God fails again

We’ve all heard from certain evangelical leaders that “the gay lifestyle” is merely a personal—and sinful—choice, and that through prayer and the divine touch of almighty God, gays can be “cured” of making this choice. There’s just one problem with these so-called “restoration programs”: they don’t work.

The evangelist forced out of his job after being caught up in a sex scandal involving a male prostitute has left a “spiritual restoration program” and no longer has any ties to the megachurch he founded, the congregation’s new pastor said Sunday.

Under a severance deal that Ted Haggard reached with the church in 2006, he agreed to leave Colorado Springs and not talk about the scandal publicly. The deal expired at the end of 2007.

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Vox Day’s favorite theistic argument

Somebody offered Vox Day a chance to respond to a blog meme originally intended for atheists, and he decided to have some fun with it. I think his answer to question 7 is particularly revealing.

Q7. What’s your favourite theistic argument, and how do you usually refute it?

The evidence argument. It’s proven to be rather difficult to refute since the vast majority of atheists have a very poor understanding of what evidence is – their tendency towards science fetishism often causes them to believe only scientific evidence is evidence – and quickly find themselves in the uncomfortable position of having to deny the existence of things they quite clearly believe.

Notice what he’s doing here: he’s claiming to have evidence (“difficult to refute” evidence, no less), without ever offering any actual examples. I can well believe that this sort of empty boast is Vox’s favorite argument, as we’ve seen him use it before.

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Posted in Science, TIA, Unapologetics. 2 Comments »

XFiles Friday: The One-Legged Straw Man

(Book: I Don’t Have Enough FAITH to Be an ATHEIST, by Geisler and Turek, chapter 8 )

Last week, Geisler and Turek argued that miracles are possible because the laws of nature are not really unbreakable: baseball players prove this by catching falling balls, and thus violating the law of gravity [sic]. This week, G&T turn this same sort of insightful analysis to David Hume’s criticism of miracles.

Here is Hume’s argument in syllogistic form:

  1. Natural law is by definition a description of a regular occurrence.
  2. A miracle is by definition a rare occurrence.
  3. The evidence for the regular is always greater than that for the rare.
  4. A wise man always bases his belief on the greater evidence.
  5. Therefore, a wise man should never believe in miracles.

This is a strawman version of Hume’s argument, and it has been weakened, not only by being made of straw, but also by having one of its legs cut off. Can you see which one is missing?
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Good news and bad news

As the saying goes, I’ve got good news and bad news. It doesn’t matter which you want first because it’s the same news either way: The Tribulation has already begun.

All the signs of the start of the period called The Tribulation — predicted in the Bible as a seven-year period before the return of Jesus the Christ — have already occurred. This is only part of the research that I’ve uncovered recently while working on a new book…

The original working title was Are We Already in the End Times?, but I recently changed the title from a question to a statement. The new title is Tribulation: 2008.

The writer is Tom Kovach, columnist at renewamerica.us. The bad news is that, according to Kovach, we’ve all been Left Behind, including the True Believers (who, as it turns out, have sadly misinterpreted certain Bible verses about the order of End Time events). The “good news,” of course, is that this means Jesus will return in the year 2015, and we’ll have a thousand-year reign of peace and prosperity. Right?

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Bearding the lion

Back in my younger days, when I was still a creationist, I used to participate in the talk.origins newsgroup, trying to convince people that God really did (or could have) created the universe. I mentioned this to a fellow church member, and surprisingly, he not only knew what Usenet news was, he was familiar with talk.origins. “Wow,” he told me. “You’ve got guts!” And my spiritual reputation went up several notches, both with that guy and with a number of other people who happened to be within earshot of our conversation.

I was thinking about that incident in connection with some of the interactions that followed my recent exchange with Vox Day over who was really running away from the argument about God (or gods, in Vox’s case). If you’ve ever heard of the practices of “counting coup” or “bearding the lion in his den,” it goes a long way towards explaining the rather peculiar behavior of Vox and some of his followers.

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The REAL cause of global warming…

…is the entire world supply of irony meters simultaneously melting down.

As Barack Obama broadens his outreach to evangelical voters, one of the movement’s biggest names, James Dobson, accuses the likely Democratic presidential nominee of distorting the Bible and pushing a “fruitcake interpretation” of the Constitution.

 
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TIA Tuesday: Vox versus Jesus

Last time we saw how Vox Day brilliantly “refuted” Richard Dawkins’s rebuttal of the cosmological argument by conceding that the cosmological argument doesn’t necessarily lead to any conclusion materially different from ordinary atheistic evolution. In today’s installment, he goes even further, proving Dawkins “wrong” by the simple expedient of throwing out the Gospel and pretty much everything Jesus ever said about God.

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What?? NON-Christian Americans???

Good old WND is in a tizzy over remarks by Sen. Barack Obama implying that non-Christians—including (*gasp*) Muslims and nonbelievers—are part of America too.

JERUSALEM – Some have been taking issue with largely unnoticed comments made last year by Sen. Barack Obama declaring the U.S. is “no longer a Christian nation” but is also a nation of others, including Muslims and nonbelievers.

The comments have been recently recirculating on Internet blogs.

Don’t you just love that dateline? “And now the latest from JERUSALEM, the land where Jesus once walked…” Is that supposed to lend some kind of special anointing to the story, or what?

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Two quotes from Vox Day.

Quote Number One:

[G]iving up or failing to show up in the first place has always been considered to be a concession, especially when the person suddenly falling silent is the sort who never shuts up otherwise. It’s not actually a question of what those predisposed to think well of my arguments will conclude from such a failure to defend one’s arguments, but rather what a normal and unbiased observer is likely to conclude.

Quote Number Two:

I had planned to deal with this guy’s chapter-by-chapter approach once Kelly got through with hers. But, since he’s repeatedly demonstrated a near complete inability to make a coherent rebuttal to anything I’ve written, it’s somewhat of a relief to know that I don’t have to bother.

The first quote is Vox’s response to Kelly’s announcement that she is not abandoning her critique of TIA; the second, from his attempt to justify exactly why he is neither going to respond to my critique nor post any of the allegedly “superior” arguments for God (or gods) that he claims to possess. Draw what conclusions you will.

 
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XFiles Friday: Will the circle be unbroken?

(Book: I Don’t Have Enough FAITH to Be an ATHEIST, by Geisler and Turek, chapter 8 )

At this point in Chapter 8, Geisler and Turek have reached the conclusion that IF God exists THEN miracles are possible.

Now this doesn’t mean that God has performed those biblical miracles. That remains to be seen. It only means that he could have—that such miracles are possible. In light of the fact that we live in a theistic universe, ruling out miracles beforehand (as many atheists do) is clearly illegitimate…

Why do so many people today say that miracles are not possible or should not be believed? How can skeptics disbelieve in miracles when the whole universe appears to be one amazing miracle?

Jesus had an interesting answer to that last question. In John 7:24, he said, “Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment.” Appearances are famous for their deceptiveness, and even Jesus warns against trusting in appearances. Nevertheless Geisler and Turek seem to have a fair point. Should we automatically exclude miracles from consideration without even considering the possibility? Is that, in fact, what atheists are doing?

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Posted in IDHEFTBA, Unapologetics, XFiles. 8 Comments »