Missing The Point And Theological Tricks

M 2006-09-23 15:17:03 4469
Because you might call your wife a whore does not give me the right to do the same.  As a matter of fact that is the argument about the N-word in some circles.  I simply do not think of my argument as a trick of any kind. I think you should reserve that label for your own words.  If you limit all your arguments to that which is scientific you will miss the whole world of Art & many others.  There is nothing scientific about religion anyway. It exists in a different realm.  There is little scientific about psychology - rat experiments notwithstanding. It is just another trick to focus upon what you call science.  I  consider most of your arguments on the climate & global warming as not tricks but politricks.
Anyway this item is now closed .
Taking offense is one way to divert attention from someone's point.  This is especially irksome where no offense was intended.  The case of the Pope's remarks comes easily to mind.  If the Pope had a point, did the Muslim world miss it, just because they chose instead to take offense?  I don't think that i am going out on a limb here to say that, should one want to have productive dialogue, then one should avoid becoming easily offended by some supposed derogative interpertation of the other's words.  No, the prefered stratagy here is to grant, by virtue of the Principle of charity, that the other person probably does not mean anything derogatory, and thereby try to reinterpert their statemets in that light.  One could even say that not following that Principle of charaity here would be to break the golden rule.

Now, regarding my term "trick".  Frequently one is tricked into believing something  that is not necessarily so.  It is neither true by virtue of observation nor true by virtue of logic.  Yet it is something that just seems true based upon our personal experience and intuition.  If you don't want to consider these tricks, then make up a neologism instead ... maybe "theoargs".  For my part i will continue to call them tricks ... if you want to get offended, and not see the points, then so be it.  Btw, almost all theological arguments are of this nature. 

Thanks to Thelemic Theology for the illustration.

Let me summarize the two tricks we are talking about here. 

Bozo's theoarg:  If you don't accept a spiritual domain, where do you put God?  Well the attitude that i have learned from religion of the relationship of  myself to God, is the same attitude that i have learned to take twards the universe. Hense Bozo's trick is - God is the Universe.

Magor's theoarg: "if you are without hearing or ears music just seems to be in a different world".  Iow, you cannot see the spiritual world because you have not developed senses for it.  However, because i have, you should take on faith that it exists.

I invented my first trick when i was about 12 years old.  It went like this:  "Believing in God is the only thing that makes any sense, therefore God exists".  For me at the time that was totaly convincing.  I even remember telling my best friend at school, i think his name was Michael Blank, but i don't remember telling anybody in my family.  It would have been considered  heretical  ... this was certainly not one of our sanctioned tricks ... Magor's theoarg, however, was sanctioned.

Which theoargs (tricks) are at the basis of the Pope's lecture?  Which would Muslims accept and which would they reject?  Which of the Pope's arguments are based entierly on Christian dogma?


  1. tricks
  2. theoargs
  3. theology
  4. pope


Seth says
M 2006-09-24 07:25:44 4490
So just how does your principle of charity work if you call my stuff & your stuff tricks ?
Well the Wikipedia article on the Principle of Charity is excellant place to start if you want to understand what i am saying ...
In philosophy and rhetoric, the principle of charity is an approach to understanding a speaker's statements by rendering the best, strongest possible interpretation of an argument's meaning. In its narrowest sense, the goal of this methodological principle is to help keep people who are trying to understand or evaluate the truth of an argument from introducing a logical fallacy or other error into an argument that is not inherent to it. According to Simon Blackburn, "it constrains the interpreter to maximize the truth or rationality in the subject's sayings."
This is what you try first instead of interperting the person's remarks as adhominim.

In the case above we are not criticizing each others beliefs.  Rather we are trying to find things in common with those beliefs, and then classifying those common traits.  The name of the class of beliefs could be something like "theoargs", but i kind of like the word "trick" instead. 

I think that all theological arguments fall in three catagories:  (1) things that are observable - you can actually observer that certain social behaviors have definite consequences, (2) things that are believed based on intuition - they just seem to be true - these you could call "theoargs" (or tricks), and (3) dogma - beliefs that have been passed down historically that are just taken to be part of the story. 

Only a fool would deny type (1) beliefs.  It takes some Faith to believe type (2) beliefs, they are very convincing to some people, but other people are not necessarily convinced.  You will only believe type (3) beliefs if you have faith in that particular religion. 

When you are comparing religions with complex argements,  me thinks it would be productive to separate the arguments by these catagories.  For example if you are presenting a teological argument to Christians you would not use a type (3) piece of Shia dogma like "only those who have walayat are free from error and sin and have been chosen by God".   But you could use any type (1) because those are assumed to be common beliefs held by reasonable people.  You might present type (2) arguments with a question like: Do you think that some people have developed special powers that allow they to see things which others do not? 

Seth says
What is so ironic here is that when i used this same word "trick" to refer to my own argument, you gladly empasized it.  Remember ...
M 2006-09-21 14:43:09 4469
A lot of your premise I do not accept.  I got your trick though!
Yet when i use that same term to refer to one of your arguments, you get all offended.  Then you shout adhominem and continue to insult my arguments with words like "shit", "crap", etc. It is almost like you are reenacting the affair with the Pope ... he called Muslims violent, so they violently demonstrated against him. 

Btw, after arguing with you for about a year here, i am well aware of the effect of adhominem to distract from substance.  Just about every one of your comments has pejoritive insinuations ... most of them i choose to ignore and try to look behind them for whatever substance may be there.  You are engaging in direct and obvious hyprocracy. Clean up your own act, then come back and preach to me.

Like i said above, this item is closed unless your are prepared to deal with the substance of the two arguments in question.

Mark de LA says
You must have been looking for shit like this! 4500.  
If you start out an inquiry calling the opposing argument from yours a "trick" what do you expect ? Call it "theological", or something else. If i were debating you and decided to, say, call your point-of-view the "asshole-view", thus disrespecting your point of view, how long would you "cooperate" or continue the discussion?
You don't have to agree with my point of view. You DO have to respect or acknowledge, at least, that I am spending my time reading your material & commenting on it to get my cooperation. I won't otherwise come into a loaded argument where my point of view is labeled from the outset as a trick or some other pejoritive word.  I doubt you would either.

Mark de LA says
Why don't you try some of the structure suggested by MacroVU (see 627) like "is supported by" or "is disputed by" instead of pejorative labels? I suspect you might get more cooperation that way.
Anyway the Pope is now kissing ass so the matter is becoming moot!

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