Thursday, March 10, 2011

The Deludo Department, Part 2

So, let’s now look at John’s last 5 signs of delusion and see how I rate…

6) Lies in order to defend one's faith. There are plenty of examples of this, from faking stories about finding Noah's Ark, to fudging the truth when there is no reasonable response, to making up personal healing stories, to claiming a conversion from a position of intellectual atheism (versus a practical atheism) to Evangelical Christianity like Lee Strobel and David Wood, to personal and unjustified attacks on anyone who questions one's faith in order to poison the well against them, to debate tactics like the ones used by Bill Craig and Dinesh D'Souza who as debaters, just like boxers in a ring, are out to win the debate no matter what must be said in order to win it. These are liars for Jesus to various degrees. If you have to lie to defend your faith then you need help.

Wow. Talk about irony. As Nick Peters, has noted, never mind that Loftus provides no evidence that Strobel and the rest are lying; this is like Hugh Hefner speaking against sex outside of marriage. Never mind also whether the “attacks” reflect the truth – clearly Loftus just wants to place questions about his own moral character off limits, because he knows that if he doesn’t, it will raise suspicions any time he says to someone, “Trust me. I know better than these guys.”

In any event, one online fundy atheist who tried his best to pin lies on me could come up with no more than seven weak examples over a dozen years – and they all stank. (Link below.) So on that one, I pass again.

7) Preaches to people who think differently rather than rationally engaging them. I am constantly amazed, bewildered, frustrated, and bored with the kind of responses I see from believers who comment here at DC. They come here preaching. They pontificate. They quote mine from the Bible. They even say we're going to hell with glee. Many of them merely mouth the words of the creeds and affirm what they believe, rather than actually engaging us with a rational discussion about the basis for believing in the first place. They come here preaching to us from an ancient superstitious set of texts rather than showing us why we should believe them in the first place.

As Nick points out, Loftus “preaches” all the time. His blog and his comments there have a notable lack of rational exchange. This is just Loftus paying lip service to the idea as a way of trying to get himself into more respectable circles. As Nick says, “when he can't win that way, he'll violate it immediately.”
But anyway, I pass again. In fact one other fundy atheist once remarked he was surprised that I didn’t do this. Score.

8) Claims he or she does not need evidence to believe. Take notice Alvin Plantinga and Bill Craig! This is utterly delusional thinking especially when we consider all of the things they must take as properly basic beliefs coming from the witness of the Holy Spirit. As someone said, "what can be asserted without evidence can also be dismissed without evidence." Anyone who claims his or her faith does not need evidence, even if true, ought to take a reality check.

Well, that sure isn’t me. I place evidence front and center – and regard evidence as central to faith.

9) Must be convinced that his or her faith is impossible before seeing it as improbable. Time after time believers will claim I have not proved that their faith is impossible, and so lacking this kind of proof they still claim to have a reason to believe. However, we're always talking about probabilities. So even if it's still possible to believe in light of a number of problems for faith, it's still an improbable faith and that should be good enough.

I don’t do this either. Nuff said.

10) Must denigrate the sciences in order to have faith. This is what I see time after time. Believers denigrate the sciences in a number of ways in order to believe. That's because faith demands it. Some believers don't even know what I'm talking about. Since science tells us prayer doesn't work then it doesn't work. It tells us the universe is 13.7 billion years old. It tells us we evolved. It tells us there was no Israelite Exodus from Egypt. It tells us the Nativity stories in the Gospels could not be true. It tells us virgins do not have babies. It tells us that dead people do not bodily rise from the grave. Christians must denigrate science in order to believe. Science or Faith? Science has a track record. Faith flies planes into buildings. Science all the way, hands down. End of story.

I have never denigrated the sciences because I don’t discuss them. But I have told Loftus repeatedly that his views on prayer are misguided, and corrected him repeatedly on why science and miracles are not at odds. He just doesn’tlet it stick. Nick summed it up well:

Actually, science doesn't tell us anything. Scientists using science do. Science cannot also tell us that historical events of a miraculous nature did not happen. My question is always the same to these types. When did scientists discover that it takes sex between a man and a woman to make a baby? How was it discovered? Who discovered it? When did they discover that dead people don't naturally come back to life?

Note also at the end that Loftus just rips off of Dawkins who said science flies us to the moon and religion flies planes into buildings. Never mind as Copan said that those religionists are just dancing to their DNA per what Dawkins said. Also, who gave the planes to fly into the buildings? Was it not scientists? Was it not science that was responsible for the experiments on Jews in World War 2? Did science give us the desire to build hospitals, teach literacy, and care for the poor? It certainly improved our methods to do so, but it did not give the desire or imperative. It can't. Of course, to Loftus, this is bashing science. It's bashing science if you say there is truth outside of science. Keep in mind DJ has no credentials in science. Then why is he suddenly saying this? Because he's just following the lead of Keith Parsons and the new atheists.

So there you have it – I’m 0 for 10 in the Delusion Department. Oh well – guess that means John will have to pretend to ignore the hard data arguments again, instead of resorting to another accusatory genetic fallacy.



  1. It's a common assessment of his nature...Nick says that satellites can never get a clear image on Indiana these days because his head is always in the way.

  2. Nick certainly has a way with words.

    Actually based on this I'd be tempted to label Loftus a narcissist with sociopathic tendencies.

    Was it Loftus who wanted people who debated him to agree to renounce Christianity if they lost? If so it's bad form, because just about every Christian he's debated has beaten him like the proverbial red-headed stepchild, yet he remains an atheist.

    Calling David and Bill liars is equally bad form. Losing graciously is obviously not something that comes with practise.

    Once upon a time I considered becoming familiar with all atheistic arguments and then going around debating other Christians. Not that I had any doubts about the outcome, but at least when I lost the apologist wouldn't have to deal with a child's whining all the time.

  3. I am not aware if Loftus made such a challenge but it does sound like something he would do. Though I think he'd be more likely to try to sell them his book.

  4. "Hey, before you debate me, buy my book, okay? My arguments are all in there and you absolutely must buy my book so that you can engage me in a fair debate. It's only fair that you buy my book and know what I am about to argue before giving your own opinions which, for the life of me, I wouldn't really care about, and you can't possibly know the sort of arguments I am going to use if you don't buy my book. Did I mention that you must also buy my book?"

  5. "I'll get it used, if you don't mind, John."

  6. I know that this is four years later, but Metacrock did a blog entry about this in 2012:

    Atheistwatch: Loftus is Projecting Again