June 17, 2024

What’s with all this pointless posturing?

What is wrong with these fundie types that they think the way to challenge someone to debate is to insult them? When will they learn that all this huffing and bluffing and puffing up can’t work on someone like me?  And I mean, not on any level.  This guy thinks I’ll respond to him because he’ll call me a coward if I don’t. Really? Who does he take me for? Marty McFly?

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He says I’m afraid of him. I’ve never even seen his face before this evening. I have heard of him though. All I heard was that he’s just another rude shit-talker who can’t comport himself. What would be the point then? I feel no obligation to argue with someone who just wants to spit stupidity at me, but can’t understand anything I try to explain back.  I have a goal in these discussions, and that is to make a point. I want a meeting of the minds, but guys like this just wants to butt heads.

So a few years ago, I posted my rule with regard to debate challenges: I won’t debate anyone who nominates himself. If you have a following, and they say that you represent them, that’s different, because beating you would mean defeating the idea you defend in the minds of those who look up to you. Even if I can’t convince you, maybe I can convince them. Either way, it’s a package deal and I think there would be some value in that.  Consequently, I’ve never had a formal debate yet. So far everyone I’ve ever argued this with by appointment was at the request of 3rd parties on someone’s radio show.

I do sometimes do written debates and archive them for posterity. I think there’s value in those discussions too.  This also shows how wrong G’man is right out the gate.  He accuses me of being afraid of, and hiding from, or otherwise avoiding TrueEmpiricism. But I’ve already walked on TrueEmpiricism as a matter of public record.  How could I be afraid of him?. There’s no possible threat there.

And that’s the biggest point:  If your position is a matter of make-believe, then you’ll act like a show of confidence trumps all else, when it really doesn’t mean squat, and such a person could still be intimidated by these types of challenges too.  I can’t.  Why? Because if accuracy and accountability are all that matter, then people like G’man could never pose any intellectual threat.  He still couldn’t even if he was right!  I do not hold my beliefs on faith like he does. So I’m not determined to defend that faith even if it’s wrong.  That’s THEIR way, not mine.  Why would I want to believe something that required faith, and wasn’t evidently true?  If some believer was actually right, I would want to find that out; I want to be right too!  So if he could actually show that he was right, I would still win, because I would have learned something. I would thank him for correcting me, and I could follow the new path.  But after decades of arguing with these people, and never meeting one who even understands his own position, let alone mine, then I know what to expect. Nothing -again. Just loud empty talk.  If you had a point to make, G’man, you’d have made it already.

24 thoughts on “What’s with all this pointless posturing?

  1. That Gman fool sounds nervous and looks like he’s watching a tennis match at the same time as he’s talking there going by the number of times he looks first one way then the other.

  2. Gman spouts off about the Bible being supposedly true. but doesn’t know how much scientific evidence there is to discount fairytale BS like the flood. The guy is completely oblivious to reality.

  3. “Nobody… calls my positions… untenable.”

    Heh. “Preaching To The Choir Ministries.” Interesting choice of title.

  4. AronRa,

    I first want to thank you for your video series on creationism. Up until the moment I found them I tried to come up with my own version of creationism. Even as a young kid I realized that every version of creationism I ever encountered made no sense at all, but that didn’t stop me from speculating about a ‘rational’ version of creationism. Until I came across your videos and some articles on talk.origins and rationalwiki. That’s the point where I realized that there can not be a coherent version of creationism, because the facts do not only contradict creationism, but also indicate a conclusion that is incompatible with any form of creationism, and consequently I gave up on creationism.

    I have a question. In the conversation with TrueEmpiricism you mentioned ‘Bibliolarity’. Could you clarify a few things about what you mean by this word?

    You’ve said:

    “If you’re unable to distinguish doctrine from deity, if you worship man-made mythologies over your imagined creator of reality itself, then you’re into Bibliolatry, and that’s what creationism is.”

    I agree that the authority of the Bible is very important to creationists. I grew up in a dutch protestant reformed church-ish background. All denominations agree that worshipping a book is not good. In that sense, they’d condemn Bibliolarity as idolarity. Yet at the same time biblical authority is a very important topic to them. They say that you can’t be a good christian if you reject biblical authority and make up your own ideas about worship. You need the bible to worship their god. (“Nature tells us there’s a god, but the Bible tells us who he is and how to worship him”, that’s how general and special revelation was explained to me.)

    “You need the bible to know how to properly worship god.” is I think a good summary of their position. Is that, according to you, Bibliolarity?

    Because if it is, then every christian is by definition a Bibliola(-tor?-trist?-tard?). And everyone else who ascribes some significance to their holy book when relating to their deity is a ‘their-book-ist’. Everyone who accepts some authority that is not identical to the being they worship would be a ‘that-authority-ist’.

    I don’t know of any christians that do not attribute any authority to the bible. Christians selectively ignore parts of the Bible, but I’ve never met one that ascribed no authority to any part of the bible whatsoever (this includes name, title page and cover, because some people ignore everything except that…). No christian can explicitly deny the authority of the bible, even if they implicitly do so. Because when you explicitly deny the authority of the bible, you cease to be a christian for all practical purposes. I think the same reasoning applies to other religions that have ‘holy books’ or any other documents that have some authority.

    But then the word ‘Bibliolarity’ becomes synonymous with ‘christianity’, ‘Qur’an-iolarity’ becomes synonymous with ‘islam’. I’m not very familiar with Hinduism or other eastern religions, but it may be so that ‘Veda-iolarity’ would be synonymous with hinduism or any other religion derived from the Vedic scriptures.

    If it is not Bibliolarity, then what does count as Bibliolarity? The only thing I can think of is explicitly revering the bible as the most important thing ever while explicitly denouncing any other deity beyond the bible itself. I’m not aware of anyone doing that, not even creationists.

    To summarize my question:

    I know christians that insist on distinguishing between doctrine and deity while they are creationists because they ascribe some quantity of authority to the bible.

    Do they engage in Bibliolarity or do they not?


    1. Creationism is a form of religious extremism. Whereas most Christians appear to be OK with believing only portions of the Bible, or treating much of it as metaphor, creationism actually posits that the Bible must take precedence even when we can prove it wrong. There are those who say that if the Bible said that 2+2=5, they’d believe it, or that if the Bible said that Noah swallowed the whale, they’d believe it, that any scientific fact that proves the Bible wrong, must be false because the Bible has to trump reality itself wherever necessary. All this has little if anything to do with theism otherwise. Creationism is defense of mythology, not theology.

      1. I think I understand now. I pictured Bibliolatry as explicit reverence of the Bible itself as more important than god. But it’s not about how they deal with the Bible as an object. It’s about what level of authority they acribe to the Bible compared to god. Most Christians ascribe some authority to the Bible, but Creationists implicitly ascribe more authority to the Bible than to god himself. Creationists get their revelations from the Bible instead of a personal relationship with god. That’s why it’s called Bibliolatry. Most other Christians claim revelation directly from god. Bibliolatry and direct revelation from god both are ‘glimpses of the untrue’, but for different reasons.

  5. wirebash @6

    “You need the bible to know how to properly worship god.” is I think a good summary of their position. Is that, according to you, Bibliolarity?

    I’m not Aron but I’ll give my own ideas on this subject.

    The Biblical literalists, those who claim every word in the Bible was dictated by God and it all must be taken as word for word true, indulge in Bibliolarity. These are the people who specifically deny reality because it doesn’t match what’s in the Bible. The rest of Christianity sees the Bible as a guide for worshiping God. That’s what lets them cherry pick the parts they like and ignore the parts they don’t like. Various Christian sects disagree on which Biblical parts they can ignore and which they should pay attention to.

    Creationists are Bibliolarists (I think that’s the word) because they worship the Bible. It’s always struck me as being quite disrespectful to their god because they claim their god created the entire universe but hold that one book is more important than the rest of their god’s creation.

    There are Christians who practice Bibliolarity and those who do not. Biblical literalists are the ones who engage in Biblioarity. The other Christians don’t have that particular defect.

  6. I guess the easy way to remember it is that it’s idolatry, except it’s specifically idolatry of a book.

  7. Thank you for the correction, Ibis3.

    <Walks away, muttering Bibliolatry, Bibliolatry, Bibliolatry>

  8. G-man…. what a dunce. Every time I hear him, I think he just doesn’t get it. He honestly thinks that his songs will convert people? I remember him saying things like “Just wait for my next song…” and implying that it was going to sway everyone’s point of view. Also, he claims that he knows the Bible better than Aron…. I would challenge that assertion. The fact is that most Christians don’t know the Bible very well. They get their doctrine spoon-fed to them once or twice (sometimes three times) per week, and that’s all they need to know. I grew up in a Christian household, my grandfather and step-grandfather were both Baptist preachers, and I can win a Bible challenge with anyone in my family, just from what I’ve learned SINCE becoming an Atheist, although I also knew more from it when I was growing up than did the adults around me who carried a Bible to church on Sunday but had never opened it.

  9. @ Ibis3: thanks, bibliolatry it is 🙂

    @ Al Dente: The wikipedia article on bibliolatry also says that biblical literalism = bibliolatry. But at the same time I’ve met many creationists who hold the view that it is insulting to god to say that his word may not be the literal truth and to not believe god when he says that he created the earth in 6 days.

    Remember that every christian sees the bible as a guide, some more so than others. Does that mean that all christians are bibliolatrists?

    Or maybe a better question would be: at what point does ascribing authority to the bible become bibliolatry?

  10. Announcer: And now it’s time, once again, for the eternally thrilling, soul-saving adventures of—

    [dramatic pause, punctuated by a dramatic orchestral ‘sting’]

    Announcer: Biblee O’Latry, Freelance Shaman!

    [cue: BIBLEE O’LATRY theme music]

    Announcer: When last we saw Biblee, he and his faithful sidekick Seamus, the Infinite Altar Boy, they were trapped in the secret ecclesiastical prison of the vile MegaPope…

  11. Invite him to the League of Reason. Arguing something like this live does not make much sense. It is far better to write out a response, and provide citations.

  12. Nice, he even gets the concept of positive and negative statements the reversed when he claims that calling the Bible incorrect is itself a positive statement that needs to be proven. So, not much point trying to engage this clown in debate when he doesn’t even have the basic idea of the burden of evidence the right way around.

    This is like Mike Tyson being challenged to a boxing match by Rick Moranis. And then having Rick call Mike a coward for not bothering to waste his time.

    1. Starting that the Bible is incorrect IS a positive claim, man. That isn’t where his problem lies. The problem is that the Bible has been demonstrated to be incorrect about a huge number of things, from science to basic history. There are a great many things wrong with the history presented in the New Testament, and the Old Testament is flat-out made up, before about 700 or 800 BCE.

      If you said that you don’t accept the Bible because it hasn’t been sufficiently supported by corroborating evidence, THEN you’ve avoided a positive claim.

  13. This guy’s called in to aetv on a couple of occasions and has, according to Matt D, been pretty dishonest in email exchanges with the cast and crew.

    He’s all bluster and no content.

    I wouldn’t touch him with someone else’s…

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