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

Friday, June 25, 2010

How to Construct a Cash-Cow Franchise

Everything these days seems to be packaged for marketing and selling. Everything. One example many people might be familiar with is the godawful Twilight series, which has managed to rake in profits like none other based on purposely low-budgets. Cat-like vampires and cuddly werewolves take precedence in these books, and apparently there is much fixation on the romantic entanglement between a century-old vampire named "Edward" who has the hots for a teenager named "Bella". As if the character's names weren't bad enough to make for a crappy story.

The point? John is coming out with another book like he promised us all. It's none other than a follow up to his latest work, and is merely an expansion of what he's written thousands of times in the past. What I mean to convey here is that John's venue of attack lacks tactical professionalism. It's unoriginal. It's redundant. It's a cash-cow franchise.

Just like Twilight, John compiles together a book from the simplest of resources at his disposal to pass off works like WIBA, The Christian Delusion and his upcoming latest, The End of Christianity.

Previously I had elaborated on how The Christian Delusion is unoriginal in and of itself, and now, it seems, John is continuing down the same erroneous path deliberately ignorant of these criticisms in what he sees as beneficial (yet realistically damaging) to his cause.

Again, the title of the book. In the post I allude too here I had pointed out that The Christian Delusion is perhaps John's own specialized version of Richard Dawkins' The God Delusion. John probably doesn't want to hear this, but he ends up doing the exact same thing with his new book.

The End of Christianity, John? Why, where have we heard of such a title before? Does Sam Harris' The End of Faith ring a bell?

Books of this type of nature are very much reflective of their titles, and this is intentionally so. John's premise for The Christian Delusion is to quite simply demonstrate that Christianity is based in delusional thinking, not an accurate assessment of reality. Just as well, The End of Christianity is meant to imply that Christianity is a dying movement.

But wait, Sam Harris' book The End of Faith is of the same exact vein. So what grounds does John have for claiming originality or the production of new contributive works?

Is this ultimately the best John has to deal out? The title of his next book might as well be Christianity is Not Great: How Christianity Distorts Everything. This is all in an attempt to divert attention away from the original publication of where this title (and subsequently the premise) is based from, and it seems as if John is fulfilling this predicted line of reason rather unsurprisingly but in a manner which already adds insult to self-inflicted injuries. Sort of like how Stephanie Meyers writes a series of books about old concepts and mythological creatures yet can't get it together to the point of where the story is actually engaging to the reader, or why the reader should even care to begin with. In simpler terms, what does John bring to the table that can't be found elsewhere?

Well our friend John, are you capable of finding a way out of the rat's maze?

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Is John Truly Ignorant of His Ignorance?

*Sigh* we go again. John doesn't have anything new to say and goes on with another defense of his "knowledge" of the topics on which he speaks:

Without going through the painstaking yet unbearable simplicity of quoting John word for word and then providing commentary, I'll just paraphrase here. It's not like much of anything we haven't heard before, but John is once again rambling about how Christians say he is ignorant because of his atheism and because he broke away from the faith and believers just can't accept that. Well...

A fundamental error in this calculation is that John neglects there are non-Christians who will call him on his ignorance, like myself. So if there are criticisms of John's ignorance coming from non-Christians, then John is in trouble.

It's not even as though John proves that he isn't ignorant, so what reason do we have to believe him when he says he is not? If John makes a statement generalizing about world religions such as "there isn't a single religion that I know of that has a nebulous god" that is an example of IGNORANCE. Hinduism is one religion that comes to mind where Brahma is a very nebulous deity force.

So the conclusion then is that John is simply ignorant of his own ignorance. And we could beat it in his head that his blog doesn't really offer anything different from a Joel Osteen type church: It relies on personal testimonies, pleads for money donations, and literally rants in circles with little to no new material. Just like your typical cash cow church.

Will John ever realize this reality? Chances are probably not, because if John were to realize his own ignorance, the existence of Debunking Christianity might be never more.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

TWeb Disclaimer

Getting away from the usual Loftus and Debunking Christianity subject matter (don't worry, there is another post I will be finishing up here soon), I think it's somewhat of an important issue to get this out here and in the open.

Many people will get the impression that because this website is run by myself and JP Holding, who has assisted me in most of my major web projects thusfar, that I am probably a Christian myself or that I am part of what might be considered the 'typical' TheologyWeb mindset. I'm here to put these myths to rest to establish what the purpose of this website is and why it is important. Not that I haven't done this before, but this takes on a slightly different degree of shading.

The issue of rampant and unjustified censorship on the part of the TheologyWeb forums has generated a great deal of complaints in the past from both atheists and Christians, as well as other theists. The management behind TWeb has all the right in the world to impose restrictions it sees fit, but the point is that many of TWeb's rules are just flat out ridiculous, and in saying this I am making explicit that I have no official endorsement of TWeb's policies nor do I agree with many of them. I am primarily referring to TWeb's restriction on citing sources that may contain profane or extremely offensive language, even if it is not directly quoted within the citation. For a website like Theology Web, it is noble to uphold standards that make the site "family safe", however....

The internet is the internet. My generation and those to follow are literally surrounded by electronic devices and the conveniences the internet now provides that didn't even exist more than a decade ago. TWeb fails to account for the accessibility of information across a wide range of topics, and it's always important to remember the internet does not filter its own content. It is what it is. Ultimately it is the responsibility of one's self or their caring social environment (i.e., family and friends) to dictate whether or not someone should have the means of accessing adult materials or coming across "profane language" even it will indeed threaten their wellbeing within the respective environment.

Think about this for a moment: If profanity is of such a concern to upholding family values, then maybe it is time to consider whether using a keyboard contributes to anything positive for families to begin with. How far would universities get if they were to instill standards limiting students and faculty to quoting and citing references authored only by individuals who have never made any known offensive statements in their work and in other related entries?

No message board that exists has the capacity to do a complete background check and to verify the age of a user who has several different ways of remaining anonymous. It's silly and completely unreasonable to restrict the citation of sources which may contain "adult" language, only because somewhere down the line, someone who shouldn't be exposed to such intense materials will discover them out of a type of rebellious nature. Prohibition, anyone?

There is perhaps some truth to the statements about non-Christian discrimination at the TWeb boards as well, even though in most cases they stem from the bickering of individuals that have certain extremist strides within them, and seek only to be divisive and difficult to deal with. I am not one of those individuals. But I am one of the many who has been slapped on the wrist many times at TWeb for committing arguably petty offenses. "Blasphemy", (a crime of which I have been apparently guilty of) can consist of simple postings phrased in manners such as these: "Oh my God! etc., etc., etc...." Yet to classify these as blasphemous is without logical merit. It is not being charitable to the intent by which the words were arranged within the post, and it unreasonably demands that individuals of a different belief system act according to a religion that doesn't apply to them or that they would otherwise never adhere too in their daily lives.

Many of whom I would call my bretheren on sites such as these hail from TWeb and may even call it their cyber home. But make no mistake that much of my activity is limited on the forums simply for reasons such as these and more. My blog was created to assess and evaluate the rationality behind the mindset of such prominent philosophies such as the ever-growing New Atheism, more specifically a blog which has gained popularity within the New Atheist movement. Being the founder of this blog, I want to make clear that I do not take sides with the management or concept of TheologyWeb, just as I do not take sides with the management or concept of Debunking Christianity. My motive can be derived from a philanthropic desire to spread the true faculties of reasoning onto the rest of the world, but doing so in a conservative fashion. Yes, I am a political conservative, but I am also for the progression of ideas and the betterment of a society. I refuse to side with the extremists. I do not endorse extremist viewpoints, whether they are generally maladaptive and harmful or if they simply mistake censorship for righteousness.

It should also not go without mentioning to say that individuals who venture onto cyber-space should not be allowed free reign to the extent that potential predators and unwanted websites and organizations start retrieving information and or gaining control over your computer and confidential data contained therein. But these are simply matters of the law, and the law is different from aspects of ethics. The law in the simplest of terms can only be used as a successful tool for maintaining order and structure, it cannot be used to control and to persuade. Those are determined by the willpower of the individual alone.

As a prospective philosopher the world must be acknowledged for what it is, and I do not doubt for a second that various world perspectives, whether religious or political, can come to this understanding and find commonality. The world has always had its dark aspects in reality, but we are now living in a time where globalization has a overwhelming involvement with about 98% of our daily activities. We can no longer expect ourselves to resolve our crises and overcome challenging obstacles by giving into our egos and letting our ideologies rule our lives. Now is the time to come together in a true and fruitful manifestation of progressivism. We cannot let the future become a world where the majority will profess logic but will disregard ethics as lovey dovey nonsense. We also cannot override logic with our emotions. We must seek the doctrine of the mean. If you do not seek balance in virtue, then the only expectation is that you will seek out vice.

Going back to TWeb I fear that it misses the degrees of extremity and contextual meaning behind certain things much in the same way that Loftus is blinded by his own embitteredness that on some level he is unable to recognize his highly flawed arguments or even his own condemning hypocricy. For TWeb, it is much like a parent restricting a child from having any exposure to nudity as if nudity was the same as pornography. Many TWebbers would undoubedtly be quick to point this out as being an extreme and misrepresentative analogy on behalf of the policies established by TWeb management because it is not as though the people at TWeb are oblivious to such things. But this point still remains: You cannot strip reality of all of its horrors and truths, because as soon as you do, you only set yourself up for delusions and a mentality of fear.

Places such as TWeb and Debunking Christianity may attempt to be forums of open and healthy exchange, and even while TWeb is the lesser of two evils (in a more or less sense), it remains that both are unfortunately based in insecure fragility. Period.