Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Ed Feser on a certain style of atheist polemics

He who has ears, let him hear.

50 comments:

Anonymous said...

Ed is picking some low hanging fruit. It's not that he's wrong, but he's a big grown up philosopher. Shouldn't that be where he's setting his sights?

Crude said...

He generally does. But anyone who complains about shooting fish in a barrel probably never shot fish in a barrel. It's fun now and then!

John W. Loftus said...

Here's my response. You are clearly deluded if you think Feser's analogy is apt, and one more reason for the ridicule. Besides, you fail to see what is happening in America with your belief in God. He's dying. Get used to it.

Cheers

Crude said...

Bwahahaha. Oh wow. I thought the non-sequitur in the comment was going to be the best part, but the actual post? One long, angry, name-calling rant? And best of all, one that completely misses the mark, and proves Ed's point?

It wasn't about mere ridicule, but man, explaining that to John isn't gonna work. Of course, that post is far more a cry for Feser to pay attention to John than anything else.

Jim McCosh said...

http://e-n.org.uk/p-4971-McAtheism.htm

Jim McCosh said...

An updated version can be found here:

http://saintsandsceptics.blogspot.com/

Jason Pratt said...

Before we start bashing John's hat again, allow me to say that I think his hat is pretty cool.

It's downhill after that. But I've been meaning to speak up in favor of his hat for a while, and this seemed a good opportunity. {g}

JRP

Anonymous said...

Sheesh, if there ever was a walking contradiction it is John Loftus.

Ridicule is the flavour of the month, after talking up Rauser's book.

And now he brings in the whole "God is dying" thing which A. Is nonsense and B. Simply appeals to popularity rather than trying to rationally prove his statement.

Anonymous said...

I mean Gosh, for someone whose site is named "Debunking Christianity", you'd think he'd actually do some debunking every now and then rather than just call people names and make inaccurate appeals to allegedly popular trends.

Anonymous said...

Just to make sure I was being fair, I browsed through the last month or so of posts...and sure enough, most of them are full of ad hominems, justification for ridiculing people etc etc.

And on the rare occasion that the site actually provides some kind of argument aiming to debunk Christianity, it's a link to something done by someone else! Parsons, Morriston, Carrier etc.

It seems the site should be renamed "Making fun of Christianity". That would at least be an honest title for it.

Anonymous said...

And Loftus wonders why people think he's a tool?

Well John, let me give you a hint....it's not psychology!

Anonymous said...

I should add though- one final comment. In his defense, it's difficult to draw attention to yourself these days, so perhaps one has to act like a complete wanker in order to gain a profile. Not the most respectable way to do it, but possible the easiest these days.

Anonymous said...

possibly*

BenYachov said...

That's the best you can do Loftus?

You have just confirmed Ed's thesis with your blather.

You are a deluded uneducated slanderous philosophically incompetent bigot and you have nothing to teach anybody.

Coward!

Jake Elwood XVI said...

As of yet Mt Loftus you have not posted a link to your reply on Prof. Feser's blog.

Please can you.

John W. Loftus said...

I see we have some tattle tellers here. Hey, the worshippers of Zeus probably didn't like it either.

Another delusion is in thinking I can't or don't back up my claims with arguments. Only the deluded will think this. There are professors who are using my book WIBA in their apologetics classes. From time to time I hear from students in those very classes that they have walked away from their faith because of it (or are having serious doubts) even though it's an apologetics class!

Anonymous said...

I think Jesus would certainly write the sort of anonymous comments I've been reading here.

No, in all seriousness, he'd probably say, "Dear Christians, stop being such d*&ks."

Crude said...

From time to time I hear about some people who say reading Loftus' writings strengthened their faith, since the desperation and irrationality just makes the case for atheism look all the weaker. I've even seen some atheists disheartened at both the lack of rigor and the general style. I've also heard that John has a habit of materializing supporters out of thin air - like on fake blogs.

But again: John's "response" to Feser is hilarious. It really was nothing more than arm-flailing, name-calling, and beautifully missing the point while simultaneously backing it up. Normally they're just typical atheist blog posts, but this one in particular was epic.

BenYachov said...

>Another delusion is in thinking I can't or don't back up my claims with arguments.

Yet Loftus has only ever posted on Feser's blog two or three times.

The first time was to hawk his own book but he declined to read Feser's book.

Feser has never said anything uncivil to him.

As Feser once said to him & I repeat.

Are you for real?

BTW I'm not surprised by the post anymore. It makes sense. Feser is way out of John league education wise and intellectually. Indeed the regulars who comment over there are way out of his league.

Mr. Sad Git or what?

Crude said...

Whatever, guys. Can we talk about someone else?

Everyone else in this thread except John demonstrably can.

Mr Veale said...

Here's a scenario that you might want to consider.

Atheist appears on Christian site, posing as Christian under a weak pseudonym. Makes unpleasant comments about JL (or whoever). This ruins entire thread; and eventually blog.
(1) Some Christians join in, making us look guilty by association.
(2) Atheists can point to evidence of "persecution" (or whatever)
(3) Discussion on blog becomes about one very minor (sorry JL) atheist personality, and not about the issues.

There's more to internet infidelity than Mr Loftus. (But truth be told, I like the hat too.) Can we talk about someone else?


These puerile attacks on JL have ruined several threads. Enough's enough.
Please Vic, step in.


Graham

Crude said...

Veale,

In qualified defense of the anon, it's not as if John doesn't have a role in this crap-stirring. Look at the post he linked to - it's actually pretty nutty. And he introduced it with the usual goading and insulting, etc. In other words, he's laying out bait.

What could Vic even do?

Mr Veale said...

Well, um, yeah Crude...I'm trying to be subtle here...but I'm sort of hinting at a pattern I've noticed on the threads... (a) appears, only for (b) to launch a series of barbed comments at (a), with the result that all we can talk about is, well, person (a)

...or (b) appears talking about (a), so (a) is obliged to make an appearance...

Mr Veale said...

On an unrelated note:

I teach some students who crave attention. They'd rather be mocked by their peers than ignored. You'd be surprised as to how far they would go...the trick is (a) don't underestimate them (b) don't enable them.

GREV said...

Amen Mr. Veale.

Let us stop feeding the need on both sides.

Ana said...

John,

The analogy does works.

The skeptic in the conversation caricatures concepts he doesn't understand. Also, he doesn't think these concepts deserve being given the oppurtunity to be discussed in serious manner. There are quite a many atheists who are like that skeptic, John.

It occurred to me, that the skeptic who crafted this statement, as well as the ridicule-fond internet atheists who have contributed to its popularity:

"The belief that a cosmic Jewish Zombie who was his own father can make you live forever if you symbolically eat his flesh and telepathically tell him you accept him as your master, so he can remove an evil force from your soul that is present in humanity because a rib-woman was convinced by a talking snake to eat from a magical tree."

might consider showing some empathy for Feser's skeptic who says:

"Physicists believe in these things called “quarks,” which are little flavored particles that spin around and work like magic charms. Their evidence is that they read about them in a James Joyce novel. Some of them think the universe is made up of tiny shoelaces tied together, though they admit that they have no evidence for this and have to take it on faith..." (you know the rest).

cl said...

I'd like to comment on the following:

Besides, you fail to see what is happening in America with your belief in God. He's dying. Get used to it.

2 Thessalonians 2:3, KJV:

Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;

It seems to me that statement confirms, rather than refutes, the truth of Scripture.

Alex Dalton said...

I once read an argument by Loftus to the effect that God did not exist because human beings were not created with wings.

I don't think, after having made an argument like that, anything Loftus will say until the day he dies, will ever jostle my faith.

And I say that, knowing full well that I am taking a potentially irrational stance here. John could indeed present an argument against Christianity that I *ought* to be disturbed by. I just can't help it though. The Argument from Winglessness just has had that effect on me - rendering me eternally impervious to Loftusism.

I think there was even a picture of a bluish colored man with wings flying through the air.

GREV said...

The religious impluse is not dying, I believe statistically it is being shown that the religious will inherit the Earth.

http://www.amazon.com/Shall-Religious-Inherit-Earth-Twenty-First/dp/1846681448

I am looking forward to ordering the book and not engaging in wishful thinking on the matter.

Now, what type of religious impulse we are talking about is another story.

GREV said...

Now the question of the polemics.

Given the fundamentalism on both sides is one reason I have scaled back engaging.

I long for reasoned and respectful arguments. And I understand people will despise Christianity.

I just see little need to engage the despisers but rather concentrate on answering the questions of those who seek and want to learn as I learn from them.

Anonymous said...

In defense of Loftus bashing, it is quite fun. He is also one of the best arguments against atheism I have ever seen.

His embarrassing debate performances probably do more for Christianity than most apologists will ever do. Given that, aren't we furthering the cause of Christ by giving him the attention he so desperately craves?

Anonymous said...

On the hat: Loftus only wears it because he is as bald as an eagle underneath.

BenYachov said...

Back when the Pope made some remarks about how Islam was spread by the sword. Some fanatical Muslims protested by holding up sign's that said "Kill all those who say Islam is spread by the Sword!".

Loftus "response" to feser reminds me of that, not because of any threats or violent content but the sheer raw wacky chutzpah!

Mr Veale said...

I'm sure that anonymous is deliberately helping John Loftus; he keeps the conversation focused on JL.
I'm not asserting that JL is conniving in this. I am asserting that anonymous is dishonest, and trying to ruin the flow of discussion on DI. He also provides a lot of free publicity for JL.

Mr Veale said...

Ana

I think that John's little outburst about zombie Jews is explained by what I co-wrote in "McAtheism" (linked to above.)
It was another clumsy and ill-informed attack on religion. The whole point of his post was to be clumsy and ill informed about religion. It takes a great deal of intelligence and effort to be this clumsy and ill informed.
John's point is that religion can no longer be considered worthy of respect in a secular world. Religion is now the legitimate target for the bluntest and crudest form of satire.
His aim is to debase and sully Christian belief. And, as propaganda goes it is eerily effective.

Graham

Mr Veale said...

And that's all I have to say about JL - we might find it more helpful to seek out other examples of internet infidelity.

(Now watch - someone, very probably under a pseudonym, will try to steer the conversation back to JL)

John W. Loftus said...

Mr. Veale, if Vic wanted a more respectful and intelligent discussion about the issues we debate then he should disallow anonymous comments.

Anonymous said...

if Vic wanted a more respectful and intelligent discussion about the issues we debate

That would hardly help, John, unless you started exclusively posting anonymously.

I'm under a pseudonym! said...

"(Now watch - someone, very probably under a pseudonym, will try to steer the conversation back to JL)"

John Loftus sucks!

Jason Pratt said...

Mr. V: {{(Now watch - someone, very probably under a pseudonym, will try to steer the conversation back to JL)}

Or John might... whoops. Never mind. {g}

I do however agree with various people here that the anonymice are getting thick. I know Victor allows anonymous posting as a way of not having to register with Booger (which is a good way to increase one's email spam)--or possibly because he doesn't know how to deactivate it from the "identity options". (I'm pretty sure I don't know how!--but I know other people can set up their journals that way on Blogger.)

That really is something to look into, Victor. There are other sign-in options available (already offered to people wanting to comment on your threads) than Blogger.

JRP

John W. Loftus said...

Morriston is a liar for Jesus. He continually makes stuff up about me and spreads them around.

If Christianity is the truth then why must it be buttressed with lies? I'll not respond to such drivel further. Engaging him is like wallowing in a pig's sty.

John W. Loftus said...

I'm unsubscribing from this thread.

BenYachov said...

>I'm unsubscribing from this thread.

Promises! Promises......

Jason Pratt said...

Well, John has called you a liar about him being in bankruptcy and losing his house, Morrison. Do you have links where John said he has lost his house? And/or where he said he's going through bankruptcy?

If not, then leave--we neither want nor need lies about John here.

If so, that would be interesting information about John, at least insofar as he denied it as being lies.

JRP

Victor Reppert said...

Personal issues about John's finances are not germane to this discussion. I have plenty to criticize him for, we don't need to bring that up.

Victor Reppert said...

Morrison: Drop it.

BenYachov said...

John has gone off the deep end.

Don't follow him people.

Victor Reppert said...

He has a tendency to make everything all about him. You make it worse when you make everything all about him.

BenYachov said...

Victor,

My innocence was lost the day my very favorite Catholic Apologist at the time, went off the deep end. First it started with a weird belief that Geocentric Cosmology was still valid. That was bad enough but it ended with plagiarizing Neo-Nazi material in an article that attacked Jews by claiming the Talmud authorizes child rape and then there was the holocaust denial......

Mother of God pray for us!

I learned a valuable lesson from that. Truth takes care of itself and it doesn't really need us to hold it up. Setting up a ministry to preach what you believe is the truth is laudable but when it gets to the point when you delude yourself into thinking you are more important than the message.
That is the time to call it quits. It's also the time for others to stop enabling you.

Take from this what you will.

Cheers.

JS Allen said...

@BenYachov - I knew a pre-Vatican II priest who was like that, 20 years ago. The experience made me skittish about thomism; which I'm only now starting to re-investigate, via Feser.

@Vic - I suggest that you delete the comments that cross the line. Trolls learn quickly, and sometimes even become your best police, tattling on anyone who doesn't get punished for doing the same thing they got punished for.