Feser Replies

Edward Feser has now posted two responses, here and here, to my previous post. I’m sure everyone will be shocked to learn that I don’t think he replied very effectively, but if you’re curious go have a look. SIWOTI Syndrome is not a hang up of mine, and it doesn’t generally bother me to let my opponents have the last word in these little flare-ups. My only reply is that I stand by everything I said in my earlier posts.

Comments

  1. #1 GaryU
    July 26, 2011

    This may be your shortest post ever! And you still said a mouthful.

  2. #2 Richard Wein
    July 26, 2011

    Feser puts his foot in his mouth again. He repeats his mistaken accusation that Jason “begged the question”, while showing that he himself does not understand the meaning of that term.

  3. #3 sailor1031
    July 26, 2011

    some people are invincibly ignorant; no amount of explication will correct their wrongheadedness. On the other hand some people are pathological liars and twist everything to be falsehood. Maybe Mr Feser is of one of these types? Or maybe he jus’ don’ read too gud?

  4. #4 Robert O'Brien
    July 26, 2011

    some people are invincibly ignorant; no amount of explication will correct their wrongheadedness. On the other hand some people are pathological liars and twist everything to be falsehood. Maybe Mr Feser is of one of these types? Or maybe he jus’ don’ read too gud?

    Medice cura te ipsum. Your comment re: the Cosmological Argument* demonstrated that you neither understand it nor deductive reasoning in general.

    Like the overwhelming majority of internet atheists, you are a noxious mediocrity.

    *There are actually several of them.

  5. #5 Onkel Bob
    July 26, 2011

    Sailor you should consider yourself honored; you have been belittled by Robert O’Brien itself! The personification of Ed Brayton’s Robert O’Brien TrophyTM has scorned you! Such laurels, you are indeed noble.

  6. #6 Robert O'Brien
    July 26, 2011

    The personification of Ed Brayton’s Robert O’Brien Trophy…

    The sad thing is that Ed and I used to be the best of friends. I didn’t mind at all that he was a college drop out and a failure as a comedian and everything else he has tried his hand at (except blogging — there is no shortage of pretentious morons on the internet!) But one day when I was visiting with him in his kitchen and he stepped out to take a phone call, I made the mistake of eating his last krispy kreme dough nut. (Very inconsiderate of me, in retrospect.) When Ed returned and saw the dough nut missing with a spot of chocolate on the corner of my mouth he flew into a rage, damned me to hell, and threw me out of his house. This was several years ago, but to this day he maintains an unhealthy, Ahab-like fixation with me, hence the “trophy.”

  7. #7 MikeN
    July 27, 2011

    Good take-down of the Cosmological Argument here:(pdf)

    “Stop Asking Why There Is Anything”
    http://philosophy.acadiau.ca/tl_files/sites/philosophy/resources/documents/Maitzen_SAWTA.pdf

  8. #8 Valhar2000
    July 27, 2011

    Robert O’Brien: So you really are the Robert O’Brien?

  9. #9 Dan L.
    July 27, 2011

    Like the overwhelming majority of internet atheists, you are a noxious mediocrity.

    Wow, Robert, you sound just like a Pharynguloid. Well, the bit of Latin makes you sound like an especially pompous Pharynguloid. Then again, Feser’s blog reads like a pompous, theistic version of Pharyngula so this is hardly surprising.

  10. #10 Jason Rosenhouse
    July 27, 2011

    Folks, this isn’t a thread about Robert O’Brien. If you’re thinking about leaving a comment that only serves to attack another person, please don’t. I will be deleting any comments that are not germane to the opening post.

    Robert — For some reason I still let you comment here, but don’t abuse my largesse.

  11. #11 Moewicus
    July 27, 2011

    Here’s how I see Feser’s replies:

    1. His complaint about Eric Macdonald doesn’t seem to have been an ad hominem, but I don’t see the point of questioning Macdonald’s recommendations on the grounds of his character either. Does Feser think Macdonald was directing Coyne to bad theology, or what? Exactly what Feser’s point was, I don’t understand. Oh, wait, he says it’s questionable. What’s the question, then?

    2. Feser says that, in context, Rosenhouse was assuming what he was trying to prove, but the context does not reflect that. Feser seems to have been reading the post as being about the Cosmological Argument(s) when it was about more than that. The Cosmological Argument(s) was not “exactly what was in question” in Rosenhouse’s post.

    3. Was Le Poldevin misrepresenting the Cosmological Argument(s) by saying that the version he was using as a didactic stepping stone was the version which other versions modified? Not sure. Le Poldevin was obviously not misrepresenting Aristotle, Aquinas, Leibniz, et al, since he said no one defended it. I wonder what Feser thinks of Le Poldevin’s further treatment of the other arguments? In any case Feser’s question of Le Poldevin “what’s the point of attacking it, then?” is evident from the passage in question. Whether atheists have consistently used that version as a straw man to attack is another question.

  12. #12 Pierce R. Butler
    July 27, 2011

    After reading Feser’s posts, all I come away with regarding the True Cosmological Argument™ is that I gotta go read (unspecified titles by) Aquinas, Leibniz, et al.

    Sheesh. Whatever it is, it can’t be as hairy as relativity, quantum mechanics, chaos theory, real cosmology, etc, and all of those have decent, clear, and respectable introductions for the layperson available in print and online.

    Think of this as an opportunity, Edward Feser!

  13. #13 Jason Rosenhouse
    July 27, 2011

    Moewicus —

    Well said!

  14. #14 bric
    July 28, 2011

    If you can’t explain something simply, you don’t know enough about it. . . and . . . You do not really understand something unless you can explain it to your grandmother.
    – Albert Einstein

  15. #15 Owlmirror
    July 28, 2011

    @Moewicus :

    Spelling nit: “Le Poidevin” has no “l” in the second part of the name.

    /pedant

    (I think the default font is way too small, and I wish that Jason would use css to make it larger. In the meantime, I use a greasemonkey script to pull in Pharyngula’s css for all scienceblogs.)

  16. #16 SAWells
    July 28, 2011

    @MikeN: I think a shorter takedown is sufficient. The person asking “Why is there something rather than nothing?” is implicitly claiming that it’s possible for there to be nothing at all. But in fact there is no evidence that it’s possible for there to be nothing at all.

    The universe is evidence for the possibility of the existence of the universe; where’s the evidence for the possibility of it not existing?

  17. #17 H.H.
    July 28, 2011

    Owlmirror, re: the small font, not sure how it is with every browser, but I have Firefox and I can enlarge or shrink the text by simply holding down the Control key and turning my mouse wheel.

  18. #18 Peter Ozzie Jones
    July 29, 2011

    I think this says it all?

    Theology is the effort to explain the unknowable
    in terms of the not worth knowing.

    H. L. Mencken (1880-1956), American writer.

  19. #19 386sx
    July 30, 2011

    Aristotle:

    “Note, next, that neither the matter nor the form comes to be—and I mean the last matter and form. For everything that changes is something and is changed by something and into something. That by which it is changed is the immediate mover; that which is changed, the matter; that into which it is changed, the form.”

    Aristotle attacks Aristotle:

    “The process, then, will go on to infinity, if not only the bronze comes to be round but also the round or the bronze comes to be; therefore there must be a stop.”

    What’s the point of Aristotle attacking Aristotle? Stupid Aristotle! Lol.

  20. #20 aspidoscelis
    July 31, 2011

    I wish I hadn’t read those links. Feser is a capable SIWOTI trigger. For all the time and energy he seems to’ve invested in this, you’d think he’d at least give us a little hint as to why some variant of “everything–except God–must have a cause” is a compelling premise while “everything must have a cause” is so obviously absurd that merely mentioning it is a vile calumny. The “basic” version of the CA is just a “sophisticated” CA minus the special pleading. And I’m supposed to read a short stack of theology to understand the exceeding subtlety of that special pleading? Why on earth would I want to do that?

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