Post-Theological Thinking

2018.11.11.10.36.53.08

Down below, Derek writes:

Honeycomb’s statement is imprecise, but otherwise accurate. You can prove some negatives, so I state it rather wordily: you can’t deductively prove an absolute negative of general existence.

Honeycomb is flatly wrong, and you are, too. Here’s Abel’s deductive proof of the nonexistence of a general algebraic solution to the quintic equation:

oeuvres_completes_de_abel_nouv_ed_1_kap03_opt

There are countless other examples, but as a guy with a math degree, this is the first thing that came to mind.

This is pedantic: the evidence is overwhelmingly against its existence. We can construct a (nearly) universal, deductively sound argument against the monster’s existence. This is not, however, the case for God. There is enough evidence of God to make unsound proof claims of God’s non-existance.

I don’t even know what this means.

Before we can answer this question, let’s break theodicy down to two different related, but mutually exclusive, (simplified) claims:

1) Gratuitous evil exists, therefore God does not exist.
2) God exists, therefore there must be a non-gratuitous explanation for the existence of evil.

The believer in #1 thinks that those things are all examples of gratuitous evil and the believer in #2 thinks that they are not. Both believe mutual exclusive propositions. This has a certain circularity: each believer’s belief “disproves” the other believer’s belief.

You’re complicating the argument unnecessarily, and adding superfluous premises. I also suspect you didn’t read my original article, or perhaps you didn’t understand it.

To put it as simply as I can, gratuitous evil might exist, but the burden of proof is so high on the atheist that he can’t show it exists without a time-travel machine and a light speed spaceship.

My point in that article was merely to illustrate the weakness in the common atheological arguments. It wasn’t a profession of faith or non-faith. Not only are atheological arguments weak, they’re actually no stronger (structurally speaking) than theological ones.

Your arguments here aren’t compelling, but neither are theirs. In fact, I’d posit that no arguments, pro or contra the existence of God, are compelling enough to get even a leaning atheist or leaning believer to change his mind. Basically, if someone has a credence level of .49, your arguments aren’t even compelling enough to get an educated man to .5. The same goes for the Dawkins types, who approach a leaning believer.

I believe you wanted me to disprove the premise (“gratuitous evil exists”), but I’d rather disprove[2] the conclusion (“God does not exist”). This still addresses your main questions, just not the preferred way.

You believe wrong. I wanted you to respond, but don’t care about your attempts at a proof. You’re not a very good proof-writer, and your attempts don’t make any sense. That’s not an insult, by the way. I regularly talk to anthropologists and philosophers who are way brighter than I am, but who have had your sort of training, rather than mine.

I mainly wanted to see a Christian priest talk about theodicy. I can learn something useful from that sort of thing. If you want to post an essay on it sometime (not a response, but your own working out of the problem) I’d love to read it.

More generally, you (and Honeycomb) ought to be grateful for these atheological arguments. They aren’t particularly compelling, but they still provide you with an opportunity to clarify some of the implications of your belief.

Author: Boxer

Sinister All-Male Dancer. Secret King of all Gamma Males. Member of Frankfurt School. Your Fave Contrarian!

16 thoughts on “Post-Theological Thinking”

  1. My days of splitting hairs and deep thought are gone .. I like simplicity and down to earth discriptions moreso now ..

    I focus on splitting atoms and fixing nuclear ED (electron disfunction).

    I’m more of a hobby horse (re: my intellect these days .. heh) with a talent for driving people (deeply / madly) crazy.

    So far .. I haven’t disappointed ..

    Boxer .. keep poundin’ that keyboard ..

    Off-Topic ..
    Just so you know .. found this ..
    https://www.wired.com/story/quiet-war-rages-who-can-make-money-online/

    We are a greater threat than Incels .. hmmm .. talk about a mental midget ..

    Me thinks she’s a sock puppet or a proxy (being she doesn’t have much of a work / writer history and being largely unknown) for bigger things to come.

    https://www.wired.com/author/paris-martineau/

    https://www.linkedin.com/in/parismartineau

    i write things about the internet on the internet

    blonde ..

    or brunette ..

  2. https://muckrack.com/paris-martineau

    Muck Rack
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    Staff Writer — WIRED Magazine
    Media, Technology
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    staff writer @wired covering platforms, online extremism, & social media manipulation. DMs open. send tips: paris_martineau@wired.com / signal 2677978655

    Me thinks they are laying the ground game to de-platform ALL MGTOW content.

    It’s coming.

  3. Dear Honeycomb:

    My days of splitting hairs and deep thought are gone .. I like simplicity and down to earth discriptions moreso now ..

    While I think that illuminating structural weaknesses in arguments is a worthwhile pursuit, I also think that you and Derek indulge in equally worthwhile pursuits.

    In fact, personal testimonies are at least as compelling as tortured attempts at deductive arguments for the “truth” of some religious book.

    My observant relatives have looked askance at me a time or two, for going to mass, and not hiding it. They are welcome to do that. Yes, it’s idolatry, according to their world picture, but it’s the common religion where I live, and I doubt that ol’ Elohim, if he exists, is all uptight about it. I expect that he’d accept my prayers no matter who I knelt in front of. If he created the world and everything in it, then he created Catholics too, and he speaks their language.

    And sure, it’s hard to take the actual existence of Mary and Jesus seriously. I’m a grown man, and I gave up believing in fairy tales a long time ago; but, it appeals to me. I get something out of it. What I get is personal, and I don’t expect anyone else to get what I get out of it.

    I’m not even sure its specific. If I were living in Saudi Arabia or Israel I’d probably pray the way the natives of those places do, and I suspect I’d get just as much out of it.

    So, it’s an entirely personal thing. I wouldn’t ever try to convince anyone else to adopt my thing, but I like my thing, and I don’t plan to change it. I suspect that’s the best way to answer the (a)theological arguers, whenever they appear: It appeals to me is a fine answer, and ought to be enough.

  4. Me thinks they are laying the ground game to de-platform ALL MGTOW content.

    It’s coming.

    Of course it is. Conspiracy theorists and neo-nazis don’t threaten the feminist state in any way. They were just the canary in the coal mine.

    I don’t know Laura Loomer. I suspect she’s sort of a nut, and I probably don’t agree with many of her positions; but, she did a very valuable thing today. More people should be so inclined.

  5. “Your arguments here aren’t compelling, but neither are theirs….don’t care about your attempts at a proof.”

    I’d have been pretty surprised if you found them to be compelling, since I wasn’t even making an argument per se. I specifically argued against the use of proofs in these kinds of discussion. In that light, I’d be pretty surprised if you found my proof-writing skills particularly strong.

    “I also suspect you didn’t read my original article”

    Not only did I read it, but I read it multiple times. One of the primary points of my “unnecessarily complicated and superfluous” argument was to show exactly this:

    “To put it as simply as I can, gratuitous evil might exist, but the burden of proof is so high on the atheist that he can’t show it exists without a time-travel machine and a light speed spaceship.”

    So it is somewhat perplexing that you don’t follow my line of reasoning, but whatever. We agree, good enough.

    “Not only are atheological arguments weak, they’re actually no stronger (structurally speaking) than theological ones.”

    I disagree, and I guess this is our fundamental difference of opinion. The atheist may have a burden of proof, but in practice that is irrelevant. The effective burden of proof lies with the Christian to prove both his own claim and disprove that of the atheist. Moreover, the theist has excellent tools available and those tools get results. My comments thus far are primarily to establish this.

    “I’d posit that no arguments, pro or contra the existence of God, are compelling enough to get even a leaning atheist or leaning believer to change his mind.”

    This is a bizarre thing to say and easily disproven by a variety of measures. Still, if you look at what convinces most people to become Christians it is the real life example of Christians themselves, not arguments they make. In that respect, nothing I say here changes how I live my life. One reason I am not anonymous is that that words I say mostly pale in respect to whatever my life actually is. The internet is impersonal, but if you were to visit my town, I would treat you with hospitality and God’s love, as best I could.

    “I mainly wanted to see a Christian priest talk about theodicy.”

    On your blog we all come as we are. My comments are just musings. Perhaps you’ve found the wrong person to make such a talk. I apologize for disappointing. Regardless, your suggestion of an essay is a good one.

  6. Derek:

    It’s entirely possible that we’re just too far removed to fully understand the technical specifics of the other’s messages. Sloterdijk calls this the collapse of the macrosphere (lol). We all end up speaking a semi-private language, as a result.

    On your blog we all come as we are. My comments are just musings. Perhaps you’ve found the wrong person to make such a talk. I apologize for disappointing. Regardless, your suggestion of an essay is a good one.

    While Dalrock thinks you’re part of some sort of conspiracy, led by me, to troll his blog…
    https://dalrock.wordpress.com/2018/08/20/a-challenge-to-traditionalists/#comment-283539 *
    I find your readings valuable. He’s wrong to call you a nutter, but as he (incidentally) points out, you actually have a unique interpretation on theology. I suspect its because I don’t know your particular denomination very well. I always enjoy your exegesis.

    *Dalrock flatters himself with the speculation that I’d be able to hypnotize Derek, Honeycomb, and all the rest of the participants into a grand anti-Dalrock conspiracy. Not only am I not particularly charismatic, but he’s also not particularly important.

  7. “I’d have been pretty surprised if you found them to be compelling, since I wasn’t even making an argument per se. I specifically argued against the use of proofs in these kinds of discussion.”

    Meh, I shouldn’t write things while watching football. I did not miss the apparent contradiction here. I am making arguments, but not of the formal deductive kind.

  8. Not only am I not particularly charismatic, but he’s also not particularly important.

    HEH .. no .. he’s not that important ..

    Dalrock flatters himself with the speculation that I’d be able to hypnotize Derek, Honeycomb, and all the rest of the participants into a grand anti-Dalrock conspiracy.

    He (i.e. Dalrock) has a fawning following. Good for him. Why worry about a couple of regular fella’s out respectfully posting on the interwebz?

    To me he’s been informative with his analysis / stats.. but otherwise .. meh ..

    Heck he’s only engaged me once in public. I doubt I’m more than a blip on his radar.

  9. @Boxer

    I agree that our backgrounds are sufficiently different that I have trouble adapting. I don’t truly understand you enough to tailor my thoughts to you. I know what I want to say to you, but I can’t find anything more than mad ramblings in my attempts at doing so. It’s frustrating. What you see as trolling is my own personal limitations shining through. I tend to form close knit relationships with people in real life and use that to reach people, but that’s nearly impossible to do online.

    Dalrock lives in an echo chamber. He can’t comprehend that his version of Christianity isn’t the only possible one. He presumably leaves me in moderation because I don’t toe the line. I’ve spent a lot of time reading the Old Testament and studying the Hebrew traditions. In many ways I prefer it to the New Testament. Jesus thought the Septuagint was the word of God and quoted from it extensively. He didn’t think that the New Testament (which didn’t exist) was. Dalrock (and many Christians) just don’t understand the OT.

    “you actually have a unique interpretation on theology. I suspect its because I don’t know your particular denomination very well. I always enjoy your exegesis.”

    I appreciate your words, but I think my unique interpretation only partially comes from my anabaptist upbringing.

  10. “Heck he’s only engaged me once in public. “

    Dalrock has a weird hatred for me. He once thought I would be mad that he didn’t talk about the Amish, which is a bizarre thing to say. He leaves me in moderation, so my posts only show up for readers hours later. He’s written at least one (or is it two by now?) posts responding to my comments. He also thinks I’m some Boxer fanboi or sock puppet, which is funny since Boxer was one of the first people to mock me when I commented for the first time on Dalrock.

    “He’s wrong to call you a nutter, but as he (incidentally) points out, you actually have a unique interpretation on theology.”

    Along with my lifelong and independent pursuit of Biblical knowledge, I discovered that people have a lot of different viewpoints even within Christianity. Trying to select just one never made sense to me (I could never be a Catholic). I’ve been called things on Dalrock’s Christian blog worse than anywhere else (combined).

    I truly don’t understand the ewe lamb objection at Dalrock.

    All Christians hold that Jesus is the lamb of God (John 1:29). The lamb imagery only works if it stands for innocence and the Jews understood that. That imagery is found in the book of Isaiah, the 3rd most quoted book by Jesus. In particular is Isaiah 11:6:

    “The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them.”

    The violent wolf is contrasted with the peaceful lamb, and they are led by a child. The imagery of the lamb and wolf is repeated in Isaiah 65:25 (this time using the Hebrew word related to “suckling lamb”). The daily offering (Exodus 29:38-42) was two lambs. In Jewish history, the paschal lamb declared the innocence of the members of that household and death passed them by. This was central to Jewish identity.

    Female virginity is another Jewish symbol of innocence and purity. Of all things, the ‘sphere should know that. The manosphere’s patriarchal focus misses how much the Torah protected women, especially when contrasted with other societies. The protection of children and widows is also another central theme. While the law protected women (who the NT calls “weaker vessels”) from rape and divorce, there are no corresponding protections for men.

    So here we have a ewe lamb: a very young, virgin, female sheep, the embodiment of innocence, frailty, and purity. I genuinely struggle to see how this is controversial. In the story, the ewe lamb is completely powerless and slaughtered as if she was nothing.

    I honestly think the most upsetting part for Dalrock was the idea that being female could be considered a symbol of innocence, frailty, and purity in the Bible. Such a concept threatens everything he holds dear. Indeed, I expect a similar kickback here for my refusal to especially vilify women (on their sex alone), but it’s not a particularly difficult stance to defend.

  11. Indeed, I expect a similar kickback here for my refusal to especially vilify women (on their sex alone), but it’s not a particularly difficult stance to defend.

    Derek .. you should not see kickback “similar” [sic] to Dal’s place here.

    My harsh tone deals with “th wimminz” and not a (biblical) woman.

    Nw .. IF you wish to extend those same attributes to th wimminz (i.e. true “refusal” [sic]) THEN .. yes I’d be prepared to argue you’re a “nutter” [sic] .. heh.

    Otherwise I’d expect a good married man of faith to treat his wife as you have described .. and likey treat other women of that category similarly. How that is contro-verse-ya’ll is not rational imo. (The opposite of your contention.)

  12. I honestly think the most upsetting part for Dalrock was the idea that being female could be considered a symbol of innocence, frailty, and purity in the Bible. Such a concept threatens everything he holds dear. Indeed, I expect a similar kickback here for my refusal to especially vilify women (on their sex alone), but it’s not a particularly difficult stance to defend.

    Counterexample:

    When have I ever vilified women simply for being women?

    I actually don’t blame females for too much. This blog is an attempt to identify structural problems in society, that both men and women are tempted to take advantage of. I’m often amazed that so many women resist becoming filthy wimminz, despite the plethora of incentives and no penalties for doing so.

  13. When have I ever vilified women simply for being women?

    Well I can’t recall it. I do know you villify women who act like wimminz…for which they should be villified. If they are God fearing, virtuous, have helpmate skills, and are good mothers…that’s a woman who lives well.

    You do seem to have a better idea about the Virgin Mary than most Protestants I noticed (the goddess thing notwithstanding)…if there is a role model for women, it’s her.

  14. @honeycomb…

    When it comes to blonde or brunette…my preferences is that they NOT look like Harry Potter.

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