Debating William Lane Craig without the Gish gallop

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Debating William Lane Craig without the Gish gallop

Postby worldslaziestbusker » Thu Feb 02, 2012 1:56 am

Hello folks
I debated the Reasonable Faith Forum poster 9191 in Adelaide last year, and only recently noticed him talking smack about me at WLC's website. I have responded and the thread has expanded over time to what I consider a worthy addition to the Reasonable Faith (ugh, hate typing that) website.
Keep things polite and there seems to be no interference from the moderators. Keep things typed and no-one can Gish gallop. Keep to the point and no-one can complain, or at least no-one can make any valid complaint, about your presence and content.
I would like to see more of this. Atheist participation at the Australian Christian Forums is the reason Atheist Christian Forums is no longer running. It disappeared to the realms of the wayback machines, dragged down under the weight of lies and disingenuous rhetoric its members began spouting in attempts to answer simple questions. Getting it off the web was not the ambition, as I only wanted people to know that their beliefs were not sacrosanct or immune to question. It was a surprise when the administrators pulled the plug, and I mourn, though only a little bit, the examples of high grade hypocrisy on show there. Luckily a friend did some impressive web salvaging and the dumbest bits of the biggest lies are kept under glass for the edification of future generations.
But I digress. I encourage atheists to get among the threads at RF and ask polite, persistent, poignant questions. You might not change the mind of your interlocutors, you might not even sway members of the invisible audience, but you will let people visiting this prominent portal of Christian apologetics that their ideas are not above question, and are not privy to the deferral they once enjoyed.
Regards
Matt

http://rfforum.websitetoolbox.com/post/Can-there-be-Good-without-God-Team-Debate-at-Flinders-University-5343492?trail=
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Postby SkyDaddy » Thu Feb 02, 2012 2:23 am

There is no point in debating on their "turf". The whole point of debating is to get people to think about their own positions, which usually the person you are debating wont have interest in. Most debates are vs people with immovable stances. The real victory is in the bystander who is watching and thinking.

And when you debate on the "enemies" turf on the internet, the bystander wont get that oppertunity because the asshats who run out of circular or bad logic will just get frustraited and shut it down like you mentioned.

There is also no reason to go out with the intention to get these people to close it down.
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Postby worldslaziestbusker » Thu Feb 02, 2012 2:38 am

SkyDaddy wrote:There is no point in debating on their "turf". The whole point of debating is to get people to think about their own positions, which usually the person you are debating wont have interest in. Most debates are vs people with immovable stances. The real victory is in the bystander who is watching and thinking.

And when you debate on the "enemies" turf on the internet, the bystander wont get that oppertunity because the asshats who run out of circular or bad logic will just get frustraited and shut it down like you mentioned.

There is also no reason to go out with the intention to get these people to close it down.


I disagree. I already stated why arguing with someone on their turf can have merit, even if you have no hope of changing the ideas of the person you address directly. Granted, I tend not to enter other people's territory uninvited, but the invites have not been in short supply to date.

I also stated that closing sites down was not my ambition, but that it was once an outcome, and not an entirely unwelcome one. I did not censor anyone. They chose to pull their web material when it made their ideas and ambitions look bad.
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web link

Postby dobbie » Thu Feb 02, 2012 3:54 am

worldslaziestbusker wrote:
I debated the Reasonable Faith Forum poster 9191 in Adelaide last year, and only recently noticed him talking smack about me at WLC's website. I have responded and the thread has expanded over time to what I consider a worthy addition to the Reasonable Faith (ugh, hate typing that) website.

Is there a web link to access the exchange at WLC's website? I'd like to see some of the discussion.
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Postby DjVortex » Thu Feb 02, 2012 7:29 am

About the post in question, "can there be good without God" seems like a completely nonsensical question to me. At least from an European perspective.

It just sounds so American-centric. It sounds exactly like a question that religious Americans who live in a social bubble where they know only about the USA and ignore the rest of the world would ask. Since in their living surroundings the vast majority of people are religious (or at least pretend to be), they can live in this illusion that peace and goodness is kept only because that's so, and if that were to change, chaos would ensue. Never mind what the situation is in the rest of the world.

The question sounds completely nonsensical to someone who lives in a country where the vast majority of people is secular/atheist, and being religious is the exception, not the rule.
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Postby worldslaziestbusker » Thu Feb 02, 2012 12:39 pm

DjVortex wrote:About the post in question, "can there be good without God" seems like a completely nonsensical question to me.


I agree. I was loathe to take the topic on with that wording, as it carries an inherent presumption of God existing. I would have preferred discussing whether or not religion deserves a role in Australian politics (our constitutional separation of church and state got screwed over the High Court in 1986), but 9191 proved so shy of getting to the point that in the end I had to agree to his lame arse topic and booked my flight.
His approach to the original debate had much of "Southpark's" underpants gnomes' business model about it.
Phase 1 - debate atheists
Phase 2
Phase 3 - prophet!

I missed a point in my original post: I am not debating WLC. He does not frequent the forum, and I think with good reason. Without the Gish gallop, the man's got nothing. I am debating someone who admires WLC and who is well versed in the RF literature. He breathlessly introduced me to Mark Worthing, a member of his debate team, as someone who studied with WLC, perhaps expecting me to concede right there and then.
So while I am not dealing with the apologists apologist directly, I am dealing with his ideas as channeled through one of his wannabes.
And LionIRC, noted whackamole theist.

@ Skydaddy: I just remembered another advantage of arguing on their turf - an atheist on a theist site can hold their ground indefinitely if their argument is sound, regardless of how many theists join in. Theists cannot hold their ground on atheist sites if any single atheist's argument is sound, but as they most often get dogpiled, they have an excuse to run away, mewing bitterly that they were rudely abused by weight of numbers, rather than because they were talking bollox. The hurt fawn defence - passive aggression's howitzer. Taking the argument to their turf is a victimless crime, like upsetting an emo kid. Waiting for them to come to you is actually more polite, but will later be cited as bullies waiting in a dark alley with baseball bats by any theist who does take you on in your part of the internet.
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got the link

Postby dobbie » Thu Feb 02, 2012 7:46 pm

Sorry, I asked for the link to the WLC website discussion, but you already provided it at the bottom of your original post. The link was colored a light gray and so I didn't notice it at first.

http://rfforum.websitetoolbox.com/post/Can-there-be-Good-without-God-Team-Debate-at-Flinders-University-5343492?trail=
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Postby dobbie » Fri Feb 03, 2012 1:27 am

My complaint: The poster who goes by “9191â€
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Postby DjVortex » Fri Feb 03, 2012 8:16 am

[quote="dobbie"]This Kalam first premise is unclear. I’ll make this short: We can take for granted that “things begin to existâ€
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Postby dobbie » Fri Feb 03, 2012 10:32 am

Divotex wrote:
The first premise is arguing that if there's nothing and then something begins to exist from this nothing, then there has to be a cause for this.

If that's solely what the first premise of Kalam says, then it’s even worse. Nothing means nothing whatsoever with no potential. Even WLC himself is fond to say, nothing comes from nothing. If the first premise wants to say that something can come from nothing, it makes no sense whatsoever.

WLC gives himself as an example of beginning to exist. That is, he says he began to exist because his parents got together. In that context, it seems to me that WLC understands the first premise to be about matter and energy.

When the defenders try to justify it, they start talking about a completely unrelated thing, in other words, that things like chairs and tables "begin to exist" when somebody makes them. But that's not the same thing at all.
Yes, but it’s what WLC does, too. If he is trying to go the other direction and say “but the universe came out of nothing,â€
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Postby Lausten » Fri Feb 03, 2012 6:02 pm

WLC is an interesting phenomenon to me. It seems most of credibility is based on his dress and demeanor. So, if you can see through that, he's no better than a "y'all think you came from monkeys" guy on TAE. He relies on being taken seriously, by acting serious. In the second video, he gives one of those little smiles that breaks this down. No professor would ever do that. If they were explaining how Aristotle argued against Plato, they wouldn't say, "now this one I really love, Plato says ideals actually exist in another world somewhere, how ridiculous, Aristotle creams him".

But Craig isn't talking about other philosophers that he is not invested in, objectively. He is very invested in his own philosophy and has no objectivity. I can read Aristotle and understand completely that he would have concluded that there must be a "prime mover". He logic is sound. His premises are false. He didn't understand "nothing" like Krauss does. He had no idea of the age of the universe. He hadn't developed a method for how to figure these things out.

Craig uses these things that we have but Aristotle didn't when it is convenient for him and discards them when they get in his way.
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Postby DjVortex » Fri Feb 03, 2012 7:43 pm

dobbie wrote:WLC gives himself as an example of beginning to exist. That is, he says he began to exist because his parents got together. In that context, it seems to me that WLC understands the first premise to be about matter and energy.


WLC, and many others, don't seem to be able to decide whether "begins to exist" refers to "something appears from nothing" or "matter/energy is reshaped into a new form". They use both meanings interchangeably whenever either one suits best for the current argument, even though they are not the same thing at all.

The latter meaning (ie. matter/energy reshaped into a new form) is an even weaker proposition, even inside this universe. The problem is that the proposition (ie. "whatever takes a new form has a cause for that to happen") is that it assumes that the universe is entirely deterministic. If we have learned anything from quantum mechanics it's that that's very likely not the case. Events can happen spontaneously without cause. There doesn't have to exist a deterministic causal chain that caused that event to happen.

One good example is radioactive decay: It happens spontaneously and completely unpredictably, with no deterministic cause. It results in matter taking a new form (first there was one single atom, then it's split into two; clearly the two atoms "began to exist" when the previous atom split). However, there was no deterministic cause for it.
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Postby worldslaziestbusker » Sun Feb 05, 2012 9:54 am

Brought to my attention recently, a mathematician takes on Craig's Bayesian sleight of brain.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Rz9J6qXIzc

Fourteen minutes well spent if you have ever shied at the fence of statistical nomenclature.
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Postby worldslaziestbusker » Mon Feb 06, 2012 10:42 am

If anyone needs to hone their debating against Christian apologists, I use and recommend a poster at the SGU forum called Irishjazz. He claims to be an atheist, but he is the slipperiest, nastiest, best Christian apologist I have ever come across. I've seen unprepared atheists cry (or the keyboard equivalent) in the face of his "Stalin was an atheist..." stylings, and his line of agnostic = door's-still-open-so-don't-make-probability-statements-about-God gap-wedging has to be seen to be believed.
A bullying, victim blaming, self contradicting, post history ignoring blaggard who I would not piss on if he were on fire.
WLC is a clumsy hack compared to Irishjazz.
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Postby DjVortex » Mon Feb 06, 2012 1:34 pm

It may be a case of someone having this not-uncommon personality trait (which is a nicer way of saying "personality defect") that they are unable to admit having made a mistake and being wrong, and will usually go to incredible extremes in order to defend their statements and not having to admit anything.

When you couple this personality quirk with another one, namely the inability to resist the urge to spout out the first thing that comes to your mind, especially with subjects you don't have much experience nor knowledge about, the result can be both hilarious and frustrating.

I have seen this type of people act out in different forums. They will easily jump into some conversation by spouting some nonsense (or simply something that's just a bit wrong), and when other people point out their mistake, they will basically start a holy war to defend their claim so that they never have to simply say something like "oops, you are right, my mistake". Invariably they end up digging the hole deeper and deeper by spouting even more nonsense on top of the other nonsense.
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