Friday, May 15, 2015

Why Ridicule and Debate don't mix

JWL: Hey Vic, what exactly is wrong with doing everything I can to disabuse Christians of their faith when I know that 1) their faith is terribly wrong, and 2) their faith is harmful for our future?

All one has to do is have the passion I do and share 1 and 2 above.

You don't like this? So noted. It's the same organized disrespect the Church has handed out to anyone who disagreed WITHOUT THE TORTURE AND VIOLENCE TO COMPEL BELIEF! Ours is based on knowledge plus persuasion, which includes--at times--ridicule, just as we ridicule the KKK and believers in Zeus.

Cheers.

Oh, and complaining about those who comment on my blog smacks of the "You Too" and the "guilt by association" fallacy


VR: No John. If I believe that faith is right, and that it is beneficial to the future of those who believe, there are still certain things that I ought not to do to promote it. I follow Lactantius on this:

"Religion being a matter of the will, it cannot be forced on anyone; in this matter it is better to employ words than blows [verbis melius quam verberibus res agenda est]. Of what use is cruelty? What has the rack to do with piety? Surely there is no connection between truth and violence, between justice and cruelty . . . . It is true that nothing is so important as religion, and one must defend it at any cost [summa vi] . . . It is true that it must be protected, but by dying for it, not by killing others; by long-suffering, not by violence; by faith, not by crime. If you attempt to defend religion with bloodshed and torture, what you do is not defense, but desecration and insult. For nothing is so intrinsically a matter of free will as religion. (Divine Institutes V:20)"

Yes, I am saying you too. I am saying that Christians have the same reasons for not going onto your site as "thoughtful atheists" might have for going onto mine. Only, in my estimation, it's far worse, because the disrespect is a strategy, and the ad hominems are far worse. Unlikes Jeff Lowder, You are in no position to lecture people on my site for their manners. You asked me once to ban Crude. What if I told you I wouldn't consider doing that unless you banned Articulett and Sir Russ?

You can debate and discuss, or you can use other means. But debate and discussion involve following certain rules, in particular, the principle of charity. So some people can debate and discuss, and some people can ridicule, but they don't mix, if not in theory at least in practice, because argument requires the principle of charity and ridicule precludes it.

40 comments:

Crude said...

You asked me once to ban Crude. What if I told you I wouldn't consider doing that unless you banned Articulett and Sir Russ?

Loftus doesn't want to ban me for any horrible offenses - he wants to ban me because I treat him with fully -half- the disrespect he treats you and others.

And he can't take it. Mostly because my disrespect is in the form of evaluating his arguments, his track record, and his skill - accurately.

B. Prokop said...

I'll go out on a limb here, and say one thing in Loftus's favor. Although he has sadly chosen the wrong side, he at least recognizes that we are at war. Christianity and atheism are irreconcilable - and not just as intellectual constructs, but (far more importantly) as organizing principles for society. The unvarnished truth is that 1) [atheism] is terribly wrong, and 2) [atheism] is harmful for our future. So Loftus is 100% correct about the stakes here; he is simply 100% in error about where he should be pointing his finger.

Loftus rightly condemns the use of torture and violence to compel belief, but is astonishingly blind to the fact that non-believers have used those methods far more consistently and to a much greater extent in order to compel non-belief than Christians have ever dreamed of doing in the cause of faith.

And this is why his approval of "doing everything I can" to promote atheism is so troubling. Just where does that "everything" stop? When a Christian resorts to torture or violence (as, unfortunately, has indeed happened time to time), he at least has the clear and unambiguous words of Christ to, if not stop him, at least to restrain him. But what could possibly hold back the atheist? Answer: nothing. There is no restraining hand to draw him back from state-sponsored terror, the Gulag, "reeducation camps", or even mass murder.

On a more immediate level, his advocacy of ridicule is perhaps less troubling, but still indicative of an identical mindset. When you come down to it, ridicule is nothing less than a form of torture. Ask any highschooler who has been the victim of bullying whether ridicule is a victimless crime. So where does Loftus draw the line? Ridicule? Bullying? Waterboarding? The rack?

(It also is a sign that Loftus realizes he cannot compete in the arena of ideas, if he feels he has to resort to methods of stopping the conversation.)

Faith!

John W. Loftus said...

Besides what I think of of Christianity's largely unevidenced and harmful faith Vic, we agree that violence should not be used to coerce assent. I accept that you reject violence. You need to accept that I do too. I wrote a blurb for Ronald A. Lindsay's excellent book, The Necessity of Secularism: Why God Can't Tell Us What to Do, which should settle that question about me, since he eschews violence in promoting secularism.

Now if you wish to compare me to Lowder go ahead, but he is not making the same impact that I am, and you know it. The reason you mention him is because he fails to understand the same things you do about the use of ridicule in our cultural wars. I defend the use of ridicule, yes. It's ignorant NOT to do so, as I've argued right here (see also the tag "Ridicule" below that post). My guess is that Lowder just doesn't fully accept 1 and 2 above. He's wrong about THAT too! And unlike Lowder I think genuine inquiry begins the day people reject faith-based answers, not before. Until inquirers do this they fail to have a reliable method for knowing the truth about existence, the nature of nature, or which religion is true if there is one.

This is all a bit funny to me though. There are always people on your side of an issue you wish were on the other side. And since those people exist, you love to mention them when it suits you, including people like Thomas Nagel (how many times have you quoted him in the last two months?), Nietzsche, Camus, Sartre. In case you missed it, there is a second wave of atheists following in the wake of the so-called New Atheists who are doing the heavy lifting in arguing against religion. You should pay attention. And given that 25% of “millennial” Americans are atheists, agnostics, or don’t see religion as personally important you and your colleagues are failing as apologists.

As far as the "You Too" goes, all I was saying is that if you want a more reasonable debate you should consider banning Crude and Ilion. Just look at what Crude said above, which is nothing more than a personal attack on me. As far as what I do in my house, that's my house. Like you, I don't want to ban people. I don't think it's worse on my site though, even with my justification of ridicule. But that's the way I see it, and that's the nature beast we must work through if we're to have an intelligent debate. And I do reason with you. You cannot say I don't. I reason with Christians in general. But I ignore people here. You should ignore whoever you wish to ignore on my site too.

John W. Loftus said...

Crude's comment was in another thread, sorry.

John W. Loftus said...

As far as ridicule and debate not mixing goes, Voltaire did both effectively, as did Nietzsche, and others including me.

B. Prokop said...

"I defend the use of ridicule"

Ridicule is no different than bullying. It is, in fact, a subset of it. Teenagers have committed suicide after being bullied. This is a well known and documented fact. Loftus defends a practice that causes people to kill themselves.

Jezu ufam tobie!

Crude said...

Loftus,

Besides what I think of of Christianity's largely unevidenced and harmful faith Vic, we agree that violence should not be used to coerce assent.

What you also need to do is owe up to the fact that A) the Christian track record of 'using violence to coerce assent' is pretty damn good in the US, and B) the atheist track record of 'using violence to coerce assent' is wretched on the whole. As it stands, you can't even bring yourself to owe up to its history, which is as clear as day.

Now if you wish to compare me to Lowder go ahead, but he is not making the same impact that I am, and you know it.

John, you're not making much of an impact at all, and you know it. The New Atheism wave came and went, and you simply weren't part of it - your impact amounts to a footnote in an entry about Myers, who was always at best a distant internet-only third to Dawkins.

I defend the use of ridicule, yes.

See, this is the problem. You defend the use of ridicule - against everyone but you. When -you- are ridiculed, suddenly it's a terrible, horrible thing that no one should tolerate, and you're leaving until it stops.

That's called 'being a tremendous hypocrite', John.

In case you missed it, there is a second wave of atheists following in the wake of the so-called New Atheists who are doing the heavy lifting in arguing against religion.

What you're saying here is 'Well I was pretty much unknown before the New Atheism. I was utterly ignored during New Atheism. But just you wait, now there's something major coming and I'm going to be part of THAT one! Just you wait and see!'

But... you're not. There's not even much of a second wave, and they're certainly not doing any heavy-lifting in any intellectual sense. There are, at best, politically active irreligious, who typically abandon intellectual discourse altogether. And you're not part of THAT group either in any meaningful way.

And given that 25% of “millennial” Americans are atheists, agnostics, or don’t see religion as personally important

Given that atheism has already split into the 'Atheist+' faction and the 'Anti-SJW Atheists' factions, do you realize that you've hit a point where even being an 'atheist' doesn't mean you get support from the atheist community - which as always, is a small subset of the 'non-religious' community?

Just look at what Crude said above, which is nothing more than a personal attack on me.

Actually, John, it's a statement of facts, a portion of the mockery you green-light against Victor, and answering your claims while pointing out your hypocrisy. Like this:

And I do reason with you. You cannot say I don't. I reason with Christians in general. But I ignore people here. You should ignore whoever you wish to ignore on my site too.

'You just just ignore people like I do, Victor. Except I keep stamping my feet saying I won't come here if Crude and others remain, because they use ridicule against me. Which I think is totally fine on my site. I'm not a hypocrite!'

And actually, no, you don't reason with Christians in general. You ridicule them in general. You beg them to talk about your book, and when they point out the tremendous flaws, you attack them personally.

Do you think your patterns are not obvious?

Victor Reppert said...

May I point out one other basic issue. Of course atheists are going to come out better if they claim all the people who are religiously indifferent. And I think those people constitute the vast majority of the "nones" in our society. It's like claiming all the babies as atheists, which is what I have seen done. Next thing you know they'll be claiming my cats. Even Hemant Mehta spoke out against that one. Most people who are nonreligious are not nonreligious as a result of critical reflection. In fact, a lot of them have some godish belief like the belief in a "force out there." (May the Force be with you).

Crude said...

Most people who are nonreligious are not nonreligious as a result of critical reflection. In fact, a lot of them have some godish belief like the belief in a "force out there." (May the Force be with you).

I recall that in one poll, 25% of atheists - not irreligious, but atheists, if I recall correctly - said they believed in God or some higher power.

John W. Loftus said...

B. Prokop, Christian theists amaze me with the way they defend their faith from all attacks. You don't like being ridiculed. I get that. Then don't ever ridicule anyone for anything because they may kill themselves! And don't watch any comedians or late night talk show hosts, or any movies ridiculing the thoughts and behaviors of others. Hell, you might even censor these things while you're at it, along with banning alcohol, gambling and porn, since these things have led to violence and to suicide.

Is this what you consider good reasoning? No wonder I reject faith based-reasoning. It's utter bunk. Always has been. Always will be.

"Come let us reason together" your Bible tells you.

Yet you fail to do it.

Victor Reppert said...

Humorous development of reductios ad absurdum is one thing. Using ridicule as a method of bullying is another.

Dawkins: I lately started to think that we need to go further: go beyond humorous ridicule, sharpen our barbs to a point where they really hurt. ...You might say that two can play at that game. Suppose the religious start treating us with naked contempt, how would we like it? I think the answer is that there is a real asymmetry here. We have so much more to be contemptuous about! And we are so much better at it. We have scathingly witty spokesmen of the calibre of Christopher Hitchens and Sam Harris. Who have the faith-heads got, by comparison? Ann Coulter is about as good as it gets. We can’t lose!

Read more: http://www.science20.com/rationally_speaking/richard_dawkins_really_naive#ixzz3aJoMABD7

I'm sorry, but that's bullying.

B. Prokop said...

"I recall that in one poll..."

I remember that poll as well. I have also spoken/dialogued with atheists who say things like "Mankind is destined to..." or "an evolutionary search for stable social organisms" or even "You're on the wrong side of History!" (implying there is a "right" side)

At the end of the day, polls are interesting, but ought to be taken with a shaker of salt - in fact, with an entire salt mine. There's no way to verify it at this point in time, but I seriously doubt that Victorian England was that much more "religious" than today. The collapse of denominational religion (and yes, it is collapsing) has little or nothing to do with religious faith, but is rather part and parcel of the atomization of our entire culture that we've been witnessing over the past 50 years or so (as spelled out in such studies as Bowling Alone. Labor unions have collapsed, knowing one's next door neighbors is a thing of the past, everyone watching Walter Cronkite is ancient history, and (sadly) identifying with a church is fading. The atheists can take no credit for the rise of the "nones" unless they wish to credit themselves with the disappearance of workplace bowling leagues as well!

Jezu ufam tobie!

B. Prokop said...

"You don't like being ridiculed. I get that."

No you don't. I care not whether anyone attempts to ridicule me for my Faith, because the attempts are inevitably wide of the mark (ridiculing some strawman rather than me), or false right out of the starting gate. To date, there has been not one honest, relevant, and successful attempt to ridicule me. So fire away - all you're doing is pissing into the wind.

But I am well aware of how other people might react to social bullying, and that's all that ridicule is. It is mean spirited, it is intended to harm, it is an objective evil (which I am well aware that for you, as an atheist, has no meaning).

Jezu ufam tobie!

John W. Loftus said...

I have no problem with Ann Coulter's bullying. I just strongly disagree with her, as I do Bill O'Reilly and Glenn Beck, and so many others on "your" side to name.

Let me give you an example. I was sitting outside eating at a restaurant next to parents who were telling their daughter she should obey them because the Devil want her to disobey, and that disobedience could lead her to hell. I kid you not! I don't usually speak up in person but I did that day. I said in front of them, "There is no devil and no hell. Stop threatening your daughter. Just teach her to love and obey without these delusional threats."

I said it in front of their daughter. They were shocked. I was too, since it just came out of my mouth.

Who was doing the bullying? It was not me. It was them. And I think at times it's justified to bully others into becoming sane civilized decent people.

You don't like that. I get it. Then police your own ranks.

Victor Reppert said...

As I've noted over and over, some things that might be classed as ridicule do not really consitute bullying. I gave an example of me ridiculing myself on this blog, for example. But when we address arguments, and we aren't persauded by yours, you question-beggingly say that we won't listen to reason, and therefore other tactics are justified.

I am sick of being told, for example, that I don't deserve to have the degree I earned, fair and square, at a VERY secular university philosophy department.

John W. Loftus said...

Bullying can be in the eye of the beholder. I'm sure most Muslims think it's bullying for people to draw cartoons of Mohammed.

Bullying in High School comes with physical threats, kids spitting on others, threatening them with harm.

Bullying by the use of ridicule and satire is a horse of a different color.

John W. Loftus said...

And I'm sick of being told ridicule is not justified.

John W. Loftus said...

Vic: when we address arguments, and we aren't persauded by yours, you question-beggingly say that we won't listen to reason, and therefore other tactics are justified.

I'm addressing your particular arguments here. They are lame, lacking basic understanding and consistency, without the principle of charity you say you admire so much.

It's like I'm dealing with High Schoolers who lack an education.

Or, you can show me differently. That's how I feel whenever dealing with you and the others here.

I get you don't like me saying this. I get that.

B. Prokop said...

"And I'm sick of being told ridicule is not justified."

Well then, prepare to retch. Ridicule is not justified!

"Bullying in High School comes with physical threats, kids spitting on others, threatening them with harm."

Seriously? You've never heard of cyberbullying? No physical threats there - just six dead kids. You need to get out of your box and into the Real World, dude!

"They are lame, lacking basic understanding and consistency, without the principle of charity you say you admire so much."

Looking in the mirror? (And that's not ridicule. It's an honest question.)

Jezu ufam tobie!

Crude said...

Then don't ever ridicule anyone for anything because they may kill themselves! And don't watch any comedians or late night talk show hosts, or any movies ridiculing the thoughts and behaviors of others.

Do you forget, Loftus, that the entire backdrop of this conversation was you whining and crying and demanding people be kicked off of Victor's blog because they were ridiculing you?

But when it gets pointed out what kind of behavior you tolerate on your blog, what kind of behavior you engage in, you suddenly turn around and defend ridicule.

That, little man, is called 'being a hypocrite'. The fact that you are so clueless that you can't see this - or that you think others can't see it - is one of the reasons why you are third-rate, and always have been.

Bullying can be in the eye of the beholder. I'm sure most Muslims think it's bullying for people to draw cartoons of Mohammed.

Then man up, stop whining, and stop throwing tantrums whenever you're ridiculed. Because you are on record as endorsing ridicule - it's not my fault that so many others do it better than you. That's a failing on your part - you know, along with the history of lying, like putting up a fake blog to attack your opponents, futzing about dishonestly with Amazon, and...

Gee, I wonder if "Look at this thing I said to these parents!" will eventually register as yet another lie?

Wait, hold on, let me guess: Lying is acceptable to get what you want too.

Right John?

By the by:

What if you said to the parents: "Bullying is in the eye of the beholder. If ridiculing her is the only way to get her to do what you want and believe what you think is best, then do so. Because getting what you want is what's important."

Would you be shocked if anyone thought you were anything but a sadsack for giving out such advice?

I'm addressing your particular arguments here. They are lame, lacking basic understanding and consistency, without the principle of charity you say you admire so much.

No, you're not addressing any arguments. You're special pleading like a madman, justifying your use of ridicule, right after crying like a freshly-punched bully about how people ridicule you.

You know why I ridicule you, John? It's not just because you're immune to reason, though that's certainly the case. It's not because it's easy, despite that too being the case.

I ridicule you because you are a would-be bully who happily ridicules others, and who has a track record of lying and general dishonesty.

That's the difference between you and me, Loftus. You ridicule others by calling them names, by lying about what they believe, by misrepresenting their arguments.

You know how I ridicule you?

By answering your 'arguments' and telling the objective truth about you.

Isn't it sad that that's all it takes to make you look bad?

John W. Loftus said...

“Cyberbullying is the use of information technology to repeatedly harm or harass other people in a deliberate manner. According to U.S. Legal Definitions, Cyber-bullying could be limited to posting rumors or gossips about a person in the internet bringing about hatred in other’s minds; or it may go to the extent of personally identifying victims and publishing materials severely defaming and humiliating them.”

--------------

Sheesh, yet anoother example of attributing to me something I eschew.

Is there anyone here who can reason with me?

B. Prokop said...

"Is there anyone here who can reason with me?"

Takes two to "reason together", John. So far, you've given no indication you're willing to hold up your end.

"The Heavens Declare..."

Crude said...

Sheesh, yet anoother example of attributing to me something I eschew.

"According to U.S. Legal Definitions, Cyber-bullying could be limited to posting rumors or gossips about a person in the internet bringing about hatred in other’s minds; or it may go to the extent of personally identifying victims and publishing materials severely defaming and humiliating them.”"

Uh, what do you call launching a fake blog where you personally attacked one of your critics, then called attention to it as if it wasn't you - obviously trying to attack someone by proxy?

Posting rumors or gossip about a person to bring hatred in others' minds? Check.

Defamation? Check.

When you say 'eschew', do you realize you're going to be judged by your actions as well as your words?

John W. Loftus said...

From the last two responses it looks like I have the answer to my last question, and the reason why this blog has so few intelligent commenters and followers. Vic, IF YOU WANT A REASONABLE DISCUSSION BY MORE PEOPLE then you must take a step back by banning a few uneducated unintelligent and obnoxious people. It's up to you if you reject the antecedent though. I'd understand if you did, since they buffer you from defending your initial arguments.

Cheers

B. Prokop said...

"by banning a few uneducated unintelligent and obnoxious people"

And just who might those people be, John?

Crude said...

John,

From the last two responses it looks like I have the answer to my last question, and the reason why this blog has so few intelligent commenters and followers.

The tone of conversation here has improved markedly since removing two of your 'fans', John. Meanwhile, you advertise your own site as, basically, hate-and-ridicule central.

IF YOU WANT A REASONABLE DISCUSSION BY MORE PEOPLE then you must take a step back by banning a few uneducated unintelligent and obnoxious people.

Because if there's one thing John Loftus knows about, it's how to promote a reasonable discussion among intelligent people? You just defended the very practice of ridiculing, mocking and belittling people who disagree with you as necessary to get them to change their minds, because your arguments aren't up to the task.

You seriously think you still have credibility as 'someone who can advise on how to promote reasonable discussion'? This before mentioning your history of attacking people anonymous through fake blogs?

I'd understand if you did, since they buffer you from defending your initial arguments.

The funny thing is, John, that I disagree with Victor - and holy hell, everyone else - on a regular basis, theist and atheist alike. Often it's cordial (Dan Gillson, Victor). Other times, it's more heated (Bob Prokop, etc.) Still other times, I just laugh at people for their dishonesty (Plagiarists, etc.)

You, however? You can't defend yourself from criticism. Which is precisely why you demand bannings, and flee the scene when you don't get your critics restrained.

Like I said, John. For you to ridicule theists, you typically need to lie about them, misrepresent them, and namecall. All I have to do to ridicule you is be very honest and speak the facts about what you've said and done.

Don't you think a little introspection is called for?

Ilíon said...

Have *any* of you "ridicule is intrinsically wicked" weenies ever bothered to *read* the Bible or the early Fathers?

Ridicule is sometimes wicked and sometimes not.

In trying to invent the “principle” that ridicule is *always* wicked, you make yourselves ridiculous.

malcolmthecynic said...

John,

I said in front of them, "There is no devil and no hell. Stop threatening your daughter. Just teach her to love and obey without these delusional threats."

"Stop bullying your daughter" is one thing. "Everything your parents teach you about life is a lie" goes well over the line and is wildly inappropriate, as well as totally unnecessary to say.

Not to mention hotly contested, and you blurting it out as if it's a decided fact is helping nobody.

malcolmthecynic said...

Also,

Cheers

I always hated when people act faux-polite to make themselves feel better.

This reminds me of the person who wrote a long anti-conservative hate screed on my blog, then ended it by saying that she didn't hate conservatives. She only pitied them!

Contempt and pity are not the same. John, nothing Victor ever does will get you to respect him, because as comments like that tellingly show, you actually hold him in contempt.

cl said...

Loftus is an intellectual wimp. And I'm not saying that for shock value. If you challenge his sloppy arguments and call him out, he'll get defensive and ban you for "trolling" or some other trumped up charge.

And his minions are the worst. Articulett... I remember those days. Never going back!!

B. Prokop said...

"In trying to invent the “principle” that ridicule is *always* wicked, you make yourselves ridiculous."

Ilion, "telling it like it is" is not ridicule. Ridicule is intentional bullying - verbal violence meant to cause pain (and not in a good way). I agree completely that calling out a fool is fair game, but in my books, that is not "ridicule" - it's just being honest.

Jezu ufam tobie!

B. Prokop said...

By the way, I don't for a second believe Loftus's imaginary encounter with the family at the restaurant. It's possible (but even this I doubt) that he had some sort of exchange with the parents, but his telling of it is an obvious fabrication. I truly believe that he's telling us a conversation he had with himself in his head.

brownmamba said...

I haven't read this whole discussion, but I just wanted to say that being unpleasant( using vitriolic ridicule and bullying), really undermines the goal of getting people to appreciate or understand your point. People just get defensive and then have a psychological motivation to resist what you're saying. They'll resist persuasion to a much greater extend when their ego has been attacked. That's why I resist making snarky comments even though I sometimes would like to.

Loftus has books to sell, so there's a monetary incentive for him to be snarky (more respectful writing isn't as entertaining). As for other unpleasant bloggers, they likely care more about showing off their intelligence than actually persuading people. As an atheist I appreciate bloggers like Victor who often give me something to think about without attacking my character or my intelligence.

Ilíon said...

B.Consistency.Please: "Ilion, "telling it like it is" is not ridicule. Ridicule is intentional bullying - verbal violence meant to cause pain (and not in a good way). I agree completely that calling out a fool is fair game, but in my books, that is not "ridicule" - it's just being honest."

Ah, so -- just as I have always maintained and sometimes defended with argument -- when *I* "tell it like it is" and/or "call out a fools", I'm not being a mean ol' bully, after all, despite that many, including you, have said over the years that I am.


For instance, while I disagree in varying degrees with his primary statements and reasoning --

brownmamba: "I haven't read this whole discussion, but I just wanted to say that being unpleasant( using vitriolic ridicule and bullying), really undermines the goal of getting people to appreciate or understand your point. People just get defensive and then have a psychological motivation to resist what you're saying. They'll resist persuasion to a much greater extend when their ego has been attacked. That's why I resist making snarky comments even though I sometimes would like to.

Loftus has books to sell, so there's a monetary incentive for him to be snarky (more respectful writing isn't as entertaining). As for other unpleasant bloggers, they likely care more about showing off their intelligence than actually persuading people. As an atheist I appreciate bloggers like Victor who often give me something to think about without attacking my character or my intelligence.
"

Don't you think it odd that no one ever seems to recognize that the *attitude* 'brownmamba' display is quite opposite to that displayed by 'Wizard Suth' (and John Loftus, and Edward Babinski, and JJ Lowder and The Two Nameless Ones on and on)? Don't you think it odd that no one ever wants to recognize that when I "ridicule" (quotes since it now seems I don't ridicule, after all) people's behavior and attitude, it's because they have earned it.

Then, to use a concrete example not connected to me -- the reader may recall a few days ago that JJL posted a link to his collection of (in his opinion) good (which I take to mean 'strong', rather than self-disemboweling) anti-theistic arguments. Then, Ben Yachov replied that many of them were "moronic". Then JJL started whining about the mean ol' Christians picking on him (you know, like they always do).

But, the thing is, that list of (alleged) arguments, even if he originated every one of them himself, is not *him*.

My point is: much, perhaps most, of the constant whinging about "tone" or "civility" is just this sort of passive-aggressive hypocrisy.

Ilíon said...

John Loftus: "I said in front of them, "There is no devil and no hell. Stop threatening your daughter. Just teach her to love and obey without these delusional threats."

Malcolm: "Stop bullying your daughter" is one thing. "Everything your parents teach you about life is a lie" goes well over the line and is wildly inappropriate, as well as totally unnecessary to say.

Not to mention hotly contested, and you blurting it out as if it's a decided fact is helping nobody.
"

Let's translate what Loftus says he said: "I said in front of them, "There is no [Heaven or Hell -- there is no "Permanent Record", there are no eternal consequences to what one chooses to do here-and-now. Plus, when one dies, one ceases to exist, as though one had never been]. Stop [teaching] your daughter [that her choices have permanent-and-eternal consequenses; stop teaching her that her choices *matter*]. Just teach her to love and obey without these [warnings that loving and obeying has one set of consequences, and that hating and disobeying has a different set of consequenses]"

Isn't he demanding that parents teach their children to "love and obey" (what, precisely?) while not actually teaching them anything, except that nothing they choose to do matters anyway?

cl said...

LOFTUS -

I would love a chance to reason with you. How might a guy like me get such an opportunity?

cl said...

And unlike Lowder I think genuine inquiry begins the day people reject faith-based answers, not before. Until inquirers do this they fail to have a reliable method for knowing the truth about existence, the nature of nature, or which religion is true if there is one.

John, you are betraying your own calls for evidence-based reasoning, right here. You did not give any evidence whatsoever for your claims about faith. Certainly, you don't expect me to take your claims about faith on faith, do you?

cl said...

Did anybody notice Loftus' remarks to Bradley Bowen, who is certainly NOT a Christian? You see, John wants us to believe this highground nonsense, that it's okay to say whatever you can to get Christians to become atheists - and I actually believe that John really believes he believes this. However, the evidence suggests John is deluded, because he doesn't reserve his mockery, insults and ire for Christians. No! He'll gladly dish it out on another atheist - like Bowen - for apparently trivial things.

So, John, what's the *real* reason you resort to defensive name-calling when challenged? Could it be, like I suggest, that you just *might* actually be an intellectual wimp?

Victor Reppert said...

If ridicule is a viable method, then it's a viable method for everyone. If not, then it's bad for everyone. All I ask for is fairness.

Ilíon said...

VR: "Why Ridicule and Debate don't mix ..."

What I find more interesting (and more important) is that intellectual dishonesty and "debate" don't mix (*).


(*) and, at least as interesting, the fact that you insist upon not knowing this fact