Thursday, December 31, 2009

More Bullshit from Sye TenB

LINK (HERE) for the historical argument

Through a twist of presupposed fate, I ran into Sye again (HERE/ Against my better judgment, and in the face of my own sanity, I chose to thrash him another time.

I'm not going to re-hash what I've said in the past, one can (if one would like) use the link above, or go to the site I linked ( and see how I summarized it there. either way I only want to lay out here what can only be described as (WHAT THE FUCK?).

I will state very briefly a few precursory things:
One should know (via the link) Sye has an argument for God that follows TAG - the Transcendental Argument for God (link to site in the link above). He has a premise, and a conclusion. His first premise which everything rests upon is that absolute truth exists. He attempts to demonstrate this by asking the bull shit question, "Does absolute truth exist". Of course you know where the question leads if answered out right. Bottom line the question presupposes absolute, and takes advantage of the fact that many other people do to.

In response to that, I refuted the legitimacy of the question and showed it to be invalid. Rather then object to the argument as it was, point out inconsistencies, fallacies etc., he proceeded to.... Ask questions, which were as follows:

A.) "where is anything that you say true, and how do you know this?"
B.) "Is what you say only true in your personal system now, or is it true everywhere at all times?"

(SPECIAL NOTE: it would behove one to play the song below as you read along with the text. I've found that it increases the experience by at least 10fold... Just a suggestion.)

A few twists and turns aside, Sye tries to accuse me of dodging his questions, apparently assuming there was some burden on me to do so in the face of the argument I already layed out quite nicely for him. So, I responded accordingly:


lets get a couple things out of the way first.

i.)I notice you dropped “B” in your response, granting what I’ve said about it.
ii.)You accuse me of “Dodging the question”, when as has been shown I have an argument that refutes yours, and rather then address it, you’re trying to address me – but we’ll get back that.

So, let’s recap, being more efficient and effective this time. You had two questions, in full.
A.) “Where is anything that you say true, and how do you know this?”
B.) “Is what you say only true in your personal system now, or is it true everywhere at all times?”

“B” was rejected as I said, because it presupposed the absolute (which I already refuted), and you dropped it accordingly within your latest response. So we have that cleared up.
(NOTE: it should be noted that the question here is a false dichotomy which says, "its' either absolute, or only true in your system now.". Of course my argument refutes the absolute and never makes any claims to being "only true in my personal system. The reality is that "B" is neither.)

Question “A” actually comes in two parts, as follows:
1.) “Where is anything that you say true…?”
2.) “…how do you know this?”

I rejected the first part of your question as it’s restated in question “B”; i.e. “is what you say true in your personal system now”,AND, “or is it true everywhere at all time”. This is the where that presupposes the absolute, which, I’ve already refuted.
(NOTE: One could say it's true via logic, or true in the aruement, or shown in the argument, but all attempts to point this out in the past have fallen upon deaf ears)

What we have then is question “2”:
“…How do you know this?”

Let me first unpack this. For those who don’t know it (and for you too, Sye, as you seem rather philosophically challanged) this is an epistemological question. i.e. The study of knowledge and how we know things, simply put, epistemology is a theory of knowledge. In the context of what you’re asking me (all questions in whole) you’re essentially saying that I owe you a justification that accounts for the epistemological certainty of my argument, and I presume that for whatever reason you feel that an argument is contingent upon this certainty (but I’ll get to that). i.e. what you’re doing (and this is why you are often called dishonest) is changing the conversation from one that’s about the validity of a logical refutation (a premise and conclusion), against your logical argument (which was shown to be fallacious based on the premise and conclusion), to a conversation about whether or not one is certain about it, as if that’s relevant to the argument.

So here’s the deal, Sye, my argument has nothing whatsoever to do with epistemological certainty (that’s not the conversation we’re having), as a matter of fact, it’s completely irrelevant. i.e. my argument does not stand or fall based upon whether or not I have a basis for knowing it and being certain about it (having epistemological certainty), as a matter of fact it doesn’t even matter whether or not I’m committed to it. I may offer up the argument simply because it’s a good refutation, and may in fact think its complete BS. On the other hand, I could have typed some nonsense into my computer, and in response it generated (completely at random) the argument that you see in the above thread; and of course, the computer that generated it can neither account for, be certain of, or say how it knows what it just displayed – after all it’s just a computer (of course, we could argue AI, but that’s another conversation entirely). That being the case, and the lack of a response from the computer regarding certainty, it doesn’t cause the argument it gave to suddenly be irrelevant, arbitrary and/or fallacious (we could of course argue that it “arbitrarily gave a response”, but this doesn’t mean that the response it gave has fallacies within it as a result). i.e. an argument stands and falls on it’s own merit, not relative to the certitude of the giver regarding it. Which is to say simply that the logic involved can be easily evaluated without a “certain” bases at it’s foundation – yet in another way, we can evaluate the premise all the way down to the conclusion and find fault in it (or not) with or without the certainty of the provider. In that way, your question is completely baseless, irrelevant, dishonest, conversation changing, and tactic for dodging the argument before you.

The point is this, Sye (AGAIN), that there IS an argument before you that refutes your claim to the absolute, and demonstrates the fallacy contained within. Without even addressing my argument and your blatant fallacy, you change the conversation from one of logic, to one of epistemology, thereby dodging (YOUSELF) answering for the inconsistencies and BS in your own argument. Even though you accuse me of it, go figure.

Bottom line, epistemological certainty is irrelevant. You have boldly stated that my argument (BY ITSELF) is a fallacy, but of course you have yet to point out where that is the case, even though I’ve already pointed out yours. I owe no burden to you to demonstrate certainty in the face of what I’ve said. That’s a claim that you make (implicit within your question and changing the conversation), even though you have offered no basis for this.

So then, Sye, quit YOUR dodging (I’ve addressed your argument). If you want to have a philosophical debate on the nature of epistemological certainty, we can certainly do that, but before we get there, there is the business of your fallacious claims to the absolute, and your bootless contention about God.


I thought that was clear enough, but Sye responds:
See that's the thing Andrew, you think that you have a point, but all you do is avoid my questions... in a vain attempt to conceal that fact"


WOW! I'm completely beside myself... Perhaps I can help him out a bit though:


Let me try and spell this out for you, Sye. As it’s almost as though you didn’t even read my second to the last post – so I’ll make this short.

You have put forth an argument to prove the existence of “X”, it looks like this:
1.) Premise
3.) Conclusion: “X” exists

In turn, I put forth an argument that looks like this:
1.) Premise
2.) …..
3.) Conclusion: Sye’s Premises is false

You have an argument, I have refuted it as it is. If you feel that the refutation fails [as it is], or that it contains a fallacy, then by all means, point that out in the argument before you. If you’re not willing to address the argument (as I have yours), then forfeit, say no, and we can be done with the conversation.


I wonder what he said in response to this?


"Andrew, just answer the questions."


Dancin' douche' bags Batman!

At this point I repeated myself, and he just kept saying, "Just answer the questions". Which I should add, I'm more then happy too. Actually, I'd quite love to have the conversation, and have nice answers to both questions, but at this point in the conversation, it isn't relevant...


So I leave with an analogy - good or bad, it is what it is.

Consider, that we are engaged in a game, which we’ll call the game of logic. This game is not unlike (let’s offer) the game of chess, in that both are governed by rules. In order to play the game, there is typically agreement amongst the players before hand as to the nature of the rules, and in both cases, we actually do have rule books at our disposal. For example, in the game of logic the rule book dictates that one cannot “beg the question”, and in the game of chess, one cannot move a Pawn like a knight (i.e. better stated, a pawn can only move forward one space or left and right one space, per turn).

Now, in the game of logic we make moves just as we do in the game of chess. In the case of chess, those moves come in the form of moving a given piece to a given place on the board. The goal of course, is to put the other player in check. In the game of logic, on the other hand, the goal is to prove, or perhaps disprove a certain thing “X”. One does this by laying out a premise (which is much like moving a chess piece/s on a board). The game of logic, however, doesn’t have a board, so one can say whatever it is one likes in an effort to prove a given thing “X”, however one has to do so according to the rules. For example: Suppose that within one’s premise one “begs the question”. This doesn’t in and of itself mean that what it is you’re trying to prove [X], is false, it simple means that one’s argument is invalid (not made according to the rules of logic) and therefore, the players of the game do not accept the argument and therefore reject the conclusion. Again, it DOES NOT “NECESSARILY” mean that the conclusion is false, it merely means that it has not been shown through the argument.

So here’s the analog:
Suppose (in the case of Sye and I), that we have our chess pieces spread throughout the board, some of mine are gone and some of his are gone (of course, consider that this doesn’t have to be the case, it could in fact be his very first move of the game, but it matters not either way). Let’s further suppose that I’m one play away from placing him in check, no matter what play he makes, and it’s his move. Consider that he takes a Bishop, and moves it as one does a night, placing it in such a strategic location that would put me in check mate. Now, relative to how the pieces currently sit on the board, I’ve lost as can clearly be seen.

However, most certainly I object to the move and quickly say, “You cannot move a Bishop as one does a night. Therefore the move is invalid and indeed you have not won the game.”. Notice again, that as with the game of logic I have not stated that he is “wrong”, “false”, etc., I’ve merely pointed out the his move (or in the case of logic with his premise) is invalid according to the rules. To demonstrate this, I pull out the rule book and show him in the appropriate section the error in the move (which in this case is analogous to the argument I gave in refutation of the absolute). At this point has has two choices; he can agree that in fact he did make a move that was not consistent with the rules, take it back and make valid move; or, on the other hand, hee can forfeit the game (as a perfect 8 year old) and walk away.

However, he does neither of those things, but rather asks the following questions.
“Where is anything you say true, and how do you know this?”
“Is what you say true only true in your personal system now, or is it true everywhere at all times.”

Now, in my argument I’m pointing out the invalid premise, and in the game of chess I’m pointing out the invalid placement of the Bishop. The analog to the first question in the case of the chess game may look something like this:
“Where is the rule you say true, and how do you know this?”

Of course, in this case the rule is true in chess. We know this because it’s stated in the rule book. Now, Sye can either accept or not accept that, take his move back or forfeit. As for my refutation of the first premise (the absolute) the same applies; he can either accept my argument as true and following the rules of logic, or not accept my argument as true and following the rules of logic. If he feel that it is incorrect, contains a fallacy, etc., then he can surely point to that. I owe no further burden to show anything, and can simply leave myself at this point and walk away.

Looking at the second question (and still following the chess analogy) he asked:
“Is the rule you state true only in your personal system now, or is it true everywhere at all time.”

Of course, this question is complete cobblers. We’ve agreed to play a game with rules, it is not my claim (and never was) that the rules were mine, nor is it relevant if rules of chess change tomorrow, or stay the same. In the case of my refutation of the absolute, the question is seen as dichotomous. i.e. in the first place the second part of the dichotomy I refuted outright, and first part of the question I do not claim. My claim is not that what I say is true in my personal system now, it is simply that the first premise does not demonstrate the validity of absolute. If he were bright enough he’d figure that one out, i.e. the answer to the question is neither.

All that being the case, however, my initial statements about him changing the conversation stand, I owe no response to the questions, and for whatever reason he can’t seem to grasp that…..

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Against the Absolute

I’m quite fond of arguing against the Platonist who holds notions of absolutes; whether those absolutes take the form of the essential character of God, or whether those absolutes take the form of logic, whose existence is natural and essential beyond and outside the normative character of the human.

What’s more, from the perspective of the atheist there’s a certain leap of faith that must be taken in order to even suggest that such a thing as absolute essence can exist. In this case the atheist will grant that, e.g. the Law of Non-Contradiction has some essential essence outside of the agreed upon contingent and/or temporal character of man. They may say that, even without mind, or for that matter without the sum total of existence itself the essence of these laws still hold. i.e. in the case of non-contradiction, nothing cannot both be nothing and not-nothing at the same time; thus this idea (thought experiment) becomes proof of some “transcendental” tautology. But then, of course, they’ve skewed the notion of tautology not simply to mean, “true for every possible interpretation”, but, “true for every possible circumstance”. This assumption being what it is, with a little Socratic questioning it always becomes apparent that no non-circular justification exists for this sort of thought, and thus the atheist is forced to admit a pre-supposition, or perhaps resort to a sort of “functional” argument”; which isn’t really proof of anything so much as it is a suggestion to grant something as true for the sake of some pragmatic functionality. That doesn’t really make a whole lot of sense to me.

My argument against absolutist thinking has always been to argue that truth is systematic, contingent, relative to a normative method of resolution. Further my insistence has been; there’s no reason to assume that outside human thought and cognition, that things necessarily are what we say they are. i.e. there’s no non-circular justification to suppose that Spruce trees are anything like Spruce trees outside of human cognition.

Now I’m not here to argue the things I’ve argued in the past as they can be found else where within my blog. What I’d rather like to do is highlight some interesting thoughts from Brandom’s “Making it Explicit”, that serve to bolster my previous thinking on the matter.

An interesting aspect which I’ve never bothered to argue is the whole idea that a person, or even a group of persons, can hold to certain beliefs that go completely against the laws of logic. They may be contradictory, question begging, etc.. Of course, this fly’s completely in the face of the idea that the Laws of Logic are in any way natural. If they were, then nature wouldn’t, indeed couldn’t, allow such an action to take place – one may be able to loosely see that this is analogous to suddenly, objects start falling to the sky. If we look at these, “coming to hold beliefs” from a naturalistic standpoint (and leave the rules and logic aside for a moment) we’ll see that:

(from “Making it Explicit” pg. 12)
“Such natural processes are no more true then false; they are simply processes, as an eddy in the water is a process. And if we are to speak of a right, it can only be the right of a thing to happen as they do happen. One phantasm contradicts another no more than one eddy on the water contradicts another. Contradiction, correct inference, correct judgment are all normative notions, not natural ones.”

So again, to place the Laws of Logic outside the human being as a sort of essence, is placing it in the realm of the natural. If this were true, however, it brings together two very distinct functions:
A.) The laws with which we actually draw inferences
B.) The laws of “correct” inference.
However, by bringing these two ideas together we could never, in fact, be wrong.

(from “Making it Explicit” pg. 12)
“What makes us so prone to embrace erroneous views is that we define the task of logic as the investigation of the laws of thought, whilst understanding by this expression something on the same footing as the laws of nature… So if we call them laws of thought, or, better, laws of judgment, we must not forget we are concerned here with laws which, like the principles of morals or the laws of the state, prescribe how we are to act, and do not, like the laws of nature, define the actual course of events.”

We haven’t yet sealed the deal here, but the idea is simple enough; that we should see the laws of logic, or correct inference, or leading to “right” conclusions in a normative sense. What is right, in terms of logic, is not the same as what is right with respect to causal compulsion. This distinction we should always bare in mind.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Robert Brandom "Making it Explicit"

Arriving in the mail today from was Robert Brandom's "Making it Explicit"... Upon observing the space the box took up in my mail box, I had assumed there was packaging material in the form of foam peanuts, bubble wrap (what have you) surrounding the book, acting as protection in shipment. Earlier this week (Monday) I had received two other books from Amazon, in this case Douglas Adams "Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency" and "The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul", both were in bubble wrap packaging.

But, well... There wasn't any bubble wrap, and there wasn't any peanuts - I had just ordered "War and Peace", except that it was curiously titled "Making it Explicit", by Robert Brandom, not Leo Tolstoy.

Preface, Page XXII:
"This is a long book. It's length is a consequence of the demands made by its governing methodological aspirations: to eschew representational primitives, to show how content is related to use, and to achieve self-referential expressive completeness."

Perhaps I'll have to put my previous enterprise of talking about the QMS on hold in order to plow through, and rummage over my thoughts on this thing.

Man over board!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Silly Fundies

I’m pretty sick and tired of the radical Christians who claim that atheism and evolution are world views. What does it even mean for something to BE a world-view, what does that entail? Sounds to me like a “theory of everything”; a system of thought that governs one’s conception of the beginning, the behavior in the middle and the prophesized end. i.e. one has conceived of the nature of everything from beginning to end, and structures their lives according to that conception. Where does Darwin say anything about how the world was created, or how it's going to end? I though he was just talking about change and random variation?

I've said about as much about this topic as I care to, but...

Not only that, these so called fundies seem to continually conflate atheism with Darwinism, they’re one in the same they seem to think; which is only to say that one cannot be a Christian and believe anything Darwin said to be in any way true. On the other hand it also assumes that if one is an atheist, it necessarily implies that one is a Darwinist, which couldn’t be further from the truth – talk about a false dichotomy.

The next assumption generally made is that Darwinian evolution assumes a belief in the big-bang, or in some cases even contains it as part of the theory. I’m not even sure where they get this crap, since when was Darwin a physicist? Not only that but…

Darwin, theory of evolution: Our buddy Charles died in 1882
Lemaitre, proposed the Big Bang: Was born in 1894

WOW, I didn't realize it, do you see the connection here!

Consider that the date you get when you change the 8 and 9 around in 1894 is 1984. This is the date that the movie Back to the Future was made (not released, but made). In that movie, Doc Brown conceived of the Flux Capacitor in 1955, which added together gives you 20, 1882 added together gives you 19, which is one less. Now consider that the time machine was made out of a DeLorean that was manufactured in 1982. Do you see it, 1882 adds up to 19, 1982. To add even more fuel to this from my previous comment, if you take the difference of one and subtract that from 19 in 1982, you get 1882 yet again. This means that Marty Mcfly, (Michael J. Fox) must have traveled back in time to tell Darwin about Lemaitre’s big bang theory. Consider that Lamaitre was born in 1894, which added together gives you 21, that’s one more than 20. This means that, even though in the movie version he was never shown going back to see Darwin, that he must have gone back “one more" time, and they just didn’t make a movie about it.


Sunday, December 20, 2009

"Baby Boomer"

Introduction to QMS

The idea that quality is something to be achieved, that it is a goal to strive for, is fully entrenched within the industries that manufacture things. As a matter of fact, in most cases it’s made explicit that you shall have a goal, and you shall measure and monitor quality in order to achieve that goal. In the manufacturing world, most companies won’t even consider doing business with you unless you have some formal Quality system in place; in this case that formal system may be one of the following:

AS9000, for aerospace manufacturers
ISO/TS 16949:2002, automotive
ISO 13485:2003, Medical
ISO9001, I’ll call this general manufacturing

All of these systems differ in very specific ways, but as a dogma, they all have 5 main elemental requirements in common. Those requirements I’ll spend some time digging into as I travel along this path I’ve chosen. For now, understand that every time you board a plane, hop into a motor vehicle, use a medical device, crack open a bag of chips, drink a can of pop, play a video game, type on the computer, throw a Frisbee to your dog, squat over a urinal, cook over a stove, etc. you’re are using a product that was manufactured within a Quality Management System (QMS). This QMS is an industry standard for manufacturing “things”.

My path within the next few months (I’m hoping) is to demonstrate how this QMS has divorced us as human beings from what it is we do. It is the very essence of a QMS that quality is an object to be attained. But let me take a step back here and ask a question; “What does Quality mean to the QMS?” In essence it means that we (as a given organization) have delivered a product that meets the customer’s expectations with respect to legal and regulatory requirements, operating specifications, dimensional characteristics, surface appeal, etc. Further, that it was delivered on time to their request, and at a price that fits their needs and expectations. That’s Quality to the QMS; and it should be noted that it’s a future state.

If you work in a manufacturing environment, or have ever had the opportunity to tour a facility that takes pride in their QMS, you’ll often find posters or banners on the wall that preach this mantra. I’ve even seen companies that place a mirror at the entrance to their manufacturing floor which states (with some variations) “Quality Starts Here.” How flippin’ witty is that? Hey, isn’t that me in that mirror? Let’s put mirrors outside of churches that say something like, “Jesus loves…” or, “The face of a sinner…” or, “God lives here…” Of course, the QMS doesn’t agree with your mirrored statement, and it doesn’t care about you. It only cares about achieving its goal – but more on that later.

The fundamental issue that I hope to make clear is that, as the result of the QMS being goal focused, it sees itself as trying to arrive at something, rather then simply traveling. As a further result of this focus, it can never arrive without (again) continually traveling down the path of divorcing the human. So there’s a clear distinction to be made here:

A.)The QMS “arrives” at Quality as the result of traveling down the path of human alienation. i.e. divorcing the human from the process.

B.)The human “arrives” at Quality as the result of forging and developing a relationship with the QMS, and in this way never truly arrives at anything, but always achieves.

In the post to follow, I’d like to start by talking about what the QMS is. My argument will simply be that the QMS is the institutionalization of Quality. By that (Quality) I don’t simply mean the institutionalization of “making ‘good’ widgets”, but the institutionalization of capitol “Q” Quality itself.

I’ll end (here) with an anecdote that perhaps I’ve shared here before, as I think it sets my trajectory along the right path:

We buy assemblies from a company located in India, and as of late, we’ve been experiencing a rash of quality issues with them; partly because much of what they’re doing is start up, or rather, it’s simply the first time they’ve made a given part and they don’t have the experience. The representative of the company comes to visit us every so often, and on one occasion I had been looking forward to a face to face as the result of a specific issue I had been trying to have formally addressed. Essentially I had been looking for “objective” evidence that a particular problem they were having was fixed. i.e. I wanted updated procedures and control plans. For reasons I didn’t quite fully understand at the time, he continually skirted the issue (seemingly not wanting to provide the information) and he stated, “Andy, we don’t look at Quality as you do, we look at it as peace of mind.”

I can’t tell you how happy I was to hear that. You’ll never hear a western organization speak in such ways. It’s not that they didn’t have a QMS (they actually do, and it’s the same as ours) it’s simply that their focus is not on the demands of the system, but on their relationship to it… Peace of mind.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Back to Blogging Soon!

Andy L. Bauch (Andrew Louis) Receives ASQ-Certified Quality Engineer
Milwaukee, WI, December 14, 2009 — The Certification Board of ASQ (American Society for Quality) is pleased to announce that Andy Bauch has completed the requirements to be named an ASQ-Certified Quality Engineer (ASQ CQE). As such, Andy Bauch has reached a significant level of professional recognition, indicating a proficiency in and a comprehension of quality engineering principles and practices. Individuals who earn this certification are allowed to use “ASQ CQE” on their business cards and professional correspondence.

“ASQ provides certification as a way to provide formal recognition to professionals who have demonstrated an understanding of, and a commitment to, quality techniques and practices in their job and career,” explains Peter Andres, ASQ president. “This is a great accomplishment and represents a high level of peer recognition.”

A Certified Quality Engineer (CQE) is a professional who understands the principles of product and service quality, evaluation, and control. In order to sit for the CQE examination, a candidate must have at least eight years of training and on-the-job experience in one or more areas of quality, with a minimum of three years in a decision-making position. CQEs develop and implement quality systems, plan, control and monitor product and process quality, use reliability and risk management tools, and apply a wide spectrum of quantitative analyses to resolve quality issues.

Since 1968, when the first ASQ certification examination was given, more than 163,000 individuals have taken the path to reaching their goal of becoming ASQ-Certified in their field or profession, including many of who have attained more than one designation. To learn more about ASQ’s Certified Quality Engineer program, visit

ASQ,, has been the world’s leading authority on quality for more than 60 years. With more than 85,000 individual and organizational members, the professional association advances learning, quality improvement and knowledge exchange to improve business results and to create better workplaces and communities worldwide. As champion of the quality movement, ASQ offers technologies, concepts, tools and training to quality professionals, quality practitioners and everyday consumers. ASQ has been the sole administrator of the prestigious Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award since 1991. Headquartered in Milwaukee, Wis., ASQ is a founding sponsor of the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI).