Where people come from

(Text: “Debating an Atheist — Round Three“, Soli Deo Gloria, July 8, 2012)

In last week’s post, we looked at how Pastor Stephen Feinstein took Russell Glasser’s “magical tiara” example and tried to debunk it. Saying that all logic and order in the universe are due to a magical tiara is nothing like saying all logic and order are due to God. Because, well, a tiara is different from a god, or something.

That argument doesn’t really do the job, so he’s going to try again, from a different angle.

A magical tiara is not sovereign or intelligent. Nor is it personal. Furthermore, it is not a unity of plurality. In the universe we see persons and non-persons (e.g. a tree). We have seen persons come from other persons, but we have never seen persons come from non-persons. Given that we are in a universe that is governed by causality rather than randomness, what are we to assume based on our observations and abilities of deduction? Persons came from non-persons? Life came from non-life, etc.? Given that these things have not been observed even under the great conditions of the earth as it is now, would it not be arbitrary to assume that it happened in such a way?

Who’s the uniformitarian now, eh?

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“I have written a book”

(Text: “Debating an Atheist — Round Three“, Soli Deo Gloria, July 8, 2012)

In his debate with Russell Glasser, Pastor Stephen Feinstein has so many answers, he could write a book. No wait, he already has! It’s a book that explains everything that’s wrong with atheism, and a whole lot more. It might even explain too much, because it also explains everything that’s wrong with the Bible.

Oops.

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Enter the zingers

(Text: “Debating an Atheist — Round Three“, Soli Deo Gloria, July 8, 2012)

By his third post, Pastor Stephen Feinstein has grown tired of waiting for Russell Glasser to say the lines he’s supposed to say, according to the mental script Paster Feinstein wants the discussion to follow, and has begun introducing the atheist’s scripted arguments himself. How else can he deliver his zingers and make it look like Christianity is more rational than atheism? His first zinger is “Yes, I’m using circular reasoning, but so are you, and my circular reasoning is more valid than yours.”

I find it entirely ironic that you accuse me of circular reasoning, when you reason as follows: 1) The world is real. How do I know? Well, I assume it is real. 2) We learn through sense experience. How do I know? Well, through sense experience of course! 3) Logic is valid. How do I know? Well, through logic of course…

You are tacitly injecting the notion that a random-chance universe can account for intelligibility. Rather than acknowledging this, you are putting up smoke and mirrors claiming that you have no burden of proof, but instead you get to happily assume your assumptions with narrow circularity, and if I am going to debate you, I then have to play by your rules and assume that these agreed assumptions exist without any preconditions. I am sorry, but that is poor logic and it creates a dishonest debate.

Yes, after rewriting Russell’s side of the conversation to follow a canned script instead of the things Russell was actually saying, and after injecting his own assumption that an atheistic universe would be “random chance,” he actually accuses Russell of creating a dishonest debate.

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Getting back to the script

(Text: “Debating an Atheist — Round Three“, Soli Deo Gloria, July 8, 2012)

At the end of last week’s post, I speculated that the reason for Pastor Feinstein’s repeated promises of “I’m going to argue this,” and “I’m going to demolish your arguments,” might be that he doesn’t actually have a stand-alone argument, but instead only has a collection of snappy comebacks for certain stereotypical “atheist sayings.” Russell, however, hasn’t been following the script. Instead, he’s been trying to grapple with the real issues, leaving Pastor Feinstein without the straight lines he needs in order to set up his zingers. Hence the repeated promises of “I’m going to mop the floor with you [—just as soon as you give me the right cues, dammit!].”

I’m not a mind-reader, of course, so I can’t know that this is what Pastor Feinstein was really thinking. The way he introduces post #3, however, makes me think that I might be right.

As a side note, whenever I quote Russell in a regular paragraph, I italicize the quotation. If I place a statement in quotation marks but it is NOT italicized, it is NOT a quote from Russell, but instead is a hypothetical quote that I am inserting into the argument. Such quotes come from past experiences debating unbelievers and reading much literature on the subject.

Looks to me like he’s tired of waiting for Russell to say the lines he’s supposed to say (according to the script), and so he [Pastor Feinstein] is just going to introduce them into the dialog himself, as “hypothetical quotes.” That should make things interesting, because that means Russell is going to be trying to continue the actual, original discussion, while Pastor Feinstein is going to respond to an entirely separate, hypothetical discussion that follows his script better.

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Promises, misunderstandings, and more promises

(Text: “Debating an Atheist — Round Two“, Soli Deo Gloria, July 8, 2012)

Pastor Stephen Feinstein wraps up his second post the way he began it: with more promises about what he’s going to do at some point, plus a misunderstanding or two. His presentation isn’t going to advance the discussion a whole lot, but at least we can take a look at what he has to say and perhaps clarify a point or two.

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