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Apparently…..

October 3, 2009

…no one understood my post on the Courtier’s Reply. For the record, I did and do understand what PZ is trying to say, that is, there is no proof for God’s existence so therefore it’s pointless to spend hours, thousands of pages and reading time to discuss the matter. Well, I completely disagree for a number of different reasons and that was the point of my original post. I thought I would have a little fun by pointing out the logical fallacies of his argument. Apparently, no one got the joke.  Fair enough.

However, in the interest of being fair, I took down the post to examine if I had made myself clear enough. I will conceed I wrote that piece under the influence of cold medicine, so it may not be up to usual standards. So, I will take a look at it and make any corrections.

But, I do want to make a point about the need to relax a little bit. Some of you got a little uptight about percieved “snarky” comments or sarcasm in the post. This I will freely admit to doing. As I disagree with PZ’s original intent (and YES I understand it) and given it was sarcasm in the first place, I thought a little snark was in order. You may not agree with that, and that’s fine. But come on, lighten up a little.

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20 Comments leave one →
  1. Matheus permalink
    October 3, 2009 8:27 am

    Ahhh, I don’t think it was such a good idea to delete the post. With it went away the comments too. If you think you made a mistake, just make a follow up post correcting it instead. I hope you didn’t do it being ashamed of having been wrong.
    Everybody has that moment of unclear thinking anyways 😉

  2. thomas2026 permalink*
    October 3, 2009 8:48 am

    Matheus,
    Yeah, I thought about that (deleting the comments), but it couldn’t be helped. I figured that before everyone added to the avalanche, I would just hit the restart button. If there had been a way to leave up the comments, I would have.

    And, for the record, I’m still standing by my original point, so I don’t feel that I’m wrong. I’m just trying to figure out if I made myself clearly enough. So, the post was not taken down out of shame for being wrong, but questioning whether I made my point effectively.

  3. Matheus permalink
    October 3, 2009 9:45 am

    Ok then. I do agree that the previous post was confusing, it did claim the courtier’s reply was fallacious. But what you are saying now is, you don’t agree that lack of evidence is enough grounds to discard belief in god, if I understand you right.
    Until now, fair enough. But when in the end you claimed it was a total fail it just felt that it didn’t make much sense.

  4. Matheus permalink
    October 3, 2009 10:27 am

    Forgot this:
    “I thought I would have a little fun by pointing out the logical fallacies of his argument. Apparently, no one got the joke. Fair enough.”
    Yeah, if there was a joke, it flew over my head completely…
    What was the joke? Did you fictionally made it up that it had fallacies, or are you saying there really were fallacies and these rebuttals were for real, and the joke was the act of rebutting them? My head is spinning…

  5. thomas2026 permalink*
    October 3, 2009 10:41 am

    I think the joke was that the post was a bit tongue in cheek, in the sense that PZ seems to be making it a tongue in cheek logical fallacy.

  6. ferret wrangler permalink
    October 3, 2009 10:59 am

    The reply post came off as a waaay overblown critcal diatribe against PZ and Dawkins.

    I understand that you ment it to be an intentionally irrational and funny take on disassembling and denialism of their points, but it came across as harsh and ignorant (very fundy-rific), ruffling quite a few feathers.

    Next time, no Nyquil before writting 😉

  7. Ash permalink
    October 3, 2009 11:23 am

    Dammit, I spent ages writing that comment. Now I have no idea whether me drunk makes more or less sense than you on meds.

    Personally, I don’t give a crap if you are snarky or sarcastic in your posts, bring on the ‘nice’ Christians who aren’t limp personality voids; I disagreed with what you were claiming were the logical fallacies. Sadly, with the dearth of the original post and it’s comments we all miss an opportunity to learn more about others thought processess.

    p.s. putting ‘nice’ in scare quotes isn’t a criticism, I just hate that word.

  8. October 3, 2009 5:23 pm

    Its a shame you took the original post down. I would have liked to read it. I obviously can’t read it now, but from what you say in this post, it still doesn’t seem like you get what PZ was responding to.

    His point wasn’t simply “there is no proof for God’s existence so therefore it’s pointless to spend hours, thousands of pages and reading time to discuss the matter.” The Courtier’s Reply was specifically a response to a common rebuttal to “The God Delusion.” They basically state that Dawkins’s criticisms are only to outdated, fundamentalist claims of biblical literalism, and don’t apply to more modern, sophisticated conceptions of God and religion. PZ is just pointing out that the fundamental claims about the existence of ANY god or gods is inherently not-evidence based, and in his viewpoint, silly. It doesn’t matter how learned you opinions are regarding kingly fashion, the emperor is still without clothes.

  9. October 3, 2009 5:38 pm

    Welcome to the Internets, where everything you write is taken way too seriously by everyone. Mostly, the stuff you never intended to be too serious. The stuff you want them to read? Very few comments at all 🙂

  10. October 3, 2009 8:08 pm

    “For the record, I did and do understand what PZ is trying to say, that is, there is no proof for God’s existence so therefore it’s pointless to spend hours, thousands of pages and reading time to discuss the matter.”

    I still think that’s off the mark:

    The Courtier’s Reply is taking on the accusation that many religious folks present that any given atheist/agnostic/critic of religion must have missed the lecture where the reasons for god are so clearly spelled out. These kinds of arguments are shallow and pretentious, and I think we could all agree on that point.

    A person who has given the matter any level of deep thought recognizes that you cannot argue god into existence, or, metaphorically, the clothes onto the emperor. Dawkins, presented with any level of religious literature which might persuade the seeker into belief, would doubtless have a very simple reason for why HE is not persuaded by it. It’s not ignorance that keeps many of us from belief, but in fact that exact opposite.

    I don’t think it is being “uptight” that brought many of us to comment on that particular post; personally I have been reading this blog for months without any reason to object — because I LIKE what you have to say. I am a college student who spent the first 20 years of his life in and out of a variety of churches, who spent several months living in an urban monastic community (a la “Simple Way”) and completed a minor in theology. Only AFTER these experiences did I feel that a solidified belief was no longer possible.

    So now I stand in the hallway of agnosticism, and far from being uptight about snark, I only take issue with misdirected snarkiness, if that makes sense.

    Didn’t mean to offend your sensibilities with my comment, just thought your critique was off-target.

  11. thomas2026 permalink*
    October 4, 2009 8:14 am

    Once again, Dan, I DID get and still get what PZ is saying. I just think what he said is wrong and so I thought I would have a little fun with the idea.

  12. thomas2026 permalink*
    October 4, 2009 8:15 am

    Hemant,
    Seriously. I need you to educate me on how not to be so annoyed at this whole situation. Sheesh. 🙂

  13. thomas2026 permalink*
    October 4, 2009 8:18 am

    Ryan
    Fair enough. It’s possible the whole thing was misguided on my part. It was just a fun little thing I came up with. I still don’t agree with Myers on his point, as I have stated.

    Methinks in the future I should have a satired warning in the future. 🙂

  14. Johann permalink
    October 4, 2009 10:42 am

    It came off as more grumpy than satirical to me, but that wasn’t the problem. I couldn’t tell what you were replying to.

    Yes, ostensibly it was about the Courtier’s Reply, but the bulk of the post talked about things that had nothing to do with it. (I’d provide specific quotes but, alas, that’s no longer an option.)

    I’m not sure why you characterize the main point of it as “there is no proof for God’s existence so therefore it’s pointless to spend hours, thousands of pages and reading time to discuss the matter”. Read it again – it makes no claims about the existence of any gods; take references to Dawkins and The God Delusion out of that post, and the topic of what you’ll have left could be anything at all. What it does do is mock those who, instead of responding to the things Dawkins talks about, sniff haughtily and dismiss him because he doesn’t address their version of religion and theology, and *gasp* possibly doesn’t have the background to do so. Essentially, PZ makes fun of the critics for engaging a fancier version of ad hominem.

    Of course, you could say that their criticism is legitimate – you have said as much in the past. You’re free to disagree with PZ and Dawkins and anyone else, but from what we’ve already seen of your writing we’ve come to expect it to make sense. Chastising someone for claims they didn’t make and logical fallacies they didn’t even try to commit…doesn’t. Granted, medication goes a long way towards explaining that 😉 – but still, these are windmills and not the giants you take them for.

  15. Richard Eis permalink
    October 4, 2009 12:52 pm

    It rambled. Sorry. I actually put off posting on it until i could actually get my head around what you were trying to say because a casual read left me going “huh?”

    Feel free to try again though.

  16. AdamK permalink
    October 4, 2009 6:51 pm

    You lost the argument, so you erase the evidence. Bad form.

  17. thomas2026 permalink*
    October 4, 2009 7:21 pm

    Losing the argument? I think not, my dear Adam. Badly written? Sure. For that reason, and that reason alone I deleted it. To be honest, I’m actually suprised you think I would do such a thing. But, if you want to think that, go right ahead. I’ll try to restore it if I can find it again just to prove it.

  18. ferret wrangler permalink
    October 4, 2009 8:12 pm

    C’mon boys, play nice.

  19. October 4, 2009 8:42 pm

    Hi – I came here because of Mojoey’s post pointing to your blog.

    that is, there is no proof for God’s existence so therefore it’s pointless to spend hours, thousands of pages and reading time to discuss the matter

    I don’t see that as PZ’s point at all. Or rather, it’s related to his point, but misses a central characteristic of what he’s saying.

    You see, a common response to arguments from atheists against god-claims is that the atheist has only engaged with unsophisticated arguments for the existence of god, and that atheists should only engage with more sophisticated arguments.

    They’re usually accompanied by some kind of insistence that “nobody really believes those unsophisticated arguments” (in spite of voluminous evidence to the contrary), and often with the insistence that it takes years of study before one can even begin to understand these sophisticated arguments.

    Specifically, in PZ’s case, he’s replying to this kind of response to Dawkin’s arguments in TGD – in which Dawkins did indeed engage with the relatively unsophisticated arguments he’s subjected to constantly.

    PZ’s point as I see it is that it doesn’t matter how “sophisticated” the argument is, the problem is still the same – the need to demonstrate that we’re talking about anything at all – because otherwise it’s just a lot of high language about nothing.

  20. October 4, 2009 8:44 pm

    Sorry, the second paragraph in my comment above was meant to be a quote of what thimas said, but I obviously stuffed up. Sorry.

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