Bags of Bran

Apologia #12
April 3, 2012, 11:35 pm
Filed under: Apologioi
Christopher Ames
11:11 PM (17 minutes ago)

to Curt



I have a bit of time on my hands, so here goes:


1.      If there is nothing transcendent, how can I commit logical fallacies? Do the laws of logic not transcend minds? If they are common to all minds, they are transcendent with respect to one mind. If they have an existence outside the mind, how did they get there, and is it only convention and consensus that makes 5+5=10?

2.      It is only begging the question because my definition lies outside the circle of your argument. You: materialism is the given, therefore any argument for transcendence is circular. Me: Since there is transcendence, any argument that assumes otherwise starts with false premises. So really, you’ve committed the tu quoque  fallacy and sidestepped the issue. Mind as “an emergent property of a brain” is a definition which excludes transcendence out of hand, assuming that your writing is not really coming from an automaton out there in the Google cloud. I am not trying to “prove” that creativity is required any more than you can “prove” that the predication of a sentence is not a creative act. You’re arranging letters into words and making huge abstract entities into sentences, inviting me to imagine, forcing me to think, calling me on logical fallacies, and even deciding which sentences and words ought to be emphasized in certain ways. This is not just the transmission of raw data I’m receiving. I have nothing to prove in the matter. These sentences did not exist: you formed them. You created them.

3.      What is the difference between the knowledge of apples and the knowledge of persons? What is the difference between Arabic numerals and Roman numerals, and is one “better” than the other? What is beauty: does beauty exist?

4.      If you want to make internal critiques about Christianity, you’ve already admitted that the Christian worldview is more fundamentally sound than your own. If man is matter, and mind is a chemical and electrical illusion, then the people at Westboro have just as much right to do whatever they want to do as you do, because WHAT EVIL? If there is no absolute right and wrong that arises outside of the chemical and electrical process in the three pound meat marvel, how can you hold anyone to a moral standard above that which his or her brain concocts? Are you not arguing for a transcendent value? Incidentally, I was recently compared with Westboro Baptist Church by my own pastor, so I know the force of that argument very well.

5.      Regarding the ad hominem fallacy: how can you ascribe Evil to Christians if there is no objective standard on which to judge them? Is evil only wrong for Christians because they claim to oppose it?

a.      Look at the way that you argue: I reject this faith because I know a lot of jerks who ascribe to it is juxtaposed with I reject established, well-supported, consistent scientific theory because some scientists have committed dishonest acts. You’re loading terms and coloring the argument a certain way. Why do you need to do that?

b.      The Bible has actually granted you the right to expect a certain type of behavior of Christians. But to what authority would you point out an internal inconsistency?

6.      I agree: the problem of evil is messy, messy ground, but there is only a non-denial solution in a Christian theistic worldview (and no, most Christians have not thought about it enough to realize that it’s there). But again, it’s only a problem if you are willing to admit that there is a transcendent entity (not a person, a thing) that we can agree upon as “evil.”

7.       You say “Much of what you have given me as reasons for your belief amounts to the ‘argument from beauty’ line of thinking, with a bit of the Ontological Argument thrown in.” I would say I’m arguing from values in general, with little bits of this and that. Perhaps I’d be more effective if I took up a volume on Natural Theology and stuck to a method, who knows. I’m not trying to win you grudgingly to a logical position by force of argument: I want you to love the good God who created this world and you and me.

8.      The deities you mention: what things do they have in common, apart from merely waving them away? What role do they fulfill in their respective mythologies? What ties them together? Ought their civilizations to have believed differently? If so, how?

9.      Again, you offer internal critiques for my reasons for belief. You parse my mind on your own terms for evidence which I offered on my terms. All faith is inferior to science, I get it. I just wonder what gives you the right to parse anything for its value, if, again, “mind” is only chemistry and etc.

10.  My perspective may not be standard: I haven’t asked around. But here goes. A person born without a brain would not be born “alive.” So the body would have the essence of physical humanity (in a partial sense) but there is not enough there to be “soul” because “soul” is “body” plus “spirit.” “Spirit” in human beings amounts to “life.” It is different from the “life” found in animals and plants, for lots of reasons that people argue about at length, often for paychecks, ironically. The real poser in my mind is severely mentally retarded people. I would argue that they are human beings, and therefore have souls. It is not a matter of functionality, but of physical nature plus immaterial nature. Are they culpable for their sins, or for Adam’s? In my thinking, Jesus’ death paid for all of Adam’s guilt. The only people whose sins count against them are people who chose to sin.


I stopped at ten because that’s how many fingers I have. If anything needs clarification, ask, and I’ll do my best.


I think I got all the ticks. Yick, ticks are yicky.





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