May 29, 2024

TrueEmpiricism (irony alert)

As Darwin once said, “ignorance more often begets confidence than does knowledge“.

Someone demonstrating Dunning-Kruger syndrome keeps sending me private messages wherein he speaks without knowledge very confidently. I don’t even have time just to read all my emails anymore. I certainly can’t take the time to personally educate every internet noob who thinks he knows something that every expert forgot to notice.

YouTube player

Here is my list of the faults in this video.

1. Theism compares to belief in the invisible pink unicorn because both are unfalsifiable self-contradicting absurdities posited without any basis in fact.

2. Neither theism, -nor any other supernatural superstition- provides any ‘explanation of reality’. Before I can reject your explanation, you’ll have to provide one.

3. Atheism is not ‘reductionist’; it is simply the default position with regard to such baseless assertions as the claim that there are magical anthropomorphic immortals. In science, there is only that which is supported by evidence, and that which is not supprted by evidence, and whatever is not supported by evidence does not warrant serious consideration. Come back when you show there’s a THERE there, when you can show some way to test your claims and to gauge how accurate your beliefs are. Until you can do that, you shouldn’t believe such nonsense, and you certainly shouldn’t state it as if you know it.

4. Theism does not ‘force’ a-theism into anything, nor could it. Making wild indefensible claims -without justification- logically *should* force one to either meet their burden of proof, or retract their dishonest assertions when they prove to be unsupported. Theists can never do that. So what they try to do instead is to project their own fallacies -and their burden of proof- onto the default position -whether neither belongs.

5. Atheism is not a ‘world view’. There are world views which are atheist, (Druids, Pantheists, Taoists, animists, shaman, and so on) but apistevist empirical rationalists do not count as any sort of ‘world view’. Scientific rationalism has neither required beliefs nor prohibited beliefs. That’s why we call it ‘free thought’.

Theists pretend to know what no one even can know, while apistevists honestly admit when no one knows, and that theists NEVER know. (You really don’t – ever.) We also have situations in which we actually *do* know the answer, but theists have to pretend that we don’t, and no amount of proof will change their minds. That’s the world-view at work; assumed conclusions of wishful thinking which absolutely must be defended -no matter how wrong they are- via cognitive bias and whatever other means necessary. None of this applies to apistevists.

That’s 5 significant errors just in the first half minute, and there’s still another nine minutes to go!? At a rate of one false premise every 6 seconds, I can’t waste any more of my time on this. Please find someone to teach you the basics of logic, science, philosophy, theology, and critical thinking, so that you have at least some idea what you’re talking about -before you go waste someone else’s limited life-span.

Hopefully others will watch the rest of this video for me and continue this list without me.

35 thoughts on “TrueEmpiricism (irony alert)

  1. Fractally wrong is a good way of characterize it… as though they’re stating a sequence of premises they wish were true.

    I think it’s totally fair to disregard the rest if the first 5-10% is bursting at the seems with errors. It sounds like an ad hominem to say that the rest is probably wrong because the first part is wrong, but it’s not about that. It’s about time management. It’s not like this is strange, either.

    If you apply for a job as a copy writer, and your cover letter is riddled with grammatical errors, that human resources person is probably going to chuck your application in the trash. That’s life. They’re trying to get through potentially hundreds of applications, and they literally don’t have time to fully analyse each one, just in case the one that appears to be written by a 5-year old has some gem of stunning revelation at the end.

    I don’t think it’s fair to expect atheists to do be an exception, given the myriad of creationist/theist claims, especially when the nature of syllogistic arguments causes the argument to fail if any of the premises are false.

    It took me about 2 months to evaluate Geoffrey Simmons’ “What Darwin Didn’t Know” preface and chapter 1, because essentially every single consecutive sentence was egregiously embarrassingly wrong. Is there a point to evaluating the remaining dozen chapters?

    Given the first 30 seconds, I wouldn’t bother with the rest, myself.

    1. That’s the sort of situation you have with most apologetics books. For example, Steve Shives’s chapter-by-chapter reviews of books like The Case for Christ and Reasonable Faith can’t help but become a little repetitive, in the second half of the book, as he has to repeatedly point out that the foundations they’re building the more advanced arguments upon were bullshit the first time they said them, back in chapter 2 or 3.

      At least there’s usually a lot of snark to add, because in many cases, even if you granted them the horribly flawed premises that they began with, they’re not building to a conclusion that follows from those flawed premises. So many apologetics arguments are both invalid and unsound.

  2. Nine and a half minutes of stupid? I’d rather hit my thumb with a hammer than go through that…

    Is there a reward for the person that can get through it, a Klondike bar perhaps?

    1. I did hit my thumb with a hammer this weekend and it was less painful than watching this video (and I quit watching at about the same place).

  3. I made it a few minutes further, it goes off into presuppositional apologetics, also I heard a train in the background (so I guess that was interesting)

  4. I watched the whole bloody thing. There should be a prize, or at least a sympathy card in the mail.

    Overall this is a Gish Gallop without any overriding organization. His camera presence is wooden and oddly emotive. In spite of obviously reading from notes/cards out of frame, he’s not completely familiar or comfortable with the material.

    Adding to the confusion is his peculiar speech pattern. Attribute(s) he pronounces as a’tribute(s), and in several places it’s nearly impossible to determine whether he’s saying “A theist” (believer) or “Atheist” (nonbeliever). Strangely, either term works in those places. Some places his speech is halting and unsure, other places smooth and familiar. Curiouser and curiouser.

    If y’all watch this, Be Warned – it’s 10 minutes of your life y’all never get back and it’ll have neither intellectual or entertainment value.

    1. Yeah, the attribute/attribute thing (noun/verb respectively) could get annoying, but at least it’s obvious from context.

      How could theist, with an article in front of it, be confused with atheist, without an article, in a way that wouldn’t be cleared up by the context? I would think that the need for an article of the lack of that need would clear it up. Or is his grammar that dodgy that you can’t make any assumptions based upon grammatical indicators?

      I haven’t watched much of the video, so I haven’t encountered his massive style problems. I’ll have to go through the rest of it and see for myself.

      1. Okay, I made it about 45 seconds, that time. Christ, this is painful. It’s so obvious that he’s reading something that he doesn’t really understand, which he copied off of some website.

      2. M’Lord:

        Evidently I wasn’t clear. My apologies. It’s not verb vs noun differentiation. He pronounces attribute(s) as A tribute(s); as if two words. Similar with atheist and a theist. While y’all should be able to parse it properly in real time; it becomes more difficult as your mind glazes over from the word salad being flung your way.

        Yes, it’s painful; and it doesn’t get better as it gets longer. “Proceeds” and “progresses” are in no way applicable to the contents of this clip.

        1. Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. I see, yeah. That is pretty messed up.

          So, pretty much what I said, earlier. He clearly is just reading random crap that he pulled off of a presuppositional apologetics website then, like Tinjoe said earlier? I mean, Christ, if you’re going to present other people’s arguments, you at least need to comprehend them and put them into your own words.

    2. I’m spoiled by the Atheist Experience. When I start listening to arguments like this, I want to come to a full stop as soon as there’s an error… but you can’t do that with a recording. There’s no back and forth. It’s frustrating. The person just keeps going on and on, with one invalid premise built on top of another.

      That’s why I don’t like debates – the format sucks, and creationists are more than willing to take full advantage of the vulnerabilities the format has.

      1. To tell you the truth, I’m not sure that debates have really helped us. Since we’re not as insidious, we don’t get as much mileage from them. Mostly, they come across more as pissing contests.

  5. It’s a Gish Gallop of half-understood false analogies, arguments from ignorance, and bullshit. I just took some notes as he was galloping along… 

    He makes a number of straw-man claims about what atheists believe: we can’t trust that our chemicals are accurately perceiving the world around us. Atheism can’t justify truth, therefore God.

    He says there’s no evidence for any source of complexity in abiogenesis, that there’s no source of information other than mind. (Well, in the pages of FTB and places such as archive, plenty of evidence is reported, so his ignorance has no excuse.)

    He can’t tell the difference between saying that DNA is not a computer program and not any sort of linear written or spoken language and saying that DNA contains no information. As a result he makes the ridiculous claim that atheists say there is no information in DNA. Well, there is; it is just not in the form of a Turing-complete computer language, and the mechanism of a cell making proteins is very different from the mechanism of a computer in a factory directing robots manufacturing cars.

    He says we “know” that information always and only comes from mind, and that atheists must take faith positions that it can come from anywhere else. According to him we pick and choose our facts and defy reality. (That broke my irony detector.)

    In some parts he seems sure of the conclusions he wants to draw; in others he appears to be just regurgitating things he’s memorized. I’m convinced he understands much less about biology and philosophy than I do. I feel confident I could make a response video as practice. I could even make it more entertaining.

    1. He says we “know” that information always and only comes from mind, and that atheists must take faith positions that it can come from anywhere else.

      How arrogant.

      DNA existed long before humans came along, and now that we start producing our own little bits of code, now we just assert that therefore all information must come from a mind?

      Birds also existed for a long time before humans came along. It’d be like us mimicing birds to create our own flying machines, and then comparing our flying machines to birds and saying, “Well since all these other flying things were designed [gesturing at our own airplanes], therefore, the birds must have been designed too”

      What if DNA is our primary example of naturally occurring information (depending on the definition of “information”)? That’d mean that we incorrectly assessed that it came from a mind, by saying “…well all this other information came form a mind.”

      The real question is, how do we tell the difference between a universe where the DNA information is naturally occurring, and a universe where it’s not?

      This isn’t something I’m taking on faith. My position is “I don’t know” how DNA came to be. I’m open to any possibility that’s supported by evidence. So far, the evidence is pointing unanimously towards naturalistic explanations.

  6. G’day Vince…. Heppell 108 McLean 95, you got that one right. Stanton over 106.5 is wrong, as he scored a low 59. 1 out of 2 so far…. I’ll see how your picks go for the rest of the round before I seriously look at your tips next week and maybe have a punt! I reckon you’ll get below 50% this week with your tips… Although I’m with you there on Selwood getting a ton! Almost guaranteed…. Easy money!

  7. It doesn’t matter how long he talks, Mary wasn’t a virgin, Jesus didn’t walk on water, and Lazarus didn’t come back from the dead.

  8. Not worth viewing the whole thing. Samuel Johnson: “I have indeed, not read it all. But when I take up the end of a web, and find it packthread, I do not expect, by looking further, to find embroidery.”

      1. Yup, that’s how I got it. Any time you see a YouTube video embedded somewhere, there will be a button somewhere on the thing to pull it up on YouTube itself.

  9. What’s wrong with reductionism? Atheism is reductionist, or at least, my atheism is. It’s not a dirty word, it just means that complex things can be understood by studying what they’re made of. Life is explained by cells and proteins and so on, not some mysterious irreducible “vital energy.”

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