1. "Your reticence in this regard is at once perplexing and slightly amusing" - this was merely my impression, it's obviously not "personal abuse"
2. "Does it not occur to you that 'reasoning with the teenager' is exactly what I'm trying to do here?" - this was your analogy not mine:
Dr.Alan wrote:Imagine trying to reason with a teenager who has "fallen" in love with a person of the opposite sex.
I was just demonstrating that the analogy is bad because it's possible for me to use it as well. As someone that is constantly telling us to "look behind the words" I thought that this would be obvious to you. When you used that analogy I didn't take it personally at all. However, you did when it was used back at you. It looks like you have different standards for yourself and for everyone else. If you're happy to dish out analogies like this, you should be prepared to receive them as well.
3. "To demonstrate how silly these kinds of arguments really are -- " - I was clearly commenting on the arguments here - how is this personal abuse? It is by definition not a personal attack. I didn't say you were silly. If you identify so much with your arguments that you take it as a personal attack every time I disagree with them, that is something you might want to have a look at. Arguments can be 'silly' or 'intelligent' regardless of who uses them. Aristotle (undoubtedly a great philosopher) thought the Earth was the centre of the universe. He was wrong. That doesn't mean he was silly, it just means his argument on that issue was. There's obviously a distinction there.
4. "Perhaps you're living in a dream world," - again, this is exactly what you said to me!
Dr.Alan wrote:Of course this post goes to those in the "dream" of human life - hence it will be questioned by dreamers. The real message here has little chance to take root anywhere.
I only used this example because (i) it was one you used yourself, and (ii) because it is an excellent example of how these arguments don't work (because they can be used equally by both sides). It was clearly a hypothetical scenario, and nowhere near "personal abuse".Dr.Alan wrote:what better proof of my last paragraph could I have expected than the one your reply demonstrates.
If I am to apologise, it is only to the extent that I didn't make the above points even more abundantly clear in my previous post, but I really thought all that was quite obvious in the context of our 'discussion'. Furthermore, if you think I am so confident in my logic and philosophy, then do you really think I'd feel the need to "personally abuse" you to get my point across?
Yet again you avoid the real issues Dr. Alan. Your post is exactly what I was talking about before - if you wish to continue, can you please stop deflecting the conversation and start actually engaging in a meaningful discussion. If you don't have good reasons for believing what you believe, then it's ok to just say "I don't know", and we can leave it at that. No one expects you to have all the answers, but I think some minimum level of engagement is required if you are to get your point across in a convincing manner.
Time and time again I try to get at the reasons behind your beliefs, but every time you deflect with platitudes and faux-logic. If you want to look wise and knowledgeable you have to 'get your hands dirty' so to speak. Otherwise, it's just an information-dump, and anyone can do that (including me). I could easily write up long posts about atheism and the sceptical world-view, but this wouldn't be an engagement with you - it would just be lots of information about atheism and scepticism. If I am to engage with your point of view I have to refer to the issues you raise in your posts - it's as simple as that. I'm only asking that you give that a try instead of deflecting all the time. I'm not asking you to agree with me, or to give up Vedanta, or anything like that. Just try and 'dip your foot in the water' and let's see how we go. Your reticence to engage is very counter-productive because unfortunately it makes you look insincere, but I actually think you're quite a sincere person. You really have nothing to lose by engaging with the issues raised in the discussion. I might be a vigorous interlocutor, but that has everything to do with the arguments and nothing to do with you as a person.