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  1. #1
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    [Discussion] "Uniqueness of the Bible" thread and its latest exchange

    *NOTE* This is not a discussion about the soundness of the argument "The Bible is Unique," post in that thread if you wish to address that argument. This is a discussion about that discussion, specifically, the exchange I'm referring to is the one between Dr. Gonzo and myself. It started when I replied (Post #421) to someone who merely posted the question "Why does the Bible contradict itself so much?" (#419) and is found on the current last page of that thread: http://www.onlinedebate.net/forums/s...e-Bible/page15

    I. Understanding the charge of contradiction as it is traditionally meant (in all exchanges I've ever had about the Bible's alleged contradictions), I took from this, the traditional meaning that is commonly meant by Biblical contradiction, of which there are numerous threads discussing such issues (Jesus' lineage, Judas' fate, Jesus riding in with 2 donkeys vs one, days of the week of death, Creation accounts - this one was offered by Gonzo himself), etc...all of which have already been discussed in other threads. When you scour the web for Biblical contradictions, these are the sort you will find. And as such, they have a proper place for discussion (threads concerning these instances). And in no way do they challenge the idea of continuity as one of the unique characteristics of the Bible. Gonzo believed otherwise. He misunderstood what was being said and despite me explaining and trying to clarify, he still misunderstands what is meant by continuity as of the date and time of this post despite it being explained in more detail in post #428.

    II. Gonzo also misidentifies the parts of an argument in another thread that were briefly discussed in the "Uniqueness of the Bible" thread so I'll address that as well.

    III. Lastly, Gonzo either intentionally distorts what is said with regard about presenting relevant contradictions, or he simply is not understanding what is said about them.

    The purpose of this thread is 3-fold:


    1. To attempt to clarify further what is being said and/or have the community weigh in as sometimes, the perspective of other people and the way they phrase it helps illustrate something that 1 person is not communicating well enough or in terms of the intended party. It is my hope that through this process Dr. Gonzo will come out the other side having learned something new that can be taken into other discussions.
    2. To address his false charges and claims head on with regards to argument evaluation.
    3. To ensure that non-participants (lurkers) fully understand the exchange and to avoid the mistakes that Dr. Gonzo has made.



    ----------------

    Addressing issue I.

    In order to know what is relevant and what is not in so far as the types of contradictions that would challenge the idea of the Bible's continuity, we must first know what is meant by continuity. Since it is my argument, I presented it, I need to explain what I mean by that. I did...in post #1 of the thread. But perhaps the language was unclear. So it was explained again in post #428. Again, perhaps that was unclear, so I'll do so again, in this post.

    When we (or I) say that the Bible is unique in its continuity, I mean to say that it is consistent in its application and teaching of values, tenets, or the themes of Christianity over an extended period of time, despite being written by numerous authors from numerous backgrounds, various languages, countries, literary styles, moods (explained in the first post of the thread), locations (also explained in other thread), etc... There is much diversity happening here, yet there is continuity in the themes expressed in the Bible.

    This is further explained in that post, and I'll copy it here for convenience:

    10) In spite of it's diversity, the Bible presents a single unfolding story: God's redemption of human beings. Geisler and Nix put it this way: "The 'Paradise Lost' of Genesis becomes the 'Paradise Regained' of Revelation. Whereas the gate to the tree of life is closed in Genesis, it is opened forevermore in Revelation."

    11) Finally, and most important, among all the people described in the Bible, the leading character throughout is the one, true, living God made known through Jesus Christ.

    Consider the OT: The Law provides the foundation for Christ, the historical books show the preparation for Christ, the poetical works aspire to Christ, and the prophecies display an expectation of Christ.

    In the NT: the Gospels record the manifestation of Christ, the Acts relate the propagation of Christ, the Epistles give the interpretation of Him, and in Revelation is found the consummation of all things in Christ.

    Therefore, although the Bible contains many books by many authors, it shows in its continuity that it is also one book. As F.f. Bruce observes, "Any part of the human body can only be properly explained in reference to the whole body. And any part of the Bible can only be properly explained in reference to the whole Bible." Each book is like a chapter in the one book we call the Bible.

    Contrast the books of the Bible with the compilation of Western classics called the Great Books of the Western World. The Great Books contain selections from more than 450 works by close to 100 authors spanning a period of about 2,500 years: Homer, Plato, Aristotle, Plotinus, Augustine, Aquines, Dante, Hobbes, Calvin, Shakespeare, Hume, Kant, Darwin, Tolstoy, to name but a handful. While these individuals are all part of the Western tradition of ideas, they often display an incredible diversity of views on just about every subject. And while their views share some commonalities, they also display numerous conflicting and contradictory positions and perspectives. In fact, they frequently go out of their way to critique and refute key ideas proposed by their predecessors.

    The context and meaning of the term 'continuity' should be understood, IMO, by anyone with an average reading level. And an example of contrast is given with the compilation of books called The Great Books in which also, several authors wrote from various periods of time with various backgrounds and geographic locations and literary styles, etc... Like the Bible, it too is diverse in that respect (origins). But unlike the Bible, the Great Books cannot be said to have continuity with respect to central ideas, values, or themes. These are as diverse as the authors who created the individual works found within the compilation. Such is not the case with the Bible.

    The primary central idea or theme of the Bible is: Jesus. Plain and simple. This is explained above.

    There are other secondary ideas and themes however. For example:


    • Jesus is mankind's savior
    • God has always existed and is the Creator
    • Homosexual activity is not acceptable (it is sinful, as is all forms of fornication)
    • There is peace and joy in Heaven


    A reminder, if you wish to discuss the relevancy of continuity as it pertains to meaning the Bible is unique, then please do so in that thread (this is about the discussion of that topic, nothing more).

    So from this, we should understand what is meant by saying that there is continuity to be found in the Bible. It would be fallacious to say that "The Bible does not have continuity with regards to central themes and ideas because there are several covenants that God makes with man and these change over time." That isn't the type of continuity being referred to, it isn't a central theme or idea. It would also be fallacious to say that "The Bible does not have continuity because there is a contradiction as to whether Jesus rode in on 2 donkeys or 1." That isn't an issue of continuity. Not only is it not a central theme or idea, but it was not written about by various authors over extended periods of time in various geographic locations, etc...

    Likewise, it is fallacious to submit as an example of the Bible not being continuous in its themes or central ideas because of the seemingly different Creation accounts found in Gen 1 and Gen 2. Not only is such a thing not a central idea or theme, it is also something which is written about by a single author during a single period of time at a single geographic location, etc...

    I don't know if the above clarification was sufficient. I try to communicate in average, normal, every day language so as not to complicate what is being said. It's important for communicators to communicate their ideas properly. But I don't know if it is reasonable to simplify the above even more than it has been already. Is the above still too complex to understand by the average adult? If so, then I don't know that I know how to properly do so, and it is one of the reasons for posting this post (to let others explain in simpler terms where I am apparently incapable of doing so).

    This may be another example of how I've said in the past, ODN may benefit from having a forum dedicated to arguments presented by those who have experience and knowledge in formal critical thinking methods. While I do not know how the logistics would work out, I do find that for me (and apparently for a few others who have approached me), it would cut down on the frustration of having to explain what ought to be already understood "basics" prior to engaging in any debate. It is of my opinion Gonzo, that you do in fact lack some of these basic understandings. And despite me trying to help you with them by offering explanations and pointing you to essays written about them (such as What is the Issue and Conclusion of an Argument?) you seem to believe that either I'm out to trick you or that I just have nothing to teach you (despite actually being well-versed in the art/science of critical thinking). I cannot say for certain but I believe it is most likely simply an ego issue...which is often the case with younger, less experienced debaters. And I realize this may feel like it is an attack because I've just now placed the focus of the conversation on you, but it isn't the personal sort which has the intent of humiliation or causing "harm." If it is the case that one of the participants of a discussion is lacking fundamental skills or understanding of something, those must be addressed before the discussion can continue. And in this instance, the issue at hand are some of the principles of critical thinking and argument analysis.

    Now that we got the above out of the way, the last 2 issues should be a breeze.

    Addressing issue II.

    In the other thread, PrimeZombie is asking why Christians believe that Christianity is true and other religions false. That is, what separates it from other religions, how did we get from "God exists" to "the Christian God exists"?


    PZ: Christians, please walk us through how you came to believe (and/or how one could come to believe) that Jesus is the one true god. I am basically looking for what exactly makes Christianity special or different from other religions.

    PZ then makes the statement that all religions have at least 3 things in common that are said to support their respective religion, so there has to be something different or something more...

    PZ: I obviously am aware of:

    1. Holy books
    2. Personal faith and/or spiritual experiences
    3. So-called miracles

    But all other major religions have the above to support it's claims,

    MindTrap immediately answers. He addresses the 2nd part first, then he address the thesis of the thread, the primary argument.


    MT: That would be a hasty generalization right there. Just because a religion has a book, doesn't mean it is of equal quality.

    The bible is unique among all books, much more "holy books".
    I think ODN has a thread on that specifically.

    This was a point about equating all holy books.

    This should be obvious that this is in response to the indirect assertion that all Holy Books are on equal playing fields (at least, that is how MT read it and is why he responded to it). But if it wasn't obvious, he makes it perfectly clear in his closing statement:
    This was a point about equating all holy books. It is a given that the Uniqueness of the Bible is not sufficient to make the Bible credible (and he even admits as such in the beginning of post #, he was merely pointing out one of the differences between it and other holy books when he linked the thread. At this point, he has not given support as to why the Bible is credible.

    To the crux of the issue re: "Why the Christian God over all other religions?" MT answered plainly:

    MT: He is the only one for whom we have credible testimony that he died and raised himself from the dead. While many have died and many others have come back, none(to my knowledge) have claimed to raise themselves from the dead. Certainly none with a comparable body of evidence of it having actually occurred.


    So to answer PZ's general question, MT offered a general answer. Neither of which (as far as I can tell), were further supported (which is fine unless he is challenged on them in that thread, but it could be he is just providing an outlined answer...regardless, it's irrelevant for the misunderstanding of what Dr. Gonzo's holds as to what MT is arguing here.

    MT is arguing that Christianity > all other religions because a) Jesus' Resurrection and b) credibility of the Bible.

    Both of those pieces of support can be challenged of course. No one is saying otherwise. What is being said, is that this is MT's argument, plain and simple. In fact, I said it to Gonzo in post #428:

    Apok: MT does not use the "uniqueness of the Bible" as direct evidence for Christianity other than using it to set its holy book apart from those found in other religions. MT uses 2 primary reasons to support his conclusion that Christianity is true:

    1) Jesus's Resurrection
    2) The Bible is trustworthy

    Gonzo however, disagreed that these were MT's reasons...despite MT explicitly saying they were. In fact, Gonzo insisted that MT is arguing that because the Bible is unique, it follows that MT is arguing that the Bible is trustworthy or credible. Nowhere does MT argue such a thing and Gonzo therefore, is guilty of a strawman. The introduction of the Bible being unique was due to the fact that MT disagrees that all holy books are equal. He is only introducing the Bible being unique to set apart the Bible from other holy books. In fact, the first time he says anything about the Bible being trustworthy, it is in reference to Jesus' resurrection, not the uniqueness of the Bible. Gonzo is not reading carefully what is said.

    In post #8 MT even clarifies that he is not saying that the Bible is trustworthy because it is unique, but rather the resurrection of Jesus is true because of the Bible's trustworthiness.

    MT: I offered a difference in one of the main pillars of faith that is not the same as every other one out there.
    Namely that Jesus died and raised himself from the dead. The evidence of it is the bible. (not because it is unique but because it is trustworthy).

    At no point has anyone argued that the Bible is true or credible because it is unique. MT even explained this in post #5 in response to PZ's statement that uniqueness does not make the Bible true.

    So in summary, we have a clear example of Gonzo either not reading carefully the exchange, or not understanding the argument. To put it simply, there were 2 separate issues (read my essay linked above if you are unaware what an issue of an argument is and how to identify them):

    1) Is the Bible on equal footing with other holy books?
    2) Why should we accept Christianity over other religions?

    Gonzo is not making a distinction here and has mistakenly confused the response to #1, as a response to #2.

    Gonzo, it would behoove you to read the essay I wrote. It's an objective essay written on the topic that is supported by 2 university professors for an upcoming public, online course the 3 of us are putting together. This is not a slam against you, it's an attempt to help you along in your understanding of necessary critical thinking skills, skills which are learned and which are objectively applied.


    Addressing issue III.

    This is similar to #1 re: the meaning of the term "continuity" but takes a slightly different path. He charged that I will not accept any submitted contradictions because I've already decided this is an impossibility. It would seem that Gonzo misunderstands the nature of inductive reasoning. It also would appear that Gonzo misunderstands meaning being certain language. When he previously made this unfounded charge, I addressed it accordingly in post #428:

    If you think you can present a relevant contradiction as it pertains to #2 above (of which, I've never seen presented by anyone, ever, blogger or scholar), go for it. I do not think you cannot do it because it is you attempting to do so, but because you may very well be the first in human history to do so. For what reason would I have to believe that you are the very first in all of humankind? It doesn't make it impossible for you to be "the one" but it is reasonable to inductively conclude that you are not for what ought to be, obvious reasons.


    Meaning that he can certainly submit a seeming contradiction in the themes, ideas, or values of the Bible (see #1 above), but to my knowledge, no one ever has. I explained that this does not mean it is not possible, but rather since I've never seen anyone attack the Bible in such a manner, I have no reason to believe that he can, particularly since I read from several scholarly criticisms. What I think is happening, is that again, he's just confused as to what is meant by 'continuity.' Obviously, there have been many submissions of alleged contradictions in the Bible, but these have never had anything to do with continuity as I have defined it.

    Furthermore, the idea that encouragement to present a relevant contradiction (one that actually addresses the continuity as I have defined it) for consideration really means that he ought not to do so or cannot do so or I will not consider it, is absurd. It's ignoring the principle of charity and essentially an attempt at "mind reading." It has no place in rational discourse.
    Last edited by Apokalupsis; April 16th, 2013 at 11:57 AM.
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  3. #2
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    Re: [Discussion] "Uniqueness of the Bible" thread and its latest exchange

    I think the dialog problem is you cut him down before he offered any examples, preemptively claiming no contradiction ever offered would meet your test of a lack of continuity due to your rather vague and narrow definition of what continuity means in your argument.

    Mind you its your argument so it is yours to define, but he can challenge it as a somewhat meaningless of self fulfilling definition.

    Personally, I think the central problem with your definition is it provides little to no measurement of what is a consistent theme. You present the theme as "God's redemption of human beings." Its quite possible to say that anything and everything that ever happens in the bible is part of that theme, even if there is a chapter about who begot who, you can say that is important in the story of redemption. So long as it begins with a fall and ends with redemption, anything you put in the middle can be part of your "theme." Thus it could contain a list of laundry and sandwich materials so long as you tack on a redemptive ending and start with a tragedy. This makes it a self fulfilling definition as well as one that can justify nearly any material what so ever. That does not make it at all unique. Nearly any work of literature can claim a theme of some kind. Nor would it be hard to compile a set of literature with a theme that is written by many over a long period of time. I could collect all the writings of Buddhism into a book and it would have a central theme, and it would be written over millennia in various languages and so forth.

    Like this one (semi serious example): http://www.amazon.com/BUDDHISM-BUDDH.../dp/B004AYCU7I

    So what kind of argument could I make that you could consider relevant to show the bible (or any book) does not consistently portray a theme of redemption if it starts with a fall and ends with a redeeming moment? I can't think of one you couldn't just dismiss as a necessary part of the redemption story. And at that point all you are really claiming is the beginning and end of the story make for a specific narrative arc.

    Were I making the argument I would say that the old testament only tells a story of the failings of man, and the new testament tells a story of the redemption of some men, and the two were separate faiths that were then glued together to create a single story of redemption. You can take a story, give it a new ending and create a new theme, one that is "consistent" in so much as it is now the arc of the story.

    So one type of contradiction we could use to show the weakness of this argument for uniqueness is to demonstrate elements that differ between the Torah and Bible that show a story direction in the Torah that is abandoned and changed by the bible. i most often point to the nature of the messiah as described in the Torah vs the nature of Jesus as depicted in the Bible. the former being an earthly king who unites Israel an establishes an earthly kingdom, vs the Bible where Jesus is a spiritual guide for people to enter a life beyond the earthly one. Mind you this doesn't show it doesn't have a theme, only that a theme can still be imposed on discontinuous works.
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    Re: [Discussion] "Uniqueness of the Bible" thread and its latest exchange

    Quote Originally Posted by Sigfried View Post
    I think the dialog problem is you cut him down before he offered any examples, preemptively claiming no contradiction ever offered would meet your test of a lack of continuity due to your rather vague and narrow definition of what continuity means in your argument.
    This is not true. He did offer an example: Gen 1 vs Gen 2. In addition, prior to that, I pointed out the difference between "general contradictions" and "continuity contradictions." See #1 in the op above. I was not "cutting down" continuity contradiction submission, but rather "general contradiction" submission. I gave examples of each in nearly every post.

    Mind you its your argument so it is yours to define, but he can challenge it as a somewhat meaningless of self fulfilling definition.
    Yes, he certainly can. But he didn't. Instead, he took a different path and made some comprehension errors as well as logic errors.

    Personally, I think the central problem with your definition is it provides little to no measurement of what is a consistent theme. You present the theme as "God's redemption of human beings." Its quite possible to say that anything and everything that ever happens in the bible is part of that theme, even if there is a chapter about who begot who, you can say that is important in the story of redemption. So long as it begins with a fall and ends with redemption, anything you put in the middle can be part of your "theme."
    There are several themes throughout. I provided examples in my above post. In addition, to suggest that we can select almost anything and throw it in there as part of a "theme" is simply not true, particularly when we have idea of what is actually meant by "continuity of themes" through the example of the Great Books. Ideas on love, justice, meaning of life, good, evil are discussed in such books, yet they have not continuity of such themes, values, or ideas. Regardless, this addresses the soundness of the argument directly, not the discussion found in that thread.

    Thus it could contain a list of laundry and sandwich materials so long as you tack on a redemptive ending and start with a tragedy. This makes it a self fulfilling definition as well as one that can justify nearly any material what so ever. That does not make it at all unique. Nearly any work of literature can claim a theme of some kind. Nor would it be hard to compile a set of literature with a theme that is written by many over a long period of time. I could collect all the writings of Buddhism into a book and it would have a central theme, and it would be written over millennia in various languages and so forth.
    This is address the soundness of the argument in the other thread, not the discussion of that thread. And for reasons mentioned above, it would be false anyway.

    So what kind of argument could I make that you could consider relevant to show the bible (or any book) does not consistently portray a theme of redemption if it starts with a fall and ends with a redeeming moment? I can't think of one you couldn't just dismiss as a necessary part of the redemption story. And at that point all you are really claiming is the beginning and end of the story make for a specific narrative arc.
    Again, this addresses the topic of the other argument, the soundness of it, not the discussion of it. If you believe that the continuity as defined in the other thread is inadequate, feel free to comment about it in that thread.

    Were I making the argument I would say that the old testament only tells a story of the failings of man, and the new testament tells a story of the redemption of some men, and the two were separate faiths that were then glued together to create a single story of redemption. You can take a story, give it a new ending and create a new theme, one that is "consistent" in so much as it is now the arc of the story.

    So one type of contradiction we could use to show the weakness of this argument for uniqueness is to demonstrate elements that differ between the Torah and Bible that show a story direction in the Torah that is abandoned and changed by the bible. i most often point to the nature of the messiah as described in the Torah vs the nature of Jesus as depicted in the Bible. the former being an earthly king who unites Israel an establishes an earthly kingdom, vs the Bible where Jesus is a spiritual guide for people to enter a life beyond the earthly one. Mind you this doesn't show it doesn't have a theme, only that a theme can still be imposed on discontinuous works.
    This may be a relevant attempt, but it was not what was done unfortunately. And the result of this would be a discussion about the validity of that objection as it pertains to continuity and he would have to show that it necessarily creates a contradiction. That there may be more than one way to understand the context does not necessitate a logical contradiction (which would thereby challenge the Bible's continuity). Just because 2 views are not compatible and are held by 2 different groups of people, it does not mean that there exists an actual contradiction. As I mentioned in the other thread, it's a huge burden to bear to make a case that there is a necessary contradiction in continuity. And even if someone succeeded in doing so, it would still not alleviate the problems mentioned and is why I suggested in that thread, that he approach MT's argument with a different approach (this has to do with issue #2 in the op).
    Last edited by Apokalupsis; April 16th, 2013 at 04:13 PM.
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    Re: [Discussion] "Uniqueness of the Bible" thread and its latest exchange

    Quote Originally Posted by Sigfried View Post
    So one type of contradiction we could use to show the weakness of this argument for uniqueness is to demonstrate elements that differ between the Torah and Bible that show a story direction in the Torah that is abandoned and changed by the bible. i most often point to the nature of the messiah as described in the Torah vs the nature of Jesus as depicted in the Bible.
    The OT lays the foundation for the NT. The Bible is a progressive revelation and does follow a continuity from the first set of events in the OT through the last set of events in the NT. There is no NT without the OT. If we skip or omit the first half of the book and then try to complete it, it makes little sense and it will be difficult to understand, the characters, the text, and the events.

    Thus, the continuity of the Bible starting with OT moving foward to the NT is understood when we see the drama of the story unfold from the OT.

    So in essence here we have a story, a drama (the plot), that begins about 4230BC and then progresses forward as a continuity and within the context of the main plot that unfolds and ends with the last scene in the NT around 35-38 AD (not to mention the idea that "with the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day") -- and all of this is within one Book. I would say that's pretty unique.

    No wonder it's the top selling book for all time and has been since the printing press.
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    Re: [Discussion] "Uniqueness of the Bible" thread and its latest exchange

    Quote Originally Posted by eye4magic View Post
    The OT lays the foundation for the NT. The Bible is a progressive revelation and does follow a continuity from the first set of events in the OT through the last set of events in the NT. There is no NT without the OT. If we skip or omit the first half of the book and then try to complete it, it makes little sense and it will be difficult to understand, the characters, the text, and the events.
    Were not supposed to actually argue here So I'll spare you the rebuttal.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Apokalupsis View Post
    This is not true. He did offer an example: Gen 1 vs Gen 2. In addition, prior to that, I pointed out the difference between "general contradictions" and "continuity contradictions." See #1 in the op above. I was not "cutting down" continuity contradiction submission, but rather "general contradiction" submission. I gave examples of each in nearly every post.
    But that was after you posted your red text about what would be accepted and what would not. That is what set him off. He offered the genesis piece, as you say, as example of how he saw it affecting continuity, and you explained that the subject of continuity was not a consistent timeline but a "theme".

    He at that point basically punted feeling you were being unreasonable in the grounds of your discussion. It's not clear if he understood your objection or not, what was clear is he found the limitations you placed unreasonable.
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    Re: [Discussion] "Uniqueness of the Bible" thread and its latest exchange

    Quote Originally Posted by Sigfried View Post
    But that was after you posted your red text about what would be accepted and what would not. That is what set him off. He offered the genesis piece, as you say, as example of how he saw it affecting continuity, and you explained that the subject of continuity was not a consistent timeline but a "theme".

    He at that point basically punted feeling you were being unreasonable in the grounds of your discussion. It's not clear if he understood your objection or not, what was clear is he found the limitations you placed unreasonable.
    And when he asked or commented about that, I explained further. It takes no advanced cognitive ability to understand the distinction that was being made. And as shown above, Dr. Gonzo simply misunderstood what is relevant as well as how to properly evaluate argumentation. The initial red letter was due to 2 facts:

    1) Never in the history of ODN has anyone posted a contradiction of 'continuity.' Those are not the types of contradictions offered. Similarly, these are rarely if ever offered as objections found on various popular anti-Bible sites. A distinction between the types of contradiction needs to be made based on what is meant by "continuity." It was highly suspected that was not understood by Dr. Gonzo (15+ years of doing this gives one just a tad bit of experience and confidence in what they are doing), and those suspicions were validated in Dr. Gonzo's responses.

    2) Dr. Gonzo's has in the past, taken threads off-topic with issues that were not deemed relevant to the topic at hand.

    The red letter text came with ample explanation (either immediately or immediately afterwards) as to what all terms meant as well as why his examples are outside the scope of the universe of discourse.

    Furthermore, that we may feel others to being unreasonable, is no justification for using bad reasoning ourselves.

    Lastly, the issue is not "Why did Dr. Gonzo use bad reasoning?" (which is what you are addressing), the issue is "Did Dr. Gonzo use bad reasoning?" Yes, he did, as explained in the op. And that type of bad reasoning led to his misunderstanding, which then led to his disagreement, and why thus far at least, he still disagrees he misunderstood. And his continued disagreement is the purpose of the thread: to fully explain that he did misunderstand by showing explicitly how (in what ways) he misunderstood.
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    Re: [Discussion] "Uniqueness of the Bible" thread and its latest exchange

    It is not bad reasoning from where I sit. Id call it a misunderstanding likely resulting from an unreasonable contention.

    Your sense of continuity is so vague and ill defined as to be unapproachable so he used a more common understanding of the term. You attacked him for not sticking to your definition and he threw up his hands and walked away. He may not have understood your intent because your intent was so strange.
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    Re: [Discussion] "Uniqueness of the Bible" thread and its latest exchange

    Quote Originally Posted by Sigfried View Post
    It is not bad reasoning from where I sit. Id call it a misunderstanding likely resulting from an unreasonable contention.

    Your sense of continuity is so vague and ill defined as to be unapproachable so he used a more common understanding of the term. You attacked him for not sticking to your definition and he threw up his hands and walked away. He may not have understood your intent because your intent was so strange.
    No, it isn't my "definition" it is the context that the term is used. And when someone misuses or misunderstands the context and then makes an argument from it, that is what bad reasoning is. However, if that context is objected to because it is too vague, proper reasoning tells us to attempt to redefine or clarify that context (not make bad arguments based on that which is out out of context).

    In addition, and I don't know why you misunderstand this (or ignore it), the charge of "bad reasoning" is not based on merely that particular issue. It is also based upon his misunderstanding of MT's arguments and the identification of the supportive reasons of MT's conclusion (issue II). Please read the entire post in its entirety Sig, before attempting to offer critique or evaluate it. Flat out ignoring central parts of what is said is what makes for bad discussion, misunderstandings, and bad debate. It's exactly what Dr. Gonzo was guilty of doing, and now you are doing it as well with regards to what is said to be "bad reasoning" here.
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    Re: [Discussion] "Uniqueness of the Bible" thread and its latest exchange

    Sorry i was not following the other thread so didn't have much to say on point 2.

    I'm not sure I agree that misunderstanding someone is "bad reasoning". Misunderstanding is just part of the communication process. Unless we are using precise computational language of some kind, all kinds of misunderstandings are possible without any bad reasoning taking place. then again, I suppose it depends on what you mean by bad reasoning. Are you talking process or outcome? I'm thinking process.

    I don't want to say Gonzo is faultless, I think he didn't take as much time as he could to fully grasp the "context" of what you meant by continuity. But for his part i had to pour over your OP, read this thread, and ponder the context of your arguments to come up with what I "think" you were getting at. So it wasn't crystal clear and if he was debating in a pretty casual mode (as many of us do) then he'd easily miss the point.

    Its pretty clear he didn't understand what you were after exactly.

    Perhaps we could do an article about "grounds of debate." Its something we occasionally covered in highschool competition where instead of starting with an opponents arguments you tackle the ground they claim and point out who it is self fulfilling or too ill defined for meaningful competition. That is a bit less relevant here as its not competition, but it could help folks identify that their rebuttal requires them to attack ground rather than the argument itself.
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    Re: [Discussion] "Uniqueness of the Bible" thread and its latest exchange

    Quote Originally Posted by Sigfried View Post
    I'm not sure I agree that misunderstanding someone is "bad reasoning". Misunderstanding is just part of the communication process.
    You are right (sort of..."yes" re: nature of misunderstanding but "no" with regards to this being why I believe Gonzo is being unreasonable or using bad reason). And I poorly worded what it was I was trying to say there. There are 2 ways we can use the term misunderstanding.

    1) Misunderstanding as it pertains to communication isn't necessarily an issue of reasoning, but obviously, communication. One can misunderstand what the other person was trying to communicate.

    "Bob misunderstood me that when I was referred to my "caterpillar," I was talking about my cuddly little worm friend here. He thought I was talking about a large tractor."

    2) Misunderstanding a topic or nature of being or that of something's properties.

    "Evolution is a theory that says that mankind arose from apes."

    #1 can't really be a result of bad reasoning. #2 can certainly be a result of bad reasoning. It need not necessarily be the case, but it certainly can.

    What is "bad reasoning?"

    Well, "reasoning" is simply the use of "reason" which in the context of debate/philosophy/logic/rational discourse, is simply "a sufficient ground of explanation or of logical defense; especially : something (as a principle or law) that supports a conclusion or explains a fact."

    So in our evolution example above, it could be the case that it is a simple misunderstanding through communication whereby the author of the statement is merely restating what he though he read or heard...or it could also be the case that he is repeating what he believes another author's position is when they were arguing about evolution. In either case, we do not necessarily have an instance of "bad reasoning" but as you said, of miscommunication...a misunderstanding of terms used through some sort of breakdown of idea conveyance.

    So we could justly say that the author of that statement misunderstands the theory of evolution or they misunderstand what was being said about...we don't know without the proper context. So is this what has happened here in Rod's case?

    No. While it may be true that Rod misunderstood what was originally meant by 'continuity' it is not the case that "bad reasoning" was charged based on this misunderstanding.

    The charge of bad reasoning was based on the fact that:

    1) he failed to identify the reasons of a stated conclusion (issue II)
    2) he maintained that he did not understand and a "general contradiction" is applicable, even after it was clarified what was meant by "continuity." He did not challenge the meaning or use of the word as I argued it, which is my context since it is my argument. Instead, he argued that mere "general contradictions" are applicable to issues of thematic continuity. I demonstrated above, why this is an error in reasoning (category error).
    3) he reasoned that held that it was impossible for there to exist (for him to submit) a contradiction in continuity because I admitted that I've never seen anyone do such a thing, here at ODN or anywhere else. He reasoned that even though I encouraged a submission so that we can evaluate it, that somehow, I held it was impossible for there to exist such a possibility. It's strawman fallacy.
    4) he failed to identify the "issue" of MT's argument (issue II)

    A part of proper reasoning is that of evaluating arguments properly. This means identifying the parts of the argument. I wrote an essay about this very topic and linked it to him. He, like many young and inexperienced debaters seemingly believe there are no rules, there is no such thing as 'critical thinking' (methods by which we reason properly). It is most likely an issue of ego, pride. We've all been there, some more than others. But it is still poor reasoning to let our ego run our mind.

    Perhaps we could do an article about "grounds of debate." Its something we occasionally covered in highschool competition where instead of starting with an opponents arguments you tackle the ground they claim and point out who it is self fulfilling or too ill defined for meaningful competition. That is a bit less relevant here as its not competition, but it could help folks identify that their rebuttal requires them to attack ground rather than the argument itself.
    I'm not familiar with this...but it seems like drawing out the hidden assumptions (value and descriptive) in an argument. I agree that drawing out or even challenging assumptions ought to be done, but I don't know if this is the same thing you are referring to.
    Last edited by Apokalupsis; April 17th, 2013 at 08:23 PM.
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    Re: [Discussion] "Uniqueness of the Bible" thread and its latest exchange

    Well, I think you satisfied me with that last post

    Grounds of debate can often be challenging assumptions. We once did one where America should establish a plan to increase political stability in Latin America. And since its policy debate the affirmative team would have a plan to do that. We had a counter case that challenged the idea that political stability in Latin America was a good idea in the first place and any plan that achieved that was thus a bad Idea. Normally you presume the action called for is a good one and just attack their implementation of it.

    But sometimes you attack the grounds of a debate, say its the classic, Star Destroyer vs Enterprise. You would argue that it is impossible to meaningfully compare two different sci-fi universes rather than engage the debate directly.
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    Re: [Discussion] "Uniqueness of the Bible" thread and its latest exchange

    Quote Originally Posted by Sigfried View Post
    Grounds of debate can often be challenging assumptions. We once did one where America should establish a plan to increase political stability in Latin America. And since its policy debate the affirmative team would have a plan to do that. We had a counter case that challenged the idea that political stability in Latin America was a good idea in the first place and any plan that achieved that was thus a bad Idea. Normally you presume the action called for is a good one and just attack their implementation of it.
    Yes, this I'm familiar with (as it is taught in most critical thinking courses). I understand and agree with it...it is something we can use in formal debates but also in casual conversations.

    But sometimes you attack the grounds of a debate, say its the classic, Star Destroyer vs Enterprise. You would argue that it is impossible to meaningfully compare two different sci-fi universes rather than engage the debate directly.
    I'm not too sure about this, I guess I'd have to see it in play. I think I may agree in principle...and I've said in a few posts that what is being argued did not matter for X reasons. But I think cases like this are few and far between compared to the first above scenario.
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    Re: [Discussion] "Uniqueness of the Bible" thread and its latest exchange

    Isse I / Issue III.

    Sig is absolutely correct that the narrow definition of "contradiction" is meaningless and self-fulfilling. I did not offer up the contradiction found in the Creation myth as a punt; I offered it up as an example that describes the self-fulfilling nature of your argument. I clearly outlined a contradiction (by the dictionary definition of the word, not how you are using it), and then followed the logic chain in place that dismisses it from this argument.

    http://www.onlinedebate.net/forums/s...l=1#post516178
    Quote Originally Posted by Dr G
    I completely understand that differing "eye-witness" accounts do not provide legitimate and weighty evidence for contradiction. This happens in every modern day police investigation with more than one party. People sometimes muddle the trivial facts, and sometimes interpret them in different ways. They may not even have access to all the information and only tell what they know (and conclusions they may have drawn from those facts). Yet, in the very beginning of the Bible, we have two different accounts of the order of Creation, with two distinct meanings. In one, the animals preceded us and then God created man (and woman); in the other, God created man, and then the animals, and then woman from the man. One narrative states that everything happened in a specific order and each step was good, culminating the pre-planned process with humankind; in the other, God creates man, then creates several things for the specific benefit of man after the fact in order to help him, culminating in woman. This, of course, is easily written off by the apologetic as basically saying the same thing, so who cares what order it was in? It may have been two authors or two different writing styles. It might have been two different interpretations of the same event and just explained twice to impart more meaning. But does this maybe mean that Genesis is not a literal work but a metaphorical one? And then where does the metaphor stop and the literal stuff begin?

    You see? It is literally impossible to test a claim when it is assumed correct in the first place, and subsequent interpretation fits because it has to make sense or else the whole thing unravels. More subjective analysis is applied after the fact to explain why this must be true (and not how can this be true). And then obvious glaring contradictions in what was considered, up until recently, a literal narrative get dismissed by a casual wave of the hand as inconsequential.
    The assertion that "objections" offered by 99.99% of "critics" most certainly implies that a layman such as myself will not bring an argument worthy of consideration into this debate, and as you are the site's chief administrator and owner, a warning from you in red that "irrelevant" arguments (i.e. those forwarded by 99.99% of "critics" in quotes, such as myself) means I am being threatened against arguing a single point of an OP that contains nine major points, each with several sub points, all of which I find lacking support. This is the first point I argued, and I was immediately threatened to stop.

    Due to our conflict in the past (which you keep referring to, falsely accusing me of taking threads off topic when no such thing ever happened), I found very little return on investment going rounds with you on this one point, seeing as how you very strongly implied further argumentation would result in infractions.

    Quote Originally Posted by Apok
    1) This thread is not about the common "objections" that 99.99% of "critics" offer. In the history of ODN, and to my knowledge of any where else, there has never been such an argument for the contradictory nature of continuity found in the Bible. However, if you believe yourself to be the 0.01%, go for it.

    2) Contradictions involving issues NOT relevant to continuity will NOT be allowed in this thread as there are plenty of other threads that discuss such issues. This thread will NOT become just another "The Bible is contradictory" thread where numerous, yet erroneous and refuted attempts of showering the thread with alleged contradictions are given in a 'shotgun' approach. You have a huge burden to bear here, but if it is relevant, I'll consider. That is, it must be relevant to the continuity* specifically, which is described in the other thread.
    The definition you have declared for "contradiction" is the only one you have allowed in that thread, and by your own estimation there is very little to no chance that it even can be challenged. Sig is right: that is meaningless toward the debate. I have no desire to engage in such an intentionally one-sided construct, especially not when there wasn't even an attempt to hide it this time.

    Issue II.

    The support offered by MT in PZ's thread claimed that the Jesus story makes the Bible unique (as compared to other holy books), and we should believe this story because the Bible is trustworthy. Now, there is no support offered that the Bible is trustworthy.... except the single link provided by MT to the "Uniqueness of the Bible" thread. In that thread, fulfilled prophecy and historicity claims are used to declare the trustworthiness of this specific work.

    This is the entire quote from MT:

    Quote Originally Posted by MT
    He is the only one for whom we have credible testimony that he died and raised himself from the dead.
    while many have died and many others have come back, none(to my knowledge) have claimed to raise themselves from the dead. Certainly none with a comparable body of evidence of it having actually occurred.

    This is a point about the trustworthiness of the bible
    "...a comparable body of evidence" is clearly an allusion to the "unique" thread. That thread is clearly being used as support for this argument, and every argument MT is making in the PZ thread can be boiled down to this one conclusion offered by you in the parent thread:

    Quote Originally Posted by Apok
    If you are an intellignet[sic] person, you will read the one book that has drawn more attention than any other, if you are searching for the truth. The Bible certainly qualifies as this one book.
    The document linked as support by MT makes the declaration that the Bible is trustworthy. MT uses it as the basis for his argument.

    1. Jesus's resurrection is a unique tennant among religions.
    2. The resurrection was relayed through the Bible
    3. The Bible is unique and is not on par with other holy books, as evidenced by that one thread
    4. One of the virtues of uniqueness is that the Bible is trustworthy (history and prophecy claims, conclusion offered)
    5. Therefore, we can believe the resurrection of Jesus, and this makes Christianity true and unlike other religions.

    This is the framework operating behind MT's argument. It all boils down to the Bible.
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    Re: [Discussion] "Uniqueness of the Bible" thread and its latest exchange

    Quote Originally Posted by Dr Gonzo View Post
    Isse I / Issue III.

    Sig is absolutely correct that the narrow definition of "contradiction" is meaningless and self-fulfilling.
    That's great, but then 1) that's an issue to be brought up in the other thread and 2) as I stated in my response to Sig, "Yes, he certainly can. But he didn't. Instead, he took a different path and made some comprehension errors as well as logic errors."

    I did not offer up the contradiction found in the Creation myth as a punt; I offered it up as an example that describes the self-fulfilling nature of your argument.
    Again, that's fine. But it changes nothing in the scheme of things. By now, you clearly ought to understand the distinction between the types of contradictions and the context of the use of "continuity."

    The assertion that "objections" offered by 99.99% of "critics" most certainly implies that a layman such as myself will not bring an argument worthy of consideration into this debate, and as you are the site's chief administrator and owner, a warning from you in red that "irrelevant" arguments (i.e. those forwarded by 99.99% of "critics" in quotes, such as myself) means I am being threatened against arguing a single point of an OP that contains nine major points, each with several sub points, all of which I find lacking support. This is the first point I argued, and I was immediately threatened to stop.
    Also, already answered in my reply to Sig:
    Apok: And when he asked or commented about that, I explained further. It takes no advanced cognitive ability to understand the distinction that was being made. And as shown above, Dr. Gonzo simply misunderstood what is relevant as well as how to properly evaluate argumentation. The initial red letter was due to 2 facts:

    1) Never in the history of ODN has anyone posted a contradiction of 'continuity.' Those are not the types of contradictions offered. Similarly, these are rarely if ever offered as objections found on various popular anti-Bible sites. A distinction between the types of contradiction needs to be made based on what is meant by "continuity." It was highly suspected that was not understood by Dr. Gonzo (15+ years of doing this gives one just a tad bit of experience and confidence in what they are doing), and those suspicions were validated in Dr. Gonzo's responses.

    2) Dr. Gonzo's has in the past, taken threads off-topic with issues that were not deemed relevant to the topic at hand.

    The red letter text came with ample explanation (either immediately or immediately afterwards) as to what all terms meant as well as why his examples are outside the scope of the universe of discourse.

    Furthermore, that we may feel others to being unreasonable, is no justification for using bad reasoning ourselves.

    Due to our conflict in the past (which you keep referring to, falsely accusing me of taking threads off topic when no such thing ever happened), I found very little return on investment going rounds with you on this one point, seeing as how you very strongly implied further argumentation would result in infractions.
    1) Since your time here as a member, you have received 10 infractions/warnings. 3 only by me, 7 by other staff members. The ones I infracted you with were for trolling, failing to comply with staff instructions,a nd being disrespectful to staff members. All of which are off-topic re: debate topics. The 7 others were for flaming, trolling, and spamming...all of which, are off-topic posts with regards to the debate topic (w/ exception of 1 which was an abuse of the rep system). So it is indeed fair to say, that in the past you have in fact made posts that are off-topic to the issue at hand. You for some reason, seem to believe that discussing policy and staff decisions (as well as insulting other community members and spamming threads) is "on-topic." I acknowledge that you believe this to be true...however, at ODN it is not accepted to be true. And since ODN is governed by ODN's rules and not Gonzo's rules, ODN sets the standard and enforces it regardless of your particular beliefs on the matter.

    2) re: further argumentation would result in infractions...this is more justification of my charge of you employing bad reasoning. Nowhere in any red lettering was there a threat of infraction. When you asked what
    Apok (#428): If you think you can present a relevant contradiction as it pertains to #2 above go for it.

    What was said in red letter, was that posting of random, arbitrary, and thus irrelevant contradictions such as the examples I provided for you, would not be allowed. I explained why they would not be allowed by explaining how they do not address the issue of continuity as I have used the term.

    The definition you have declared for "contradiction" is the only one you have allowed in that thread, and by your own estimation there is very little to no chance that it even can be challenged.
    It is called "relevancy" with respect to "continuity" in the context in which the term "continuity" is used. I explained how you completely misunderstand the concept of "continuity" and "relevancy". If you take issue with those concepts or charges, then address them instead of merely saying "nuh-uh" which is what you are doing here.

    Sig is right: that is meaningless toward the debate. I have no desire to engage in such an intentionally one-sided construct, especially not when there wasn't even an attempt to hide it this time.
    It is worth noting that later, after it was explained about how you misunderstood what was expected, Sig was satisfied with my explanation of events. However, Sig, nor anyone else is not a "higher authority" to appeal to here. If you want to make a case, make it. Appealing to others as your case, is fallacious.

    Issue II.

    The support offered by MT in PZ's thread claimed that the Jesus story makes the Bible unique (as compared to other holy books), and we should believe this story because the Bible is trustworthy. Now, there is no support offered that the Bible is trustworthy.... except the single link provided by MT to the "Uniqueness of the Bible" thread. In that thread, fulfilled prophecy and historicity claims are used to declare the trustworthiness of this specific work.

    This is the entire quote from MT:

    "...a comparable body of evidence" is clearly an allusion to the "unique" thread. That thread is clearly being used as support for this argument, and every argument MT is making in the PZ thread can be boiled down to this one conclusion offered by you in the parent thread:

    The document linked as support by MT makes the declaration that the Bible is trustworthy. MT uses it as the basis for his argument.

    1. Jesus's resurrection is a unique tennant among religions.
    2. The resurrection was relayed through the Bible
    3. The Bible is unique and is not on par with other holy books, as evidenced by that one thread
    4. One of the virtues of uniqueness is that the Bible is trustworthy (history and prophecy claims, conclusion offered)
    5. Therefore, we can believe the resurrection of Jesus, and this makes Christianity true and unlike other religions.

    This is the framework operating behind MT's argument. It all boils down to the Bible.
    That MT has not properly defended the Bible's credibility is irrelevant to it being a reason as to why Christianity is true and other religions false. What a critical thinker would have done, would have been to simply challenge that reason, plain and simple. MT never once claimed that the Bible was credible because of its uniqueness. As explained in the op:


    MT is arguing that Christianity > all other religions because a) Jesus' Resurrection and b) credibility of the Bible.

    Both of those pieces of support can be challenged of course. No one is saying otherwise. What is being said, is that this is MT's argument, plain and simple. In fact, I said it to Gonzo in post #428:
    Apok: MT does not use the "uniqueness of the Bible" as direct evidence for Christianity other than using it to set its holy book apart from those found in other religions. MT uses 2 primary reasons to support his conclusion that Christianity is true:

    1) Jesus's Resurrection
    2) The Bible is trustworthy

    Gonzo however, disagreed that these were MT's reasons...despite MT explicitly saying they were. In fact, Gonzo insisted that MT is arguing that because the Bible is unique, it follows that MT is arguing that the Bible is trustworthy or credible. Nowhere does MT argue such a thing and Gonzo therefore, is guilty of a strawman. The introduction of the Bible being unique was due to the fact that MT disagrees that all holy books are equal. He is only introducing the Bible being unique to set apart the Bible from other holy books. In fact, the first time he says anything about the Bible being trustworthy, it is in reference to Jesus' resurrection, not the uniqueness of the Bible. Gonzo is not reading carefully what is said.

    In post #8 MT even clarifies that he is not saying that the Bible is trustworthy because it is unique, but rather the resurrection of Jesus is true because of the Bible's trustworthiness.

    MT: I offered a difference in one of the main pillars of faith that is not the same as every other one out there.
    Namely that Jesus died and raised himself from the dead. The evidence of it is the bible. (not because it is unique but because it is trustworthy).

    At no point has anyone argued that the Bible is true or credible because it is unique. MT even explained this in post #5 in response to PZ's statement that uniqueness does not make the Bible true*.

    So in summary, we have a clear example of Gonzo either not reading carefully the exchange, or not understanding the argument. To put it simply, there were 2 separate issues (read my essay linked above if you are unaware what an issue of an argument is and how to identify them):

    1) Is the Bible on equal footing with other holy books?
    2) Why should we accept Christianity over other religions?

    Gonzo is not making a distinction here and has mistakenly confused the response to #1, as a response to #2.

    Gonzo, it would behoove you to read the essay I wrote. It's an objective essay written on the topic that is supported by 2 university professors for an upcoming public, online course the 3 of us are putting together. This is not a slam against you, it's an attempt to help you along in your understanding of necessary critical thinking skills, skills which are learned and which are objectively applied.



    * The exchange between PZ and MT on that matter:

    PZ: Unique does not equate to true.

    MT: And I didn't argue that it did. That is a straw-man and a misunderstanding of what I made clear, and what the uniqness of the bible thread itself claims.

    I spelled it out to you in post #2
    "This was a point about equating all holy books."


    You asked what is different. That the bible is different and in a class of it's own is one point.
    This all in response to you lumping them all together.

    You have missed the point I was making Prime, and misunderstood the counter.



    The problem is, you have simply failed to identify the issue of MT's argument as well as the offered reasons. This has already been explained to you how this is the case. In addition, a university level essay was offered to help you understand what an issue is and how to identify it. That you believe you are above learning the skills required for proper critical thinking is a challenge I'll leave yourself to deal with. All I can do is lead you to the water. I highly recommend picking up this book: Asking the Right Questions: A Guide to Critical Thinking. It's inexpensive and applicable to understanding what critical thinking is and how it is done. Or just hold off for a few months and take our online, public course on critical thinking and save yourself some cash in the process.
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    Re: [Discussion] "Uniqueness of the Bible" thread and its latest exchange

    Quote Originally Posted by Apokalupsis View Post
    That's great, but then 1) that's an issue to be brought up in the other thread and 2) as I stated in my response to Sig, "Yes, he certainly can. But he didn't. Instead, he took a different path and made some comprehension errors as well as logic errors."


    Again, that's fine. But it changes nothing in the scheme of things. By now, you clearly ought to understand the distinction between the types of contradictions and the context of the use of "continuity."
    I certainly did. I explained why the definition was unsatisfactory by offering an example of a clear contradiction being arbitrarily rejected. I picked that specific one because it is 1) obviously glaring, and 2) happens in the first few pages of the Bible. "Literal" vs "metaphorical" is an important distinction to note, as well as what these concepts mean for the "overall theme", which is an arbitrary distinction decided by you. I was not offering up this obviously glaring and foundational contradiction as support for why the Bible is contradictory/discontiguous, but rather to show how an obviously glaring and foundational contradiction is arbitrarily waved away and considered irrelevant. What we have left is continuity-by-fiat, and that is firmly out of the realm of debate.


    Also, already answered in my reply to Sig:
    Apok: And when he asked or commented about that, I explained further. It takes no advanced cognitive ability to understand the distinction that was being made. And as shown above, Dr. Gonzo simply misunderstood what is relevant as well as how to properly evaluate argumentation. The initial red letter was due to 2 facts:

    1) Never in the history of ODN has anyone posted a contradiction of 'continuity.' Those are not the types of contradictions offered. Similarly, these are rarely if ever offered as objections found on various popular anti-Bible sites. A distinction between the types of contradiction needs to be made based on what is meant by "continuity." It was highly suspected that was not understood by Dr. Gonzo (15+ years of doing this gives one just a tad bit of experience and confidence in what they are doing), and those suspicions were validated in Dr. Gonzo's responses.

    2) Dr. Gonzo's has in the past, taken threads off-topic with issues that were not deemed relevant to the topic at hand.

    The red letter text came with ample explanation (either immediately or immediately afterwards) as to what all terms meant as well as why his examples are outside the scope of the universe of discourse.

    Furthermore, that we may feel others to being unreasonable, is no justification for using bad reasoning ourselves.

    .....

    2) re: further argumentation would result in infractions...this is more justification of my charge of you employing bad reasoning. Nowhere in any red lettering was there a threat of infraction. When you asked what
    Apok (#428): If you think you can present a relevant contradiction as it pertains to #2 above go for it.

    What was said in red letter, was that posting of random, arbitrary, and thus irrelevant contradictions such as the examples I provided for you, would not be allowed. I explained why they would not be allowed by explaining how they do not address the issue of continuity as I have used the term.
    Red lettering is reserved for staff. I know this, because I have been asked to refrain from posting snippets of logic or even ODN rules in red so as not to step on the authority of the mods/admin. In other words, red is "official." You were claiming that any discussion that was not a "relevant" argument was considered "off-topic." Red letters and the words "off-topic" to me mean that the infraction stick is coming out of the holster. Am I wrong here? If I had continued to give examples of contradictions that didn't meet your muster for breaking continuity, would I have received an infraction? If so, that is every bit as much of a threat as the police shouting "Stop!" with an implied or else attached.

    1) Since your time here as a member, you have received 10 infractions/warnings. 3 only by me, 7 by other staff members. The ones I infracted you with were for trolling, failing to comply with staff instructions,a nd being disrespectful to staff members. All of which are off-topic re: debate topics. The 7 others were for flaming, trolling, and spamming...all of which, are off-topic posts with regards to the debate topic (w/ exception of 1 which was an abuse of the rep system). So it is indeed fair to say, that in the past you have in fact made posts that are off-topic to the issue at hand. You for some reason, seem to believe that discussing policy and staff decisions (as well as insulting other community members and spamming threads) is "on-topic." I acknowledge that you believe this to be true...however, at ODN it is not accepted to be true. And since ODN is governed by ODN's rules and not Gonzo's rules, ODN sets the standard and enforces it regardless of your particular beliefs on the matter.
    Since you are providing information about me to the ODN public that I do not even have access to, would you kindly share how many infractions I received (and not infractions+warnings)? And then tell me who handed those infractions out? And could you perhaps outline who I was arguing with when I received those infractions? Dates would also be helpful. I'd like to know if these infractions were clustered in the beginning of my debate career at ODN, spread out over the three years I was active, or clustered at another specific point in time, like, say, November of 2011.

    I would also like to mention one of the ODN rules here for the sake of clarity: "Calling out" of other members - It is inappropriate to publicly create a thread that calls out the behavior of another member (including staff members). If a member's behavior needs to be addressed, use the "report button" for the post, or use the private message system. An attempt to "rally" the community against another member or members, will result in an infraction and immediate deletion of the thread."

    Oh, and one more question: How many infractions do you have, Apok?

    It is called "relevancy" with respect to "continuity" in the context in which the term "continuity" is used. I explained how you completely misunderstand the concept of "continuity" and "relevancy". If you take issue with those concepts or charges, then address them instead of merely saying "nuh-uh" which is what you are doing here.
    I have already explained twice now how your definitions of "continuity" and "relevancy" are arbitrary and limit debate. If you think my argument is nothing more than a "nuh-uh," I suggest you buy my book called "Critical Thinking For Dummies". It's only $14.95 on Amazon, and I donate 15% of the proceeds to St Jude's Children's Hospital. (Can we please stop accusing members of not being able to think critically? It is insulting and rude, and gives the implication that your argument must necessarily be right by virtue of a property you deny the other person has; in other words, it is an ad hominem attack.)

    It is worth noting that later, after it was explained about how you misunderstood what was expected, Sig was satisfied with my explanation of events. However, Sig, nor anyone else is not a "higher authority" to appeal to here. If you want to make a case, make it. Appealing to others as your case, is fallacious.
    Where did I appeal to others?!? I said Sig had it right on the head insofar as my perspective on the matter, and then I provided my own argument. I didn't just say "Sig said so," like you imply. I would have made the same argument before Sig had I not been engaged in a lively discussion with Squatch in another thread.

    That MT has not properly defended the Bible's credibility is irrelevant to it being a reason as to why Christianity is true and other religions false. What a critical thinker would have done, would have been to simply challenge that reason, plain and simple. MT never once claimed that the Bible was credible because of its uniqueness. As explained in the op:


    MT is arguing that Christianity > all other religions because a) Jesus' Resurrection and b) credibility of the Bible.

    Both of those pieces of support can be challenged of course. No one is saying otherwise. What is being said, is that this is MT's argument, plain and simple. In fact, I said it to Gonzo in post #428:
    Apok: MT does not use the "uniqueness of the Bible" as direct evidence for Christianity other than using it to set its holy book apart from those found in other religions. MT uses 2 primary reasons to support his conclusion that Christianity is true:

    1) Jesus's Resurrection
    2) The Bible is trustworthy

    Gonzo however, disagreed that these were MT's reasons...despite MT explicitly saying they were. In fact, Gonzo insisted that MT is arguing that because the Bible is unique, it follows that MT is arguing that the Bible is trustworthy or credible. Nowhere does MT argue such a thing and Gonzo therefore, is guilty of a strawman. The introduction of the Bible being unique was due to the fact that MT disagrees that all holy books are equal. He is only introducing the Bible being unique to set apart the Bible from other holy books. In fact, the first time he says anything about the Bible being trustworthy, it is in reference to Jesus' resurrection, not the uniqueness of the Bible. Gonzo is not reading carefully what is said.

    In post #8 MT even clarifies that he is not saying that the Bible is trustworthy because it is unique, but rather the resurrection of Jesus is true because of the Bible's trustworthiness.

    MT: I offered a difference in one of the main pillars of faith that is not the same as every other one out there.
    Namely that Jesus died and raised himself from the dead. The evidence of it is the bible. (not because it is unique but because it is trustworthy).

    At no point has anyone argued that the Bible is true or credible because it is unique. MT even explained this in post #5 in response to PZ's statement that uniqueness does not make the Bible true*.

    So in summary, we have a clear example of Gonzo either not reading carefully the exchange, or not understanding the argument. To put it simply, there were 2 separate issues (read my essay linked above if you are unaware what an issue of an argument is and how to identify them):

    1) Is the Bible on equal footing with other holy books?
    2) Why should we accept Christianity over other religions?

    Gonzo is not making a distinction here and has mistakenly confused the response to #1, as a response to #2.

    Gonzo, it would behoove you to read the essay I wrote. It's an objective essay written on the topic that is supported by 2 university professors for an upcoming public, online course the 3 of us are putting together. This is not a slam against you, it's an attempt to help you along in your understanding of necessary critical thinking skills, skills which are learned and which are objectively applied.



    * The exchange between PZ and MT on that matter:

    PZ: Unique does not equate to true.

    MT: And I didn't argue that it did. That is a straw-man and a misunderstanding of what I made clear, and what the uniqness of the bible thread itself claims.

    I spelled it out to you in post #2
    "This was a point about equating all holy books."


    You asked what is different. That the bible is different and in a class of it's own is one point.
    This all in response to you lumping them all together.

    You have missed the point I was making Prime, and misunderstood the counter.



    The problem is, you have simply failed to identify the issue of MT's argument as well as the offered reasons. This has already been explained to you how this is the case. In addition, a university level essay was offered to help you understand what an issue is and how to identify it. That you believe you are above learning the skills required for proper critical thinking is a challenge I'll leave yourself to deal with. All I can do is lead you to the water. I highly recommend picking up this book: Asking the Right Questions: A Guide to Critical Thinking. It's inexpensive and applicable to understanding what critical thinking is and how it is done. Or just hold off for a few months and take our online, public course on critical thinking and save yourself some cash in the process.
    It seems you have completely ignored my argument post #13.

    The only support MT offered was the "Uniqueness of the Bible" thread. That thread states as a conclusion that "If you are an intellignet person, you will read the one book that has drawn more attention than any other, if you are searching for the truth. The Bible certainly qualifies as this one book." So, if we are intelligent and truth-seeking, we should pickup the Bible, because.... why? Is it because it is truthful? Right before this line, you said you are not claiming this means the Bible is the word of God (and thus "true")... so, do we have a contradiction there? Or does this not matter to the contiguous theme of your OP? Can we waive this obvious contradiction away as irrelevant, and any further discussion of it shall result in an infraction?

    You have created the perfect circular argument with the "Uniqueness" thread. I can show that another book is "more unique" by spanning a greater amount of time, but this is irrelevant because the Bible had several authors. I can show that other books also span a great amount of time and have several authors, but the Bible has a continuity that other compendiums lack in spite of the number of authors over the time span. I am not allowed to argue how liberally one must interpret the words "continuity" and "theme" and "contradiction" to make that claim of the Bible, so there is no point in making an analogous argument to other works and claiming their disparate views are actually unified under a central theme (of my arbitrary choosing). That thread of yours is being used as support, while it is simultaneously removed from critique.
    The Signature Religion is the one true religion. I know this is true, because it says so right here in this signature.

  18. #16
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    Re: [Discussion] "Uniqueness of the Bible" thread and its latest exchange

    Quote Originally Posted by Dr Gonzo View Post
    I certainly did. I explained why the definition was unsatisfactory by offering an example of a clear contradiction being arbitrarily rejected.
    How does the Genesis "contradiction" show that continuity as a concept is insufficient as a means by which we can say the Bible is unique? And this particular issue should really be in the other thread (vs a discussion about it), but I'll allow it here for convenience.

    Red lettering is reserved for staff. I know this, because I have been asked to refrain from posting snippets of logic or even ODN rules in red so as not to step on the authority of the mods/admin. In other words, red is "official." You were claiming that any discussion that was not a "relevant" argument was considered "off-topic." Red letters and the words "off-topic" to me mean that the infraction stick is coming out of the holster. Am I wrong here? If I had continued to give examples of contradictions that didn't meet your muster for breaking continuity, would I have received an infraction? If so, that is every bit as much of a threat as the police shouting "Stop!" with an implied or else attached.
    If you had offered contradictions such as the ones I explained had absolutely nothing to do with the continuity of a theme after it was explained to you that this is what continuity described, then it would have been considered off-topic UNLESS you were asserting that the alleged contradiction does in fact, address a central theme found in scripture. I gave several examples of such themes. To date, you have still to make the distinction between themes and events. I acknowledge that many people have submitted alleged contradictions in events. And be me explaining what continuity means and how it is used (written by several authors over a ridiculous period of time in numerous geographic locations and by authors of varied backgrounds, etc...) you ought to know the difference between such types of contradiction submissions by now. Why this is such a confusing issue for you I have absolutely no idea. I would wager however, that you are the only person in ODN who is confused between a contradiction in continuity of themes or thematic values and that of events (which need no criterion such as multiple authors, long time span, varied geographic locations and author backgrounds, etc...). I honestly do not know how to simplify this issue any further than it is and I would have to insist that perhaps you ask the atheist forum for help on this issue.

    Since you are providing information about me to the ODN public that I do not even have access to, would you kindly share how many infractions I received (and not infractions+warnings)?
    You are the one who brought it up! If you did not want this information made public then you should have left this conversation where it is most appropriate (private forums or pm's). I have no problem deleting that info in the post however if you do not want it shared. Also, each member can see their own infractions by viewing their profile -> Infractions tab. But to answer your question, you have received 6 infractions and 4 warnings (there is no such thing as an "infraction+warning").

    If you want the bit about your infraction history being removed from this thread let me know via pm and I'll erase all discussion about it.

    And then tell me who handed those infractions out? And could you perhaps outline who I was arguing with when I received those infractions? Dates would also be helpful. I'd like to know if these infractions were clustered in the beginning of my debate career at ODN, spread out over the three years I was active, or clustered at another specific point in time, like, say, November of 2011.
    Profile - Infractions tab.

    I would also like to mention one of the ODN rules here for the sake of clarity: "Calling out" of other members - It is inappropriate to publicly create a thread that calls out the behavior of another member (including staff members). If a member's behavior needs to be addressed, use the "report button" for the post, or use the private message system. An attempt to "rally" the community against another member or members, will result in an infraction and immediate deletion of the thread."
    Yup. Are you suggesting that is what this is? If so, then you misunderstand the nature of the rule as well as the Debate Discussion forum.

    http://www.onlinedebate.net/forums/s...use-this-forum

    And your "behavior" is not being addressed in this thread. Nor is there an attempt to rally against you. This thread was created to discuss your bad reasoning and offer further explanation of its charge since doing so in the other thread would be off-topic.

    Oh, and one more question: How many infractions do you have, Apok?
    None since it requires a board permission level higher than my own and that would pose a security risk. For all my "offenses" they are raised and discussed in the staff forums. The staff is quick to call out any "dirty deeds" done on my behalf as they are encouraged to do so by me. As I've often said to the general public, there is no perfect system when a community is owned by an individual, ODN (and myself) are no exception. However, it is incredibly rare that I declare "executive order" or veto staff consensus (in fact, I'd don't recall a single time that I did not agree with staff and retract my position on an offense, when the majority of staff held a particular view).

    I have already explained twice now how your definitions of "continuity" and "relevancy" are arbitrary and limit debate.
    Not sufficiently in the other thread (where they belong).

    If you think my argument is nothing more than a "nuh-uh," I suggest you buy my book called "Critical Thinking For Dummies". It's only $14.95 on Amazon, and I donate 15% of the proceeds to St Jude's Children's Hospital. (Can we please stop accusing members of not being able to think critically? It is insulting and rude, and gives the implication that your argument must necessarily be right by virtue of a property you deny the other person has; in other words, it is an ad hominem attack.)
    It's not an ad hom attack at all. Focusing on how and why people use bad reasoning is one of the things taught and done in critical thinking! You are offended merely because what is being discussed here is how you are using bad reasoning.

    It seems you have completely ignored my argument post #13.
    Considering I responded to it point by point...it doesn't appear I did.

    The only support MT offered was the "Uniqueness of the Bible" thread.
    Already addressed:
    Apok: So in summary, we have a clear example of Gonzo either not reading carefully the exchange, or not understanding the argument. To put it simply, there were 2 separate issues (read my essay linked above if you are unaware what an issue of an argument is and how to identify them):

    1) Is the Bible on equal footing with other holy books?
    2) Why should we accept Christianity over other religions?

    Gonzo is not making a distinction here and has mistakenly confused the response to #1, as a response to #2.

    And as MT explicitly explained:

    PZ: Unique does not equate to true.

    MT: And I didn't argue that it did. That is a straw-man and a misunderstanding of what I made clear, and what the uniqness of the bible thread itself claims.

    I spelled it out to you in post #2
    "This was a point about equating all holy books."


    You asked what is different. That the bible is different and in a class of it's own is one point.
    This all in response to you lumping them all together.



    Let's cut to the chase.

    Please identify the issue(s) of MT's argument as well as its conclusion and supporting reasons.

    If you can do this, then we actually have something to work with. If you cannot, then it is as I said all along.

    ---------- Post added at 05:33 PM ---------- Previous post was at 04:39 PM ----------

    Also, in an attempt to clarify MT's argument (not that it really needed to be done IMO since it is rather black and white)...I asked him the following:

    Apok: True or False: You have argued that the Bible is credible because it is unique?



    MT's response:



    MT: False.

    Thank you for asking. I argued that it was unique in order to separate it from the field of other sources of similar claims. Specifically to counter the unspoken assumption that all "holy books" were equivalent evidences. I had the New Testaments close origination to the event in mind.

    Gonzo is mistaken, and your first post in the OP was correct.
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  20. #17
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    Re: [Discussion] "Uniqueness of the Bible" thread and its latest exchange

    Quote Originally Posted by GONZO
    "...a comparable body of evidence" is clearly an allusion to the "unique" thread. That thread is clearly being used as support for this argument, and every argument MT is making in the PZ thread can be boiled down to this one conclusion offered by you in the parent thread:
    No it can not.

    See, the reference to the uniqueness thread was only to point out that we have discussed on ODN that the bible is not equivalent to all other books.

    The point was to counter the assumption in the thread that all holy books were some how on equal footing.

    Had the point been challenged, that the bible is different, I would have had to support it.

    It is not the case that I argued that the bible was TRUE because it was unique. I argued that it was a hasty generalization to lump the bible in with all other holy books. That is all.


    Here you are making the mistake of attributing the uniqueness of the bible conclusions directly with my own.
    While there is some overlap, that was not the point of my argument and therefore incorrect to attribute to me.


    Quote Originally Posted by GONZO
    1. Jesus's resurrection is a unique tennant among religions.
    2. The resurrection was relayed through the Bible
    3. The Bible is unique and is not on par with other holy books, as evidenced by that one thread
    4. One of the virtues of uniqueness is that the Bible is trustworthy (history and prophecy claims, conclusion offered)
    5. Therefore, we can believe the resurrection of Jesus, and this makes Christianity true and unlike other religions.

    This is the framework operating behind MT's argument. It all boils down to the Bible.
    I thought my argument was more like.

    -In connecting Jesus to as God we must consider his life.
    -Eye witness account is sufficient, if credible, in considering his life.
    -We have credible eye witness.

    I haven't even gotten very deep into those 3 points in the thread because the OP wants to move slow, and there are more points to come after those are established.


    Certainly we will have to consider the bible in some of those points so in criticizing the bible
    one can not simply throw out just any old "holy book" and act as though they are equivalent.
    Making such an assumption is a hasty generalization.

    The uniqueness of the bible was purely a counter to a hasty generalization and not an establishment of an argument FOR my position.
    To serve man.

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