John, do you actually read your combox? When I got into the David Wood discussion, I was called intellectually dishonest, a Liar-4-Jezus, and then we get this gem from Sir Russ:
You, Victor, are one of the people doing evil things due to religion. He said that I was one of the people who put meat on the bones of the claim that philosophy is dead.
And how about this one?
What did your PhD actually prepare you for? To ignore the world around you while you lie to perpetuate ignorance and superstition?
And he gets all sorts of applause when he says things like this? Some called it his finest work.
And you complain about Ilion???? I didn't think it was possible to make Ilion look like Miss Manners, but I see it done every day on Debunking Christianity.
And it's worse than this. This isn't an accident. You advocate ridicule, you support doing more than just criticizing religious arguments, you advocate philosophy departments taking philosophy of religion out of their curriculum. You don't want to criticize religious beliefs, you want them marginalized, so that if people hold them it's OK, so long as they shut up about it and keep it out of the public square.
This goes beyond not being nice. It is a programme, instigated by Dawkins in his TED speech in 2002, of what I call organized disrespect. All sorts of ridicule can be done in gentle and humorous ways which is not particularly offensive, and is not designed to express contempt.; I even ridiculed myself with a Dennett Lexicon entry:
reppert v. To enhance the reputation of a popular apologist by "finding" sophisticated arguments in his writings. "Who are they going to reppert next, Francis Schaeffer, or Josh McDowell?"
But Dawkins (and you follow him on this) advocates "sharpening barbs so that they really hurt." It is ridicule designed as propaganda to persuade without real argumentation. It is an attitude that makes real and honest exploration of our religious disagreements an impossibility. This is not honest and passionate debate, this is the behavior of a schoolyard bully. And I think reasonable atheists should see it for what it is. In the course of honest debate, particularly where there is such passionate interest on both sides, people can lose their tempers and be rude. Or they can be trigger-happy in their charges of intellectual dishonesty. But this is a bridge further, and it needs to be identified for what it is. Christians should realize that in dealing with this sort of thing, that their opponents do NOT want to meet them fair and square on a level playing field.