advertisements for atheism.  Of course as a weight challenged man, I also admire his wonderful skinny bod; thin and gorgeous.  Hard work works for David. 
The Global Atheist Conventions were huge events.  I had a bit of bumpy ride initially for my version of atheism is an accommodating atheism.  The AFA has members who find my approach too weak kneed and unsatisfying.  So I was quite unpopular when I talked about the legitimate role of faith in a pluralist society. I was booed when I correctly predicted that using the constitutional protection against forced religion in Section 116 was an unsound basis to attack expenditure on faith education.  But a variety of voices is the hallmark of a mature movement.  Atheism in Oz has such maturity and stature and AFA has been vital.
The AFA has been outstanding under David’s leadership. The Global Atheist Conventions were amazing events.  He retires an absolute winner.

ARCHBISHOP PETER JENSEN



Jensen departs the Sydney a controversial, even divisive, figure. To the godless like me, he is the devil incarnate.  I adore guys like Dr Jensen because he seems so last millennium.  He opposes gay marriage, gay ordination and he is not really big on the ordination of women relying as is his wont on the misogynist musings of St Paul.  He is the sort of hard line, biblically based sort of bastard we love to hate.  Even Anglicans like Bishop Spong and the Melbournian Muriel Porter rail against Dr Jensen and his Sydney zealots.
This blog has in the past lambasted him as the classic reactionary religious that gives us a comfortable feeling of superiority over believers.  How could any right minded person think that faith has anything to offer with retro dinosaurs like Jensen???
But I am sad to have to admit that some of his achievements are manifest.  Notwithstanding his patrician upbringing in Bellevue Hill, he has a strong reputation for advocating social justice issues, support for trade unions and other community pillars, allegedly tough on sexual abuse and generally progressive if it doesn’t involve sex. 
His major achievements are in the evangelical and liturgical areas. I think that the Melbourne Diocese is like a comfortable shoe. It won’t go away. It won’t rock the boat. It will not grow. But Jensen has made attempts to empower local congregations to work with new liturgy. His time has coincided with a fired up evangelical wing of the NSW Anglican community and the growth of that wing of the church is palpable. 
Evidently Jensen’s epiphany came when the American Protestant fire and brimstone man, Billy Graham stormed around Australia in the 1960s.  This epiphany clearly moulded the Archbishop’s time of service.  He gave sustenance to the biblically based, low church, Evangelical Anglicanism, which is unrecognizable from Evensong at Westminster Abbey.  These congregations are manifestly growing.  He has been the mid wife of this growth.
And more globally, it could be argued he saved the Anglican Communion.  There is a potential Schism brewing in Anglicanism over sex.  I will go into this next time in detail.  But I think that white, Western reactionaries like Jensen headed off the threats of Schism in both the American and African dioceses.  Anglicanism is still rent with division but I think that Dr Jensen can retire knowing that he helped hose down the opposition to Lambeth Palace so that people didn’t feel that they had to destroy the house.
Dr Jensen is a complicated figure for the godless.  We welcome his backward views for the poor PR it gives faith.  Those views give us someone we love to hate.  But his liturgical and evangelical achievements cannot be denied.  More on his role in saving global Anglicanism next time in a few days.

CARDINAL GEORGE PELL

My favourite whipping boy is back in the news.  Just when every politician and prelate seems to be retiring George just keeps on.  Pope Benedict knew when to go by establishing a modern precedent for retiring from a job for life.  George should do the same thing.  He looks doddery. His shadowy role in the sex abuse scandal is undefined but damning in it lack of definition.  Victim groups are calling upon him to stand down.  http://www.theage.com.au/national/victims-call-for-pell-to-stand-down-20130630-2p5au.html
He is called spiritually impotent and too identified with both the problem and the Churches reprehensible responses to the crimes.  He could join David Nichols from the AFA in dignified retirement.  I imagine he won’t.  I love that man.  We atheists would be lost without him.

What is your view???

Are the retirements of right wing war horses good for atheism or not?
What is your favourite Global Atheist Convention moment?
Was Jensen a success or failure?
Is Cardinal Pell a good to damaged to survive?

Add caption
Over to you

196 comments:

  1. ". I was booed when I correctly predicted that using the constitutional protection against forced religion in Section 116 was an unsound basis to attack expenditure on faith education. "

    Good, you should have been. kids are forced to go to school (and/or have their parent's religion forced on them), and many of them are in religious based schools.

    "Are the retirements of right wing war horses good for atheism or not?"

    Atheists can be right wing too so not sure what you mean.

    "What is your favourite Global Atheist Convention moment?"

    Not having been to it.

    "Was Jensen a success or failure?"

    That depends on what measure one is using. He was a failure as far as true equality goes.

    "Is Cardinal Pell a good too damaged to survive"

    Probably not, he'll only go if forced by superiors.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Stranger,
      Hard core atheists never get that section 116 is a very narrow freedom for religion. It is really to stop a state imposed faith. That is all. The litigation was flawed from the beginning. I was just surprised that people don't like hearing a technical argument that contradicts their prejudices. In the words of the great Jack Nicholson, "You couldn't handle the truth!"
      Dick

      Delete
    2. " It is really to stop a state imposed faith."

      It doesn't say that though does it?

      Delete
  2. MalcolmS3:04 AM

    "Are the retirements of right wing war horses good for atheism or not?"

    Who are you calling a "right wing war horse" Dick? If you mean a religious conservative such as Pell, then, he is not especially right wing. In fact his social theory would not be far removed from yours - in the same way that communist social theory is not far removed from fascist social theory.

    Whether his retirement would be good for atheists is a moot point. That would depend on the worldview of the atheist. I saw him give Dawkins a thorough shellacking on a TV debate not so long ago. Dawkins worldview did not save him.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Malcolm, I sometimes wonder if you're being deliberately obtuse in an effort to draw attention to yourself. Could you please direct me to the debate where Pell gave Dawkins a 'thorough shellacking'. I've never seen Pell give anyone, over 15 years of age, a 'shellacking'. The man is a pompous pissant. Yes an educated pissant, but a pissant nonetheless. Being well educated is not always an arbiter of intelligence. Georgie can acquire knowledge, it's in the area of application he falls short.

      Delete
    2. MalcolmS9:38 PM

      A "pompous pissant" he may be Tricia but at no stage did Dawkins phase him.

      I almost fell off the couch when Dawkins tried to reify *nothingness.*

      It was an excellent demonstration of why a sceptic cannot defeat a mystic.

      If you start from the premise that certainty[and thus knowledge] is impossible - which Dawkins does - you are doomed.

      I gave the debate to Pell whilst, as an atheist, I disagreed with almost everything he said.

      His position, whilst false, was ruthlessly consistent.

      Dawkins also suffers from the delusion that science can refute religion.

      Only philosophy can do that.

      Here it is:

      Richard Dawkins vs Cardinal George Pell

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tD1QHO_AVZA

      Delete
    3. Mal: I almost fell off the couch when Dawkins tried to reify *nothingness.*

      You need to get out more, mate. There are more important things to worry about.

      Delete
    4. MalcolmS11:04 PM

      Terry: "There are more important things to worry about"

      Exactly! Tell it to Dawkins.

      Delete
    5. I don't recall Dawkins ever saying that certainty is impossible.

      As I have pointed out before, the subtitle of his last book suggests that he thinks that we can know what is really true.

      As I recall during the debate Pell expresses uncertainty that the Universe exists at all.

      Dawkins simply asserts that it does exist. He certainly *seemed* certain.

      Delete
    6. Long John Silver5:09 AM

      "If you start from the premise that certainty[and thus knowledge] is impossible - which Dawkins does - you are doomed."

      Are you absolutely sure about that?

      Delete
    7. MalcolmS7:31 AM

      Robin: "I don't recall Dawkins ever saying that certainty is impossible"

      Did you watch the link? He couldn't even say whether he was an atheist or an agnostic. So, on the basic issue of the debate[the existence of God], he could not be certain.

      Delete
    8. MalcolmS7:43 AM

      Long John Silver: "Are you absolutely sure about that?"

      You have asked that question before. At the time I replied that I was *contextually certain.* I have not changed my mind. Please try to remain in focus.

      Delete
    9. "He couldn't even say whether he was an atheist or an agnostic. "

      It is possible to be both.

      Delete
    10. MalcolmS10:53 PM

      "It is possible to be both"

      Do you have two heads Andrew?

      Delete
    11. "Do you have two heads Andrew?"

      I didn't expect you to be able to understand.

      Delete
    12. 8x
      Only philosophy can do that.
      x8

      You spelled "foolosophy" wrong again twiddlehead.

      Delete
    13. Long John Silver6:30 PM

      "It is possible to be both"

      "Do you have two heads Andrew?"

      So which word are you redefining this time Mal? Is it "atheist" or "agnostic" that needs to be subjected to the special Mal-dictionary rather than using the English language meaning?

      Delete
    14. MalcolmS7:02 PM

      "Is it "atheist" or "agnostic" that needs... the English language meaning?"

      Aah, so the idiot pirate has two heads also! Figures. Must be crowded at the Andrew/pirate family get-together :)

      Delete
    15. ""Is it "atheist" or "agnostic" that needs... the English language meaning?""

      Not only is Mal thick he's also dishonest,and thick enough that we won't notice his deliberate misquote.

      Delete
    16. Long John Silver3:00 AM

      "Aah, so the idiot pirate has two heads also! "

      So we need to play "guess the definition" for both words? Or are you going to try something new and just answer a direct question?

      In Mal-world, what does the word "agnostic" mean?

      Delete
  3. Robin: I don't recall Dawkins ever saying that certainty is impossible.

    Watch the Q&A debate again.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If you recall what he said why don't you just quote or paraphrase it?

      And if he says that certainty is not possible then he should have been consistent and agreed with Pell that he could not be sure that there is a Universe.

      Instead he simply asserts that there is a Universe.

      Delete
    2. Let me just correct my slightly incorrect version of the exchange:
      +++++++++++++++++++++++++
      GEORGE PELL: But I wonder, you know, whether Richard believes that the order, the patterns we see in nature, whether they are real or whether they're an illusion.

      TONY JONES: I’m going to leave that question for the...

      RICHARD DAWKINS: They are real.
      +++++++++++++++++++++

      You have to admit that Dawkins sounds pretty certain about that.

      I have watched the show again and read the transcript and cannot find where Dawkins says that certainty is impossible. Perhaps you can point it out.

      Delete
    3. 8x
      ...the order, the patterns we see in nature, whether they are real or whether they're an illusion.
      x8

      They're not just as real as really real is - They're realler!

      ;)

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Morphology

      Can you see the meme?
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Egregore

      Delete
  4. Robin: Exactly! Tell it to Dawkins.

    You're the one who almost fell off the couch, loser.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. MalcolmS7:36 AM

      Er... no, that'll be me loser.

      Delete
    2. I love it when ad hominem backfires.

      Delete
    3. MalcolmS7:14 AM

      I thought your apology would have arrived by now :)

      Delete
  5. LJS: Mal, Are you absolutely sure about that?

    Yes, he is. And it's the dull man who's always sure, and the sure man who's always dull.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. MalcolmS7:22 AM

      You may well not be sure Terry but you are surely dull.

      Delete
    2. Long John Silver6:33 PM

      And you are dully sure. (sorry, you are certain - in the "context" of being a dullard expressing certainty).

      Delete
  6. RalphH 06/078:49 AM

    Dick, although I'm neither an Anglican or a Catholic I have something of an admiration for both Jensen and Pell. I've read some of Jensen's work and find myself agreeing with much that he writes. Many people dislike him because of the stance he has made on homosexuality and his opposition to women in the priesthood but I believe he is pretty much in line with what the Bible teaches. If he feels that it's time to retire then good for him, he's fought a good fight and is, IMO, definitely not running away from anything.

    I think Pell is in an unenviable position, let down by many in his own organisation and being in an organisation that on the child abuse issue (for starters) has lost it's way. I wouldn't say Pell “shellacked” Dawkins in the Q & A debate (he's too graceful for that) but I believe 'the boy from Ballarat' more than had 'the high priest of atheism's' measure. Dawkins should stick to biology and stop attacking religion, a subject that by choice and from prejudice, he knows very little about.

    You mentioned Selby Spong and Muriel Porter as more acceptable Anglicans than Jensen. I have read some of Spong's books and not been impressed. He may recognise that traditional Christianity has certain problems but replaces it with his own self-derived doctrine which is way further from the mark. I have commented on Muriel Porter's articles many times in the past but never in agreement. I believe her ideas are far more secular based then agreeing with Biblical principles.

    I know very little about David Nichols (only the postings he has made to your and Barney Zeitz's blogs). I wouldn't think him “a significant person” outside of an atheist mindset or awareness. I guess being the leader of an 'anti' organisation made up of a bunch of individually 'anti' people without any real unifying code, would have it's challenges.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Ralph,

      I am revising my revulsion about Jensen. I expect that we will never agree on the issues of the day. But I must concede that his leadership is very complex and nuanced. Next time I will try to elaborate on that. I believe he saved Anglicanism from Schism.

      Thanks for the comments.

      Delete
    2. But why would you think that saving Anglicanism from schism was a good thing?

      Delete
    3. Long John Silver6:43 PM

      "I think Pell is in an unenviable position, let down by many in his own organisation and being in an organisation that on the child abuse issue (for starters) has lost it's way."

      Pell is not just in the position of being in an organisation which has been let down by others losing their way. He accompanied Ridsdale to court (while the church provided no support to Ridsdale's victims).

      According to Pell, Ridsdale “had made terrible mistakes” - well, I suppose that raping children is a bit of an error in judgement, but it's no reason to pick on the poor guy, is it?

      According to Pell: “The primary motivation would have been to respect the reputation of the church . . .” and I can have no respect for someone who thinks that the "reputation" of their organisation is a more important consideration than helping children who have been raped by priests.

      Delete
  7. MalcolmS11:42 PM

    RalphH: "Dawkins should stick to biology and stop attacking religion, a subject that by choice and from prejudice, he knows very little about"

    Personally, I think he is better as an anti-religionist, even with all his faults, than he is a biologist.

    Have you read his theory of *memes*?

    From Wiki: "A meme is a unit of cultural ideas, symbols or practices, which can be transmitted from one mind to another..." It is supposedly like some 'mental gene' which fights for its independent survival and reproduction just like a biological organism.

    However, ideas are in the realm of the mental. They exist ONLY in human minds and have no independent existence. Ideas do not try to live or survive or reproduce. They are simply not the kind of existents which can do that - just as trees cannot watch TV. The pseudo-concept of meme means nothing, refers to nothing and, hence, explains nothing.

    As a biologist he lives in as big a fantasy world as Pell does in religion.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't think that he ever intended memes as a biological theory. Although there are indications that he initially thought that the idea would have some scientific merit he walked away from that pretty quickly.

      It was others who tried to turn 'memetics' into a full blown science and failed.

      Delete
    2. 8x
      Ideas do not try to live or survive or reproduce.
      x8

      Neither do genes.

      Although on second thoughts I could be wrong.
      It sure would explain a lot.
      For instance were this an accurate description of the behavior of genes, then I'd definitely be picking that you have an ambitious but scatterbrained gerbil hiding out in your family tree somewhere.

      hmmm...

      Delete
    3. " Ideas do not try to live or survive or reproduce."

      No but they do live survive and reproduce, by people holding them and telling them to other people.

      Delete
    4. MalcolmS8:18 AM

      Robin: "I don't think that he ever intended memes as a biological theory. Although there are indications that he initially thought that the idea would have some scientific merit he walked away from that pretty quickly"

      I have no idea of his "intent" but, if it was not offered as "biological theory," then, what was it? His notion of memes was nothing more than an arbitrary assertion - so familiar in modern science. He was referring to nothing in reality of which he was aware. There was nothing upon which he could base the assertion, nothing upon which he could experiment and the concept was meaningless. It was a fantasy in his own mind.

      I sometimes wonder, by his making the "meme" analogous to the gene, whether he was simply trying to hitch a ride on the back of genuine scientists, such as geneticists, who *have* made discoveries of certain facts of reality.

      Whatever the truth of the matter his theory of memes is just as preposterous as Pell's worldview.

      Delete
    5. "such as geneticists, who *have* made discoveries of certain facts of reality."

      So modern science isn't hopeless.

      Delete
    6. MalcolmS7:09 PM

      ".. modern science isn't hopeless"

      That would depend upon which one of your heads is doing the talking today Andrew?

      Modern science is hopeless to the extent that it takes its philosophic guidance from modern philosophy[scepticism]. The major advances in science were based on an Aristotelian methodology.

      Delete
    7. 8x
      The major advances in science were based on an Aristotelian methodology.
      x8

      So true!
      I read it in my great great aunt on my mothers fathers side's almanac!!

      Delete
    8. Mal: His notion of memes was nothing more than an arbitrary assertion - so familiar in modern science. He was referring to nothing in reality of which he was aware.

      That’s not true. He was referring to replicators. The central idea in his book, The Selfish Gene, is that, given the right conditions, replicators will band together to build vehicles that carry them around and work in favour of continued replication. Most of the book dealt with only one kind of replicator, the gene. But Dawkins wanted his readers to understand that all replicators behave in this way, not only DNA molecules. And that’s why he introduced the meme in the last chapter, to make the case for replicators in general.

      Delete
    9. Mal: Modern science is hopeless to the extent that it takes its philosophic guidance from modern philosophy[scepticism]. The major advances in science were based on an Aristotelian methodology.

      So, geneticists use Aristotle's method, and evolutionary biologists use modern philosophy?

      Delete
    10. MalcolmS8:56 PM

      Terry: "That’s not true. He was referring to replicators"

      A "meme" is NOT a replicator. A meme does NOT exist.

      "The Selfish Gene"

      Genes are NOT inherently "selfish." Genes simply are.

      Delete
    11. Terry wrote: "And that’s why he introduced the meme in the last chapter, to make the case for replicators in general."

      Dennett does the same thing and uses the same example - because there are no other examples in nature other than the replicators associated with biology.

      They both talk as though such replicators are common as muck in the Universe. They are not.

      The case for replicators "in general" fails. You get them in biology. You can do them in mathematics - but in mathematics they don't scale well to any sort of real complexity.

      Delete
    12. To underline this refer to The Selfish Gene where Dawkins states that in order to be an analog of a gene a meme must be an identifiable neuronal structure. He even refers to (but doesn't identify) a paper by Juan Delius which goes into detail about what a meme might look like physically.

      But this is an idea which has gone nowhere.

      There was even a Journal of Memetics which was cited quite widely for a while but which tailed off and closed.

      Delete
    13. "The major advances in science were based on an Aristotelian methodology"

      No they weren't.

      Delete
    14. Long John Silver3:09 AM

      Mal - please explain the contribution of Aristotle to the study of genes.

      If you can include a few references that would help us to check the accuracy of your claims, that would be very much appreaciated.

      Delete
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      Delete
    16. I will bite if Mal won't.

      Aristotle produced the earliest comprehensive treatment
      of logic and one which has mostly stood the test of time.

      But at the same time he formally dispelled the notion that knowledge about the natural world could be gained from pure logic and introduced the idea that it must be based on an inductive process on empirical data. (Posterior Analytics Book 2 part 19).

      Of course the scientific method developed well beyond that kernel but he was the giant upon whose shoulders others stood.

      Do I need to supply references for the claim that the study of genes (as well as all science) depends upon an inductive process on empirical data?

      Delete
    17. MalcolmS8:23 AM

      "Mal - please explain the contribution of Aristotle to the study of genes"

      Obviously Aristotle knew nothing of genes. However, he was the first embryologist with his detailed study of chicken embryos - preparatory knowledge necessary for the eventual discovery of genes.

      More importantly, Aristotle was the discoverer of the 'law of excluded middle' and the 'law of non-contradiction' which are at the base of all knowledge and all science. These are also the basic principles which underpin the 'laws of logic' of which he was the primary discoverer and developer.

      http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/aristotle-metaphysics/

      BTW, the "Aristotelian methodology" mentioned above is not only about Aristotle but includes a long tradition originating in the Greek world to Aqinas - the primary philosophic influence for the Renaissance and, eventually, the Enlightenment - to Rand in modern times. Across that period there were many philosophers who can be classified as Aristotelian - including Averroes in the Arab world and Maimonides in the Jewish world - both were great Aristotelians. The primary characteristic of the Aristotelian is the claim that man knows the world by reason alone.

      Delete
    18. Robin: Do I need to supply references for the claim that the study of genes (as well as all science) depends upon an inductive process on empirical data?

      Yes, it does, but not entirely. If Einstein had thought like you, he would have discarded Maxwell and Newton and tried to find another theory to support the data. But he did the opposite. He trusted the theories and looked instead for a way to force coherence between the two. And he did it by challenging the way we think about time. That is, by using deductive reasoning.

      The empirical content of a theory is not what is most relevant. The data suggests the theory, confirms it, proves it wrong. But these are only tools. What’s more important is what the theory says about the world. That is, the idea that space-time is curved is more valuable than the data that Mercury’s perihelion moves 43 degrees per century with respect to Newton’s mechanics.

      Delete
    19. Terry wrote: " If Einstein had thought like you, he would have discarded Maxwell and Newton and tried to find another theory to support the data."

      Can you supply the reasoning behind that conclusion? Can you point to anything I have said that suggests that prior models should be dumped? Or that deductive arguments should not be used at all?

      Aristotle only opposed the idea that *purely* deductive arguments could provide knowledge about the world. He did not oppose deductive arguments per se.

      His idea was that we establish the premises with a careful process of empirical observations and then use deduction from that point on.

      So the process you describe Einstein using is no different from what Aristotle suggested.

      Terry wrote: "But these are only tools. What’s more important is what the theory says about the world."

      Did I suggest anything else??? I said the process was dependent upon an inductive process on empirical data. I did not suggest that this process was more important than theknowledge thereby gained.

      Delete
    20. Robin: Can you point to anything I have said that suggests that prior models should be dumped? Or that deductive arguments should not be used at all?

      Yes, I can. In your post you said (a) that all of science depends on an inductive process, and (b) that Aristotle dispelled the notion of using logic to gain knowledge about the natural world and introduced instead the idea that it ‘must be’ based on an inductive process. Where is the clue that you think deductive reasoning is as important as inductive?

      Delete
  8. Incidentally, this is the first I had heard of a bus ad campaign for atheism in Australia, or or television commercials for atheism.

    Was this a purely Victorian exercise?

    ReplyDelete
  9. Robin: I have watched the show again and read the transcript and cannot find where Dawkins says that certainty is impossible. Perhaps you can point it out.

    It took me 60 seconds to find this in the transcript: I live my life as though there is no God but any scientist of any sense will not say that they positively can disprove the existence of anything.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. MalcolmS9:34 PM

      Terry: "I live my life as though there is no God but any scientist of any sense will not say that they positively can disprove the existence of anything"

      That, Terry, is the essence of modern science and modern philosophy: scepticism. According to this view you must *doubt* everything - even the self-evident - certainty, knowledge and truth is impossible.

      That position simply hands the cognitive high ground to Pell.

      Delete
    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
    3. Try again Terry. Saying that you positively cannot disprove the existence of anything is clearly not the same as saying that certainty is impossible.

      Delete
    4. "That position simply hands the cognitive high ground to Pell."

      No it doesn't but you are unable to understand occupying the cognitive low ground as you do.

      Delete
    5. Robin:

      There’s no need to argue memes with me. I couldn’t care one way or the other if they exist or not.

      The same goes for replicators. If you say there are no examples outside of biology then I’m fine with that.

      On the question of Dawkins and certainty, you’ll have to explain how he can believe that you can’t disprove the existence of anything and at the same time believe that certainty is possible.

      Delete
    6. Terry wrote: "On the question of Dawkins and certainty, you’ll have to explain how he can believe that you can’t disprove the existence of anything and at the same time believe that certainty is possible. "

      I can't imagine what you think the contradiction is.

      But, OK, when I have time later I will unpack it.

      Delete
    7. Long John Silver3:11 AM

      Terry: "I live my life as though there is no God but any scientist of any sense will not say that they positively can disprove the existence of anything"

      Malcolm: "That, Terry, is the essence of modern science and modern philosophy: scepticism."

      So what is the proof of the nonexistence of mermaids?

      Delete
    8. Meantime I would just point out that the proposition "certainty is impossible" is, in any case, self-defeating.

      At most we could say "certainty may not be possible".

      Delete
    9. MalcolmS5:23 AM

      "So what is the proof of the nonexistence of mermaids?"

      There is no proof of the nonexistence of mermaids.

      Is there some reason that you'd want one?

      Delete
    10. Long John Silver5:33 AM

      "Is there some reason that you'd want one?"

      As a pirate, I want to be confident that I can safely venture into places where mermaids are alleged to have dragged sailors into the sea and drowned them, so it is mainly an OHS issue.

      I also wanted (but didn't expect to receive) some indication that you are different to those sceptics who assert that "any scientist of any sense will not say that they positively can disprove the existence of anything".

      Despite my lack of absolute certainty, I assume that there is no proof of the nonexistence of mermaids for the same reason that there is no proof of the nonexistence of mermaids (the impossibility of proving the nonexistence of something). You are unable to prove the nonexistence of mermaids (and are apparently willing to assert the nonexistence of any proof of the nonexistence of mermaids despite offering no proof for the nonexistence of proof of the nonexistence of mermaids), but for some reason you find this sort of thing objectionable when Dawkins says it.

      Delete
    11. MalcolmS5:48 AM

      "As a pirate, I want to be confident that I can safely venture into places where mermaids are alleged to have dragged sailors into the sea and drowned them"

      Dawkins has confessed he can't help.

      So, how do you propose to solve your dilemma?

      Delete
    12. OK Terry - here is the quote: "I live my life as though there is no God but any scientist of any sense will not say that they positively can disprove the existence of anything"

      Now you are saying (although without giving your reasoning) that this is the same as saying that certainty is impossible.

      But claims of existential negatives are a vanishingly small subset of all claims. So saying that you cannot prove an existential negative is certainly not the same as saying that you cannot prove anything at all.

      That is the first point.

      Delete
    13. The other point is that even if he had said that you can't prove anything at all then it still would not have meant the same as "certainty is impossible" unless he had also stated that certainty is only possible with proof.

      In fact he is well aware that in a technical sense proofs are the domain of mathematics and not science.

      But he has even coined a word "theorum" to refer to scientific facts of which he believes we can be certain.

      Delete
    14. Long John Silver6:02 AM

      "Dawkins has confessed he can't help.

      So, how do you propose to solve your dilemma?"

      But can you "help"? You apparently believe that Dawkins is wrong, but offer absolutely nothing to support your position.

      Of course I can't PROVE the nonexistence of any supporting evidence for your assertions, but I was curious to see whether you were capable of producing any proof of the existence of a reason to take you seriously. So far, the result is pretty much as I had anticipated.

      Delete
    15. "There is no proof of the nonexistence of mermaids."

      So do you think it's okay to believe they exist because there is no evidence or is being sceptical of their existence the smarter thing to do?

      Delete
    16. Further to Dawkins' "theorums", we can see from chapter 1 of "The Greatest Show on Earth" that he does regard these as certain - he says:

      "Evolution is a fact. Beyond reasonable doubt, beyond serious doubt, beyond sane, informed, intelligent doubt..."

      Now, Terry, just in case you are thinking that Dawkins considers unreasonable, non-serious, uninformed, unintelligent, insane doubt as grounds for uncertainty he dispels this notion in the last clause of the sentence, he says:

      "...beyond doubt evolution is a fact."

      That is not exactly unclear.

      Dawkins considers that there are some things that are beyond doubt and therefore certain.

      Dawkins considers certainty to be possible.

      Delete
    17. Terry wrote: "There’s no need to argue memes with me."

      I am not sure why you regard everything as an argument. In fact I was agreeing with you about Dawkins use of "memes" in the Selfish Gene.

      I was only adding that his point about replicators "in general" fails because there are no replicators "in general".

      I can't see how anything in there could be considered arguing any point with you.

      Delete
    18. RalphH 07/077:58 AM

      “..... the essence of modern science and modern philosophy: scepticism. According to this view you must *doubt* everything - even the self-evident - certainty, knowledge and truth is impossible.” (MalcolmS9:34 PM)

      Malcolm, what does being “self-evident” mean (to any individual) other than that it agrees with what they already believe to be true (regardless of whether it actually is true or not).

      I believe it is foolish to believe that there are no such things as “certainty, knowledge and truth” but how can one be sure of what falls into those categories? I don't believe making Aristotle (or his methodology) the touchstone/point of reference solves the problem.

      Aristotle is just a man, maybe a bit smarter than many others but still subject to uncertainty, illusion and confusion along with the rest of mankind. It just wouldn't matter what other human being you replaced Aristotle with, they just wouldn't cut it. If one is looking for a source of absolute certainty, reality and truth the position can only be filled by an absolute being/entity of certainty, reality and truth.

      The question is not whether such a being/entity exists but how do finite, fallible human beings gain a true picture/appreciation of it. I believe they can't (hence all the doubt and uncertainty) unless the said being/entity reveals itself, not merely to the intellect (which is easily corrupted by the ego) but also to the heart.

      Even though such revelation may be misinterpreted or rejected and become corrupt in individual minds the possibility of a true interpretation can never be taken away.

      Delete
    19. MalcolmS8:46 AM

      Long John Silver: ""Dawkins has confessed he can't help. So, how do you propose to solve your dilemma?"

      But can you "help"?"

      Sure, I can help. In fact I can answer Dawkin's problem and solve your "dilemma." But why should I? You never answer my questions!

      I repeat: "So, how do you propose to solve your dilemma?" If you can't prove the nonexistence of mermaids[or the nonexistence of God] what do you propose to do about it? Remember, I already know the answer :)

      Delete
    20. MalcolmS9:02 AM

      RalphH: "Malcolm, what does being “self-evident” mean..."

      We have been here before. I have told you that the only things which are truly self-evident are philosophical *axioms.* Weren't you paying attention? They are at the base of all knowledge. One that we discussed was *existence.* You even have to presume it in order to try and refute it. Your God will not save you from axioms.

      "I believe it is foolish to believe that there are no such things as “certainty, knowledge and truth” but how can one be sure of what falls into those categories? I don't believe making Aristotle (or his methodology) the touchstone/point of reference solves the problem"

      I have no interest in what you "believe" Ralph. Only in the facts. They are that “certainty, knowledge and truth” are the domain of epistemology. Religion does not cut it.

      Delete
    21. 8x
      I was only adding that his point about replicators "in general" fails because there are no replicators "in general".
      x8

      You got a problem with abstract nouns?

      Delete
    22. 8x
      “certainty, knowledge and truth” are the domain of epistemology
      x8

      Using mallypoo's (ahem) epistemology (lol) I am certain that mermaids exist.

      8x
      You need to grasp that an idea/concept, once formed, is a mental concrete.

      You have contradicted yourself by using "abstractions"[ideas] to write your post and have written them as *words*[concretes]. If your abstractions are not real, then, in what sense are your words real?
      x8

      Also phlogiston

      So there.

      Delete
    23. Long John Silver2:49 PM

      "In fact I can answer Dawkin's problem and solve your "dilemma." But why should I? "

      You should answer to demonstrate that you are not as foolish as you appear to be. Although I didn't really expect anything more from you.


      I repeat: "So, how do you propose to solve your dilemma?"

      The dilemma that I am unable to prove the nonexistence of mermaids/God? Despite the impossibility of knowing with 100% certainty that something doesn't exist (*note* I am using the word "certainty" as an ordinary English word, rather than your made-up version of the meaning), I assume that mermaids and God are extremely unlikely to exist due to the lack of convincing evidence for their existence. So I don't believe in them, while remaining open to the possibility of changing my position if I am presented with a compellling reason to change my position. In other words, I am an atheist agnostic (although my agnosticism on these topics is remarkable close to certainty).


      There, I answered your questions. So now you can tell me why you think I'm wrong and we can progress beyond your usual guessing games.

      Delete
    24. Zed wrote: "You got a problem with abstract nouns?"

      No, why do you ask?

      Delete
    25. Robin:

      Look, we’ve had this discussion about certainty before. I don’t feel like going over it again. It may be important to you that Dawkins thinks certainty is possible, but not to me. What matters to me is what I think, and what I think is that uncertainty is the fuel of science, the thing that propels us forward, a constant niggle that keeps us turning problems over in our minds, just in case a hidden prejudice or sensory shortcoming has caused us to miss something important. I think that Dawkins, being a good scientist, would agree with this, and his statement about not being able to disprove anything is sign of it. You think otherwise, and his comments about evolution are a sign for you. Let’s leave it at that.

      Delete
    26. RalphH 08/075:41 PM

      “Your God will not save you from axioms. ….. I have no interest in what you "believe" Ralph. ….. Religion does not cut it.” (MalcolmS9:02 AM)

      Malcolm, I did not mention God or religion. Do you have any interest in what YOU believe ? i.e. Why should others believe in what you believe is axiomatic in the way you believe it?

      “.... the only things which are truly self-evident are philosophical *axioms.* Weren't you paying attention? They are at the base of all knowledge. One that we discussed was *existence.* You even have to presume it in order to try and refute it.”

      We have discussed existence and we have different ideas about it. I see it as consisting of different discrete levels (e.g. eternal existence and temporal existence). IOW, Existence Itself (that which exists in and from itself) enables a dependent existence which does not exist from itself.

      You mash it all into one plane which does nothing to explain how creation can or does come about.

      Delete
    27. Terry wrote: "It may be important to you that Dawkins thinks certainty is possible,..."

      Why should it be important?

      I only say it because of the overwhelming evidence from Dawkins own words - he could not possibly be clearer. He cannot believe certainty is impossible if there is even one thing about which he is certain. And he tells us in no uncertain terms that there is no doubt that that evolution is a fact. It is simply contradictory to say that he believes that there is no doubt about the matter and yet it is uncertain.

      You simply ignore the evidence of what he says and go with the feeling that he must agree with you on the matter.

      In any case we can leave it at that. People can read the first chapter of the book for themselves and his various certain statements and the subtitle of his latest book and judge for themselves whether or not Dawkins believes that we can know what is really true.

      Delete
    28. Mal: I have no interest in what you "believe" Ralph. Only in the facts. They are that “certainty, knowledge and truth” are the domain of epistemology. Religion does not cut it.

      How does Ralph’s religion differ from yours? To me, they both look the same.

      Delete
    29. MalcolmS1:53 AM

      Terry, you are one very confused dude.

      Delete
    30. Mal: Terry, you are one very confused dude.

      I agree with you. But at least I’m aware of my condition. You, like a drunk at the dinner table, are oblivious to yours.

      Delete
    31. 8x
      No, why do you ask?
      x8

      Seemed relevant.

      Delete
  10. MalcolmS5:35 AM

    Robin: "At most we could say "certainty may not be possible""

    Are you certain of that?

    If not, then, you cannot claim it as truth or knowledge.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Unless of course that "may" refers to epistemic possibility ie "I cannot rule in nor rule out that certainty is possible" in which case it would simply be a true statement about the utterer's knowledge.

      And remember I am only commenting on a claim that has been attributed to Richard Dawkins, not making that claim myself.

      Delete
    2. MalcolmS9:10 AM

      Except that "epistemic possibility" excludes certainty.

      Delete
    3. Yes and no. If I say "I do not know how many stars there are in the universe" then I have explicitly excluded certainty about the number of stars in the Universe. But surely I have certainty that I do not know.

      Delete
    4. MalcolmS1:31 AM

      Yet "epistemic possibility" still excludes certainty.

      Delete
    5. So I might know the number of stars in the Universe and not know it? :)

      Delete
    6. 8x
      So I might know the number of stars in the Universe and not know it? :)
      x8

      We all do robbsybobs.
      You can be absolutely certain of that. ;)

      Delete
    7. MalcolmS8:58 AM

      "So I might know the number of stars in the Universe and not know it?"

      Violation of the law of non-contradiction.

      Delete
    8. 8x
      Violation of the law of non-contradiction.
      x8

      Run robbsybobs run!!
      Its the nobjectivist collective thought police.

      Delete
  11. Long John Silver6:13 AM

    Let me guess - he can be "contextually certain" that it may not be possible?

    ReplyDelete
  12. Martin C9:22 AM

    I hate to buck the trend by actually being on-topic, but I thought I'd put my 2c in on Pell and Jensen.

    My position is that there is little difference in whether they retire or not because they accurately represent the power structures behind them. Let's examine that more closely, because I DON'T believe they accurately represent the entire groups they claim to represent. Both are hardline figures in charge of nominally conservative religious groups, but those groups include a lot of people who don't seem to agree with certain points supposedly considered intrinsic to membership of those groups.

    The Catholic church still considers contraception to be a no-no, yet the vast majority of Australians, including the vast majority of Catholics, use it. How does this happen? The answer is that Catholics are quite USED to having leaders who spout views more extreme than those actually exercising the minds of the bulk of the congregation. It almost seems to be a badge of pride: "we may be much the same in our thinking as ordinary non-religious people, but at least we've got a nice shiny nutter out front."

    Jensen is much the same, although I don't know his unrepresentative positions as well as those of Pell. However Pell and Jensen DO represent the views of a much smaller number of hardline conservatives active in their churches. These people see the age-old conservative positions as the raison d'etre of being Christian at all. And they are ACTIVE in their churches' internal politics, in a way the 'census Christians' are not. Thus the retirements of Jensen and/or Pell are unlikely to change matters, as the selectors of their replacements are likely to be the same hardline hardcore group who put Pell and Jensen into their positions in the first place. Jensen's replacement will be Jensen-like; Pell's putative replacement would be Pell-like.

    And Nichols? It is, I'm afraid, in the nature of atheism (despite the contentions of a small number of shrill theists loudly clamoring about the Church of Dawkins or some such tripe) that it does not have a church, nor a dogma, nor a Pope. I suspect the vast majority of atheists have not heard of David Nichols (I have, but only because of his occasional contributions to Godless Gross), nor his organisation. To be an atheist, you pay no dues, you wear no ritual clothing, you sport no badge: you simply fail to believe in the existence of God.

    Re the debate on the certainty of being certain that uncertainty exists or certainly does not, it is my contention that the number of angels who can dance on the head of a pin is either 376 or a concept I like to describe as "some number that is not 376". I've narrowed it down to one of those two answers. Of that I am quite certain that I am certain.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. MalcolmS10:01 AM

      "Re the debate on the certainty of being certain that uncertainty exists or certainly does not, it is my contention that the number of angels who can dance on the head of a pin is either 376 or a concept I like to describe as "some number that is not 376". I've narrowed it down to one of those two answers. Of that I am quite certain that I am certain"

      Pity about that - you are incorrect.

      Angels don't exist.

      Of that I am certain.

      Delete
    2. MartinC wrote: "To be an atheist, you pay no dues, you wear no ritual clothing, you sport no badge: you simply fail to believe in the existence of God. "

      I pay no dues, I wear no ritual clothing, I sport no badge.

      And incidentally you cannot speak for atheists generally by the categorisation "... you simply fail to believe in the existence of God." For instance many make positive claims like "There is almost certainly no God".

      Back when I was an atheist there was no Church of Atheism. Now I am not so sure. Reading articles by atheists I have found that they are beginning to tick the boxes:

      1. Worldview based on an untestable metaphysical claim - Check
      2. Calls to proselytise and convert the unbelievers - Check
      3. Flowery fabulism about the benefits that will ensue when more people convert - Check

      Delete
    3. Thanks so much for this Martin C. The point you seem to be making is that the problem with groups is that they are hijacked by a small pushy elite (often with vested interests) who capture the group and trade off its power base for their own evil ends. The apthy of the rest of the group membership allows them to do this. Indeed it has been my modus operandi with some community groups for decades. It has been palpable in the HSU. So your point that the leadership only represents the ruling clique rather than the membership is a profound one.
      Thanks again Maroubra man.
      Dick

      Delete
    4. Dear Martin,
      Your observations about atheistic groups being small and anonymous are well founded. But Dave's legacy, even though the knowledge of his name is limited to certain circles, will be important. The Global Atheist Conventions are an important phenomenon.
      Dick

      Delete
    5. RalphH 08/076:42 PM

      “Pity about that - you are incorrect.

      Angels don't exist.

      Of that I am certain.” (MalcolmS10:01 AM)

      All that you've told us Malcolm is that YOU are certain that angels don't exist. This is YOUR belief not the reality. I am even more “certain” than you that angels do exist - but it's nonsense to talk about them 'dancing on the head of a pin'. Such thinking is a confusion of things of space and time with things that are not of space and time.

      Every person born (including you and all those who like to think of themselves as atheists) is born to become an angel (a messenger or conduit for truth from God). However it's a choice – any who denies God (in their heart) as the source of all that is good and true have broken the connection. They still have life (of sorts) but not in abundance or in fullness because they deny the reality that enables these things.

      Delete
    6. "This is YOUR belief not the reality"

      Ralph that's the problem with your beliefs.

      Delete
    7. MalcolmS1:24 AM

      "All that you've told us Malcolm is that YOU are certain that angels don't exist"

      Yes, Raph, that's correct.

      So, do you mind if I stop discussing the nonexistent forthwith?

      Delete
    8. MalcolmS1:40 AM

      Robin: "Back when I was an atheist there was no Church of Atheism. Now I am not so sure. Reading articles by atheists I have found that they are beginning to tick the boxes:

      1. Worldview based on an untestable metaphysical claim - Check"

      What is the worldview of atheism?

      Delete
    9. 8x
      So, do you mind if I stop discussing the nonexistent forthwith?
      x8

      I'd like to see that.
      My bet... no chance .. lol

      Delete
    10. RalphH 08/075:06 AM

      "*"This is YOUR belief not the reality"* (RalphH to Malcolm)

      Ralph that's the problem with your beliefs." (Stranger11:35 PM)

      Stranger, I think you could have said something like, "That's so for your beliefs too." and I would agree, my beliefs are no more THE reality than Malcolm's or anyone else's. However certain beliefs will be closer to reality than others. Some beliefs may be close enough to be called true and others could be completely false. There's not a problem. It's simply the nature of belief.

      I targeted Malcolm's beliefs because he belittled mine and spoke as if he didn't have any. Everyone has beliefs. WRT angels, Malcolm's concept of an angel is vastly different from my concept. That's why I endeavoured to explain what I believe angels to be. I'm sure if Malcolm explained his concept I wouldn't believe such a thing existed either.

      Malcolm's dogmatic statement, "Angels don't exist." has no basis in fact.

      Delete
    11. Martin C10:24 AM

      Robin:

      I disagree with your point that I cannot "speak for atheists generally by the categorisation '... you simply fail to believe in the existence of God.' "

      Whether you see a Church of Atheism a-rising is not relevant to my point. Even if some atheists were to form such a thing, it would not DEFINE atheism in the sense that the Catholic Church can say "you are not Catholic unless you go through us". Atheists pushing for your 3 point list do not get to amend the definition of atheism. They may push those factors and still be atheists, but they cannot exclude the atheists who are NOT pushing for those things from the definition "atheist".

      The term "atheist" remains - and always will - the term for those who do not believe in God. It includes people such as myself and Malcolm, who agree on very little else, but neither of us, nor anyone else, can establish a "church" of atheism that excludes the other from the definition.

      "I pay no dues, I wear no ritual clothing, I sport no badge."

      I was not intending that definition to define atheism; it is perfectly possible that it might apply to some religious people too, though I suspect a distinctly smaller percentage. I used the example to point out that David Nichols is not seen as an appointed spokesman for atheism in the same way that Pell and Jensen are seen as appointed spokesmen for their respective religions.

      Delete
    12. Martin C10:25 AM

      Dick: Perhaps "hijacked" is too active a word. Frankly, the extremists are in charge not because they staged a coup, but because the sensible have drifted away from the politics within the churches, sensing the irrelevance of the church structure even while they hold to the general theist beliefs.

      Delete
    13. Long John Silver2:36 PM

      "However certain beliefs will be closer to reality than others. Some beliefs may be close enough to be called true and others could be completely false. "

      The old "catle are from Mercury, horses are from Venus" catchcry seems relevant here . . .

      Delete
    14. Malcolm S wrote: "What is the worldview of atheism?"

      If you reread what I said you will find that I never claimed there was a world view of atheism. I was referring to the words of some recent atheists. A.C. Grayling comes to mind as someone who ticks the boxes I mentioned.

      I would say that Richard Dawkins, Lawrence Krauss, Jerry Coyne among others at least are promoting a particular world view.

      Delete
    15. Martin C wrote: "Even if some atheists were to form such a thing, it would not DEFINE atheism in the sense that the Catholic Church can say "you are not Catholic unless you go through us""

      Similarly the Catholic Church does not define theism so you are not comparing at an equivalent level.

      MartinC wrote: "Atheists pushing for your 3 point list do not get to amend the definition of atheism."

      "atheism" is a word. People might use it in different ways. You cannot say that your definition is *the* definition.

      MartinC wrote: "The term "atheist" remains - and always will - the term for those who do not believe in God. "

      But agnostics do not believe in God and yet many agnostics will actively reject the tag "atheist". What about someone who strongly suspects that there is a God? They would also fall into that definition since they don't actually believe in God.

      And yet it would be absurd to term someone who strongly suspects that there is a God as an atheist, or at least it would make the term more or less meaningless.

      Martin C wrote: " I used the example to point out that David Nichols is not seen as an appointed spokesman for atheism in the same way that Pell and Jensen are seen as appointed spokesmen for their respective religions."

      Pell and Jensen might be *seen* as appointed spokesmen for their religions, but they are not. Pell's authority at it's peak covered the diocese of Melbourne. Similarly Jensen's remit was the diocese of Sydney.

      And even that does not make them spokesmen even, respectively, for Melbourne Roman Catholics or Sydney Anglicans.

      Richard Dawkins is often *seen* as a spokesman for atheism, but that does not make him so.

      Delete
    16. 8x
      "The term "atheist" remains - and always will - the term for those who do not believe in God. "
      x8

      Actually I think you'll find historically that thats been a fairly rare use of the word.

      So (at least in christian times anyway) "atheist" has usually meant "one of those arseholes who dont follow OUR prescription for how to be "properly godly".

      Personally I dislike the word atheist and prefer to consider myself a ffsnotthisfrikkincrapagainist

      Or "fister" for short ;) lol

      Delete
    17. RalphH 09/074:38 PM

      “The old "catle are from Mercury, horses are from Venus" catchcry seems relevant here . . .” (Long John Silver2:36 PM)

      Please show relevance LJ.

      Firstly YOUR claims/”catchcry” are not things that I believe. There is no claim that I am aware of that “cat(t)le are FROM Mercury or that there are horses ON or FROM Venus. Swedenborg's report (gleaned from those who claimed to have lived there) was that there are 'oxen and cows' ON Mercury and horses ON Jupiter. (The more pertinent claim is that there is life at all in either place.)

      Admittedly with our current level of scientific knowledge this seems highly unlikely. However the nature of scientific enquiry is that one doesn't rule anything out unless there is an overriding reason to do so. I suggest that no such reason exists in this case.

      The fact that you can't even get your reporting facts correct demonstrates that it is not a major, earth-shattering issue but simply a crutch for your ridicule.

      Delete
    18. 8x
      Similarly the Catholic Church does not define theism so you are not comparing at an equivalent level.
      x8

      Have you run this theory past the pope recently?

      Delete
    19. "Admittedly with our current level of scientific knowledge this seems highly unlikely. However the nature of scientific enquiry is that one doesn't rule anything out unless there is an overriding reason to do so. I suggest that no such reason exists in this case."

      Despite the photographic and environmental data that shows it is impossible for cows to have ever lived on Mercury. You desperately want Swedenborg to be true so you have to ignore all the evidence that shows him to be a raving loony.

      Delete
    20. "But agnostics do not believe in God"

      Yes they do. So you don't understand the term agnostic either.

      Delete
    21. "Malcolm's dogmatic statement, "Angels don't exist." has no basis in fact."

      Yes it does.

      Delete
    22. RalphH 09/077:26 PM

      “Despite the photographic and environmental data that shows it is impossible for cows to have ever lived on Mercury.” (Stranger5:39 PM)

      “to have ever lived”? That's quite a claim Stranger. And all deduced from “ photographic and environmental data”. Seems to me you're the one who desperately wants something to be true.

      “You desperately want Swedenborg to be true so you have to ignore all the evidence that shows him to be a raving loony.”

      I don't want or need “ Swedenborg to be true” on every minor point. Common-sense and reason affirm that the overriding volume of all his prodigious output in an array of disciplines is true and that he is a genuine seeker of the truth.

      I would be interested in the smallest skerrick of evidence that he is/was a “loony”, let alone a “raving loony”.

      Delete
    23. RalphH 09/077:51 PM

      “*"Malcolm's dogmatic statement, "Angels don't exist." has no basis in fact."* (RalphH)

      Yes it does.” (Stranger5:43 PM)

      And that fact (or facts) are, Stranger? Don't neglect to define angel first so I know what it is you are talking about.

      Swedenborg (who had a reputation for conversing with angels) was once asked by the young daughter of a friend to show her an angel. He led her to a mirror and showed her her reflection.

      According to his philosophy all people are nascent angels and become (permanent) angels when they move on from this transient life if, of course, they have built the fabric/character of their lives on the firm basis of religious/spiritual principles.

      Delete
    24. 'And that fact (or facts) are, Stranger? Don't neglect to define angel first so I know what it is you are talking about."

      Are you unable to use a dictionary to find the definition of angel?

      "According to his philosophy all people are nascent angels"

      So? All he could do is use his own definition of angel not the one in common usage. He was also a loony and would point at Mercury to show the existence of cows on it.

      Delete
    25. "“to have ever lived”? That's quite a claim Stranger. And all deduced from “ photographic and environmental data”. Seems to me you're the one who desperately wants something to be true."

      It comes from everything we know about the place Ralph unlike your fucked up beliefs which rely on willful and abject ignorance.

      Yes you do or you wouldn't believe in obvious his insane ramblings.

      "on every minor point. Common-sense and reason affirm that the overriding volume of all his prodigious output in an array of disciplines is true"

      Common sense and reason affirm he was a loony. You desperately want his bullshit to be true so you have to pretend it isn't complete bullshit.

      "I would be interested in the smallest skerrick of evidence that he is/was a “loony”, let alone a “raving loony”."

      No you aren't as you already ignore what we know about mercury which shows him to be a raving loony

      Delete
    26. Long John Silver11:12 PM

      "There is no claim that I am aware of that “cat(t)le are FROM Mercury or that there are horses ON or FROM Venus. Swedenborg's report (gleaned from those who claimed to have lived there) was that there are 'oxen and cows' ON Mercury and horses ON Jupiter. "

      So the Mercurian cattle were just there on holidays?? Or were they refugee cows??
      Somehow it isn't seeming any more plausible.

      Delete
    27. Long John Silver11:25 PM

      My apologies for implying that there were horses on Venus. How foolish of me. Horses on Jupiter is much more sensible. Of course it is possible that the cattle ON Mercury had migrated there FROM Jupiter (which is why there aren't any there now - they moved to Mercury to enjoy the nice climate).

      Which sort of animals did Swedenborg think came from Uranus?

      Delete
    28. Long John Silver11:41 PM

      "But agnostics do not believe in God and yet many agnostics will actively reject the tag "atheist". What about someone who strongly suspects that there is a God? They would also fall into that definition since they don't actually believe in God."

      Have been reading Mal's dictionary? Someone who strongly suspects that there is a God (but doesn't believe that they can know that with absolute certainty) is an agnostic theist. They believe in God, but are not certain that there belief is absolutely safe from any possible error. Why is that so difficult to understand?

      Delete
    29. It is not that I have difficulty understanding your neat little system of categories, it is just that it wrong.

      I am not sure what sort of dictionary you have but if it tells you that a suspicion is the same thing as a belief then you had better get your money back.

      It is perfectly possible to suspect that something may be the case without believing it.

      Delete
    30. I wrote: "But agnostics do not believe in God"
      Stranger replied: "Yes they do. So you don't understand the term agnostic either."

      I take it that you and Long John Silver have the same dictionary.

      Delete
    31. Long John Silver3:58 AM

      I was relying on the Oxford Dictionary. Which dictionary were you using?

      Some agnostics believe in God, some don't believe in God. They acknowledge that there is some possibility that their beliefs are incorrect because their agnosticism is a belief that knowledge of God's existence is impossible. On the other hand, gnostics believe that it IS possible to know whether God exists.

      Theist gnostics claim to know that God exists, Atheist gnostics claim to know that God doesn't exist,

      Delete
  13. MalcolmS10:07 AM

    I have just come across another debate where Dawkins gets himself into even more trouble than the one with Pell.

    Lennox is a theist/mathematician/philosopher of science at Oxford University.

    The God Delusion Debate - John Lennox vs Richard Dawkins.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YzSz8ED0bQE

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. RalphH 09/074:53 PM

      "I have just come across another debate where Dawkins gets himself into even more trouble than the one with Pell." (MalcolmS10:07 AM)

      I have watched your link Malcolm - quite long but worth the time and effort. I think it definitely confirms my claim that Dawkins knows very little about religion other than what he has cherry-picked to proselytise his prejudice.

      Although he made a few salient points, IMO, he was completely overawed by a far stronger, more knowledgeable and more dynamic intellect.

      Admittedly he was in hostile territory (the US Mid-west Bible belt) but that shouldn't have been a problem if he'd had any decent arguments.

      Delete
    2. "it definitely confirms my claim that Dawkins knows very little about religion other than what he has cherry-picked to proselytise his prejudice.'

      Ralph you don't know anything about religion either, you just know about your own beliefs.

      Delete
    3. MalcolmS8:32 PM

      RalphH: "I think it definitely confirms my claim that Dawkins knows very little about religion other than what he has cherry-picked to proselytise his prejudice"

      He knows sufficient about religion for his purpose. Otherwise, how can he "cherry-pick"?

      "Although he made a few salient points, IMO, he was completely overawed by a far stronger, more knowledgeable and more dynamic intellect. Admittedly he was in hostile territory (the US Mid-west Bible belt) but that shouldn't have been a problem if he'd had any decent arguments"

      I agree except that his problem lies in the fact that he was up against a philosopher who deals in more fundamental issues than Dawkins can handle. [see MalcolmS @ 8:09 PM below]

      Delete
    4. 8x
      ... a philosopher who deals in more fundamental issues ...
      x8

      Sorry to have to tell you this tweedleburger, but waffle isnt the fundamental stuff.

      Unless by fundamental you really mean "fun-da-mental"

      Delete
    5. Long John Silver11:30 PM

      Thanks to Mal for putting the "fun" back in "fundamental" (and Ralph for keeping the "mental" in there).

      Delete
  14. Dick: The Global Atheist Conventions are an important phenomenon.

    Why are they important? Robin thinks they are a sign that atheism is on its way to becoming an ideology no different to religious ideology. He has a point, don’t you think?

    The war on religion is really a war on ideology. Replacing religion with another ideology is not going to make the world a better place. The idea is to free ourselves of ideology. And the way to do that, surely, is through education and getting rid of poverty, not atheist conventions.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. MalcolmS1:46 AM

      Terry: "The idea is to free ourselves of ideology. And the way to do that, surely, is through education and getting rid of poverty, not atheist conventions"

      That's an interesting ideology.

      Er... but don't you oppose ideology?

      Delete
    2. Mal: Er... but don't you oppose ideology?

      Good point. I should have added that I was thinking of redemptive, all-encompassing ideologies, such as yours.

      Delete
    3. MalcolmS8:37 AM

      Terry: "I was thinking of redemptive, all-encompassing ideologies, such as yours"

      No you weren't.

      You specifically stated "through education and getting rid of poverty, not atheist conventions" which is your own ideology.

      Cut the lies phony.

      Delete
    4. I don't see that any opinion about what ought to be done is an ideology..

      If there is a storm coming and someone says "let's go and shelter in that cave" it does not follow that the person is espousing a cave sheltering ideology.

      If there is someone stuck down a small cleft and someone says "Let's go and get some rope so that we can pull him out" is not espousing a "pull people out of clefts with rope" ideology.

      So the suggestion that we should do something to alleviate poverty and make education more widely available does not, in itself, necessarily amount to an ideology.

      It might be an ideology if we say that we are obligated to alleviate poverty and make education available, or to make the positive claim that no such obligation exists.

      Delete
    5. 8x
      "pull people out of clefts with rope" ideology.
      x8

      lol .. Very nice robbsybobs.

      Does raise an interesting (purely rhetorical)question though.

      Mallypops will often "pull some thing" out of "some orifice" in the course of a "discussion" (lol)

      Is this an example of an ideology?
      or is it better described as an idiotology?

      Delete
  15. MalcolmS10:01 AM

    LJS: "So what is the proof of the nonexistence of mermaids?"

    MS: "There is no proof of the nonexistence of mermaids"

    MS: "So, how do you propose to solve your dilemma?"

    The reason that your request for proof of the nonexistence of mermaids is invalid is that all *proof requires evidence* and there can be no such thing as evidence for the nonexistence of a nonentity. Evidence can only exist for the existence of an entity.

    This situation is covered in Aristotle's "onus of proof" principle in which he states that the onus of proof is on him who asserts the positive[the mermaidist], and that one must not attempt to prove a negative[the amermaidist].

    This is where Dawkins fails. The moment the theist asserts that he[Dawkins] cannot prove the nonexistence of God, Dawkins guiltily replies that he cannot prove that God does not exist and the theist rubs his hands together with glee. Clearly Dawkins does not know to invoke the onus of proof principle! The onus of proof always rests with the theist.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. MalcolmS wrote: "The onus of proof always rests with the theist."

      Surely the onus of proof rests with the person making the claim currently under discussion.

      Dawkins is making a positive claim, ie "there is almost certainly no God". Therefore he has the burden of evidence for that particular claim and to his credit he does not try to dodge this.

      Presumably his opponents are making another claim ie "There is a God" or "There is almost certainly a God" and they have the burden of evidence for this.

      Delete
    2. 8x
      Clearly Dawkins does not know to invoke the onus of proof principle!
      x8

      lol @ twerpy
      Clearly you have eaten of the fruit of the tree that is known as the retardation tree.

      quote
      "do you have to read up on leprechology before disbelieving in leprechauns?"
      end quote

      But I suppose thats a bit too subtle for the nobjectivist hamster wheel innit?



      Also regarding the use of "invoke"
      http://www.thefreedictionary.com/invoke

      These definitions seem to sum up your style of argumentation quite nicely.

      1. To call on (a higher power) for assistance, support, or inspiration:
      4. To summon with incantations; conjure.
      1. to call upon (an agent, esp God or another deity) for help, inspiration, etc.
      3. to appeal to (an outside agent or authority) for confirmation, corroboration, etc.
      5. (Non-Christian Religions / Other Non-Christian Religions) to summon (a spirit, demon, etc.); conjure up
      1. to call for with earnest desire; make supplication or pray for: to invoke God's mercy.
      2. to call on (a deity, Muse, etc.), as in prayer or supplication.
      4. to appeal to, as for confirmation.
      5. to petition or call on for help or aid.
      6. to call forth or upon (a spirit) by incantation.
      7. to cause, call forth, or bring about.

      So much of your alleged "evidence" is just arbitrary "mental concrete". Of course this arouses my suspicion.
      You sure you arent a goobly-god-gobbler?

      Delete
    3. Mal: Clearly Dawkins does not know to invoke the onus of proof principle!

      Yeah, but I don’t think he’s losing too much sleep over it.

      Delete
    4. MalcolmS8:09 PM

      Robin: "Surely the onus of proof rests with the person making the claim currently under discussion"

      No! The point is that *proof* requires evidence. There can be no evidence for the nonexistence of a nonentity and, in logic, none can be requested.

      Your error is that you reify the *arbitrary* which is what "God exists" is. You should not debate the arbitrary - you simply observe and assert that it is arbitrary and reject it without further discussion.

      In his debates Dawkins must assert the onus of proof principle or he loses. He must understand that there is no proof of the nonexistence of God [or mermaids]. Following this the only refutation Dawkins can validly make is to point out the contradictions in the theist's position.

      This is why, in general, the scientist loses on this issue to the philosopher. The scientist, even if well intentioned, is simply out of his depth.

      Delete
    5. Malcolm S wrote "No! The point is that *proof* requires evidence. There can be no evidence for the nonexistence of a nonentity and, in logic, none can be requested."

      So you cannot prove that there is no smallest positive real number?

      Malcolm wrote: "Your error is that you reify the *arbitrary* which is what "God exists" is. You should not debate the arbitrary - you simply observe and assert that it is arbitrary and reject it without further discussion."

      The claim that the proposition "God exists" is arbitrary is also a positive claim. If you make a positive claim then you need to back it up.

      It is not true just because you say it.

      Malcolm S wrote: "He must understand that there is no proof of the nonexistence of God"

      That is just what he did say.

      Malcolm S wrote: "Dawkins can validly make is to point out the contradictions in the theist's position"

      If he could point out even one contradiction in the proposition that God exists then he would have proved that God does not exist.

      One of the great myths of critical thinking is that you cannot prove an existential negative. Not so. Ask a married bachelor.

      Delete
    6. MalcolmS9:34 AM

      Robin: "So you cannot prove that there is no smallest positive real number?"

      That presumes that there can be an infinite regress which is false.

      "The claim that the proposition "God exists" is arbitrary is also a positive claim. If you make a positive claim then you need to back it up"

      The proposition "God exists" is arbitrary because it is plucked from the ether. There is no evidence for it or against it. So, consider it "backed up."

      "Malcolm S wrote: "He must understand that there is no proof of the nonexistence of God" That is just what he did say"

      What he actually said was: "God, though technically not disprovable, is very, very improbable indeed." Which implies the *possibility* of God. Claiming possibility requires evidence.

      "Malcolm S wrote: "Dawkins can validly make is to point out the contradictions in the theist's position" If he could point out even one contradiction in the proposition that God exists then he would have proved that God does not exist"

      You have only partly quoted me. Refer to the full quote and your retort is inapplicable.

      "One of the great myths of critical thinking is that you cannot prove an existential negative"

      I made no such claim. My claim was that you cannot prove a NONexistential negative. I said: "There can be no evidence for the nonexistence of a nonentity and, in logic, none can be requested."

      Delete
  16. MalcolmS7:16 PM

    "Yeah, but I don’t think he’s losing too much sleep over it"

    He's been losing plenty of debates over it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mal: He's been losing plenty of debates over it.

      I disagree. But then I’m not making the assertion. You are. So prove it.

      Delete
    2. MalcolmS10:24 PM

      I would not attempt to prove anything to you.

      You are not up to the task.

      Delete
    3. 8x
      I would not attempt to prove anything to you.
      x8

      I'm sure you meant to say that "proof requires evidence" and some whiffle about "onus" (onan? lol) instead?

      After all:
      8x
      This is why, in general, the scientist loses on this issue to the philosopher. The scientist, even if well intentioned, is simply out of his depth.
      x8

      So lets just assume thats what you really meant and leave it there

      Is that ok Proofy McProofproof? lol

      Delete
  17. MalcolmS11:59 PM

    "Have been reading Mal's dictionary? Someone who strongly suspects that there is a God (but doesn't believe that they can know that with absolute certainty) is an agnostic theist. They believe in God, but are not certain that there belief is absolutely safe from any possible error. Why is that so difficult to understand?"

    You didn't get that from me.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Long John Silver1:23 AM

    No, I didn't get it from you. Both of you appear to be unaware of the meaning of the word "agnostic".

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. MalcolmS5:21 AM

      From what you have said so far I think you are thoroughly confused about the meaning of agnostic. Your ineptitude is obvious. It's almost as embarassing as listening to you trying to prove the nonexistence of mermaids. Thanks for the ongoing entertainment.

      Delete
    2. "Consider the lilies of the field, how they do work: they toil greatly, spinning nitrogen and water and solar power, they sow much oxygen to the atmosphere"
      .
      See, Jesus couldn't even, nor evenly or odd nor oddly, pass a 3rd grade science class, what an ignorant character

      Delete
    3. I have to admit I am puzzled as to what on earth Long John Silver and Stranger think that the word "agnostic" means.

      Delete
    4. Tor Hershman wrote: "See, Jesus couldn't even, nor evenly or odd nor oddly, pass a 3rd grade science class, what an ignorant character"

      I think that you will find that everyone in the 1st century CE was ignorant of photosynthesis.

      There will be things discovered in the future of which you (and I and everyone extant) are ignorant.

      Delete
    5. lilies arent even, nor evenly or odd nor oddly legumes

      surprised you didnt pick up on that one robbsybobs

      Delete
    6. 8x
      I have to admit I am puzzled as to what on earth Long John Silver and Stranger think that the word "agnostic" means.
      x8

      I think perhaps it comes down to how you approach belief.

      To myself, many beliefs (even contradictory beliefs) are simply convenient and useful abstract mental tools

      Compare that to the way an idealogue approaches belief and youll start to have some understanding

      Delete
    7. 8x
      I think that you will find that everyone in the 1st century CE was ignorant of photosynthesis.
      x8

      photosynthewhat??

      Oh oh... You mean plant farts!

      Right? ;)

      Delete
    8. "I have to admit I am puzzled as to what on earth Long John Silver and Stranger think that the word "agnostic" means."

      Start with a dictionary.

      Delete
    9. 8x
      Start with a dictionary.
      x8

      Perhaps mallywallypoos can look it up for you in his granpa's big'book'o'wacky'words. lol

      Delete
    10. "I think that you will find that everyone in the 1st century CE was ignorant of photosynthesis."

      How can God be ignorant of photosynthesis?

      Delete
    11. Stranger wrote: "How can God be ignorant of photosynthesis?"

      You just don't understand the concept of Christianity, do you?

      Delete
    12. Stranger wrote: "Start with a dictionary."

      Cop out. I want to know what *you* mean by the word.

      Incidentally, I can do much better than a dictionary - I can cite the words of the man who originated the term - Thomas Huxley.

      http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/mathew/sn-huxley.html

      I cannot see how that pans out to agnostics believing in God.

      Delete
    13. "I cannot see how that pans out to agnostics believing in God."

      One can believe but still say one doesn't/can't know, as the two are different.

      Delete
    14. "You just don't understand the concept of Christianity, do you?"

      Yes I do, which is why I asked how Jesus/God can be ignorant of photosynthesis.

      Delete
    15. MalcolmS10:25 PM

      zedinhisbigflyingloonyabstractmentaltoolshead:

      "8x ... photosynthesis x8

      photosynthewhat?? Oh oh... You mean plant farts!"

      Er... don't think so!

      ROFLMAO

      Delete
    16. Stranger wrote: "Yes I do, which is why I asked how Jesus/God can be ignorant of photosynthesis."

      I repeat, you just don't understand the concept of Christianity, do you?

      Delete
    17. Long John Silver3:39 AM

      Agnostic: "a. One who believes that it is impossible to know whether there is a God."(Free online dictionary).

      "a person who believes that nothing is known or can be known of the existence or nature of God." http://oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/agnostic

      Agnostic derives (according to oxforddictionaries.com) from "a-gnostic" (not known"
      gnostic = " late 16th century (as a noun): via ecclesiastical Latin from Greek gnōstikos, from gnōstos 'known' (related to gignōskein 'know')"

      One can believe that the answer is unknowable, but lean towards either possibility is being likely - someone who says "I believe that God exists, but I can't know for sure" is just as much an agnostic as someone who says "I believe that God doesn't exist, but I can't know for sure".

      Delete
    18. Hmmm... with a free online dictionary you apparently get what you pay for.

      Even so, I wonder why you posted the first definition and not the second. Didn't the second one suit your purposes?

      Someone who says "I don't believe that God exists but I don't know either way" is also an agnostic.

      I have already posted a link to the words of the person who coined the term and that is the meaning I use.

      But the question is, what about someone who says - I don't believe there is a God but that is the hypothesis that I favour.

      Is that person an atheist?

      Delete
    19. And, according to Huxley's definition an agnostic might say "I can't know", but is more likely to simply say "I don't know".

      Delete

    20. 8x
      I cannot see how that pans out to agnostics believing in God.
      x8

      I'll try to assist

      From: http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/mathew/sn-huxley.html

      ...the axiom that every man should be able to give a reason for the faith that is in him...

      ...And negatively: In matters of the intellect, do not pretend that conclusions are certain which are not demonstrated or demonstrable...


      8x
      But the question is, what about someone who says - I don't believe there is a God but that is the hypothesis that I favour.
      Is that person an atheist?
      x8

      I think you have a severe case of confusing labels with things. In cases where the "thing" you are labeling is an abstraction (as in this case) it takes a great deal of good will and common intent to reach agreement.

      As a practicing ffsnotthisfrikkincrapagainist I would suggest you simply go with the definition he applies to himself then go do something useful with your time.

      Delete
  19. Robin: I have to admit I am puzzled as to what on earth Long John Silver and Stranger think that the word "agnostic" means.

    I’m sure you’d agree that there’s not just one definition. Abstract words are by their nature elastic. That’s what makes them useful. It’s only by stretching them in discussions such as these (or rather such as these ought to be) that you enrich your own understanding and interest. But you know that.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. RalphH 10/076:06 PM

      “Robin: I have to admit I am puzzled as to what on earth Long John Silver and Stranger think that the word "agnostic" means.

      I’m sure you’d agree that there’s not just one definition. Abstract words are by their nature elastic. That’s what makes them useful. It’s only by stretching them in discussions such as these (or rather such as these ought to be) that you enrich your own understanding and interest. But you know that.” (Terry3:39 PM)

      I wondered exactly as Robin does but never got round to posting about it. My take (for what it's worth) is that a theist is pro God, an atheist is anti God and an agnostic is a perpetual fence-sitter. The agnostic claim is that certain knowledge is unknown and UNKNOWABLE. If an agnostic stops believing that that knowledge is unknowable they have ceased to be an agnostic and in the case of God become either a theist, an atheist or a sceptic with leanings one way or the other.

      Words (including “abstract words”) are symbols for concepts and although not set in concrete have definite meanings so that we can communicate and know what is being spoken about. When people use a word/term in a way/situation that doesn't agree with the concept they are confused and create confusion for others. If there are two distinct concepts there should be two distinct words or at least a permanent qualifier that communicates the difference.

      IMO, to say that “abstract words are …. elastic is to say that they have no real meaning or any meaning that anyone wants to (emotionally) associate them with. The result is confusion which often leads to argument which goes nowhere.

      Delete
    2. 8x
      IMO, to say that “abstract words are …. elastic is to say that they have no real meaning or any meaning that anyone wants to (emotionally) associate them with. The result is confusion which often leads to argument which goes nowhere.
      x8

      Whats the meaning of irony? lol

      Delete
    3. RalphH wrote: "The agnostic claim is that certain knowledge is unknown and UNKNOWABLE. "

      Well of course different people mean different things by the word.

      But the word was coined by Thomas? Huxley in the 19th century and he meant it definitely to mean that if there was something that you don't know then you should simply say that you don't know rather than expressing an opinion one way or another.

      So an agnostic is not a fence sitter, he is someone who is simply fessing up to ignorance about a matter.

      Delete
    4. Can't really see how elasticity is a useful quality in words.

      Language is never going to be a perfect tool, but it seems that we ought to be able to say what we mean by a word to the extent that this is practically possible.

      The practical issue is, of course, that definitions can lead to circularity, endless regress or dead ends if we have to define each word in our definitions.

      But we shouldn't compound this necessary limitation on language by making a virtue of elasticity.

      Delete
    5. " an atheist is anti God"

      Atheists aren't anti-God, for thge most part, we just don't believe he exists.

      Delete
    6. MalcolmS10:53 PM

      Terry: "Abstract words are by their nature..."

      There is no such thing as an "abstract word."

      A word is not an abstraction.

      A word is a visual/auditory/sensual/perceptual symbol which stands for a *concept.*

      It is the concept which is the abstraction.

      Delete
    7. Stranger wrote: "One can believe but still say one doesn't/can't know, as the two are different."

      But that person would not be an agnostic according to Huxley's definition because they would be believing beyond the evidence.

      Let me get you definition clear - if there is someone who does not believe that there is a God, but who strongly favours the proposition that there is a God - would that person qualify as an atheist under your definition?

      Delete
    8. MalcolmS11:15 PM

      Terry: "... words are by their nature elastic"

      No. Words have precise meanings.

      The *meaning* of any word is the referent/s in reality which it subsumes.

      That is one of the keys to objectivity.

      Delete
    9. MalcolmS11:19 PM

      BTW folks

      Words are not primarily for communication.

      Words are primarily cognitive.

      Communication is secondary.

      You would need words if you lived alone on a desert island.

      Delete
    10. 8x
      Words are primarily cognitive.
      Communication is secondary.
      You would need words if you lived alone on a desert island.
      x8

      But if you were born "alone" on a desert island you would never actually learn any words to cogitate with.

      Unless you (ahem) just made up your own meanings for your various idiotic brain farts.

      Or if you were a really lucky gooble-gobbler your gampa might be there with his dic't'n'ry

      Ipso ... facto ... twiddle ... head.

      Delete
    11. "Words are not primarily for communication."

      Yes they are.

      "Words are primarily cognitive."

      No they aren't.

      "You would need words if you lived alone on a desert island."

      No he wouldn't.

      Delete
    12. "The *meaning* of any word is the referent/s in reality which it subsumes."

      Dragons don't exist in reality. Definitions are entirely subjective as you and Ralph show so well.

      Delete
    13. 8x
      Dragons don't exist in reality.
      x8

      They do in malworld

      8x
      That is one of many fallacies committed by materialists/nominalists who regard "ideas" as not fully real. You need to grasp that an idea/concept, once formed, is a mental concrete.
      x8

      What I dont understand is why dragons are real but mermaids and angels arent

      Why cant I have a mermaid with big tits living in my bathroom? Why a bloody dragon?

      Sigh: Foolosophy is sooooooooooo hardies

      Signed
      Billy The Magic Cat
      "He's not just as "real" as "really real" is... He's realler!!!

      Delete
    14. Long John Silver3:47 AM

      "Why cant I have a mermaid with big tits living in my bathroom?"
      Because you don't have a big enough bathtub.

      Delete
    15. MalcolmS4:47 AM

      Stranger aka Andrew R the idiot:

      ""The *meaning* of any word is the referent/s in reality which it subsumes." Dragons don't exist in reality"

      Dragons are mythical things. The *meaning* of the word 'dragon'[mermaids, bunyips, centaurs, blah, blah, blah] are those references to such mythical beasts which exist in reality.

      "Definitions are entirely subjective"

      Yours most certainly are.

      My definitions are statements that identify the nature of the units/referents subsumed under a concept - which means they are *objective.

      Delete
    16. MalcolmS4:56 AM

      idiotcatfetishist: "Why cant I have a mermaid with big tits living in my bathroom?"

      Er.. because your "abstract mental tool" is far too tiny??

      ROFLMAO

      Delete
    17. "The *meaning* of the word 'dragon'[mermaids, bunyips, centaurs, blah, blah, blah] are those references to such mythical beasts which exist in reality."

      And such meanings are not objective.

      ""Definitions are entirely subjective"

      Yours most certainly are."

      So you don't understand how language works either. Why am I not surprised?

      Delete
  20. He is dearly missed today. How many screw ups are we going to tolerate from the current chair?

    ReplyDelete

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