Wednesday, March 21, 2018

When A Philosopher Centers His Act On Scientistic Atheism The Results Can Be Ridiculous

Having recently slammed big name scientists who diss philosophy even as they prove their incompetence to have such an opinion because they, then, engage in philosophical arguments without understanding that they're doing some, generally very bad, philosophizing while believing they're doing science, I thought I should present an example of a really bad philosopher doing the opposite.

A few years back I found it entertaining to listen to formal debates between atheists and apologists for religion, though I've largely moved on to other types of fun.   One of the most lopsided of those - which didn't have Lawrence Krauss as William Lane Craig's atheist opponent - was the one at Perdue University with the Duke University philosophy professor Alex Rosenberg.   I'd been largely unaware of Rosenberg before listening to it.   I can only remember coming across him while reading a paper about Elliot Sober refuting  his claims about natural selection being the "only law" in biology.

Rosenberg's argument that the phenomena of biology consistig of large numbers of physical vectors and so mathematical representations,  precludes there being biological laws makes any claim that the among the most complex if not the actually most complex of all claims made in biology, those made for some thing called "natural selection" being a "thing" about which you can state an actual scientific law even more unlikely than defining laws concerning phenomena consisting of far fewer variables and physical components.

The idea that natural selection, which consists of the lives of, literally ALL of all of the organisms that have ever lived, all of the species, genera, phyla, etc.  not to mention, on the other end of the ranking of species, subspecies, varieties, .  . . right down to those individual organisms, all of the physical aspects of their bodies, all of the environmental aspects of their lives, even right down to the accidental random events that killed them or led to them reproducing could be construed as being  the only biological law based on Rosenberg's criterion based on the number of vectors of any phenomenon is incredibly stupid. 

Alex Rosenberg might hold a faculty position at Duke University but he is a very, very bad philosopher.   You can hear that in the debate he had with Craig.   Relistening to it last night, the most interesting thing for me wasn't Craig's arguments, except his debunking Rosenbergs intellectually nihilistic claims, it was the absolutely wretchedly bad arguments of Rosenberg which are so bad I don't think a smart talk-show guest from the show biz world would try to push them.

From his first non-argument that William Lane Craig had made arguments he previously had made in other debates you can listen to on You-tube,  Rosenberg came up with a string of the mouldiest of old mouldy arguments of atheists going back through the 19th, 18th centuries,  . . . all the way back to Plato.  Rosenberg's claim that Craig's arguments had all been refuted was just a claim because he didn't present any refutation to them.   He depended on a series of the cheapest debate tactics AFTER decrying the practice of formal debate. 

Craig's use of Alex Rosenberg's claims made in his  book "The Atheist's Guide to Reality" - I don't believe he brought it up until Rosenberg pushed it, himself - was masterful.  Rosenberg's argument debunking the significance of minds, of ideas, of thoughts is what I've said is the most decadent position ever taken in the history of academic discourse.

I am recommending listening to the debate, though you can skip the c. 14 minute long intro, because it is such a good example of the decadence that the ideological faith of atheism in its most common modern form of scientism forces any area of academic study into. 

Rosenberg also is a good example of how atheists who are losing an argument will inevitably turn pissy and nasty, replacing argument or even statements of arguments with sarcastic bullying.  You can hear that in his response to an audience question about why his cog-nero-sci based debunking of everything about human minds and even the significance of sentences doesn't render his arguments meaningless was typical of the lowest level of atheist debate tactics.  His handling of even the best argument available to him the problem of pain or evil, was really poorly done. His use of the Holocaust, misrepresenting what Craig has said about such issues, was disgusting and dishonest.

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