Thursday, April 14, 2011

Against JW Wartick--Why Arguments are so Important

Recently, I made comments on the Christian blogger, JW Wartick's blog concerning the debate between William Lane Craig and Lawrence Krauss-- he refused to post my last comment which illustrated that my argument against Craig was successful, and that he had not provided any counter argument to that point otherwise.  JW Wartick also read my blog posting on  The Existence of Contingent Beings. and referred to my post on his blog.  I kept a record of the entire conversation.  JW Wartick resorted to ad hominem, by asking for my credentials, and claiming that I am not a professor of philosophy and religion--which is neither here nor there, as it is the arguments that count--not whether or not I have a diploma on the wall.  When I consider an argument, I judge it by whether it is valid and sound.  In the course of our discussion, JW Wartick would not stick to the argument at hand, so I continued to call him out on it, and asked him for his counter arguments, but all he did was circumvent the issue.  Instead of sticking to my arguments, and offering counter arguments, he merely continued to say "You cannot say that"--without providing any arguments to back it up.

"You cannot say that"--is NOT an argument!!  For example, you will see in the discussion at one point he says my explanation addresses the physical possibilities, but does not address the ontological possibilities.  Note, in such a case, the person should cite what ontological possibilities they are talking about! In fact, my explanation for the universe's existence being " in its own nature" provides an explanation for both physical and ontological possibilities as they relate to the argument.  If there are possibilities that undermine my explanation, they should be stated.  As another example, JW Wartick said: " I see no reason to actually believe circular causation is possible."  But you will see on my blog posting and my comments to him, that  my explanation provides reasons for the plausibility and possibility for circular causation.  By sticking to the dialectical process and the arguments at hand, we do not resort to ad hominem and/or a red herring.  I hope this conversation will help others by setting an example for how to stick to the arguments, and respecting the dialectical process.  If you have a critique of my explanations and arguments on my refutation of William Lane Craig's  The Existence of Contingent Beings. argument, I welcome them and will respond.

The following is my last post to JW Wartick, which I sent him, but he did not post it along with my other comments to his blog.  I will be posting the entire conversation in Conversations with Christians as well.
"My explanation addresses both the physical and the ontological possibilities. You claim the concept I set out is contradictory--your claim is not an argument. You further say: "’ve yet to circumvent this argument."--as if you have presented me with an argument to that point; unless I missed it in the post, you have not given any such argument. If so, restate it, or point out which post it came from. An argument must be stated before it can be circumvented. For example, I could claim that god as an explanation does not work, as I claim it does not satisfy the ontological possibility.--see how pointless it is to try and argue that way without presenting an argument.

I have already provided an explanation as to how the universe could be finite and infinite. Please read my blog post, and my replies to you on your blog. I will, however, provide you with another example to help you. Let's assume that the universe is infinite. Now consider our calendar. Take the month of January, which has 31 days. It would be finite, and infinite, and eternally recurring. Take the year 2010, January lasted for 31 days, and ended. However, January did not end, as it eternally recurs. Revisit my argument, and the references, some of which have diagrams as to how the universe can be explained by the Conservation of Energy and Quantum Mechanics. Note, that quanta would be indivisible, inside and outside of space and time, as I have already explained in my explanation of the existence of the universe. If this explanation is correct, the universe would be outside of space and time, and inside of space and time, as I have already pointed out to you on several occasions. As I recall, you merely said this was inconsistent with science, at which point, I provided you with links to show you that it was not inconsistent with science, the Laws of Conservation of Energy and Quantum Mechanics at all. I do not expect anyone to believe it because one person said it. I expect them to look at the arguments and explanations, and to familiarize themselves with science and the new developments in science--in particular, Quantum Mechanics. The sites I made reference to set out the working of Quantum Mechanics, and its implications. Now, remember, my argument is a refutation of WL Craig's argument. I do not have to show that my explanation of the universe is an absolute known fact. I only need to show that it is a plausible, and viable explanation. In fact, given science and quantum mechanics, it is as likely, if not more plausible than Craig's explanation that "goddidit" And as Craig points out, the best explanation of an explanation does not need to be explained!

When I said: "...if anything, it would be ad hoc to say that god is metaphysically necessary. I see no reason to accept this fallacious reasoning. "-- this was to point out to you that this kind of mere assertion does not work. I also pointed out to you that one of the respondents, "hume" on my blog addressed this issue of necessity--again you avoid the arguments.

You say: "Fifth, circular causation is highly contentious..." Again, this is not an argument. Think about it. We could say that everything you say about god being the explanation, or that anything to do with god is contentious--now where does that get you?--nowhere. I did not provide just one reference, I provided many, but the key is the ARGUMENTS and the EXPLANATIONS, both of which show that Craig's P1 and P3 do not work, and therefore, Craig's argument for Contingent Beings fails.

You said: "Seventh, saying “I have already refuted twice [sic]” does not mean you have. My argument is that a past infinite is impossible to cross. Your response is “it is possible, circular causation!” That doesn’t rebut my assertion. I’m saying we cannot cross an actually infinite series of events to get to the present moment. You have yet to respond to this argument, other than to say “I have already refuted twice”.

Quite the contrary. I provided arguments and explanations which you failed to address. You tell on yourself in the statement I just cited. STATE YOUR ARGUMENT. What is your argument? Where is your argument?--you just SAY "we cannot cross an actually infinite series of events to get to the present moment."--why not? I can explain this, and have explained it in my explanation of the existence of the universe being "in its own nature" which involves circular causality--which is supported by science, Laws of Conservation of Energy, and Quantum Mechanics--in particular the Transactional Interpretation. You 'SAYING WE CANNOT'--is NOT an argument. If you disagree with my explanation, provide an argument, a counter example, or some other proof against it--and not just "SAY WE CANNOT."

Again, I stated my points, arguments, and my explanations on my blog and on your blog. However, you did not address my arguments and explanations, other than to SAY they are inconsistent with science. At which point, I gave you references to show that it is not inconsistent with science or quantum mechanics. If you do not like the arguments and explanations, you need to provide counter arguments, better explanations, and so forth--not just "SAY."

Ok, let's assume that I do not have a PhD, have never been to college, or high school, and never even graduated from elementary school. Let's say, that I never went to school at all. Now that we have that out of the way, why don't you go back and address the ARGUMENTS and EXPLANATIONS with real arguments, counter arguments, and/or counter examples. Otherwise, I have shown that Craig's P1 and P3 fails, and therefore, his argument fails."


David said...

Cathy, I moved my comment from the other post to here. Once again sorry for the confusion.

It's not ad hominem if he asked you where you taught at. At best it may be a red herring, but even then he could have been asking out of curiosity. If you're going to be throwing the fact that you're a "professor" out there you better believe you will get curious questions about your credentials. It's only ad hominem if he some how suggested that your arguments are untrue or false because of your credentials or lack of. But then again, you should have already known that right "professor"?

Luke Nix said...

"You cannot say that," is your queue to provide support for the premises in your argument. Most likely, JW was just asking you to provide a sound argument for your premises of your larger argument. If the premises in an argument are still under debate, then the argument cannot continue. If he disagrees with a premise, provide him a reason to accept it (another argument).

I would consider this an opportunity for you to make your over-all argument more robust.

Also, I noticed that you didn't provide any information about your professorship in this post. If you did, then you could cut off JW's request at the knees and move on. If you are a professor, just say where and be done with it.

Tom Gilson said...

I will offer you this as an alternative to the conclusion I have just posted: you are plausibly a professor of religion and philosophy, and have taken graduate courses in philosophy, but you personally doubt the value of the institutions where you have studied and where you teach so highly that you would be embarrassed to reveal them.

Or I could be completely wrong about all of my contentions. I've been wrong before, and it is my consistent practice to own up to it when I am wrong. I'd be glad to admit it and retract everything with my most humble apologies. I would need some better evidence of that than you have displayed before I would do that, though.

Tom Gilson said...


Did something go wrong with my first comment here in some technical sense, or did you just display your hypocrisy?

Tom Gilson said...

Cathy: I have a PDF of this page saved, with my comments of 11:52 am, 11:54 am, and 12:10 pm successfully displayed.

It appears you deleted the 12:10 comment. Unless you have some alternate explanation, this has the strong prima facie appearance of being a continuation of your display of hypocrisy.

A is for Atheist said...

@ David

Let us look at the definition of "ad hominem":

"An ad hominem (Latin: "to the man"), short for argumentum ad hominem, is an attempt to link the validity of a premise to a characteristic or belief of the person advocating the premise."

And of particular type:

"Ad hominem abuse (also called personal abuse or personal attacks) usually involves insulting or belittling one's opponent in order to invalidate his argument, but can also involve pointing out factual but ostensible character flaws or actions which are irrelevant to the opponent's argument. This tactic is logically fallacious because insults and even true negative facts about the opponent's personal character have nothing to do with the logical merits of the opponent's arguments or assertions."

I think JW Wartick did commit ad hominen. Most definitely he focused on credentials as a "red herring." Worse than that, he attributed an argument to me that was not part of my refutation of Craig's arguement for contingent beings, suggesting that my mistake was due to me not being a professor of philosophy and religion, and therefore, not knowing what I was talking about (I consider this to be the ad hominem of the type Ad hominem abuse), when in fact, this had nothing to do with my refutation, or any of my arguments. Here is what JW Wartick said:

"I don’t honestly see how a philosophy professor would miss that necessary beings do have their explanation in their own existence...Have you been exposed to metaphysics in your studies? I’m not asking to be spiteful, I’m merely curious. Your entire rebuttal to the argument from contingency makes the assumption that even necessary beings are caused, and you conflate the usage of “explanation” with “cause.”

I assumed what Craig said was true, and argued this opened the door for an opposing plausible, if not a better explanation for the existence of the universe being "in its own nature" which was also one of Craig's disjuncts in his first premise. I said:

"What explanation can be offered to explain god?" The answer would be, "Another god." But that leads to an infinite regress, where the explanation of gods existence is explained by another god, and so on to infinity. Craig wants to use the notion that the explanation of god is "in his own nature" to prevent the infinite regress. However, this move by Craig provides a counter to his own argument. We can use the same explanation for the explanation for the existence of the universe, in that, it is "in its own nature." Let me illustrate this for you."

In Craig's third premise, he totally ignores the disjunct, the existence of the universe as being "in its own nature"--without any proof. Craig asserts:

"If the universe has an explanation of its existence, that explanation is god."

So note, I did not argue, nor did I need to argue, that necessary beings do not have their explanation in their own existence,--again, as I assumed what Craig said was true so I could show that his P3 failed on the grounds that there is another plausible explanation, and perhaps better explanation that being that the existence of the universe is in "its own nature."

JW Wartick focused on the question of my credentials in an effort to belittle me and point out a mistake in an argument that he attributed to me that I never actually gave , all of which
are irrelevant to my argument in the first place.

So, my refutation of Craig's contingent beings argument is that we have another plausible, if not better explanation for the universe being "in its own nature," which shows that Craig's P3 fails.

A is for Atheist said...

@ Luke and Tom

As my credentials are irrelevant to the argument, I feel no need to prove myself by citing where I teach and my credentials, as my arguments stand on their own merit. At this time I wish to remain relatively anonymous, and I do not wish to be bothered by "Christian enthusiasts" at this time. But if you like, you may assume I am a dumb, ignorant, uneducated fool. Now--go address the arguments.

A is for Atheist said...

@ Tom--I have not deleted any comment whatsoever.
I do not preview comments, and I welcome anyone to comment. But perhaps I need to start previewing comments. If you ask something that did not get posted, just repost it.

A is for Atheist said...

Starting as of now, I will preview comments. So, now you can see that prior to this, I had nothing to do with what got posted or what did not get posted.

So your "trick" will not work. It is just another ad hominem attack and a red herring. I thank you for this, because you clearly illustrate a tactic which is used by people like you and others when they cannot compete in the dialectical process, and when they cannot defeat their opponents arguments.

A is for Atheist said...

@ David

Now do you see that they will not address the argument, and like JW Wartick they make up things "Humpty Dumpty" style, and insist on using ad hominem and red herrings, so as not to address the arguments.

An Atheist said...

J.W. Wartick is a fortified idiot. I've been successful at showing how stupid his arguments are. He only approves comments that kiss his ass, or that he thinks he can "pwn". He is logically and scientifically ignorant. He thinks his philosophical arguments could hold up to scientific standards. He is not for freedom, science, or truth. He is for the perseverance of stupidity.

David said...


I understand what an ad hominem is and that is why I decided to reply. My point was simply that it's not an ad hominem because he wasn't using that to undermine/invalidate your argument or say it was false or untrue. We may be on different pages concerning this subject. As I mentioned previously, at best it would be a red herring but even then It was a simple question and him asking something doesn't count as ad hominem; asking with the intent of using that to undermine your argument would be and I did not see that. I honestly didn't think that asking your credentials would erupt into such a big deal. I thought you would have easily responded in telling him what they were and that would be the end of it. There was no need for this ha. Even if you didn't want people to know, you could have simply stated that you don't want to disclose that (Which you finally hinted at when you said, "At this time I wish to remain relatively anonymous") . Hopefully we'll converse some other time in the future.


Samuel Lincoln said...

Some interesting comments here. Do u have an answer?

A is for Atheist said...

@ Samuel

Please see my recent post on "William Lane Craig's Best Explanation Move for the Existence of God is Impotent."

My argument against WL Craig's "Argument for the Existence of Contingent Beings," stands on its own, and no explanation of the best explanation was required, however, I will be posting my arguments for why the best explanation for the existence of the universe is "in its own nature" is the best explanation. Within this post, I will address some of JW Wartick's concerns about the possibility of the universe being said to be necessarily existent and past-eternal.

r said...

Re revealing one's professional credentials. I too am a professor (at a large state university in the midwestern U.S., you know, one of those slackers slouching towards a precarious pension). I can TOTALLY understand why someone would want to preserve his/her anonymity--once you give even a couple of details of where you teach and what, it takes about 2 minutes of web research to figure out who you are. People should have the liberty to engage in debate anonymously, while providing information about their occupations (fiercely intimidating as they may be), if they wish. That's part of the joy of the day, to share ideas in the agora. And obviously, only a fool would assume that any professor is expert on anything other than the narrowest smidgen of the universe that comprises his/her specialty. But woe to those who trangress the smidgen! And hopefully a professor will a. be a decent critical thinker; b. recognize the importance of sources; c. err on the side of generosity in debates with mortals.

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