The Cowboy Who Wasn't There: E-book Companion Site

Monday, September 21, 2009

A Tale Told by an Idiot

John Loftus must have at least 20 feet, because it seems like he has a whole lot to put in his mouth. In a post titled "History, Faith and the Real William Shakespeare" poor John used Wikipedia as a reliable source -- which is dumb enough as is -- to support the even dumber argument that "there is a great amount of doubt about who he [Shakespeare] actually was..."

What this is, rather, is yet more evidence that John Loftus doesn't do serious checking on anything whatsoever before he opens his big fat yammer.

As James Hannam wrote for me in Shattering the Christ Myth, there is NO doubt about who Shakespeare was -- except among fringe loony tunes, the sort of people who would edit Wikipedia. I'll quote liberally from Hannam (you can find this at


Deep inside the vaguely fascist edifice of the University of London’s Senate House is a room that the university authorities view with some embarrassment. It forms part of the library and is mainly used for seminars and evening studies. I spent many happy hours there myself learning how to read Anglo Saxon manuscripts. Before class began, I once took the opportunity to scan the spines of the books that line the room’s walls. They formed an incoherent collection relating to late Tudor literature, textual criticism, cryptology and William Shakespeare. I learnt from the professor who took our class that the books all belonged to a certain Sir Edwin Durning-Lawrence (d. 1914) who donated them to the library, with a substantial sum of money, on condition that they remained together in their original cabinets. The library was not too keen on the books but it wanted the cash so the deal was struck.

You almost certainly haven’t heard of Sir Edwin Durning-Lawrence and neither had I until I found myself sitting in his room. So, why is the University of London embarrassed about him? Well, imagine if the library at Yale had a Graham Hancock Room full of books devoted to proving the existence of Atlantis. Or that Princeton accepted the Dan Brown Collection, containing the source material for the Da Vinci Code. That is how most academics feel about the life’s work of Sir Edwin Durning-Lawrence – for he set out to prove that Sir Francis Bacon wrote the works of Shakespeare.

In fact, you could fill a fair-sized library with all the volumes from the subgenre devoted to showing that Shakespeare didn’t write Shakespeare. It is not just Sir Francis Bacon who is fingered. Christopher Marlowe is the current culprit of choice, even though he died before most of Shakespeare’s plays were written. Edward de Vere, Earl of Oxford, was a blameless Tudor aristocrat who was no more capable of penning King Lear than I am, but several ‘researchers’ have produced books claiming that he did just that. There is even a special name attached to those who deny the blindingly obvious fact that Shakespeare wrote his plays. They are called anti-Stratfordians.

Capacious though the output of the anti-Stratfordians may be, it has evinced little or no reaction from mainstream Shakespearean scholarship. Most critics do not want to give the harebrained idea any more exposure than it receives already. However, Professor Sir Brian Vickers, in the guise of a book review of the latest anti-Stratfordian tome, gave the whole lot of them a good blasting with both barrels in the Times Literary Supplement in 2005. And Professor Jonathan Bate (1958 –) devoted a chapter in his excellent book The Genius of Shakespeare (1997) to trying to understand the reluctance of so many people to give the Bard his due. It is worth mentioning that Vickers and Bate, eminent scholars that they both may be, agree on almost nothing apart from the absurdity of the anti-Stratfordians. Indeed, I would be reluctant to have them both of them around for tea at the same time in case their disagreement on the virtues of the First Folio descended into physical violence.

Bate suggests there are three reasons why people are prepared to believe that Shakespeare didn’t write his plays. The first is the lack of any original manuscripts. We tend to make a fetish of a certain kind of physical evidence and when it is not present, become unreasonably sceptical about everything else. As it happens, several documents signed by Shakespeare do exist but these not include any of his plays.

The second reason is that most people do not have a sufficient background in the subject to properly evaluate the evidence. Anti-Stratfordians tend to be amateurs who have not read enough on Elizabethan theatre to see just how wildly implausible their ideas are. Let me give you an analogy. I can recognise the difference between a Yorkshire and Lancashire accent without very much trouble because I am English. I would never mistake an Irishman for a Scotsman. On the other hand, when I was living in New Jersey, I was frequently assumed to be Irish and had no idea that Californians sound different to Texans. Distinguishing accents isn’t something you tend to be taught. Rather you learn it by experience and by being immersed in a particular culture. It’s the same with history. If you have been studying a period for long enough, ideas like the anti-Stratfordians’ are as obviously incongruous as a baseball bat on a cricket pitch.
The third reason that Shakespeare is frequently denied the credit for his plays is that after he died, he was deified. His reputation today is so stratospheric that it seems implausible that a grammar school boy from a small town in the Midlands could have achieved what he did. Much is made of the fact he never went to university or that he had bourgeois origins. Surely the man who reached such heights of greatness must have been born of the nobility or at least attended Oxford or Cambridge. The normality of Shakespeare’s life trips us up. He was a successful business man and professional actor as well as playwright whose career we can trace quite accurately. Furthermore, he was recognised as extremely gifted during his lifetime. It made him rich.

... The nature of the evidence brought forward by conspiracy theories is much the same whatever the subject. There is a false belief that we have relatively little contemporary evidence for the life of Shakespeare or Jesus. In fact, we know far more about both of them than almost any other personage of their times, barring military heroes and royalty. Likewise, the theorists tend to present contrived readings of the relevant texts, claiming they provide clues that simply do not stack up to careful analysis. Furthermore, the perfectly good testimony we do have for the orthodox view is rejected by the conspiracy theorist for bogus reasons. For Shakespeare we are told that all his fellow actors were in on the deception. While with Jesus, we are told we cannot trust any Christian text. In other words, the people most interested in both Jesus and Shakespeare, their followers and colleagues respectively, should be debarred from giving evidence.


John makes the idiot statement, "The answer to the question of who wrote the plays attributed to Shakespeare depends on which scholar you read and accept. Different scholars on this question will place different probabilities to their own suppositions." NO, JOHN. No "scholar" believes any of this anti-Stratfordian crap -- not any scholar who knows anything abotu Shakespeare. This is yet another example of John's uncritical stupidity (as if relying on Wikipedia was not enough evidence). He has no sense of sifting through authorities critically. That's why he keeps getting gigged for using con artists like Spong as sources. There is NO doubt, here, John, except among, ignorant people. Meaning YOU.

John closes his post with the whiny-whine, " is barbaric of God to send people to hell if they get a historical question wrong!" Well, John, keeping in mind that I believe hell to be a state of shame and disgrace, not fire and pitchforks, I don't find it barbaric at all for God to send someone there who is as irresponsible with the facts as you are -- not to mention someone like you who lies constantly, insults and mocks people with disabilities, and can't admit error until you've had all your limbs torn off.

Do you get my point, John?

Friday, September 18, 2009

John W. Loftus, Friend of the Disabled

I'll start with an admission of bias: I'm someone who has been around people with disabilities for a long time. My stepfather and grandfather were totally blind. My mother was a teacher of students with disabilities for many years. I married a wonderful woman who is legally blind and has other minor health issues.

That's why John Loftus is about to get his can kicked again by me here, for his birthday post titled, "At 55 Today I'm Wondering If I Can Book This Guy in Advance to Sing at My Funeral! LOL"

In case he takes it down....John links to a YouTube video at in which a man in church with some sort of speech impediment works his way through Amazing Grace. The video title (and whoever posted it this way deserves as much scorn as John does) implies that the man is a former crackhead, though it's far from clear that he is. He may have some type of disability; a speech impediment like this one could have any number of causes. But regardless of the cause, to post such a thing in mockery is a disgrace, and for John to make fun of it this way is triply disgraceful.

Let's be reminded that John has a record for mocking people with disabilities. As Truth be Told, our host here, noted in his chapter for The Cowboy Who Wasn't There:


Perhaps one of the most shameful moments for Loftus came after a time after he debated TWeb member "ApologiaPhoenix" (Nick Peters) on the problem of evil. The consensus of TWeb members was that Nick handily defeated Loftus in debate. To set this up, it should be noted that Nick has a disability (Asperger's Syndrome, with some autism). After realizing that he was not the recognized winner of the debate, Loftus wrote:

No one but the ignorant would claim that I am ignorant.

To me Nick is just like a very bad Karaoke singer but doesn't know he is one, so he continues to badly sing out his song of arguments

Because he's handicapped, Christians here won't tell him otherwise. He's going to study to be an apologist, but he will fall flat on his face. There are a great many people in ministry who will fall flat on their faces because no one told them the truth that they should not pursue such goals. Nick is one of them. But since Christians believe God can make clay into gold they encourage him in faith, even though deep down inside they really don't believe it.

Tell him the truth! Save him from pursuing what will be a dead end career for him.

Nick, when you realize you don't have the brain power for being an apologist and your hopes and dreams are dashed, and possibly even you faith, remember who told you the truth. It was me.

Do something else with your life, and I'm serious.

For the record, it should be noted that even at this early stage in his career, several notable names have recognized Nick's talent in this area, notably Norman Geisler.


Although John's arm was twisted to the point that he issued a half-hearted apology for this commentary, it is obvious from this last post of his that he hasn't learned his lesson. I often say that fundy atheists like John retain a certain amount of bigotry from the fundy past, and this is a classic example.

And of course, typical of John, he can't even own up and makes excuses when called down. "Rob R" gave John a good lashing for this that deserves to be noted:

Do we know that this guy actually damaged his mind on drugs? He could've been born with mental retardation.Careful John. You know what scripture says about those who mock the poor (and it would seem the same logic of that consideration applies to the poor of mind).So just what human dignity and worth can we say that he has in a materialistic picture?

Loftus' reply speaks for itself in terms of his arrogance and ignorant bigotry:

You're a killjoy Rob. It's my birffday and I can have fun if I want to. So there.

You're absolutely right, John. It's your birthday. Go out and have some fun. Why don't you celebrate some more by pulling crutches away from people with polio, giving blind people the wrong bill back for change, and kicking Stepen Hawking's wheelchair down a steep incline? How about you start a show titled America's Funniest Disabilities? You'd be the perfect host since you obviously have a very serious one. Unfortunately, there's no cure or medication for the one you have, which is outright bigotry combined with magnified stupidity.

Happy Birthday, John, you jackass.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Changing Shifts

Today's important news to note: The Cowboy Who Wasn't There has finally been published for the internet to see. My own chapter and a few of JP's can be viewed for free as sample chapters. Although it was against my intentions of having the book available only to Tektonics subscribers (what I'd consider sort of preaching to the choir), JP compiled the project himself, I merely contributed. Go out and get subscribed if you aren't already if you'd like to read the whole thing yourself, although I'm sure with time it may go onto or even into print (JP has no current intentions of it going into print at this time).

On other things, akakiwibear has returned from his blogger dormancy and has requested to be removed from the list of blog staff here at Debunking Loftus. I have respected his wishes and he has now been removed as a contributor to this blog. It is also worth noting that because akakiwibear made this public on his own blog, John determined that once akakiwibear was removed, he could once again comment on Debunking Christianity. I can only make that out as John trying to remove as much vocal opposition as possible, because as much opposed as this blog is to John, I still permit him to comment here.

Harry McCall has also returned in new form: That is, he has severed ties completely with Debunking Christianity because of John's overbearing narcissism. I have been considering the possibility of bringing him onboard to replace our old friend kiwi because McCall is a former DC member and can shed some light on things most of us here wouldn't even know about. Not to mention John's attempts at silencing opposition would be further thwarted. ;) McCall can accept or decline the informal invitation if he so chooses. In the event that McCall does join us, I am hoping that we might be able to bury the hatchet in areas where it has been most prominent, and we can all start on a new foot.

On other non-blogging related updates, Patrick Swayze, the star of "Ghost", "Roadhouse" and "Dirty Dancing" died yesterday after having fought a two year-long battle with pancreatic cancer. Swayze knew he was dying and that his death was inevitably in the near-future, but nonetheless is it a tragic loss for the light of the world. R.I.P., Patrick (1952 - 2009).

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Our Gift to John

As was expected, John had been venturing around TWeb anonymously scanning traces of his name to and fro to find something good he can pick at and inflate his ego to newer and more lengthier heights.

Earlier today John added a music app titled "Godless songs" fashioned after the music app I put up on your right, which contains the featured song "Sad, Sad Doubting John" written by JPH and sung by TWebber "Andius" a new favorite of mine. What made this suspect was that the app John had uploaded was from the same exact site mine is: There would be no reason to be alarmed over this if it weren't for the fact that only after a couple of days of embedding it here, John proceeded sometime either this late morning or mid-afternoon to follow suit. That's just one of many reasons, at least, to suspect that watching eyes are upon our community, even if John claims otherwise.

Now to be truthful here, I did personally send John an e-mail notifying him of the YouTube video version of the song to your right. And was it done in the manner of "sticking it to him"? Almost so. I just happen to know that the outcomes and reactions coming from Team Loftus are almost always of predictability, and I want Loftus to know that he can't just waltz through arenas without first being challenged by a gladiator or two.

Contrary to the first impression you might have from this newest post, John has known for at least a week now of our upcoming plans for him. This isn't necessarily news. And another thing, if John really had so much disdain for TheologyWeb, why does he go through its threads? (Case in point):

JP Holding promises to write a rebuttal to my work. He (or someone with his approval) wrote:

"John W. Loftus continues to be one of the most well-known internet celebrities of atheism ever since the publication of his collective biography entitled Why I Became an Atheist. In it, he argues that he was once a champion of Christian moral values but was later ostracized by his local faith community for committing adultery and was subsequently overwhelmed by intellectual arguments in which he advocates that by these arguments alone Christianity hangs by a very thin rope. For these past years since the publication of his book, Loftus' writings have remained unchallenged, or at least, have been challenged inadequately."

Thanks JP. Is there anyone saying the same kind of things about you and your arguments?


Loftus doesn't even provide a link of where he got that. But the answer is right here: That's the companion website, (similar to what Richard Carrier had created for John's new book, The Christian Delusion) to our little "project", by the way. Funny that it had only been created yesterday, while the e-mail I sent out to John is nearly a week old. Loooooks like somebody hasn't been true to their word lately. ;)

Two other points:

A) John expresses his paranoia by supposing that the site was created by Holding, as always. NEWS FLASH FOR THE DAFT: Most of the new Loftus sites that have or are coming out these days (including this one) have been or are created by ME. And another thing, I don't need or require Holding's "approval", Johnboy. Usually what happens in these circumstances is that a website is created first, and I consult JP second. Projecting yourself onto others does the world no good, Johnny...

B) The fact that the paragraph being quoted is only a fragment of what is on the site just makes John out to be a snake in the grass. If that was all that was written, it certaintly would compliment him in such a way as to warrant a boosted ego and sense of self. But here's what John left out for his own convenience:

But like most things with humanity, there is always another side of the story. The upcoming e-book "The Cowboy Who Wasn't There" is a substantial rebuttal (and in some respects, a refutation) to the writings of John W. Loftus and his philosophical arguments against "religion." The Cowboy Who Wasn't There will not only analyze the primary arguments set forth by Loftus, but in doing so will demonstrate how the "New Atheist" movement and their arguments are based on stereotypes and oversimplifications. With a jab of humor mixed in with direct confrontation, the book sets out to convince the reader that emotional stakes can and do run high on both sides of the God debate. This book is not arguing mainly against atheism in favor of Christianity, it also advocates for a middle ground in which both atheists and Christians can have intellectual dialogue safely and respectively. It advocates for the integrity of scholars and the ultimate search for truth despite what may be considered popular and appealing to a specific demographic.

If John had included the rest of that paragraph, there is no way he would have been able to make it look like it was being complimentary, as it was never even intended to be interpreted in such a way. Just because one might describe a person as "well known" doesn't really say that they are of admirable character. Barack Obama won the presidency because he was a popular icon of appeal, not because he was actually a straightforward candidate or the best man for the job. John teaches what again?

At least we now have proof that John just can't let things go. He is always watching for opportunities.