Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Behold, the Lion of Atheism, John Loftus

So, I hit Randal Rauser's blog recently. I honestly, truly enjoy reading Rauser's thoughts. He's like a young Victor Reppert - liberal, but a sincere Christian, and while he's far more aggressive, he's a guy I can have a conversation with. I appreciate that. I respect it. Good conversations to be had there, even when I disagree with him.

Which is why I was upset when I heard he was co-writing a book with Loftus. You know, what with Loftus being a complete hack and a charlatan.

I decided to tell Randal exactly what I thought of his team-up with Loftus. The funny thing is, I said that Loftus was a poor writer, a mediocre thinker, utterly unprofessional and rather unimpressive. But that's all I said: honest, direct opinion of his relevant "talents", and nothing more. Stinging stuff, I grant you. Pity it's true.

And you can tell it's true because Loftus himself showed up. And wow, way to prove my points. Screaming demands that I be banned because I'm a troll (I've had long conversations with Randal and others on his site, I think I've been polite, and to his credit Randal defended me - and keep in mind, Randal's got some stakes going on since John's his co-author, which makes his act more impressive than normal), accusing me of telling lies about him. I say, alright John - what lies? Link 'em up, let's see these lies I've been telling, because according to my recollection I've either told the truth, or I've given my frank opinion.

John responded by screaming expletives at me, refusing to back up his allegations, and apparently bolting.

It's over now. I withdrew from the thread, and - unless John makes that 'lies' allegation again - I won't be returning to that particular one. But I think it's emblematic of why I have such a particularly low view of Loftus. It's not that he's an atheist. It's that he's such an obvious hack - a mediocrity in all ways - yet he's constantly billing himself as some kind of juggernaut, despite all evidence to the contrary.

It's like watching a bad dancer. If you see some guy on the dance floor and he's just doing a terrible job of dancing, will you make fun of him? Not unless you're a jerk. I mean, the guy is trying, right? Let him have his moment, it's none of your business. But if you see that same guy later on boasting about how he's such a great dancer, and how these OTHER GUYS (who, as a matter of fact, are vastly better than him) suck so bad... that's when it's time to hit the guy with reality. "No, you're actually quite a terrible dancer. You have no rhythm. Your clothes look ugly. You're as graceful as an alcoholic in a bounce house. So stop talking yourself up."

That's why, when Loftus' name comes up, I'm frank. It's not just because he's an incompetent atheist apologist - that's not special at all. It's his penchant for insulting his betters (even fellow atheists!), his 'clearly trying to mask an inferiority complex' boasting, mixed with his utter lack of talent. There's just something so wrong about a hack acting like he's hot shit that keeps me from being able to stay quiet.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Reposted from Unequally Yoked

Was skulking around Libresco's site, doing my bit. I got into the Natural Law Theory conversation too late, but I wanted to reproduce part of a post I made there in response to a question by one of the commenters.

Yvain asked the following:
3. If a gay person is not planning to have heterosexual sex and children and procreation anyway, then assuming they practice sufficiently safe sex and aren’t going to get AIDS or anything, what exactly is the harm of him doing his not-children-having while having gay sex as opposed to while having no sex? It’s still the same amount of procreation either way.
Instead of answering this directly, I’m going to try and answer with a video, and lob some followup questions. For those of you a bit put off by explicit sexual talk, uh… you probably should skip the rest of my comment, and certainly the video. For those of you willing, have a look at the video because the rest of my comment is going to rely on it to frame the conversation.
To Yvain, and anyone else who cares to answer (pro- or anti-natural law), I ask a simple question.
Can Doug Thomas’ sexual desires rightly be called disordered?
Would it be morally right for friends and family of Doug Thomas to discourage, if only intellectually, his sexual desires, or counsel him to get over or change them?
I’m doing this for clarification to continue discussing this from a Natural Law perspective, and because I think this is the elephant in the room that both sides in this thread are dancing around. Yvain has asked “What’s the harm?” — to answer that, I have to ask Yvain and others if what Doug Thomas is engaging in can be viewed as harm, in and of itself. Or maybe, “damage”. Is there something wrong with Doug? Can we say Doug is “damaged” based on his activity and his preferences?
See, the Natural Law theorist is going to say, yes, there’s something wrong with Doug. His desires are disordered. His activity is ‘damage’. It’s not that what he’s doing ‘will lead to some damage’ – it IS damage. That’s a major disconnect between the two sides here, since opponents of Natural Law thinking seem to be waiting for NT proponents to start arguing ‘what damage will be caused by such and such sexual activity’, as if the problem with anal sex is that maybe it will lead to disaster later.
So again, I ask: is there something wrong with Doug? And keep in mind, we can get into far, far darker examples (guro, misogynist fantasies, etc) with Doug, while maintaining what I believe are the important core features that make the example relevant (the self-will, the lack of obvious and immediate harm to others, etc.) But I think the video retains the essentials in a relaxed enough way, for now. Plus I’m a John C. Reilly fan.

Headline Dishonesty

Let's examine this headline.

Something funny happened here. Something really, really funny. But you wouldn't notice it by reading the article.

Let's have a good look at the timeline.

We have an "openly lesbian" lawmaker - the first openly lesbian lawmaker - getting elected in Texas. Apparently, before that, she was bisexual.

Now, she's pansexual. The article bills this as "going even further".

You know what I call it? "Yet another lesbian discovered she actually quite likes men at times."

Now that is headline worthy, but Huffington Post doesn't touch that one with a ten foot pole. Hell, they don't even ask her, "So uh... are you sure this time? I mean, your sexual orientation has switched several times now in adulthood. Can we expect this one to last, or..?"

Nope. She just switched sexuality, and got lauded for it. No one bats an eye.

If I were the reporter on duty, I'd have asked her, "So, did Exodus International help you with this change?"

Paul Ryan Contra Rand, Pro... Distributivism?

So says this site, anyway.

Didn't expect to see someone friendly to Distributivism on the ticket this year. Hell, I may actually vote for this pair now.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Chik-fil-a Story Blackout Alleged

So the claim goes.

And if it's true, well, it's just one more piece of evidence about what's really changing minds in these debates. Arguments? Rational thought? Please.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

The Gay Issue

Recently I had the pleasure of having a back and forth discussion with cl over at the extremely well-titled The Warfare Is Mental. I owe him (even though he's released me from the responsibility) a secular argument against gay marriage, but for now, I want to respond to a question that came up.

Why the focus on gay marriage? Hell, why the focus on "homosexuality" whatsoever? There's an abundance of sin in the world, an abundance of hypocrisy, all kinds of worthy topics. Why does this particular issue draw so much attention? Why does it seem like this is one of THE trigger issues for Christians (maybe alongside abortion, which comparatively seems a lot more worthy of attention in terms of gravity)?

Cl speculates, to whatever degree, that bigotry is the cause. He qualifies this, he opposes gay marriage while at the same time being up in the air politically (Correct me, cl, if I misrepresent you here - you said Winteryknight's post flipped you on this, but I don't know how far that runs), he says he understands that a certain amount of backlash is involved, but he still thinks there's some bigotry in play. I imagine this is hard to quantify.

So, this post is dedicated to explaining why the issue fascinates me.

On we go.