So this Peter Boghossian guy seems to be the atheist du jour since I went on hiatus. I’m not surprised that John W. Loftus sings his praises. Loftus has a penchant for finding bad atheist arguments and running with them, and his latest crusade to end philosophy of religion seems no different. In fact, it’s based mostly on Boghossian’s rhetoric. Why should we end philosophy of religion? Because faith is a failed epistemology! That, in a nutshell, is Loftus’ answer. If it seems laughable, don’t blame me. As usual, Loftus gives no good arguments, no evidence, no good reason, just… rhetoric.
Tonight I had the opportunity to preview Vic Stenger’s contribution [PDF 220KB] to the upcoming Prometheus title, The End of Christianity, edited by John W. Loftus. After reading, I felt compelled to respond, so I figured I’d go ahead and kick off my review now. Amazon lists July 26 of this year as the expected release date.
Though Stenger’s contribution is titled, Life After Death: Examining the Evidence, over half the article clashed with Dinesh D’Souza’s philosophical arguments for God’s existence. For those expecting in an in-depth discussion of NDE’s as I was, you will probably be disappointed. Since I’m working on a series of posts addressing NDE’s, rather than reply to anything Stenger said about them, tonight I’d like to focus on a single claim:
I want to preface this installment of the series by focusing on a comrade of Loftus’ named articulett–one of the people who literally trolled every thread I commented on–and now claims the following:
That wasn’t the first “creepy” thing that he wrote, clamat. He has made some “threatening” odd non sequiturs in a few posts and I haven’t read all his posts so there may be more.I started to skip over his posts when he started getting to scarily “irrational” from my perspective. I’m afraid of the irrational. If he believes in devils and demons and that atheists are such or in league with such, then he’s not someone I feel safe conversing with. And a couple time he referenced right wing sorts of rhetoric and it made me wonder if he might be a gun enthusiast. I don’t trust irrational people with guns– even if they are just on the internet. I may be over reacting, but I think the majority of theists posting here regularly are much “saner” sounding. [articulett]
I originally laughed at the irony of using the handle “articulett” while making basic spelling and grammar errors, but, this seems nothing less than blatant character assassination. It could be possible that articulett genuinely believes this heap of garbage, but I remain skeptical because—as usual—this “skeptic’s” claim is not accompanied by any positive evidence whatsoever, despite the fact that John’s out there telling everyone on his blog they should ask for positive evidence for that which they accept as true! Can the inanity really know no boundaries at DC?
I realize some of you are probably as bored of this as I am, but, I need to take a few moments to add to the record here. Over at Victor Reppert’s, John implied that he banned me because I violated his comment policy [comment February 16, 2011 5:50 AM]. I’d like to take a few moments to point out the problems with this claim, and cite them as further evidence in support of my claim that you should be skeptical of John W. Loftus.
Of course, we’ve already touched on the first problem, which is the inconsistency between John claiming that we should all ask for positive evidence for that which we accept as true on the one hand, then turning around and littering the internet with unsupported claims on the other. As you might expect, he continues this trend when he accuses me of violating his comment policy while failing to include even a single link that would substantiate his claim.
In his post, Listing of Cognitive Biases, Loftus states, unequivocally, the following:
We should all ask for positive evidence for that which we accept as true.
Okay, if there’s one thing I admire in (a)theist discussion, it’s a firmly cemented goalpost, and I think the above certainly qualifies. How about you? If you agree with me, perhaps it won’t be much of a stretch to gain some empathy for my consternation at the transactions that follow.
I’ve been commenting at Debunking Christianity since the beginning of this year. As I did with Common Sense Atheism, here is the index of my substantial conversations there [substantial meaning more than just a passing comment or two]. As was the case with the CSA index, this list is not exhaustive, and I’ll be updating as the discussions proceed. I provide these lists for a few reasons: 1) They help me keep track of my arguments and meta-debate; 2) They provide an easy reference for anyone who wants to investigate my arguments; 3) They indicate good faith and confidence in my own arguments. I want to be held accountable, and a list such as this is an invaluable aid to anyone interested. So, I encourage people to make the most of it. Let me know where I do well. Let me know where I do bad. Let me know whether you think comments like this and this respect the art of critical thinking. Get involved, that we might all learn!
1. What Positive Evidence is There for God’s Existence? 1-13-2011
2. Quote of the Day, by Desertbarry 1-15-2011
3. The Mind/Brain Problem 1-15-2011
4. The Debunking Christianity Challenge, Part 2 1-17-2011
5. CFI Extraordinary Claims Panel: Christ 1-22-2011
6. A Listing of Cognitive Biases 1-25-2011
7. Why Religion is Persuasive by Adam Lewis 1-25-2011
10. Deceptive Apologetic Strategies 2-09-2011
11. Quote of the Day 2-12-2011
A few months ago, John Loftus claimed that science debunks Christianity.
I’m not a fan of these types of claims, which are essentially sweeping generalizations that contain what I’ve referred to in the past as “the precision of 2×4.” Of course, any (a)theist who’s spent even in a minute in the trenches knows that both science and Christianity are often emotionally charged keywords that carry more baggage than a bellman at Luxor Grand. The author’s choice of words literally begs the reader to plunge headlong into a frenzy of racing and polarized analysis, fueled on reaction determined by the color of one’s glasses. Talk about fodder for the culture wars!