Courtier's Reply

Atheists are always coming up with little gimmicks. Anytime you trump them with real knowledge they get up set and find a gimmick. The Jesus myth theory was such a gimmick. Jesus was such a compelling figure and there is some decent evidence he rose from the dead, so to counter that they just pretend he never existed, and give it a little name and make up some pseudo intelligent sounding crap pertaining to it. The "default" and the "extraordinary evidence credo" these are all gimmicks atheists made up and they are passed off as pseudo official sounding quasi logical tactics that in actuality mean nothing.

The latest is the Courtier's reply. This is it:

I recently referred to the "Courtier's Reply", a term invented by PZ Myers to rebut the claims of believers who insist that their superstitious beliefs are ever so much more sophisticated than the simple version that Dawkins attacks.

PZ's response deserves much more publicity because it goes to the heart of the debate between rationalism and supersition. I'm going to post his original Courtier's Reply below (without permission, but I'm sure he'll understand) but before doing so I need to remind everyone about the original fairy tale [The Emperor's New Clothes].
This is a statement by a reductionist scientism king Larry Moran is a Professor in the Department of Biochemistry at the University of Toronto. He's on a blog called Sand Walk.

So what this couriter's reply is saying is that if the sketpic says stupid things about theology and demonstrates that he knows nothin gabout it and the theist says "O your criticism is invalid because you don't understand what you are criticizing" then al lthe atheist has to do is say "that's the courtiers reply" and the theist is supposed to go "O my God, I've violated a law of logic!" and give up and stop believing in God. But in realty it's nto a log of logic, I never heard it in a logic class.It's not in a lgoic text book, and the menaing of it is silly. I'ts just saying 'You can't point out my ignorance of theology because I will not allow theology to have any kind of validity or importance and religous people may not not any sort of human dignity." That's all it's saying. It's nothing more than anti-intellectual stupidity.

Here is Myers statement about it:

The Courtier's Reply
by PZ Myers

I have considered the impudent accusations of Mr Dawkins with exasperation at his lack of serious scholarship. He has apparently not read the detailed discourses of Count Roderigo of Seville on the exquisite and exotic leathers of the Emperor's boots, nor does he give a moment's consideration to Bellini's masterwork, On the Luminescence of the Emperor's Feathered Hat. We have entire schools dedicated to writing learned treatises on the beauty of the Emperor's raiment, and every major newspaper runs a section dedicated to imperial fashion; Dawkins cavalierly dismisses them all. He even laughs at the highly popular and most persuasive arguments of his fellow countryman, Lord D. T. Mawkscribbler, who famously pointed out that the Emperor would not wear common cotton, nor uncomfortable polyester, but must, I say must, wear undergarments of the finest silk.

Dawkins arrogantly ignores all these deep philosophical ponderings to crudely accuse the Emperor of nudity.

Personally, I suspect that perhaps the Emperor might not be fully clothed — how else to explain the apparent sloth of the staff at the palace laundry — but, well, everyone else does seem to go on about his clothes, and this Dawkins fellow is such a rude upstart who lacks the wit of my elegant circumlocutions, that, while unable to deal with the substance of his accusations, I should at least chide him for his very bad form.

Until Dawkins has trained in the shops of Paris and Milan, until he has learned to tell the difference between a ruffled flounce and a puffy pantaloon, we should all pretend he has not spoken out against the Emperor's taste. His training in biology may give him the ability to recognize dangling genitalia when he sees it, but it has not taught him the proper appreciation of Imaginary Fabrics.

In other words, knowledge of theological subjects is just plain bull shit and it doesn't matter if Dawkins doesn't understand it because it's not worth understanding. So it's not valid criticism of him to say that. Except the problem is, if he understood theology he would see that his criticisms are wrong. The criticisms he makes are almost always about fundamentalists views. Since he refuses to accept that there are other non fundamentalist types of theology, when you point it out he just says O that's ridiculous because all theology is crap so it doesn't matter--but if he knew that he might not make the criticisms becasue they don't apply. But it's not worthing knowing that. he's just reasoning in a cirlce.

Here's his logic:

Him: religion is evil superstiion because fundies believe X

Liberal: we don't beileve x

him: that doesn't matter becasue religion is all crap no matter what. so even if you don't believe the thing I say is crap you still your own crap that must be stupid because you are religious. I know it's stupid because religion is stupid. Of course that's based on the stuff that you don't believe but that doesn't matter.

Narrow minded anti-intellectual brinkman ship in a most unsophisticated manner.

A very emotionally immature atheist tried this on me recently. Here's how it went.

Brent: All religious people believe in big man in the sky.

Me: process theology doesn't believe in big man in the sky

Brent: that's nonsesne all religous people do so they mustt.

Me; you clearly don't know enoguh about theology to say that

Brent: Courteiers reply! Courtiers' replay!

Like some magic king'x X that's suppossed to mean something. Clearly it's stupid because they are only trying to dodge the fact that their criticisms are based upon things they don't understand and that don't apply. Its' an attempt to hide their ignorance. They are committing an informal fallacy with the use of this gimmick. It's called "ipsie dixit." It means "truth by stipulation." They are saying in effect "I simply stipulate that I will not allow you to have knowledge. AT this point on your knowledge is now void becasue I declare to be so, since it's religion and religion is stupid."

Again their reasoning is quite circular since the reasons they would give for reducing religion to superstition don't' apply to modern sophisticated theology, but the fact that it can be labeled "theology" and they don't even know what that means, they stipulate that it must be stupid. So even though their reasons don't apply they just demand that they must do so any way.

Again they are merely stipulating truth and insisting they are right without any just reasons. It's idiotic to try and criticize a whole field you know nothing about. To make up for appalling ignorance they imply a third rate gimmick that is actually made up of two informal fallacies: ipsie dixit and circular reasoning.


Anonymous said…
Late, but I want to say something.

The qualities of God are unimportant if God isn't there to begin with. I don't need any training to show that the Cosmological argument is illogical. If I make the argument, "There is no evidence for the existence of God," you cannot counter with "You just haven't studied enough theology." My argument has nothing to do with theology.

In The God Delusion, Dawkins doesn't argue the nature of God, but rather, the very existence of God. As a scientist, he may not be qualified to discuss the nature of God, but he is qualified to discuss the nature of evidence.

No, it is not valid to say that since he doesn't understand theology therefore his arguments are invalid when his basic argument is that there is no evidence for the existence of God. None of his arguments have anything to do with theology so attacking his ignorance of theology is just a diversionary tactic.

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