Saturday, November 22, 2008

What is the purpose?

     If a first person knows that a second person does not accept a particular text as a valid reference, why would the first person continue to quote that text? In principle, this could occur with any subject. In practice I only see it with christians quoting the bible. Now, I have come up with some possibilities.

     Too stupid to think of anything else to say. It is possible that someone might continue using the same failed tactic because he can't think of anything else. Such a person is not a useful advocate for any position.

     Can't really say what he'd like. This condition suggests an indirect warning. He is repeating what is already considered invalid to ensure a rejection. He is forced to create the illusion of advocating an abhorrent position.

     Puppet on a string. The first person isn't acting of his own power at all. Of course the same question can then be applied to the puppet-master.

     Seeking an emotional response. Such a person is being dishonest in any debate. In internet forums, he is considered a troll.

     Playing to a different audience. This would often be mixed with number 4. He is not really trying to convince the person to whom he is nominally speaking. Instead, he is putting on a show for people who agree with him.

     So, can anyone think of any other possibilities? Or have I got them all?


Dani' El said...

Could I debate an atheist and demand that he only quote scripture or I would not consider his argument? Could I demand that he never bring up Darwin?

As a believer, when debating spiritual things, I am coming from a biblical axiom so it is not sound to discount my argument any more than it would be for me to discount your argument from your naturalist axiom.

But to the point.
How can one classify your beliefs?
Existential agnostic?

You tell me.

Pvblivs said...


     You could say you do not trust the works of Darwin. Perhaps you do not believe in scientific texts in general. But, if that is the case, I might still use the texts as a guide as I reproduce the phenomena. If you disregard the "evidence of the senses," then I must recognize that I cannot convince you of anything.
     In much the same way, I reject the bible as an authority. But you could look at it as a personal reference while presenting me with "evidence of the senses." I accept such evidence as that and rely on it to resolve such impasses.
     Now, it is certainly true that there are illusions that can fool the senses. But we verify that through measurements that themselves provide "evidence of the senses." The "evidence of the senses" is the best evidence not because it is perfect (it's not) but because all other forms of evidence rely in it just so that we know what they claim. If I use a book as evidence, I must use my senses to determine what it says, whether or not I trust it.

Pvblivs said...

     Oh yes, my beliefs defy pigeon-holing. If you are only accustomed to dealing with categories, you will not be ready to deal with my beliefs.

Dani' El said...

But in a general sense.
Existential agnostic? With variations?

As to physical evidence of the senses. I argue with fulfilled prophecy, like the state of Israel and Jerusalem etc.

And I talk of prophecy to be fulfilled soon as you know.

And my own testimonies, that of course can only be accepted as factual or not.

I know we all don't have such powerful testimonies but even the simpler ones get discounted as inflated, imagined, etc. by most unbelievers.

I admit that you are not as rigid in denying the plausibility of my testimonies like others, including most of the "christians" I have encountered.
Truly, a prophet hath no honor in his own country.

Dani' El said...

Oh yes. And the arguments for creationism do not deny any sensual evidence. They simply argue that the sensual evidence points to a Creator/God.

In fact complexity and the senses themselves declare design.

ltlgeorge said...

The reason I quote the Bible is because it is true. That is the explanation you missed. I continue to pray for your salvation.

Pvblivs said...


     You're claim fits very easily into the first option. Perhaps you would like to find some evidence that it is true rather than applying the strategy of "repeat a lie loudly enough and frequently enough...." If someone kept repeating you had rejected as false "because it's true," would you be convinced?

Pvblivs said...


     I do attempt to categorize my beliefs. Any such attempt would not do them justice and would, in fact, be oversimplifying.
     The existence of a god is, indeed, consistent with the observed evidence. However, the non-existence is as well.

Dani' El said...

I am a skeptic. There is very little that I believe uncritically. I exist. Other minds exist. My perceptions are generally meaningful and useful (they can successfully predict actions likely to lead to other perceptions.) Pleasure good; pain bad (this applies to other minds as well.) Pretty much anything else, I will consider what it would mean if it were not true, even if I personally believe it to be true.

Not to belittle your beliefs Pvb, but this sounds like classical existentialism and agnosticism.

Isn't that a fair assessment in a general sense?
Or should it just be enigmacism? ;)

ltlgeorge said...

Still praying for you.