Friday, May 20, 2011

Pounding the Pipsqueak

Today on TektonTV I will be loading two vids; one is a revamp of an older one in which I parodied the bad arguments and poor production values of a particular atheist, and I have reworked this into an all-purpose “how not to respond to TektonTV” narrative.

The other vid, though, will be new, and is another jab at the street-corner Napoleon Skeptic styled ReligionFreeDeist (RFD).

RFD had made the absurd claim that scholars were “pressured” to support ministries that were orthodox in their creeds, even if they happened to do things that they otherwise disagreed with (in my case, using satire and riposte against Skeptics). In reply I requested 5 examples of this alleged pressure, including names of scholars and proof that they would not have supported a given ministry apart from this alleged pressure; and, a report of what sort of “pressure” was used.

RFD ignored this and other questions initially, but after being pressed by another user, gave responses – not that they were satisfactory. In response to this particular question, he 1) expressed amazement that I would even dispute that it happened; 2) perversely took my demand for 5 examples as proof that I knew it did happen; 3) admitted that he didn’t have five examples (!), but 4) had one, which he had been told in confidence, which we could choose to believe or not, but he wasn’t telling us what it was, now let’s move on, shall we.

Uh uh. Not so fast, small fry.

One secret example, sorry, isn’t sufficient to sustain such a wild and sweeping generalization about scholars. Not even 5 examples would have been enough, but I chose that number, in fact (and later reduced it to three and then two, in YT annotations) knowing full well that RFD was blowing smoke. He has a bad habit of overextending himself with hyperbole, and then making excuses and/or parsing his words after the fact. In this case, his explanations above actually self-contradict openly in substance (1 and 2 vs 3 and 4); how could he possibly argue for widespread “pressure” if all he ever knew was one example? And indeed, since he won’t share it, how do we even know it was applicable, and that it passes all the necessary tests? Yet he’s the one flabbergasted that I don’t believe that it happens the way he claims. Duh ha…

Scholars pressured? Spare me. Dan Wallace serves as an example of one sort; you don’t tell him what to do, no matter who you are. He’d laugh in the face of any attempts at “pressure” and doesn’t hesitate to share his opinions. In other cases, endorsements will be offered with caveats: Yes, he does great work on X, but he’s a preterist, or he thinks hell’s fires are not literal, or he thinks hell’s fires are literal, or he delivers heavy satiric blows. That’s obviously not the sort of thing RFD has in mind, though, since it involves a personal decision to endorse with qualification that requires no “pressure” to arrive at. What his initial claim indicated was that, were it not for some defined, definitive “pressure,” X scholar would not be endorsing X ministry at all. That was a rather high bar to set – and now he’s ending up with that bar stuck in his mouth like a horse’s bridle.

I have never let loudmouthed Skeptics get away with such claims at any point, and at YT, it seems they’ve been at it for so long with no one calling them down for it that they don’t know what to do when they do get called down. Today’s vid satirizes RFD’s “search” for 5 examples and his failure to produce them. No doubt he’ll whine and cry and posture in response, but there’s only about a .0001% chance he’ll do what he ought to do – justify his wide-ranging and absurd claim about scholars with some actual examples.

By the way, despite RFD’s wishful thinking, the model for my “5…3...2” reduction was actually the story in Genesis of how God negotiated with Abraham for the rescue of Sodom and Gomorrah. God told Abraham he’d spare the cities if he could find, in turn, a slowly reducing number of righteous persons in those locales. As it happens, Abraham couldn’t meet even the least stringent requirement – and neither, clearly, can RFD.

I say in the vid that the “pressure” will continue until RFD admits he is overgeneralizing or else produces 5 examples. The one thing that makes that difficult is that he’s an intellectual pipsqueak who doesn’t have a lot to say – but there’s enough for me to take on for a little while if he doesn’t cry “uncle”. In short order.

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