Here is John’s latest response, titled “Even a child can do it,” in full:
“Let’s say a recognized expert on cats claims one of them talked. People do not have to be experts in cats to say they need to see the evidence. Nor do any of us need a theory of knowledge to doubt it. But if you believed the cat talked you would. You’d have to come up with a whole lot of intellectual gymnastics in order to make such a claim seem respectable to others. Lesson: It does not require understanding a whole lot of epistemology or sophisticated theology to doubt the existence of God either. In fact, even a child can do it.”
John Loftus believes that a child should be able to figure out why to doubt the report of a cat talking. I agree, a child should be able to figure that out. The claim “cats can talk” has a number of prima facie defeaters so we will be duly skeptical of such a claim.
In “What John Loftus needs to do to be taken seriously” I pointed out that John Loftus makes claims which, like the claim of a talking cat, fact debilitating defeaters. For example, I noted that John makes this silly claim:
“All you need to do, Randal, is say that what you have concluded is more probable than other alternatives and that you do not claim a higher probability to the evidence than what the evidence calls for.”
I then provided a critique of that foolish statement by pointing out that it depends on the following indefensible internalist constraint:
John’s definition (Jd): in order to be justified in believing p one must (a) have completed a probability calculation demonstrating the likelihood of p’s being true relative to the total available data set; (b) apportioned one’s commitment to the truth of p relative to the probability calculation.
I went on to point out the devastating consequences of Jd and I asked John to provide a rebuttal in defense of his epistemology.
John has steadfastly refused. He is, in short, like a person who keeps on insisting that cats can talk despite all the defeaters to the contrary.
Cats can’t talk John. A child can figure that out. Why can’t you?