27 May, 2008

I See Your Gauntlet and Raise You an Attack Woozle

John Pieret has found a self-righteous fuckhead of a Christian pastor who's stupid enough to challenge atheists:

Paul Dean, pastor of Providence Baptist Church in Greer, South Carolina, has an article at Crosswalk that throws down a gauntlet:

One of the basic dynamics that attends any worldview that
is contrary to the Christian worldview is a lack of philosophical justification for it. This dynamic holds true even in the realm of simply knowing something to be true. In other words, the unbeliever has no basis for knowing anything.

I'm too busy right now to give this man the sound thrashing he deserves. I invite you all to have your way with him: Christians, atheists and agnostics alike. I'm just going to give him a few quick swats with the trusty Smack-o-Matic before letting you take over, if you like.

And I'm making a special request. I need a champion. I need a warrior who's already proven himself in battle to take up this challenge.

I hereby call upon my Attack Woozle.

Take him down, my love. I'll put up your response as a post of its own.

I'll do another post with quotes and links for any of you who decide to take Pastor Dean to the woodshed either in comments or in your own territory.

Right. Let me begin:

One of the basic dynamics that attends any worldview that is contrary to the Christian worldview is a lack of philosophical justification for it.

What Pastor Dickhead - excuse me, Dean - has just done here is sweep aside every other faith and philosophical system, some far more advanced than his self-righteous brand of Christianity. I'm sure the Buddhists, Confucians, Taoists, Jews, Muslims, Hindus - oh, fuck it, everybody - would be very interested to know that they lack a philosophical justification of their worldview.

If that's how you're going to start the game, you've already lost.

In other words, the unbeliever has no basis for knowing anything.

Descartes already kicked your ass on that one. Cogito ergo sum, fuckhead. Not that I like Descartes, but you wouldn't be able to comprehend the Zen Buddhist answer, so Descartes it is. Or any grad student in a lab. Next.

He does not have the ability to search every square inch of the cosmos to determine whether or not there is a God.

And you do? You've done it? No? Then shut the fuck up before you really embarrass yourself. When you're trying to prove your philosophy is superior, "God told me so" is not a good answer. Next.

Of course, Christians have a basis or a philosophical justification for their assertion that there is a God. On our worldview, we know there is a God because He has revealed Himself to us. We are not bound to the limits of empiricism/observation. We know that some knowledge is revealed.

Yes, some knowledge is revealed. You've just revealed to me that you can't philosophize your way out of a brown paper bag. You're just spouting dogma. Next.

Oh, we're on to the "atheists can't answer questions" section of our program. What fun! Let's play:

[W]hy do you believe spanking is wrong?

Because scientific studies have discovered links between spanking and psychological problems in children. What's your justification? The Bible? Brilliant! Let's consult it:

Proverbs 13:24(KJV): "He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes."

Heh heh heh whoops. Boy, is your face red. Let's just move on, then, shall we?

Why do you believe embryonic stem-cell research is a good thing?

Because it could lead to a lot of cures for a lot of horrific diseases and defects, and those little frozen embryos end up in the trash anyway. Is it more ethical to throw them out or use them to help human beings live better, healthier lives?

Why do you say there is no absolute truth?

I don't. In fact, the absolute truth is, you and idiots like you annoy the bugfuck out of me.

Why do you think pre-marital sex is okay in certain circumstances?

What do you mean by "certain circumstances"? And why do I need a philosophical system to justify sex without marriage? Just because you have unhealthy hang-ups about sex doesn't mean I have to.

Why do you believe in evolution?

I don't believe in it. I accept it based on the overwhelming evidence. Not that you're capable of understanding the distinction.

How do you know the sun will come up in the morning?

I don't, but the probability's pretty good, so it's so close to knowing as makes no difference.

Without a biblical worldview, one cannot know for certain the sun will come up in the morning. On an evolutionary worldview, it may not.

I think I begin to see your problem, Pastor. You've got this pathological need for certainty, whereas the non-believer (and the more relaxed believer) is just fine with uncertainty.

Let me just quote Sisters of Mercy, here, can't resist: "And all I know for sure / all I know for real / is knowing doesn't mean so much." I like knowing things. I like certainty (well, some kinds: if anybody knows for certain that I'm going to get hit by a bus tomorrow morning, I'd appreciate not knowing so I can enjoy the rest of my night, thanks ever so much). But I'm not obsessed with absolutes, certainties and knowing absolutely everything. Which is probably why atheism, Zen Buddhism and I get along just fine, and Christianity grates worse than a file on sensitive teeth.

Given time, I could come up with snarky responses to the rest of your bullshit, Pastor Dean, but I have research to do, a book to write, and a blog to maintain. I bid you good day, sir.

Woozle. You're up.


Woozle said...

Pardon, just sharpening my fangs. I'll be right with you...

Dana Hunter said...

My hero!

John Pieret said...

Just a quick round of idle pulling apart of one of the easier bits:

If someone says he doesn't believe in absolutes, simply ask him if it would be okay for you to take a key and run it down the side of his car? He will no doubt say "no" and therefore express a belief in absolutes as far as he is concerned.

It's not an absolute. You propose to hurt me by damaging my property. The universe hurts me on a regular basis but I take what steps I can to avoid that. If you have the inclination to hurt me, I certainly have an equal "right" to hurt you back. Given that situation, I have joined with other people in a pact whereby we mutually agree that, (within certain limits) if someone hurts me, we will all gang up to hurt that someone. We call our group "society" and our pact "the law." Scratch my car and I'll call the cops and get your sorry ass thrown in jail. Hopefully, the mere threat of that will cause you to refrain from doing doing harm to me. No appeal to higher authority needed.

If the Pastor is unsure that his own self interest in avoiding jail is sufficient incentive for him to avoid hurting others, he is free to posit an unearthly authority who will hurt him even more than society can ... though he might think about seeing a psychiatrist about his lack of impulse control while he is at it.

Josh said...

oh look! Another religious fucktard thinks he has a perfect understanding of epistemology! How cute is that?!

I think you hit the nail on the head when it comes to explaining the main motivation from Christians. They are really uncomfortable with uncertainty.

Which makes me wonder: how many Christian quantum physicists are there?

The pastor also makes another fatal mistake: the idea that any 'valid' world view must be omniscient. There is no room for doubt for him. There is no room for the unknown.

How fucking BORING is that!

Woozle said...

Still writing, and I've got to go out now for a bit. Any preference as to how you'd like to receive it? I could post it as a comment, or on my wiki, or email it...

(I suppose I could post it over there, but I'd probably need to rewrite it a bit in order for it to be suitable as a comment. It's also a bit long for that purpose. Probably what would be best is to post a link there to your posting of it here.)

In haste,

Hero, By Appt. to The Dana

Dana Hunter said...

@Woozle: You're my knight! If you like, email it to dhunterauthor at yahoo dot com, or post on your wiki & I can link - or both. ;-)

@John - Excellent answer, sir! As always.

@Josh: Quite boring indeed.

Keep bringing it on!

Woozle said...

It's been a helluva day, but here it is. Let me know if it's too long, or needs to be toned down, or up, or sideways...

Plain HTML version (no toolbars etc.) is here.

Dana Hunter said...

Woozle - you rule the world. I'll get it posted tonight.

Anybody else want to play?