Apologetics Thuggery

thugMatt Slick is head of a Christian apologetics organization called CARM. He has a radio talk show on which he defends Christianity.

Now, there is nothing inherently wrong with defending Christianity. Some do it fairly well such as Ravi Zacharias (though primarily a rhetorician and an “anecdotalist”) and William Lane Craig (who presents an odd mixed bag of “god-of-the-gaps” arguments and natural theology).

However, Matt Slick is more what you might call a “thug apologist”. He recently called into an Austin Texas radio program called “The Atheist Experience” and attempted to introduce his argument. You can listen to the exchange near the end of this MP3 link.

If you have no time for that, just read on. I’m going to post an exchange of comments that I initiated after watching Matt Slick’s Youtube video entitled “The Transcendental Argument for the Existence of God” found here.
UPDATE: It appears that the 3,000+ comments for this video have been (conveniently) deleted. Contact me if you wish to have a copy.

These comments are not meant to present the arguments on either side, but rather to simply display the way Matt Slick childishly interacts with persons who wish to engage in dialog without attempting to address their arguments. If you go to the original video, you’ll note that some of the comments that I’m posting have been deleted, presumably by Matt for some unknown reason.

I’ll display Matt Slick’s comments in bold, my comments in italics, and the comments of others in regular font. I’ve condense some of our comments, and corrected spelling on both sides, but the content remains the same.

UPDATE: You’ll find an exchange between Matt Slick and an atheist here.

It is erroneous to suggest that logic maps precisely onto reality. Logic is a very consistent framework of thinking that operates on discrete entities (the instantiation of logic’s variables), but when you whittle away the legs of a chair, at what point does it become something other than a chair?
Where is the demarcation between liquid and plasma? It is here that logic becomes inadequate. Therefore, logic can not be employed to fully reflect reality. It is a mental device that we can very productively utilize in generating explanations and predictions, but it is objective only in the same sense that mathematicians can discover and define the ontic of a fictional universe of 7 dimensions.
From this it follows that logic must remain underdefined [poor choice of wording on my part here] in any universe such as ours. Remember those little plastic games with 25 spaces and 24 tiles which you had to manipulate to reconstruct a picture? The physical ‘universe’ of the game defined the logic of the moves. The logic was not prior to nor did it constrain the universe of the game. Therefore, logic is not prior to our universe and is not ‘objective’ (nor derived from god) in the way you define it.

Pontificating doesn’t explain anything. Perhaps you might want to sit this one out. You don’t use logic when making change, or considering a route, or solving an equation? Amazing… Anyway, just saying it is a mental device DOES NOT ACCOUNT for it nor do you clarify what a “mental device” is. You don’t drive on the roads and think like this at the same time, do you?

Is it logical to take a route just for the scenic value ? Or is logic only tied to what is the quicker route or least expensive …
To go the scenic route would be an emotional reasoning, not logical, and yet its an option, and its illogical.

uh… knock knock… hello? So, you can’t account for logic and logical absolutes except to say a consistent framework of thinking? That’s it? So, logic is just ‘logical’????? That’s it? I see… and you have NOT accounted for the existence of logic as the argument demonstrates.

If you have questions about my position, ask questions.
If you make a video asking for other possible opinions, be prepared engage in a discussion.
Or did you mistake this for a radio show where you can talk over people or cut them off without really listening?
Perhaps your emotional response to my comments is a product of a lack of understanding on how to dialog properly. Let me suggest a few tips.
1. Address the argument. No one cares about your emotions.
2. No straw men such as suggesting I said “logic is just logical”.
3. When you don’t understand something, ask non-rhetorical questions.
I hope this helps.

Oh please…. Look, you need to try and be logical. But, you’re not. You’ve not said anything of substance yet.

We will continue our discussion when you agree to comply with common courtesies associated with constructive dialog.
These include 1) answering only the arguments presented rather than offering mere emotional responses to cloak a lack of a response, 2) asking questions about each other’s positions rather than setting up straw men, 3) asking genuine questions of the other without prejudice.
Is this not fair enough?

[no response]

It may be informative to newtonphile and myself if you could construct a valid syllogism that explains the concept of the trinity. Then we could better understand how you employ the logic you insist is objective.

wrong application of syllogism. That is a mistake on your part.

Impossible application of syllogism. That is a failure on your part and precisely my point. There exist some beliefs you hold that can not be place within the logic of a syllogism. Your own ontology extends beyond the limits of logic.

[Alright, I just included this section to show off my point.]

Can we at least have an answer on whether you think that Wave/Particle Duality violates the law of the excluded middle?

amazing… you really don’t know the issues and yet you continue to talk. Excluded middle deals with statements, not physical phenomena.

Amazing. You ask whether it is physically possible to violate the rules of logic, but then dismiss physical counter-examples? And let me point out that, in proper apologetic, you don’t state that the person does not know the issues, but you rather demonstrate that by addressing their questions and points. You ought not to state that someone is illogical, but rather you should demonstrate that. This is a basic principle of apologetics that may be of great use to you further down the road.
You might watch Craig and Zacharias to see this in action. Surely you know that, without instantiation, logic has no value. Excluded middle is a logical principle that has no value until the variables are instantiated. So enough of the evasive rhetoric. Do you think that Wave/Particle Duality violates the law of the excluded middle?

It isn’t an issue of PHYSICAL possibility. The 3rd Law applies to STATEMENTS… S T A T E M E N T S….

The Greek philosophers did not pull syllogisms from thin air and declare them true. They instantiated the variables with real world elements to demonstrate the real world absurdity of some forms, and pruned the
number of syllogisms down to only those that did not lead such real world absurdities.
So also with the 3rd law. It has value only as far as it maps onto the real world. When the real world violates this law, we must dismiss it as inadequate.
You’re concept of the trinity could be correct along with Wave/Particle Duality even though they conflict with the ‘laws’ of logic, but the truth of these must be consistent with extraordinary real world research since the claims are extraordinary and go contrary to intuition and expectations.
Wave/Particle Duality accomplishes this, but the notion of the trinity does

Uh… your being amatuerish. You don’t have a grasp of logic, that is obvious. You don’t know philosophy, either. You are embarrassing yourself. You really need to sit down… wait…read, study, think.

I know ad hominems are fun.
But you could just address my argument.

Look, I repeatedly address your arguments and you continue to offer lame material. So, I’m concluding you’re a troll. bye.

1. “I repeatedly address your arguments”
Give an example (quotation).
2. “I’m concluding you’re a troll”

[no response]

Imagine if you will that I create a complete language which is called fnarf. I teach this language (is grammar and vocabulary) to philstilwell. He and I may then teach this language to others. Soon we find that conversations and correspondences may be held in fnarf. (also Poetry and literature) Interestingly enough these rules are absolute in the same way you attribute absoluteness to the laws of logic. Your reason now requires that my mind is transcendent.

Wow…talk about failing to understand the argument… YOU don’t get it. The linguistic thing was addressed. Here’s a suggestion. Listen to it this time and when you do, pay attention. Seriously, the atheist responses here have been so elementarily wrong, it is amazing. I mean, they don’t even know enough to know they don’t know enough. No wonder they are atheists.

Actually you do not. You discuss in your video the idea that logic is a function of language. I am implying here that logic is a language. You suggested in a comment above that the laws of logic only apply to logical statements. This makes the laws definitional in the same way that a poem written in fnarf cannot violate the rules of fnarf and still be considered written in fnarf.

This is ridiculous. You must be a troll. Implying that logic is language is not a proof or refutation. I said above that the 3rd law of logic applies to statements. Why? Because it applies to statements. Apparently, you don’t know this. So, you again demonstrate you don’t know what you’re talking about. Stop wasting my time.

Your argument is a post hoc fallacy because it doesn’t answer what God you’re arguing and how he/she/it formulated logical absolutes. Logic isn’t “just is” Logic is a set of social conventions agreed upon over time. It’s not simply like grammar or language because it has empirical evidence to back it up. It has to make predictions, be accurate, and bring results or else logic must be changed or updated. Using the word “absolute” is a strawman position. We never make such a claim.

wow… first of all, the argument doesn’t posit “which” God. So, what’s your point? Second, logic isn’t formulated by God because that would mean there was a time when God wasn’t logical! LOL..logic is a set of social conventions? ah… so you didn’t listen to the video and yet you’re posting???? Boy, did YOU drop the ball on that one.

I think you dropped the ball… if God has no role in your argument, why does God need to exist? You sound like an atheist in theist’s clothing. Maybe you are a pantheist. Under pantheism, any claim about God can be true. [In retrospect, this may not be entirely true of pantheism.] If someone slapped his kid, he slapped God because under pantheism, the kid is a part of God. Logic is a philosophical discipline. Like all philosophies, they are social conventions. Unlike all philosophies, logic has empiricism to back it up. It has been rigorously tested.

You obviously did NOT listen to the video. Stop what you’re doing. Listen to it. Pay attention. I’m not going to argue with a person who is a troll, who tries to argue about something he knows nothing about. So, actually pay attention to the video, listen to it… what you’re saying has been dealt with there. If you don’t get it, and I don’t think you do, then listen again.

[This was the 3rd commenter he called a “troll”.]

Yeah i reject your logical assumption for the existence of your god because we are different. Logical absolute can not be use as a proof for the existence of god, you speak jargons as if these are proofs….Yeah i can write jargons too….

That’s it? You ‘reject” it? Why? What logical reason do you have? Can you think about it and develop a coherent refutation or do you reject truth because you don’t like it? SAYING logic can’t be used as a proof for God’s existence is meaningless. Show us WHY it can’t be used. Use logic. Think. Don’t whine. Be rational.

How about addressing my comments instead of just deleting my post? Oh wait- that is because you can’t refute what I’m saying. You said: “Can you demonstrate that logical absolutes do not exist? If not, then you confirm that they do.” To which I replied that that was a negative proof fallacy. Nothing to say? Then admit defeat instead of deleting my posts like a baby.

There’s more, but I’m tired. I will say that his video was provocative enough to evoke 2,000+ comments. It was a wonderful opportunity for him to show the logical skills of Christians rather than calling those who disagree “trolls”.

If you’re a Christian, I bet you’re not wanting Matt Slick with his contra-Christian behavior, emotional demeanor, and illogical responses representing your position. He actually does call himself a Christian apologist. Or perhaps his attitude is too familiar to you as prevalent among Christians, and, due to this clear lack of a holy spirit that would presumably have Christians acting more Christian than non-Christians, you feel like you need to reevaluate your faith. Feel free to read the account of my deconversion.

Perhaps this also gave you a taste of the Youtube debates over the existence of god. Fun…for a while.


6 thoughts on “Apologetics Thuggery

  1. Allusive Emotion says:

    You fail to mention how utterly abusive the atheists are to Matt. You fail to mention how foul they are, how they insult him, how they accuse him of all sorts of things. Yet, when Matt gets on them for it, you whine about it.

    Perhaps Matt is simply being tough on the atheists because they deserve it. So, stop being a hypocrite about this.

    You got these quotes from youtube/carmvideos. Why is it you fail to point out how stupid so many of the atheists comments really are? Why don’t you point out they use foul language and accuse him of great immorality, which I will not repeat here.

    Why don’t you ask Matt why he is tough on atheists instead of taking things out of context and misrepresenting him.

    • Thanks for your comment Allusive.

      Christians claim to have the holy spirit that compels them to act godly and presumably rationally. “By their works ye shall know them.” Reread Matt’s comments to determine how much of the holy spirit he possesses. You don’t have to worry about me being a hypocrite. I don’t claim to have the holy spirit, so I’m naturally inclined to act very much unlike Jesus, am I not? You and Matt have no excuse however.

      It seems neither of you have a holy spirit leading you “into all truth” as your irrationality would suggest, and your childish emotional response would suggest that you also lack the power of a holy spirit that would make you act presumably more godly than the likes of godless me. Why should I set an example of Christlike behavior for you two?

      You also must have a different concept of “taking things out of context” and “misrepresentation” since I’ve included nearly all of the context, and have also included a link to the original posts which you really ought to read again. Do his comments disturb you? That’s a good first step to admit to his childishness. Go on. Give it another read.

      And remember the proper standard; what would Jesus post? Reread your comments. Are you not ashamed?

      (I’m in amicable dialog with many Christians. A few of the excessively arrogant, however, have nothing to offer the conversation and can serve only as examples of Christianity’s failure.)

  2. AgnosticNews says:

    Nice post. I find that many Atheists are undeservedly arrogant, especially on the internet and Youtube, on the basis that the this arrogance lacks any intellectual justification **of their own.** Of course, you’ll find the Theistic camp just as bad, in either case, to say the Atheists “deserve it” is false in any sense, since we’re forming a generalization based upon experiences of a group based on Youtube comments… a rather unenlightened approach, especially when we justify actions based upon these generalizations…

    Of course, this is why I’m focusing more and more not on arguments for and against God, but against the justification of absolutism, especially when attached to an ideology and dogma carrying potential for great evil… whether that ideology is the Christian Faith or the State as God.

    My initial response is more to Allusive Emotion’s comment rather than Mr. Slick… I think that the Youtube community has such a strong Atheistic community due to many of the things Youtube Atheists have to sort through everyday… Of course, their comments are also unjustified as well at times, but it was wrong of him to label your argument as a troll, or ignorant. He made so many positive claims and did not substantiate them himself, yet called for you to repeat your own supports.

    Unrelated account, I have a deconversion story up which seems to have gained a very modest yet positive reception, and I hope to receive your feedback.

  3. Craig says:

    I watched the entire debate on YT secretly hoping that the apologist would, for once, come up with an argument that was even mildly convincing.

    No such luck.

    Just more mental masturbation.

    If apologetics teaches us one thing, it’s that you can’t polish a turd.

  4. Yak says:

    As a Christian, I want to apologize for Matt’s behavior. His comments have a snide air to them, methinks, and yours seem more even keeled. Comments like that generate heat, not light. My hope is that you don’t assume Matt speaks for us all.
    While I don’t agree with the idea of atheism, I think you won the argument here.
    I bid you peace.

    • I appreciate that, Yak.

      I’ve also had to apologize for the attitudes and antics of other non-believers (though I myself get feisty at times).

      Good luck on your quest for truth, Yak!

      Cheers, Phil

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