Saturday, January 29, 2005

A Rebuttal of Geekable.com's Attack

(It's come to my attention that Jeffrey's last name is Czerniak and I have therefore updated "Mr. Jeffrey" to "Mr. Czerniak"- M.C.B.)

Friday, January 28, the author of the blog Geekable.com, Jeffrey Czerniak, wrote a critique of my previous post "Sarah Ryley's Argument: An Objective Analysis". Mr.Czerniak's critique,entitled "M.C. Barsenas' objective analysis: An objective analysis" is severely defective and has therefore compelled me to compose an immediate response. I have examined Mr. Czerniak's counter-arguments, and written my responses below. Enjoy.

Counter-Analysis 1

Mr. Czerniak writes:

Barsenas claims that President Bush did not use the word "mandate" in his inauguration speech.

False. This is what I actually wrote:

Ms. Ryley claims that President Bush used the word "mandate" to justify his policies, an "air of infalliability" in his administration, and clearly indicate that President Bush feels his mission is dictated by God.

First, what Mr. Czerniak has done here is a straw-man fallacy, that is, he has composed an argument that appears to be mine but is actually a different or weaker one. Not only has he committed a fallacy, he has misrepresented my statement by claiming that I argued something that I clearly did not. Perhaps Mr. Czerniak did not examine the arguments more precisely, for if this is not the case then Mr. Czerniak has claimed that I've said something that I clearly did not say, and this is lying.

(For the rest of the article, click the link below)



Mr. Czerniak writes further writes:

This is true. But Vice President Cheney used it right after the 2004 election:

President Bush ran forthrightly on a clear agenda for this nation's future, and the nation responded by giving him a mandate.


I fail to see how this has anything to do with my argument at hand and once again Mr. Czerniak has committed a straw-man fallacy. I did not argue whether or not President Bush or any member of his administration said "mandate", I challenged Ms. Ryley's conclusion that by using "mandate" President Bush feels his administration is on a mission from God. By asking Ms. Ryley to cite where "mandate" is found in President Bush's speeches, I have asked for some type of context so that a more clear analysis can be done. Furthermore, notice that Vice-President Cheney uses the word "mandate" not in a religious sense as Ms. Ryley seems to imply, but in a political sense, the mandate coming not from God, but the people of the United States. Again, this does not detract from my argument because it fails to address the real argument asserted.

Counter-Analsys 2

Mr. Czerniak's in his critique of my second analysis challenges my assertion that Hitler did not rest the bulk of his beliefs on some theocratic framework. He takes a single quote from the Mein Kampf and from that concludes that the remainder of the Mein Kampf is somehow representative of this statement. But that Hitler believed that God commissioned him to destroy the Jew does not mean Hitler rested on a theocratic platform as Ms. Ryley seems to imply. In Paul Johnson's history book "Modern Times", particularly on pgs. 342 and 343, Johnson analyzes not only Hitler's Mein Kampf, but also his so-called 'Second Book' of 1928 and his earlier speeches. The central thread throughout all of these texts is the notion of race-purity. Hitler claimed that the Jew had corrupted the pure Aryan bloodline of the German peoples and therefore had to be eliminated. Hitler did not say "The Jews are evil and must be destroyed because God said so.", no, he said "The Jews are evil and must be destroyed because they are a corrupting force of the pure Aryan bloodline...oh, and because I believe it to be the will of God." What Mr. Czerniak has done is lifted a quote out of context and made a superficial patch over Hitler's real motivations which was racial purity, not a theocratic mission.

Counter-Analysis 3

Mr. Czerniak attacks the validity of my argument regarding liberty and God's will. He writes:

Barsenas absurdly claims

Well, if Ms. Ryley believes that liberty and freedom are good, and further that God is good, then she must, by logic, believe that freedom and liberty would be willed by God.

I don't know of any form of formal logic that would ever lead you to draw that conclusion. Could you please explain what type of syllogism this is? It shouldn't be a problem for you, since you insisted that we're the ones lacking critical thinking.


Apparently Mr. Czerniak is unschooled in logic, so allow me to instruct him in deductive validity.

1) If God is all good, then he wills only good things
2) God is all good
-----------------------
3) Therefore, he will's only good things [by modus ponens, a valid deductive form]

4) If God is all-powerful, then he can will anything
5) God is all-powerful,
-----------------------
6) Therefore, he can will anything [by modus ponens, a valid deductive form]

7) If liberty is good, then God will's it[by premises 1-6 by hypothetical syllogism]
8) liberty is good
------------------------
9) Therefore, God wills it [from 7 & 8, modus ponens, a valid deductive form]

I have employed valid deductive forms (hypothetical syllogism, and modus ponens)therefore if all the premises are true, then the conclusion must be true. Perhaps Mr. Czerniak is confusing the truth of the premises from the logical form. If so, then he is prima facie confused. I suggest he read Schaum's Outline of Logic so as to ensure he is engaged in clear-thinking.

Counter-Analysis 4

Mr. Czerniak writes in his critique of my fourth analysis:


Barsenas asks,

Is Ms. Ryley implying that the only way to spread liberty and freedom is by use of force? There is no reason to believe that.

cough... Revolutionary War... cough... War of 1812... cough.... Yeah, absolutely no reason.


Mr. Czerniak has once again committed a straw-man fallacy and misrepresented my argument. Mr. Czerniak seems to imply that I am denying the usage of war for the spread of freedom and liberty. This is false. I deny Ms. Ryley's assertion that the U.S. military will be flooding the Third World to spread freedom, by denying that force is the only way to spread freedom. Furthermore, Mr. Czerniak seems to imply that I am denying that there has never been any use of force to spread freedom. Again, false, I am denying that the use of force is the only way to spread freedom. Also, take a clear look at the wars Mr. Czerniak cited. These were not wars were the American people went out of the colonies, traveled to..say, Bolivia, and used their forces to topple the Spanish rulers. This is the sense that Ms. Ryley is implying, that the U.S. will be "flooding over the third world" and using force to liberate it. Instead, these wars were fought for the American people by the American people, it's accidental effects, as Aristotle would call them, was the spread of freedom elsewhere, but not its primary cause. Finally, Mr. Czerniak should consider the non-violent resistence of Ghandi and Martin Luther King, Jr., both of which produced freedom and independence for many.

Counter-Analysis 5

Mr. Czerniak in his critique of my fifth analysis writes:

Barsenas sees no reason to believe that we are facing "stagnant wages, decreased job opportunities and diminishing funds for education".

False. I argue that there is no reason to believe Ms. Ryley's claims regarding these issues because Ms. Ryley did not provide any evidence for them. And most important, I deny Ms. Ryley's suppressed implication that President Bush is somehow neglecting to repair the problems or is indeed, the source of the problem, or further that under President Bush it will get worse. Mr. Czerniak has committed, once again, a straw-man fallacy, and has attacked an argument that I did not advance.

Counter-Analysis 6

In his critique of my sixth analysis, Mr. Czerniak writes:

Barsenas asks,

Also, how does Ms. Ryley justify the assertion that the Republican Party is attempting to deny "all rights" to "non-heterosexual" (whatever that is, seeing as how a rock constitutes a non-heterosexual)?

I think the Federal Marriage Amendment, sponsored by Republican Marilyn Musgrave, is quite clear about which rights it denies for non-heterosexual couples. Barsenas also asks

How has the Republican party shamed homosexuals?

Well, Mr. Barsenas, Senator Rick Santorum has associated homosexuality with incest, bigamy, and adultery. You yourself associated homosexuality with pedophilia and rape in your analysis. I believe it's fair to say that both you and Santorum are trying to shame homosexuals.


Mr. Czerniak's criticisms hit far from the mark, once again descending into a straw-man fallacy. First, I attacked Ms. Ryley's assertion that racism is equivalent to objecting to homosexual marriage, that the Republican Party is attempting to "...obliterate all rights of non-heterosexuals", and to shame homosexuals into resignation. What has Mr. Czerniak done? Constructed an argument ne'er a shadow similiar to my own. I did not deny that the Republican Party was moving to halt homosexual marriage from being legalized. As a matter of fact, it never came up. What I denied was Ms. Ryley's ludicrous statement that "...the Republican Party’s biggest agenda is to obliterate all rights of non-heterosexuals, silencing them by shame, resignation and the desire to enjoy the same rights as everyone else." Ms. Ryley did not temper her assertion by pointing out that the Republicans are trying to block homosexuals from marriage, no, she asserts that Republicans are attempting to block "all rights of non-heterosexuals". Even more ludicrous, she claims the Republican Party is attempting to shame homosexuals into resignation. I asked her to produce evidence for this supposed Republicans agenda because she cited none in her article. But what does Mr. Czerniak do? He not only attacks the wrong argument, he produces evidence that has no bearing on the argument and commits a fallacy to top it off.

I asked for evidence that the Republican Party had this agenda, but Mr. Czerniak gave me one Republican. This commits the fallacy of composition, that is, the notion that a single part is reflective of a whole. So Mr. Czerniak's argument commences as such:

"Senator Santorum is a Republican, and is belligerent to homosexuals. Therefore all Republicans are belligerent to homosexuals."

This is clearly absurd, because a person could use the same logial form to produce this argument:

"John Doe is a black person, and he robs stores. Therefore, all black people rob stores."

Senator Santorum's actions does not in any necessary way reflect the whole of the Republican Party, nor do Congresswoman Musgrave's backing of the Federal Marriage Amendment, regardless their party alignment. Mr. Czerniak will have to try again.

Furthermore, Mr. Czerniak accuses not only the Republican Party and Senator Santorum of shaming homosexuals, but also directs his accusations against me:

You yourself associated homosexuality with pedophilia and rape in your analysis. I believe it's fair to say that both you and Santorum are trying to shame homosexuals.

False. Mr. Czerniak is confusing association with equivalency, I did not say that homosexual acts and rape and pedophilia are equivalent, but certainly they are all associated. Let me demonstrate.

Homosexual acts are sex acts done between people of the same-sex. Heterosexual acts are sex acts done between people of opposite sex. Rape is sex with a person unwilling to engage in sex. Pedophilia is sex with children. Beastiality is sex with animals. Incest is sex with very close blood relatives, and so on.

There is one underlining feature shared by all of these things, namely, that they are sex acts. Aristotle would call this a genus, I simply call it a category, namely, a category of sex acts. I did not make a moral statemenet about each act nor did I equivocate them. I pointed out that rape ( a sex act) and pedophilia ( a sex act) are all regulated by legislation. This merely establishes that there is no prima facie reason to reject the idea that homosexual acts can be regulated; because this would cast doubt on whether we can legislate rape and pedophilia. The morality of homosexual acts is an exhaustive study in ethics, it is, however, not the subject of my refutation.

Counter-Analysis 7

In his critique of my seventh analysis, Mr. Czerniak writes:

I will grant Mr. Barsenas his claim as soon as he himself defines God in a manner which all the world's religions can agree with 100%.

Mr. Czerniak is responding to my flat-out rejection of Ms. Ryley's definition of God. My response to Mr. Czerniak is: No. I will not play Mr. Czerniak's epistemological game, because it descends into absurdity. Mr. Czerniak challenges me to produce a definition of God by which all the world's religions can agree one hundred percent, but my question is, why? Why must I accept this criterion for producing a definition of God? If all the world's scientists disagreed on whether the world was flat or spherical, would this somehow change the reality of the earth's shape? If everyone in the world who used the Gregorian calendar denied that today is Saturdy or that tomorrow is Sunday, would that somehow make it false according to the Gregorian calendar? Nobody has to agree on a definition for that definition to be epistemologically certain or even for it be true. And if Mr. Czerniak hopes to say that this epistemological standard is only applicable to religion, then why should I accept that arbitrary designation? What Mr. Czerniak is asking for is a variation of epistemological relativism and no clear-thinking person has to accept that, yes, even reject it out of hand, immediately, once-for-all.

Q.E.D.








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