Wednesday, March 18, 2009


Jason is criticizing me because I “left the discussion” when we argued about whether Romans betrays knowledge of the destruction of the temple. I copied and pasted the thread into Word. It’s 95 pages in length. Nobody that I know of has made a better effort to interact with Jason’s arguments than I have, but it’s still not enough. How long would the thread have to be, Jason, before you might recognize that the reason I left wasn’t related to the force of your arguments or my inability to deal with them?

Overall though I think it’s a useful thread. I reference the thread occasionally at my blog here. What I would suggest to Jason is that to make threads more bearable and shorter he should consider spending more time arguing and less time confidently asserting that he’s in the right and everyone else is wrong. We know you think you’re right Jason. We know you are certain that skeptical arguments are feeble. The question I have is, why do you feel the need to assert your correctness so often?

Just in the course of the discussion on Romans Jason offered the following:

Nothing in the passage suggests the destruction of the temple as a past event.

To assume that the table of Romans 11:9 is a reference to the temple, and that it's already been destroyed, is dubious.

nothing in the context of Romans 11 suggests an application of the theme as narrow as yours.

And you aren’t giving us any reason to interpret Romans 11 as you have.

You had no good reason to interpret Romans 11 as you did in the first place,

You haven't given us any reason to conclude that the table in question is a reference to the temple.

You still haven't shown that a past destruction of the temple is in view.

You're not giving us any reason to think that an association with the temple is in view.

You’re wrong, I’m right. You’re wrong, I’m right. You’re wrong, I’m right. Sweeping and confident claims. I haven’t given any reason for anyone to draw my conclusions. There’s nothing to even suggest such an understanding. What does this behavior really tell us? I’m reminded of a statement from George Salmon.

Indeed with respect to this word certainty I may remark the more people talk about their certainty the less they have. If one of you came in and told me ‘I saw the Prince of Wales just now walking down Sackville street’ I might be a good deal surprised at your news but there would nothing in your language to make me think you were saying anything about which you had not full knowledge. But if you said ‘I am certain I saw the Prince of Wales just now’ I should conclude you were by no means assured yourself of the truth of what you said.

1 comment:

Jon said...

Jason's latest, being trivial, is going to be relegated to the comments section. The tit for tat polemics is not worth clogging people's feeds.

Jason seems to be having reading comprehension problems. I have yet to catch up on many of his other misreads of my arguments and he's already offered many more.

The length of a thread doesn't tell us whether Jon interacted with a particular argument on a particular subject discussed within that thread.

I didn't say it did.

The fact that the thread is 95 pages long doesn't make it inappropriate for me to point out that Jon didn't interact with, and still isn't interacting with, what I last wrote in response to him on the subject of Romans 11.

I didn't say it was.

And if you search the rest of the thread for terms like "probably" and "probability", you'll see that I made similar comments many other times.

You can be certain of things and still regard your views as probable. I'm certain the Holocaust ocurred, but this doesn't mean there isn't some measure of probability. It's not an either/or.

What I've argued (not just asserted) is that my view of the passage is probable, and I've argued (not just asserted) that Jon hasn't given us any reason to think that his view is probable.

I didn't say otherwise. I said you should spend more time arguing and less time asserting. This means you're already doing some arguing.

For Jon to act as if I was suggesting certainty for my view, and was denying that his view is possible, is unreasonable in light of the comments I made about probability in that thread and have made in many other contexts.

It's not an either/or.

But the issue is probability, not possibility.

Who has denied that?

The length of that thread doesn't prove that Jon has sufficiently addressed the issues discussed there.

Who said it does?

Who are you arguing with?

Once again, George Salmon.

It is a common rhetorical artifice with a man who has to commend a false conclusion deduced from a syllogism of which one premiss is true and the other false to spend an immensity of time in proving the premiss which nobody denies. If he devotes a sufficient amount of argument and declamation to this topic the chances are that his hearers will never ask for the proof of the other premiss.