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Saturday, January 25, 2014

The Fifth Horseman 12

This is the second of Peter Boghossian's Interventions. In this dialogue, notice how failing to question Boghossian's naked assertions and blithely agreeing to his inaccurate statements permits him to appear to make his point without ever doing anything more than getting the other person to concur with him. This demonstrates the importance of understanding how the Socratic method can be used to deceive and obscure rather than illuminate.

To repeat: "the dirty little secret of the Socratic method is the way it can be used to create false dilemmas and illusionary contradictions. This is why you never, ever, grant someone attempting to use it the right to define anything, or even agree with any of their seemingly legitimate statements. Instead, force dictionary definitions on them, as doing so reliably disrupts their attempt to present their false dilemmas as well as calls their credibility into question as they attempt to deny that a dictionary definition is as legitimate as their own question-begging inventions."
KP: Do you trust your wife?

PB: To do what? To fly a plane, no. To diagnose a basic medical condition, yes. [My wife is a board certified physician and professor of medicine.]

KP: Well, I mean, you have faith in your wife.

PB: Well that’s not the same as trusting my wife, right? Trust and faith are not the same.

KP: Well, yeah, I mean, you do have faith in your wife, right?
VD: Of course they are. Have you never read a thesaurus? They are synonyms. Trust is defined as "reliance on the integrity, strength, ability, surety, etc., of a person or thing". Faith is defined as "confidence or trust in a person or thing" Trust is a subset of Faith.

PB: No, actually, no. I don’t have faith in my wife. I trust my wife to do or not do certain things. I trust her to not abuse our children. I trust her to not pull a Lorena Bobbitt on me. But that has nothing to do with faith. Why do you ask?

KP: I’m asking because you said that faith is always bad, you know. And I think that you have faith.
VD: Of course that has something to do with faith. Even by your own definition of faith being the pretense of knowing what you don't know, it should be obvious that you don't actually know that your wife hasn't abused your children. You have no way of knowing that she isn't planning  to Bobbit you tonight. And furthermore, let's not forget that you're pretending to know that your daughter is your child when we both know perfectly well that she isn't. Look at her! She's freaking Chinese! You're not Chinese, Peter. Do the math.

PB: What do I have faith in?

KP: Well, lots of stuff. [Motioning to my wife] Your wife. When you flick a switch the light will go on—

PB: I have no faith. My life is joyfully devoid of faith.
(Mutual laughter)

PB: I don’t have faith that the light will go on when I flick a switch. I know it will both because of past experience and because of the scientific process that enabled that to occur in the first place. Why do you think that has anything to do with faith, or with unwarranted belief?

KP: Because you don’t know the light will go on.

PB: That’s true. The light could be burned out—

KP: So you do have faith that the light isn’t burned out.

PB: No. I hope the light isn’t burned out, but it’s always possible it is. That’s hope, that’s not faith. I don’t believe it’s burned out unless I see it’s burned out. And if it is burned out, then I’ll just replace it. And I know that replacing it will likely work because of my history with replacing bulbs. So I don’t need faith. Faith isn’t required at all. Or am I missing something? Is my reasoning in error?
VD: Yes, your reasoning is in error. You said you know the light will go on when you flick a light switch. But if it doesn't go on, then obviously you were pretending to know something you didn't. By your own definition, you had faith that the light would go on, and it was a misplaced faith due to the bulb being burned out or the switch being broken.

(Pause)

KP: No, I guess not.

PB: So, can we agree that when it comes to my wife, or to flicking a light switch, we don’t need faith?

(Long pause)

KP: Yeah, I guess so.
VD: No, because you were wrong in both cases. You have faith in your wife. You have faith every time you go to flick a light switch. And your level of knowledge quite clearly doesn't rise to the level of Webster's or Roget's.

PB: Cool. So we now need to extend this further and talk about why we don’t need—shouldn’t have—faith at all. Faith, just say no. (Laughter)
I can't stress this enough. Never simply agree with the Street Epistemologist's assertions. Make them prove every single statement and every single assertion, no matter how reasonable it sounds, by an objective source. They will not be able to do so because Boghossian's entire approach is a verbal Three-Card-Monte, and by forcing them to show all of their cards, you will expose the game for the intellectually fraudulent one it is.

Labels: ,

44 Comments:

Anonymous Bernie January 25, 2014 9:46 AM  

Chesterton - as usual - is tremendous on this:

All the terms used in the science books, "law," "necessity," "order," "tendency," and so on, are really unintellectual, because they assume an inner synthesis, which we do not possess. The only words that ever satisfied me as describing Nature are the terms used in the fairy books, "charm," "spell," "enchantment." They express the arbitrariness of the fact and its mystery. A tree grows fruit because it is a MAGIC tree. Water runs downhill because it is bewitched. The sun shines because it is bewitched.

I deny altogether that this is fantastic or even mystical. We may have some mysticism later on; but this fairy-tale language about things is simply rational and agnostic. It is the only way I can express in words my clear and definite perception that one thing is quite distinct from another; that there is no logical connection between flying and laying eggs. It is the man who talks about "a law" that he has never seen who is the mystic. Nay, the ordinary scientific man is strictly a sentimentalist. He is a sentimentalist in this essential sense, that he is soaked and swept away by mere associations. He has so often seen birds fly and lay eggs that he feels as if there must be some dreamy, tender connection between the two ideas, whereas there is none.

Blogger Booch Paradise January 25, 2014 9:55 AM  

(Mutual laughter)
Well, I'll admit, the fact the he thinks that he said something funny is kind of amusing.

Blogger Jeff Burton January 25, 2014 10:04 AM  

This Fiskng is starting to get tedious. Beginning to miss the McRapey posts.

Blogger vandelay January 25, 2014 10:24 AM  

Has Boghossian or any of his fans responded to any of these yet?

Anonymous Salt January 25, 2014 10:34 AM  

The street epistemologist will always deny, asserting, argumentatively, that their usage is proper simply because they say so.

Try babbling bullshit at one. When they go, "Huh?" look at them askance and say, "You don't agree? What, are you an idiot?"

Anonymous Krul January 25, 2014 10:45 AM  

Boghossian's entire approach is a verbal Three-Card-Monte

And apparently he chooses his "marks" carefully, as both of them so far seem to lack investment in the argument and to be rather dull. Both have allowed Bog to get away with absurdities - claiming that faith is a method of epistemology with JM, and claiming that trust is not faith with KP.

I imagine things would go differently if Bog forewent the soft targets and engaged an actual Faith Monster who knows what he believes and why.

Anonymous atheist January 25, 2014 10:46 AM  

I DENY YOUR "MYSTIC" BOOKS!

(i.e. dictionaries)

Anonymous ck January 25, 2014 10:49 AM  

PB: No, actually, no. I don’t have faith in my wife.

guess which aspie retard is sleeping on the couch tonight??

Anonymous fish January 25, 2014 10:52 AM  

I can't stress this enough. Never simply agree with the Street Epistemologist's assertions. Make them prove every single statement and every single assertion, no matter how reasonable it sounds, by an objective source. They will not be able to do so because Boghossian's entire approach is a verbal Three-Card-Monte, and by forcing them to show all of their cards, you will expose the game for the intellectually fraudulent one it is.

I am finding this to be very effective I only wish I had been canny enough to employ it earlier!

Blogger IM2L844 January 25, 2014 10:53 AM  

Has Boghossian or any of his fans responded to any of these yet?

We all know they're lurking, but when Boghossian's foundational premise has been definitively proven false and the reasoning is unassailable, what is there to respond to?

Anonymous atheist January 25, 2014 10:53 AM  

but wait...

light switches = science?? did not a scientist invent the light bulb?

Anonymous zen0 January 25, 2014 10:57 AM  

This Fiskng is starting to get tedious. Beginning to miss the McRapey posts.

McRapey is so 2013, dude.

Anonymous Krul January 25, 2014 11:03 AM  

Jeff Burton - This Fiskng is starting to get tedious. Beginning to miss the McRapey posts.

Don't fret. Soon after he's finished with the Epistemic Knight he'll find another target, he always does.

If you want more of this type of thing look in the blog archives for R. Scott Bakker, Amanda Marcotte, Me-So-Michelle, and PZ Myers.

Anonymous zen0 January 25, 2014 11:31 AM  

If you want more of this type of thing look in the blog archives for R. Scott Bakker, Amanda Marcotte, Me-So-Michelle, and PZ Myers.

Not only cruel to his victims, but his audience as well.

It may be that in all his mixed ancestry, he has inherited some of the codons of Tomás de Torquemada.

Blogger tz January 25, 2014 1:09 PM  

Are you sure you don't have faith? Do you have a $20 bill?
Yes
I want to show you something really neat that shows and explains faith, can I have it?
Well, OK.
Thanks.
Hey!

Blogger tz January 25, 2014 1:14 PM  

His fans are powerless and would only blow unheated air if they were plugged in and turned on. When they do spontaneously emit warm, moist air, they tend to expose their stupidity.

Anonymous FaustsBargainSale January 25, 2014 2:08 PM  

There is no way that conversation actually took place as recorded.

Anonymous Boetain January 25, 2014 4:24 PM  

Why fabricate conversations that make yourself look so pathetic?

Also, why do all of the "street" conversations take place with people that seem to already know him? I would like to hear about the bum who takes a swing at him for babbling at his face while not offering any cigarettes or spare change.

Sad to think that people are going into student loan debt to waste time listening to this fool.

Anonymous Aeoli Pera January 25, 2014 7:03 PM  

>Trust is defined as "reliance on the integrity, strength, ability, surety, etc., of a person or thing". Faith is defined as "confidence or trust in a person or thing" Trust is a subset of Faith.

Wouldn't faith therefore be a subset of trust? I'm curious, please forgive me if I'm sperging out over nothing.

Blogger SirHamster January 25, 2014 7:52 PM  

>Trust is defined as "reliance on the integrity, strength, ability, surety, etc., of a person or thing". Faith is defined as "confidence or trust in a person or thing" Trust is a subset of Faith.

Wouldn't faith therefore be a subset of trust? I'm curious, please forgive me if I'm sperging out over nothing.


The more specific word must be a subset of the more generic word. Since trust has more adjectives, it's more specific.

Red balls vs. red rubber balls.

Anonymous Y not January 25, 2014 8:22 PM  

Some 'faith' is far more reasonable than others. If my light went on the previous 1000 times that I turned on the light switch, and has gone on for everyone I know the last 1000 times they turned on the light switch, it's fairly reasonable to have faith that it will go on when I turn the light switch on today.

If the light failed to go on the previous 1000 times I farted, and did not go on the last 1000 times everyone I know farted, it is far less reasonable to have 'faith' that the light will go on the next time I fart, simply because some people wrote a book once that their light went on a few times when they farted.

Anonymous Y not January 25, 2014 8:29 PM  

-- Make them prove every single statement and every single assertion, no matter how reasonable it sounds, by an objective source. They will not be able to do so because Boghossian's entire approach is a verbal Three-Card-Monte, and by forcing them to show all of their cards, you will expose the game for the intellectually fraudulent one it is.--

So, those who disagree with you have to show more and more evidence of each and every one of their assertions, and when they come up with it, they need more evidence yet. At the point where there is some tiny thing they can't show, such as the behavior of charmed quarks, they are assumed to be wrong. But with you, the opposite is true, and you do not have to produce any evidence, but are assumed to be true, unless your opponents can display all of the space and time in all universes to show that what you say cannot possibly exist anywhere.

It's pretty easy to 'win' debates with that sort of double standard.

Blogger Markku January 25, 2014 9:01 PM  

So, those who disagree with you have to show more and more evidence of each and every one of their assertions, and when they come up with it, they need more evidence yet.

Nope, but rather, those who interrupt you while you're going about your business. If Vox was a street preacher, and still tried to put the burden of proof on the atheist that he jumped on, THEN you'd have a point.

Blogger tz January 25, 2014 9:34 PM  

An antidote

Consisting of mainly anecdotes.

It deals neither with sewing nor financial derivatives, but this topic.

Blogger Karl January 25, 2014 9:45 PM  

Here's another example of using definitions abusively.

From - http://www.newrepublic.com/article/116333/bad-answers-about-evolution?utm

Kelly gets the biological meaning of “random mutations” wrong from the outset, and that makes the rest of his essay irrelevant. What biologists mean when they say “mutations are random” is not that they don’t occur more often at some genes than others, nor that some errors in DNA replication aren’t more frequent than other errors. We’ve known for years that some genes are more “mutable” than others, and that some types of lesions are far more frequent than others. Nor do we mean that mutation rates are impervious to environmental factors, which is also wrong (you can jack them up, for instance, by feeding organisms mutagens like ethidium bromide, or dosing them with X-rays).

What we mean by random mutations is simply this:

The chance of a single mutation being “adaptive” for the organism (i.e., promoting the replication of the gene in which it occurs) does not depend on the environment in which it finds itself.

In other words, the genome does not somehow “know” that a mutation would be adaptive, so there is no way that it can produce a higher proportion of ”good” mutations when the environment changes in a certain way. When it gets colder, for example, we don’t see a higher proportion of mutations in mammals that give them longer fur or shorter ears. Most mutations are deleterious in all environments, and a few are useful, but the proportion of useful ones doesn’t increase when the environment changes.

Anonymous Aeoli January 25, 2014 10:33 PM  

I'm still confused. If faith means confidence or trust (as opposed to confidence AND trust), that makes it less specific, and therefore more general, and therefore the superset, right?

Anonymous ck January 25, 2014 10:35 PM  

I have _faith_ that Y is an aspie social retard.

Blogger Markku January 25, 2014 10:45 PM  

Faith \Faith\ (f[=a]th), n. [OE. feith, fayth, fay, OF. feid,

feit, fei, F. foi, fr. L. fides; akin to fidere to trust, Gr. pei`qein to persuade. The ending th is perhaps due to the influence of such words as truth, health, wealth. See Bid, Bide, and cf. Confide, Defy, Fealty.]

1. Belief; the assent of the mind to the truth of what is declared by another, resting solely and implicitly on his authority and veracity; reliance on testimony.
[1913 Webster]

2. The assent of the mind to the statement or proposition of another, on the ground of the manifest truth of what he utters; firm and earnest belief, on probable evidence of any kind, especially in regard to important moral truth.
[1913 Webster]
Faith, that is, fidelity, -- the fealty of the finite will and understanding to the reason.
--Coleridge.
[1913 Webster]

3. (Judeo-Christian Theol.)
(a) The belief in the historic truthfulness of the Scripture narrative, and the supernatural origin of its teachings, sometimes called historical and speculative faith.
(b) (Christian Theol.) The belief in the facts and truth of the Scriptures, with a practical love of them; especially, that confiding and affectionate belief in the person and work of Christ, which affects the character and life, and makes a man a true Christian,
-- called a practical, evangelical, or saving faith.
[1913 Webster]

Without faith it is impossible to please him
[God].
--Heb. xi. 6.
[1913 Webster]

The faith of the gospel is that emotion of the mind which is called "trust" or "confidence" exercised toward the moral character of God, and particularly of the Savior.
--Dr. T.
Dwight.
[1913 Webster]

Faith is an affectionate, practical confidence in the testimony of God.
--J. Hawes.
[1913 Webster]

4. That which is believed on any subject, whether in science, politics, or religion; especially (Theol.), a system of religious belief of any kind; as, the Jewish or Mohammedan faith; the Christian faith; also, the creed or belief of a Christian society or church.
[1913 Webster +PJC]
Which to believe of her, Must be a faith that reason without miracle Could never plant in me.
--Shak.
[1913 Webster]

Now preacheth the faith which once he destroyed.
--Gal. i. 23.
[1913 Webster]

5. Fidelity to one's promises, or allegiance to duty, or to a person honored and beloved; loyalty.
[1913 Webster]

Children in whom is no faith.
--Deut. xxvii.
20.
[1913 Webster]

Whose failing, while her faith to me remains, I should conceal.
--Milton.
[1913 Webster]

6. Word or honor pledged; promise given; fidelity; as, he violated his faith.
[1913 Webster]

For you alone I broke me faith with injured Palamon.
--Dryden.
[1913 Webster]

7. Credibility or truth. [R.]
[1913 Webster]

The faith of the foregoing narrative.
--Mitford.
[1913 Webster]

And, of course:

8. Make-believe
[Peter Boghossians ass, 2013]

I had to dig deep for this one
--Bogs

Anonymous ck January 25, 2014 10:57 PM  

Notice the goalpost moving of trust in persons (or a Person) becomes...

... about trust in light switches?

Social retard aspies. Who consider other persons as "objects"...

Thus always they expose their aspie sociopathic natures... as trusty as flipping a light switch.

Blogger tz January 25, 2014 11:09 PM  

The other side of the Socratic dialog on faith, reason, and the existence of God.

Anonymous Y Not January 26, 2014 12:28 AM  

"Notice the goalpost moving of trust in persons (or a Person) becomes...

... about trust in light switches"

Fine... do you have faith in your wife to fasten a bungee cord to you when you go bungee jumping, after she has had a proper training course in how to do so?

Do you have faith in God to miraculously catch you in his hands when you go bungee jumping without fastening the bungee cord at all, but pray real hard for God to save you? And no handwaving about not testing God, that's just an excuse.

If you aren't willing to put your money where your mouth is by doing the latter, then stop handwaving and claiming that because 'faith' in your wife is reasonable, then 'faith' in God is just as reasonable.

Anonymous Y Not January 26, 2014 12:31 AM  

-- Social retard aspies. Who consider other persons as "objects"...

Thus always they expose their aspie sociopathic natures... as trusty as flipping a light switch.--

Obviously. Relating to people in a way different than you are used to but not hurting them - sociopathic.

Relating to people in the way you are used to, but killing 2 year olds - holy.

Because bible.

Blogger Markku January 26, 2014 12:57 AM  

Heh, you use the VERY example that Satan used to Jesus. So, not only is the action forbidden by inference, it is explicitly forbidden. This is the same as "trusting" your wife to have tied the cord when she has explicitly said it is untied.

I find it hilarious that of all the examples you could have chosen, you chose that one.

Anonymous Y not January 26, 2014 1:02 AM  

- Heh, you use the VERY example that Satan used to Jesus. So, not only is the action forbidden by inference, it is explicitly forbidden. -

That's very convenient, as an excuse for giving any evidence, or proving your faith, isn't it? Only problem is, at least SOME people are able to show wives who can tie a bungee cord. Thus, making faith in a wife more reasonable than faith in a religion.

Blogger Markku January 26, 2014 1:07 AM  

Yes, yes, I conveniently went to my convenient time machine, and wrote a convenient excuse for your exact example in a book written about two millennia prior.

Blogger Markku January 26, 2014 1:23 AM  

The alternative explanation is that you are tactically incompetent to a comical degree. Had you chosen any other example, at least someone would probably have thought that making the inference is a convenient excuse.

But you had to choose THAT.

Anonymous Danger Diabolikh123 January 26, 2014 3:16 AM  

"Yes, yes, I conveniently went to my convenient time machine,"

Hey now... Snowy mountain fortress, hidden tesla coils, calculating persona. We've gone over all of this before. Everyone here's in the know.

Anonymous Ain January 26, 2014 5:13 AM  

"PB: I don’t have faith that the light will go on when I flick a switch. I know it will both because of past experience and because of the scientific process that enabled that to occur in the first place. Why do you think that has anything to do with faith, or with unwarranted belief?"

Most people at least once a year experience a light not coming on when they flick the switch because the bulb has burned out. Bogy has faith that it will always come on, even according to his own bullshit redefinition of it. He's arguments are some of the worst I've seen.

Anonymous zen0 January 26, 2014 5:22 AM  

But you had to choose THAT.

One more example identifying whom it is they serve.

Anonymous VD January 26, 2014 6:22 AM  

Some 'faith' is far more reasonable than others.

Irrelevant. Now you're trying to argue over the quality of the faith based on a new metric, which is moving the goalposts from Boghossian's claim that ALL FAITH IS MAKE-BELIEVE AND HARMFUL.

Your argument here is incompetent.

So, those who disagree with you have to show more and more evidence of each and every one of their assertions, and when they come up with it, they need more evidence yet.

More and more? No. They have to provide some objective evidence superior to the objective evidence I can produce. Since they have none, and since their definitions are literally made up out of thin air and contradicted by common dictionary definitions, it is an effective tactic.

These whiny, inept, and inaccurate arguments really don't speak well for you, I'm afraid.

Anonymous ck January 26, 2014 9:17 AM  

Aspie goal-post-moving socipath is making Biblical claims now.

He owes us Scripture. .chaper, verse... put up or shut up.

- God's commands specific to bungee jumping... chapters verses?

-God's commands to CHRISTIANS to kill 2-year-olds ... NT chapters/verses?

ps-- your dishonest responses here makes your sociopathuc nature self evident.

Anonymous Vandermerwe January 27, 2014 4:52 AM  

<a href="http://www.newschinamag.com/magazine/inevitable-brutality>Link</a>

"Wang was pronounced dead on arrival in the emergency room. Doctors waiting outside burst into tears. To their horror, however, some of the patients who had been watching the commotion, applauded when Wang’s death was announced."

Atheist society, so pure and good without religion.

Anonymous Vandermerwe January 27, 2014 4:52 AM  

Sorry for typo.

Blogger Unknown May 08, 2015 9:45 PM  

Thank you so much for this. It neatly parallels a debate I had with an Atheist about flying in an airline.
He actually took the path of arguing that he didn't have faith that he would reach his destination, but that it was a good gamble over his safety/life because of the good chance he'd reach his destination.

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