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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

John on Chocolate

You know you like it. Sometimes, like me, all you can think of is chocolate. Come on. You know this is true. Sometimes it dominates your thinking. You cannot wait to have it. You fantasize about it. You must have it. It is probably the best natural high we experience.

So why is chocolate such a powerful motivator? It's not like we need it. We just want it. The power of chocolate is so strong it motivates some thin people into obesity; some kids to waste allowance money; some chefs direct these urges toward disgusting recipes like chocolate-covered ants; and it drives the candy and dessert industries, including Betty Crocker cookbooks.

Chocolate just does not look like something that a divine being would create. It is way too powerful of a motivator. The three masters of suspicion, Nietzsche, Marx and Freud all argued respectively that the three motivators in life are Power, Money, and Sex. But they forgot to add chocolate. Yum. (SNARF, chew chew chew chew….burp.)

So why did God make our desire for chocolate so strong? Why didn't he make the taste less pleasurable? The pleasure of chocolate is just too strong as it is. We all know this. It can’t possibly be my own self-control that’s the problem. With an evolutionary hypothesis this is what we'd expect to find, for our desire for sugar energy is good for the survival of our species. But under a theistic hypothesis it makes no sense.

If the pleasure of chocolate was reduced there would be less obesity, and less health problems. Or, chocolate could've been created so as not to be pleasurable at all. God could've made the desire for energy to be something of an instinct where we only want to do it when we want energy, and then also created our desire to have energy periodically. If this is what God had done instead, I wouldn’t have to hear all that crap about me needing to behave myself, have self-control, and having to do something about all that unsightly drooling. It’s God’s fault. I’m not the least bit responsible.

Moreover, the urge for chocolate seems to be too strong for most of us to overcome it. So why would God create us with this powerful urge and then make it so we got fat and unhealthy if we gave in to the urge too often? I mean, is God nuts, expecting us to actually control our behavior? To consume too much chocolate certainly involves gluttony, does it not? But Jesus is found to prohibit gluttony. What about eating too much chocolate? What's wrong with that? Most people in today's society, even Christians, eat too much of it at times and barf all over the carpet, like I do. And what about diabetics, and people allergic to chocolate? Why would God create this strong urge for them and also make it so they can’t eat it? This too makes no sense on a theistic hypothesis.

Hey, I'll even bet all this talk about chocolate will cause some readers to do a search right now for a chocolate bar in the pantry, even Christians. Say it isn't so. Christian, you go to the candy store. Yet you feel guilty about it. The problem is that any prohibitions that make you feel guilty about this do not come from God.

The bottom line is, God is an idiot if he expects us to actually monitor our own behavior and become responsible on terms of the management of our health and welfare. If He really existed, He’d encase us all in plastic bubbles and never let us out.

Now excuse me, I’m going to go stuff myself with an 18-wheeler’s worth of “Special Dark”.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Does Anyone Really Give a Hoot About John?

We had lunch yesterday with a leading member of one of the largest apologetics ministries in the world. While I had the chance, I asked him how many requests they've had to deal with John Loftus' works.

They've had as many as I've had -- ZERO.

The hilarity of this is that for the longest time on TheologyWeb, John was boasting about how we'd better be sure and refute his book, because we'd be getting a lot of questions about it.

We didn't. Not one.

This apparently hit John in the ego pretty hard, because despite his profession that I could now be "safely ignored" he just HAD to respond to the above on TWeb:

BTW: That's a good thing. My books just might be sleepers and change many minds before a leading apologist decides to deal with them. You are clueless about the impact they can have to my target audience: Christian university students.

Um, no, John. Both myself and this other ministry hear from plenty of "Christian university students" -- and not one has asked us to refute you. NONE. Though several I hear from do consider you to be a really bad joke -- especially after that heroic showing you put in against D'Souza and Wood, where you sounded nearly as you characterized that guy as being with a disability, which you made fun of some months back. (Remember, the story on that is at

The reality is that for anyone who knows apologetics well, and who knows atheist arguments, John has had nothing new or special to offer since he first popped into TWeb and made a fool of himself. He seems to think his latest volume does better, and has managed to convince a credible Christian or two to say so, but having already seen the names of the contributors and what they write about, I know better -- and so does everyone on TWeb who has seen John's postings. You can be sure he wishes he could erase that sad chapter in his career, but it's going to come back to haunt him again and again.

We'll make sure of that.

I wrote a full refutation of John's last book, by the way, and have had all of (cough) ONE person ask for it by a special order -- and they asked for a lot of other stuff I had, too.

Will I write a refutation of this one too?

Chances are....I (and some friends) already have -- because John has never had anything to say that hasn't already seen the light of day.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

The Perpetual Delusion: Why Loftus Fails

John informs us once again about another wonderful update to his latest upcoming masterpiece slated for a release sometime next month. Anybody who has been keeping up with the times knows that this book has little chance of being any different than John's Why I Became an Atheist drivel. He constantly hammers away at attempting to be persuasive in his arguments which boil down to "Christianity is a religion and therefore it's bad for you."

Worst of all, John has already revealed that most if not all of his rails against Christianity are directed at conservative and fundamentalist crowds, not any type of sophisticated theology or Christian philosophy. If John is trying to persuade the masses that fundamentalist and ultra-right wing Christianity is bad for society, then he has already attained victory. But once you start breaking away from the typical Christian soundbites, cliche' remarks, and outdated arguments, then Loftus is probably without any limbs to stand on. In fact, if you have deviated from most of Loftus' attempts at convincing you how great his arguments are by addressing the things he almost never brings up, you quickly discover Loftus is without a starting platform.

Why should I even begin to point out that the "Why faith fails" premise is a stupid one? If Loftus, like so many others, defines faith as "believing in things without evidence", then why is he writing books supposedly full of substantial evidence to disprove the validity of faith?

One could say that The Christian Delusion is an unclever takeoff on The God Delusion which seeks to demonstrate the delusional precepts of theistic beliefs, just as John is trying to do with Christianity.

My predicition is that when push comes to shove, nothing contained in The Christian Delusion will provide any insight. It is a rehashing of sentiments put forth by those much more experienced than John, and perhaps it is the case that John knows this. There is nothing wrong with making a name for yourself: That is the American dream. Yet, it is wrong to sell something you probably know doesn't work to someone who is expecting a lot more in return. No ethical person is a snake-oil salesman.

So, much like how McDonalds calls its food "nutritious in value" and how Taco Bell tries to pass itself off as the new Subway, we can probably state with reasonable expectational standards that The Christian Delusion is another repackaged remake of things that stood out much more in the past than in the present. More people are apt to have the iPhone than any other smartphone out there, but that doesn't stop Google from making its own product, albeit slightly fashioned after the Apple's original design. Hence, an apparently obvious principle of marketing is that you can't get people attracted to something they expect is already in existence in terms of function and intended purpose. Instead, you take concept A, dress it up, make a few rearrangements to it, and then pass it off as concept "B".

DC post link:

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

When John's Arguments Make Sense

These days its hard to tell between when John is debating live and posting -- either way it comes out as a bunch of meandering, slurred speech, as though he composed it while on mushrooms. Case in point. This posting:

Why Do My Arguments Not Convince Devout Believers?

I merely offer up good arguments against their faith. That's all I can do. Devout believers (my target audience) won't seriously consider them until such time as they have some sort of crisis in their lives that cannot be adequately explained by a good God. They'll seriously consider them at that time. My arguments are like seeds of doubt ready to sprout if and when they experience that crisis. Since many believers do experience some kind of crisis in their lives there will be a certain percentage of believers who, having been previously exposed to my arguments, will leave their faith at that time. It's a waiting game.
Apparently, Loftus is too dull to realize that was he is saying here is that his arguments are most persuasive when people are in a state of mind that is not calm and rational. You have to be afflicted by some sort of emotional turmoil -- at a time precisely when your critical thinking and objectivity is at its lowest -- to be convinced by what he says.

Well, that's what we've been saying all along, isn't it?