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Trying to have a discussion with some theistic apologists is pointless and unproductive. Here’s why.
Posted: 29 September 2013 07:17 PM   [ Ignore ]
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A Christian apologist has been quite active here of late. Some of us have been drawn into discussion with her, most of us have given up trying to have a discussion but others hold onto hope that someday, if we remain scrupulously reasoned, we’ll get through that remarkably thick skull into the brain. Some of us have written that she writes with intelligence, structures her arguments well and supports them with what from her perspective might seem like evidence.

In a sense, her posts offer a marvelous lesson on several points regarding our discussions with theists, and an interesting case study on the mind of someone whose central organizing principle is that her beliefs are correct. But here is why I respectfully disagree with my fellow secularists who have given her credit for the quality of her arguments.

She deserves credit for her cleverness. However, as more than just I have observed, she practices a clever dishonesty. She relies on us sticking to the methods of reasoned discourse on the merits, while she breaks all the rules of reasoned discourse whenever it suits her. Some of us assume that she’s playing the same game as we are because, after all, look at how she structures her posts to give the appearance of making a reasoned argument. That’s our first mistake. She’s not playing by the rules of reasoned discourse. If we assume that she is, she’ll just play one of her rhetorical sleights of hand; since we’ve dignified her nonsense with a reasoned response, we look flat-footed.

There are at least two ways to handle someone like this. One is to ignore her.

The other is to point out what she’s doing. Don’t get drawn in to a debate over the content of what she’s saying. Point out the nonsense if you like but don’t try to debate it with her. There’s no reason to take her arguments seriously in the first place, and even if you do, she’ll shift her ground on you in mid-sentence. If you engage with her, give her the respect for her personhood but don’t give the content of her beliefs any respect. That’s a different kind of respect, and the content of her arguments don’t merit any.

That’s why the only effective engagement with someone like this is to call her out on her dishonesty. Notice how she never acknowledges that point.

Draw your own conclusions.

[ Edited: 30 September 2013 02:21 PM by PLaClair ]
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Posted: 30 September 2013 02:02 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Now I have to find her posts. I can’t believe I haven’t run into her yet..

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Posted: 30 September 2013 02:14 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Okay, I found her. I see what you mean.  smirk

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Posted: 01 October 2013 03:09 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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I agree. Another sign of her dishonesty is that she ignores her own factual errors. When they are pointed out, such as her claim that natural disasters did not occur until after Adam and Eve disobeyed god, she simply refuses to discuss the error and starts blowing smoke about something else. I have found this is a common tactic with Christian apologists, but LilySmith takes it to a rare extreme.

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Posted: 01 October 2013 06:02 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Unproductive, perhaps, pointless, mmm, I don’t know. I find online discussions somewhat like a scrimmage for face to face to discussions. Online, I can take back something I said, using the delete key, and no one knows about it but me. I can spend some time scrutinizing any facet of the discussion. I can note when I’m getting long winded and pare down my words. I have written long posts, only to notice I missed a key word in their post, and I have to change what I was saying. These are good lessons in exercising the principle of charity.

On the other hand, there is a “post too far”, and sometimes I go there. When the person holding the opposite opinion does not employ the principle of charity, sometimes even making wild, unsubstantiated assumptions based on a word or two, it’s time to wrap things up.

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Posted: 01 October 2013 03:39 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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But Lausten, your comments do not address the point, which pertains to a specific person.

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Posted: 01 October 2013 03:48 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Lausten - 01 October 2013 06:02 AM

Unproductive, perhaps, pointless, mmm, I don’t know. I find online discussions somewhat like a scrimmage for face to face to discussions. Online, I can take back something I said, using the delete key, and no one knows about it but me. I can spend some time scrutinizing any facet of the discussion. I can note when I’m getting long winded and pare down my words. I have written long posts, only to notice I missed a key word in their post, and I have to change what I was saying. These are good lessons in exercising the principle of charity.

On the other hand, there is a “post too far”, and sometimes I go there. When the person holding the opposite opinion does not employ the principle of charity, sometimes even making wild, unsubstantiated assumptions based on a word or two, it’s time to wrap things up.

And put them on your “ignore” list. I find it makes life more pleasant.

Lois

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Posted: 01 October 2013 06:15 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Lausten - 01 October 2013 06:02 AM

Unproductive, perhaps, pointless, mmm, I don’t know. I find online discussions somewhat like a scrimmage for face to face to discussions. Online, I can take back something I said, using the delete key, and no one knows about it but me. I can spend some time scrutinizing any facet of the discussion. I can note when I’m getting long winded and pare down my words. I have written long posts, only to notice I missed a key word in their post, and I have to change what I was saying. These are good lessons in exercising the principle of charity.

On the other hand, there is a “post too far”, and sometimes I go there. When the person holding the opposite opinion does not employ the principle of charity, sometimes even making wild, unsubstantiated assumptions based on a word or two, it’s time to wrap things up.

Imagine me holding up one hand while point with the other and nod and wink.

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Posted: 03 October 2013 04:43 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Lois,

put them on your “ignore” list. I find it makes life more pleasant.

Just a question about practice. Do you do this often? Usually I just note a comment that’s silly (to me, who else?) and move on. People say different things, not all silly, and I like to know what’s going on in a forum. Occasionally I’ve ‘ignored’ someone in a chat-room, usually because they’re getting really personal, or just crazy-angry. Is it just my luck I haven’t had to do that more than oh a half dozen times in years, and only for chat-rooms, or someone e-mailing me personally?

There is no combox or forum I attend where I’ve felt I *needed* to put someone on ‘ignore’ - the forum moderators either catch them, or the blogwriters are interested enough to engage with an ‘irritant’ that I’d miss too much by ignoring him. At worst, I mentally slip over what he writes until something interesting pops up, and I’ll go back and look through old posts. There’s one blog by the scifi writer John C Wright where one frequent poster gets tiresome to me, and i get so far behind I don’t reply out of fear I missed too much, unless something very specific pops out.

Other people? Do you routinely ‘rub out’ posters in the forum - any forum - who are irritating but haven’t been formally ejected? How do you keep up if they are frequent contributors?

(And btw: I’m not formally endorsing or criticizing any particular Christian poster here. I’m not good at apologetics anyway.)

Chris

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Posted: 04 October 2013 11:56 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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In the years that I’ve been here, I’ve put two people on ignore that I can recall.

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Posted: 05 October 2013 08:38 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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Everyone (except Bryan) I have put on ignore, has eventually been banned….some sooner than others.

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Posted: 08 October 2013 03:17 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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inthegobi - 03 October 2013 04:43 PM

Lois,

put them on your “ignore” list. I find it makes life more pleasant.

Just a question about practice. Do you do this often? Usually I just note a comment that’s silly (to me, who else?) and move on. People say different things, not all silly, and I like to know what’s going on in a forum. Occasionally I’ve ‘ignored’ someone in a chat-room, usually because they’re getting really personal, or just crazy-angry. Is it just my luck I haven’t had to do that more than oh a half dozen times in years, and only for chat-rooms, or someone e-mailing me personally?

There is no combox or forum I attend where I’ve felt I *needed* to put someone on ‘ignore’ - the forum moderators either catch them, or the blogwriters are interested enough to engage with an ‘irritant’ that I’d miss too much by ignoring him. At worst, I mentally slip over what he writes until something interesting pops up, and I’ll go back and look through old posts. There’s one blog by the scifi writer John C Wright where one frequent poster gets tiresome to me, and i get so far behind I don’t reply out of fear I missed too much, unless something very specific pops out.

Other people? Do you routinely ‘rub out’ posters in the forum - any forum - who are irritating but haven’t been formally ejected? How do you keep up if they are frequent contributors?

(And btw: I’m not formally endorsing or criticizing any particular Christian poster here. I’m not good at apologetics anyway.)

Chris

I have not done it often, only when the poster is extremely annoying, irrational and insulting, not just to me, but to others.  I have done it only once on this forum. Even most annoying posters I can handle. LilySmith is not a problem to me and she presents a good opportunity to discuss biblical claptrap.

Lois

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Posted: 08 October 2013 06:17 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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Yes, I wouldn’t put LilySmith on ignore, even though she ignores many of our points about her ‘god’.

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Posted: 09 October 2013 05:53 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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Ah, you regular members who have the pleasure of using the “ignore”.  I’m just stuck with seeing how fast my computer can scroll down those interminable babble posts.  LOL

Occam

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Posted: 09 October 2013 05:56 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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Occam. - 09 October 2013 05:53 PM

Ah, you regular members who have the pleasure of using the “ignore”.  I’m just stuck with seeing how fast my computer can scroll down those interminable babble posts.  LOL

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That’s why you get the big bucks.  wink

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Posted: 09 October 2013 09:27 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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DarronS - 09 October 2013 05:56 PM
Occam. - 09 October 2013 05:53 PM

Ah, you regular members who have the pleasure of using the “ignore”.  I’m just stuck with seeing how fast my computer can scroll down those interminable babble posts.  LOL

Occam

That’s why you get the big bucks.  wink

tongue laugh Rofl!

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