Comically Subjective

lawrence meyers

I get Google alerts for news items with words like “atheism” in them, and today I say this nonsense by some clown who I assume fancies himself as a conservative intellectual (arguably an oxymoron). He’s also, apparently, a Christian. So who do you think this Christian conservative intellectual would choose to attack in an article? Who would he take to task for an illogically flawed argument? Why the renowned logician Ricky Gervais, of course.

No, THAT Ricky Gervais, the hilarious writer and comedian. Why would this guy attack a comedian, especially for his alleged flawed logic? Because of his WSJ article explaining why he’s an atheist. That’s comedic in and of itself, but I suppose one way to look at it is believers might be rather threatened by having such a charismatic and likable spokesman for atheism rather than the easy to vilify types like Christopher Hitchens. Mr. Meyers even starts by saying he likes Ricky’s work too, but…

Anyway, he attacked Gervais’ comment about the decision on god belief being objective. He takes him to task over it, even citing a source to corroborate his position. The source isn’t named, but he reassures us that he or she is both a friend and a Christian scholar so you know what that person said must be right.

The article is laughable, especially the jab at the end where he accuses liberals of making decisions based on emotions, so I was compelled to respond. The site is a conservative site, and judging by the comments visible when I commented (I’m not going to go through the other 200+), I might be the only one who objected to the article. Below is the comment that I left.

First, you’re scrutinizing the comments of a comedian as if they were made by a logician. That in itself is comedic.

Second, YOUR argument is quite comical all on its own. Yes, virtually everything is subjective. We take the evidence at hand and make a judgement based on it so the belief in a god is not an absolute objective choice; however, pointing that out as a flaw in Gervais’ article as if that magically discounts the entire argument and therefore making atheism wrong and your belief right or at least justified is ridiculous.

Your “friend from college who happens to be a Christian scholar” was correct (to a point), however if one did do as he or she suggested and looked for evidence for a god, they’d be left wanting. Of course we could differ on what constitutes evidence (there’s that subjectivity again). Whereas I might want something demonstrable and corroborated, you might be fine with a feeling (not to be confused with an emotional response, because that’s what you claim prompts liberal opinions, god forbid). You might accept one’s testimony of a god moment, whereas I might call that hearsay and dubious. Subjective, but I’d have to ask if you regularly consider such types of evidence that you accept for a god for other things. For instance, would you take fantastic claims by alleged witnesses as valid evidence all the time, or simply when it supports your god belief? Would you have faith in a feeling, without looking, to see if it’s safe to cross the street the way you have faith in a feeling that your god exists?

If you answered “no”, then you’re not being consistent. In other words, you’re being subjective about when you’d accept certain kinds of evidence and when you wouldn’t, and THAT is what you overlooked in Gervais’ comment. The process of making a judgement based on the evidence at hand may be a subjective process, but the acceptance of evidence should be an objective process, without inconsistencies as to when a type of offered evidence should be accepted as evidence and when it shouldn’t be. Naturally someone might argue that when it comes to a god, the rules change, but I’m sure you, Mr. Meyers, wouldn’t make such a comment since, being the logician that you are, you’d recognize that as special pleading, which is a logical fallacy.

So if you accept feelings and uncorroborated testimony for your god, then you should accept it for any claim anyone makes. If you don’t, then you should focus more time on your own inconsistent logic rather than the logic of a comedian.

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5 Responses to “Comically Subjective”

  1. So, rather than presenting evidence of their god, a course of action that would expose Gervais' error and refute his argument, the good Christians attacked the atheist: he's arrogant, he's angry, he's empty, he's sad, he's searching…. Why am I not surprised?

  2. No, only the fools try and offer evidence. The rest simply attack challenges to their belief as if belief is a default and correct until proven otherwise. Unfortunately, with the majority believing they can pretty much get away with that tactic.

    The article just had that same vinegar and water smell as a certain frequent commenter's comments on our blogs, although I don't think even he would have been as douchey as to cite a "friend from college who happens to be a Christian scholar”. I suppose if you're used to citing an imaginary friend in the sky, then citing an imaginary Christian scholar friend isn't that much of a stretch, and if you're addressing people who believe they have an imaginary friend in the sky as well, then who are they to question your imaginary Christian scholar friend?

  3. Luckily I wasn't the only one to call the guy out on his site. He actually responded to me, and I have to take it back. He does remind me of a certain frequenter of atheists blogs.

    Meyers: PhillyChief, let's take one piece of your post at a time. Whether Mr. Gervais is a comedian or the Dalai Lama is irrelevant. He said something I thought was wrong, so why challenging his statement is comedic is lost on me, and I have a pretty good sense of humor.

    You seem rather quick on your own to leap to conclusions. You agree that "Yes, virtually everything is subjective. We take the evidence at hand and make a judgement based on it."

    But then you make an assertion which is wrong. "Pointing that out as a flaw in Gervais' article as if that magically discounts the entire argument and therefore making atheism wrong and your belief right or at least justified is ridiculous." The only argument I discounted is the one we agree on. However, I never said anything about this one point making atheism wrong, my belief right or justified. That is a conclusion you leapt to all on your own.

    So who's ridiculous?

    You then proceed to talk all about what constitutes evidence for God, and announce that whatever evidence I do or don't consider is inconsistent — taking the issue far beyond what I wrote in my article. This is known as supposition, and reason enough to discount the remainder of your post.

    PhillyChief: No, you didn't explicitly say Gervais' failure makes atheism wrong or your belief correct or justified, but that's what's implied. Sure, you might not have intended that and I may be incorrect in reading such an implication, but it appears many of your commenters saw the implication as well. You write for an arguably pro-Christian site and in your article attacking an atheist's logic, you also fanned the ever popular flames of Christian persecution, so you should have at least seen such an implication as a possibility. You can't throw red meat before lions and claim you never meant for them to see it as food.

    You should read my comment again, because you overlooked the "if you answered no" preface. I probably should have put that in bold for you, along with all the other "if"s. In my experience, conservatives lack in reading comprehension and are always itching to lash out rashly, so I'm not surprised you're all proud of yourself for finding what you believe to be a supposition on my part and trying to parade that around.

    So anyway, would you care to respond as to whether your acceptance of evidence is consistent, and therefore objective, or inconsistent and subjective? We can simplify things to you simply saying what you consider evidence for your god is if you like. It's up to you, sir.

  4. I distinctly remember replying, but now it's not showing up. Oh bother…

  5. He must be too busy to respond to your response.

    Have you figured out subscriptions here yet? I keep checking your posts long after they are up.

    Wait. I know. Google Reader. I think I have your old site in there. THAT's why nothing ever comes up.

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