Stephen Law has refused to answer three simple questions. He had deleted my most recent comment at his blog, which actually included a couple of logical arguments. I'd taken a screenshot of the comments, however, before he deleted them and I've posted this image in this article. Law's recent behavior is just a punctuation mark on a long series of examples wherein he eschews logical discourse in favor of alternative forms of rhetoric. Prior to deleting my comment, Law stated, "And I'll look forward to seeing your stuff in print. Or not."
Within Law's comment is a veiled presupposition that academic stature automatically grants philosophical superiority to those who have studied their way to the top of secular academic positions. Do you believe that academic stature alone gives a person a free ticket to avoid logical arguments in a pretense of intellectual and philosophical superiority? I don't.
There are three basic positions with regard to discourse and rhetoric:
1. Ethos-based rhetoric: a person believes that academic stature offers the most convincing support.
2. Logos-based rhetoric: a person believes that logical arguments offer the most convincing support.
3. Pathos-based rhetoric: a person believes that emotions and yelling offer the most convincing support.
Which category does Stephen Law fall into? Well, based on my interactions with him listed here, the first category. Law's recent comment deletion stems from three questions he has refused to answer.
Three Questions Stephen Law Won't Answer
1. Is the central argument of the God Delusion logically framed with a sense of logical consequence?
Before comment-linking was mysteriously disabled at Law's blog, I had politely asked Law several times whether or not he believed that Dawkins' central argument in The God Delusion was logical. He did not give me a straightforward answer, so I asked one more time:
"So you are basically unwilling to plainly comment on whether or not Dawkins' argument outline in the God delusion offers logical consequence not." (October 7, 2012 at 10:27 AM)
Amazingly, Law was still unwilling to plainly state whether or not he believed the central argument of Dawkins' God Delusion was logical or not:
"I think Dawkins argument is non-scientific, and probably flawed..." (October 7, 2012 at 10:34 AM)
2. Will you acknowledge that you failed to address Richard Dawkins' six-point central argument in your 1.5 hour critique of The God Delusion?
In the course of the previous exchange, Law had claimed that his lecture during "The God Delusion Weekend" in 2010 addressed my question about whether or not The God Delusion argument was logical.
"Rick you are aware I did a whole hour long videod lecture on Dawkins' argument, filmed at Oxford University.
Maybe you should watch it? It answers your questions." (October 6, 2012 at 10:11 PM)
Law's lecture, however, 1) Never questions the use of logic in The God Delusion and 2) Never even identifies the six-point central argument as Dawkins defines it! This has been pointed out in another article. These facts led me to present a brief logical argument at his blog, which Law summarily deleted, as outlined in point three.
3. Can you point out a flaw in the following argument?
A Logical Proof that Stephen Law Failed to Adequately Evaluate The God Delusion
1. Philosophical arguments (such as whether or not God exists) are defined by specific propositions and a conclusion.
2. The logical consequence of an argument is evaluated based on comparing the relationship between the specific premises and the conclusion.
3. Dawkins' central philosophical argument against God's existence includes six distinct propositions and a conclusion in The God Delusion.
4. In his evaluation, Stephen Law does not address Dawkins' six specific premises and does not ask whether there is any logical consequence between the six premises and the conclusion.
5. Therefore, Stephen Law had failed to adequately evaluate Dawkins' central argument in The God Delusion as a philosophical argument.
After my argument was typed in, I pasted a link to the context of my logical argument, as noted in the webclip. However, the following comment (as shown in the embedded image) was deleted by Stephen Law:
Instead of addressing my logical and brief challenge, Law deleted my comment and claimed the following:
"Rick's previous post deleted as it was just an extended advert for his website." (March 9, 2013 at 12:58 PM)
I had been attempting to engage in a civilized debate with Law. My very first comment at that post addressed the title, "Tricks of the Mind event CFI, March 30th." This tied directly into the subject of spiritual blindness, described in scripture as mental blindness.
Come and hear some of the world’s leading experts explain how our minds can distort and deceive...
- That's very interesting, I just wrote a post touching on this very subject at my blog. It's entitled,
"How Logic Helps to Reveal Spiritual Blindness"
As we engaged in debate, instead of attempting to logically disprove my claim that Law is in a state of mental and spiritual denial, Law helped to confirm my point by appealing to academic authority and not logic in his argumentation. I had given Law the benefit of the doubt, giving him an opportunity to point out where he may have addressed Dawkins' central six-point argument:
"In any event, are you willing to admit, Stephen, that throughout the course of a 1.5 hour presentation on the strengths and weaknesses of The God Delusion you did not once address Dawkins' "central argument" as defined by Dawkins himself?
"This chapter has contained the central argument of my book, and so, at the risk of sounding repetitive, I shall summarize it as a series of six numbered points."
Can you admit that? Or, can you provide a reference to a point in the recorded video when you did assess Dawkins' six point central argument?"(March 4, 2013 at 5:11 PM)
His reply was neither adequate not professional:
"No Rick you can sod off." (March 4, 2013 at 5:14 PM)
When a philosophical blogger avoids logical questions at all costs, then it is understandable why posting logical arguments would be considered spam. At the end of my deleted comment I had written the following: "So, any takers at all? Or is it back to somnambulism and Dawkins fawning?" Amazingly, a few posts later, Law posted a video clip of him talking with Dawkins on the very stage where Dawkins refused to debate William Lane Craig. Recreational Dawkins fawning at its best! Dawkins fawning has apparently become a recreational pastime for academic militant atheists, as opposed to engaging in logical debates. Some good showmanship never hurt anyone. Besides, debates can be a little stressful and unpleasant at times.
Though Law did once debate William Lane Craig, it was pointed out that Law basically ignored WL Craigs arguments and tried to change the subject of the debate from "Does God Exists?" to "Is God Necessarily Good?" Law basically ignored Craig's logical arguments for God's existence and went off on his own tangent. J.W. Wartik has offered a valuable summary of that debate.
There are increasing signs that Law is morphing into a dedicated militant atheist with an inclination to prefer atheist hegemony and censorship over reasonable and logical debate. In a post entitled, "Atheism is pretentious and cowardly" Law identified his classification as a militant atheist and was not opposed to the label: "I'm sure I'd be classed as "militant" - yet I don't argue religion is more a force for evil than good. Just, for the most part, a load of cobblers."
It's ironic that the theist "cobblers" are the ones presenting the logical arguments as secular atheist authority figures are busy making excuses for not engaging in discourse while patting each other on the back for their supposed superiority. Call it entertainment. Call it showmanship. But please don't attempt to call it academic advancement. This type of attitude is sending academia back to pre-Socratic days. Socrates and the Socratic method affirmed that the process of debating and asking questions is one of the most basic methods of seeking truth and affirming true premises and conclusions. Secularists today, however, prefer hegemony and censorship over questions and debate. In stark contrast to today's secular academic delusions and pretensions, scripture outlines how Jesus and the scriptures welcome difficult and challenging questions as a standard for Christians.
Three examples of how Jesus and the scriptures welcome difficult questions:
1. Jesus welcomed Thomas and his doubtful attitude with grace and patience. Jesus welcomed Thomas' questions.
"Jesus came, the doors having been shut, and stood in their midst and said, “Peace be with you.” Then He said to Thomas, “Reach here with your finger, and see My hands; and reach here your hand and put it into My side; and do not be unbelieving, but believing.” Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God!" Jesus said to him, “Because you have seen Me, have you believed? Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed.”[John 20.26-29 NIV]
2. The Apostle Paul welcomed challenges and tests of his own teachings in his praise of the Bereans.
"Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true." [Acts 17.11 NIV]
3. Isaiah in the Old Testament advocated reason and discourse with nonbelievers.
"Come now, let us settle the matter," says the LORD. "Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.[Isaiah 1.18 NIV]
Unlike these three examples in scripture, militant atheists today avoid difficult questions and polite attempts to engage in civilized discourse. Instead of engaging in difficult questions head on, such atheists engage in their culture war with relativistic ends-jusifies-the-means tactics. You can eschew logic and delete logical arguments, but the timeless truth of God's existence remains nonetheless.
I would welcome a debate with Law if he ever decides that he is willing to address difficult questions in a civilized manner. However, the fact is, Law and all the atheists at my blog have failed to address my related argument, "A Logical Proof that Law failed to Adequately Evaluate The God Delusion" and for Law to admit this mistake would be a bitter pill to swallow. It would cut to the heart of his perceived value as a published secular authority figure corrected by a "cobbler" who is not formally published.
In his video-taped assessment, Stephen Law basically ignored half of Dawkins' central argument in The God Delusion and did not once comment on the logic of the argument structure. So far, in defending Law's assessment, we have the following excuses from atheists at my blog:
1. Law was not obligated to list and address Dawkins' six-point argument
because fitting six summarized points onto one slide screen would be
inconvenient (therefore the latter three points may be completely
2. Law did not need to include three premises out of six because they were unquestionably and obviously true points.
3. Law was only obligated to list and evaluate the premises that he
personally felt were questionable, the rest he was justified in
I posted a comment
at Professor Law's blog and offered him a fair opportunity to defend his
assessment and he ignored my comment:
This is much the same as he ignored my question back in October 2012 on whether or not Dawkins offered a logical argument in The God Delusion, as quoted in the following post:
Romans 1.18 pretty much spells it out: people who have already made up their mind about God's existence are more interested in suppressing truth than seeking it.
Tags: Atheist culture war (law children), atheist hegemony, Stephen law changes debate subject with William Lane Craig, Stephen Law militant atheist, Jesus welcomed Thomas' questions. Doubting Thomas Bible verse, Isaiah advocated reason and discourse, Apostle Paul welcomed challenges and tests,