Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Atheists comment on Loftus's Debate with D'Souza

The atheists who posted here, some of them pretty militant, think Loftus' treatment of dialogue with opponents left a great deal to be desired.

38 comments:

steve said...

Well, Vic, the atheist critics of Loftus were obviously brainwashed! :-)

Anonymous said...

I dunno, Vic. Look at the respondents. Apparently they thought his tone was bad largely because it reduced his effectiveness. They had an equally big problem with him just being a lousy debater/reasoner.

Alex Dalton said...

I actually feel bad for Loftus after reading this. But I guess pride goes before the fall, eh?

Jake Elwood XVI said...

Unfortunately for John it looks like he is unable to take an outsider test for confidence in his own arguments.

I am beginning to think in a perverse way John is a sleeper like Dr Yueh from Dune. He really is doing his best to hurt the Atheists from the inside. I can't say i feel comfortable about this. It always seems cheap even if it advantages ones own side. He is effective none the less.

Anonymous said...

My child, you mustn't believe in God no matter what John Loftus tells you.

John W. Loftus said...

Thanks for linking to this Vic, although I'm at a loss to see what this proves.

I repent in dust and ashes because I'm a group thinker who goes with what a group thinks, especially one that criticizes me in worse ways than I did to merely call believers brainwashed. Compared to what they said about me I was a pussy cat in that debate.

Strange that.

...just goes to show that no one has a corner on truth or rationality, not even skeptics. In fact some skeptics I know are stupid.

So?

Blue Devil Knight said...

No doubt a trouncing by D'Souza. Ouch.

Painful example.

One of them reminds me of Don Laprehere.

Blue Devil Knight said...

Note I am sure I would also get trounced by D'Souza. I would have to devote myself full time to debate preparation for a month to even have a chance to come off halfway decently.

The debates are fun spectacles, intellectual circus shows. We need more of them, things have become too scripted in our culture. But they don't really settle things. Like Horoscopes, they perhaps should come with a 'For entertainment purposes only' disclaimer.

Great word verification with this comment: 'retiness.' That would be a great name for a chess blog!

Tom Talbott said...

John Loftus wrote: “I'm at a loss to see what this [i.e. the fact that the skeptics and atheists at some website were disappointed in Loftus’s performance in a given debate] proves.”

So am I. I cannot, for the life of me, understand why anyone would attribute any significance at all to the perceived winner of a given debate. Remember the famous vice presidential debate between Lloyd Bentsen and Dan Quayle? In response to Quayle’s remark that President Kennedy agreed with him in the matter of lowering taxes, Bentsen retorted: “Senator, I served with Jack Kennedy. I knew Jack Kennedy. Jack Kennedy was a friend of mine. Senator, you’re no Jack Kennedy.” On the basis of this single [i]ad hominem[/i] irrelevancy, which elicited cheers and clapping from the audience, thousands of pundits pronounced Bentsen the winner of the debate.

How often, I would ask, do debaters proceed slowly, examine an important issue with care, or acknowledge a good point made on the other side? Almost never, because that would undermine the whole point of a debate, which is essentially a public spectacle, not a rational discussion.

-Tom

steve said...

Tom Talbott said...

"So am I. I cannot, for the life of me, understand why anyone would attribute any significance at all to the perceived winner of a given debate."

It's clearly significant to the debaters. Do debaters going into a debate unconcerned about winning or losing the argument? No. If they didn't care, they wouldn't bother debating in the first place.

If Loftus had been the perceived winner, don't you think he'd be touting his victory?

Tom Talbott said...

Sorry for the double post, folks. I thought I was editing my original post and getting the HTML tags right in it. Could anyone tell me how to delete my original post? Damn this technology anyway!

-Tom

John W. Loftus said...

Thanks Tom. You are right. So is Steve.

John W. Loftus said...

Debates are like boxing matches. It doesn't always settle who is right, if it was over a dispute of some kind, especially when a low blow or a lucky punch can be landed for the win. But the contestants do want to win.

They're both entertaining.

After my debate I wrote what I learned from it right here.

Victor Reppert said...

I posted this because I thought that your atheist colleagues thought that you were using terms like "brainwashing" in place of engagement with D'Souza's ideas. In an open debate forum, these tactics are NOT persuasive, and they don't advance our understanding of the problems involved.

When you ridicule the other side instead of engaging the other side, you can usually get support from people who agree with you to begin with, but anyone who might have been on the fence is going to be turned off and pushed the other way.

People are only partially rational, but when they attend to arguments, whether on a blog, or at a debate, or in peer-reviewed dialogue, they expect that the real arguments will be engaged.

It also helps when you read you own press clippings with a grain of salt.

Anonymous said...

Loftus is an embarrassment to the rest of us atheists.

John W. Loftus said...

I'm sorry but I choked on your claim these were atheist colleagues. How do you know? This is typical of many believes who will accept whatever it takes to believe.

Colleagues? Please define that word for me, since you are my superior. Are we using the word in the usual sense here?

Since you insist these were a group of young atheists who, the night before, railed against every well known atheist they talked about, especially Hitchens and Barker. No, I'll not repeat what they said. but none of us are good enough. They had all of the answers.

They did not treat them as human beings. They were a group. They conformed to the principles of group thinking.

Maybe they were right about the debate. Maybe they were wrong.

But quoting from them is unbecoming of what a philosopher should do when reviewing a case, wouldn't you think?

David Wood thought I won that debate and he thought Bill Craig would say the same thing.

I don't know and at this point I don;t care.

But you are brainwashed and I will never cease telling you the truth and backing it up when called here by your ignorant defenses of what cannot be defended. It's not unlike calling these students my colleagues. Get real if you want a serious dialogue with me.

Anonymous said...

So, now John thinks it's an open question about his debate performance. Maybe he did a swell job!

And this is the guy who talks about others being deluded? It's like Tom Cruise accusing others of credulity.

Anonymous said...

Wait, wait, I got it.

It seems to cretins and the brainwashed that John did lousy in his debate. In fact, it only seems that he had a terrible command of the arguments, was out of his depth against D'Souza (a good speaker, but not exactly an apologetics heavy hitter), tried to rely primarily on namecalling, and that he did pretty damn lousy.

But there's a reason for this: You haven't taken the outsider test! If you would ditch all of your beliefs before evaluating his debate performance and approach the whole question in the right way, what you'd actually see is that there is no reason whatsoever to think John got his ass handed to him!

Why are you all afraid of the outsider test?

Victor Reppert said...

John: Just saying people are brainwashed without is what is called a proof surrogate. I mean, anybody can say it at any time to anyone. John, you're brainwashed. There we go. Or I can say that you are suppressing the truth of the Gospel because of your love of sin and unwillingness to repent, and because you are angry because your fellow Christians failed to provide you with a loving and supporting community when you were going through a personal crisis. Plus, you are probably getting more adulation from people than you would have gotten as a Christian philosopher, particularly from your supporters at Debunking Christianity. If you started to doubt your unbelief, you would have to give all of that up, and since you are having some doubts that you might really have rejected the truth when you deconverted, you oversell your arguments and engage in rhetorical excesses to mask your own intellectual insecurity.

Gosh, that was easy! But it's not productive. It may play well amongst the regulars over at Debunking Christianity, but it is worse than useless in discussions with people who disagree with you, and it is one reason why people like Blue Devil Knight, whose atheist credentials are impeccable, are turned off by your antics. Oh, that's right, I brainwashed BDK, and was brainwashed into my own opinion of your work by Steve Hays and J. P. Holding. If you buy that, then you are more gullible than I ever thought possible. Where's my George Strait?

I got some oceanfront property in Arizona
From my front porch you can see the sea
I got some oceanfront property in Arizona
If you'll buy that I'll throw the Golden Gate in free

John W. Loftus said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
John W. Loftus said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

John, I argue that defending atheism makes smart people look stupid. That's you. I show this is true.

Then I remind you what you've become.

You don't like it, I understand, but this is the case. Consider me a voice who will never cease telling the emperor he has no clothes on.

You want a productive exchange. I understand that. I do too. And I do so when you show the smart side of yourself rather than the dumb side that defends the utterly indefensible claims of atheism. I am utterly amazed at your lack of reasoning here, there and everywhere when it comes to defending crap.

We are poles apart. I have only become more and more sure that your atheism is delusional.

Blue Devil Knight said...

John Loftus has abandoned reason. Even when his words have the shape of reason, it turns out they are merely tools serving a social agenda. Scratch the surface of that veneer, and you find the truth.

You can take the man out of the raving lunatic fundamentalist church, but it is really hard to take the raving lunatic fundamentalist out of the man.

I feel sorry for him now, I'm not even annoyed any more. He is so out of his league intellectually at this blog, it has become just hard to watch. It's exactly how I felt when I watched his debate with D'Souza.

It reminds me of Ilion (ultra-conservative Christian) in his last days posting here, when he would just resort to telling everyone that disagreed with him that they were being intellectually dishonest.

Blue Devil Knight said...

I think Anonymous has the right idea: just parroting his own words back to him is sufficient as a reductio ad absurdum.

Anonymous said...

>Still am I a fundamentalist? Get the point, idiots. Just because you have a majority of idiots here Vic all saying the same thing does not make you non-delusional. You are. And even if I'm the only one to say so I will say so.

I reply: Well that proves it! God doesn't exist because we are all idiots!

BTW do a word replacement with Microsoft word. Replace "idiots" with "unsaved" & see if John sounds like a Fundie. It's fun to read! Not to mention a little eerie.

(BTW it seems BDK is to Loftus what a reasonable Christian is to a fundie)

Blue Devil Knight said...

John, as to reading your book Why I Became an Atheist, naw. Why should I? Why should I bother? YOU SIMPLY DO NOT UNDERSTAND YET DO YOU? EVEN IF YOUR ARGUMENT SUCCEEDS IT MEANS NOTHING TO ME!

Victor Reppert said...

Open dialogue that follows proper rules of engagement is the only way ideas can be accurately evaluated. Science would not progress if there were not a prior commitment to proper scientific discourse, and it is the same in other fields of endeavor. When you openly break those rules, your credibility is wiped out. Those are the simple realities. Your effectiveness and contribution to the discussion will continue to be marginalized if you don't learn to follow some rules in engaging opponents. The atheists on the site I was mentioning were pointing that out to you. That's what I have been trying to get at.

Tom Talbott said...

I simply cannot resist this one. John Loftus wrote: "Get the point, idiots. Just because you have a majority of idiots here Vic all saying the same thing does not make you non-delusional. You are. And even if I'm the only one to say so I will say so."

We can all be grateful, I presume, that Loftus here states publicly that Victor is non-delusional. But since no one else here would likely say otherwise, why continue pointing this out in the future?

Now here is my serious question. What is it about these electronic forums that so easily transforms an intelligent person into such a careless writer?

-Tom

Anonymous said...

Poor John. Vic exposes what a sham he is repeatedly, so John feels chained to this place. Because John is bothered by Vic's arguments. He knows it probably spells the destruction of his entire atheist worldview. That's why.

And frankly, John, you show up absolutely anywhere your name is mentioned. Even the most middle of nowhere, "click here to see pictures of my cats!" personal blogs. You are the Candlejack of atheist bloggers, except Candlejack probably was a better debater and thinker.

Jake Elwood XVI said...

You are the Candlejack of atheist bloggers, except Candlejack probably was a better debater and thinker.
I am loving these odd pop references. This is much better then my Dr Yueh ca

Victor Reppert said...

Not the atheist worldview, perhaps, although I do argue against it. Just trying to show that the Outsider Test has been hyped beyond its value as an atheological argument, and trying to show when we abandon certain basic standards of argumentative conduct, bad things happen and credibility is compromised.

I don't hate John. I think he's better than what he's lowered himself to. That's the sad part. He's read his too many of his own press clippings. "If John Loftus never wrote anything else he will be remembered a century from now for his Outsider Test for Faith, which figures prominently in this book."-Frank Zindler.

Things like that are nice to hear, but they're dangerous if you take them too seriously.

Tim said...

Jake,

Very nice. ;)

Joel said...

I'm no Loftus fan, but that's a pretty low blow.

Victor Reppert said...

I deleted a post here, which I consider to be unacceptable.

Jake Elwood XVI said...

I also don't think there is anything wrong with being just a cleaner.
There are more prestigious jobs, but as my minister mentions we all have different gifts of service some to teach some to clean.

Victor Reppert said...

I didn't get a full-time, tenure-track, academic job either, even though I do have a doctorate, and I have worked jobs outside of philosophy to earn a living.

I do object to hypocritical uses of the "credentials card", however.

Anonymous said...

There's no need to stoop that low, Anon, and moreover there's nothing constructive to be gained from it. Trying to further antagonize him by posting his life details online along with vulgar invective will only embitter him and turn what could have been a lesson in sensitivity and appropriateness into a situation in which he feels unjustly reviled.

His textbook sophistry speaks for itself, and should simply be pointed out. We can be harsh without being vitriolic.

Blue Devil Knight said...

Guess I missed something. We shouldn't be that personal. I go after the arguments, weaknesses therein, but never after someone's profession, personal details, especially family.