Friday, September 9, 2016

Unconvincing Apologetics: Created Or Not, Part 2

So... back in December, I encountered a fellow named Tony Terrana when he commented on Bruce Gerencser's Facebook page. I summarized the exchange and what I thought of it here after Bruce got annoyed and banned him. (It's probably worth following the link and reading that, if only for context.)

Well, today he commented again.

It was the same comment. I mean, word for word, the same odd little block of text.
The Paradox of The Burden of Proof:

From our subjective perspective - either some higher-level creative Intelligence is responsible for our existence or not. There is currently no publicly-known, objectively-verifiable, scientifically-reproducible, peer-reviewed evidence sufficiently leading to proof that either is the objective truth. It is a choice to believe one or the other is the truth. Whichever you choose - you are using the concept of faith. Faith is belief without proof. Objectively speaking - only one is the truth and our subjectively formulated opinions or lack thereof have no effect on that objective truth. Such is the nature, beauty, and glory of The Truth - He is perfect and unbreakable.
So I queried him, and I got exactly the same response that I got last time, except without the bit about whether or not I believe in boots. Seriously:
Michael Mock - I'll simplify for you.
Do you perceive the following statement to be true or false?
1. From our subjective perspective either some higher-level creative Intelligence is responsible for our existence or not.

How about this one?
2. Of the two subjective possibilities mentioned in the preceding statement - only one of them is the objective truth.
So I responded again, and he "simplified" again. (For "simplified", read "reiterated".)

This time, I pointed out that I understood what he was saying, and I was impatient for him to quit saying it and move on to the next point.

(I should note that I'm assuming, at this point, that he's a person who has a selection of rote responses that he pastes in for most of his answers. The alternative -- that he's actually some sort of bot -- has occurred to me. In either case, it's a rather frustrating thing to attempt to have a conversation with him. I'm also having vague flashbacks to my attempts to interact with Dennis Markuze, which suggests some other mildly troubling possibilities.)

So, having pointed out that the points he was trying to make were so blindingly obvious that I was actually confused by why he'd insist on putting them out there, and repeating his own points back to him, I got this:
Michael Mock - right - what I am saying is so obviously true I should not have to say it - but many people do not understand these fundamental truths with respect to this conversation.
Well, first of all, these aren't "fundamental truths". They're starting assumptions for something that might eventually become an argument for Deism. And even then, I'm not sure the first point is actually undeniable; there's always the possibility that the actual situation is more ambiguous or more complicated than his either/or dichotomy suggests.

But maybe the dude thinks that this is a complete argument. It's hard to see how, but maybe... because right after posting that, he stopped responding. Now, maybe he's gone to bed, or maybe he's off having dinner, or maybe he's gone out to a club or something. (Or maybe he is a bot.) Maybe he'll come back and respond at some point.

But the fact that he posted this nothing-argument on an atheist's page, and a quick glance at his Facebook page, YouTube page, his website (which is full of odd, vaguely lyrical pseudo-scriptures which are peppered with actual Bible verses), and his Google+ Account (which is nearly empty)... well, all that leads me to believe that he isn't angling for anything as simple or basic as an acknowledgement that Deism is a defensible philosophical position. Whatever his specific beliefs, he isn't a Deist. His website looks like he's playing with a particularly gnostic and/or mystical sort of Christianity, something where God is knowable and active in people's lives, and probably the world at large. So I'm baffled as to why he would stop here. He hasn't shared his beliefs, or even laid any sort of groundwork for them.

So I'm going to give it a couple of days, maybe longer. And then there will be a follow-up post, if only so I can vent my frustration by taking apart his rhetorically-cute little comment. (Does that make me a small and petty person? Eh, whatever.)


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Michael, I paid a visit to his Facebook page. You think you're playing with someone who's out to play games of rhetoric; I think you're dealing with someone whose sanity is on vacation. While I am certainly not qualified to diagnose him over the interwebs, I would also be completely unsurprised to find that he's a schizophrenic.

    1. The more I look at it, the more I think you're probably right.


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