Saturday, November 6, 2010

A Treatise Rant Regarding Rational Thought

I'm not actually prepared to write anything right now, let alone a Treatise, so let me just wonder for a moment. I have a difficult time understanding people who are determined to avoid rational thought. In particular, when it comes to science, religion, woo, and personal belief systems. This comes up as I have recently tried to discuss a topic in an atheist web forum.

A Christian came into this forum, which I happen to moderate. His first post wasn't an introduction, but a question to atheists. He asked, "If the God of the bible really exists (kind of a big 'If' on an atheist forum), do you think he could reveal himself to you in a way that would satisfy your belief in him? So that you'd know 100% that he exists."

If it is not apparent to you at first reading, why this "What if?" scenario is off base in a number of ways, then maybe this isn't a post you should bother reading at all, let alone participate in.

I can barely wrap my head around this kind of nonsense stuff...these 'what if' things. He might as well ask, "If a carpet fiber could build an electron microscope, would you be 100% convinced that ten monkeys could hijack a planet from orbit and learn the words to 'Louie, Louie'?"
It's about the same degree of nonsensical question to me. The first part of his question, the "Suppose god exists" part, has nothing to do with what we can know or not know. Neither is there any reason to "know" anything with the ideal, but nonexistent 100% certainty. I know where this guy was trying to lead the topic, because fundamentalist Christians love to tout that they have the absolute truth and thus have 100% certainty of things, and therefore, try to use that as a way to make non-believers doubt their own positions. It's a purely philosophical and psychological manipulative trick, in essence. Bugs the shit out of me.

This is as far as I want to take this topic today. More of a rant than anything, but had to put it out there.

Feel free to comment, criticize, unfollow, or get more people to follow me! Really. I'm interested in others' thoughts on this.


  1. Hi, I'm the Defiant Sock Puppet. I think you're a poopie-head. As a YEC Christian, I don't have to "suppose" God exists. He just does, and that's 100% evidence for me. Too bad you don't have that. I feel sorry for you.

    Just look around you and you'll see evidence everywhere. You think this could all come about by accident? If God isn't evident to you, then you're just not ready to accept him, and that's a fact. 100%!

    You poopie-head!

  2. Well. . . . It sounds like the commenter was trying to ask with respect. He didn't come out with a "Athiests are Wrong" post, he just asked what it would take to get you to believe in God.

    God is obvious to me. "No God" is obvious to you. Interesting isn't it?

    I also get annoyed when zealots of any fibre (including Athiest and Agnostic) get upset at me for not accepting their version of the world. It didn't read to me that the commenter was trying to come across that way.

    Did you answer the question?

  3. Hi, Mary, and thanks for the comments and question. A little more background should help here. The poster in question turned out to be a serial spammer of skeptic forums (an IP check determined that in a few minutes time). I recognized his posts from other forums as well. He does hit and run posting, often never going back to his original topic, starting new threads all over the forums just to disrupt them. So from that starting point, I wasn't going to give this guy much leeway or benefit of the doubt. This type of thing happens so often, I wish I got money each time a serial spammer showed up. I'd be rich!

    However, I did try to answer his initial question and his one and only follow up post, in which he tried to simply lay down a framework for argument that couldn't be rationally from. Analogous to a question like, "Do you enjoy molesting children?" type of thing, where it's impossible to give a straightforward answer of yes or no.

    I tried to get a common ground starting point for the definitions of the wording in his post, because I knew there would be an intial difference and wanted to make sure he and I and others were using terms that meant the same thing (another example of this is when a scientist uses the word "theory" as compared to a lay person - they mean completely different things). I never received a response from him and still haven't. Usually, the people who do these hit and runs will only go back and debate with those who allow them to steer the thread their way. The moment they run up against someone who actually has some knowledge of the subject, they tend to curse and run. It's unfortunate.

    My peeve is that he was trying to tie in two things that had nothing to do with one another in order to then try and get a certain answer which he could refute more easily. By trying to tie in the "What if" question of god to a completely separate issue of "knowing something 100%", he was manipulating the initial question so that anyone answering would be unwittingly stepping into his logical fallacy of a non sequitur.

    In debate and discussion, I try to avoid logical fallacies and manipulative lines of questioning. If I ever do a what if type of scenario, it is with the consent of others and with the knowledge that we will engage in some esoteric discussion, after which we will get back into standard rules of debate. The poster on that forum was not doing this, unfortunately.

    I agree with you that zealotry is annoying. There is a difference between being passionate about something and being a zealot. People should be able to clearly elucidate why they believe what they believe. Also, they should be able to acknowledge and understand the difference between belief and knowledge, or belief and evidence.

    Since my initial post here was more of a rant than a measured essay of the topic, I didn't really provide you or anyone else reading it with very much information to go on, so I apologize for not giving more background on it. It was a rush job, and as such, not as specific as it could have been.

    Damn, that's a long reply! Hope you're well, and thanks again for the message!