TIA Tuesday: The Disingenuous Vox Day

Vox Day has assembled Chapter 14 of TIA out of a long series of  inadequate and poorly-reasoned drive-by pot shots at atheists, under the rubric of “Occam’s Chainsaw.” Their sole redeeming feature thus far has been that at least they were short. Today, however, we get to a section that is substantially longer, but without (alas) contributing anything of substance. It’s a rehash of the same tired rant Vox has been using all along: that because he (Vox) does not understand the material and secular basis of morality, it therefore does not exist, and atheists have no rational reason to behave morally. Hence the section title: “The Irrationality of Atheism.”

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Posted in Atheistic Morality, Society, TIA. 4 Comments »

Rationalizing unfulfilled prophecy

Via Answer the Skeptic comes this fascinating look at how educated and intelligent Christians rationalize the problem of unfulfilled prophecies in the Bible:

In sharp contrast to the standard ancient Greek view of prophecy, inspired prophecies in the Old Testament (and, I would add, at least one in the New Testament, see Ac 21:10-11, cf. 26-33) are not always fulfilled, at least not in the exact way they were originally prophesied.

For example, Jeremiah prophesied that Jehoiakim would die a dishonorable death. It is said that no one would mourn for him and that his corpse would be dragged around and thrown outside the gates of Jerusalem, left unburied to decompose in the sun (Jere. 22:18-19, cf. 36:30). Not only this, but it was prophesied that no descendent of his would sit on the throne (Jere. 36:30-31). As it turned out, however, Jehoiakim received a proper burial and his son succeeded him as king (2 Kg. 24:6). What are we to make of this?

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Posted in Unapologetics. 9 Comments »

XFiles Friday: Reinforcing the error

(Book: I Don’t Have Enough FAITH to Be an ATHEIST, by Geisler and Turek, chapter 11.)

Studies have shown that eyewitness testimony is not always as reliable and accurate as one might expect: under certain circumstances, people who witness the same real-world event will give reports that contradict both each other and photographic records of the actual event.

Last week, we saw how Geisler and Turek take this scientific finding and use it to reach the rather perverse conclusion that, since eyewitnesses of actual events sometimes give conflicting reports, we ought to believe that people who tell conflicting stories must therefore be eyewitnesses of actual events, and therefore contradictory stories about the resurrection must be true! This is an obvious fallacy, and it’s interesting to watch Geisler and Turek try and buttress their argument. The added material is no better, as we shall see.

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Posted in IDHEFTBA, Unapologetics, XFiles. 1 Comment »

Too good to pass up

From the fail blog…

 
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Welcome to Equestria

There’s an interview with Dinesh D’Souza up at “Salvo” Mag that quotes him as saying some remarkably silly things. For example, he trots out his incredibly lame “unicorn” argument, thusly:

I don’t believe in unicorns, so I just go about my life as if there are no unicorns. You’ll notice that I haven’t written any books called The End of the Unicorn, Unicorns Are Not Great, or The Unicorn Delusion, and I don’t spend my time obsessing about unicorns. What I’m getting at is that you have these people out there who don’t believe that God exists, but who are actively attempting to eliminate religion from society, setting up atheist video shows, and having atheist conferences. There has to be more going on here than mere unbelief.

I think Mr. D’Souza is suffering from a too-provincial worldview. He needs to get out more and experience the world as it exists outside of his parochial blinders. With that in mind, let’s borrow Mr. D’Souza for a while, and transport him to that wonderful, magical land of Equestria.

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Posted in Unapologetics. 17 Comments »

TIA Tuesday: An exercise in rationalization

We’ve got a special treat for this week’s installment of TIA Tuesday: a textbook example of manufacturing an argument whose sole virtue is that it gives Vox a pretext for calling the other guys wrong. He calls it his response to “the argument from superior morals.”

There are many atheists who live lives that are morally exemplary according to religious standards. This causes some atheists to claim that this exemplary behavior is evidence of atheist moral superiority, because the atheist is behaving in a moral manner of his own volition, not due to any fear of being eternally damned or zapped by a lightning bolt hurled by an offended sky deity. However, this is a logical error, because while motivation plays a role in how we judge immoral actions, there are no similar gradations of that which is morally correct. There are many evils, there is only one Good.

Only one Good? Is this perhaps a reflection of Jesus’ remarks that only God is good? No, it’s not even that sophisticated. There is only one Good because Vox needs an excuse to deny the existence of the Better, and thus make it impossible, by definition, for atheists to be better than believers.

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Posted in Atheistic Morality, TIA. 4 Comments »

Colson gets one right, sorta.

I do tend to pick on Chuck Colson, but every now and then he gets one right—or at least, sorta right.

[W]hile the world becomes increasingly scrupulous to all sorts of rights, including the “rights” of animals and even plants (I’m not kidding), it largely ignores the ongoing assault on the most fundamental human right: religious freedom, freedom of conscience.

So while commentators were consumed with the results of California’s Proposition 8, banning same-sex marriage, they missed what was going at a special assembly of the UN. There, Islamic nations led by Saudi Arabia made progress toward criminalizing blasphemy.

Bit of unconscious irony there: being “consumed” with the results of Proposition Hate is hardly the best example one could find for a world “ignoring the ongoing assault on freedom of conscience.” But he is right to be alarmed by the UN Resolution condemning free speech about religion.

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Posted in Current Events, Society, Unapologetics. 1 Comment »

“Fan” mail

From time to time I see references to this blog in the comments people submit to other blogs. They’re especially interesting when they come from Vox Day supporters, like this one does. I’m particularly fascinated when Vox’s supporters find fault with my arguments at the precise points where I agree with Vox.

For example, in referring to last Tuesday’s TIA post, “Mike T” writes:

It is a very weak argument, that fails to even understand the point that Vox was making that the Golden Rule is simply not a moral statement at all because it provides no inherent, objective guidance on what we should do. If a psychopath or a sociopath were to follow the golden rule as the foundation of their moral code, it could lead to some extremely *ahem* “interesting” situations. Hence why Vox said that the Golden Rule only makes sense as a means of applying a pre-existing, objective moral system to your actions.

Mind you, Vox didn’t actually say that the Golden Rule makes sense as a means of applying a pre-existing, objective moral system (at least not in Chapter 14 of TIA), but he did say that it was not a perfect basis for determining morality, and I did agree that “Yes, the Golden Rule is not a perfect and infallible guide to morality.” But if agreeing with Vox makes my argument weaker, then perhaps I ought to revisit the topic.

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Posted in Atheistic Morality, The Gypsy Curse, TIA, Unapologetics. 1 Comment »

XFiles Friday: Deja vu

(Book: I Don’t Have Enough FAITH to Be an ATHEIST, by Geisler and Turek, chapter 11.)

Let’s see, where were we? Oh yes, we’re up to Number 6 on Geisler and Turek’s Top Ten list of why we ought to believe everything the New Testament writers tell us, no matter what. And hey, déjà vu!

6. The New Testament Writers Include More than Thirty Historically Confirmed People In Their Writings

This critical point bears repeating. The New Testament documents cannot have been invented because they contain too many historically confirmed characters…

And The Wild, Wild West cannot be fiction because it mentions Ulysses S. Grant.

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Posted in IDHEFTBA, Unapologetics, XFiles. 3 Comments »

Poll: Calif. gay marriage ban driven by religion

In a poll that will surprise probably no one, the Public Policy Institute of California
reports that Christian convictions were one of two factors strongly linked to the success of California’s Proposition Hate—er, sorry, Proposition 8.

Voters’ economic status and religious convictions played a greater role than race and age in determining whether they supported the Nov. 4 ballot measure outlawing same-sex marriage in California, a new poll shows.

The ban drew its strongest support from both evangelical Christians and voters who didn’t attend college, according to results released Wednesday by the Public Policy Institute of California.

I’m a bit pressed for time today, so I’ll just mention this in passing, but it does confirm what people have been saying all along: Christianity is leading the oppression of gays. It’s not just a harmless, personal belief. It causes people to inflict deep and enduring suffering on others, just to satisfy their own selfish bigotry.

 
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Posted in Society. 3 Comments »