Thursday, April 22, 2010

Responding to Rex on his Defense of No True Scotsman

I made a criticism of the way atheists use the so called "no true Scotsman  fallacy." Rex writes a long defense of it so I think it deserves attention here.

Rex

One is that when a christian does something wrong, like say murdering a doctor in a church because gawd told him that the doctor was a tool of satan, then immediately all of the other Christians will say, "well he did this horrible thing, so he wasn't a true christian". That is a problem.

Meta:

This is typical of the way this guy thinks. First of all how many Christians murder doctors in chruch? this is a very rare event. It's maybe 1 in a billion? Probably more but more like 1 in 25 million. I know I have not murdered a doctor in weeks. "All the other Chrsitians say..." is that really the case. All Christians said that about the shooting of abortion doctors? I didn't. The vast overwhelming majority of Christians do not kill doctors and do not want anyone to be killed. This is the propaganda o the hate group. They have a hysterical of Christianity and they see Christians as evil stupid monsters they want every to believe that Christians are running around murdering everyone. He's right that the issue is about saying "X was not a true Y" in cases where X is used to commit the fallacy of guilt by association.

This is what Rex is doing and its' what the hate group does, they want to use the fallacy of guilt by association to connect the actions of the loonies to those of the main stream. Now in my original criticism I said that the real no true Scotsman fallacy works by appealing to some group that are not chosen voluntarily. That's why it's called "no true Scotsman" and not true dentist. Because you don't choose to be a Scotsman, that's what makes the idea that we can't predict what a true Scotsman will do. But the same token we can predict what a true membrane of a voluntary group whose membership turns upon the acceptance of the membership upon a code of behavior. You don't sign up to be a Scotsman you are born there. So you can't say "no true Scotsman would do X" because maybe they would, Scotsmen have all kinds of different views. But you can say "no true birdwatcher would knowing kill a cedar waxwing." You can say "no true member of the woman hater's club would marry a woman." They might, especially if they are one of the three stooges. But then they would cease to be members of the club. So it's still a true statement. Birdwatchers and women haters are people do these things becasue they want to so we can say a true birdwatcher would not kill birds. Christianity is also something one joins up for. So we can say "a true is one who lives up to the code of Jesus' teachings." Because that's the idea that one becomes a Christian to fulfill.


Rex:

If someone buys into the whole John 3:16 thing, and SELF IDENTIFIES as a christian, then that is how they are grouped.

Meta:

John 3:16 has noting to do with self identification. It says to enter the kingdom of God you must be born again. It's talking about a spiritual experience, not self identification. Even so Rex's argument is backwards o logic. If you join by your own desire then agree to live up to the code so it is possible to compare one's behavior to a standard and say "a true X does not do that." But the true fallacy, which atheists are misusing doesn't apply to volunteer groups or self identification it applies to where you are born: thus "Scotsman" not psychologist.


Rex:
Hitler self identified as a Catholic.
(1) he was not, he was born into a Catholic family when  he was old enough to choose his own faith he abandoned it in favor of the occult.

(2) you are doing the fallacy in reverse. 

The fallacy says you can't know what a member of a group will do so you can't say a "ture something or other" wouldn't do that. But you are trying to say that a Christian is a  murdering piece of shit looking for a Nazi party to join. So you are actually "a true Christian will X" as long as X is murder, rape, true lies, bunch of bad stuff.

Of course he will play the game they always play and deny that he's saying this. Well then what's the point of saying Hitler was a Christian? Obviously if they are thinking this guilt by association thing anyway then clearly they are associating Hitler with Christianity and then they would have to be blaming Christianity as the cause of Hitler-type behavior. Which is nothing more tan commuting the fallacy they say is a wrong idea and you can't think that way. Rex is going to say that by arguing Hitler was a Christian he's showing "true Christians" don't live up the values they claim to embrace. But he's begging the question because you hasn't given us any way to establish that Hitler was  "true" Christian Since Christianity is a volunteer outfit and it means one intends to live up to a standard of behavior then obviously there's a basis of comparison as to what a "true" Christian does so we can say Hitler was not one.

On any message board where atheists ridicule Christians, any day of the week, you can find half a dozen atheists displaying this kind of circular abarudist attempt at false logic.


Rex

When all of the members of the Hutaree Christian Militia were arrested for conspiracy to commit domestic terrorism, immediately the gawd teamers said that they were not true christians. Sorry, but it doesn't work that way. These loonies were doing gawds work the best way that they could interpret it, they self identify as christians, and the outside world's opinion makes no difference.


Meta:

Yea it does work that way. Because Christians follow Jesus, Jesus said turn the other cheek, He told Peter "put away your sword." So true Christians don't go around fighting with guns becuase that's not what Jesus wanted. Again we see the circular reasoning. Why should we think those guys are Christians? Well because Rex wants me them to be. They follow Jesus' teachings, but they call themselves "Christians" they can't be hypocrites because that we be like saying Christians aren't evil. So what we find is we can committ the fallacy of no true Scotsman if by that we mean something bad bout Chrsitians, but we can't if we mean something good.

No True Scotsman Fallacy: No True Christian would murder a doctor in cold blood.

Not the No True Scotsman Fallacy but a fact: Christians are all evil and stupid and just can't waint to murder.


Rex:
Christianity has tried for centuries to take credit for every good thing in the world, and chalk up everything bad to non belief or the work of the devil.

 Meta:

The Russians did it first. Personally I am willing to admit Christians did not invent diet cola, the game "monopoly" or swizzle sticks . But I wish we had invited the latter two. I love Monopoly and swizzle sticks..


 Rex:

Sorry, but you don't get off that easy any more. You gotta take the good with the bad, and lately with the Catholic pedophiles, and with the christian leadership blaming earthquakes on sin, the bad for the gawd team is front page news.
Meta:

I think the problem he understands so little about Christianity he confesses with American citizenship and membership in NATO and other cultural identification. He doesn't seem to understand that being a Christian is a voluntary act that invovles emulation of a set of principles and the development of an inner life that fosters commitment to ideas of love and peace. He thinks one is born a Christian.

Rex:
When an atheist does something bad, we have to take it on the chin and say yep, he did it and he should be punished.

Meta

Christians would probably stop doing that if you guys would stop making this stupid guilt by association sort of thinking. That's probably half why we say such tings, to try and demonstrate to you how unfair your own stereotyping is. then of course there are the blood thirsty satanic minions who crowd the atheists meeting halls.... what?

Rex:

Besides, christianity is so splintered, with so many sects and sub sects, that they all conflict enough that there is no sorting out who is a true christian any other way than how they identify themselves. The Catholics don't consider any other sect to be true christians, nor do the protestants, or the baptists etc.
Meta:

Then if they are all different how can you blame them for the actions of the extremists? But there is still the teachings of Jesus, which is the origin of Christianity and it's what Christians are converted on the basis to follow.

Rex:

Self identification is the only real way to group them.


Meta

Self identifications provides a basis for comparison. Being  a Christian is about following Jesus. To the extent that one acts contrary to Jesus teachings one is not a true Christian. If you want to base it up on a  standard only God knows, such as the heart, then you still can't stereotype but you can say so and so is not exhibiting true Christianity. So it's not a matter of judging and saying "the guy shot the doctor is not saved, but we can say he's not living up to the idea of a true Christian at the moment." That's part of the problem is many apologists don't bother to keep things straight. It's human nature short hand things. It is an inadequate short hand to say "xi is not a true Christian" we should say "X is not living up to true Christianity in doing Y."

Rex:

Besides, you like to repeat over and over that Christians make up 80% of this country, and that number would be much smaller if the people who are not "true" Christians were removed from the list.

Meta:

yes but arguments about how many there are stem from answering the atheist augments which try to inflate their numbers and their assertions that their views are normal and their little 3% represent the normal people and the 90% who believe in God represent a bunch of crack pot idiots who can't wait to murder. If atheists would cease all of these fallacious and invalid arguments about numbers and association and bad analogies and so forth then Christians would stop worrying about such answers.

Rex:
You can't have it both ways.


Meta:

I don't. you are trying to have it both ways. you are trying to have it  where if they do something evil they are true Christians and if hey do good then they don't represent anybody.

No true atheist would reason like that. btw you have misspelled a bunch of words in this. no true atheist would do that!

no true atheist would laugh at my jokes. nor true Christians either.

14 comments:

Loren said...

As to the 90% of believers, most of them don't believe in your ground-of-being god -- they believe in a big-man-in-the-sky god or something similar. So by your argumentum ad populum, you ought to believe that God is some big man in the sky rather than some "ground of being".

Furthermore, there is a such thing as superior knowledge. Can you derive Kepler's Three Laws of Motion from the equations of Newtonian mechanics? I can, even if the large majority of people can't. Does my being in that small minority mean that Newtonian mechanics is invalid?

You yourself use this superior-knowledge argument when you claim that atheists are ignorant of theology, so you have no right to complain.

Metacrock said...

As to the 90% of believers, most of them don't believe in your ground-of-being god -- they believe in a big-man-in-the-sky god or something similar. So by your argumentum ad populum, you ought to believe that God is some big man in the sky rather than some "ground of being".


Meta:
(1) immaterial. No bible verse that says everyone has to have the same concept.

(2) prove God doesn't respect all beliefs: salvation is not based upon having the right concept.

(3)there can only be one first principle so so there can only be one God and anything that fits the fist principle is it.


Furthermore, there is a such thing as superior knowledge. Can you derive Kepler's Three Laws of Motion from the equations of Newtonian mechanics? I can, even if the large majority of people can't. Does my being in that small minority mean that Newtonian mechanics is invalid?

Atheists are the ones who think the majority make something right, that's why they are always trying to swell their ranks. It's a contradiction for you, you want to be the majority but you only a fringe 3% so you don't know whether to see selves as an elite or try and swell your numbers.

You yourself use this superior-knowledge argument when you claim that atheists are ignorant of theology, so you have no right to complain.


Different argument. I don't jus say theology is superior I say its what you are criticizing. if you don't the thing your criticizing your criticisms are bound to miss the mark, and they do.

A Hermit said...

I don't see anyone saying all Christians must be like the bad examples; the "NTS" thing is just pointing out that being a Christian is not a guarantee of good behaviour...

Rex said...

First of all, my misspellings are intentional, for effect. Can you say the same when you post?

Secondly, no where in my statement do I even remotely hint that christians are just waiting for a chance to murder.

What I did say is that when one self labeled christian does murder, the rest do what you just did and say that he was not following the tenants of christianity, so therefore he is not christian and our hands are clean from the blood he spilled in the name of christianity.

The effect is that you all want to take credit for the good in the world, and deny any involvement in the bad.

That type of reasoning does not work in the modern world. People have sources of information outside of church doctrine now and they are taking christianity to task for the hypocrisy that it (and you) shows every day.

Christianity is not the only religion that behaves this way, but I have restricted my comments to christianity because that is what the original post was about.

Metacrock said...

First of all, my misspellings are intentional, for effect. Can you say the same when you post?

Yes so are mine! I had the same idea. Great minds think alike.

Secondly, no where in my statement do I even remotely hint that Christians are just waiting for a chance to murder.

Yes sure. there would be no point in pionting out the mistkaen belief that Histler was a Christan if the implication was not intended that being a Christian makes you like Hitler.

maybe you use certain forms of rhetoric becuase you see other atheists do it and you just don't realize their true motive is that implication. But I've seen plenty of atheists who are totally frank about thinking that.


What I did say is that when one self labeled christian does murder, the rest do what you just did and say that he was not following the tenants of christianity, so therefore he is not christian and our hands are clean from the blood he spilled in the name of christianity.


It is a matter of fact that such a person is no following the tennets of the faith. The issue about wehatehr or not he's a "true" christians and what that means, or if he's saved or whatever that's a different matter.

It's obvious that if he is not following the teaches, he's not a strong Christians and he's not living to what Christianity is about.


The effect is that you all want to take credit for the good in the world, and deny any involvement in the bad.

that's rubbish. Paul said the moral law is written on the heart and gentiles (read unbelievers) who don't have the law do what the law says because God put it in them to do it. That means people of all stripes, faiths, cultures, beliefs can be and are good.

That type of reasoning does not work in the modern world. People have sources of information outside of church doctrine now and they are taking Christianity to task for the hypocrisy that it (and you) shows every day.

straw man argument. But there may be fundies who do that, but you know, they are not real Chrsitians ;-)

Metacrock said...

I don't see anyone saying all Christians must be like the bad examples; the "NTS" thing is just pointing out that being a Christian is not a guarantee of good behaviour..

Res said that.He said "they all makes excuses for the murderer." that's a generalization accusing all Christians of condoning murder.

Mariano said...

The “Hitler self identified as a Catholic” styled tactic is always fascinating.

Basically, the person is saying that they find Hitler to be such a trustworthy guy that whatever he said must have been true.

Metacrock said...

The “Hitler self identified as a Catholic” styled tactic is always fascinating.

Basically, the person is saying that they find Hitler to be such a trustworthy guy that whatever he said must have been true.

yup-- good one

Dave said...

Something to keep in mind is that for most of history, it was assumed there was a higher power framed in the local/regional cultural construct. This was a given, like knowing that the sky is blue or that the sun will rise every morning. This is the context in which holy texts were recorded from oral history and story telling and out of which sacred traditions have grown. What we receive from these books and traditions today then, including the way in which people relate to a higher power, is directly inherited from this background.

So we can ask, what was the purpose of the language used to describe that higher power? How would it have been received given the cultural context in which it was offered? In the Bible alone God is presented as a shepherd (a smelly, low-ranking peasant), a mighty King, Being itself ("I AM"), a worried parent, and a source of refuge, to name a few perspectives. What would those have meant to hearer of those days?

The stories surrounding arrival and childhood of Jesus, for example, is geared at using inverted symbols and coverting familiar terms and themes to turn notions of power and justice on their heads. They weren't meant to be mocked by someone saying "Such and such a story is not technically possible." The primary issue wasn't whether you believed it was possible but rather what it meant -- what it did to you when you heard it.

Should we assume that because someone is using the "King" depiction that they have understanding of God as Being or as concerned parent? And should we assume that just because some folks are presently capable of relating to God in only a couple of these representative types that this defines the reality of God?

Upon what evidence can anyone here argue that 90% percent of believers don't believe in God as the Source? How do we know that most theists have a simplistic, one-dimensional understanding of God? Because of what you here in the news or how you interpret a routine church service? That is very superficial. Especially given all the references in holy texts and associated commentaries from around the world from millenia of history that clearly include such a dimension?

As for the original argument, Christianity is precisely geared (like Shin Buddhism) for those who are humbled by their own failures and shortcomings, not for those who achieve self-mastery and perfection independent of others. So it would be odd NOT to find addicts, whores, con men, terrorists, liars, thieves, and murdered drawn to Christianity or participating in Christian congregations. You know, the same kinds of people Jesus hung out with during his ministry.

Dave said...

Addendum: For example, people living in Judea and the surrounding regions wouldn't have had the modern stumbling blocks to the idea of signs appearing in the heavens or a virgin birth to herald the arrival of a major figure in history. An emperor. A king. Someone of noble blood born in a palace and destined for greatness. But they were shocked that this would apply to someone born in a poor town from commoner parents.

Loren said...

Adolf Hitler was VERY honest about his fundamental beliefs. He certainly didn't lie about his beliefs when he claimed that Jews were Very Evil People and when he claimed that he wanted to make Germany a great nation again, and certainly a very big one.

I also suspect that ground-of-being theology is even more marginal than atheism or agnosticism -- how many people outside of theologians and divinity students have even heard of it?

As to depicting Mr. G. as some sort of king to get understood, that's VERY wimpy. An omnimax entity ought to have no trouble getting around cultural stereotypes. Otherwise, it would not be even close to omnipotent.

Metacrock said...

Adolf Hitler was VERY honest about his fundamental beliefs. He certainly didn't lie about his beliefs when he claimed that Jews were Very Evil People and when he claimed that he wanted to make Germany a great nation again, and certainly a very big one.


wasn't he lying when he said the Jews caused all of Germany's problems? I know he believed but it's one thing to attack someone and reveal your prejudices, especially to use them as a scape goat. But it's quite another to say "I folks I'm evil, I want to destroy civilization and take over the world, by the way I hate your most cherished beliefs--now vote for me?" What kind of an idiot would say that? Do you think he was stupid? I don't.

I also suspect that ground-of-being theology is even more marginal than atheism or agnosticism -- how many people outside of theologians and divinity students have even heard of it?

the entire Catholic church, the entire Eastern Orthodox chruch, and a large segment of liberal protestants.

It matters even less in Christianity about whose popular than it does to Atheists. In the OT the prophet Elijah was convinced he was the only true following of God left, he was going to give up on God because of that.



As to depicting Mr. G. as some sort of king to get understood, that's VERY wimpy. An omnimax entity ought to have no trouble getting around cultural stereotypes. Otherwise, it would not be even close to omnipotent.


that is so naive and, sorry to say, shallow. this is just typical of the way Atheists refuse to think about anything. You can't get around metaphor, because language is metaphor. As long people speak language words will screw up meaning.

It's well known that the Hebrew language is a pictorial. Metaphorical Adolf Hitler was VERY honest about his fundamental beliefs. He certainly didn't lie about his beliefs when he claimed that Jews were Very Evil People and when he claimed that he wanted to make Germany a great nation again, and certainly a very big one.

I also suspect that ground-of-being theology is even more marginal than atheism or agnosticism -- how many people outside of theologians and divinity students have even heard of it?

As to depicting Mr. G. as some sort of king to get understood, that's VERY wimpy. An omnimax entity ought to have no trouble getting around cultural stereotypes. Otherwise, it would not be even close to omnipotent.

That's really silly.totally naive. Language is metaphor. Your tring to use omnipotence as a desex machina to save your arguments. you are stubbornly insisting that the atheist straw man has to be the true picture of God so you can keep attacking it.

as long people speak languages they will be screwed up with words because language is metaphor.

Metaphorical imagery imagery is extremely important in the Hebrew language.

Loren said...

Meta, you ask about Adolf Hitler:
wasn't he lying when he said the Jews caused all of Germany's problems?

Does he have to be a liar when he claimed that?

Furthermore, he described the Temple temper tantrum of "the Lord" as an archetypical example of fighting the Jews. Yes, some Nazis believed that Jesus Christ was a noble Nordic persecuted by the Jews.

True, some Nazis did not like Xianity very much, like Alfred Rosenberg, who wanted to set up a "National Reich Church" with Hitler as its Messiah, Mein Kampf as its holy book, Nazi songs as its hymns, "Reich orators" as its pastors, etc. Sort of like a Nazi/Protestant version of Auguste Comte's "Catholicism minus Xianity" Religion of Humanity.

I will concede that Nazism was an essentially secular movement, like many other political movements of the last century or so. However, pro-Nazi "Positive Xianity" was OK with many Nazi leaders.

Metacrock said...

Meta, you ask about Adolf Hitler:
wasn't he lying when he said the Jews caused all of Germany's problems?

save your Hitler arguments Loren I'm going to do a main blong thing on it.

his "Christian" statements were made in campaign speeches, his anit-Christian statements in private.


Does he have to be a liar when he claimed that?

In a campaign speech? Yea. How do we know politicians lie? Their lips are moving.

Furthermore, he described the Temple temper tantrum of "the Lord" as an archetypical example of fighting the Jews. Yes, some Nazis believed that Jesus Christ was a noble Nordic persecuted by the Jews.


so that makes them Christians? sorry takes more than trying coopt Jesus to be the mascot of your hate group to be a Christian.

True, some Nazis did not like Xianity very much, like Alfred Rosenberg, who wanted to set up a "National Reich Church" with Hitler as its Messiah, Mein Kampf as its holy book, Nazi songs as its hymns, "Reich orators" as its pastors, etc. Sort of like a Nazi/Protestant version of Auguste Comte's "Catholicism minus Xianity" Religion of Humanity.

I will concede that Nazism was an essentially secular movement, like many other political movements of the last century or so. However, pro-Nazi "Positive Xianity" was OK with many Nazi leaders.

when you see my evidence you will know that Hitler was an occultist who hated Christianity as much as he hated the Jews.