On the delusion of Crude and Lotharson: a response to Tildeb

A fellow called Tilbed wrote the following comment:

Good grief, Crude and lotharson. Your misunderstanding of Boghossian’s thesis combined with your fear of atheists and lack of critical thinking leads you to draw conclusions that are not just wrong but borders on delusional.

His thesis is one I’ve long promoted, that how people come to conclusions about reality matters because they act on this understanding. There are justified beliefs and unjustified beliefs classified by how the conclusions and explanations are reached. When we allow reality to arbitrate our beliefs, we have some measure of independence from our biases and prejudices. This is essential to recognize in critical thinking. We can fool ourselves if we use only measures dependent on our beliefs. I’m sure you can appreciate how using beliefs to justify those beliefs is a method that doesn’t work very well. Yet this is <i.exactly the kind of justification used in any faith-based – and not adduced evidence – belief! If a religious believer had compelling evidence arbitrated by reality to support a particular belief claim, he or she would bring that forward to help justify why he or she believes that a particular claim had merit independent of the beliefs brought to the claim. this is the method of science… where no dependent faith is required.

But believers don’t have this arsenal of evidence adduced from reality available. That’s why they introduce faith into justifying the claim! And this inclusion is where disagreements arise between believers themselves.

Religion is not alone in utilizing the method of faith to justify claims made about reality. We see exactly the same method used to sell many dubious products and extraordinary explanations… from alternative medicine to conspiracy theories, from denying the efficacy of vaccinations to a refusal to accept climate change caused by human activity. Faith-based beliefs are not – ever – justified. And this is the claim Boghossian makes, teaching people that how we arrive at our conclusions and explanations about how reality operates is a vital component to evaluating their justifications. And that’s why he criticizes the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders from exempting behaviours – listing the signs and symptoms of illnesses – if categorized to be ‘religious’. Is this exemption justified? Because the method of arriving at the claim is of dubious justification, Boghossian argues that this is insufficient reason to then allow the exemption. And he’s right.

But rather than understand Boghossian’s argument about why the method used to arrive at conclusions and explanations matters, you two saddle up your biases and prejudices and take them for a ride… allowing these biases and prejudices free rein to arrive at the destination you’ve preselected: accusing atheists of trying to impose a totalitarian anti-theist political system based on hate.

Both of you reveal a scope of mental processes deeply influenced by very poor reasoning, very poor comprehension, very high bias, very high prejudice, all in the service of what you assume is a pious regard for a broken method of thinking about how reality operates. The reality you’ve created exists only in your mind and you have no means at your disposal to self-correct these bizarre and absurd explanations. This is the very problem Boghossian is talking about, and you’ve demonstrated why your method is such a problem because you end up arriving at an unjustified, uncritical, delusional conclusion that if acted upon can and will cause real harm to real people in real life not based on reality but your unjustified beliefs about it.

As a person, I am offended by your unjustified and hate-inspiring attack on a group of people you demonize based on your own biases and prejudices; and that’s the very definition of discrimination you meet with flying colours. As a New Atheist, I’m not surprised. This is standard operating procedure for many theists who assume pious belief is good… because it’s supposedly good. Not sharing this ‘good’ belief must therefore mean those who do not believe is ‘bad’. And that’s the extent of critical thinking many theists undertake… a failure, in other words, of methodology (to find out what’s true, what’s justified by reality’s arbitration of the belief) – of epistemology, to use Boghossian’s description of this method – to use the brain (you believe) god gave you. In my mind, one does not serve the divine by being by exercising discrimination against one’s fellow human beings.

But you find that bit of wisdom in any ACE or PACE workbook any more than you will in any of scriptures used to defend claims of justified faith.

First of all, I am extremely thankful to Tildeb for his genuine kindness and respectful tone.

I would need incredibly much “faith” (as he defines the word) for believing he is one of the most loving human beings living under the sun.

I don’t agree, however, with this type of definition.

For me faith means hoping when the evidence is not sufficient. And it is my contention that everyone walks by faith so that Boghossian’s criticism utterly fails in my case. 

Tildeb wrote “There are justified beliefs and unjustified beliefs classified by how the conclusions and explanations are reached. When we allow reality to arbitrate our beliefs, we have some measure of independence from our biases and prejudices.”

How is it possible to use reality for disproving the claim you are a brain in a vat? All evidence you could come up with would be perfectly compatible with your experience being spawned by a program running your brain.

BildWhile empirical arguments are extremely important, they cannot be the whole story.

Finally I was truly dumbstruck by the following sentence: “As a person, I am offended by your unjustified and hate-inspiring attack on a group of people you demonize based on your own biases and prejudices”.

There are many errors and fallacies going on here.

1) There are countless atheistic philosophers and scientists arguing against belief in God  towards whom I feel a great respect.

Jeffrey Jay Lowder and Andre Comte-Sponville are two nice examples.

I always respect respectful opponents.

2) I profoundly despise anti-theist (also called the New Atheists) because we have strong grounds for seeing them as a far right hate group, who are animated by the same type of fundamentalist biases as those dominating their life as they were religious fundies.

3) It is ironic that Tildeb feels outraged whereas his fellow New Atheists use exactly the same type of hateful rhetorics for demonizing ALL religious believers, even liberal and progressive ones who fight religious extremists.

The aim of my blog is to foster a respectful and nice dialog between people having different worldview, thereby overcoming this loveless culture war.

Bild

So if Tildeb is ready to stop mocking and ridiculing progressive religious believers who have never harmed him, I will warmly welcome him as a conversation partner.

I am not, however, particularly interested in the perspective of yelling at each other.

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109 thoughts on “On the delusion of Crude and Lotharson: a response to Tildeb

  1. First things first: I don´t like Boghossian and don´t want to defend anything he wrote. Now that that´s out of the way, you say:

    For me faith means hoping when the evidence is not sufficient. And it is my contention that everyone walks by faith so that Boghossian’s criticism utterly fails in my case.

    Why do you think that Boghossian (or any other atheist) is criticizing your “faith” in the first place? As I said in a different thread – the word “faith” is hopelessly ambiguous and no matter how you define it, there will be millions of people who identify as “religious” / “a person of faith” / what have you, but who will not be covered by your definition. And if “faith” as you understand it has nothing in common with “faith” as someone else understands it, why would you think that *your* faith is being criticized when said person criticizes “faith”?

    • And if “faith” as you understand it has nothing in common with “faith” as someone else understands it, why would you think that *your* faith is being criticized when said person criticizes “faith”?

      When they themselves define ‘faith’ in a laughably non-historical, biased, rigged way, and then proceed to write and act as if that definition had universal applicability?

      All Boghossian had to do to satisfy your objection here is say something like the following: “Of course, I’m only dealing with one particular view of faith. It’s possible, maybe even likely, that this is a largely idiosyncratic definition of faith. For many Christians and religious people in general, it simply will not apply.”

      The problem? Doing that destroys Boghossian’s book on the instant.

      • “Of course, I’m only dealing with one particular view of faith. It’s possible, maybe even likely, that this is a largely idiosyncratic definition of faith. For many Christians and religious people in general, it simply will not apply.”

        Since there is no definition of faith that is not idiosyncratic and for which it would not be true that “it simply will not apply for many christians and religious people in general”, his whole endeavour was rather pointless to begin with.

        The problem? Doing that destroys Boghossian’s book on the instant.

        I don´t see that as a problem.

      • Exactly how are you defining ‘idiosyncratic’?

        Like the dictionary does – “relating to idiosyncrasy; peculiar or individual”.

      • Well, “peculiar” means “different to what is normal or expected”, and if there is no kind of “faith” that is “normal”, and thus no definition that could be almost universally applied and would cover “faith” in all cases except for the odd outlier here and there, then all definitions of “faith” are “peculiar” in some way.

      • Well, “peculiar” means “different to what is normal or expected”, and if there is no kind of “faith” that is “normal”, and thus no definition that could be almost universally applied and would cover “faith” in all cases except for the odd outlier here and there, then all definitions of “faith” are “peculiar” in some way.

        Right, but again – just how peculiar? You’re saying that Catholics, Christians, Jews, etc don’t define ‘faith’ even among themselves in a broad way?

      • You’re saying that Catholics, Christians, Jews, etc don’t define ‘faith’ even among themselves in a broad way?

        For particular denominations, there might well be definitions that come close to being universally applicable. But for christians in general, there is way too much diversity in what “faith” means for the individual for there to be such a definition. Even for denominations that cover a huge number of people coming from very different cultural backgrounds – like Catholics – I´d doubt that there is a one-size-fits-all definition of “faith”. Lotharson is a Catholic afaik and based on my experience, there are plenty of other Catholics for whom “faith” means something very similar to what he described in the OP. But there are also many others for whom “faith” does not seem to be about “hoping when the evidence is not sufficient” but rather about warranted beliefs (instead of hope) or convictions even regarding the divine, based on sufficient evidence (e.g. those Catholics that find the arguments developed in the Catholic tradition of natural theology to be sound, convincing and sufficient).

  2. “And it is my contention that everyone walks by faith…”

    based on your definition of faith, perhaps lotharson you could demonstrate this claim please

    when the evidence is not sufficient i submit the evidence in insufficient. i submitted before that i do not share your faith.

    so, how does your claim bear itself out?

  3. His thesis is one I’ve long promoted, that how people come to conclusions about reality matters because they act on this understanding.

    Boghossian’s ‘thesis’ involves a bizarre, idiosyncratic definition of ‘faith’ that is alien to Christians and likely most religious people historically and currently. In the process of giving it, he proceeds to outline a plan of action that, frankly, establishes him as a nasty little hatemonger, straight out of the League of Militant Atheists of old. Those parts are disturbing, but frankly the entire book is largely an ineffective instance of mental masturbation for the Cultists of Gnu – the parts where he exposes his hate is pretty much the only interesting part. Sad, but true.

    If a religious believer had compelling evidence arbitrated by reality to support a particular belief claim, he or she would bring that forward to help justify why he or she believes that a particular claim had merit independent of the beliefs brought to the claim. this is the method of science… where no dependent faith is required.

    I suppose the exclusive nature of the method of science to justify belief claims can itself be demonstrated by science?

    Oops, wait, I think we have a problem here Tild!

    But believers don’t have this arsenal of evidence adduced from reality available. That’s why they introduce faith into justifying the claim! And this inclusion is where disagreements arise between believers themselves.

    Uh, no, that’s not the reason for the introduction of faith – certainly not the ‘stupidity or dishonesty is the reason for it’ definition of faith Bog offers up. But worst of all, the disagreement *does not only arise between believers*.

    What would constitute evidence for God’s existence? Dawkins has finally admitted he can’t really think of any despite lip service being paid to the idea. Bog, when cornered, only says what would be ‘suggestive’. PZ Myers and Shermer declare no evidence is possible, while Jerry Coyne and others cite 900 foot Jesuses and other displays.

    The Cult of Gnu’s own leadership disagrees fundamentally about what would constitute evidence for God’s existence.

    And that’s why he criticizes the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders from exempting behaviours – listing the signs and symptoms of illnesses – if categorized to be ‘religious’. Is this exemption justified? Because the method of arriving at the claim is of dubious justification, Boghossian argues that this is insufficient reason to then allow the exemption. And he’s right.

    Boghossian has not justified his claim even for the ridiculous, wrong, caricature version of ‘faith’ that he uses, to say nothing of actual, historical definitions of faith. He is a nasty little hatemonger trying to whip rubes up into a dangerous frenzy, and if it results in pushback – if some loons attempt to treat religious belief as a mental disease, and the result is a reaction that results in atheist children having to recite religious prayers in the school they are required to attend – it will be very difficult to shed a tear, unless atheists start standing up and saying that no, this is a line that should not be crossed.

    If justifying inane beliefs that can lead to dangerous because of an inadequate, sloppy method of reasoning is what’s being condemned here, the first person who needs a straitjacket reserved for him is Boghossian himself.

    But rather than understand Boghossian’s argument about why the method used to arrive at conclusions and explanations matters,

    Who has been arguing against ‘why the method used to arrive at conclusions and explanations matters’? What a ridiculous, lame attempt at a topic switch. One can agree that that matters while still thinking Boghossian is a nasty little man and his followers are deluded – which happens to be the case. Yes, the methods – plural – used to arrive at conclusions and explanations matters. Which is one more reason why Bog deserves condemnation – his method is hilariously bad, and his conclusions are horrifying.

    As a person, I am offended by your unjustified and hate-inspiring attack on a group of people you demonize based on your own biases and prejudices;

    The criticisms of Bog and the New Atheists both are entirely justified. Hate-inspiring? Only their methods, kid. I don’t find mere lack of belief in God worthy of condemnation. Trying to get people who disagree with you classified as mentally ill? Telling your cultish followers to try to harm them, belittle them, and mock them to emotionally bully people from believing in a way said cultists dislike? Yeah, that deserves condemnation.

    The New Atheists are the ones who let themselves be turned into the Westboro Baptist Church of atheism, and frantically endorsing guys like Bog – who, by the by, may well see this entire exercise largely as a way to make some coin, rather than as the stuff of moral and intellectual importance – has only helped that.

  4. You say you are willing to “always respect respectful opponents” yet follow this sentiment with the clarity that you “profoundly despise anti-theist (also called the New Atheists) because we have strong grounds for seeing them as a far right hate group.”

    New atheists like Boghossian, right? And me because I identify as a New Atheist.

    So provide the source material where we advocate for a totalitarian state.

    I’ll wait…

    ……

    Right. There is no such evidence because it’s simply not true.

    It’s promoted to be true by those pretending to engage in ‘respectful’ dialogue but who are unwilling to recognize who it is who is contravening the sentiment.

    To be clear, you say you “haven’t read the books of Peter Boghossian, but he seems to be striving for a totalitarian state. I think he is an enemy of liberty, he does not want a neutral secular state but a state which will systematically combat all religions, like in the former soviet union.”

    Crude calls Boghossian a “nasty little hate-monger.” And he does this because he – not Boghossian – makes a critical error in reading comprehension. So I clarified this central thesis of unjustified religious privilege Boghossian used in his DSM example that is not comprehended by either Crude or you but are willing to take on board as factual by explaining the meaning of the sentences Crude fails to understand: Boghossian criticizes the EXEMPTION of behaviours if deemed ‘religious’ in the DSM. A mental illness doesn’t magically become healthy because it falls under the exemption; the special pleading for religious belief – and nizarre behaviours deemed a mental illness in any other setting – reveals the scope and depth accorded to religious privilege!

    But that doesn’t stop either you or Crude from running with this misrepresentation and reaching levels of absurdity – that New Atheists are totalitarian enemies of liberty, for crying out loud!

    Look, when I read the works of great and not so great thinkers, I don’t assume my negative interpretation of their work is correct. I assume I have made an error in comprehension first because many of these writers are held in high regard by other writers I respect. Something’s not right here. So I reread; I go back to fit the meaning I have negatively inferred in with the paragraph’s topic sentence, then fit the paragraph back into the section, fit the section back into the chapter. I want to understand correctly. I want to fist comprehend correctly. The onus of work to comprehend – and comprehend accurately – is on me the reader.

    If more people bothered to do this with writers with whom they disagree, I suspect the quality of commentary about their theses would rise dramatically and leave people like Crude too embarrassed of his own comprehensive ineptitude that he now so shamelessly and regularly puts on display to make a written utterance. Maybe then he’d bother to read more carefully those works he so desperately wishes to be flawed and is all too ready to condemn for all the wrong reasons.

    • So provide the source material where we advocate for a totalitarian state.

      I’ll wait…

      Did you miss the part straight out of Bog’s book where religious belief should be classified on the DSM-V, that people with religious belief have a ‘mind virus’ and they should be ‘treated’? That’s right out of the (recent!) history of totalitarian states.

      Do you think totalitarians typically broadcasted the fact that they were, in fact, totalitarians?

      Crude calls Boghossian a “nasty little hate-monger.” And he does this because he – not Boghossian – makes a critical error in reading comprehension. So I clarified this central thesis of unjustified religious privilege Boghossian used in his DSM example that is not comprehended by either Crude or you but are willing to take on board as factual by explaining the meaning of the sentences Crude fails to understand: Boghossian criticizes the EXEMPTION of behaviours if deemed ‘religious’ in the DSM.

      What Boghossian criticizes is the EXEMPTION of religious behaviors, period.

      I happen to have Boghossian’s book, tild. He spends ample amounts of time in that book making it clear that religious belief, period – belief in God, belief in Christianity – is a virus that must be stamped out. Let’s quote Bog himself on the DSM front:

      It is crucial that the religious exemption for delusion be removed from the DSM. Once religious delusions are integrated into the DSM, entirely new categories of research and treatment into the problem of faith can be created. These will include removal of existing ethical barriers, changing treatments covered by insurance, including faith-based special education programs in the schools, helping children who have been indoctrinated into a faith tradition, and legitimizing interventions to rid subjects of the faith affliction.

      You, dishonest little creature, are trying to make it sound as if Boghossian only wants to treat delusions that happen to be religious in nature. What you’re leaving unsaid is that Boghossian regards essentially all religious belief, including mere belief in God’s existence, as a delusion.

      So no, contrary to what you say, we’re not talking about beliefs that would ‘be deemed a mental illness in any other setting’, but these beliefs happen to be excluded because they’re religious. We’re talking about religious belief, period. THAT is what Boghossian wants to stamp out. He did not write a book on how to merely convince mentally ill people at the fringes of religious belief to stop believing what they do. His pathetic little ‘manual’ is aimed at stomping out religious belief, period. And his views about the DSM are oriented the same way.

      Is there a particular reason you’re dishonest about this? Let me guess – that’s a tactic you took away from the manual?

      If more people bothered to do this with writers with whom they disagree, I suspect the quality of commentary about their theses would rise dramatically and leave people like Crude too embarrassed of his own comprehensive ineptitude that he now so shamelessly and regularly puts on display to make a written utterance.

      What you’re terrified of, tildeb, is that one of your idols is being taken to the woodshed – not just by me, but by authors. Boghossian is a nasty little hatemonger following in Dawkins ‘Treat them with contempt’ footsteps, except no one’s giving him the undue reverence Dawkins got this time around. So we’re criticizing him openly, pointing out his lies and absurdities, and having a laugh while we’re at it. Even while recognizing the danger he and his ilk pose, what with their echoes of the League of Militant Atheists talk.

      Your concern here isn’t that Boghossian is being misrepresented – because he’s not. Your concern is that his words are being reported accurately, as is his thinking, and it’s being exposed as hate-trash. Sorry – that’s not stopping, no matter how much you stamp your feet.

      Don’t like being associated with a hate group? I have a little suggestion: leave it.

    • “Look, when I read the works of great and not so great thinkers, I don’t assume my negative interpretation of their work is correct. I assume I have made an error in comprehension first because many of these writers are held in high regard by other writers I respect. ”

      Do you follow this laudable principle while reading the writings of great Christian authors?

      • lothar,

        Do you follow this laudable principle while reading the writings of great Christian authors?

        There is a certain irony in the fact that tilde is stressing the importance of correctly reading Boghossian when…

        A) The evidence illustrates that it’s he, not myself or others in this conversation, who is misrepresenting and misunderstanding Boghossian,

        B) That Boghossian’s book is aimed at treating ‘street epistemologists’ primed to convert others to their belief, with next to no attention given to the possibility that they may be wrong – and…

        C) As such, regards reading books they disagree with not only as an act almost exclusively done to look for ammunition to intellectually shoot at theists, but does so while imploring them not to actually buy the books – because you never, ever want to give a theist author your money if you can help it.

        The disconnect is amazing.

      • Absolutely. And I have struggled mightily to understand Aquinas, the most logically exacting author I’ve ever encountered.

        I do not believe in gods or a god because I presume or assume anything; I do so for exactly the same reason you do to not believe in something: I have no compelling reason to believe otherwise.

        Unlike religious believers, I do not introduce a different epistemology to grant me intellectual wiggle room to tackle the claims about the divine. I do not switch to a philosophical epistemology and accept a metaphysical framework to then misapply to a methodological epistemology that deals with gaining knowledge about physical causes and physical effects and the natural mechanisms that link these together. If I am going to grant some level of confidence to a claim I make about reality and how it operates, I am going to allow reality the right to arbitrate how much or little justification such a claim deserves. And that, in a nutshell, is Boghossian’s entire thesis: using the right epistemology.

        When we change our epistemology and allow our beliefs the power to grant confidence to our claims about reality and how it operates, we are using the wrong tool for the job because we can delude ourselves. And we see this delusional effect in operation all the time, from parents praying over their child’s curable illness and watching him or her die to throwing acid in the faces of girls who have the temerity to want to go to school and become more than a man’s chattel. We see the same use of the wrong tool in climate denial and astrology, accusations of witchcraft to demonic possessions, from the efficacy of homeopathy to chiropracty. When we allow our beliefs to empower our confidence in claims made about reality rather than reality’s arbitration of it, we are using the wrong epistemology – confusing our wishes and fears with knowledge and causal effects. When a person empowers beliefs contrary to reality, then we have a person who matches the medical definition of suffering from delusion, and a sure-fire way to identify these kind of beliefs are those that cannot be influenced by reality. Religious belief all too often falls under this category, which is how parents justify the indoctrination of their children… assuming that such beliefs are true. And that’s why religious belief correlates not to some independent verification by reality of them but the geographical location. This is not similar to knowledge claims about reality arbitrated by reality with compelling evidence.

        And for pointing this kind of reasonable stuff out, New Atheists are vilified by those who don’t bother to first understand what is being said and why.

      • When we change our epistemology

        We’re not changing our epistemology. We simply have a consistent, broader and frankly more functional epistemology than you do. Right back to my original question to you: you say “If a religious believer had compelling evidence arbitrated by reality to support a particular belief claim, he or she would bring that forward to help justify why he or she believes that a particular claim had merit independent of the beliefs brought to the claim. this is the method of science… where no dependent faith is required.”

        I ask you, wonderful. You say science – and science alone – is the only way arbitrate a particular belief claim? Wonderful. Where is the science that demonstrates this? Because it’s certainly a belief claim.

        Once again – still waiting.

        If I am going to grant some level of confidence to a claim I make about reality and how it operates, I am going to allow reality the right to arbitrate how much or little justification such a claim deserves. And that, in a nutshell, is Boghossian’s entire thesis: using the right epistemology.

        ‘Reality’ doesn’t arbitrate. Humans do, and they do so with reasons and rationals and axioms and more that go beyond science – and they damn well better, since science requires that to get off the ground to begin with.

        Boghossian’s book wasn’t a mere thesis statement about epistemology. It is, in his own words, a book about creating ‘street epistemologists’ to stamp out religious belief, right down to the importance of raising children to be atheists. And, of course, the DSM-V insanity.

        And for pointing this kind of reasonable stuff out, New Atheists are vilified by those who don’t bother to first understand what is being said and why

        New Atheists are vilified because they say things like this, courtesy of Dawkins:

        I suspect that most of our regular readers here would agree that ridicule, of a humorous nature, is likely to be more effective than the sort of snuggling-up and head-patting that Jerry is attacking. I lately started to think that we need to go further: go beyond humorous ridicule, sharpen our barbs to a point where they really hurt.

        Michael Shermer, Michael Ruse, Eugenie Scott and others are probably right that contemptuous ridicule is not an expedient way to change the minds of those who are deeply religious. But I think we should probably abandon the irremediably religious precisely because that is what they are – irremediable. I am more interested in the fence-sitters who haven’t really considered the question very long or very carefully. And I think that they are likely to be swayed by a display of naked contempt. Nobody likes to be laughed at. Nobody wants to be the butt of contempt.

        Not to mention Boghossian’s DSM-V antics. But really – various New Atheists take and endorse this kind of approach to confronting religious people, or they go on the name-calling rampages like PZ Myers, Dawkins, Coyne, etc, or they do the Loftus thing of talking about why all Christians are stupid – and then respond with shock and feigned pain that they’re viewed negatively, and not just by Christians? Seriously?

        Have you ever considered the possibility that plenty of people understand what the New Atheists are saying – and find it often quite revolting, not to mention off-base? With Bog, you damn well know what he’s talking about, but you choose to misrepresent him. Why is that, tild?

        And what’s more, your representation of ‘faith’ is hilariously lopsided. Putting aside Bog’s rotten definition of it, you make it sound as if faith – even simple faith – is only responsible for ills. Doubly odd since you throw ‘the efficacy of homeopathy’ on the list, when the homeopath advocates don’t think believe they have ‘faith’. They think they have a better understanding of the scientific principles at work in their supposed cures than others do.

        Which is yet another blindspot you have. You seem to think that if someone makes a wrong decision, clearly the problem must be some failing in their epistemology – as if there’s a perfect epistemology out there that guards against someone being wrong, or making a poor decision. A better epistemology may or may not be able to minimize such things. But a perfect one? It doesn’t exist.

      • Crude, your assumptions are factually wrong. These assumptions are the cause of your misrepresentations. You then deduce conclusions from your misrepresentations that are vitriol, warping your feelings to then feel justified to malign the character of others.

        Stop doing that.

      • Tild,

        I appreciate that defending the New Atheists is something you’re emotionally invested in. You lash out, you get angry. And my goal here really isn’t to try and exacerbate your irrationality. I want to help you.

        Which is why I provide quotes from the New Atheists themselves. It’s why I actually have Boghossian’s book, and quoted from it. It’s why I quote you, and reply to your own words. The fact that your responses in cases like this is to say I’m wrong, without illustrating why – to retreat – harms you further.

        Help me help you, tilde. Now, you’re helping me help others throughout this conversation – you say things that are not only dishonest, but are trivially shown to be dishonest, simply by quoting sources, pointing out flaws in your reasoning, etc. But I’d like to help you too. And that’s going to require a bit more interaction.

        Trust me, it’s for your own good. I’m not trying to make you stop being an atheist. But if I can get you out of this hate group – if you can summon up the courage to say ‘Boghossian is wrong, Dawkins is wrong. And I don’t need to think otherwise to be an atheist.’, that will be a great step forward.

        Wouldn’t you like to correct a fundamental flaw in your intellectual life?

        • We clearly share the same goal here Crude 🙂

          I see striking similarities between French and German far right groups and the New Atheists.
          While their members should be combated, we should never have their redemption out of our mind.

      • Lothar,

        Agreed. I think it’s helpful to differentiate atheists generally from the New Atheists. Things do get complicated at times on that front, but what’s important here isn’t the atheism, but the weird aggressive, illogical, irrational mentality.

        The problem with Bog isn’t some ‘lack of belief’, but in the crazy things he manifestly does believe.

    • sigh! and i thought you were a seeker of truth.

      Goodness gracious. I cannot possibly be a seeker of truth. Why, I disagree with you and I’m curt, even sarcastic at times. That means I dislike truth.

      Also, science says so. 😉

    • Hello Vernon.

      I can pursue truth but also be ideologically involved: defending my Germanic identity which is threatened by the French administration, and yet opposing all racist and other intolerant groups and fight them.

      I recognize that many of Bog’s arguments are valid against the type of fundamentalists he criticizes.

      The problem is his odious over-generalizations towards ALL religious believers.

      Given my definition of faith as hope or trust in something you have (insufficient) reasons to believe in , his arguments utterly fail.

      As I said you entirely trust you are not a brain in a vat run by an unknown being, but you cannot prove it using empirical evidence.

      • “Bog’s arguments…”

        yes, challenge the arguments.

        the anon post above is mine; i forgot to input my e-mail/moniker before posting.

        and, you still neglect to answer my question above:

        “so, how does your claim [‘everyone walks by faith’] bear itself out?”

        i’m attacking you argument. so, “stand and deliver!”

        • You certainly assume that the world around you is real, that I am real, and not an invention of a mad scientist running your brain.

          Yet as I showed you cannot proved it to be extremely unlikely without begging the question, therefore you can only hope (on pragmatic grounds) it is true.

          Likewise people having abolished the slave trade walked by faith, for rationally speaking their project could very well have failed.

  5. Well the large majority of humans do that on a day by day basis.

    – I really doubt that anyone does that. If you tell a random stranger “Hey, you might just be a construct created by the brain of a dreaming giant space kraken!” – why should this stranger hope that this is not the case, why should the stranger trust that this is not the case, why should he even *care* whether this is the case or not. As you said in the OP “All evidence you could come up with would be perfectly compatible with….” – which really just means that whether it´s true or not literally makes no difference whatsoever (and my personal experience is just that – people talk about issues like that when they watched Matrix and got high, but no one honestly gives a damn because it wouldn´t make a difference one way or the other in any case).

    • why should this stranger hope that this is not the case, why should the stranger trust that this is not the case, why should he even *care* whether this is the case or not.

      Because a tremendous amount of our daily interactions turn crucially on the assumption that other beings have an inner life of experience and subjectivity the same as we do?

      (and my personal experience is just that – people talk about issues like that when they watched Matrix and got high, but no one honestly gives a damn because it wouldn´t make a difference one way or the other in any case).

      Or! Or. They realize that they can’t prove things one way or the other, and continue to have faith.

      It’s trivial to imagine what differences it would make to discover one was a brain in a vat.

      • Or! Or. They realize that they can’t prove things one way or the other, and continue to have faith.

        Interesting usage of the word “faith”. If “faith in god” means for you that you don´t think the existence of the christian God is in any way distinguishable from the non-existence of the christian God, but the former seems to be more appealing to you, so you hope that it is true – cool, whatever rocks your boat.

        It’s trivial to imagine what differences it would make to discover one was a brain in a vat.

        Differences it would make if it were knowable – but it isn´t. As Lotharson correctly pointed out: “All evidence you could come up with would be perfectly compatible with your experience being spawned by a program running your brain” (and even for a Matrix-like scenario where you do opt to swallow the red pill – you could not possible know that the “actual reality” you could then experience is not also some form of matrix / dream / whatever).
        If all conceivable evidence is perfectly compatible with x or ⌐x, then it is pragmatically completely irrelevant whether x is true or not – the truth and falsehood of x would be completely indistinguishable.

      • Interesting usage of the word “faith”. If “faith in god” means for you that you don´t think the existence of the christian God is in any way distinguishable from the non-existence of the christian God, but the former seems to be more appealing to you, so you hope that it is true – cool, whatever rocks your boat.

        Not at all, insofar as ‘distinguishable’ goes. Then again, like most things, this does turn in part on my accepting that I’m no brain in a vat. 😉

        Differences it would make if it were knowable – but it isn´t.

        And yet you, and others, act as if only one particular possibility were true – and, as Lothar pointed out, that’s what we also happen to believe in fact.

        If all conceivable evidence is perfectly compatible with x or ⌐x, then it is pragmatically completely irrelevant whether x is true or not

        So you’re saying it’s entirely intellectually acceptable, indeed rational, for a person to live and act as if solipsism were true – and that this can be expected to have no practical effect either on their intellectual lives, or how they live?

        Your reasoning has gone off-track here.

      • Not at all, insofar as ‘distinguishable’ goes.

        Cool, then it doesn´t really compare to Lotharson´s scenario though because if it is distinguishable, then it also knowable, at least in principle. It does elude me why so many (theists and atheists) insist on using one word, “faith”, to refer to what we believe in, what we know, what we hope for, what we trust in, and so on and so forth – insisting on using “faith” as an umbrella for all of those categories only accomplishes one thing, obscuring which category is currently relevant.

        So you’re saying it’s entirely intellectually acceptable, indeed rational, for a person to live and act as if solipsism were true

        Not quite. I´m saying that the truth or falsehood of solipsism is completely indistinguishable from realism. “Acting as if solipsism were true” would only be different in one way from acting as if realism is true, to quote David Deutsch:
        “Thus we see that if we take solipsism seriously — if we assume that it is true and that all valid explanations must scrupulously conform to it — it self-destructs. How exactly does solipsism, taken seriously, differ from its common-sense rival, realism? The difference is based on no more than a renaming scheme. Solipsism insists on referring to objectively different things (such as external reality and my unconscious mind, or introspection and scientific observation) by the same names. But then it has to reintroduce the distinction through explanations in terms of something like the ‘outer part of myself’. But no such extra explanations would be necessary without its insistence on an inexplicable renaming scheme. Solipsism must also postulate the existence of an additional class of processes — invisible, inexplicable processes which give the mind the illusion of living in an external reality. The solipsist, who believes that nothing exists other than the contents of one mind, must also believe that that mind is a phenomenon of greater multiplicity than is normally supposed. It contains other-people-like thoughts, planet-like thoughts and laws-of-physics-like thoughts. Those thoughts are real. They develop in a complex way (or pretend to), and they have enough autonomy to surprise, disappoint, enlighten or thwart that other class of thoughts which call themselves ‘I’. Thus the solipsist’s explanation of the world is in terms of interacting thoughts rather than interacting objects. But those thoughts are real, and interact according to the same rules that the realist says govern the interaction of objects. Thus solipsism, far from being a world-view stripped to its essentials, is actually just realism disguised and weighed down by additional unnecessary assumptions — worthless baggage, introduced only to be explained away.”
        => And that is the only difference – unnecessary assumptions that have no pragmatic consequences, not reasonable IMHO.

      • Cool, then it doesn´t really compare to Lotharson´s scenario though because if it is distinguishable, then it also knowable, at least in principle.

        Awesome, except you’ve made a mistake – as I said, it turns on the belief that we are not brains in a vat, among other things. Unless you want to count as ‘distinguishable’, ‘those things we can distinguish if we have faith in an answer which is otherwise undecidable’.

        Not quite. I´m saying that the truth or falsehood of solipsism is completely indistinguishable from realism. “Acting as if solipsism were true” would only be different in one way from acting as if realism is true, to quote David Deutsch:

        As I said, you’re making a mistake in reasoning. I’ll spell it out here.

        You are mistaking the lack of a predictive difference with the lack of a practical difference – but they don’t compare. If solipsism is true, then that’s going to impact how I react to everything from charity to law to otherwise right out of the gates – and everyone else. We ‘act as if’ solipsism is false. In fact, we regard acting as if solipsism is true as irrational and horrific.

        But, you can deny that here: just tell me that it’s entirely rational and reasonable to accept the truth of solipsism.

        Regarding Deutsch:

        But then it has to reintroduce the distinction through explanations in terms of something like the ‘outer part of myself’.

        Solipsism must also postulate the existence of an additional class of processes

        Obviously false from the get-go. Deutsch is making the assumption that if solipsism is true, that there has to be some kind of external world filled with materials and processes that is orchestrating the events that take place in the mind – but that’s not necessary. The experiences can be brute. There can be nothing else but the experiences themselves, chalked up either to coincidence, or further illusion – you don’t need something to ‘make a consistent series of events’ because the same inability to tell the difference between a ‘real’ world and an illusory one extends to an inability to tell the difference between a ‘real’ past and an illusory one.

        You can see the mistake Deutsch makes right in his own explanation – he’s treating the solipsist world (and that’s probably owing to the brain-in-the-vat example, which is common, and which comes with an external world built in) as a species of the ‘realist’ world, so he’s applying knowledge he treats as true and discovered in such a world as applying to the solipsist world. But that’s called into question too.

        Regardless, that illustrates the mistake you’re making – relevant differences go beyond predictability. Now, you can avoid this by saying that it’s every bit as rational to accept the solipsist conclusion as the non-solipsist, but that’s going to come with a price.

      • As I said, you’re making a mistake in reasoning. I’ll spell it out here.

        You are mistaking the lack of a predictive difference with the lack of a practical difference – but they don’t compare. If solipsism is true, then that’s going to impact how I react to everything from charity to law to otherwise

        Be specific, why would a person who is genuinely convinced that solipsism is true plausibly act any different than (s)he would if (s)he were convinced that realism is true, ceteris paribus?

        In fact, we regard acting as if solipsism is true

        You have yet to establish that “acting as if solipsism is true” would be in any way distinguishable from “acting as if realism is true”.

        Obviously false from the get-go. Deutsch is making the assumption that if solipsism is true, that there has to be some kind of external world filled with materials and processes….

        He doesn´t make that assumption – he is considering the implications of solipsism being true ceteris paribus.

        You can see the mistake Deutsch makes right in his own explanation – he’s treating the solipsist world (and that’s probably owing to the brain-in-the-vat example, which is common, and which comes with an external world built in) as a species of the ‘realist’ world, so he’s applying knowledge he treats as true and discovered in such a world as applying to the solipsist world. But that’s called into question too.

        Your mistake in reasoning is, that you are not considering the question “is solipsism true?” or the question “what are the implications of solipsism being true?” – you are rather considering a counterfactual where your experiences would be completely different from what they actually are, and asking then what the implications of solipsism being true would be. That is not what Deutsch was talking about, and it´s also completely uninteresting unless you specify what kind of experiences would exist in your hypothetical solipsist world and why anyone should care about *this* particular counterfactual instead of considering the implications of solipsism being true ceteris paribus.

      • Be specific, why would a person who is genuinely convinced that solipsism is true plausibly act any different than (s)he would if (s)he were convinced that realism is true, ceteris paribus?

        For one thing – because there exist no persons for him to react to, care about, or include meaningfully in any consideration regarding his actions.

        What, you regard people who don’t exist outside of your own mind as endowed with rights and moral worth? Please, try to explain that one.

        Keep in mind – firing back with ‘A-ha! But the solipsist who mistreats people will experience those people fighting back! A solipsist who punches an illusion may and likely will get punched by the illusion!’ Yep, just as enemies in a video game often fight back if you provoke them. There’s other ways to deal with both.

        You have yet to establish that “acting as if solipsism is true” would be in any way distinguishable from “acting as if realism is true”.

        I’ve already established it. At this point I’m just trying to find a way to explain it so you can see it.

        He doesn´t make that assumption – he is considering the implications of solipsism being true ceteris paribus.

        Not at all. Hence his immediate appeal to and inquiry into systems and explanations – solipsism requires neither.

        Your mistake in reasoning is, that you are not considering the question “is solipsism true?” or the question “what are the implications of solipsism being true?” – you are rather considering a counterfactual where your experiences would be completely different from what they actually are, and asking then what the implications of solipsism being true would be.

        That hasn’t happened at all – nothing I’ve said entails a different set of experiences for myself or for anyone else. Like I said, it’s pretty easy to see where Deutsch goes wrong in your own quote – he says he starts off with assuming solipsism is true, but then he weirdly veers off-course and treats solipsism as some kind of system that comes complete with causes and effects, explanations, etc. Like I said, I can understand why he’d do this – ‘brain in a vat’ and ‘solipsism’ are often used interchangeably, and the former implies some kind of external world of its own, just an odd one. But solipsism requires no systems, no explanations – not even causes.

      • For one thing – because there exist no persons for him to react to, care about, or include meaningfully in any consideration regarding his actions.

        No ceteris paribus scenario. If those actually were your experiences, then solipsism would indeed be a perfectly rational position.

        What, you regard people who don’t exist outside of your own mind as endowed with rights and moral worth? Please, try to explain that one.

        My beliefs on how I ought to treat a person do not depend on whether said person is made largely out of Hydrogen, Oxygen and Carbon, or made out of fairy dust, or made out of thoughts, or made out of something else.
        Do yours?

        I’ve already established it.

        No. I asked “why would someone act different under solipsism *everything else being equal*” and you tried to reply by assuming solipsism but pretty much nothing whatsoever still being equal.

        Not at all. Hence his immediate appeal to and inquiry into systems and explanations – solipsism requires neither.

        Solipsism doesn´t require this indeed. But a ceteris paribus consideration absolutely does. If your experiences actually do not involve anything that a solipsist philosopher would subsume under “‘outer part of myself'”, then solipsism would be a perfectly rational position for you.

        That hasn’t happened at all – nothing I’ve said entails a different set of experiences for myself or for anyone else.

        Just one example from above:
        “there exist no persons for him to react to, care about”
        You interacted with me right now, and whether I am human or a computer program or a thought in your head or something completely different is a completely different question – the interaction happened in any case, but you are talking about a scenario where you would never have such experiences or any other experiences that a solipsist philosopher would subsume under “‘outer part of myself'” – you are pretty much as far away from a ceteris paribus consideration as you could conceivably be.

      • Andy,

        No ceteris paribus scenario. If those actually were your experiences, then solipsism would indeed be a perfectly rational position.

        You say ‘if those were actually your experiences’ as if I ‘experience that solipsism is false’. But in that case, you’re missing the point.

        Ceteris paribus: Ceteris paribus or caeteris paribus is a Latin phrase, literally translated as “with other things the same,” or “all other things being equal or held constant.” It is an example of an ablative absolute and is commonly rendered in English as “all other things being equal.” A prediction, or a statement about causal or logical connections between two states of affairs, is qualified by ceteris paribus in order to acknowledge, and to rule out, the possibility of other factors that could override the relationship between the antecedent and the consequent.

        Now, let’s quote what you said earlier:

        If all conceivable evidence is perfectly compatible with x or ⌐x, then it is pragmatically completely irrelevant whether x is true or not – the truth and falsehood of x would be completely indistinguishable.

        Now, all conceivable evidence is perfectly compatible with realism or solipsism. You’re getting no predictive difference between either. But it’s not irrelevant whether realism or solipsism is true – accepting that one is true over the other leads to different actions and considerations on the part of the person accepting one or the other.

        Are you really cashing out ‘all other things being the same’ with regards to a discussion about solipsism as “if there really is an external world”?

        My beliefs on how I ought to treat a person do not depend on whether said person is made largely out of Hydrogen, Oxygen and Carbon, or made out of fairy dust, or made out of thoughts, or made out of something else.

        Do yours?

        Irrelevant. Solipsism entails that ‘persons’ in the relevant sense do not exist. At most I have experiences of zombies. Make your zombies out of whatever you like – if they are not persons, but experiences, that’s that.

        Solipsism doesn´t require this indeed. But a ceteris paribus consideration absolutely does. If your experiences actually do not involve anything that a solipsist philosopher would subsume under “‘outer part of myself’”, then solipsism would be a perfectly rational position for you.

        If you’re trying to argue that one can tell whether or not solipsism is true on account of experience alone, without begging the question, you have your work cut out for you.

        So if that’s the case, feel free to argue for it.

        You interacted with me right now, and whether I am human or a computer program or a thought in your head or something completely different is a completely different question

        No, it’s not. What I’m interacting with right now are thoughts. What ‘you’ are is exactly what is up for question in a realist versus solipsist scenario. Realism leads me to a whole broad range of other considerations once it’s accepted, compared to solipsism.

        – the interaction happened in any case, but you are talking about a scenario where you would never have such experiences or any other experiences that a solipsist philosopher would subsume under “‘outer part of myself’”

        No, I’m talking about a scenario in which these exact same interactions take place. Same experiences, same ‘interactions’ – just one is in a realist scenario, the other is in a solipsist scenario. Experience can’t tell the difference between the two – that’s one of the points.

        Are you really under the impression that, in a solipsist world, you never have the experience of interacting with a creature that (say) walks and talks and the like? Do you think ‘solipsism’ means ‘I never have any experiences’?

  6. You say ‘if those were actually your experiences’ as if I ‘experience that solipsism is false’. But in that case, you’re missing the point.

    No. I say that my experiences involve things that solipsist philosophers would subsume under “outer part of myself” and that they either have to deal with that or alternatively consider a counterfactual that has absolutely nothing to do with reality (completely independent of whether it is just their solipsist “reality” or a realist reality) and is thus not interesting.

    Now, let’s quote what you said earlier:

    If all conceivable evidence is perfectly compatible with x or ⌐x, then it is pragmatically completely irrelevant whether x is true or not – the truth and falsehood of x would be completely indistinguishable.

    Now, all conceivable evidence is perfectly compatible with realism or solipsism.

    True. But not perfectly compatible with the form of solipsism you are trying to address – this form of solipsism depends on your experiences being completely different from what they actually are, that´s how you get around dealing with the “outer part of yourself”, and if your experiences actually would not include such things, which a solipsist philosopher would subsume under “outer part of myself”, then solipsism would be an absolutely rational position for you.

    You’re getting no predictive difference between either. But it’s not irrelevant whether realism or solipsism is true – accepting that one is true over the other leads to different actions and considerations on the part of the person accepting one or the other.

    That´s the very thing I asked you to demonstrate, and you couldn´t do so except by pretending that the hypothetical solipsist doesn´t actually experience the “outer part of himself” – which means that it isn´t of any interest for me since I do experience that and it´s also not of any interest for anyone else who experiences that.

    Are you really cashing out ‘all other things being the same’ with regards to a discussion about solipsism as “if there really is an external world”?

    The only alternative to that is a counterfactual where I do not experience what I experience but rather experience something different. And I asked you before – what exactly would I experience in that hypothetical solipsist world you have in mind and why should I (or anyone) care about that counterfactual instead of solipsism ceteris paribus.

    Irrelevant. Solipsism entails that ‘persons’ in the relevant sense do not exist. At most I have experiences of zombies. Make your zombies out of whatever you like – if they are not persons, but experiences, that’s that.

    All that solipsism entails ceteris paribus is that what you consider a person to be right now, actually happens to be made out of your thoughts – but nothing about that “person” / “thought-person” / what have you is any different from what you experience right now. You´ve hit the right spot by saying “zombies” – and it is everything but obvious that a “philosophical zombie”, who is defined as being completely and utterly indistinguishable from a person, but not *actually* being a person, could be a coherent concept / could conceivably exist (instead of being a contradiction in terms).
    Just assume that the philosophical zombie is just that, a zombie, because he is made out of your thoughts – and then try to explain why the mere fact of said zombie being made out of your thoughts automatically entails that he cannot be “a person in the relevant sense” although he is in every conceivable way completely and utterly indistinguishable from a person.
    That point seems to be rather controversial in philosophy given the philpapers survey:
    “Zombies: inconceivable, conceivable but not metaphysically possible, or metaphysically possible?
    Accept or lean toward: conceivable but not metaphysically possible 331 / 931 (35.6%)
    Other 234 / 931 (25.1%)
    Accept or lean toward: metaphysically possible 217 / 931 (23.3%)
    Accept or lean toward: inconceivable 149 / 931 (16.0%)”

    If you’re trying to argue that one can tell whether or not solipsism is true on account of experience alone, without begging the question, you have your work cut out for you.

    That is a strawman. All I said (repeatedly) is that your solipsist scenario either has to address the “outer part of yourself” problem or it will inevitably be of absolutely no relevance for anyone who actually does have experiences that a solipsist philosopher would subsume under “outer part of myself”.
    That has literally nothing to do with whether solipsism is true or false – it could be true in any case.

    No, it’s not. What I’m interacting with right now are thoughts. What ‘you’ are is exactly what is up for question in a realist versus solipsist scenario.

    That is also a strawman. Because I explicitly acknowledged the possibility that I might be one of your thoughts – I did that to emphasize that whether this is the case or not, the interaction still happened, and experiences like that (if you do experience them) have to be part of your consideration of what the truth of solipsism would mean. The only alternative to that is addressing an arbitrary and uninteresting counterfactual.

    No, I’m talking about a scenario in which these exact same interactions take place.

    You explictly did not – you said things like “because there exist no persons for him to react to”, and with no amount of creative freedom can that be parsed to mean that the hypothetical solipsist experiences all interactions he is currently experiencing with the only difference being that he is interacted with his own thoughts instead of objects of another kind. If all of those interactions do take place, every objection you tried to raise against Deutsch´s points becomes immediatly irrelevant – because those interactions / experiences are all that he meant by “outer part of myself”.

    Are you really under the impression that, in a solipsist world, you never have the experience of interacting with a creature that (say) walks and talks and the like? Do you think ‘solipsism’ means ‘I never have any experiences’?

    No. I am not. A solipsist world could entail that, but doesn´t have to. All I say is that a solipsist world either does involve experiences which solipsist philosophers would subsume under “outer part of myself”, in which case Deutsch´s points are spot on, or a solipsist world doesn´t involve that, in which case the hypothetical solipsist world would not be a ceteris paribus scenario but rather a counterfactual in which plenty of experiences that I actually have would not exist and for which I asked you repeatedly why I should consider this arbitrary counterfactual instead of the ceteris paribus scenario.

    • Damn, forgot to click on reply again.

      Also, a quick addendum regarding the “zombie” part: consider a world that would be completely according to your metphysical views, with the only difference being that Yahweh didn´t speak the world into existence but rather thought it into existence and sustains it with his thoughts. The point is: you probably wouldn´t take that to mean that persons are no longer “persons in the relevant sense” just because they are essentially made out of thoughts and are thus inseparable from a mind that is not their own (Gods mind). And the same applies to solipsism in general, the mere fact that a person would be made out of thoughts does in no way entail that said person can no longer be a “person in the relevant sense” (which obviously doesn´t solve the p-zombie problem, all I´m trying to point out here is that whether someone is made out of thoughts, or made out of something else, is not relevant to whether said someone can be a person or not).

      • Also, a quick addendum regarding the “zombie” part: consider a world that would be completely according to your metphysical views, with the only difference being that Yahweh didn´t speak the world into existence but rather thought it into existence and sustains it with his thoughts. The point is: you probably wouldn´t take that to mean that persons are no longer “persons in the relevant sense” just because they are essentially made out of thoughts and are thus inseparable from a mind that is not their own (Gods mind).

        If Yahweh spoke into existence experiences for Himself and nothing else, then no, they wouldn’t be persons in the relevant sense. They would just be experiences, presumably by God.

        And the same applies to solipsism in general, the mere fact that a person would be made out of thoughts does in no way entail that said person can no longer be a “person in the relevant sense” (which obviously doesn´t solve the p-zombie problem, all I´m trying to point out here is that whether someone is made out of thoughts, or made out of something else, is not relevant to whether said someone can be a person or not).

        What’s relevant to the question is whether someone can have an experience of a person without there being anything more to the experience THAN the experience. Believe me, the philpapers poll about philosophical zombies is not generally about whether zombies composed entirely of thought can indeed have subjective experiences – go ahead and try to find me a philosophical paper that treats the ‘zombies’ question in any context other than materialist one.

        Better yet, try to find me a paper which argues that having the experience of a human means that that human exists, is a person, etc.

    • Andy,

      No. I say that my experiences involve things that solipsist philosophers would subsume under “outer part of myself”

      They only need to subsume it on the assumption that solipsism is false – which is exactly what’s being questioned. There are no ‘outer parts’ necessary.

      True. But not perfectly compatible with the form of solipsism you are trying to address – this form of solipsism depends on your experiences being completely different from what they actually are,

      No, it doesn’t. You’re confusing ‘reification of experience’ with experience itself. At least now I understand what mistake you’re making.

      That´s the very thing I asked you to demonstrate, and you couldn´t do so except by pretending that the hypothetical solipsist doesn´t actually experience the “outer part of himself” – which means that it isn´t of any interest for me since I do experience that and it´s also not of any interest for anyone else who experiences that.

      There is no pretending. What you have is experience – period. What you are doing is confusing (intentionally or not) your reification of your experience with the actual experience. Sans assumptions, experience is all you have.

      The only alternative to that is a counterfactual where I do not experience what I experience but rather experience something different.

      No, your experiences can remain the same. The only thing that’s differing is your reification – which you’ve somehow managed to confuse with your experience itself.

      All that solipsism entails ceteris paribus is that what you consider a person to be right now, actually happens to be made out of your thoughts – but nothing about that “person” / “thought-person” / what have you is any different from what you experience right now.

      And here is where you’re mistaken once again. You’re under the impression that ‘solipsis ceteris paribus’ completely sidesteps the question of other minds – and that, if on realism ‘other minds’ exist, then they likewise exist in the solipsist scenario. But realism about ‘other minds’ is caught up within the solipsist question itself. You don’t experience someone else’s experience.

      That is also a strawman. Because I explicitly acknowledged the possibility that I might be one of your thoughts – I did that to emphasize that whether this is the case or not, the interaction still happened, and experiences like that (if you do experience them) have to be part of your consideration of what the truth of solipsism would mean.

      There is no strawman. Once again, you’re begging the question – intentionally or not – by trying to maintain ‘realism about other minds’ in your solipsist scenario. But that’s caught up with solipsism.

      Do you realize you’re sitting here arguing for a definition of solipsism which includes the existence of other minds?

      You explictly did not – you said things like “because there exist no persons for him to react to”, and with no amount of creative freedom can that be parsed to mean that the hypothetical solipsist experiences all interactions he is currently experiencing with the only difference being that he is interacted with his own thoughts instead of objects of another kind.

      Once again, you are trying to redefine ‘solipsism’ to mean ‘realism about other minds’. If Deutsch’s position is that the solipsist experiences other minds, so much the worse for Deutsch’s position – that would establish he has no idea what he’s talking about. Deutsch further went on – he talked explicitly about – coming up with explanations and systems for the solipsist scenario. But those aren’t necessary, so his move against the solipsist fails.

      All I say is that a solipsist world either does involve experiences which solipsist philosophers would subsume under “outer part of myself”, in which case Deutsch´s points are spot on, or a solipsist world doesn´t involve that, in which case the hypothetical solipsist world would not be a ceteris paribus scenario but rather a counterfactual in which plenty of experiences that I actually have would not exist and for which I asked you repeatedly why I should consider this arbitrary counterfactual instead of the ceteris paribus scenario.

      Once again – you have made the mistake of reifying your experience, and in the process you’ve come up with a “ceteris paribus scenario” that bizarrely entails defining solipsism as a world where both the observor’s mind as well as others exist. You are confusing – intentionally or not – ‘an experience of seeing a human’ with ‘a real human existing’.

      So, let’s play a game. We have hypothetical entity John. The only bit of information we have about John – and John’s world – is ‘He is experiencing looking at a living woman’.

      Based on this information alone, can we determine whether John is in a solipsist reality or not?

      • They only need to subsume it on the assumption that solipsism is false – which is exactly what’s being questioned. There are no ‘outer parts’ necessary.

        That is false. What makes the “outer part of myself” consideration necessary is that my experiences include:
        “…other-people-like thoughts, planet-like thoughts and laws-of-physics-like thoughts. Those thoughts are real. They develop in a complex way (or pretend to), and they have enough autonomy to surprise, disappoint, enlighten or thwart that other class of thoughts which call themselves ‘I’. ”
        This is not necessary for solipsism *per se*, but if I have such experiences (and I do) then I have to account for them if I think about the implications of solipsism being true. There is thus no assumption that solipsism is false being smuggled in here (these experiences do not prove that solipsism is false, they don´t even make it more likely, but if I have them, I have to account for them if I think about the implications of solipsism), this is simply solipsism ceteris paribus, and ceteris paribus means that I consider what would be if solipsism were true, but everything else is equal – and I repeatedly asked you why I should consider anything else but the ceteris paribus scenario.

        No, it doesn’t. You’re confusing ‘reification of experience’ with experience itself. At least now I understand what mistake you’re making.

        I don´t. See above. The experiences could absolutely be a product of my mind and it would change nothing about what I said.

        There is no pretending. What you have is experience – period. What you are doing is confusing (intentionally or not) your reification of your experience with the actual experience.

        No, you are strawmanning me again. And I have a hunch

        Sans assumptions, experience is all you have.

        The only alternative to that is a counterfactual where I do not experience what I experience but rather experience something different.

        No, your experiences can remain the same. The only thing that’s differing is your reification – which you’ve somehow managed to confuse with your experience itself.

        All that solipsism entails ceteris paribus is that what you consider a person to be right now, actually happens to be made out of your thoughts – but nothing about that “person” / “thought-person” / what have you is any different from what you experience right now.

        And here is where you’re mistaken once again. You’re under the impression that ‘solipsis ceteris paribus’ completely sidesteps the question of other minds – and that, if on realism ‘other minds’ exist, then they likewise exist in the solipsist scenario. But realism about ‘other minds’ is caught up within the solipsist question itself. You don’t experience someone else’s experience.

        That is also a strawman. Because I explicitly acknowledged the possibility that I might be one of your thoughts – I did that to emphasize that whether this is the case or not, the interaction still happened, and experiences like that (if you do experience them) have to be part of your consideration of what the truth of solipsism would mean.

        There is no strawman. Once again, you’re begging the question – intentionally or not – by trying to maintain ‘realism about other minds’ in your solipsist scenario. But that’s caught up with solipsism.

        Do you realize you’re sitting here arguing for a definition of solipsism which includes the existence of other minds?

        You explictly did not – you said things like “because there exist no persons for him to react to”, and with no amount of creative freedom can that be parsed to mean that the hypothetical solipsist experiences all interactions he is currently experiencing with the only difference being that he is interacted with his own thoughts instead of objects of another kind.

        Once again, you are trying to redefine ‘solipsism’ to mean ‘realism about other minds’. If Deutsch’s position is that the solipsist experiences other minds, so much the worse for Deutsch’s position – that would establish he has no idea what he’s talking about. Deutsch further went on – he talked explicitly about – coming up with explanations and systems for the solipsist scenario. But those aren’t necessary, so his move against the solipsist fails.

        All I say is that a solipsist world either does involve experiences which solipsist philosophers would subsume under “outer part of myself”, in which case Deutsch´s points are spot on, or a solipsist world doesn´t involve that, in which case the hypothetical solipsist world would not be a ceteris paribus scenario but rather a counterfactual in which plenty of experiences that I actually have would not exist and for which I asked you repeatedly why I should consider this arbitrary counterfactual instead of the ceteris paribus scenario.

        Once again – you have made the mistake of reifying your experience, and in the process you’ve come up with a “ceteris paribus scenario” that bizarrely entails defining solipsism as a world where both the observor’s mind as well as others exist. You are confusing – intentionally or not – ‘an experience of seeing a human’ with ‘a real human existing’.

        So, let’s play a game. We have hypothetical entity John. The only bit of information we have about John – and John’s world – is ‘He is experiencing looking at a living woman’.

        Based on this information alone, can we determine whether John is in a solipsist reality or not?

      • They only need to subsume it on the assumption that solipsism is false – which is exactly what’s being questioned. There are no ‘outer parts’ necessary.

        That is false. What makes the “outer part of myself” consideration necessary is that my experiences include:
        “…other-people-like thoughts, planet-like thoughts and laws-of-physics-like thoughts. Those thoughts are real. They develop in a complex way (or pretend to), and they have enough autonomy to surprise, disappoint, enlighten or thwart that other class of thoughts which call themselves ‘I’. ”
        This is not necessary for solipsism *per se*, but if I have such experiences (and I do) then I have to account for them if I think about the implications of solipsism being true. There is no assumption that solipsism is false being smuggled in here (these experiences do not prove that solipsism is false, they don´t even make it more likely that it is false, but if I have them, I have to account for them if I think about the implications of solipsism), this is simply solipsism ceteris paribus, and ceteris paribus means that I consider what would be if solipsism were true, but everything else is equal – and I repeatedly asked you why I should consider anything else but the ceteris paribus scenario.

        No, it doesn’t. You’re confusing ‘reification of experience’ with experience itself. At least now I understand what mistake you’re making.

        I don´t. See above. The experiences could absolutely be a product of my mind (and I don´t see how I could have been any clearer in expressing that they could) and it would change nothing whatsoever about what I said.

        There is no pretending. What you have is experience – period. What you are doing is confusing (intentionally or not) your reification of your experience with the actual experience.

        You are strawmanning me again. I don´t reify experiences – I never said or even implied that the fact that I have those experiences mean that they correspond to something that is not the product of my mind (I don´t even say that the existence of such experiences makes it more likely that there is an external reality independent of my mind).
        You seem to believe that I am arguing *against* solipsism. I don´t. All I said and keep saying is that if you have such experiences, they have to be part of your consideration of what solipsism would imply – all those experiences could be caused by your own mind, but in that case, all of Deutsch´s points would be spot on (and Deutsch is not saying that solipsism is FALSE by the way – he is saying that solipsism ceteris paribus is indistinguishable from realism, indistinguishable and false are two very different categories).

        No, your experiences can remain the same. The only thing that’s differing is your reification – which you’ve somehow managed to confuse with your experience itself.

        Strawman. See above.

        And here is where you’re mistaken once again. You’re under the impression that ‘solipsis ceteris paribus’ completely sidesteps the question of other minds – and that, if on realism ‘other minds’ exist, then they likewise exist in the solipsist scenario.

        Nope. I don´t.

        But realism about ‘other minds’

        Irrelevant, I didn´t say or imply that.

        There is no strawman. Once again, you’re begging the question – intentionally or not – by trying to maintain ‘realism about other minds’

        I didn´t try to maintain that.

        Do you realize you’re sitting here arguing for a definition of solipsism which includes the existence of other minds?

        I don´t.

        Once again, you are trying to redefine ‘solipsism’ to mean ‘realism about other minds’.

        I don´t.

        If Deutsch’s position is that the solipsist experiences other minds,

        It isn´t.

        Deutsch further went on – he talked explicitly about – coming up with explanations and systems for the solipsist scenario. But those aren’t necessary, so his move against the solipsist fails.

        Wasn´t his point – his point was, that the solipsist is doing exactly what the realist does except for the solipsist calling things by different names (unless of course the solipsist would actually have the experiences mentioned above, in which case Deutsch´s points would be irrelevant and solipsism would be a perfectly rational position). The solipsist doesn´t HAVE TO look for explanations just like the realist doesn´t HAVE TO do that – but IF they do, it immediatly becomes apparent that the solipsist does nothing different than the realist does, he just calls things by different names.

        Once again – you have made the mistake of reifying your experience,

        Once again – a strawman.

        bizarrely entails defining solipsism as a world where both the observor’s mind as well as others exist. You are confusing – intentionally or not – ‘an experience of seeing a human’ with ‘a real human existing’.

        I never said or implied any such thing, this is purely your fabrication.

        So, let’s play a game. We have hypothetical entity John. The only bit of information we have about John – and John’s world – is ‘He is experiencing looking at a living woman’.

        Based on this information alone, can we determine whether John is in a solipsist reality or not?

        No. Relevance?

      • Andy,

        This is not necessary for solipsism *per se*, but if I have such experiences (and I do) then I have to account for them if I think about the implications of solipsism being true.

        False – the assumption that solipsism is true does not require accounting for the experiences. They may be, in fact, unaccountable.

        this is simply solipsism ceteris paribus, and ceteris paribus means that I consider what would be if solipsism were true, but everything else is equal – and I repeatedly asked you why I should consider anything else but the ceteris paribus scenario.

        If your ceteris paribus scenario includes the existence of other minds from the get go, then it’s not a solipsist scenario from the get go.

        If your ceteris paribus scenario does not include the existence of other minds from the get go, but you say you arrive at their existence by attempting to devise a system to explain the experiences, then you’re already either A) right on back to pulling assumptions out (it is not necessary that the experiences have any explanations) B) create for yourself an extreme workload even with these assumptions, unless you start picking up even more assumptions (So much for relying on third parties – they don’t exist, unless you assume they do, at which point you’re right back to non-solipsism) and C) hitting a wall anyway, since it’s not as if anyone has an empirical recipe on hand for pulling other persons from thought, and certainly not from matter.

        I don´t. See above. The experiences could absolutely be a product of my mind (and I don´t see how I could have been any clearer in expressing that they could) and it would change nothing whatsoever about what I said.

        Solipsism has no requirement that your experiences are ‘produced’ by your mind. All that’s required is experience. Indeed, assuming that your experiences are the product of your mind is yet one more blind assumption. What you have is experience. Where does it come from? Who says there’s a where?

        All I said and keep saying is that if you have such experiences, they have to be part of your consideration of what solipsism would imply – all those experiences could be caused by your own mind, but in that case

        As I said before – solipsism does not require causes at all, or systems.

        Irrelevant, I didn´t say or imply that.

        You’ve been arguing strenuously that other minds would exist even if they were composed out of your thoughts.

        The solipsist doesn´t HAVE TO look for explanations just like the realist doesn´t HAVE TO do that – but IF they do, it immediatly becomes apparent that the solipsist does nothing different than the realist does, he just calls things by different names.

        The very act of looking for explanations circles right on back to yet more assumptions pulled out of the air. Remember the original context of this conversation: having faith, making assumptions that can’t ultimately be backed up. The solipsist won’t even be able to ‘look for experiences’ necessarily – who’s going to be looking? Who was supposed to have looked yesterday?

        What you’re telling me is that a solipsist is still capable of having faith in various ideas. Granted, but that’s not really getting you anywhere in the context of the original conversation.

        I never said or implied any such thing, this is purely your fabrication.

        There has been no fabrication.

        No. Relevance?

        I’m attempting to illustrate a point that both yourself and Deutsch seem to be missing.

        Okay – so we can’t tell from that information whether John is in a solipsist world or not. Two more questions.

        Can John tell whether he is in a solipsist world or not based on that information?
        Can John tell whether there are any experiences other than his own based on that information?

      • False – the assumption that solipsism is true does not require accounting for the experiences. They may be, in fact, unaccountable.

        I didn´t mean accountable in the sense of “able to be explained or understood”. What I meant is, is that my experiences are my experiences, and they still are my experiences if I now start to genuinely believe that solipsism is true – and that is all that is required for Deutsch´s points to obtain, they are completely independent of whether those experiences actually are “real” in any sense that would contradict solipsism.

        If your ceteris paribus scenario includes the existence of other minds

        It doesn´t.

        If your ceteris paribus scenario does not include the existence of other minds from the get go, but you say you arrive at their existence

        I don´t.

        Solipsism has no requirement that your experiences are ‘produced’ by your mind. All that’s required is experience. Indeed, assuming that your experiences are the product of your mind is yet one more blind assumption. What you have is experience. Where does it come from? Who says there’s a where?

        Here is a part of Wiki´s definition of solipsism:
        “The external world and other minds cannot be known, and might not exist outside the mind. As a metaphysical position, solipsism goes further to the conclusion that the world and other minds do not exist.”
        => If I assume that this is true, but also assume that you (whatever “you” are) are not a product of my mind, then I have contradicted myself – by saying that I can´t know the world outside my mind but simultaneously acknowledging that my interaction with “you” is indeed happening and claiming that this interaction does not happen in my mind. Whatever you have in mind here, it´s not solipsism.

        As I said before – solipsism does not require causes at all, or systems.

        It does require one mind. If you want to play word games here by nitpicking over whether a “mind” can be considered a “system” that involves “causes” or not, be my guest – doesn´t affect anything I said.

        You’ve been arguing strenuously that other minds would exist

        Don´t you get bored of arguing against your own fabrications?

        The very act of looking for explanations circles right on back to yet more assumptions pulled out of the air. Remember the original context of this conversation: having faith, making assumptions that can’t ultimately be backed up. The solipsist won’t even be able to ‘look for experiences’ necessarily – who’s going to be looking? Who was supposed to have looked yesterday?

        A solipsist could simply do science and philosophy as we know it and just call it introspection instead – the exact same thing as a realist does just going under different names, my point all along.

        What you’re telling me is that a solipsist is still capable of having faith in various ideas.

        I don´t know in how many different ways I can tell you the same thing over and over again – the solipsist can do exactly what the realist does, he just calls it by different names, science and philosophy turn into introspection, objects turn into thoughts, a different metaphysical view that is completely indistinguishable from realism as long as the solipsist has the experiences that we have, if he has different ones – then solipsism might not be a simple renaming scheme but rather a perfectly valid (and maximally parsimonous) metaphysical position.

        There has been no fabrication.

        There have been plenty and counting.

        I’m attempting to illustrate a point that both yourself and Deutsch seem to be missing.

        Okay – so we can’t tell from that information whether John is in a solipsist world or not. Two more questions.

        Can John tell whether he is in a solipsist world or not based on that information?
        Can John tell whether there are any experiences other than his own based on that information?

        No and no. Both completely irrelevant for everything I said and for what I quoted from Deutsch.

      • I didn´t mean accountable in the sense of “able to be explained or understood”. What I meant is, is that my experiences are my experiences, and they still are my experiences if I now start to genuinely believe that solipsism is true – and that is all that is required for Deutsch´s points to obtain, they are completely independent of whether those experiences actually are “real” in any sense that would contradict solipsism.

        Let’s revisit some of Deutsch’s points:

        Thus we see that if we take solipsism seriously — if we assume that it is true and that all valid explanations must scrupulously conform to it

        Solipsism must also postulate the existence of an additional class of processes — invisible, inexplicable processes which give the mind the illusion of living in an external reality.

        So, Deutsch’s points are or rest on A) there being explanations for these experiences, and B) a class of processes.

        You’ve just told me that the fact that you are having experiences is sufficient for Deutsch’s points to obtain. Feel free how you get from ‘I have had an experience’ to ‘there is this class of processes’ and ‘there are these explanations’ or, lacking that, how these are A) not Deutsch’s points after all, and B) how they obtain even while discounting the existence of explanations or processes.

        It doesn´t.

        I don´t.

        Okay: you just ruled out assuming that minds exist giving solipsism, and that you arrive at their existence in a granted solipsist scenario.

        If I assume that this is true, but also assume that you (whatever “you” are) are not a product of my mind, then I have contradicted myself – by saying that I can´t know the world outside my mind but simultaneously acknowledging that my interaction with “you” is indeed happening and claiming that this interaction does not happen in my mind. Whatever you have in mind here, it´s not solipsism.

        False. ‘Product of my mind’ here is only meant in the sense of ‘I am having an experience’. Not literally ‘produced by my mind’. It doesn’t need to be produced by anything at all – it merely has to be experienced. There is no contradiction in saying that you have an experience and that this experience is not ‘produced by your mind’ in the sense of ‘generated/caused’.

        Now, you can take on a principle such that any effect or experience must have a cause – the PSR, for example. There’s a reason atheists avoid that.

        It does require one mind. If you want to play word games here by nitpicking over whether a “mind” can be considered a “system” that involves “causes” or not, be my guest – doesn´t affect anything I said.

        Sure it does, and it’s not a word game. Solipsism requires experience – and it can be one, single, solitary experience, including an experience of a past.

        Don´t you get bored of arguing against your own fabrications?

        Are your fabrications accidental delusions or intentional misrepresentations?

        I said you’ve been arguing that other minds would exist. You spent a great amount of time insisting ceteris paribus of a solipsist scenario would require persons to exist. Hence talk like “My beliefs on how I ought to treat a person do not depend on whether said person is made largely out of Hydrogen, Oxygen and Carbon, or made out of fairy dust, or made out of thoughts, or made out of something else.”

        If you’d like to back off and say that solipsism ceteris paribus does not involve persons actually existing (and thus there’s no one to regard as a person to care about on a solipsist view), you go right ahead.

        A solipsist could simply do science and philosophy as we know it and just call it introspection instead – the exact same thing as a realist does just going under different names, my point all along.

        Then your point is a concession on the spot. The solipsist would have to take on faith and assumptions in order to do either – they would have to have faith, in everything from the existence of their selves over time, to the existence of the past, to regularity in the universe, to the reliability of their memories, to otherwise.

        I don´t know in how many different ways I can tell you the same thing over and over again – the solipsist can do exactly what the realist does, he just calls it by different names, science and philosophy turn into introspection, objects turn into thoughts, a different metaphysical view that is completely indistinguishable from realism as long as the solipsist has the experiences that we have, if he has different ones – then solipsism might not be a simple renaming scheme but rather a perfectly valid (and maximally parsimonous) metaphysical position.

        And as I’ve already noted, the solipsist can indeed have faith in all manner of things, as would be required to do those very things – at which point the entire attempt to rally Deutsch to dodge the necessity of faith would fail upon the instant.

        You’re confusing solipsism with idealism.

        There have been plenty and counting.

        I see solipsists aren’t the only ones who have the option of completely making things up. 😉

        No and no. Both completely irrelevant for everything I said and for what I quoted from Deutsch.

        Quite relevant, but on we go. So we have a no and no.

        What experience, devoid of faith and/or assumption, can John have to determine his experiences are or aren’t the only experiences in his world?

      • Let’s also go back and have a look at the structure of this conversation.

        Lothar mentioned that empirical evidence is incapable of determining whether or not we are brains in a vat. You apparently disagreed, and have established yourself as at the very least being agnostic as to whether you are a brain in a vat – owing to the fact that these two things would be empirically indistinguishable. Eventually, we got to this:

        If all conceivable evidence is perfectly compatible with x or ⌐x, then it is pragmatically completely irrelevant whether x is true or not – the truth and falsehood of x would be completely indistinguishable.

        I pointed out that there were practical differences between a solipsist belief and a realist belief – for the solipsist, there are no other persons to consider with regards to their actions. Along those lines, you brought in the idea that the solipsist could still be dealing with persons, they would simply be composed of thought. Hence:

        My beliefs on how I ought to treat a person do not depend on whether said person is made largely out of Hydrogen, Oxygen and Carbon, or made out of fairy dust, or made out of thoughts, or made out of something else.

        Now, I pointed out the problem with regarding the the solipsist’s experiences in such a way as to call them persons – complete with solipsism not coming with any requirement for there to be systems, or causes, or any such thing besides. Hence the problem with Deutsch – he can talk all he likes about causes and systems for the solipsist, but those are going to take a whole lot of assumptions and faith on his part (about the past, about his experiences, about his self, etc) that would just play right on back into Lothar’s original point – empiricism won’t be playing the decisive role with those commitments.

        A few other thoughts occur as well:

        * If someone is truly agnostic between solipsism and realism, then it’s going to follow that they are agnostics about naturalism itself. I’d further add, if they’re agnostic between those points, then in fact they have to also be agnostic between naturalist realism and idealism.

        * Likewise, if it’s admitted that there is no way to decide empirically between solipsism and realism, then it seems to automatically fall out that there’s no way to decide the problem of other minds.

        * Deutsch suggests that the solipsist could engage in science and philosophy and that, practically, nothing was different for the solipsist than the realist. I’ve already pointed out the problems with that, but they get worse: the solipsist is going to have to reinvent these disciplines from the ground up, because the solipsist has no other person or thoughts to rely on but their own.

        * For those people who do not reinvent those disciplines – who simply trust what they regard as accumulated data from others – they’re right back into a trust and faith position. (This often goes forgotten – that ‘trusting science’ is not ‘trusting what some person says about science’.)

        I could go on, but remember Lothar’s original statement:

        While empirical arguments are extremely important, they cannot be the whole story.

        That only seems bolstered by the considerations laid out here, re: brains in vats and solipsism.

      • Let’s revisit some of Deutsch’s points:

        Thus we see that if we take solipsism seriously — if we assume that it is true and that all valid explanations must scrupulously conform to it

        Solipsism must also postulate the existence of an additional class of processes — invisible, inexplicable processes which give the mind the illusion of living in an external reality.

        So, Deutsch’s points are or rest on A) there being explanations for these experiences, and B) a class of processes.

        You’ve just told me that the fact that you are having experiences is sufficient for Deutsch’s points to obtain. Feel free how you get from ‘I have had an experience’ to ‘there is this class of processes’ and ‘there are these explanations’ or, lacking that, how these are A) not Deutsch’s points after all, and B) how they obtain even while discounting the existence of explanations or processes.

        This is one of the silliest word games I have ever seen. And I don´t believe for a second that you genuinely don´t understand the point here – so I´ll refuse to play along.

        False. ‘Product of my mind’ here is only meant in the sense of ‘I am having an experience’. Not literally ‘produced by my mind’. It doesn’t need to be produced by anything at all – it merely has to be experienced. There is no contradiction in saying that you have an experience and that this experience is not ‘produced by your mind’ in the sense of ‘generated/caused’.

        Yay, more silly word games… lets just replace “produced by” by “fü2,34tö2,34üäfgm23ofh” and “fü2,34tö2,34üäfgm23ofh” means any conceivable combination of verb + adverb, like “produced by” or “emerged within” – and yes, it would be a contradiction for me to say that solipsism is true, but I am also interacting with you right now but you are not fü2,34tö2,34üäfgm23ofh my mind.

        Sure it does, and it’s not a word game. Solipsism requires experience – and it can be one, single, solitary experience, including an experience of a past.

        Cool. And for the… I don´t know…. feels like the hundredth time – yes, solipsism doesn´t require that you have the experiences you are having, but if you had different ones, then solipsism might also become a perfectly rational and maximally parsimonous position for you.

        I said you’ve been arguing that other minds would exist. You spent a great amount of time insisting ceteris paribus of a solipsist scenario would require persons to exist.

        No. I said that it would require person-like-thoughts to exist that are completely and utterly indistinguishable from a person as you are experiencing them right now -. I never said or implied in ANY way, that such person-like-thoughts need to have extra minds other than that of the solipsist – I even explicitily said that those person-like-thoughts would be inseparable from the solipsist´s mind.
        As Deutsch said, the solipsist — ceteris paribus – needs to assume that the mind is a phenomenon of greater multiplicity than is normally supposed, the apparent existence of such person-like-thoughts within the solipsists mind, who can develop in an autonomous way from and thwart, enlighten and surprise the other thoughts which the solipsist calls “I”, and which are completely indistinguishable from a “person” as a realist perceives them, in every way, is one of the main reasons for why a solipsist needs to assume that the mind is a phenomenon of greater multiplicity than the realist usually assumes. The solipsist mind apparently is able to hold not only the “I” but also a large number of those people-like-thoughts.
        So, you made shit up out of thin air. Big surprise.

        Then your point is a concession on the spot.

        I have no idea what you think you are addressing but I´m absolutely certain that it has nothing to do with the points I made.

        And as I’ve already noted, the solipsist can indeed have faith in all manner of things, as would be required to do those very things – at which point the entire attempt to rally Deutsch to dodge the necessity of faith would fail upon the instant.

        And again, I have no idea what you think you are addressing but I´m absolutely certain that it has nothing to do with the point I made (hint: my point was, is, and will always be for as long as this thread goes on – that solipsism is indistinguishable – indistinguishable in every respect – from realism ceteris paribus. Not that it makes a difference in pointing that out over and over again since you will just fabricate your own version of what I said again and argue against that in 3…..2…..1……)..

        Quite relevant, but on we go. So we have a no and no.

        What experience, devoid of faith and/or assumption, can John have to determine his experiences are or aren’t the only experiences in his world?

        How do “faith and / or assumption” determine anything?
        Also, complete red herring.

      • Let’s also go back and have a look at the structure of this conversation.

        Lothar mentioned that empirical evidence is incapable of determining whether or not we are brains in a vat. You apparently disagreed,

        No. False from the get-go. So you seriously didn´t understand ANYTHING I wrote right from the very beginning. Amazing. And I somehow doubt that this is my fault for not being clear enough, because you don´t quote me here as saying anything like that, and I in fact did not say anything like that.

      • Andy,

        This is one of the silliest word games I have ever seen. And I don´t believe for a second that you genuinely don´t understand the point here – so I´ll refuse to play along.

        I am quoting your words and Deutsch’s both, fairly. You say that the fact that you are having experiences is sufficient for Deutsch’s points to obtain. I lay out Deutsch’s points, and ask you to walk me through how they obtain given having experiences.

        This is no word game. It’s pointing out what I see as flaws in your reasoning and arguments.

        Yay, more silly word games… lets just replace “produced by” by “fü2,34tö2,34üäfgm23ofh” and “fü2,34tö2,34üäfgm23ofh” means any conceivable combination of verb + adverb, like “produced by” or “emerged within” – and yes, it would be a contradiction for me to say that solipsism is true, but I am also interacting with you right now but you are not fü2,34tö2,34üäfgm23ofh my mind.

        Again, it’s not a silly word game. It’s a straightforward point – you’re getting an effect without a cause. Now, -I- happen to believe that it’s silly to accept effects without causes – which is why I subscribe to the PSR, etc. But as I said, these aren’t exactly the stuff of major popularity among atheists. Mostly the opposite.

        Cool. And for the… I don´t know…. feels like the hundredth time – yes, solipsism doesn´t require that you have the experiences you are having, but if you had different ones, then solipsism might also become a perfectly rational and maximally parsimonous position for you.

        Andy, as I’ve said repeatedly – the ‘experiences’ are not what is differing here, it’s /how they regard that experience/. Obviously their evaluation would have to be allowed to differ between the two worlds, otherwise you may as well come right out and say you believe a change of stance itself would suffice to undermine the comparison.

        No. I said that it would require person-like-thoughts to exist that are completely and utterly indistinguishable from a person as you are experiencing them right now -. I never said or implied in ANY way, that such person-like-thoughts need to have extra minds other than that of the solipsist – I even explicitily said that those person-like-thoughts would be inseparable from the solipsist´s mind.

        Let’s quote you again: My beliefs on how I ought to treat a person do not depend on whether said person is made largely out of Hydrogen, Oxygen and Carbon, or made out of fairy dust, or made out of thoughts, or made out of something else.

        That was in response to my asking you: What, you regard people who don’t exist outside of your own mind as endowed with rights and moral worth? Please, try to explain that one.

        You added later, regarding zombies/minds: The point is: you probably wouldn´t take that to mean that persons are no longer “persons in the relevant sense” just because they are essentially made out of thoughts and are thus inseparable from a mind that is not their own (Gods mind).

        Now, if you are denying that other minds would exist, then your response to me makes no sense. If you are conceding that all there exists of those persons is your experiences of them, then prima facie you are denying they are minds or persons (whether ‘part of’ your mind, or distinct from.) But you insisted that they were persons, only that what they were ‘made’ of differed.

        If you want to back off what you said before, do so. But stop trying to play off your clarifications and/or backing off as some act of dishonesty on my part. It’s an easy to see through schtick.

        As Deutsch said, the solipsist — ceteris paribus – needs to assume that the mind is a phenomenon of greater multiplicity than is normally supposed, the apparent existence of such person-like-thoughts within the solipsists mind, who can develop in an autonomous way from and thwart, enlighten and surprise the other thoughts which the solipsist calls “I”, and which are completely indistinguishable from a “person” as a realist perceives them, in every way, is one of the main reasons for why a solipsist needs to assume that the mind is a phenomenon of greater multiplicity than the realist usually assumes. The solipsist mind apparently is able to hold not only the “I” but also a large number of those people-like-thoughts.
        So, you made shit up out of thin air. Big surprise.

        Yet more fumbling on your part and dishonest accusations. Yawn.

        Deutsch is wrong, because the solipsist – ceteris parbius – ‘needs’ to do no such thing. One mistake that keeps being made on your part is where you keep talking about needing ‘multiplicity’ and ‘development’ and the like with regards to the solipsist. But as I keep pointing out, this isn’t necessary whatsoever – the solipsist doesn’t need to take on the very assumptions that Deutsch has him taking on. All the solipsist has – and all the realist has, for that matter – is his experiences, moment to moment. He remembers something? Yet another experience at yet another moment. Whatever he experiences at any given moment doesn’t need to be part of a system, to be ‘complex’, to have causes, etc, unless you start tacking on additional assumptions – but those assumptions are what is in question by the solipsist scenario.

        Deutsch’s response requires the solipsist taking up assumptions he doesn’t need to in his solipsism.

        I have no idea what you think you are addressing but I´m absolutely certain that it has nothing to do with the points I made.

        Because both science and philosophy require extra-empirical assumptions to ‘do’, which is right on back to Lothar’s point about needing to go beyond the empirical.

        And again, I have no idea what you think you are addressing but I´m absolutely certain that it has nothing to do with the point I made (hint: my point was, is, and will always be for as long as this thread goes on – that solipsism is indistinguishable – indistinguishable in every respect – from realism ceteris paribus.

        Right. And you have to mean this in terms of experience – loosely, to a point, since obviously the experience of a solipsist will differ from the experience of a realist just by virtue of their having thoughts like ‘I am a solipsist’.

        How do “faith and / or assumption” determine anything?
        Also, complete red herring.

        Not a red herring at all. And obviously if you make an assumption or have faith, you’re taking on additional reasoning – axioms, etc – you can use to determine something.

        So I ask you again: What experience, devoid of faith and/or assumption, can John have to determine his experiences are or aren’t the only experiences in his world?

        No. False from the get-go. So you seriously didn´t understand ANYTHING I wrote right from the very beginning. Amazing.

        Oops. No, I understood plenty of what you said – I’ve been trying to correct you. But yep, it looks like this was incorrect. What you actually did was this:

        Lothar said: As I said you entirely trust you are not a brain in a vat run by an unknown being, but you cannot prove it using empirical evidence.

        You quoted the first half of that and said ‘wrong’. What you deny is that you entirely trust you’re not a brain in a vat / that solipsism is not true. Not that you cannot prove it using empirical evidence. This impacts nothing that I’ve said thus far.

        Though I will repeat this:

        * If someone is truly agnostic between solipsism and realism, then it’s going to follow that they are agnostics about naturalism itself. I’d further add, if they’re agnostic between those points, then in fact they have to also be agnostic between naturalist realism and idealism.

        * Likewise, if it’s admitted that there is no way to decide empirically between solipsism and realism, then it seems to automatically fall out that there’s no way to decide the problem of other minds.

        * Deutsch suggests that the solipsist could engage in science and philosophy and that, practically, nothing was different for the solipsist than the realist. I’ve already pointed out the problems with that, but they get worse: the solipsist is going to have to reinvent these disciplines from the ground up, because the solipsist has no other person or thoughts to rely on but their own.

        * For those people who do not reinvent those disciplines – who simply trust what they regard as accumulated data from others – they’re right back into a trust and faith position. (This often goes forgotten – that ‘trusting science’ is not ‘trusting what some person says about science’.)

      • Again, it’s not a silly word game. It’s a straightforward point – you’re getting an effect without a cause.

        If you make the assumption that under solipsism, those experiences would be uncaused – then yes, if you make the assumption that they are caused by the solipsists mind, then no. Completely irrelevant either way, the effect is there and it doesn´t matter why for the point I made, all that matters is that it is there.

        Andy, as I’ve said repeatedly – the ‘experiences’ are not what is differing here, it’s /how they regard that experience/. Obviously their evaluation would have to be allowed to differ between the two worlds, otherwise you may as well come right out and say you believe a change of stance itself would suffice to undermine the comparison.

        I cannot parse this in any way that would make it relevant for anything I said.

        Let’s quote you again: My beliefs on how I ought to treat a person do not depend on whether said person is made largely out of Hydrogen, Oxygen and Carbon, or made out of fairy dust, or made out of thoughts, or made out of something else.

        That was in response to my asking you: What, you regard people who don’t exist outside of your own mind as endowed with rights and moral worth? Please, try to explain that one.

        You added later, regarding zombies/minds: The point is: you probably wouldn´t take that to mean that persons are no longer “persons in the relevant sense” just because they are essentially made out of thoughts and are thus inseparable from a mind that is not their own (Gods mind).

        Now, if you are denying that other minds would exist, then your response to me makes no sense.

        They do. And I explained why. Repeatedly. The solipsist has person-like-thoughts, the realist has persons – ceteris paribus, the person and the person-like-thought are completely and utterly indistinguishable in every way. I neither said, nor did I imply, nor did I even hint at – that the person-like-thoughts of the solipsist have a seperate mind from the mind of the solipsist, under solipsism, they cannot have that – if the solipsist can interact with them and solipsism is true, then those person-like-thoughts are an inseparable part of the mind of the solipsist (cue silly word games about “causes”, “systems” etc. that don´t affect this point in any way in 3…..2….1).

        If you are conceding that all there exists of those persons is your experiences of them, then prima facie you are denying they are minds or persons

        Oh really? So you have either proven that a person-like-thought cannot possibly be a “person in the relevant sense” (which probably means that you have finally solved the p-zombie problem, you should submit a paper in that case) or that you have proven that one mind cannot hold multiple person-like-thoughts that are indistinguishable from a “person” as a realist perceives them and which can interact with the “myself-thoughts” of the solipsist in a way that is indistinguishable from the interactions of persons as a realist perceives them (in which case solipsism could be refuted by experiences). Afaict, you didn´t do either one, which means you are simply begging the question.

        If you want to back off what you said before, do so. But stop trying to play off your clarifications and/or backing off as some act of dishonesty on my part. It’s an easy to see through schtick.

        Well, so far, you misconstrued what I said as:
        – an attempt to show that solipsism can be proven wrong by experience, despite me never saying or implying that this is the case.
        – an attempt to show that solipsism involves minds other than the solipsist mind, despite me never saying or implying that this is the case and rather explicitly saying the opposite.
        – an attempt to show that assumptions are never necessary under any circumstance, despite me never saying or implying that.
        Those are just the first three things that come to mind – if you are not deliberately misconstruing, then your reading comprehension is absolutely terrible and you make ZERO efforts at understanding whether you understood what I wrote correctly.

        Yet more fumbling on your part and dishonest accusations. Yawn.

        Pathetic.

        Deutsch is wrong, because the solipsist – ceteris parbius – ‘needs’ to do no such thing. One mistake that keeps being made on your part is where you keep talking about needing ‘multiplicity’ and ‘development’ and the like with regards to the solipsist. But as I keep pointing out, this isn’t necessary whatsoever – the solipsist doesn’t need to take on the very assumptions that Deutsch has him taking on. All the solipsist has – and all the realist has, for that matter – is his experiences, moment to moment. He remembers something? Yet another experience at yet another moment. Whatever he experiences at any given moment doesn’t need to be part of a system, to be ‘complex’, to have causes, etc, unless you start tacking on additional assumptions – but those assumptions are what is in question by the solipsist scenario.

        Oh right. My bad. I forgot to point out that the solipsist is actually a solipsist and thus believes that solipsism is true. How could I forget THAT?

        Because both science and philosophy require extra-empirical assumptions to ‘do’, which is right on back to Lothar’s point about needing to go beyond the empirical.

        Right, which is totally relevant for what I´m saying and / or totally contradicts something I am saying because….?

        Right. And you have to mean this in terms of experience – loosely, to a point, since obviously the experience of a solipsist will differ from the experience of a realist just by virtue of their having thoughts like ‘I am a solipsist’.

        That is of course much more concise and elegant than “solipsism ceteris paribus”. Thanks for pointing that out Captain Obvious.

        Not a red herring at all. And obviously if you make an assumption or have faith, you’re taking on additional reasoning – axioms, etc – you can use to determine something.

        So I ask you again: What experience, devoid of faith and/or assumption, can John have to determine his experiences are or aren’t the only experiences in his world?

        No, let me play a different game first: quote something I said, and then interpret it in a way that makes your game here of any relevance.

        Oops. No, I understood plenty of what you said

        I don´t have enough faith to believe that.

        – I’ve been trying to correct you. But yep, it looks like this was incorrect. What you actually did was this:

        Lothar said: As I said you entirely trust you are not a brain in a vat run by an unknown being, but you cannot prove it using empirical evidence.

        You quoted the first half of that and said ‘wrong’. What you deny is that you entirely trust you’re not a brain in a vat / that solipsism is not true. Not that you cannot prove it using empirical evidence. This impacts nothing that I’ve said thus far.

        Strange, and here I read my comments as saying one and the same thing over and over again in a great variety of different ways – the truth or the falsehood of solipsism being indistinguishable from realism. And what I also see is you coming up with an even more amazing variety of interpretations that don´t follow from anything I wrote in any way and say something completely different.

        Though I will repeat this:

        * If someone is truly agnostic between solipsism and realism, then it’s going to follow that they are agnostics about naturalism itself. I’d further add, if they’re agnostic between those points, then in fact they have to also be agnostic between naturalist realism and idealism.

        * Likewise, if it’s admitted that there is no way to decide empirically between solipsism and realism, then it seems to automatically fall out that there’s no way to decide the problem of other minds.

        * Deutsch suggests that the solipsist could engage in science and philosophy and that, practically, nothing was different for the solipsist than the realist. I’ve already pointed out the problems with that, but they get worse: the solipsist is going to have to reinvent these disciplines from the ground up, because the solipsist has no other person or thoughts to rely on but their own.

        * For those people who do not reinvent those disciplines – who simply trust what they regard as accumulated data from others – they’re right back into a trust and faith position. (This often goes forgotten – that ‘trusting science’ is not ‘trusting what some person says about science’.)

        Cool. Lets play a game again – quote something I said and interpret it in a way to make any of this a response to something I said in a meaningful way.

      • If you make the assumption that under solipsism, those experiences would be uncaused – then yes, if you make the assumption that they are caused by the solipsists mind, then no. Completely irrelevant either way, the effect is there and it doesn´t matter why for the point I made, all that matters is that it is there.

        It’s entirely relevant, for reasons I’ve been explaining. And, you can also make neither assumption – but then you’re definitely not getting any further.

        They do. And I explained why. Repeatedly. The solipsist has person-like-thoughts, the realist has persons – ceteris paribus, the person and the person-like-thought are completely and utterly indistinguishable in every way. I neither said, nor did I imply, nor did I even hint at – that the person-like-thoughts of the solipsist have a seperate mind from the mind of the solipsist, under solipsism, they cannot have that – if the solipsist can interact with them and solipsism is true, then those person-like-thoughts are an inseparable part of the mind of the solipsist (cue silly word games about “causes”, “systems” etc. that don´t affect this point in any way in 3…..2….1).

        Ah, Andy. You combine wrongness with testy passive aggression so well! Such a charmer. 😉

        My criticisms don’t require that you did not, say, nor imply, nor fart out that they have a separate mind from the mind of the solipsist. It is sufficient that they are regarded as persons. Say that they are ‘part of’ the solipsist’s own mind. You’re going to have to tell me: how many persons are present for the solipsist? If the answer is ‘1’, game over on this front – they’re nothing to be concerned with. If the answer is ‘more than 1’, then you’re further proving the point I keep making about yourself and Deutsch.

        Oh really? So you have either proven that a person-like-thought cannot possibly be a “person in the relevant sense” (which probably means that you have finally solved the p-zombie problem, you should submit a paper in that case)

        Once again, the fact that you think the p-zombie problem is meaningfully wrapped up in this question in this way is just precious. More precious still is that ‘you should submit a paper then’, as if you can tell how solid a philosophical claim is by whether it gets printed in a philosophy journal.

        What I have said is that ‘experiences of a person’ is not a person. If I submitted a philosophy paper on this front, they’d reply back, ‘Duh’. You, on the other hand, seem baffled by this.

        or that you have proven that one mind cannot hold multiple person-like-thoughts that are indistinguishable from a “person” as a realist perceives them and which can interact with the “myself-thoughts” of the solipsist in a way that is indistinguishable from the interactions of persons as a realist perceives them (in which case solipsism could be refuted by experiences)

        ‘Multiple person like thoughts that are indistinguishable from a person as a realist perceives them’ doesn’t matter here, since they are, and remain, nothing but experience. As for ‘interacting’, perhaps you should write a paper demonstrating that ‘thoughts’ interact with each other. As I keep saying, the solipsist has no need of these interactions, or of cause and effect at all. Tell me the realist does.

        an attempt to show that solipsism involves minds other than the solipsist mind, despite me never saying or implying that this is the case and rather explicitly saying the opposite.

        Now who’s playing word games? Your out here is that the minds would be within the solipsist mind, but these would be persons, which is what I’ve been interacting with.

        an attempt to show that assumptions are never necessary under any circumstance, despite me never saying or implying that.

        Who says you’d need to? I was bolstering Lothar’s point on that front.

        Pathetic

        At times you are, but I’m happy to be patient with you all the same.

        Right, which is totally relevant for what I´m saying and / or totally contradicts something I am saying because….?

        If you agree with Lothar’s point, hey great.

        That is of course much more concise and elegant than “solipsism ceteris paribus”. Thanks for pointing that out Captain Obvious.

        I’m explaining things carefully for you, since you apparent need it. Also, it’s not ‘elegant’.

        No, let me play a different game first: quote something I said, and then interpret it in a way that makes your game here of any relevance.

        Strange, and here I read my comments as saying one and the same thing over and over again in a great variety of different ways – the truth or the falsehood of solipsism being indistinguishable from realism.

        You also said it was ‘pragmatically completely irrelevant whether solipsism was true or not’, and I’ve been pointing out how you were wrong. At this point your defense of that point relies on your trying to pull additional ‘persons’ out of the solipsism hat.

        Cool. Lets play a game again – quote something I said and interpret it in a way to make any of this a response to something I said in a meaningful way.

        Already done in the course of this response, though what really has me interested here is you’re not denying agnosticism about naturalism. Well, lesson learned. 🙂

      • It’s entirely relevant, for reasons I’ve been explaining. And, you can also make neither assumption – but then you’re definitely not getting any further.

        Ok, so now you are not even trying anymore. Got it.

        Ah, Andy. You combine wrongness with testy passive aggression so well! Such a charmer. 😉

        I love you too sweetie.

        My criticisms don’t require that you did not, say, nor imply, nor fart out that they have a separate mind from the mind of the solipsist. It is sufficient that they are regarded as persons. Say that they are ‘part of’ the solipsist’s own mind. You’re going to have to tell me: how many persons are present for the solipsist? If the answer is ’1′, game over on this front – they’re nothing to be concerned with. If the answer is ‘more than 1′, then you’re further proving the point I keep making about yourself and Deutsch.

        John is a realist. Out of the blue, John becomes a solipsist – which means that everyone he considered to be “persons” before are now renamed to “person-like-thoughts” which are completely and utterly indistinguishable from “persons” in every way. The # of person-like-thoughts for solipsist-John is exactly equal to the # of persons for realist-John. Ceteris paribus, “person-like-thought” becomes simply a different name for the exact same thing.
        If you want to argue that the person-like-thought cannot be a “person in the relevant sense” despite being completely and utterly indistinguishable from what you would consider to be a “person in the relevant sense”, try demonstrating that instead of begging the question.

        Once again, the fact that you think the p-zombie problem is meaningfully wrapped up in this question in this way is just precious. More precious still is that ‘you should submit a paper then’, as if you can tell how solid a philosophical claim is by whether it gets printed in a philosophy journal.

        Yawn.

        What I have said is that ‘experiences of a person’ is not a person. If I submitted a philosophy paper on this front, they’d reply back, ‘Duh’. You, on the other hand, seem baffled by this.

        Right, personhood is completely determined by the label you use for something, as soon as you stop using the label “person” and use the label “person-like-thoughts” instead, the labelled thing obviously can no longer have personhood status because crude sez so.
        Impeccable logic *slow clap*.

        ‘Multiple person like thoughts that are indistinguishable from a person as a realist perceives them’ doesn’t matter here, since they are, and remain, nothing but experience.

        Which is of course completely different from “nothing but fairy dust” or “nothing but a soul” because personhood is determined by names and names alone, argument not necessary because crude sez so.

        As for ‘interacting’, perhaps you should write a paper demonstrating that ‘thoughts’ interact with each other. As I keep saying, the solipsist has no need of these interactions, or of cause and effect at all.

        So if you become a solipsist right now, then I will not be a thought that is interacting with your “myself-thoughts” because you simply have no need for such interactions, and if you have no need for such interactions, then there will be no such interactions even when there are such interactions. .
        Again, impeccable logic.

        Now who’s playing word games? Your out here is that the minds…

        Liar.

        Who says you’d need to? I was bolstering Lothar’s point on that front.

        Right, you didn´t misconstrue my point, which is why you repeatedly said things like “the solipsist can indeed have faith in all manner of things, as would be required to do those very things – at which point the entire attempt to rally Deutsch to dodge the necessity of faith would fail upon the instant.” – despite me never quoting Deutsch to make such a point which would be impossible to begin with since Deutsch doesn´t even make that point. Totally plausible that you are not lying here as well.

        If you agree with Lothar’s point, hey great.

        “Jesus was resurrected from the dead” – do you disagree with that? No? Well then I have just demonstrated, using crude logic, that you agree with everything I said in this thread.

        You also said it was ‘pragmatically completely irrelevant whether solipsism was true or not’, and I’ve been pointing out how you were wrong.

        By making up a scenario that is not only not ceteris paribus but rather completely different in pretty much every way. Congratulations, I said that solipsism is indistinguishable from realism ceteris paribus and you really showed me by saying that they would be totally distinguishable if the solipsist would have completely different experiences than the realist has by for example not experiencing person-like-thoughts. Congratulations *slow clap*

        At this point your defense of that point relies on your trying to pull additional ‘persons’ out of the solipsism hat.

        Hah, now you really showed me! My point was that solipsism is indistinguishable from realism ceteris paribus but you are too smart for that aren´t you? You saw right through me and figured out that my defense of “solipsism is indistinguishable from realism ceteris paribus” relies on “ceteris paribus”.
        Wow. Such amazing wit. Here, let me try that: “your defense of Jesus being resurrected from the dead relies on the person who is resurrected being JESUS – take THAT Mr. Christian”.

        Already done in the course of this response, though what really has me interested here is you’re not denying agnosticism about naturalism. Well, lesson learned. 🙂

        I found the part where you talked about slaying a dragon most interesting, dragons are cool.

      • I love you too sweetie.

        No, because ceteris paribus!! 😉

        John is a realist. Out of the blue, John becomes a solipsist

        If you want to argue that the person-like-thought cannot be a “person in the relevant sense” despite being completely and utterly indistinguishable from what you would consider to be a “person in the relevant sense”, try demonstrating that instead of begging the question.

        You’re asking me why a solipsist would be a solipsist. Thanks Andy. You’re some kind of philosophy wizard. 😉

        The solipsist would only have experiences. If you want to insist that subjective experiences can constitute multiple persons, go for it. Quick, cite the p-zombie literature! That won’t be indicative that you don’t know what you’re talking about!

        Right, personhood is completely determined by the label you use for something, as soon as you stop using the label “person” and use the label “person-like-thoughts” instead, the labelled thing obviously can no longer have personhood status because crude sez so.

        Sure, Andy. By the way, when you wake up from a dream, do you break down sobbing because your waking up killed all those people you were dreaming about? I mean sure, it was a dream, but that doesn’t mean they weren’t real persons!

        Which is of course completely different from “nothing but fairy dust” or “nothing but a soul” because personhood is determined by names and names alone,

        Going to write a paper anytime soon about how hallucinations are quite possibly persons and thus it’s immoral to prescribe anti-hallucinatory medication to the afflicted? Justify it on possible utilitarian grounds while you’re at it! 😉

        Liar.

        Projector.

        “Jesus was resurrected from the dead” – do you disagree with that? No? Well then I have just demonstrated, using crude logic, that you agree with everything I said in this thread.

        You’re free to disagree, Andy. By all means, do so, and we can have some more fun.

        By making up a scenario that is not only not ceteris paribus but rather completely different in pretty much every way.

        Not at all. The only thing that changed was the attitude, not the experiences, and the attitude has to change for the comparison to even begin. Not the most complicated thing to learn here, but by gosh, you’re finding ways to have difficulties.

        Quick, blame it on the other persons who exist solely in your mind!

        Hah, now you really showed me!

        Well, I must admit, you made it easy by completely mangling the comparison between the solipsist and realist stances as well as the repercussions that flow from the solipsist stance. I know, I know… ‘I’m Andy! I don’t understand that changes in intellectual stance can have far reaching implications even of the experiences remain the same!’ That’s okay.

        Wow. Such amazing wit.

        Thank you. I’m also extremely handsome!

        I found the part where you talked about slaying a dragon most interesting,

        There’s that reading comprehension of yours on display. But let me assure you, Andy – arguing with you is utterly unlike slaying a dragon. More like watching someone knock themselves unconscious.

        Oh crap, I just imagined that. I think I may be responsible for knocking an actual person unconscious!

      • You’re asking me why a solipsist would be a solipsist.

        No.

        The solipsist would only have experiences. If you want to insist that subjective experiences can constitute multiple persons, go for it. Quick, cite the p-zombie literature!

        And no response to anything I actually wrote here as well – what a surprise.

        That won’t be indicative that you don’t know what you’re talking about!

        Interesting double negative.

        Sure, Andy. By the way, when you wake up from a dream, do you break down sobbing because your waking up killed all those people you were dreaming about? I mean sure, it was a dream, but that doesn’t mean they weren’t real persons!

        That is of course totally relevant because if solipsism is true, then solipsism could of course be false at the same time and the solipsist will “wake up” sooner or later. That´s *exactly* what solipsism means!

        Going to write a paper anytime soon about how hallucinations are quite possibly persons and thus it’s immoral to prescribe anti-hallucinatory medication to the afflicted? Justify it on possible utilitarian grounds while you’re at it! 😉

        Wow, even more “relevant”! Any more what-if-solipsism-is-true-but-isn´t-true-at-the-same-time “insights”?

        You’re free to disagree, Andy. By all means, do so, and we can have some more fun.

        That´s not what I…. ah fuck it, that´s of course *exactly* my point.

        Not at all. The only thing that changed was the attitude, not the experiences

        Right, the solipsist attitude will mean that he will have no interactions even when he has, they will totally not be there even when they are – it´s all about the attitude.

        Well, I must admit, you made it easy by completely mangling the comparison between the solipsist and realist stances as well as the repercussions that flow from the solipsist stance. I know, I know… ‘I’m Andy! I don’t understand that changes in intellectual stance can have far reaching implications even of the experiences remain the same!’ That’s okay.

        Yup, “far-reaching implications” – like: if the solipsist has no need for interactions, then by God, there will be none even if there are, crude logic 101.

        There’s that reading comprehension of yours on display. But let me assure you, Andy – arguing with you is utterly unlike slaying a dragon. More like watching someone knock themselves unconscious.

        Aww… look whose poor little ego has an owie. That is so adorable 🙂

      • Incidentally – you don´t even begin to realize how funny it is to observe you simultaneously being a huge crybaby over mean old Mr. Dawkins advocating *gosh* MOCKERY, while simultaneously attempting and failing to mock others at every opportunity.
        You could not send be a more honest signal for the fact that you don´t only have no moral reservations against mockery whatsoever, you fuckin love it, you only hate the fact that you suck at it.
        That´s cool – skill comes with practice, keep massaging that fragile little ego of yours and continue practicing ;-).

  7. “Faith-based beliefs are not – ever – justified.”

    Well, that’s curious, because many of my actions are based on a faith in science. For example, I get a flu shot every year because I have faith in the ability of infectious disease specialists to identify the probable viruses that will be around in the upcoming flu season, and to have a safe and (somewhat) effective vaccine ready. On the news it was reported that this year’s flu shot is around 60% effective, but the odds are still in my favor, so I got the shot. In the past few years we have discovered that the pertussis vaccine isn’t necessarily as effective as we once thought. There have been outbreaks of pertussis among infants whose adult caregivers no longer had the proper immunity from it, and passed the disease onto their children. I got a booster pertussis shot so that babies will be safe around me.

    Your statement about faith in general is pretty ludicrous. We were indeed given brains with which to reason things out, and I think most of us do a pretty decent job of doing just that. It’s always easy to point to a minority and extrapolate to the majority. But most scientists know the difference between what is causal and what is not.

    • Well, that’s curious, because many of my actions are based on a faith in science.

      No they’re not. You’re using the meaning of faith to be synonymous with confidence, trust, likelihood; you’re not using it in the context in which I said the quote: a belief imposed on reality without allowing that belief to be arbitrated by it. Your flu shot is not accepted because you pretend to know which viruses your belief will create next year; you accept the flu shot because you know it can be efficacious against the most likely and most prevalent of viruses next year. That’s not faith in action and certainly not the kind of faith used to inform religious beliefs where no believer talks about the likelihood of Jesus’ resurrection or the probability of heaven, which you appreciate perfectly well.

      • No they’re not. You’re using the meaning of faith to be synonymous with confidence, trust, likelihood; you’re not using it in the context in which I said the quote: a belief imposed on reality without allowing that belief to be arbitrated by it.

        Oh no, someone’s not using your inane made-up definition of faith!

        What you’re (apparently, intentionally) blind to is the possibility that someone can believe something that they believe is the most sensible position given the evidence, and quite possibly be wrong.

        Your flu shot is not accepted because you pretend to know which viruses your belief will create next year; you accept the flu shot because you know it can be efficacious against the most likely and most prevalent of viruses next year.

        She “knows” this how? Third- or fourth-hand reports from TV news? Her exhaustive knowledge of flu patterns and vaccine tech? Testimonials from people whose expertise and knowledge she may well be largely or entirely ignorant of?

        That’s not faith in action and certainly not the kind of faith used to inform religious beliefs where no believer talks about the likelihood of Jesus’ resurrection or the probability of heaven,

        Yeah, it is faith in action. It’s not conforming to your and Bog’s weird, inane definition of faith. What a shock – said definition may apply to few people indeed.

        Why are you pretending to know things you don’t know, tild?

      • Tiledeb: I have really no interest fighting against you and would largely prefer a friendly dialog.
        It is really sad you view me as an enemy.

        As I wrote at the beginning of my post, I have a huge admiration for some great atheist thinkers I mentioned.

        What deeply bothers me with the New Atheism is their OVERgeneralizations.

        There are many religious people who not only reject the harmful beliefs you expose but also actively COMBAT them.
        And there are many manners in which people consider the concept of faith.

        As I said, the objections of Dawkins and Bog do not apply if you see faith as hope when the evidence is inconclusive.

        And I still don’t know any way to disprove I am a brain in a vat without begging the question, therefore I can only accept this is not true on pragmatic grounds.

        • Tiledeb: I have really no interest fighting against you and would largely prefer a friendly dialog. It is really sad you view me as an enemy.

          I’m not the one making this personal. I’m criticizing the epistemology of faith-based belief because it doesn’t work to accurately reflect reality.

          I view acting on faith-based rather than evidence-adduced belief to be misguided and a source of ongoing harm (to various degrees) done to real people in real life for indefensible reasons. That’s why I’m a New Atheist: I am someone willing to criticize faith-based beliefs privileged in the public domain because they are unjustified and cause harm. For that criticism, I am generally called a ‘militant’. By association to this label, you then call me a supporter of totalitarianism and anti-liberty and then then can’t seem to understand how or why I might take offense to such charges when they have not a shred – absolutely ZERO – of truth value for the accusations against me as a real person. A friendly dialogue, in my limited experience, is rarely promoted by first assuming the other person is ‘out to get you’ unless this can be demonstrated. I have demonstrated why I claim you have maligned my character. As I demanded of Crude, which he assumes is an unreasonable request, stop doing that.

          There are many religious people who not only reject the harmful beliefs you expose but also actively COMBAT them.

          But they can’t effectively combat harmful beliefs because they are just as guilty of using the same method of belief as the other! And we see compelling evidence for the truth value of this claim by the lack of religious cohesion. What empowers the muslim empowers the christian empowers the hindu empowers the scientologist empowers the mormon and so on. Yet when any are asked the straight-up question that differentiates the central tenets of each religion from the next, “How do you know that?”, we find the identical answer in how those incompatible truth claims are reached: faith. If this kind of faith – call it synonymous with whatever you want – is independent of those who claim they deserve confidence and hope and trust and so on, then why are there tens of thousands of religions? The answer is because they are empowered by a dependence on personal belief that does not come from the reality we share but the beliefs we impose on it. And that’s why who holds which religious belief correlates most strongly not to evidence adduced from reality for this one or that one but to geography, for crying out loud. Geography of birth – and not confidence demonstrable by adduced evidence from reality – is the major determinant of your religious belief. (Think on that brute fact, will you please?)

          How can people effectively reject beliefs they see in action by others as harmful when the method of justification for holding these beliefs or those beliefs and then acting on them is identical to one’s own method of justification – imposing a taught belief on reality and then assuming it to be true… even if the words used to describe the various nouns of belief seem different?

          The answer?

          People who empower faith-based belief effectively can’t because the main criticism against another similarly reached belief – a faith-based belief imposed on reality as if true – undermines their own justification for their own beliefs! That’s why religious belief has been, is, and always shall be the apron that protects faith-based beliefs in action no matter how harmful from legitimate arbitration by reality.

          We mutilate people’s genitalia in the name of piety – in the name of a faith-based belief that this harmful action pleases our god. We impose restrictions on the legal rights of real people by gender and sexual preference in the name of piety – in the name of a faith-based belief that this action pleases our god. We impose restrictions and block access to medical procedures and treatments and education in the name of piety – in the name of a faith-based belief that this harmful action pleases our god. We deny respect for explanations adduced from compelling evidence about how reality operates (think of evolution and climate change) in the name of piety – in the name of a faith-based belief that this denying action pleases our god.

          Not all religious believers support this harm and many act to combat specific practices they disagree with but the point of criticism I raise is that the name of piety is not – ever – a reasonable justification for any beliefs so held… even if the action is beneficial! We have a better method to inform claims about how reality operates, about what actions improve human well-being, increase responsible personal autonomy and welfare, than piety, and this method allows reality to determine which actions, which beliefs we empower, are justified by their real life effects.

      • I’m not the one making this personal. I’m criticizing the epistemology of faith-based belief because it doesn’t work to accurately reflect reality.

        Tild, I know that New Atheists tend to be a bit more on the ‘socially maladjusted’ side of things, but let me assure you: once you start screaming about how your opponents are all delusional, prejudiced, in need of professional mental help, etc? You’re making things personal.

        I view acting on faith-based rather than evidence-adduced belief to be misguided and a source of ongoing harm (to various degrees) done to real people in real life for indefensible reasons.

        Your definition of ‘faith’ is inane, and you have little evidence to rally that said faith is what is being acted upon. Also, ‘indefensible reasons’? If you’re a materialist atheist, what in the world is ‘indefensible’? Do as you will.

        I am someone willing to criticize faith-based beliefs privileged in the public domain because they are unjustified and cause harm. For that criticism, I am generally called a ‘militant’.

        No, I’d think you’re called militant because of the combination of your frankly frantic manner of communication, mixed with your endorsement of ‘Religious faith is a mental illness!’ Bog’s and ‘Make them the butt of contempt! Hurt them!’ Dawkins’ tactics.

        By association to this label, you then call me a supporter of totalitarianism and anti-liberty and then then can’t seem to understand how or why I might take offense to such charges when they have not a shred – absolutely ZERO – of truth value for the accusations against me as a real person.

        What a shock. I regard your endorsement of Boghossian’s ‘put religious beliefs on the DSM-V, treat them as mentally ill, regard religious belief as a disease outbreak that must be contained’ as totalitarian. The fact that it riles you to be called that really doesn’t bother me, and shouldn’t bother anyone else.

        Needless to say, we have far, far more than ‘zero’ evidence and ‘truth’ to regard the New Atheists as militants, and more. What, do you think your passion and zeal and belief that you’re right exonerates you?

        But they can’t effectively combat harmful beliefs because they are just as guilty of using the same method of belief as the other!

        That’s funny, because it sure seems to me as if religious people are entirely capable of ‘combating harmful beliefs’. Not only preaching tolerance and peace, for example, but actually managing to persuade many people of exactly that. Perfectly? No, but then what’s the perfect approach again in terms of results?

        And we see compelling evidence for the truth value of this claim by the lack of religious cohesion.

        There’s a lack of cohesion about the supposed dangers of religious belief, even among atheists. Evidence of the faulty beliefs of all involved, I suppose.

        Yet when any are asked the straight-up question that differentiates the central tenets of each religion from the next, “How do you know that?”, we find the identical answer in how those incompatible truth claims are reached: faith.

        That’s funny. Can you show us where you’ve asked the muslim, the scientologist, the hindu, the christian what differentiates their central tenets, and where they replied mere and simply ‘faith’?

        Because as near as I can tell, they differ for a whole lot of reasons. Sometimes it’s underlying philosophy and theology. Other times they think the evidence for their particular religion is superior to the alternatives, which itself ranges from empirical evidence to philosophical evidence to otherwise.

        Now, sometimes they also give answers like ‘Well, that’s who the authorities I trust in say’ and so on. By the by? That’s a stock answer for people to explain their beliefs in various scientific claims too – or claims they think are scientific.

        If this kind of faith – call it synonymous with whatever you want – is independent of those who claim they deserve confidence and hope and trust and so on, then why are there tens of thousands of religions? The answer is because they are empowered by a dependence on personal belief that does not come from the reality we share but the beliefs we impose on it.

        Sounds like a faith claim to me, Tild.

        You think the existence of disagreement is evidence that their belief doesn’t come from reality? Putting aside how ridiculous that is – would broad agreement be evidence that their belief DOES come from reality? Muslims, Christians, Hindus, Jews… they all believe in God. They’re even willing to say many times that it is the ‘same’ God others believe in, they simply think He said different things. I suppose that’s evidence for God, eh?

        And that’s why who holds which religious belief correlates most strongly not to evidence adduced from reality for this one or that one but to geography, for crying out loud. Geography of birth – and not confidence demonstrable by adduced evidence from reality – is the major determinant of your religious belief. (Think on that brute fact, will you please?)

        First, learn what a brute fact is. It doesn’t mean ‘strong’.

        Second, while there obviously exists surveys for religious belief based on geography, there exists no comparable survey for ‘religious beliefs developed due to evidence from reality’. People don’t even necessarily have access to the same evidence for crying out loud, because evidence is one more thing that can vary with geographical location too. Do you even think these things through?

        How can people effectively reject beliefs they see in action by others as harmful when the method of justification for holding these beliefs or those beliefs and then acting on them is identical to one’s own method of justification – imposing a taught belief on reality and then assuming it to be true… even if the words used to describe the various nouns of belief seem different?

        Pity you’ve yet to show that these things are ‘identical’ in any way. The very idea that someone could be operating on evidence, yet still come to a conclusion you find harmful, seems to elude you altogether.

        People who empower faith-based belief effectively can’t because the main criticism against another similarly reached belief – a faith-based belief imposed on reality as if true – undermines their own justification for their own beliefs! That’s why religious belief has been, is, and always shall be the apron that protects faith-based beliefs in action no matter how harmful from legitimate arbitration by reality.

        Funny. History seems to show that people of religious belief are plenty capable of restraining ‘harmful’ beliefs, religious or otherwise. You can argue the track record is spotty, but then again, the track record of atheists is hardly encouraging – to put it mildly – on that front either.

        Meanwhile, you continue to throw out one faith-based belief after another. Have you ever considered the possibility that you are guilty of what you project onto others?

        We mutilate people’s genitalia in the name of piety – in the name of a faith-based belief that this harmful action pleases our god.

        Or we do it for cultural reasons, or we do it for perceived health reasons, or we do it for sexual reasons. Do you demand tattoo parlors that deal in sexual piercings be closed down?

        We impose restrictions on the legal rights of real people by gender and sexual preference in the name of piety – in the name of a faith-based belief that this action pleases our god.

        ‘Faith-based belief’ doesn’t cash out to what you’ve said it cashes out to – but more than that, you’re incomplete on this one. We impose restrictions in the name of philosophy as well. And considering homosexuality was a crime in state-atheist Russia right up until the early 1990s, and continues to be not exactly enthusiastically endorsed in largely secular countries like Japan and China to this day? Once again, your views seem passionate, but wrong.

        We impose restrictions and block access to medical procedures and treatments and education in the name of piety – in the name of a faith-based belief that this harmful action pleases our god.

        We also do it in the name of ‘science!’ or ‘the public good!’ or ‘personal philosophy!’ or ‘what we think is right!’ and more.

        We deny respect for explanations adduced from compelling evidence about how reality operates (think of evolution and climate change) in the name of piety – in the name of a faith-based belief that this denying action pleases our god.

        No, the people who do that – quite often – think that there IS no compelling evidence on those fronts, and that they have evidence (including what they regard as scientific evidence) for the falsity of those claims. Jesus Christ, you had Penn Gillette getting on TV expressing severe doubt about ‘climate change.’ Did he believe the action pleases his god?

        Not all religious believers support this harm and many act to combat specific practices they disagree with but the point of criticism I raise is that the name of piety is not – ever – a reasonable justification for any beliefs so held… even if the action is beneficial!

        Assertion without argument. It can be entirely reasonable to engage in an act out of piety, and certainly out of religious conviction. And God help you if you want to say that it’s immoral to do so, because a materialist atheism has zero – absolutely zero – grounds to persuasively label anything as ‘moral’ and ‘immoral’ outside of subjective feeling.

        We have a better method to inform claims about how reality operates, about what actions improve human well-being, increase responsible personal autonomy and welfare, than piety, and this method allows reality to determine which actions, which beliefs we empower, are justified by their real life effects.

        Oh boy, consequentialism and utilitarianism. No horrific results on offer there. Better yet, talk of ‘personal autonomy’ from the New Atheists who regularly deny the existence of free will, and question the existence of a ‘self’. And ‘personal autonomy’ talk comes right on the heels of defending Boghossian and his desire to make religious belief a mental illness. Oops, wait – you said RESPONSIBLE personality autonomy. Naturally, you’re the one who imagines you’ll be determining what is and isn’t responsible.

        Tild, take a lesson many religious people need to learn: your personal zeal and passion, the fact that you get worked up, is not at all evidence that you are correct, much less justified. And if you want to stop being labeled a militant and a totalitarian, stop behaving like a militant and endorsing totalitarian policies. And get some freaking perspective, because your views on ‘harm’ are pretty obviously out of whack.

          • No, don’t go away: contact your nearest religious authority and tell them they’re doin’ it rong! Contact your local branch of Accelerated Christian Education (ACE) Center and tell them that they’re doin it rong! Contact your nearest pope and tell him he’s doin’ it rong! Contact your nearest imam and tell him he’s doin; it rong. Crude says so, and we know Crude never misrepresents others or the ideas they present. He just kicks ass so point him towards these badly confused toolboxes and get him to straighten them all out!

            The method of informing faith-based beliefs is revealed in all its glory when we look at concrete examples. I know this can be uncomfortable but hey… we’re after a definition of what is practiced when we speak of faith in the religious sense, after all, so maybe concrete examples may offer you more expertise than coming from the likes of me. Let;’s look at the materials used to ‘educate’ young people in the ways of christianity through ACE that instructs hundreds of thousands of children. I quote Jonny Scaramanga – a graduate of the program.

            The training PACEs are packed with gold (another gem: “A rational mind will not accept the theories of evolution because they are pure speculation”). But what really concern me are the arguments used to justify ACE’s philosophy of education. ACE says that, to qualify as “true” education, all education must start with four presuppositions:

            (From the INSTRUCTOR’S handbook):

            God exists
            God speaks
            God created the universe
            God created man

            Although they call these “presuppositions,” the text does attempt to justify each one. And the justifications are awful. Even if the presuppositions were true, these would still be appalling arguments. They are (paraphrased for brevity):

            1 Natural laws exist. These must have a cause. That cause can only be God. Therefore, God exists. (The premises are asserted without evidence.)
            2 The Bible contains no errors or contradictions, and many accurate prophecies. This is a miracle. The only explanation is that it is the Word of God.
            3 Evolution is impossible (they use ‘evolution’ as a catch-all referring to cosmology, biology, ‘progress’, and almost anything else they dislike). Therefore, God did it.
            4 See (3).

            This is an example of what is taught to children based not on reasoned conclusions but on presuppositions – and clearly stated as such – held with confidence by faith that these are accurate claims about reality. This is religious faith in action: justifying conclusions by assuming the presuppositions are, in fact, accurate claims about reality. I’m not making this shit up.

            The explanation of why faith is the essential presupposition behind the catholic catechism states “Faith is man’s response to God, who reveals himself and gives himself to man, at the same time bringing man a superabundant light as he searches for the ultimate meaning of his life. Thus we shall consider first that search (Chapter One), then the divine Revelation by which God comes to meet man (Chapter Two), and finally the response of faith (Chapter Three).”

            Note the order: first god is sought and then found through revelation – not reason – and then a reasoned response.

            This is the standard version of what differentiates religious faith from reasoned belief. Faith requires a presupposition that god is, and not the result of answering a god hypothesis.

            Put another way, if religious faith were the same as reasoned belief adduced from reality, we would have no use for the term. All reasoned belief would be subject to arbitration by reality FIRST before any confidence was assigned to its likelihood of being an accurate description/explanation. By invoking faith, a person privileges a belief from this process and that’s why we use the term.

            Now watch Crude take this comment and break it into bite size pieces that he then misrepresents by assigning meaning that comes from him for him to then criticize and belittle. This is how he ‘kicks ass’ with never any intention of honest and inquiring dialogue for clarification or mutual understanding. That’s his methodology and it serves only his ego.

      • Oh, so snarky of you. I must defer to your greater knowledge and wisdom as to the meaning of faith, and, most especially, to the meaning of religious faith. How dare I deign to engage you, oh most Wise One? So sorry, and trust me, it will never ever happen again. I will crawl away now……

  8. tildeb, you don’t believe in “science”. That’s because I define “science” to mean “anything the majority of self-described scientists believe, whatever it is”.

    What, you object to my definition? Why is that? You want all of us to go by your bullshit definition of “faith”, so you need to go by my definition of “science”.

        • And this suffices to justify reasons that empower answers in catechisms? For example, when asked how do you know that Jesus is the risen savior, you answer that you ‘hold on’ to this belief your reason has once accepted in spite of any mood swings you may encounter?

          Really? Your reason has you once accepted? That implies something once known. But is this true?

          What might that reason be? Might it be because of compelling evidence adduced from reality?

          Come on.

          I don’t think so and I don’t think you think so even for a moment. The resurrection of Jesus is an a priori belief granted special exemption from reality’s arbitration of the faith-based claim… because you understand no possible mechanism that can regenerate cellular death. And this fact is borne out all the time for everyone everywhere all around us. When cells die, they cannot be brought back to life. We understand the process of cellular death. We utilize this understanding to inform our medical practices. We understand why cellular death is not reversible… not because I say so or someone else says so but because we have compelling evidence adduced from reality that such degradation is always as final as it is consistent across all cells. If this were not the case, then our understanding of biological and chemical processes is wrong. Flat out wrong.

          So. Offer your reasoned alternative that establishes why you might grant the resurrection claim justifiable confidence from evidence adduced from reality, please. Show how that explanation does not overturn human knowledge of biological and chemical processes that seem to work for everyone everywhere all the time that also just so happen to inform our therapies, technologies, and applications based on that understanding!

          You’re blowing wind here and waving your hands as if that were in any way explanatory about reality when its claim stands in diametric opposition to how we understand its operation. But in matters of faith, such contradictions don’t matter because reality plays no part in informing the claim. It’s not allowed to. That’s why religion insists that faith – not explanations based on compelling evidence adduced from reality – is essential to its maintenance. Without faith of the religious kind – what I call faith-based beliefs – such claims collapse by reality’s arbitration of them.

          And the only reason propping up these claims isn’t a greater likelihood or weighted possibility that they could be true; the confidence in these kinds of beliefs is determined wholly and solely by how much or little confidence individual people grant to them. The same is simply not true for cellular death. There is a difference in the quality of reasons used to justify beliefs and this difference matters when people make contrary and conflicting claims about reality and how it operates.

          The difference between faith-based and evidence-adduced belief claims is a methodological difference. I allow reality and not my imposed beliefs on it to arbitrate and adjudicate how much or how little confidence I should place. The same cannot be said for answers to any religious catechism.

          • Are you even serious, dude? You’re telling me the definition is wrong because I don’t believe in Jesus’s Resurrection because of reason, when I haven’t even given you a reason yet?

            You are beyond talking to.This is a farce, and you’ve revealed your true colors by poisoning the well. “Obviously you don’t believe in the Resurrection because of reason, because reason can’t prove the Resurrection!”

            What a joke.

            How about this: Your reason for being an atheist is totally unreasonable, since there is no good reason for you not to believe in God. Thus, I know you are only an atheist because of faith. QED.

            We’re done here.

      • And this suffices to justify reasons that empower answers in catechisms? For example, when asked how do you know that Jesus is the risen savior, you answer that you ‘hold on’ to this belief your reason has once accepted in spite of any mood swings you may encounter?

        Really? Your reason has you once accepted? That implies something once known. But is this true?

        What might that reason be? Might it be because of compelling evidence adduced from reality?

        Come on.

        And there we have it. Malcolm gives the definition of faith that he holds to, and which happens to rely on holding to a belief that reason led to. Your response? ‘Nuh uh, I don’t believe you!’

        So you zip right past it, treat it as false, and continue on.

        The resurrection of Jesus is an a priori belief granted special exemption from reality’s arbitration of the faith-based claim… because you understand no possible mechanism that can regenerate cellular death. And this fact is borne out all the time for everyone everywhere all around us. When cells die, they cannot be brought back to life. We understand the process of cellular death. We utilize this understanding to inform our medical practices. We understand why cellular death is not reversible… not because I say so or someone else says so but because we have compelling evidence adduced from reality that such degradation is always as final as it is consistent across all cells. If this were not the case, then our understanding of biological and chemical processes is wrong. Flat out wrong.

        First off – You realize, Tild, that belief in the resurrection is not a statement about typical mechanisms involved in cellular life, correct? We’re talking about what would be, in this case, an act on the part of a third party with power to create and sustain the universe. You may as well be arguing here that there is no possible way that you could be walking into a restored home because, as we ALL know, entropy takes place and buildings do not just suddenly reconstitute themselves – if they did, then everything we know about construction and physics is false. That’s around the time someone has to pull you aside and mention that intervention by a third party isn’t accounted for in that description. Really, it’s amazing that this even has to be mentioned.

        Second, enough with the royal ‘we’. When you talk about how ‘we’ use this understanding to inform ‘our’ medical practices, what you’re really talking about – unless you yourself are in that field, performing the experiments, etc – is that you are trusting a second- and third- and further-hand information. Now, I have nothing against reporting that sort of thing – but I am frankly tired of atheists and theists alike talking about knowledge ‘we’ have when they’re really talking about what they believe others understand.

        So. Offer your reasoned alternative that establishes why you might grant the resurrection claim justifiable confidence from evidence adduced from reality, please. Show how that explanation does not overturn human knowledge of biological and chemical processes that seem to work for everyone everywhere all the time that also just so happen to inform our therapies, technologies, and applications based on that understanding!

        I’ll let Malcolm speak for himself, but I’ll gladly put in a response of my own.

        There is no ‘alternative’ here, because it’s not as if our understandings of medical knowledge need to be denied on the basis of accepting the resurrection. All we need to acknowledge is that it’s incomplete and doesn’t take into account the actions of sufficiently powerful third parties.

        Oh, and just for fun? There’s a habit that’s particularly popular with transhumanists who themselves are atheists: they like to cryogenically freeze themselves. They expect and hope and often believe that, one day, they will live again – using technology, they know not what. Now, you may want to go right ahead and say that those atheists are therefore irrational – feel free. In fact, feel free to say they’re having faith.

        You’re blowing wind here and waving your hands as if that were in any way explanatory about reality when its claim stands in diametric opposition to how we understand its operation. But in matters of faith, such contradictions don’t matter because reality plays no part in informing the claim. It’s not allowed to.

        Holy hell. Malcolm has said what? Five sentences to you across two responses, and you’re talking about him ‘blowing wind and waving his hands’? I just blew your crippled understanding of the resurrection and science both out of the water, just like I’ve been taking down your inane “defenses” of Boghossian, and still you continue with the wannabe overconfident atheist apologist schtick. Physician, heal thyself.

        That’s why religion insists that faith – not explanations based on compelling evidence adduced from reality – is essential to its maintenance. Without faith of the religious kind – what I call faith-based beliefs – such claims collapse by reality’s arbitration of them.

        No, because your understanding of ‘faith-based beliefs’ are absurd. Among those bare few sentences Malcolm told you was his defining faith as holding steadfast to beliefs held by reason in the face of flucuating emotion. Your only response to that was to say ‘Nuh-uh!’ and then act as if he said something elsewise. The very idea that someone could follow evidence, reason, and arguments, and come to a conclusion different than you is utterly unthinkable, at least with regards to this conversation.

        And religion also insists on evidence and more. That you don’t find that evidence compelling is not particularly damning.

        And the only reason propping up these claims isn’t a greater likelihood or weighted possibility that they could be true; the confidence in these kinds of beliefs is determined wholly and solely by how much or little confidence individual people grant to them.

        Or! The confidence in these beliefs is arrived at by reflection and deciding what is it isn’t likely or possibly true, which itself is going to involve a variety of factors including axioms, background knowledge, and more.

        But the very idea that people are literally evaluating evidence and arguments and coming to conclusions different than your own not only blows your mind, but it’s harmful to your whole project – so you just declare it as ‘false’. I mean, does it get any better than this initial response on your part, after Malcolm gave his definition?

        “I don’t think so and I don’t think you think so even for a moment.”

        What’s that called, Tild? Wait, I think I know: Pretending to know what you don’t know.

        I allow reality and not my imposed beliefs on it to arbitrate and adjudicate how much or how little confidence I should place.

        Really? Are you waiting to start doing this in this thread for any particular reason? Because so far you’ve only shown that when it comes to yammering about how people believe things without evidence and don’t let reality get in the way, you’re mostly dabbling in projection.

        If you’re an example of the sort of ‘street epistemologists’ Bog’s raising up with his crappy little time, the result is going to be intellectually underwhelming, yet even more whiny than the previous batch of Cultists of Gnu.

  9. Let’s go a step further: tildeb is saying that when C.S. Lewis gives his definition of faith, he is lying. He believes Lewis’s entire body of work is based on a lie, or at least a self-delusion. Thus all of Lewis’s arguments are rendered completely moot from the outset, because it is impossible for Lewis to have looked at the evidence and come to a different conlusion than tildeb. Literally impossible.

    This is a real person who really believes this and just said so.

      • How do travel so quickly from me showing a definition that doesn’t work to me accusing Lewis of being insincere or deluded?

        Quote me, please.

        Oh right… you can’t quote me because I never said that… not that what’s true seems to matter very much to you when it comes to condemning me and my character (as if it’s my thoughts that are questionable here). I asked you stop doing that. Why are you finding it so difficult? I presume it’s because you want to earn Crude’s approval. It seems to be important that you stay on track and tote his party line because you’re apparently on the same team so whatever misrepresentations and nonsense he spouts must be correct… even if reality adjudicates the assumption you make as factually wrong.

      • Okay, quote you? No problem.

        I used Lewis’s definition of faith, the one that he gave. Your response?

        What might that reason be? Might it be because of compelling evidence adduced from reality?

        Come on.

        I don’t think so and I don’t think you think so even for a moment.

        So you are saying that the definition Lewis gave for faith can’t possibly be the one he actually believes in, because it is literally, in your mind, impossible to come to reasonable disagreement about this issue.

        The only logical conclusion to come to here, tild, is that you believe that Lewis was either deluded or lying. Own it.

        • Of course he can believe it; my entire point is that belief doesn’t make something an accurate reflection of reality. That’s why I substituted the description: to demonstrate how this could not possibly be the method used to arrive at the conclusion. The earnestness and honesty of the person claiming that this definition demonstrates the method used to arrive at faith-based belief isn’t the question here; whether the claim is true is.

          But rather than deal with this accurate demonstration that shows the description to be factually unable to achieve what its author claims it achieves, you’re all in a kerfuffle that someone would dare to tell someone that their belief was not accurate. “But that’s what I believe and you can’t tell me what I believe!” seems to be the stock answer. That response misses the point I criticize: that belief magically makes something justified. It doesn’t. Reality’s arbitration of it does. And the brute fact is that C.S. Lewis’s definition of faith doesn’t WORK… regardless of how much he may believe it does, no matter how well you believe it does, no matter how much others may belief it accurately describe how he arrives at justifying confidence in certain religious beliefs. This belief does not stand on its own merit but must be empowered not by reality that contradicts it but solely and wholly by the dependent confidence people are willing to grant to it. By definition, this is not a knowledge claim – a justified true belief – but a faith claim for this reason. Hence the use of the term ‘faith’.

          Please get this straight: this does not mean I am calling him a liar. This does not mean I am calling him deluded. Will you please grasp this fact rather than assume something other than what’s accurate in reality and empower it by your misplaced and misguided confidence. You are substituting Crude’s misrepresentation of what I write for what I write and then running with that as if it were accurate… believing as you do that it is accurate when it demonstrably is not! Let reality be your guide if you’re going to insist on making claims about it. Because something is or isn’t true in reality bears no weight or merit in Crude’s world. It does in mine because I strive for intellectual integrity and do indeed sometimes fall short. Sometimes I’m wrong. Sometimes I’ve misinterpreted something. Compelling evidence from reality will quickly straighten me out because I happen to respect it enough to inform my claims about it. And I want my opinions to be as well informed as I can make them. I sincerely hope the same is true in yours. And that is why it matters that you cannot find a quote to back up what you believe I mean; that belief exists only in your head because you’ve empowered the belief to be successfully substituted as a stand in for reality. This is never a good method to use because it can lead you into foolishness.

          • Of course he can believe it; my entire point is that belief doesn’t make something an accurate reflection of reality

            Okay, so you’re in the “Lewis was delusional” camp.

            Will you please grasp this fact rather than assume something other than what’s accurate in reality and empower it by your misplaced and misguided confidence

            That might be the most ironic comment ever written.

          • Wow. I didn’t realize just how obtuse you can be. You are assuming a false dichotomy: assuming as you are either an accurate reflection of reality or delusional. I’ve said no such thing but you’re going to stick with this regardless and continue to assign it to me, right?

          • No, I’m saying this is the only way what you say can make sense. What if Lewis heard your whole spiel about the Resurrection and said, “Nope, sorry, I don’t agree with you”. Would you say to him what you said to me, that you think he’s lying about his definition of faith and really knows that it’s bullshit but won’t admit it? Will you finally admit that somebody can reasonably come to a conclusion different than yours?

            Or will you own up to what you said and admit that, yes, if somebody really believes that the Resurrection is a rational belief they are delusional.

          • MTC, why ask me questions when, no matter what I write, you believe you already have my answers in your head? You have zero interest in anything I have to say. Besides, after calling me all kinds of names for enunciating my answers – answers, I should mention, without any name calling in response – and without any evidence for my supposed anti-liberty totalitarian bent according to lotharson and Crude, you’ve barred me from commenting on your site.

            That’s called irony.

          • You’re not banned permanently, tild, just from that thread, because it was a round in round going nowhere discussion. One that is already going on here.

            You have zero interest in anything I have to say.

            This coming from the person who, when I told him what my definition of faith was, accused me of lying.

          • …why ask me questions when, no matter what I write, you believe you already have my answers in your head?

            I don’t believe I have your answers in my head – obviously not. You haven’t agreed with me yet. I’m saying that your comments are wildly inconsistent, and that if you really wanted to be intellectually honest you would admit that, yes, that is what you were saying, or at least that is the conclusion following your claims should lead you to.

            But now I will predict what will happen: You won’t admit that.

      • “Back to that”? Are you serious? This is almost what you said word for word.

        What might that reason be? Might it be because of compelling evidence adduced from reality?

        Come on.

        I don’t think so and I don’t think you think so even for a moment.

        • Since when did, “I don’t think so and I don’t t you think so” become synonymous with, “You’re lying,” or, You’re delusional”? I honestly don’t think you believe the claim was reasoned out based on evidence adduced from reality; I think you understand perfectly well that it is a central tenet of the faith and is to be presumed as true first… and then have selected and supportive reasons applied to it. And I think that’s true not because you’re a liar or delusional but because if you examine a faith-based beliefs like the resurrection, it must be accepted in spite of compelling evidence adduced from reality. Isn’t that why it’s called a ‘miracle’?

      • Here’s where that means “You’re lying”. I said, “It is this definition.”

        You said, “Well, you don’t apply this definition to this, so it’s not this definition.”

        But…that’s the definition I use.

        You’re saying, no, it’s not the definition I use.

        So you say I’m lying.

        This one isn’t complicated. You can deny it until you’re blue in the face, but I said “I believe in this thing” and you said “No you don’t”.

        Now, you can believe you’re RIGHT in calling me a liar…but that’s what you’re doing, tildeb. Just own it.

        Also, no, I don’t “understand” what you said. I think that it’s probable, based on the historical record, that Jesus rose from the dead.

        Did you know that, scientifically, that would normally be impossible? Wowie! It’s as if an all-powerful third party with the power to reverse natural processes such as death would have to insert Himself in order for such a thing to occur!

        • I’m a Liberal.
          Define Liberal.
          Someone who votes for the Liberal Party.
          How do always vote?
          For the Conservatives.
          The you’re not a Liberal.
          Yes I am and you’re calling me a liar or deluded.
          No, I’m not calling you a liar or deluded; I’m saying that the definition you offered is not an accurate reflection of how you vote in reality.
          But I believe I’m a Liberal!
          Fine. You believe you’re a Liberal but that belief is not justified by the way you vote.
          So you’re calling me a liar.
          No. I’m saying your belief and reality are not the same.
          So, in effect you’re calling me a liar.

          *sigh*

          • What? Yes, that would be an example of me either calling you deluded (“belief and reality aren’t the what you think they are”) or a liar (“what you said is not true, and you know it”, which is exactly what you said to me).

            And that’s not what happened. You said “define faith”, I gave a definition, then you told me that I really KNEW it was the wrong definition all along because nobody could look at the evidence and come to a different conclusion than you did.

          • I gave a definition, then you told me that I really KNEW it was the wrong definition all along because nobody could look at the evidence and come to a different conclusion than you did.

            Note the bold. This matters. What I’m saying is that you are NOT looking at the evidence FIRST and THEN coming to a conclusion adduced from it (no matter how often you say you are). You assume you are; you assert you are; you believe you are. You base your argument on these. What I’m trying to point out – and get you to see – is that the assumption is wrong; the assertion is wrong; the belief is wrong because… wait for it… you don’t DO this. You don’t adduce evidence from reality FIRST and THEN come to a conclusion about, let’s say, a resurrection specifically or some other central tenet of your religious faith… not because I say so but because REALITY doesn’t lead anyone anywhere at anytime to justifying such conclusions. If reality did, we wouldn’t be talking about faith, now would we? We’d be talking about science.

            What leads people to these propositions is teaching them that they are true IN SPITE OF reality. And that’s why they are called faith-based beliefs. They are true only insofar as you believe them to be true because you cannot demonstrate their veracity based on compelling evidence adduced from reality. Reality doesn’t cooperate. Reality does not alter its processes to suit these kinds of beliefs. Dead cells don’t reanimate. You know this is a fact of reality, which is why you have to bring in a third party of Oogity Boogity exercising some magical kind of POOF!ism to suggest otherwise. This is a clue about the method you are using to lend confidence to claims about reality that are not supported by reality alone. And that’s why followers of tens of thousands of incompatible religious beliefs all assert that their beliefs are true and that all the others are somehow… less… true!

            This is the epistemological problem with placing confidence in such belief claims that requirewhat we call faith (a special exemption from reality’s arbitration); they do not accurately reflect reality (and often fail spectacularly when put to the test – ie. faith healing, efficacy of prayer, end of world predictions, and so on). These kinds of exempted beliefs are FIRST imposed on reality and THEN claimed to be true. And we can demonstrate that these kinds of belief claims are built on assumptions and assertions NOT supported by compelling evidence adduced from reality, which is why religious claims based on scriptural authority continue to be ‘re-interpreted’ every time they conflict with our demonstrated understanding of how reality operates. This is not a surprise. And we have plenty of examples where such belief claims all too often stand in conflict with how we understand it to operate (the creationist vs evolution understanding of how biological life changes over time continues to delude people into believing there is a justified debate). And the examples of this conflict – and the cause for them – are also and everlastingly too numerous to count.

            This method of thinking – allowing respect for the method that empowers confidence in faith-based belief – is identical to how we define delusional thinking in psychiatric terms. Again, that’s not my opinion; that’s demonstrable by definition. Yet even here we find a special exemption in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorder (currently in its fifth version) for religious beliefs that otherwise meet the identical description for delusional thinking…. as if schizophrenia magically becomes ordered if it has a religious whiff to it. This if Boghossian’s criticism twisted by Crude and lotharson into him claiming that all religious people are delusional.

            Why is this claim wrong? Because, like everyone else, religious people can function perfectly well reserving this method of thinking only for very specific uses. All of us are quite able to – and most of us do – exercise some level of delusion for our wishful thinking; (I think all of us at one time or another do the same thing and hope for a different result); the point here is to recognize when we’re using it and NOT empower confidence in the wishful thinking as if true (but keep it as a matter of hope or wishes or whatever). This is why faith-based beliefs are fine… as long as they are not held to be equivalent to knowledge, as long as they are not held to be justifiably equivalent to claims arbitrated by reality, as long as they remain in the private domain and are understood to be wishful and hopeful and optimistic thinking. Step outside of these necessary boundaries and New Atheists will speak up and out… not because they are anti-liberty or totalitarian supporters, not because they are militant atheists who hate your god, not because they think they’re smarter than everyone else, but because if we don’t then no one will.

          • “You assume you are; you assert you are; you believe you are. You base your argument on these.”

            Look in the mirror.

            Oh, and sometimes the normal physical realities just don’t match reality. For example, the natural physiology of the destruction of cells after death. There are people who have been dead for centuries whose bodies never decayed.

          • Sometimes the liberal candidate just sucks. The only other choice might be the conservative. Saying “I’m a liberal” doesn’t automatically mean that said liberal can only be defined by which ballot is cast. Liberalism is a philosophy. I consider myself a moderate, and I vote for both liberal and conservative candidates. I maintain my philosophies. But there are times a moderate candidate just sucks.

            **sigh**

          • Hey, I agree. But note the capital letter to the term as its identifier. Like you, I identify as one who endorses liberal values, but this doesn’t mean I’m a Liberal. But my point was that if we use the definition this Liberal provides, and we can show that he or she doesn’t act this way, then we can show a disconnect between the belief that is endorsed as if true and what what reality arbitrates is true without getting into the liar and delusion name-calling.

          • Well if someone considers herself as a liberal, communist or capitalist I would first consider her own definition before criticizing her particular position.

            The same holds true of the word “faith” which is understood in many different and conflicting ways.

            Bog’s or Dawkin’s definition (pretending to know what you don’t know) only concerns a particular brand of religious believers (who are indeed irrational).

            Their criticism is not relevant at all for people such as C.S. Lewis (faith means holding fast to what your reason has approved of despite your fluctuating emotions) or mine (faith means hoping even if the evidence are not sufficient for conclusively know it is true).

            Different kinds of arguments are required for dealing with these two other conceptions of “faith”.

            I would have far more respect for the New Atheists if they started acting as true scholars and taking into account the huge complexity of the religious and philosophical landscape.

            Friendly greetings.

          • If we’re going to communicate meaning, we can’t have a person claiming that their individual use of a particular word is as legitimate as anyone’s and therefore can apply a different meaning to it. A small ‘l’ liberal means something rather specific (within boundaries set by the meaning of other terms). A capital ‘L’ liberal means a proper noun (which is why you don;t find me capitalizing god or christian or whatever because the use of the capital is inaccurate) that describes a membership to a specific party or organization. Yes, one can be a Liberal and possess small ‘c’ conservative values, but one cannot by definition claim to be a small ‘l’ liberal while endorsing small ‘c’ conservative values and acting on them. This demonstrates why the belief claim of the person who says he or she is a small ‘l’ liberal but acts according to small ‘c’ conservative values is incorrect. To argue that a person can be a small ‘l’ liberal but act as a small ‘c’ conservative because each person can claim whatever they wish does the same disservice to the language as arguing that faith is adduced by reason from reality; it serves to render communication in the language much more difficult and problematic. Articles of faith are clearly set out in catechisms that can be shown to be dissimilar to knowledge claims. Sure, there are reasons applied to support the articles of faith and believers are (usually) expected to understand these reasons for the articles of faith but the emphasis for these articles is to use them as the common ground between believers. These are the core beliefs to be treated with the utmost confidence in order to identify as a member belonging to the particular community. Treating these articles of faith as if adduced knowledge claims from reality means that this claim is true for everyone everywhere all the time and requires no faith but has been established as justifiably true by other means. If this were the case, all people would belong to the community no matter what other beliefs they held. By analogy, this would be like saying everyone IS a liberal because liberalism is has been adduced by compelling evidence from reality to be true; no matter what other values you exercise, you are a liberal even if you claim to be a conservative, act as a conservative, hold conservative values, and have equivalently compelling reasons to think these – and not liberal – values are most suitable for the wider community to endorse.

            If faith is simply a matter of personal conception (divorced in values and actions that define it) then you’ve gutted the term entirely. It no longer has a communal meaning. And this serves only those who wish to avoid pertinent criticisms of faith as a particular method of granting confidence.

          • I think that if you want to bring people away from their religious faith, you ought to understand what they mean by that and what their specific beliefs are.

            If they use C.S. Lewis definition, using Dawkins and Bog. criticism of faith as “knowledge without knowing” won’t bring you any further.
            They will rightly retort that you utterly misrepresent their views.
            And there are MANY conservative and even fundamentalist believers who base their faith on apologetic (either evidential arguments or reasons to think that all other worldviews are incoherent).
            If you want to convince them they are wrong, you should show the flaws in their arguments instead of criticizing a position (namely irrational fideism) they themselves reject.

            Likewise, religious believers viewing “faith” as “hope” and not as a knowledge claim won’t be persuaded at all by the standard arguments of the New Atheists. There are many of them among progressive and liberal Christians.
            You should either show
            1) that such a hope is meaningless because its content is extremely unlikely to be true
            2) that it is always bad to hope in uncertain things.

            Cheers.

          • Yes, yes, yes, we know; we’re doin’ it rong! It’s really all about accommodating relgiious views and gently swaying people by hugs and kisses. Just look at the success Francis Collins has enjoyed following this advice on BioLogos to bring the faithful to evolution. Except it hasn’t…

            The arguments we present seem to be having a rather profound effect on the next generation who see us online and can follow our reasoning. By comparing and contrasting these arguments we present with religious presentations defending a hundred different but equally assured faith-based claims contrary to them, the next generation isn’t so susceptible to indoctrination and can find support for skeptical and critical approaches that stand not by authority, nor by dogma, but on their own reasonable merit. Our tone is the least of your worries to the very real erosion of religious allegiance.

      • What I’m saying is that you are NOT looking at the evidence FIRST and THEN coming to a conclusion adduced from it

        Really, tild? Do you even KNOW why I believe in the Resurrection? Have I even told you?

        But no, it is literally, in your view, impossible that somebody could disagree with you. No, I MUST be engaging in some weird form of Orwellian doublethink.

    • Hey, all I did was substitute what you claimed was ‘faith’ in the religious sense into a fundamental faith-based belief common to most of the thousands of versions of christianity to show that it didn’t work. It doesn’t accurately describe how that belief was reasoned. One does not arrive at the resurrection of Jesus by reason because it’s unreasonable to presume that it’s possible (it has zero evidence adduced from reality in its favour); one accepts the claim in spite of evidence adduced from reality that stands in conflict with any adduced likelihood or probability of it being possible, which is the requirement necessary to be <i.reasonable. That’s faith in action. And that’s why we use the term: a belief that is privileged from reality’s arbitration of it.

      A person can have reasons for believing unreasonable possibilities… and even impossibilities. we do that all the time when we suspend our disbelief… an essential requirement in much entertainment. That’s fine. We understand it’s fiction.

      In the same way, many people believe the Cubs will win the World Series every year. But it takes a special kind of refusal of reality’s role in arbitrating the claim to present the belief as if were a reasonable fact, as if the claim was deduced from reality rather than wishful thinking and is therefore a reasonable knowledge claim. It isn’t reasonable. And it isn’t deduced from reality no matter how earnest the person may be making it. It’s a belief imposed on reality and then misrepresented as if it were a knowledge claim. The earnest person can declare that such a claim isn’t faith-based but factually deduced from reality (the earnest person having read a translation of a scroll about a guy who knew a guy who saw them win an endless streak of World Series), but upon examination, it clearly is (because the Cubs have never won the Series yet)… not because someone else says the claim is wrong but because reality – when allowed to arbitrate the claim – reveals it to be false. In the same way, how biology operates (reality) reveals the the claim for the resurrection to be false. Cellular death cannot be reversed. To get around that arbitration requires a faith claim be inserted – not a knowledge claim supposedly adduced from reality – in place of reality so that the believer can continue to believe it with reasons OTHER than reality’s judgement of it. And that’s faith in action: trying to justify a belief about reality without allowing reality the role to arbitrate it.

      • I define faith as hope in something highly desirable when the evidence is not sufficient.

        An irrational faith flies in the face of reality.

        This is certainly not what I (or the apostle Paul for that matter) advocate: if it can be shown that Jesus did not rise from the dead, I would certainly give up my faith.

        The arguments you gave against the resurrection are only valid if one’s assumes there is no God interested in the affairs of this world.

        If there is one, Jesus of Nazareth might very well be the best candidate for being raised.

        Advanced space aliens would have no problem to raise somebody from the dead.
        If God is mightier than the mightiest extraterrestrial civilization, I see no reason why he could not overcome the decay processes you mention without even having to violate the natural laws He created.

        Cheers.

      • I…just…

        Where do I start with this monstrosity?

        Hey, all I did was substitute what you claimed was ‘faith’ in the religious sense into a fundamental faith-based belief common to most of the thousands of versions of christianity to show that it didn’t work.

        What the Hell? I am using the definition of faith that was used by one of the greatest Christian theologians of the twentieth century. Why won’t you just talk about faith on those terms?

        One does not arrive at the resurrection of Jesus by reason because it’s unreasonable to presume that it’s possible

        One does not be an atheist by reason because it’s unreasonable to not believe in God.

        one accepts the claim in spite of evidence adduced from reality that stands in conflict with any adduced likelihood or probability of it being possible

        One denies God’s existence in spite of evidence adduced from reality that stands in conflict with any adduced likelihood or probability of His nonexistence being possible.

        It isn’t reasonable. And it isn’t deduced from reality no matter how earnest the person may be making it. It’s a belief imposed on reality and then misrepresented as if it were a knowledge claim.

        Not believing in God isn’t reasonable. And it isn’t deduced from reality no matter how earnest the person may be making the argument that God does not exist. It’s a belief imposed on reality and then misrepresented as if it were a knowledge claim.

        In the same way, how biology operates (reality) reveals the the claim for the resurrection to be false.

        In the same way, simple cause and effect relationships seen in the world around (reality) reveals the claim that God does not exist to be false. And that’s faith in action: trying to justify a belief about reality without allowing reality the role to arbitrate it.

        You are a ridiculous person.

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