Sunday, May 17, 2009

cl - The Stealth Theist



Oh for fucks sake. Does anyone else see what cl is up to? Do you see what he does?

He is a theist who knows he can't possibly prove that his belief in god has merit, so he doesn't bother to defend it. Shit, he won't even say exactly what he believes, because he feels the ensuing mockery would completely detract from him being able to make headway with his technique.

So what's the technique? His "False Argument" series at his blog is a perfect example if you aren't already bored. He goes from atheist to atheist and if one makes an overstep (even when it is only tenuously related to the gist of the post) he jumps on it. Hint: Don't dare use an absolute. "Every", "Always", "Never", etc. are fair game to cl. So is a statement that can not (or has not yet) be proved scientifically, even though the side he defends can't prove the case that way either. Fair enough. But then he then uses the overstep to write a comment (or an entire post i.e. "False Argument") on a subject he can actually get righteous about, since supporting his own beliefs is prohibitive. Hell, like I said, he won't even mention those beliefs.

He either receives an admission of error or he eviscerates the person for not conceding the point. Either way - he sells it as another "great theist victory over the ignorant atheist". Yet where is god in all of this? I still don't hear his voice, cl. He's missing, as always. cl's ability to argue a petty point effectively does nothing to make the likelihood of god increase. Of course, to an under-educated observer, it might help bolster their waning belief. Perhaps it even props up cl's own sagging "spirit"!

In his latest post he actually comes close to slipping up. He is so giddy with the unusual recovery of a little girl with a tumor that he just barely misses declaring that prayer played a part.

I've held private discussions with Amy Knight and other involved parties in this case, in which information has been disclosed that is not in the traditional reports.

And yes, we'll get to it.

I fully concede the possibility that future evidence could prove this case to be fraudulent or erroneous. Although I will certainly continue ongoing research


Somehow I think he'll shake himself and report back to us that his "research" has been inconclusive. He'll arrive at this because common sense will kick in. He'll realize that many people have been declared terminally ill only to have the tumor or whatever the symptom was disappear. Sometimes they were religious people. Sometimes not. Sometimes they were Muslims. Sometimes Buddhists. Sometimes Borneo islanders. Sometimes even Christians!

Medical science is still in its infancy. There is so much we still don't know (but continue to learn) about the human body, including the mind. But we learn these things because we don't attribute them to god(s). We know there is a physiological reason, and we look for it. A few hundred years ago, a woman who gave medical aid to hundreds of dying patients and didn't get sick was either a "witch" or "blessed by god". Today we would examine her and might find antibodies in her blood for the particular virus. In any case, it wasn't god then, and it isn't god now.

cl knows he can't defend his belief, has seen the countless failures trying to engage atheists in this manner, and has opted for flying in low and attempting to undermine atheist credibility by attacking tangential mistakes. Be aware of his tactic. From now on, when he pulls it, don't respond other than to ask him if he wants to reply to the thrust of the topic.

I guess god needs to play silly word games. Go God!

21 comments:

Spanish Inquisitor said...

He wraps himself in pseudo-intellectual arguments that fool people into thinking that he is some sort of expert, that he is great thinker pondering the arguments from both sides. In the end, however, as I told him on his blog, he aligns himself with the fundamentalist nut cases he invariably tries to distance himself from, in the end perpetuating their bullshit.

Lifeguard said...

I've regularly commented over at Cl's blog and, from what I've observed, I think his position essentially boils down to this:

"Given the present state of the evidence, neither theism nor (positive )atheism are logically compulsory positions. Therefore, atheist arguments that characterize theist positions as irrational, illogical, or not supported by evidence are often false."

I suspect he feels that this makes theism as warranted as atheism, and I have disagreed with him on that. He has meticulously avoided making a positive statement about his beliefs, religious or otherwise, but my guess is he's an open-minded liberal theist of some sort.

Bottom line? Sometimes I think he's right about certain arguments, and I don't have a problem admitting that. Other times, however, I think he's wrong, and I've called him on that. But I have found he can be pretty reasonable if you (1) don't overstate your case, (2) make concessions when you have, and (3) insist he do the same.

To date, neither of us has convinced the other, but, if that's the point, then... what's the point? Methinks challenging someone and being challenged is a lot more satisfying (and productive) than chasing after the illusion that somehow someone's going to convince a theist blogger to openly admit defeat in an argument about whether god exists.

That's my two cents anyway.

the chaplain said...

Good post, Evo. I'm not going to stroke CL's ego by adding anything.

Lorena said...

I'm just going to say that if he ever attacks me, you guys will have to let me know, because I'm not planning on gracing his blog with a visit.

What is he up to? He is a theist virus that has installed itself in your guy's system. You should name him like they do viruses.

Gideon said...
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Lorena said...

I don't know who Gideon is, but he has seriously insulted me.

Maybe if I knew him better I would know how to interpret his comment. Anybody care to explain?

John Evo said...

Well, he was TRYING to seriously insult you. Does that explain who he is?

Really, if you don't allow him to bother you - he won't. I have no problem with Gideon.

cl said...

How flattering! Another smarty-pants atheist blogger devotes an entire post to attacking cl's character - and just like last time - coincidentally just days after cl exposes a blunder on their behalf! What a joke. "Oh, I assure you, cl is harmless... (but I've devoted an entire post to his character)"

Hmmm... let's do the math: John Evo gets moded on YouTube and forced to concede, "I hate being wrong." That's our first clue we're dealing with a prideful specimen! Just weeks later, cl manages to keep Evo accountable to his own appeals to rationalism and garners another concession of error. And voila! We get this. Evo, is this helping your wounds heal? Do you boys read from the same script or what? Vomit.

Essentially, the thing about me, Chappie, Ex, Philly, Evo and SI is a thing of respect. I submit that from my first visit to Chapel, you guys were essentially acted like a bunch of immature highschool-esque douchebags who superficially claimed the intellectual highground. When the arguing got tough, I got denounced as a blowhard and a troll, yet nobody said a word to Trinity, the actual pet troll at least one of you used to sick on Christians. I testify that another person emailed me in private suggesting that I stop responding to Trinity, and that this person was also disappointed in the hometeam's behavior. The personal insults and ad hominem nonsense was interjected right from the getgo, often by people who hadn't even spoken a word to me yet. I'm not a softie, that's not the problem. But if we say that we advance our arguments in order to uncover truth, we must act accordingly. What a bunch of sandbox turd passing for rationalism!

It was this treatment of yours that put an intense distaste for atheism in my mouth, where as before there had been quite a sweetness and curious whetting. It's certainly fair that you'll say the same or worse of me, but as hypocritical fundies discourage people from religion, you turned me off to atheism and also had a negative effect on one of your own. I left that discussion thinking that you guys were a total joke, and vowed that I would expose every weakness I found in your arguments. Honestly, it doesn't take much, and I've let a bunch of them slide, and I probably have gotten overanxious at times - but I think you get the point.

You guys are like a silly little scarlet A football team, but not a very good one if a single theist challenger can cause so many fumbles.

cl said...

Evo,Why not? Finals week is finally over, and you could use a good fisking you ingrate! First you say I helped you in your search for truth and all this other wishy-washy stuff, now I'm a douchebag? I'll have to post in sections to get around your verbosity contraints.

"He is a theist who knows he can't possibly prove that his belief in god has merit, so he doesn't bother to defend it."

That's an interesting statement. It implies that merit is objective. That implies you think your philosophy claims out about as much as you think your science claims out, which as we've recently seen, isn't much. Before I would have assumed you knew better, but these days I'll stop to check: Scientifically defined criteria are one thing, but are you under the assumption that merit (as distinct from scientific credibility) is objective? If so, that's silly. Of course I know I can't prove my beliefs have merit! That entails changing your mind. I know better than to try to persuade you that my beliefs have merit. That's why I don't like to discuss my beliefs. What's the point? Let's pursue logic, rationalism, science, reason, philosophy, etc.

"Shit, he won't even say exactly what he believes, because he feels the ensuing mockery would completely detract from him being able to make headway with his technique."

Just a logical extrapolation of the fact that you folks make mockery of believers in general, and have already made a mockery of me in particular. You guys are just like the cool kids at school.

"Don't dare use an absolute."

No - use absolutes correctly - don't make sloppy arguments. Anyone who reads me knows that's my actual position on absolutes.

"...supporting his own beliefs is prohibitive."

Again you cry and cry about my lack of full disclosure. What more do you need to know other than that I'm not an atheist? When we're discussing the validity of arguments, who cares what our personal beliefs are? Of what relevance is whether I'm Mormon or Catholic when I'm skewering you for claiming prayer studies are scientifically credible - before you've even looked at the evidence? You yourself confessed to looking at the evidence after I challenged you, Evo - and that means your initial argument was made without even a cursory look at the evidence. Remember that next time you're tempted to put your Rationalist T-Shirt on.

"...he sells it as another "great theist victory over the ignorant atheist"."

Don't quote me as saying something I didn't say. That's bunk and you know it. I submit that the quoted words are not mine. Some nerve.

"Yet where is god in all of this? I still don't hear his voice, cl."

Of course you don't! You're an atheist!

cl said...

Evo, (cont.)"He is so giddy with the unusual recovery of a little girl with a tumor that he just barely misses declaring that prayer played a part."

"Barely misses" my ass. I purposely avoided any such claim precisely because unlike the slow kids who needed a reminder, I already knew such claims cannot be falsified.

"There is so much we still don't know (but continue to learn) about the human body, including the mind."

Have you thought about the implications of this statement on your own promissory materialism?

"We know there is a physiological reason, and we look for it."

Ah, yes... seeing what we want to see, then chiding others for doing the same.

"A few hundred years ago, a woman who gave medical aid to hundreds of dying patients and didn't get sick was either a "witch" or "blessed by god". Today we would examine her and might find antibodies in her blood for the particular virus. In any case, it wasn't god then, and it isn't god now."

Doesn't it bother you that you create false dichotomies where they need not exist? You say "it wasn't god," yet your evidentiary substantiation for that claim is as nil as you claim of the theist's. Hypocrit! Perhaps her resilient constitution was a blessing by God? How could we know? As someone who claims to be a rationalist, you make quite a few claims without evidence, Evo.

"cl knows he can't defend his belief, has seen the countless failures trying to engage atheists in this manner, and has opted for flying in low and attempting to undermine atheist credibility by attacking tangential mistakes."

If you think such grave misunderstandings of falsifiability and scientific credibility as those you've recently espoused (and amended) are "tangential mistakes," you're badly mistaken. You showed me that you misunderstood the very nature of science - that which you uphold so vociferously as your own yardstick of truth.

"From now on, when he pulls it, don't respond other than to ask him if he wants to reply to the thrust of the topic."

Please do! I'd love to drop all the pathetically transparent sideshows. They you guys would really be in trouble.

cl said...

SI,"In the end, however, as I told him on his blog, he aligns himself with the fundamentalist nut cases he invariably tries to distance himself from, in the end perpetuating their bullshit."

Who the hell made you some kind of authority? You align yourself with fundamentalist nutcases in my opinion, showing up at my blog and not understanding what scientists mean when they use the word credible. Go lawyer someone else.

Chaplain,"I'm not going to stroke CL's ego by adding anything."

Wise move, as you give me plenty of fodder. You know, all you'd have to do is extend the same apology I extended you regarding that initial thread, and you and I could become best of pals whenever you want. Ball's in your court, has been since then. If not, keeping you on the ropes is always fun, too.

Lorena,For the record, I don't "attack" people that don't attack me first, and I have no problem with you. In fact, I invite you to my blog. I really do need to see where my arguments could use strengthening, and a fresh perspective often yields good criticism. This stuff you see here consists mostly of me dealing with attacks on character.

As Lifeguard said, there's two sides to every story.

John Evo said...

Philly predicted you perfectly. That's all I have to say.

I do have a couple of questions though:

Do you believe in the god of the Christians? Do you think Jesus is the son of god or an actual part of god who took human form or neither? Do you think he died for your sins? Do you think belief in him and repenting for sins is the way to go to heaven?

cl said...

Evo,

I also predict Philly perfectly, and look at you - still hung up on religion. Just make tighter arguments and actually look at evidence before opening your mouth. That's all I ask.

John Evo said...

I said:

Do you believe in the god of the Christians? Do you think Jesus is the son of god or an actual part of god who took human form or neither? Do you think he died for your sins? Do you think belief in him and repenting for sins is the way to go to heaven?

cl said...

I know, I heard you. Sans civility, my beliefs are none of your business.

John Evo said...

Cl said:

If anyone wants to know something specific, they can ask, and I can answer – it’s that easy

Yep.

cl said...

Well, it was that easy, when I thought I was dealing with people who understood respect. Who knows? I might even humor you some day. But like Gideon says, you guys are too emotional. You don't really have any arguments, and all you do is run your mouths about whoever disagrees with you. You guys are like church already. I don't see how bringing religion into things is going to help.

John Evo said...

Well, it was that easy, when I thought I was dealing with people who understood respect.

Which was your thought process way, way back in the early days of your interactions with us. Those were the good old days of April 25, 2009.

I've had enough of your games, cl. I told myself that once before, and I gave you another chance. That's the way I roll, and I don't regret it. But now - Good-bye.

Gideon said...
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Gideon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
cl said...

AW come on John-O, if I might borrow some of Gideon's appropriate tone. Slight overstep my ass! More like significant reversal of opinion! Be a good sport! Why terminate our relationship when you're just beginning to actually learn a thing or two from the theist you mock?

I don't get it. You act like I'm a bad guy for not wanting to discuss personal religious beliefs which have zero bearing on this discussion. For the purposes of our discussions, I argue from the POV of somebody who answers affirmatively to your questions.

But my personal beliefs don't matter; my goal is to show that mainline atheism is so loose, arrogant and pretentious that even a Fundamentalist can ravage it. I feel I'm doing okay for a beginner. Feel free to deny any of the following:

1) I objected to Philly's 'ejaculation' statement on grounds of insufficient evidence;

2) You jumped in the discussion I was having with Philly, offer some link that you imagined constituted evidence, then proceeded to ridicule me thusly: "Do you actually have so much arrogance as to assume YOU are the one who figured out that they need to factor for things like placebo effects, spontaneous remissions, control groups, etc? YOU know better than the many PhD level researchers who have worked on it and the many others who have served as judges of the studies? (Evo to cl)"

3) "Your ignorance of the research that has been done on the efficacy of prayer is not my problem. That you are (or claim to be; or affect being) in ignorance of the MANY studies that have been done would no doubt account for your ignorance of the studies protocols." (Evo to cl) Yet, you conceded that both 1 and 2 took place before you took a decent look at the evidence - hypocritically revealing your own ignorance when I was the one citing published books and studies from other scientists all along;

4) You conceded that once you took a look at the evidence, I was correct, which completely nullifies your previous chiding - for which no apology is forthcoming.

So don't act like you guys aren't totally disrespectful. Those four points successfully demonstrate that contrary to your vociferous espousing of rationalist principle, you formulated your argument on knee-jerk impulse - not evidence. This is truly undeniable. If that's the note you wish to end on, I completely understand, but now that your questions are sufficiently answered, why not a shake of the hand and let's start fresh on the next post - like two regular human beings without issues?

Your concession and this post are enough to convince me that you take me seriously. So let's just be decent, yeah?