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Author Topic:   Do creationists actually understand their own arguments?
Taz
Member (Idle past 1454 days)
Posts: 5069
From: Zerus
Joined: 07-18-2006


(2)
Message 1 of 136 (631868)
09-03-2011 11:32 PM


Hello evc. I have been lurking more than participating because life's been busy.

That said, the more I read the posts of recent creationist posts the more my head hurts. Sure, my IQ may not be that high, but I'd like to think that I'm coherent enough most of the time to communicate with people.

How do I know I'm coherent enough to communicate accurately with people? Just 4 months ago I gave a lecture on the importance of bond strength between the reinforcement material in concrete (i.e. steel) and the concrete itself in regard to structural integrity. There were lots of questions afterward about the very things I mentioned, so clearly people understood me farely well in order for them to reflect on the info I threw at them and formulated their questions accordingly.

But when I read posts by Bertot, IamJoseph, and other creationists, I kept scratching my head and tried to re-read their words again. I am finding myself having a very difficult time understanding what the hell they are saying. It's not just their logic I'm having trouble understanding. It's also the immediate things they say that I have trouble understanding.

Take a look at the problems in big bang theory thread, for example. Can anyone here honestly say they understood what the hell IamJoseph was talking about?

My question to you guys is do you think these "crackpots" even know what the hell they are talking about? Or do you think they only have a vague sense of what they want to say and so they stumble through with non-sensical sentences and jibberish?


Replies to this message:
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Admin
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Message 2 of 136 (631889)
09-04-2011 7:33 AM


Thread Moved from Proposed New Topics Forum
Thread moved here from the Proposed New Topics forum.
    
Percy
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Posts: 18476
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 2.8


(3)
Message 3 of 136 (631890)
09-04-2011 7:39 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by Taz
09-03-2011 11:32 PM


It seems pertinent, so here's the text of my Message 329 in the The problems of big bang theory. What are they? thread.

--Percy


Hi BFT,

You keep trying to engage with IAJ, so I want to finally say a few words about this.

The creation/evolution controversy has a long record of attracting loons. IamJoseph is just one of many here. Dawn Bertot, Robert Byers, Bolder-dash and John 10:10 are others who have posted recently.

Before Dover the presence of the certifiables was balanced by others who could articulate a position and argue it rationally, but after Dover their numbers gradually dwindled until today there are almost none here. ID disgraced itself at Dover and is no longer effectively promoting itself, and creationism has decided to keep a very low profile, refraining from any overt actions that might bring it into court but working hard to influence school boards and individual teachers. The result of the cessation of overt efforts to convince the public of their views is that the creationists who come here are either woefully unprepared, or they're seriously disconnected from reality, or they speak English so poorly they understand little that is said (by themselves or anyone else), or all of these and more.

There seems something about holding beliefs contrary to reality that forces disassociation. Just look at TrueCreation, an early and highly active YEC participant in EvC Forum's early days who performed his own intense and highly detailed research. He now says he is no longer YEC, but he can't answer a direct question and has become highly circumspect in all his replies, almost like he's waging an internal battle to keep himself from thinking about certain things.

What originally drew me in to the creationism/evolution controversy was creationism's inability to articulate a rational position while insisting it deserved inclusion in public school science programs. It was the legal battles that first garnered my attention. In the old days many creationists who came to sites like this could muster very strong arguments for their position that required careful attention, but today we get a lot of creationists who seem crazy right from their first post.

I've taken the long way around to say something simple: some of the creationists here who seem crazy really *are* crazy, at least in this discussion board context. Probably in real life they're not really crazy, but religious devotion and sincerity combined with a complete ignorance of science seems to produce the appearance of complete irrationality. Long experience has taught me, and many others here, that's there no point in arguing with a crazy person, and besides, onlookers often can't tell the difference.

There's one key sign, not always exhibited but still helpful, that tells you when it's time to disengage. When you find yourself explaining the interpretation of simple English, head for the hills.

I fully understand the impulses pressing you to engage with IAJ and straighten out his confusion, which seems simple and straightforward and easy to resolve. It appears to you that the presentation of a few simple facts and the walking through of a few logical inductions should straighten everything out. But it doesn't work that way with creationists. When they exhibit a few simple and fundamental errors it isn't because they've just accidentally picked up a few incorrect facts that can be easily corrected, but because they have a whole pathology that prevents them from ever connecting evidence to any ideas contrary to their central beliefs.

--Percy


This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by Taz, posted 09-03-2011 11:32 PM Taz has not yet responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 12 by Dawn Bertot, posted 09-04-2011 8:57 PM Percy has responded
 Message 130 by Thugpreacha, posted 11-07-2011 11:28 AM Percy has not yet responded

    
nwr
Member
Posts: 5585
From: Geneva, Illinois
Joined: 08-08-2005


Message 4 of 136 (631898)
09-04-2011 8:57 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by Taz
09-03-2011 11:32 PM


Taz writes:
Or do you think they only have a vague sense of what they want to say and so they stumble through with non-sensical sentences and jibberish?

I'm not sure of their intentions. You are right, that much of it is gibberish.

If they spew out enough gibberish, some people might take them as saying something really important and really deep ("if I can't understand it, then it must be deep").

We used to refer to this as a snow job.


Fundamentalism - the anti-American, anti-Christian branch of American Christianity

This message is a reply to:
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Butterflytyrant
Member (Idle past 2585 days)
Posts: 415
From: Australia
Joined: 06-28-2011


Message 5 of 136 (631912)
09-04-2011 12:28 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Taz
09-03-2011 11:32 PM


Hello Taz,

I have tangled with IamJoseph and Dawn Bertot on a number of occasions. I do not doubt that they sincerely believe that their arguements are totally clear, logical and scientifically sound. I do not doubt that they believe that they have actually found the correct answer and cannot understand how the rest of us can continue to miss something that is so blindingly obvious. We just cant seem to see the mistakes we are all making. I amnot saying all creationists are like them. I am also not saying that they are the only two out there. I would say they are fairly extreme examples.

Their positions seem to rest mainly on two key tactics.

1. Repetition of their arguements (and repetition that you just don't understand them).

2. Repetition that they are right.

I imagine that a newcomer like myself comes along every now and then and, in their naivety, throws themselves into debates with these sort of people with noble intentions. My only hope is that I was able to serve as an example to others that there is little point of throwing yourself on those particular rocks.

I do think that they know exactly what they are talking about. The unfortunate thing is that the subject that they are knowledgable about is a unique personal interpretation of reality.

There used to be a crazy guy who lived in a big pile of newspapers in a vacant lot (he used to pee in empty bottles and keep them). He was able to lecture for hours (often to no one at all) about all sorts of things. He was very knowledgable about his chosen subject matter. The only issue was that he was the only one who could see the things that he saw. IamJoseph and Dawn Bertot know their position very, very well. I have seen IamJosephs claims on a dozen or more different forums. The same story over and over again to anyone who will listen. I dont know if DW is active elsewhere but I would not be surprised.

They are no different to any fanatic really. It is just they they are in a minority of one. I suppose if there were a hundred followers of their theories, it would not change the fact that they sound crazy.

on another note...

I commend and applaud you sir for being able to give a 'lecture on the importance of bond strength between the reinforcement material in concrete (i.e. steel) and the concrete itself in regard to structural integrity' and still have the attention of your audience. Most groups of men could sit through a lecture on 'boobs in film' for hours and remain attentive to their lecturer. But to keep your audiences attention on your particular subject leads me to believe you to be a formidable speaker.

Edited by Butterflytyrant, : No reason given.


I could agree with you, but then we would both be wrong

Butterfly, AKA, mallethead - Dawn Bertot

"Superstitions and nonsense from the past should not prevent us from making progress. If we hold ourselves back, we admit that our fears are more powerful than our abilities." Hunters of Dune Herbert & Anderson


This message is a reply to:
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Replies to this message:
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DrJones*
Member
Posts: 1866
From: Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Joined: 08-19-2004
Member Rating: 5.1


Message 6 of 136 (631914)
09-04-2011 12:37 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Taz
09-03-2011 11:32 PM


Or do you think they only have a vague sense of what they want to say and so they stumble through with non-sensical sentences and jibberish?

For example: any of Buz's posts where he strings together multiple alliterative words without actually saying anything.

It's not enough to bash in heads, you've got to bash in minds
soon I discovered that this rock thing was true
Jerry Lee Lewis was the devil
Jesus was an architect previous to his career as a prophet
All of a sudden i found myself in love with the world
And so there was only one thing I could do
Was ding a ding dang my dang along ling long - Jesus Built my Hotrod Ministry
Live every week like it's Shark Week! - Tracey Jordan
Just a monkey in a long line of kings. - Matthew Good
If "elitist" just means "not the dumbest motherfucker in the room", I'll be an elitist! - Get Your War On
*not an actual doctor

This message is a reply to:
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Replies to this message:
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Wollysaurus
Member (Idle past 2654 days)
Posts: 52
From: US
Joined: 08-25-2011


(4)
Message 7 of 136 (631920)
09-04-2011 1:30 PM


A Newbie Observation
After wading through countless threads on this forum, I think I can understand why you would ask this.

But I have to say that I don't think you give "creationists" (in the broadest sense) enough credit for rational thought.

I've read some very cogent and well thought out arguments, and some that appear internally consistent, easy to understand and, on the surface, convincing.

An example I might use is Lee Stroble's _The Case for a Creator_. While it is what one might justly refer to as "Pop Apologetics", the interviews which are covered contain internal logic, are easy to follow, and it becomes apparent that the folks defending their positions are at least intelligent and well versed in the topics they are discussing. Whether or not they are correct in their conclusions is obviously debatable, but you are asking if they understand their own positions, which I think they do. While many of the arguments essentially present a false dichotomy -- if the origin of life (as opposed to the origin of species) cannot at present be proven, then the Judeo Christian creator must be true -- this does not mean they do not understand their own arguments.

But I do understand the frustration. As an example, I worked with a couple of very devout Mormons for a while. They were good people with good families (why do I feel it necessary to say that?) but when it came to discussions on history or religion, I felt like I was banging my head against a wall. That's because their conception of the history of the American continents was shaped almost entirely by their religion and the Book of Mormon, along with a hundred and fifty years of bizarre apologetics. So, to them it was a given that the native peoples on the continent were the decedents of Hebrews, that vast empires clashed here in battles like Cumorah, etc. Any archaeological find or footnote of history was mangled and wedged into this narrative. It wasn't that they didn't understand their own arguments, it's that they couldn't understand *my* arguments because what I might present was totally outside of their frame of reference, i.e. American continents not populated by throngs of Hebrews. I guess my point is, maybe they are asking the same question about you: "do evolutionists not even understand their own arguments?"

But I wouldn't use the rambling responses of some on these boards to come to the conclusion that all creationists are stupid, crazy, or perhaps just pathologically dishonest. There are plenty of extremely smart people out there who believe in a creator, and I'd be willing to bet that a few of them could give folks on this board a run for their money. At least, so long as they don't try to prove that there was a global flood 4,500 years ago


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Percy
Member
Posts: 18476
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 2.8


Message 8 of 136 (631921)
09-04-2011 2:09 PM
Reply to: Message 7 by Wollysaurus
09-04-2011 1:30 PM


Re: A Newbie Observation
Message 1 isn't about all creationists. It's about the creationists here at EvC Forum. We would love it if creationists who can both express themselves in English and construct rational arguments would come here more often. We used to have a lot of them, but no more.

--Percy


This message is a reply to:
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Replies to this message:
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Taz
Member (Idle past 1454 days)
Posts: 5069
From: Zerus
Joined: 07-18-2006


Message 9 of 136 (631941)
09-04-2011 7:29 PM
Reply to: Message 8 by Percy
09-04-2011 2:09 PM


Re: A Newbie Observation
percy writes:

Message 1 isn't about all creationists. It's about the creationists here at EvC Forum. We would love it if creationists who can both express themselves in English and construct rational arguments would come here more often. We used to have a lot of them, but no more


Speakingn of that, where did they all go? Last I checked the rapture hadn't occurred yet.

OFF TOPIC
AdminPD

Edited by AdminPD, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
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Dawn Bertot
Member (Idle past 436 days)
Posts: 3571
Joined: 11-23-2007


Message 10 of 136 (631946)
09-04-2011 8:33 PM
Reply to: Message 5 by Butterflytyrant
09-04-2011 12:28 PM


I have tangled with IamJoseph and Dawn Bertot on a number of occasions. I do not doubt that they sincerely believe that their arguements are totally clear, logical and scientifically sound. I do not doubt that they believe that they have actually found the correct answer and cannot understand how the rest of us can continue to miss something that is so blindingly obvious. We just cant seem to see the mistakes we are all making. I amnot saying all creationists are like them. I am also not saying that they are the only two out there. I would say they are fairly extreme examples.

Their positions seem to rest mainly on two key tactics.

1. Repetition of their arguements (and repetition that you just don't understand them).

2. Repetition that they are right.

I imagine that a newcomer like myself comes along every now and then and, in their naivety, throws themselves into debates with these sort of people with noble intentions. My only hope is that I was able to serve as an example to others that there is little point of throwing yourself on those particular rocks.

I do think that they know exactly what they are talking about. The unfortunate thing is that the subject that they are knowledgable about is a unique personal interpretation of reality.

Im sure some Psychologist may look at such comments and say, now here is a guy that he is the very thing he ranting about. Butterfly, you appear to me to be the very thing you advocate.

all of my positions derive thier conclusions from reality and nothing else

BTW, you are free to tangle with us in a personal and oral public debate anytime you wish. We will take on any and all challengers

Have fun

Dawn Bertot

OFF TOPIC
AdminPD

Edited by AdminPD, : No reason given.


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Dawn Bertot
Member (Idle past 436 days)
Posts: 3571
Joined: 11-23-2007


(1)
Message 11 of 136 (631948)
09-04-2011 8:44 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Taz
09-03-2011 11:32 PM


But when I read posts by Bertot, IamJoseph, and other creationists, I kept scratching my head and tried to re-read their words again. I am finding myself having a very difficult time understanding what the hell they are saying. It's not just their logic I'm having trouble understanding. It's also the immediate things they say that I have trouble understanding.

Take a look at the problems in big bang theory thread, for example. Can anyone here honestly say they understood what the hell IamJoseph was talking about?

My question to you guys is do you think these "crackpots" even know what the hell they are talking about? Or do you think they only have a vague sense of what they want to say and so they stumble through with non-sensical sentences and jibberish?

Instead of contemplation, simply ask a specific question about a specific point. Im sure I can provide a logical response.

It's also the immediate things they say that I have trouble understanding.

For example, what the heck does this mean?

My first guess is that you actually do understand you simply have no response. Ive seen alledged great men of understanding, reduced to rubble when for example trying to conduct a debate with Dr Thomas B Warren.

Your problem is that youve been educated poorly in philosophical and logical matters. And you certainly understand nothing about Biblical matters, it appears

Dawn Bertot

OFF TOPIC
AdminPD

Edited by Dawn Bertot, : No reason given.

Edited by AdminPD, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by Taz, posted 09-03-2011 11:32 PM Taz has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 17 by Taz, posted 09-04-2011 10:24 PM Dawn Bertot has responded

    
Dawn Bertot
Member (Idle past 436 days)
Posts: 3571
Joined: 11-23-2007


Message 12 of 136 (631950)
09-04-2011 8:57 PM
Reply to: Message 3 by Percy
09-04-2011 7:39 AM


What originally drew me in to the creationism/evolution controversy was creationism's inability to articulate a rational position while insisting it deserved inclusion in public school science programs.

Forgive me for saying it,but you are nothing but a filthy liar, you know I have done this on many occasions with my position of what creationism is exacally. You above comment is a misrepresentation and an out an out lie

I fully understand the impulses pressing you to engage with IAJ and straighten out his confusion, which seems simple and straightforward and easy to resolve. It appears to you that the presentation of a few simple facts and the walking through of a few logical inductions should straighten everything out.

You are exacally the same type of people as myself and Joseph, you simply to much of a coward to admit it

You derision, belittlement, and sarcasm do nothing to defeat our positions. I would suggest you put forward arguments instead of hiding behind false pretense

Quit being cowards with sarcasm. If you could have refuted my postions you would have done it along time ago and i would have been long gone

Dawn Bertot

Dawn Bertot

OFF TOPIC
AdminPD

Edited by AdminPD, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
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Dawn Bertot
Member (Idle past 436 days)
Posts: 3571
Joined: 11-23-2007


(1)
Message 13 of 136 (631951)
09-04-2011 9:01 PM


Please explain how my comments are off Topic

Dawn Bertot

OFF TOPIC
AdminPD

Edited by AdminPD, : No reason given.


    
Percy
Member
Posts: 18476
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 2.8


(3)
Message 14 of 136 (631955)
09-04-2011 9:33 PM
Reply to: Message 12 by Dawn Bertot
09-04-2011 8:57 PM


Hi Dawn,

I don't think I know how to include a creationist in this discussion. We're not trying to be exclusive, but this thread is evolutionists talking about our shared perceptions of creationists, and since you don't share those perceptions I don't know how you could participate.

But if there is a way you could join the discussion, I dont think uncivil behavior is it.

--Percy


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 Message 12 by Dawn Bertot, posted 09-04-2011 8:57 PM Dawn Bertot has not yet responded

    
Wollysaurus
Member (Idle past 2654 days)
Posts: 52
From: US
Joined: 08-25-2011


(2)
Message 15 of 136 (631958)
09-04-2011 9:48 PM


Percy writes:

Message 1 isn't about all creationists. It's about the creationists here at EvC Forum. We would love it if creationists who can both express themselves in English and construct rational arguments would come here more often. We used to have a lot of them, but no more.
--Percy

I took the title of the thread ("Do creationists actually understand their own arguments?") as being broad in context.

Perhaps what should be presented is a few linked examples of exchanges between secularists and the named creationists in post 1, in order to show what might lead a person to think that these "crackpots" might not know what they are talking about. (or would that exceed a post length limit? )

The only reason I suggest this is that someone happening upon this site and this topic might just see this thread and see it as a bunch of evolutionists slinging mud. I'm not saying that *is* what is happening (having read through, as an example, a number of threads on the Flood that just made my head hurt). I have no doubt that there are plenty of creationists who visit this site and read through the threads without ever signing up, or perhaps visit as registered users without posting. Seeing you point out what you may consider to be inconsistent or even nonsensical arguments may cue up some creationists to enter the fray who are better equipped to have a rational, point by point debate.


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