The Gypsy Curse

It’s like a scene from an old B-grade black-and white horror flick: Jesus is walking down some dank alleyway in Jerusalem and carelessly bumps into an old gypsy woman, knocking her in the mud and muck, and then thoughtlessly laughing at her misfortune. Her deepset eyes blaze, and she scowls at him. “A curse upon you,” she mutters. “From now on, your followers and supporters will be unable to accuse their critics of any fault or fallacy without being guilty of the same thing themselves.” He, like all B-grade movie heroes, doesn’t take her seriously until her curse starts coming true. Only then does he realize, to his horror, that the curse is inexorable, inescapable, and infallible.

I’m not the only person to see this curse in action. PZ Myers has a post about a reporter, in Salon no less, who falls prey to the old gypsy’s revenge. According to the reporter,

Myers has earned notoriety with his blog, Pharyngula, in which he reports on new developments in biology and indiscriminately excoriates those he views as hostile to science, a pantheon of straw men and women that includes theologians, journalists and churchgoers.

Having accused Myers of excoriating straw men and women, he then goes on to attack a bizarre version of Myers’ views which he seems to have defined by taking the opposite of whatever Myers actually said, and calling it “what he really means.”

And in the background, thin and distance, you can almost hear a gleeful cackle.

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Posted in Amusements, The Gypsy Curse. 8 Comments »

A “blanket” of prayer

Obama is not the only guy claiming that America is no longer a Christian nation. According to the World Net Daily, a coalition of Christian organizations is saying the same thing. Unlike Obama, however, the Christian groups have a foolproof plan to change this situation.

A blanket of prayer for America is being proposed for Sept. 11, 2008, the seventh anniversary of the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, because it no longer is the Christian nation it once was, according to a coalition of organizations.

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Posted in Amusements, Current Events, Unapologetics. 3 Comments »

Comment Rescue: Greg on “stinking skeptics”

Here’s another recent comment on the old version of Evangelical Realism. Commenting on Apologetics vs Bible-based faith, “Greg” writes:

I don’t expect you to change your opinion, but I just would like to voice mine. I am a “skeptical” Christian, and following your advice, I would like to know what exactly is the “specialized knowledge and training” and “exposure” you have had?

“he’d just point out that the Bible (if we even needed to have one) could be confirmed by simply asking God.” Before Adam sinned, he spoke to God daily, the very thing you are requiring of Holding to produce. This is now infact impossible, because God doesn’t talk to people that way since sin separates us, as you already know from your specialized training and exposure.

As a skeptic, you stink. Your basic logic is not even logic, it is completely skewed.

“In fact, Holding is quite plainly wrong in asserting that critics of the Bible need to acquire some impossibly difficult list of academic credentials in order to falsify Scripture’s claims to divine infallibility.”

This is exactly what you skeptics expect of Christians. Nice double standard, how “hypocritical” something you skeptics often accuse Christians of. BTW, I have never claimed to be perfect, just forgiven. 🙂

More of your supremely flawed logic: “You do not need a post-PhD mastery of the mathematics of quantum physics to know that the equation “2+2=17? does not add up.”

This is a classic straw man. You have achieved nothing here other than exhibiting your own ignorance of basic logic. I don’t mean to say this in a harsh or demeaning way, I truly don’t, but you could seriously use some more training and exposure to basic logic before you tackle the monster of Biblical Inerrancy.

Hi, Greg, thanks for writing. Taking your last point first, I think if you look it up, you’ll find that a straw man argument involves misrepresenting your opponent’s argument in some way. When I say that you don’t need to know calculus to recognize arithmetic errors, I’m presenting my own argument, not describing someone else’s. Clearly, then, this isn’t a straw man fallacy.

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Posted in Unapologetics. 3 Comments »

A thoughtful post

Via the “Incoming Links” section of my blog stats, I see there’s a post about Evangelical Realism up at Not only does he say nice things about the blog, he also takes a thoughtful look at how meaning and purpose can come from a God like Alethea, who is actually just a personification for Reality itself.

Recommended Reading.

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Posted in Atheistic Morality, Recommended Reading. 8 Comments »

Comment Rescue: Why God doesn’t show up in real life.

It’s been a couple months since I moved this blog from the WordPress site to its own domain, but now and then I still find someone has posted a comment back at the old site. Just so they don’t get lost, I’ll be picking them up from time to time and copying them over here.

Our first “rescued” comment comes from “Mr. G,” writing in response to my post on “The apologetics of Paul’s conversion.” Says he:

I find the argument about about why doesn’t Jesus appear to each of us totally absurd. It’s like listening to my sisters arguing with my parents, “Why does she get that and I don’t?” or “Why is hers bigger than mine?” It’s like you want Jesus to appear like a genie from the lamp or a rabbit out of the hat. You can’t just conjure up God and expect Him to come at your beckoned call. Everyone has different conversion experiences. Otherwise, people would expect to see burning bushes like Moses did. Paul did, however, mention that more than 500 people witnessed the risen Savior in 1 Corinthians 15, which was written while many of them were still alive. If anyone doubted his story, they could go to those other witnesses. Plus, if anyone doubted Paul’s story, they could have called the other members of that particular caravan to give their testimony. Any attorney with half a working lobe would have figured that out. The fact that no one doubted his testimony shows that they found his story somewhat credible.
Also, his life after the conversion proves his case. Your argument that he converted because he was a small fish in a big pond doesn’t hold water. Sure, he gained more celebrity after his conversion, but I don’t think it was the kind of attention he would have wanted. He was beaten, whipped, stoned, imprisoned, and ultimately beheaded for his testimony, not to mention that his appearance many times caused rioting. Who wants that kind of publicity, especially for a lie? The fact that he not only stayed with his story and with his beliefs despite the persecution lends more credibility his case because people wouldn’t go to the lengths he did for a lie.

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Posted in Unapologetics. 2 Comments »

Sunday Toons: Liars, Lords, Lunatics and Ghosts

For our Sunday morning toons this week, let’s have a look at Holding’s attempts to rescue his own attempt to rescue C. S. Lewis’s famous “Liar, Lord or Lunatic” argument (aka “the Trilemma”). Holding seems to be replying to an earlier post of mine entitled “Tekton Apologetics on the ‘Lord Liar or Lunatic’ Argument,” even though he entitles his page “On ‘Compromising God’,” referring to a different and unrelated post. He begins by accusing me of trying to change the subject to something “outside the scope” of the trilemma argument.

The main way used to defuse the trilemma is to try to add to it. As I have noted, these efforts are misguided. Dumplin’ whines (as do other) that the trilemma leaves out stuff like, “How do we know Jesus did say these things?” Actually, it doesn’t; that is just outside its scope. The Trilemma does assume that Jesus’ words are recorded accurately; but positing that they weren’t does not dissolve the Trilemma; it goes outside of it.

Notice that Holding assumes that I am trying to argue that the New Testament documents are unreliable records of what Jesus actually said. That is indeed a valid concern, however that was not the point I was trying to make, nor does my post anywhere raise that particular issue. Holding claims I tried to refute the trilemma argument by asking how we know Jesus said such and such, but I never raised any such objection nor did the idea figure in my argument at any point. So right off the bat Holding is attacking a ghostly straw man, a mere figment of his own imagination.

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Posted in CAMWatch, Sunday Toons, Unapologetics. 3 Comments »

XFiles Friday: Evolution of the New Testament Canon

(Book: I Don’t Have Enough FAITH to Be an ATHEIST, by Geisler and Turek, chapter 9.)

Last time, we saw Geisler and Turek argue that it couldn’t be mere coincidence that non-Christian reports of what Christians were saying agreed so closely with what Christians were saying. “How could non-Christian writers collectively reveal a storyline congruent with the New Testament if Jesus never existed?” they proclaim (ignoring the obvious answer: the same way people who are not Sir Arthur Conan Doyle can reveal a consistent storyline about the Hound of the Baskervilles even though Sherlock Holmes never existed).

From here, G&T move on to the question of whether or not the New Testament accounts are believable, which they say hinges on two questions: Do we have accurate copies of the NT texts, and do those documents tell the truth? We’ll look today at the first of these two questions.

Do we have accurate copies of the original New Testament texts? Any Bible college graduate (like me) can tell you that the answer is pretty much yes, due to the very large number of copies we have. As it happens, we have an unusually large number of manuscripts from the second century and later, including not only the canonical New Testament as we have it today, but also a number of apocryphal and pseudepigraphical texts that didn’t quite make the canonical cut. Thanks to this large number of documents, we can scientifically reconstruct what the original text must have been with a high degree of accuracy by applying the same analytical methodology is is used to discover the evolutionary history of modern species.

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D’Souza’s absentee God

A while back, Dinesh D’Souza found himself at a loss for words in a debate with Christopher Hitchens. Hitchens had posed him a question for which he had no glib answer. But, as he writes on, he now thinks he’s got one.

Here is the thrust of Hitchens’ point: God seems to have been napping for 98 percent of human history, finally getting his act together only for the most recent 2 percent? What kind of a bizarre God acts like this?

I’m going to answer this argument in two ways. First, I’m going to show that Hitchens has his math precisely inverted. Second, I’ll reveal how Hitchens’ argument backfires completely on atheism.

Yeah, well, at least he’s going to try.

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TIA Tuesday: The Salvation of Christopher Hitchens

Last week, Vox was telling us that Christopher Hitchens had essentially eviscerated his own arguments, thus “proving” his intellect to be a fatally flawed and impotent one. This week, he’s going to argue that Hitchens is just about ready to become a Christian, or at least a theist. (Hmm, I wonder if those two claims are supposed to be related?) He bases this latter claim on Hitchens’s “four irreducible objections to religious faith.”

If these four objections are truly the basis for Hitchens’s hostility towards God and religion, then the irrepressible atheist may be much closer to returning to the faith of his fathers than anyone suspects, because one of these objections is trivial, one is irrelevant, and the other two are simply wrong.

Hitchens on the verge of seeing the light? This should be interesting.

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Posted in TIA, Unapologetics. 14 Comments »

Metcalfe’s real-life Loki?

You may recall that I reported a story a few days ago about a state representative named Daryl Metcalfe who was to be “honored” with a “Christian Soldier” award from a white supremacist group. Well, there’s more to that story, it seems, and it’s starting to smell funny.

For the past month, Metcalfe, R-Cranberry, has been the subject of an anonymous letter-writing campaign that appears to be run by a white supremacist group called the White Christian Nation…

The group’s letters bear names of people who cannot be found and two post office boxes in Erie that apparently don’t exist…

Meanwhile, the group — or someone who sends mail from Erie with a similar habit of spelling the word “Muslim” as “Muslin” — has sent another letter.

Hmm, I call Loki.

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Posted in Unapologetics. Comments Off on Metcalfe’s real-life Loki?