Another Example of Jeff Lowder's College Level Approach to the Philosophy of Religion

Jeff Lowder smuggled his way into being known and respected as a philosopher without any relevant credentials. I aim to "out" him about this. Don't shoot me I'm just the messenger. If you're looking for a more accurate analysis of philosophical arguments then I bid you turn elsewhere. I am banned from commenting at the Secular Outpost because I have publicly exposed Jeff Lowder's dishonesty and hypocrisy, so in order to comment on a post of his I must do so here. Okay.

I first want readers to notice how he dishonestly presents the impression that he is a philosopher. In a recent post on morality he writes as follows:
The concept of “objective morality” is notorious for its ambiguity. You might even say that people–or, at least, philosophers–have a moral obligation not to use that expression unless and until they first give a very nuanced definition of what it means! Because the concept is often misunderstood, I’m going to try to offer a “layman’s guide to moral objectivity” in this post.

Let’s start with “morality.” The average person who is not a philosopher probably thinks there is just the one ‘thing,’ morality, and that’s the end of it. In fact, the topic is a little bit more complicated than that. Non-philosophers might be surprised to learn that philosophers make a distinction between the good (values) and the right (duties). LINK.
If you don't see this for what it is, or object to his use of language then you should. In a post sometime back, Lowder talked about having written "a paper", which real philosophers know is a technical term for something one reads at a philosophical conference (just think of a "call for papers"), or it refers to something that will be published in a peer reviewed journal. What he wrote was neither of these things, just the dishonest use of language.

But my example today comes from what he wrote yesterday, titled "Stupid Atheist Meme #2: “It is wrong always, everywhere, and for anyone, to believe anything upon insufficient evidence”:
I’d like to discuss the following meme, coined by philosopher W.K. Clifford in his famous essay, “The Ethics of Belief.”
It is wrong always, everywhere, and for anyone, to believe anything upon insufficient evidence.
While I am embarrassed to admit that, in my philosophical youth, I used to agree with this meme, I’m proud to say I got wiser.

The problem with this meme (and the reason I think it’s stupid) is that it is self-defeating. Assume, for the sake of argument, that it’s true. Now ask yourself, “What is the evidence that it’s true?” I’m not sure what would even count as evidence for Clifford’s meme. LINK.
Here I find Lowder's college level approach to the philosophy of religion at work again. Usually when such a large claim is made (i.e., that something is not just wrong but stupid), one ought to research and quote from a real philosopher who said the same thing. In this case which philosopher says Clifford's aphorism is stupid? While there are many interesting questions concerning Clifford’s essay, it seems to me, along with philosopher Michael Martin, that “there is surely a great deal of truth in what he says.” [Michael Martin, "Atheism: A Philosophical Justiļ¬cation" (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1990), p. 31. See also Graham Oppy’s discussion in "Arguing about Gods" (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006), pp. xviii, 416–22.] Neither of these atheist scholars treat Clifford as being stupid. Stupid? That means Lowder could teach Clifford a few things. Clifford's essay is an example of a superior philosophical paper, ergo, Lowder is greater than Clifford, and Martin and Oppy (by extension). Or, Lowder is just adopting the standard Christian rhetoric that substitutes for argumentation in order for them to like him.

Here is Dr. Keith Parsons agreeing with Michael Martin and Graham Oppy against Lowder, that Clifford's aphorism is not stupid (screenshot):

Another way to look at it might be along these lines. All Clifford had to do is insert the words "almost" in his aphorism, such as "It is wrong almost always, almost everywhere, and for almost anyone, to believe anything upon insufficient evidence." That seems awkward though when one wants to make a point that might not be taken seriously, or get the needed attention any other way.

Or, perhaps, since Clifford just presented a concrete example of the kinds of things he's talking about, using shipbuilding as that example, he could be charitably interpreted to say, "It is wrong always, everywhere, and for anyone, to believe anything about the nature of nature or its workings upon insufficient evidence." Presumably when it comes to nature and it's workings, we'll also be talking about how to make ships so they don't sink.

Here's what I wrote on this issue for my soon to be released book, "How to Defend the Christian Faith":
Consider the nature of nature and the workings of nature, studied in the disciplines like geology, chemistry, astronomy, neurology, biology, zoology and so forth. In these concrete examples rational people need sufficient objective evidence before coming to any conclusions. They are the kinds of examples mathematician W.K. Clifford (1845-1879) surely had in mind when discussing the ethics of a shipowner who had stifled his doubts about a ship’s seaworthiness by trusting in God’s providence, rather than in patiently investigating the evidence for himself. Clifford may have claimed too much though when he stated, “it is wrong always, everywhere, and for anyone, to believe anything upon insufficient evidence.” But Plantinga failed to properly and charitably understand him for he focused on Clifford’s statement rather than on his concrete example. We most certainly do need sufficient objective evidence for almost everything. So his ship of arguments sailed right past Clifford’s ship in the middle of the night without a good skirmish.
As to needing sufficient evidence goes, how do we know that the requirement for sufficient evidence doesn't already have sufficient evidence for that requirement? Jeff (who's side is he on anyway?) Lowder ignorantly states the standard Christian apologist's retort: “What is the evidence that [i.e., the requirement is] true?” I’m not sure what would even count as evidence for Clifford’s meme" he says.

What is going on here? Lowder, like Plantinga (at least he's in good company so long as you think Plantinga is good company to be intellectually aligned with), is mistakenly treating Clifford's aphorism as a deductive argument. It isn't. It's an inductive argument. How we know the requirement for sufficient evidence obtains is because the evidence repeatedly and continually has a way of leading us to truer and truer understandings of the nature of nature and its workings. Actually, I think it's as near to a complete demonstration as we can get to say we need sufficient evidence for everything we accept as true about the nature of nature and its workings, and that this requirement has passed the requisite sufficient evidence that it demands.

Now I'm not claiming that I've said all that needs to be said about this. Further discussion is always needed. But Clifford's aphorism is not stupid. Since Lowder claims it is, all I have to do is show that it isn't, and I think I have done that.

Stupid is as stupid does.

Lowder doesn't like me saying these things. Okay. Then he should own up to what he's doing. He can also undo my banning lest I bring more of his ignorances to a much wider attention in further blog posts, rather than in comments.