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Gavin said he'd located fallacies (where?)


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You seem to know what "intelligence" is enough to use it in a sentence.  Shall we blame it on Godel's theorem?

The point is that you cannot have an empirical proof in principle.  Pointing to the epistemic problems that a revelatory proof might have don't really address that issue, IMHO.

Perhaps that won't stop you from supposing otherwise.

Whee! We agree again! Hey, we have to do this more often Bryan. As I pointed out at some length, an empirical proof, as you put it, is impossible. Disproof, yes, fine, but proof, outside the realms of mathematics, no can do.

I think I’d have been able to follow your answer adequately in the short form, given that it’s the one I expected from someone who knew something of epistemology.

You’re fudging a bit, however, since you were not asked for a mathematical proof of your intelligence but a scientific proof.

I’ll rephrase the question to make it clearer:

What scientific evidence would lead you to believe that you are intelligent?

And the people who subscribe to it, it seems (see "bigot").

Covered above. I distinguish people from the beliefs they hold. I'm not obstinate, I described myself as a strong agnostic, not, you note, an atheist. I think atheism is as untenable as deism.  Believing that there is no god is about as justifiable as believing there is.  I just take things on the preponderance of evidence.  Strong agnostic I remain.  Show me proof, either way and I'll follow where it leads.  That isn't obstinate, therefore I am no bigot.

“Religion isn't rational. Its dogmatic.”

The foregoing dogma courtesy of Gavin.

Oh, and I’m not bigoted against short people. Show me a short person who doesn’t have little eyes and doesn’t run around telling great big lies and I’ll follow the evidence where it leads.

But short people have little eyes and run around telling great big lies.

Do I seem about as consistent as you?

Spiritual truth is best arrived at through a personal journey of some kind IMHO.  Accepting someone else[‘]s truth, at face value, is not something I would recommend.

You probably ought to refrain from recommending that spiritual truth anyway, for the sake of avoiding self-stultification (but I suppose you can blame Godel).

Okay, I quite agree, I do refrain from making that recommendation, I merely, and humbly, express my personal opinion. That's what IMHO means, as you very well know.  And never in class. ;) (Unless asked, of course)

IMHO, you shouldn’t assume that a recommendation cannot also be an opinion.

That so many people are willing to do so astounded me until I realized that there were certain evolutionary advantages to accepting things on faith. In fact, and you'll get a real kick out of this, religious belief is only really explicable in terms of natural selection and the structure of early hominid society. Having invented it, we then proceed to indoctrinate our young with it.  So, we end up with religious beliefs that are simply an accident of birth.  If I had been born in Malaysia I would almost certainly be muslim.  And, no matter what doubts I might have as to my faith, there is nothing I can do to apostacize, let alone get my foreskin back.

(intellect as slave to cause-and-effect.  Is there any evolutionary advantage to self-awareness, under the assumption that our choices are beyond our ability to control?)

Yes. Bad assumption. Intellect is what frees us from cause and effect by allowing us to manipulate cause and thereby control effect.

Wouldn’t you say that Ockham’s razor dispenses with that notion in an instant? It should be simpler to suppose that the freedom you reference is more parsimoniously explained by a complex set of prior causes that provide you the illusion that you have freed yourself from cause and effect. One less entity, no?

Intellect allows us to anticipate the effect of a given cause.  Mind you, rats can learn which button to press, and they don't rank to highly on my scale of intellectuals. 

1) How do you know it’s not anticipation but coincidence of a set of other prior causes that provide the appearance of anticipation? Isn’t the former more parsimonious?

2) Chess programs (even early ones) give the appearance of anticipating the effect of a given cause. Are chess programs intelligent?

Can we get back to your definition of intelligence one day?

Use the usual definition if it permits you to answer coherently. If the normal definition doesn’t work then take your pick of one that allows you to answer.



Now, things are not quite as bad as that in the US, but the plight of young people, brought up with an unquestioning faith in christianity, who suffer in fear of hellish torment should they stray from the path has to be acknowledged.  It is one thing for parents to impose their religious beliefs upon their own children, although I would argue that it does, in some cases, cons[t]itute abuse, but for it to be reinforced in the classroom is a very, very serious cause for concern

And you can define “religious beliefs” so that you don’t end up staking out an inconsistent position? Are morals a form of religious belief, given that you have assured me that everything is meaningless?

This is what you get when two pedants won't let a single thing get by them.

I let plenty of stuff get by, but if my opponents habitually opt for unsupported assertions and avoidance (as well as stuffing short sentences full of innuendo), I provide a comprehensive reply in order to effectively establish a contrast.

It's argument by attrition actually, not reason.

I don’t accept the existence of argument by attrition, except as a form of argumentum ad ignorantiam (he has left the field of battle so I win). I do not engage in that fallacy. You can find plenty of arguments abandoned by others on these boards. You won’t find a single instance of me claiming to have won the argument as a result.

You might, on the other hand, see me challenging the other side with comments along the lines of “Let’s see your argument, if you’ve got one.”

I don’t feel as though I’m required to assume that the other side has an argument if they refuse to present one.

The moment one lets something slip by then the other is in like a rapier with a nah nah-nah nah-nah nah.

We’ll see if you engage in that type of behavior. I’ve refrained from assuming that you would do something like that. Perhaps you’ve assumed the opposite of me (after all, I’m probably one of the krazy kristians who exercise faith to the exclusion of reason).

The issue in question gets entirely forgotten in the juvenile point scoring. Anyway, I just thought I'd show you what comes of your modus operandi a la Kant's moral imperative.

Isn’t Kant’s moral imperative meaningless along with everything else?

The main point was the issue of separation of church and state, though you’ve steadfastly (thus far) disallowed the importance of federalism in the U.S. government arrangement. On the one hand you say that the U.S. law is important to you and on the other hand you hand-wave a fundamental aspect of the U.S. laws. Perhaps you’ll get around to explaining yourself.

You’ve also objected to Paszkiewicz’s teaching along the principle (AFAICS) that he discussed things that you did not think were appropriate in a history class. That opinion of yours is too ambiguous to be much use, IMO, but maybe you can elaborate on it successfully.

You also objected that Paszkiewicz said things that were not science, so I’m taking the tack of demonstrating to you that science without things that are not science is nonsense. Perhaps you think it’s off-topic at present, but I expect you to have a difficult time maintaining a consistent position—regardless of Godel.

You also indicated an interest in defending Richard Dawkins’ attempt at theology. That will be in the works fairly soon.

I may have missed some emerging points in the summary, but I just wanted to assure you that I haven’t lost track of the bigger picture.

Tee Hee :D

One last point: (again)

Teacher: You're 18 years old and you make that decision? I'll still

love you, I don't have to agree with you. I'd never abandon you.

Regardless of what decision you make. But, you think of even God, the

way he's portrayed in the scriptures. People have done horrible things

in the Bible; did he stop loving us? No, I mean the relationship was

damaged, but he didn't stop loving us. And that's how - the example we

should have as parents. But if my kid is age 12, and he's telling me

"Dad, I appreciate your time and effort, but I've decided in my 12

years of wisdom that I'm going to stop going to church." After I break

his backside, we're going to have a little attitude adjustment, he's

going to get in the car with the rest of the family and go to church.

You're entitled to your own opinion, but you still gotta do as your

old man tells you to do, or suffer the consequences. That's really the

[truth of it?]


If he were a muslim, a hindu or even, god forbid, an atheist, would you want this man as your teacher.  (Let alone father)

My parents administered corporal punishment and required me to attend church until I was approximately 18.

That particular argument from outrage won’t tend to work very well on this side of the pond.

Edited by Bryan
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