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

Friday, October 30, 2009

Happy Halloween 2009

Halloween is here and with that being said its the perfect time to kick off a toast to our good friend, John W. Loftus, for being such an amazing inspiration. We couldn't celebrate our first-ever Halloween holiday without involving the person in the world we happen to cherish the most. So as a part of our commemoration to John's admirable qualities, here is his picture below. Opportunities for demonstrating certain specific points only come once in a lifetime. Take a good look at it. Notice anything in particular? Look again. Behold the piercing eyes as he gazes at the camera performing the snapshot (but be warned, don't look too much further than this, it isn't meant for the eyes of children):

HAPPY HALLOWEEN from Debunking Loftus.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Tit for Tattle

Boy oh boy has John been up to no good lately. But hey, what else is new? We've tried to be reasonable in our approach, sometimes we'll admittely get a little cheeky and facetious, but it's all in good fun, right?

Not for John it isn't. He'll crucify you just for pointing out the error of his ways. But we are now at a point in time where John's reactionary status is only good for "entertainment value" as Holding once put it. And what could possibly be the latest you ask? Well...

Turns out John has been "reporting" some of our pages and posts here to make a point to all Christians apologists that JPH should simply be "ignored" and is not to be taken seriously. Within the past month or more, Loftus wanted to garner support for his anti-Holding rantings. He just doesn't insist on ever quiting, does he? Now when he knows that his control of this blog is at a minimum to non-existant degree, he tries other methods to throw us out of the sandbox for good. I truly and sincerely believe he's out to crush our morale. Tisk, tisk, I say. John's lack of warfare tactics will leave him crippled and disabled and helpless in the end. Just watch and see what we do. We dare you, John.

If you have followed the countless times we've been on John's trail, you already know that if you smell a strange scent abrewing, it's probably because John is a complete skunk. Not the cute Loony Tunes type either, although he may be loony.

Being that that's the case and in the event that you agree wholeheartedly, then we don't need to mention or cite examples of where this is the case. Therefore, you probably have also acknowledged that John's moral radar is badly damaged. Here's just a brief list of the absurdities John has tried to rationalize and justify:

1) The creation of a false blog account, and soliciting it to his readers who were not made aware of its falsehood, in order to rally forces against Holding (Response: "Technically I didn't lie. Prove to me that I did.")

2) Making a posting at the time of his 55th birthday making light of an individual's possible mental defect, and thinking nothing of it except that the person in question, who was taped signing in front of his congregation, was a poor-quality singer.

3) Publicly expressing himself in an insubordinate manner to theme-park employees who were simply doing their job, AND must abide by guidelines established by the park's owners and managers. This was more than likely a juvenile publicity stunt that would later give John bragging rights, but in reality demonstrate how simple minded he just really is.

4) Having the notoriety of making outlandish blog entries, whether out of pure anger or mindnumbing stupidity, and when called out on those, chooses to get rid of their proof of existence FOREVER (however, Dumbass John clearly can't see that many of these deleted pages are quickly 'Cached' and can be viewed by the public even after they've been removed).

5) Taking advantage of his fellow contributing authors, respecting them only in the sense that they help put ink on the pages to his books.

John is the Good Samaritan, now isn't he? So let's experiment. How about we get into contact with John's official publisher, Prometheus Books?

There's the link to their contact form. Be sure to give them your full name and e-mail address so that they can respond and it will eventually get to you. Don't worry about providing your P.O. box number or your physical home address, that won't be neccessary, and these people have allot of time on their hands producing the materials that go into making copies of John's books. Let John know we care by letting them in on his credibility and revered social reputation. He'll thank you for it.

And John, we thank you for giving us the opportunity to speak on your behalf. :D

Thursday, October 22, 2009

The World's Smallest Violin?

The lesson to be learned on both sides of the fence is that you never know who you might piss off. They pissed off the wrong guy. - John W. Loftus (8:03 AM, 10/23/09)

As always, John makes the fundamental error that our like are concerned with ceasing his production of books and the modification of his arguments. It goes without saying he clearly has missed the point. Our concern is getting to the meat of the issues he discusses, his honest integrity, and how he deals with other individuals in the online world. I could give a rat's ass on how many books John has authored or intends to author. This only becomes relevant if he is trying to downplay others to make himself look good, like in the example of *cough* William Lane Craig.

John has a new upcoming book entitled The Christian Delusion which will be released sometime in April of 2010. We may of course take the trouble in pointing out that the title for the book is probably based off of Richard Dawkins' bestseller The God Delusion, but that contention is another matter entirely. What needs to be recognized is how strange it is that prior to The Christian Delusion having been released, John is already in the mood for another book. And...why?

I'm Editing Another Book

at 10/22/2009

There are a few unnamed Christian wannabe apologists out there who viciously attacked me when I first came online before starting this Blog. I was repeatedly told I was stupid, ignorant, and even brain-dead in so many ways it took me by surprise. I was lied about and verbally maligned with everything I said. The treatment I received from them was absolutely appalling. In fact, they still do that to me. But all I just wanted to do originally was to reasonably discuss the issues that separate us. I did not set out to debunk Christianity. I merely wanted to find a place to discuss the issues in a respectful atmosphere.

Oh...that's right. John is upset. Again. *Yawn.*

For reference purposes, I will continually point readers in the direction of the chapter I wrote for The Cowboy Who Wasn't There just so people know the truth about John's B.S.

Had they done this I'm almost certain I would not have started this Blog and I would not have become so passionate about debunking the very faith they use to justify their treatment of me. If you want to motivate me call me stupid. I told them that doing so was like pouring gas on the fires of my passion but they laughed some more. Even now they still laugh. I dare say that they would've lit the fires that burned me at the stake in a previous generation. So I got to thinking about the people who died so that I have the freedom to speak out, and I dedicated my life to making sure I did not trample on their blood by not doing so. I also realized that since I had the means to effectively argue against the Christian faith I could not simply walk away from what I've learned without also sharing it with others who can benefit from it. So there is no turning back.

Although I'm not particularly impressed by these statements, I think I might be becoming a little worried over them. John's bursts of anger are almost comparable to the anger held by Eric Harris and Dylan Kebloid of Columbine High and the Asian man that had killed 32 students at Virginia Tech back in 2007. I'm serious. Who else but a psychologically deranged man would use figurative language in the context of gasoline building upon a flaming heap of rage?

It would be ludicrous to imply that John wants to go out and kill random and innocent people. But what exactly does he want to accomplish, and how does he plan on going about it to accomplish what he wants? Seung Hui Cho, the 23 year old who was responsible for the Virginia Tech murders, wrote a paper for an English class which described a fictional teenager attempting to shove a banana bar through the throat of his sexually abusive stepfather.

Clearly these murderers were about as whacked out as you can possibly get. Survivors of the Virginia Tech massacre have revealed that Hui Cho was not bullied or intimidated in the slightest. Yet he killed. He did what he had threatened to do. Would you be convinced of the sincerity in this man's face when he videotaped himself making these threats (?):

Notice how similar the language is: "I didn't have to do this. I could have left. I could have fled. But no. I will no longer run." (1:27-1:35). Would you take this person seriously? But he was very serious, mind you. He meant every word. He was so self-absorbed he saw himself as a victim. He made himself a victim. And in the end, he made others victims. Everyone else was the enemy. There were aggressive factors involved which didn't exist. Could the same, to a lesser extent, be true in John's case?

I'm not done yet. I'm editing another book.

Given that you're motive is so incredibly simplistic, I don't expect that the topic content will vary that much or differentiate itself from your previous works. We can only imagine what the next book could possibly be about.

Arguing With Online Apologists: Responses to the Criticisms of the Outsider's Test for Faith and Debunking Christianity

While I am just now in the beginning stages and even though some things might change, several authors have agreed to write chapters for it, for which I am honored and excited, including: Richard Carrier, David Eller, Taner Edis, Ken Pulliam, Keith Parsons, Matt McCormick, Valerie Tarico, Jim Linville, and still others. It'll be good, I promise.

I'm happy that they have so much important things to do like help you mass produce books, John! I think we could probably name about most of these guys as authors to your previous upcoming book, yes?

But in the midst of this all, does John not go against his principle of ignoring "sewer rats" and "trolls"? Does he not end up giving us more popularity and recognition when he does not set out to do this? Wouldn't this be in the same exact sense as John thanking us for creating a blog that uses his name?

It's a shame that there isn't a psychiatric test which measures hypocrisy.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

John Recommends Tekton!

" [Loftus has]s gotten so used to pwning that now he has to pwn himself."
- ApologiaPhoenix on TheologyWeb

Poor John Loftus. Here he just posted a poll where he declares I can be "safely ignored," and what does he go and do?

He goes and gives me even more positive attention.

Here's the setup. In a recent post, Loftus brags about how Ian Boyne of "The Jamaica Gleaner" thinks the atheists are winning the debate war:

I must confess that I find many Christian attempts to rebut criticisms of Christianity pathetically weak and disappointing. I generally find that the atheists and agnostics argue much more soundly and are more intellectually rigorous. I find that the atheists, and especially the agnostics, ponder things more deeply and more profoundly than believers and that they are usually more sophisticated and nuanced in their analyses.

We can debate Boyne's assessment, but there's a point to be made here. John was so excited about this comment that he apparently forgot to read further down (emphasis added):

I think I have read the best of the atheists and agnostics and the best of the theists, and I generally find the former far more intellectually engaging.So when I recommend some Christian thinkers, take me seriously. For while, in my view, the Christian philosophers, theologians and apologists are outclassed by the unbelievers in terms of intellectual rigour argumentation, there are some very serious believers who are very sharp and who meaningfully engage the sceptics.

On the internet, for example, if you go to Christian Think-Tank, you will find highly reasoned, seriously-researched essays dealing with many critical questions about the Bible. Bothered by texts seemingly to justify slavery and genocide? Bothered by texts from the Old Testament which seem to have antiquated and repugnant social law and customs? Shocked by the ethical practices of the Old Testament particularly? Go to that site. There you will find the best scholarship on these matters. These fellows really engage in high-quality apologetics and unlike many apologists they take sceptics' questions seriously and really engage them.

Another excellent site which keeps abreast of every sceptical piece of writing, every atheistic and agnostic scholar or popular writer and which seeks to debunk them is Textron Evaluation and Apologetics Ministry. Bart Ehrman, who is the leading and most-quoted biblical scholar who attacks the authenticity of Scripture, is challenged seriously by these apologists who take him to task over what they term his sloppy scholarship.

Now of course, either Boyne or his spell check got the name wrong (he also called Loftus "John Lotus") but clearly, this is props for my very own ministry here. So I'd like to say, thanks, John! I can now add your endorsement to those from Strobel, Geisler, Eddy and Boyd, etc. and it'll look great on the bottom of my resume'.

You know, sort of the same way you think Geisler recommended YOUR book, right?

Friday, October 16, 2009

The Results Are In

Is John an egoist? You decide:

My Point About JP Holding is That He Can Safely Be Ignored.

I'm probably not going to leave this post up for long since I don't want to give him any more attention than I must do in order to make my point. My point can be found in the percentages in the poll I conducted in the sidebar for two weeks, not the actual number of votes themselves (most visitors to DC by far didn't even vote). For if I left the poll up for another two weeks or months the percentages of votes among people who are interested in the God-hypothesis on the web would probably be the same, except that he would run out of ignorant Christian friends who voted as they did (he cultivates them). Look at the poll and the percentages with me:
What Do You Think of JP Holding?

1) One of the best apologists around (I’m an ignorant Christian) 47 (10%)

2) An average dime-a-dozen wannabe apologist 59 (13%)

3) An obnoxious hack who is an embarrassment to Christianity 137 (30%)

4) I don’t know of him 207 (46%)
Sure I slanted the poll by how I phrased the questions, but I did give people the option to vote positively if they wanted to. Of the people who know him 81% don't think he's important enough to engage (from 1-3), while 56% of this same grouping think he's a total embarrassment to the faith he seeks to defend. Still an additional 46% of the people who voted don't even know he exists (from 4). Add them together and that means nearly 90% of the people interested in the God-hypothesis don't know him or care to hear about him (from 1-4). That's why I usually ignore him, because if we subtract the 25-30 votes from his ignorant Christian friends who cannot think for themselves who voted for him (from 1, and come on, that is the only reasonable explanation for many of these votes since only ignorant Christian friends who do not know of Swinburne, Plantinga, Craig, Copan, Moreland, and others, would vote that way), then he can be safely ignored. He is no threat to skepticism. My goal is to marginalize him, and I will.

That is, until he becomes better educated and also comes up to the adult world of respectful discourse.

Consider this: John admits to slanting the questions in order to produce presupposed answers, and based on this fact now argues that the voting participants deliberately and purposefully voted against JP. We ask you rational people, is this an honest inquiry or is it meant to personally attack and demean?

Monday, October 5, 2009

"It's Not Personal, Really!"

I don't know what it is about a man that just can't keep to his own word. What's even more of a shocker is that people actually listen to such a person and actually take his claims and assertions seriously. This alone is enough to compel someone to lose faith in all of humanity, a boat that has long sailed as far as I'm concerned.

Readers: Is there anything peculiar about this(???):

What do you think of JP Holding?

One of the best apologists around (I’m an ignorant Christian)
An average dime-a-dozen wannabe apologist
An obnoxious hack who is an embarrasment to Christianity
I don’t know of him

This poll literally came out of nowhere. The last post prior to the poll was this.

In fact, it was only a couple of days ago this week where John added a little intro tidbit into one of his latest here. That particular tidbit reads:

I have usually ignored JP Holding for the most part this past year or so and I was just wondering what people thought of him. Check out the following redated post and the poll to the right in the sidebar. Until he comes out of the sewer and up to the adult civilized world of discourse my plan is to ignore him. I call on both Christians and skeptics to do likewise.

Hmm...that's....odd, to say the least. What did Holding do this time to upset John?

Is it this post right here?

Funny that post is a result of John's own stupidity. JP is only guilty of posting the thread documenting his idiocy. It's not JP's fault that John is a total asshat.

In response to the poll, Holding posted a parody comeback on TWeb here:

And so it is in these regards John thinks it's appropriate to bring up Holding's name, for the millionth time.

John's followers seem to be too stupid to figure it out for themselves: Why would Loftus make a spontaneous poll about JPH and then argue that if Holding somehow doesn't change his ways, he's going to be put on "ignore" (something Loftus has said countless times)? Furthermore, why would we CARE??? John isn't and has never been that important. Anyone who thinks that Holding does it just to get Loftus' "attention" is just about as deranged and deluded as Loftus is himself.

What's clear is that John suffers from delusions of grandeur, or delusions of an exceedingly high and undeserved status of significance and worth. But his followers keep lapping it up. They are oblivious to the patterns of behavior. There is simply no good reason that Loftus should have posted the poll in the first place other than Loftus' inability to deal with his own shortcomings when they are made explicit by someone else.

What's the difference between what us TWebbers say and do to what John says and does? The answer: We don't claim to ignore anything John has said or continually says. This blog wouldn't be here if our main objective was to ignore him. It's here to point out what should be obvious to the general public, but the gene pool has determined otherwise. The only claim ever made by this site which even remotely reflects what John has said is in offering civil discussion and debunking the claims coming from the other side. But everything else is a matter of words and actions, and how well the two line up with each other.

John complains about the superstitiousness of modern-day people, and yet his followers don't know or even want to willingly consider the lies and half-truths that John has thrown out to the world under the guise of free speech and civility. He really is just as bad as the Pat Robertson types, and about as intelligent. I would suspect that these claims would eventually end their cycles of repetitiveness and redundancy, but it's best to realize that John is a broken record. We should expect more of these instances to come in the future and we should also expect that John will blame his own faults on what Holding has to say or what he has done in the past. This is just standard Loftus-protocol.

Recently Mike Huckabee (trust me when I say that I would not normally quote this man) said the following on his show:

"You know it's foolish for us to act as though our point of view makes us always right and the other guy always wrong. Having different views is a good thing. But having different standards is not. If something is right, it's right. And if it's wrong, it's just wrong. Diversity is a good thing, but duplicity is not."

The primary error in John's thinking is that this blog is going to disappear and vanish long before Debunking Christianity actually "closes shop" for real. But the truth is is that even after Debunking Christianity goes bye bye for good, we will still be here.

So John, it's time for you to accept the fact that you're not that special. Deal with it.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

John Loftus on "Enlightenment"

John posted a new video today featuring his second interview with Andy Diekroger on The Enlightenment Show. To count, there have been many "problems" John has brought up that somehow need immediate reconciliation with Christian orthodoxy and belief in a benevolent God, ranging from the "problem" of evil, why every living thing on the planet should have been created a vegetarian (because vegetarianism doesn't consume living life forms), how the God of the Bible condones animal abuse (???) and encourages that those made in "His image" should take advantage of the environment. And now, John strikes at another angle using the same premise: "The Problem of Pain":

The Enlightenment Show: John Loftus and the Problem of Pain from FreeThought Fort Wayne on Vimeo.

As always, John makes extraordinary claims without extraordinary evidence:

1:28 "Even bad people don't need to suffer as much as they do." Why? And what specifically here are we defining as "suffering"? If good people suffer too much, why should bad people suffer less???

One such example of a "bad person" that comes to mind would be in the case of serial killer and well-known cannibal Jeffrey Dahmer. During his killing spree, Dahmer is known to have lured young homosexual men into his apartment complex, drug them, mutiliate them, and then dump their limbs into a tub of acid or refrigerate them for later consumption. In the year of 1994, while Dahmer was in prison, he was murdered by one of his fellow inmates as he took a swing at Dahmer's temple with a large freeweight. The man who killed Dahmer claimed it was God who had been giving him direct and specific orders. But that's beside the point. What really matters here is how you go about comparing the fact that Dahmer cannibalized his unsuspecting victims to his own murder at the hand of a dumbbell. Did Dahmer suffer too much, Mr. Loftus?

5:59 John Loftus on The Passion of The Christ: "The film itself was...uh...brutal...uh...I could not reconcile how any person would deserve that kind of punishment for ANYTHING that they did. Even my worst enemy (and I had one at the time). I would NEVER wish that upon her [presumably Linda the stripper]. I would never wish that upon anybody which was so gruesome. I thought to myself 'That's ignorance.'" Ignorance? Maybe I'm ignorant for failing to understand why this is the case. Or is John ignorant for failing to understand the purpose and function of Roman crucifixion? Indeed by modern standards, crucifixion and flagellation are primitive standards of punishment and carrying out justice, based on primitive standards of criminal criteria. But this is also a somewhat ethnocentric projection of Western society and values. The standards held by other distant and foreign nations of the past are what was simply acknowledged and understood by the general populace at the time. Usually a "normal" individual doesn't go out and commit third-degree murder for the same reasons that a citizen in a predominantly Muslim nation does not go out and steal bread or publicly criticize Islam in a derogatory manner. Ignorance applies only in the sense that Loftus doesn't understand or fathom the what and why for the topic he is discussing, therefore no one else does or can, either...

7:17 John on his book, Why I Became an Atheist: "If Barbara Walters can write a 'tell-all' book where she tells about having sex with so and so, and doing this with so and so, why can't I? This is a book of 'tell-all'. This is a 'tell-all' era. So, I tell all, you know [laughs].?" The first chapter "My Christian Conversion and Deconversion" is something I have commented on in my chapter contribution to The Cowboy Who Wasn't There. See if you think that John wrote the book for tell-all purposes.

9:36 Returning to The Passion of the Christ: "I had already decided that such a view was ignorant. But when I saw how well the movie did, when I saw the numbers, when I saw people flocking too it, when I saw churches literally buying blocks of seats just so everyone could go see it...that was just too much for me. What I did was decide to come out." Oh?...

11:36 On Criminal Punishment: "What is the relationship between punishment and forgiveness? We all know of people who have been punished for their crimes where the victim still doesn't forgive him. And likewise, we know of people who have never been punished for their crimes, where a victim has forgiven him, even though he has never been punished. There is no logical relationship between forgiveness and punishment. There is no reason that you have to be punished that I can forgive you. I should be able to forgive you even if you have never been punished." A valid point to be made for modern society. However, as stated before, this is being argued for modern society and not taking antiquity into account. It is also disingenuous to state that the Bible argues that forgiveness and compassion are achieved only through bloodshed. Biblical narratives and analogies today would be considered simplistic as Western modernism would seek out more practical resolutions and not resort to barbaric depictions or violent alternatives. But again, this was the spirit and passion of the age by which people made their cases clear. This was their means of communication and language, and therefore, this is what society operated on as it was best in tune with cultural traditions and responses to the environment. Language evolves like everything else. Therefore it might be said that the violence and barbarism in the Old Testament exists because it was reflective of the environmental conditions of the age, not because people were deranged in their mentalities. Two examples from the Old Testament include:

1 Kings 3:16-28

Genesis 22:1-12

22:44 John's Reiteration of his Outsider's Test for Faith: "The number one place we get our biases from are our parents and our culture. We grow up adopting them. That's why when you are grown up in a Muslim culture, you will see things from a Muslim perspective. Just like a pair of glasses. And the same thing with a Christian culture or a Hindu culture or any other culture. In fact, if you grew up in some places in America you'd grow up in a snake-handling culture." In fact, religion isn't exclusive in this sense and there is no good reason for John to treat it like it somehow is. This might not be his goal in mind exactly, but consider that cultural academics are more likely to view things holistically (as in wholly) rather than by a culture's individual components. So someone growing up in a Muslim culture not only has a "bias" in showing favoritism to Islam, they probably are also in favor of the economic and political systems of that particular culture as well. Everything from how you eat, dress, speak, walk, and bathe are all a part of one's relative cultural background.The Outsider's Test for Faith tries to break up culture into different segments where they simply cannot be neatly segregated into sections. They are intertwined to some degree or another, but never entirely independent.

44:03 Historical Validity of the Old Testament: "Even evangelicals like Peter Ins, Kenton Sparks, and John Walton, three bona fide evangelical Christians, are now saying that the Old Testament mythology is borrowed from Mesopotamia...They're admitting that these stories were borrowed myths from their day and age. So Adam and Eve never existed." Gasp! John implies this is some sort of problem. It isn't. The evidence of this issue clearly points to the Jews refining the story of Gilgamesh to make their own unique point clear. John apparently also isn't aware that there is evidence of a flood which occured prior to Gilgamesh being transcribed. Of course, he probably isn't arguing against this as a "possibility." But the point being made is that the story was taken from Mesopotamia to build on the original authorship of Gilgamesh with some intentional reformations in mind. The original myths themselves are considered by historians to be based on somewhat factually historical information but exaggerated for the simple purpose of creating a captivating narrative for the masses. It is to depict them in a positively symbolic painting. The Jews took this and used it to convey their own philosophical beliefs. The only problem with this argument of John's is if you do in fact choose to believe it as a literal historical account.

The rest of the video consists of philosophical and theological arguments against God, which I try to distance myself from as it does not pertain to my subject area of study.