MaxVel had an interesting exchange with John Loftus over the issue of skepticism. John continues to describe himself as a skeptic who doubts. So MaxVel challenged him by asking:
“Do you doubt your doubt? Are you also skeptical of your skepticism?’
John responded with the complete lack of nuance that is his trademark. The guy is about as subtle as a herd of drunk Mongols on horseback. He said:
“This is sheer idiocy, lunacy in fact. Can even YOU make sense of it?”
Huh? Can John really not figure out how one might begin to doubt their doubts (which is another way of saying doubting the beliefs that drive the doubts)? He could start by asking some of these questions:
Perhaps I should doubt my doubts once in a while. Why do I doubt anyways? What do I choose to doubt? Do I doubt everything? Do I doubt it all the time? Do I doubt it absolutely or conditionally? If I doubt it because it lacks evidence, what type of evidence is required to overcome that doubt? Why not another kind of evidence? How much of the evidence is required?
And so on.
You see John, it is not hard to doubt your doubts. Indeed, you would do well to pay attention to some of the questions I’ve persistently asked you, and which you’ve consistently ignored, regarding the epistemological principles you believe that fuel your “doubts”.
Later in the conversation with MaxVel, John revealed just how determined he is to show that he is a chronic doubter:
“I have no such belief that Christianity is false. That isn’t a belief any more than you have a belief that the moon is not made of green cheese.”
Talk about lunacy. John doesn’t have a belief that the moon isn’t made of green cheese? (Get it? Lunacy? Moon?)
Contrary to John, I do have a belief that the moon is not made of green cheese and I am quite sure MaxVel does as well.
But it is not the moon bit that gets my attention, strange as that may be. Instead, it is the Christianity bit. John claims to have no belief that Christianity is false. At this point I can’t help but wonder whether John is a split brain patient. Perhaps his corpus callosum was severed at some time in the past and his left brain hemisphere is now unaware that his right brain hemisphere is running a blog called “Debunking Christianity.” John, time to get those two hemispheres on speaking terms.
“Now let me ask you what it means to doubt that your doubt about the moon not being made of green cheese is anything you can do. Go ahead doubt that doubt.”
John seems to be sinking further into confusion here. Note to John: only paint your model planes in a well ventilated area. That Testor’s paint can wreak havoc with your brain cells. Let me explain to John: VelMax and I doubt that the moon is made of green cheese because we have good reason to doubt it. In fact we believe the moon is not made of green cheese (you see, beliefs and doubts go together like two sides of a coin). And we have no reason to doubt that belief (or, conversely, to believe a doubt about the moon not being made of green cheese).
Is this getting confusing yet? Blame that on John’s tortured sentences.
“Doubt is a filter we use to weed out false ideas from true ones. We cannot doubt that filter or we could literally fall for anything. It’s the only thing we have to know the truth. It’s the adult attitude.”
John here is appealing to a metaphor in which “doubt” is a “filter” keeping the algae of false belief out of the pool of our minds (or something like that). The problem that John doesn’t seem to grasp is that doubt is, as I pointed out, always driven by a set of beliefs.
John is so fundamentally confused about his beliefs that he is not even aware that he has blogged for years defending his belief that Christianity is a delusion. That’s what happens when you’re so concerned to show what you doubt that you forget what you believe.