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Countering Fundies Through Amazon

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Countering Fundies Through Amazon
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AyameTanPosts: 75Joined: Tue Mar 08, 2011 6:18 am Gender: Male

Post Countering Fundies Through Amazon

Comments and ratings greatly appreciated. :) I shall take on Ravi Zacharias and his book The End of Reason once I'm done with the audiobook.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/cdp/member-rev ... centReview
Tue Mar 08, 2011 6:54 am
Gnug215ModeratorUser avatarPosts: 2558Joined: Sat Feb 21, 2009 10:31 pm

Post Re: Countering Fundies Through Amazon

AyameTan wrote:Comments and ratings greatly appreciated. :) I shall take on Ravi Zacharias and his book The End of Reason once I'm done with the audiobook.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/cdp/member-rev ... centReview


Hi, and welcome!

This is not a bad idea, I think, as long as the reviews themselves are well-written and reasoned - which they are.

Incidentally, the two last reviews (for "Hard Questions, Real Answers" and "God Is Great, God Is Good: Why Believing in God Is Reasonable and Responsible") seem to use some of the exact same phrases. Not that this invalidates the arguments in the phrases, but I suppose one might think that the validity of the criticism in those phrases is diminished if they're just copy/pasta.

But still, good idea, and nice work!

... and kudos for actually managing to read through all that crap! ;)
- Gnug215

YouTube channel:
http://www.youtube.com/user/Gnug215


The horse is a ferocious predator.
Tue Mar 08, 2011 7:43 am
AyameTanPosts: 75Joined: Tue Mar 08, 2011 6:18 am Gender: Male

Post Re: Countering Fundies Through Amazon

Hi Gnug, thanks for the welcome and kind words. :)

Your point regarding repetition is well-taken. I only did so because WLC brings nothing new to his myriad debates.

Edit: I haven't read any of WLC's books, but I have listened to quite a few of his lectures, available on his website (free to download upon registration).

And I know all-too-well his projection when he accuses atheists of being "crashing bores" as one of his fellow fundies put it.
Tue Mar 08, 2011 11:16 am
AyameTanPosts: 75Joined: Tue Mar 08, 2011 6:18 am Gender: Male

Post Re: Countering Fundies Through Amazon

Update: A discussion with some fundies:

Martin J. Kulp:
"Craig's own quotes demonstrate his dearth of reason. He has claimed, repeatedly, that the internal witness of the holy spirit is enough to quench any evidence that opposes his religious views. How is that reasonable in the slightest?! "

Let's say you were convicted of murdering your own mother this morning at 10 AM, even though you know you didn't do it. The evidence implicating you is a knife with your fingerprints on it, and footprints matching your shoes. And let's say you have no strong alibi.

So, the evidence that you committed the crime is strong, and evidence against it is weak, and you're telling me you would still continue to believe that you didn't murder your mother this morning? How is that reasonable in the slightest?!


Me:
Thanks for the reply, Martin.

The evidence in your hypothetical scenario is entirely circumstantial. Thus, I would vigorously appeal the verdict.


Martin J. Kulp:
You missed the point. The point is that internal knowledge can, and often does, trump external evidence. Craig is entirely within his epistemic rights to claim that his knowledge of Christianity due to personal experience can overwhelm any external evidence. This is not irrational.


Me:
But your example had high stakes, and circumstantial evidence. If the evidence was irrefutable, then I would trust the evidence over my internal witness, which shows that I am more reasonable, and more intellectually honest than "doctor" Craig.


medunkt:
Your post's heading, "Weak Platitudes from a Smug, Arrogant Bigot", suggests an intractable, hostile mindset. The content of your post does nothing to allay that first impression. I wonder why you bother to read Christian apologetics, and what you're seeking to achieve by posting this shallow stuff. Come to think of it, I wonder if you did actually read the section of the book you harangue.

Me:

1 of 2 people think this post adds to the discussion. Do you? Yes No
Your post, in reply to an earlier post on Feb. 16, 2011 4:43 PM PST
Winston D. Jen says:
Apologists and their material must be thoroughly analysed and treated appropriately. Someone like Craig, who invokes in special pleading regarding his god, his callous nature should be exposed and broadcasted to all. If any human did nothing during the Holocaust, and yet had the power to help without risk to him or herself, we would regard that individual as an accessory (or equally responsible, depending on your jurisdiction).

As further proof of how his reason, empathy and compassion have been utterly torn to shreds by his religion, this is WLC's take on the Canaanite genocide in the bible:

"So whom does God wrong in commanding the destruction of the Canaanites? Not the Canaanite adults, for they were corrupt and deserving of judgement. Not the children, for they inherit eternal life. So who is wronged? Ironically, I think the most difficult part of this whole debate is the apparent wrong done to the Israeli soldiers themselves. Can you imagine what it would be like to have to break into some house and kill a terrified woman and her children? The brutalizing effect on these Israeli soldiers is disturbing."

Source: http://www.youtube.com/redirect?q=http% ... c1OQ%3D%3D

Apologists and their material must be thoroughly analysed and treated appropriately. Someone like Craig, who invokes in special pleading regarding his god, his callous nature should be exposed and broadcasted to all. If any human did nothing during the Holocaust, and yet had the power to help without risk to him or herself, we would regard that individual as an accessory (or equally responsible, depending on your jurisdiction). As further proof of how his reason, empathy and compassion have been utterly torn to shreds by his religion, this is WLC's take on the Canaanite genocide in the bible: "So whom does God wrong in commanding the destruction of the Canaanites? Not the Canaanite adults, for they were corrupt and deserving of judgement. Not the children, for they inherit eternal life. So who is wronged? Ironically, I think the most difficult part of this whole debate is the apparent wrong done to the Israeli soldiers themselves. Can you imagine what it would be like to have to break into some house and kill a terrified woman and her children? The brutalizing effect on these Israeli soldiers is disturbing." Source: http://www.youtube.com/redirect?q=http% ... c1OQ%3D%3D



T. Zimmerman:
First of all, in making a critical argument about the Christian God, please be respectful by capitalizing our God's name. Thank you.

Secondly, while you do draw up some very interesting points, there are many thoughts that have strong theological holes in them and lack a full view of the Bible. You must view God not as "Good" which is highly subjective to the person, but rather, God is Love someone who uses Justice and Mercy to care for his people.

1. God' omniscience, omnipotence, and omnipresence mean that God knew what was going to happen in advance, had all the power to stop this, but did not. Since the beginning, God has given us a prevenient grace to allow us to make our own decisions to turn to God and to love God as God would love us to. However, ever since then we have continued to turn from God over and over again. It is because God loved us that he gave us this free will, and it is because of this free will that people turn to evil (i.e. the Holocaust). Because God has already given us free will, God won't go back on this by intervening in a problem that YOU may think is necessary.

2. God does not use evil to teach a person a lesson. It is because God tries to turn this evil into something positive for us that God is seen as using evil. Just because we experience time in a linear fashion does not mean that this is the true form of time. We MUST accept that we know a small portion of the world around us, and it would ignorant for us to assume that we know more.

3. I find it really funny how you can hold God accountable for the actions in Katrina, Haiti, etc. God has continued and continued to show the world MASSIVE amounts of grace. The fact that we are still alive is by God's grace alone. We turn from God every single day, and all God does is try to get us back to him. We are so INSIGNIFICANT as human beings. Somehow do you think that you are going to be different from all that came before you? Do you think that your great great grandchildren will remember you? Or that there will be a statue made of you? No. One thousand times No. You will die and most will forget you. So what leverage do you have against God to call him out? What have you done to be able to now tell God what to do? God does what God wants.

Stop putting God in the dock and start analyzing your other states of belief with the vigor that you tear down Christianity.



Me:
I don't believe in your god. Even if I did, I most certainly would not hold him worthy of such respect.

Unchallenged power brings with it absolute responsibility. If he truly was omnipotent, omniscient and omnibenevolent, he would not even need to allow a quark of suffering to achieve greater goods.

Justice and (any) mercy are internally contradictory; god cannot be both perfectly just and merciful.



TruthBehold:
Jen may I ask how you know what an omnipotent, omniscient and omnibenevolent being would and should act like????

Aren't you human?? When did atheists become Gods?

Your logic is not only contradicting, but it is extremely ignorant, spoken like a true "mainstream" Atheist.


Me:
Simple: such a being would not want anyone to suffer. Such a being would also know how to accomplish such a goal. Such a being would have (more than) enough power to accomplish that goal.

QED.
Fri Mar 11, 2011 8:25 am
AyameTanPosts: 75Joined: Tue Mar 08, 2011 6:18 am Gender: Male

Post Re: Countering Fundies Through Amazon

And... It's up! :) I'll probably update this review after I listen to his audiobook again. *shudder*

Chock Full of Lies, Deceit and Emotional Manipulation, March 17, 2011

This review is from: The End of Reason: A Response to the New Atheists (Audible Audio Edition)
I listened to this audiobook twice before writing this review (it's only about 150 minutes long).

The book begins with a disingenuous foreword from Lee Strobel, whose "magnum opus", The Case for Faith, has already been thoroughly debunked. Not only does Strobel have a strong vested interest in

[...]

There is no evidence for Christianity outside of the bible, theologians and New Testament "historians." I would trust them no more than I would trust Muslim apologists.

Ravi opens his "case" with an emotional tug, introducing us to a fictional case study about how atheism can lead to pain, suffering, family breakups and suicide. Wow. His only saving grace here is his clarification that his story is indeed completely fabricated.

He touches briefly on the Problem of Evil and Suffering, ONCE AGAIN IGNORING the definitions of "omnipotence" and "omniscience."

He then attacks Harris' statement on eradicating religion before rape. Well, eliminating religion would certainly reduce the rape rate. Just take these verses from the "good" book:

Genesis 34:31: Dinah's brothers, to justify the massacre of a town for the rape of their sister, say: "Should he deal with our sister as with a harlot?" To the author of Genesis, rape is a crime against the honor of men rather than against a woman.

Deuteronomy 22:23-24: If a betrothed virgin is raped in the city and doesn't cry out loud enough, then "the men of the city shall stone her to death."

Even if atheism is a naked Emperor, at least there is substance behind it.

Ravi seems to have inspired Dinesh D'Souza's belief that Christianity made it possible for religious freedom to exist. Utter bunkum. A look at religious theocrats of WLC's stripe and the Tea Party would completely refute this. Mr. Craig would have us trust the internal witness of the holy ghost over proper evidence.

Almost every minute of this audiobook is filled with the very demagoguery and lies that he condemns. Harris is quite right to be angry and emotional when it comes to Christianity; after all, which segment in society has the most clout, and which is trying to strip and deny civil rights from everyone else?! Conservative, gay-loathing Christians, naturally.

While respect is warranted towards individuals because of their contribution to society, their religious beliefs (baseless by definition) do not deserve any such preferential treatment.

Although Ravi's suicide attempt was tragic, wouldn't Christianity and its eternal carrot of Heaven be more likely to encourage on to leave this life sooner rather than later? Ravi also doesn't seem to view the many millions of atheists who have NOT ended their own lives and who HAVE found meaning in their mortal lives to be worthy of comment.

Avoid at all costs, save to refute Ravi and his disciples.
Sat Mar 19, 2011 1:35 pm
AyameTanPosts: 75Joined: Tue Mar 08, 2011 6:18 am Gender: Male

Post Re: Countering Fundies Through Amazon

Some more reviews:

Demographic Winter

Demographic Winter
Availability: Currently unavailable

10 used & new from $11.78

1.0 out of 5 stars Utter Filth. Do the Filmakers Wish for our Expedited Extinction!?, April 30, 2011

Amazon Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Demographic Winter (DVD)
Anyone with even a rudimentary grasp of exponential mathematical functions and common sense would understand that this "documentary" has but a miniscule basis in fact. Although economic growth has been dependent on population growth thus far, this is clearly not a sustainable model, not for individuals, not for the environment, and certainly not for any country. If the filmmakers are worried about the economy, I would direct them to countries such as India, which has less than a third of the US' land area, but well over three times its population.

I'm glad they did not mention the mendacious and specious "argument" about being about to fit the world's population in the state of Texas. That's not the issue here. That's not what environmentally responsible individuals are arguing. We simply cannot sustain the current world population ad infinitum; something must give. Either we find a way to stop breeding like rabbits, or we run out of food. I shouldn't have to mention the obvious consequences of famine, war and cannibalism that will inevitably result if we take the former route. I suggest we castrate the entirety of the Quiverfuls and the Duggar Swarm at once.

Reducing the population will increase the average share of resources that each individual human (and animal) will have available to use, and will therefore benefit all of us. It really is that simple. We must stop being "fruitful" or we will go extinct.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 2, 2011 5:27 PM PDT


Secular Sabotage: How Liberals Are Destroying Religion and Culture in America

Secular Sabotage: How Liberals Are Destroying Religion and Culture in America
by William A. Donohue
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $15.70
Availability: In Stock

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
1.0 out of 5 stars A Secular America? Count me in, Posthaste!, April 24, 2011

This review is from: Secular Sabotage: How Liberals Are Destroying Religion and Culture in America (Hardcover)
I usually try to listen to audiobooks at least twice before making my opinion public. I am proud to say that I have indeed done so in this case. Kudos to Bill for seeing fit to grace us with a detailed dissertation in an interview. I found it quite enlightening. :)

Bill Donohue, an unabashed right-wing, Catholic ideologue, opens with headlines that are designed to make almost anyone cringe, but which upon further investigation reveal a diatribe reminiscent of a child's conniption fit.

Very early on, Bill claims that diversity and inclusion are mutually exclusive; that diversity necessarily precludes inclusion. Nonsense! Inclusion requires nothing more than mutual respect for all of society's members. He seems to love repeating Dinesh D'Souza's tired, mendacious claims that the great men, the literal saints that founded the US, wanted to found a Christian nation. Wrong again. Read the personal writings of the Thomas Jefferson, Ben Franklin and George Washington if you still believe or insist on claiming that the United States should have religion dictating what its 300 million plus citizens should do. Not only would this be a logistical nightmare (Catholics vs Protestants, Puritans vs Calvinists vs everyone else), but it would relegate anyone not glib, rich or organized to second-class citizenship. Christian values, unless subject to cherry-picking, would

Donahue also trots out the tired old canard about objective morality. According to Donahue (and WLC, Ravi Zacharias et al), objective morality cannot exist without god. What they fail to realize is the false dichotomy (one of a few in this book) inherent in this statement. Even veteran apologist Bill Craig has conceded on his Reasonable Faith website that god is not subject to these selfsame "objective morals." Wow. That would make those morals subjective and arbitrary. Special pleading, the weak last resort of apologists trying to justify biblical genocide. Just google "william lane craig" +Canaanites if you doubt me.

I fail to see the "radical secularism" present in nuns advocating a woman's right to choose abortion, especially since they tend to be frequent rape victims in unpropitious parishes. As for the college students who were threatened with arrest for passing out Christian leaflets without faculty permission, I'd have to land squarely in the university's corner here. Adult students should have more respect and be more tactful in a public environment (or a private one populated by individuals of multiple creeds, religions and ideologies). Christians are bound by the law too. No one should be able to violate the peace with impunity. I would include captive-audience preaching in public trains, parks, streets and schools in this category. I do not wish to hear Ray Comfort's voice overpowering my headphones.

William's disingenuous tactics of equating the mainstream liberal/secular movement with extremists who see no difference between incest, child rape and homosexuality. Is he deliberately obtuse, or is he trying to stir up emotions against equality? I don't think too many individuals outside NAMBLA are actively trying to legalize child rape. Do you think so? Does anyone outside Bill's Catholic League? Not surprisingly, another of his many targets is Sam Harris. What is Bill's issue with Harris, specifically his Letter to a Christian Nation? The "fact" that the US is a Christian nation (it's also a white, rich elitist nation if most polls are to be believed). Bill actually sees nothing wrong with a majority of Americans believing in a literal creation and a young Earth. Is he sane? Evolutionary theory was the basis for most of modern medicine, including new vaccines against new strains of influenza that emerge every year. The fewer people accept evolution, the fewer cutting-edge doctors will be working for the Land of the Free. I do not see anything even remotely helpful about Creationism.

He waxes poetic for a few pages about "immoral" and "disgusting" works of art. Why the Puritanism? A recent study (Pornography, Public Acceptance and Sex Related Crime: A Review) has even shown that religious sexual repression, and NOT pornographic access, are far more likely to result in an individual committing sex crimes. There has also been absolutely no correlation at all between more porn and more sex crimes. A healthy attitude towards sex is crucial here; humans are sexual beings, like all animals, and aside from mass castration, this is never going to change. For the record, a recent study also showed that the average of a child's first pornographic exposure is ELEVEN YEARS OF AGE. So we're really pushing poo uphill when we attempt to institute abstinence-only education and expect it to work (it never will).

Donahue fails to understand the First Amendment. There is no such thing as a one-way wall, as he seems to imply. Compounding his ignorance is his claim (also spouted by Dinesh D'Souza during bouts of verbal runs) that Christianity was responsible for religious freedom and democracy. Wrong again. The concept of democracy originated in ancient Greece, and Christianity waltzed hand-in-hand with the Roman Empire (among others) led to repeated acts of ghettoization and genocide, and it was only through teachings garnered during the Enlightenment that democracy finally took hold.

In summation, this is good for a laugh, much like Rush Limbaugh's books. If you're looking for actual discourse, I would recommend something more middle-road, like Tammy Bruce's book The Death of Right and Wrong.

Turning the Tide: Dignity, Compassion And Euthanasia

Turning the Tide: Dignity, Compassion And Euthanasia
DVD ~ -
Price: $19.99
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1.0 out of 5 stars Unadulterated Garbage. Defeatist and Ignorant, April 30, 2011

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This review is from: Turning the Tide: Dignity, Compassion And Euthanasia (DVD)
I would like to begin by reminding all so-called pro-lifers that compassion does NOT mean to "suffer with" someone. The etymology of a word does not necessarily have anything to do with its modern meaning. In this case, especially. If suffering with sentient beings was actually sufficient, we would not even have Aspirin in the world today.

The emotional ploys touted in this documentary rely on ad-hoc justifications for opposing assisted dying. They love to cite cases of patients coming out of their suicidal depressions. Good for them. Doesn't mean everyone else should be forced to die naturally. And until they can ease the pain of the 25% of patients who rate THEIR OWN PAIN as "moderate to severe" when in a hospice, they have no right to claim the compassionate high ground.

As for abuse of assisted dying, well, what could be easier to abuse than the Double Effect, which focuses on the intentions of doctors and nurses, while completely ignoring what the PATIENT wants for him or herself? When it comes to end-of-life care, I would rather die as the victim of a random back-alley stabbing than go into a hospice. At least then I would be guaranteed a quicker and more pain-free death.

The Lamb and the Fuhrer: Jesus Talks with Hitler (Great Conversations)
by Ravi Zacharias
Edition: Paperback
Price: $9.49
Availability: In Stock

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1.0 out of 5 stars Dull Platitudes that Ignore the Reality of Christianity, May 1, 2011

This review is from: The Lamb and the Fuhrer: Jesus Talks with Hitler (Great Conversations) (Paperback)
Ravi introduces his book by comparing Jesus to Adolf Hitler. What he forgets to mention is the blood-soaked history of Christianity, especially over the thousand years that were the Dark Ages. He ignores the true meaning of the word sacrifice (a permanent loss given up for the greater good) and lumps Jesus in the same category as Bill Gates and Doctors Without Borders. They sacrificed far more than Ravi's mythological figure, who, according to his own bible, is in heaven enjoying eternal bliss. Could he get any more petty and condescending to victims of human and natural tragedies? Probably so, but such is not the subject of this book.

I have to give Ravi credit, however, for being honest enough to wear his motivations on his sleeves. Not only does he concede that this book is an open attempt to convert non-Christians to Christianity (although the specific brand of his religion seems deliberately nebulous, only described in nebulous terms such as "love" and "justice"). Again, he ignores the many verses in the bible used to justify slavery and genocide. If you are familiar with his book The End of Reason, Zacharias is happy to dismiss Jesus' silence on the issue of slavery simply by stating "Jesus was silent on a lot of issues." Wow. That's it? No explanation of why slavery was unimportant for a loving god to denounce? Good grief. People like Ravi deserve no respect on this issue.

Ravi's thinly veiled attempt to present Christianity as the best moral framework is pathetic. The Ten Commandments are mentioned near the play's outset. What he forgets to mention are the numerous genocides carried out in the Old Testament (and which are frequently dismissed by apologists using special pleading). He also dismisses the well-documented studies that show non-religious countries (Japan, Sweden, the Netherlands, Belgium etc) as having the lowest rates of murder, theft, rape and abortion. Where does good old Christian America sit in? As one of the most violent first-world countries existing today. Google the information. Google Nation Master if you doubt me. The facts are irrefutable. Religion allows people to justify anything with the get-out-of-hell free card that is "repentance." That destroys moral accountability before Christianity is even out of the gate.

While this book is well-written, that is pretty much expected for someone with the funds of a megareligion at his disposal, and deserves no additional stars. This is a demagogic play, written with no motives save that of money and deceitful conversion.

Lastly, I would like to comment on Ravi's comparison of Jesus and Hitler. According to Ravi, Hitler epitomizes evil, hatred, pride and destruction, while Jesus exemplifies peace, love, humility and life. Bunkum. Complete and utter bunkum. What could be more arrogant than claiming that one is the son of god? Little save claiming to be god himself. And would a loving god not start and end creation with heaven? Why set two beings up to fail? Christianity was used to justify slavery, as most honest individuals will admit.
Thu May 05, 2011 4:50 am
AyameTanPosts: 75Joined: Tue Mar 08, 2011 6:18 am Gender: Male

Post Re: Countering Fundies Through Amazon

My review of Why vs. Why? Gay Marriage:

Unsurprisingly, Bill Muehlenberg resorts to red herrings. So what if only a handful of gays and lesbians wish to marry their loved ones? That is a red herring, and in any case, the revenue provided by this new sub-industry (and the compassion provided by jettisoning Bronze Age ideals) will vastly benefit any society that makes such a move.

I highly recommend this book for anyone studying debating in high school. Not only must pragmatism be considered, but also the emotional impact and suffering caused by any decision chosen. It is why debating classes can often foster arrogance and/or callous attitudes in children who see debates as nothing more than a contest, and forget that sentient beings will be affected (sometimes very hotly) by the human opponents in any debate (especially if they are or will be personally affected).

Those familiar with Bill Muehlenberg's Culturewatch website will find nothing new, and nothing particularly logical or cogent. It's fun black humour though.

Rodney Croome presents several clear argument in favour of legalising gay marriage. Eventually, it will be recognised worldwide.
Comment Comment | Permalink


http://www.amazon.com/WHY-vs-Gay-Marria ... r-mr-title
Thu Jun 30, 2011 9:52 am
AyameTanPosts: 75Joined: Tue Mar 08, 2011 6:18 am Gender: Male

Post Re: Countering Fundies Through Amazon

Unsurprisingly, conservatives hate debating rationally:

http://www.amazon.com/review/R9G19Y258I ... hisHelpful
Sun Jul 24, 2011 3:49 am
AyameTanPosts: 75Joined: Tue Mar 08, 2011 6:18 am Gender: Male

Post Re: Countering Fundies Through Amazon

Wow. Just wow.

http://www.amazon.com/review/RRDLZ3KYRW ... hisHelpful

Last edited by the author on Jul 21, 2011 4:36:04 AM PDT
Bruce Bain says:
I chuckled when I read the descriptive ERUDITE published as a reference to "The Christian Delusion".

Let me give an example as to why it is so laughable to write of this book as ERUDITE.

.

.

ISSUE THE FIRST

Edward T. Babinski is the author of Chapter Five of the John Loftus book. He is a physicist.

.

.

.

First, Edward T. Babinski argued that there were:

(A) An INFINITE NUMBER of COSMOSES,

and

(B) INFINITE PERIOD OF TIME

and

(C) a COSMOS that is ETERNAL and INFINITE in all directions

.

.

Here is the precise quote in which Edward T. Babinski published his argument:

.

.

===============================================

"Our cosmos is one tiny space-time bubble that arose along with an INFINITE NUMBER over an INFINITE PERIOD OF TIME in a COSMOS that is ETERNAL and INFINITE in all directions."-------------sentence 1, paragraph 4, comment of EDWARD T. BABINSKI Sept. 12, 2010 4:23 AM PDT regarding the Jason T. Berggren review for the John Loftus anthology, "The Christian Delusion" on Amazon.com [caps mine, for emphasis---BB]

.

.

Subsequently, after I challenged Edward T. Babinski's claim as to the Logical Consistency of his argument with the current
BIG BANG THEORY. Edward T. Babinski argued, concerning the COSMOS, that:

(A) The COSMOS is bounded by
VISIBLE KNOWN LIMITS OF THE COSMOS IN BOTH SPACE AND TIME.

Here is that argument from Edward T. Babinski:

.

.

==============================================

. "Bruce, Neither YOU nor I HAVE SEEN what lay beyond the VISIBLE KNOWN LIMITS OF THE COSMOS IN BOTH SPACE AND TIME."------------------sentence 1, paragraph 1, comment of Edward T. Babinski, on Oct. 12, 2010 3:24 PM PDT the regarding the Jason T. Berggren review for the John Loftus book, "The Christian Delusion" on Amazon.com [caps mine, for emphasis---BB]

=====================================================

.

.

Therefore, Edward T. Babinski lacks the ERUDITION to argue conceptions that contradict the Scientific Theory of the Big Bang. Edward T. Babinski's argument does not admit to the status of an Existing Theory based upon objective evidences associated with Known Limits in either Space and Time, which have been proven by Hubble's Law and the phenomena of the Red Shift.
.

Now, to see some real erudition, we might turn to the famous Mathematician David Hilbert, who wrote:

.

.

===================================================================

"The INFINITE IS NOWHERE TO BE FOUND IN REALITY. It neither exists in nature nor provides a legitimate basis for rational thought. The role that remains for the INFINITE ...is solely that of an idea...etc."-----------------------DAVID HILBERT, "On the Infinite", in
"Philosophy of Mathematics," ed. with an Intro. by Paul Benacerraf and Hilary Putnam (Prentice-Hall, 1964) p. 151. [caps mine, for emphasis---BB]

=========================================================
.

.

Or for still other ERUDITION, the knowledge of David Hume might be considered, who wrote, in his skepticism:

.

.

================================================

"An INFINITE number of real parts of TIME passing in succession...appears SO EVIDENT A CONTRADICTION that no man whose judgement is not corrupted... would ever be able to admit of it."-----------DAVID HUME, "Enquiry" xii. II 125 [caps mine, for emphasis---BB]

==========================================================

.

.

Beyond this, author John Loftus erroneously presumes that the Christian Religion has Scientific Knowldge for its premises, which is an enormous error.

.

.

ISSUE THE SECOND

==========================================

"In a nutshell, faith fails because it requires us to jettison our desire to know things empirically."---sentence 1 of paragraph 2, from the review for "The Christian Delusion" by Winston D. Jen on 17 July 2011 on Amazon.com

=========================================
.

.
(1) The error in this argument is that FAITH is the subject, rather than CHRISTIANITY.

.

.

(2) FAITH is not EMPIRICALLY defined.

.

.
(3) No objective evidence is shown which demonstrates factually, that Christianity REQUIRES the jettisoning of EMPIRICISM. Philosophical Dualisms, of which the Christian Philosophy is representative, permit and acknowledge EMPIRICAL pursuits for knowledge. The benefit of the Classical Christian Duallist philosophy, is that it permits so much more as a working methodology towards the attainment of Knowledge.
For example, Personal Experience is not excluded from the pursuit of Knowledge, and this empowers the individual person, and makes him independent of some kind of institutional authority.

.

.

.

.

.

.

ISSUE THE THIRD

=============================================================

"Valerie Tarico tackles the next topic - why faith is a psychological phenomenon and therefore in the realm of the utterly natural."------------sentence 1 of paragraph 3, from the review for "The Christian Delusion" by Winston D. Jen on 17 July 2011 on Amazon.com

==============================================================

.

.

(1) This also is laugable, because there isn't a shred of Scientific evidence which demonstrates that Religion is NATURAL. If it were, it would be subject to the Scientific Law of the Conservation of Energy, and subject also to the Scientific Law of Cause & Effect.

.

(2) Religion, would constitute a violation of the Doctrine of Causal Closure, were it Natural.

.

.

ISSUE THE FOURTH

===============================================

"Chapter Six demolishes the so-called "historical evidence" for Jesus' life and resurrection."-------------paragraph 5, from the review for "The Christian Delusion" by Winston D. Jen on 17 July 2011 on Amazon.com

==============================================================

.

.

(1) What the reviewer fails to indicate to the reading public, is that the author employs unconventional and uncommon criteria in regard to historical evidences.

.

.

ISSUE THE FIFTH

.



=====

.

.
Remember; it is incumbent upon you to offer a RATIONAL, rather than an IRRATIONAL argument.

.

You replied with a later post
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Your post, in reply to an earlier post on Jul 21, 2011 6:31:14 AM PDT

Me:

You believe in a god that lies by proxy, and then turn around and tell the world that it's not "lying" to send deceptive spirits and/or strong delusions. The irrationality is all yours.
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2 of 2 people think this post adds to the discussion.
In reply to your post on Jul 28, 2011 4:07:44 AM PDT
Bruce Bain says:
=================================================

"You believe in a god that lies by proxy, and then turn around and tell the world that it's not "lying" to send deceptive spirits and/or strong delusions. The irrationality is all yours."------sentences 1 & 2 of
a 2-sentence comment by Winston D. Jen on Jul 21, 2011 6:31:14 AM PDT regarding the review of Winston D. Jen for "The Christian Delusion" on Amazon.com

======================================================

.

.

(1) Your argument is fraught with errors.

(A) You have failed to demonstrate what LIES are.

(B) You have failed to identify an objective criteria by which LIES are determined to exist.

(C) You have not demonstrated that a God exists.

(D) You have not demonstrated that "a god...lies by proxy".

Not only is your argument concerning PROXY vague, you have failed to demonstrate what a PROXY LIE is.

(E) You have failed to establish objectively, specific reasons why a PROXY LIE is problematic in any context whatsoever.

(F) You have not established that any of my arguments are demonstrative of STRONG DELUSIONS.

(G) You have failed to define a DELUSION.

---------------------

CONCLUSION

Your published arguments are unsupported by substantiating evidences.

Moreover Irrationality is only objectively established by a demonstration of Logic.

Your argument does not obtain to any status other than a rhetoric.

.

You replied with a later post
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Your post, in reply to an earlier post on Jul 28, 2011 5:27:19 PM PDT
Winston D. Jen says:
1. How so?

A. A lie is an untruth, whether explicit, implicit, by omission or commission. Your god, according to your own Unholy book, lied directly to A&E in the garden.

B. The dictionary. Read it, you mendacious pile of effluent.

C. Neither have you. So we shouldn't believe in one until someone does so (which they still haven't).

D. Yes I have, you LIAR.

E. Really? Watch The Lincoln Lawyer. You'll understand why.

F. You believe in a god (without evidence). Therefore, you are deluded.

G. Can't you read? Or are you too lazy to go on over to the Internet's online dictionary? Again, you fail. You believe in things without evidence. Therefore, you are deluded.

-------------

CONCLUSION

I really, REALLY hope you're a Poe.
Fri Jul 29, 2011 7:24 am
AyameTanPosts: 75Joined: Tue Mar 08, 2011 6:18 am Gender: Male

Post Re: Countering Fundies Through Amazon

Elijah Gomez, YOU LOSE!

http://www.amazon.com/review/R​1JH4FCSGY6LQR/ref=cm_aya_cmt?i​e=UTF8&ASIN=B004AJ9TYU#wasThis​Helpful

The fundie:

"The book begins with a disingenuous foreword from Lee Strobel, whose "magnum opus", The Case for Faith, has already been thoroughly debunked. Not only does Strobel have a strong vested interest in Christianity, but apologists like Zacharias and Craig would lose their livelihoods if they lost their faiths. "

Do you not have a strong vested interest in atheism? Sure so the same can be said about you. "would lose their livelihoods if they lost their faiths." Here's your asserting that they believe so they won't lose their jobs?? Is there any evidence for this? No.

"For a full refutation of Strobel's work, simply google "case against faith." "

This isn't a full refutation, it's an opinion. This coming from an atheists who most likely believes there is no real truth, but now you're asserting that the refutation is TRUE?

"There is no evidence for Christianity outside of the bible, theologians and New Testament "historians." I would trust them no more than I would trust Muslim apologists."

There is outside evidence of Christianity outside the Bible, Josephus, and Roman leaders who mention the apostles and Christ and were not friendly to them either. So, where does this lie come from?

"Ravi opens his "case" with an emotional tug, introducing us to a fictional case study about how atheism can lead to pain, suffering, family breakups and suicide."

It can, case in point, Jeffry Dahmer.

"His only saving grace here is his clarification that his story is indeed completely fabricated."

I would like to see the evidence you obtained that proves his story is completely fabricated? Please provide this. Thank you.

"He touches briefly on the Problem of Evil and Suffering, ONCE AGAIN IGNORING the definitions of "omnipotence" and "omniscience." "

God is all knowing, but all knowing does not mean he makes your choices for you. He just knows the results of the choices one makes. God is all powerful concerning what is good. If you INCLUDE all powerful to mean all that is evil included, then that would be wrong.

" Doesn't he believe in heaven? Will we be suffering in heaven? If not, then this planet, this life is just a soul-filter for his deity."

Error, our existence is to have a relationship with God. There is no suffering in Heaven, how can there be suffering in a place that is contrary to suffering? Makes no logical sense.

"Free will is no excuse - if god exists, then he valued Ted Bundy's free will more than that of his victims."

What he did was allow people to make choices, if not, then were not free. All though Bundy's choice was bad, that is not God's fault, that's Bundy's and in no way proves your point.

"He then attacks Harris' statement on eradicating religion before rape. Well, eliminating religion would certainly reduce the rape rate. Just take these verses from the "good" book: "

Yes, let's refute these claims you make against the Bible. "Eliminating religion would certain reduce the rape rate." Where is the data that proves this claim? Do you have any?

"Genesis 34:31: Dinah's brothers, to justify the massacre of a town for the rape of their sister, say: "Should he deal with our sister as with a harlot?" To the author of Genesis, rape is a crime against the honor of men rather than against a woman."

No, it is a crime that was punishable by death, but just because it doesn't say is dishonorable against a woman, and it NEVER says what the author was thinking. Its telling an event that took place. So, again, you're assuming what the writer of Genesis ws thinking.

"Deuteronomy 22:23-24: If a betrothed virgin is raped in the city and doesn't cry out loud enough, then "the men of the city shall stone her to death.""

Wrong, it NEVER says "if she doesn't cry out loud enough." It NEVER says that. This passage speaks about an unfaithful wife. Here's what the Bible says? Proving you're lying.
"23 If a man happens to meet in a town a virgin pledged to be married and he sleeps with her, 24 you shall take both of them to the gate of that town and stone them to death-the young woman because she was in a town and did not scream for help,"
This speaks about marriage violations.

"Deuteronomy 22:28-29: If a man rapes an unbetrothed virgin, he must pay her father 50 shekels of silver and then marry her."

Here's the whole verse. "28 If a man happens to meet a virgin who is not pledged to be married and rapes her and they are discovered, 29 he shall pay her father fifty shekels of silver. He must marry the young woman, for he has violated her. He can never divorce her as long as he lives."

Now, what you are not saying is sex outside of marriage IS rape. It NEVER says whether or not the girl fought against his advances.

"And how DARE Ravi equate atheism with paedopillia and eugenics!?"

How dare you lie about the Bible. Ravi is right, atheism is equated with some pedophile and eugenics. Many Nazi scientists who favored eugenics got these ideas from Darwin's origin of the species and THE PRESERVATION OF FAVORED RACES.

"Without a single solid quote (save Peter Singer's) to back this up!?"

To atheists rape is okay.

"He equates the ENTIRE sex industry with human trafficking."

Yes, because there is no real wrong or right, it's all subjective. From the atheist point of view. There is no TRUE wrong or right. If people say they're Christians, then they have to be lying because Christ does not condone that.

"Unsurprising that such a socially fascistic conservative is also so Puritanical, and disrespectful of informed consent. In *every* jurisdiction with easy access to pornography (and lower rates of religious sexual repression), sexual crimes have either fallen or remained constant."

And this proves what? Where is the data?

"Even if atheism is a naked Emperor, at least there is substance behind it."

What substance is there behind atheism?

"Ravi seems to have inspired Dinesh D'Souza's belief that Christianity made it possible for religious freedom to exist. Utter bunkum. A look at religious theocrats of WLC's stripe and the Tea Party would completely refute this. Mr. Craig would have us trust the internal witness of the holy ghost over proper evidence."

This is just rambling from a biased perspective, is there any evidence for that claim to be true? No.

"Ravi addresses the issue of abortion by giving his god a pedestal above his own moral law: "God has the power to restore life. I don't." Wow. So it someone killed god, under Ravi's "clenched fist" morality (a phrase from this very book), Mr. Zacharias would have to bow down and worship that individual. Ravi has no case for objective morality here."

This makes no sense, God can not be killed. God restores life, because he is the bringer of life.

"Almost every minute of this audiobook is filled with the very demagoguery and lies that he condemns."

This coming from someone who clinches to scientific evidence to make something true, I ask you, where is the scientific evidence that proves this claim is true? Do you have any??

"Harris is quite right to be angry and emotional when it comes to Christianity; after all, which segment in society has the most clout, and which is trying to strip and deny civil rights from everyone else?! Conservative, gay-loathing Christians, naturally."

Were not trying to deny civil rights, gay people have rights, but not because they're gay, but because they're human beings. So, why don't I have special rights for being straight? I mean it's not fair for someone to have rights because of their sexual preference and I can't. Right???

"While respect is warranted towards individuals because of their contribution to society, their religious beliefs (baseless by definition) do not deserve any such preferential treatment."

Is there any evidence to back up this claim? Or are you talking out of your rear end? Based on biased personal perception.

"Although Ravi's suicide attempt was tragic, wouldn't Christianity and its eternal carrot of Heaven be more likely to encourage one to leave this life sooner rather than later?"

No, because life is a blessing and a gift. To die is to gain, as the Bible states, but to live is Christ. So, bad logic there my friend.

"Ravi also doesn't seem to view the many millions of atheists who have NOT ended their own lives and who HAVE found meaning in their mortal lives to be worthy of comment."

He never says they can't. Also the highest rates of suicide come from atheists countries, what about the data on that?

"Avoid at all costs, save to refute Ravi and his disciples."

I'll tell you what people need to avoid, someone (you) who can't prove any of his own claims with evidence. We will be here to refute you and your disciples. ;)


My response:

"Do you not have a strong vested interest in atheism? Sure so the same can be said about you. "would lose their livelihoods if they lost their faiths." Here's your asserting that they believe so they won't lose their jobs?? Is there any evidence for this? No."

Oh, please. You are simply projecting your own insecurities on me. I am open to evidence for a deity, if there actually was some. There isn't, in case you were wondering. Arguments aren't evidence. And from Strobel et al, they are simply to confuse people.

"This isn't a full refutation, it's an opinion. This coming from an atheists who most likely believes there is no real truth, but now you're asserting that the refutation is TRUE?"

Do you have any issues with their reasoning? If so, please explain what, precisely, is faulty logic or reasoning.

"There is outside evidence of Christianity outside the Bible, Josephus, and Roman leaders who mention the apostles and Christ and were not friendly to them either. So, where does this lie come from?"

Josephus was a forgery (and also not a contemporary source. You lose again.

"It can, case in point, Jeffry Dahmer."

Was Dahmer a cannibal/murderer because of atheism, or because he was a psychopath without a real brain? I'm inclined to believe the latter, because it's more reasonable.

Please keep red herrings out of this discussion.

"I would like to see the evidence you obtained that proves his story is completely fabricated? Please provide this. Thank you."

Even if it wasn't fabricated, he is blaming a book for an individual's own action (suicide). Therefore, we have yet more evidence that Christianity teaches people to abdicate responsibility for their own actions. Try harder.

"God is all knowing, but all knowing does not mean he makes your choices for you. He just knows the results of the choices one makes. God is all powerful concerning what is good. If you INCLUDE all powerful to mean all that is evil included, then that would be wrong."

So your god is a mad scientist who watches the events of the universe play out? Is that what you're saying? That's insane.

"Error, our existence is to have a relationship with God. There is no suffering in Heaven, how can there be suffering in a place that is contrary to suffering? Makes no logical sense."

So you worship a god who WANTS us to be his slaves. Wow. Yet another moral failure of Christianity. You lose again.

"What he did was allow people to make choices, if not, then were not free. All though Bundy's choice was bad, that is not God's fault, that's Bundy's and in no way proves your point."

Are you a Mongoloid, or are you a liar? What you're saying is that policemen are MORE moral than your god, because they would at least TRY to prevent child rape if they saw it happen. You're basically saying that god will punish us in the last days, which is injustice (justice delayed is justice denied, you creep).

"Yes, let's refute these claims you make against the Bible. "Eliminating religion would certain reduce the rape rate." Where is the data that proves this claim? Do you have any?"

I did, did you ignore the verses I gave?

"No, it is a crime that was punishable by death, but just because it doesn't say is dishonorable against a woman, and it NEVER says what the author was thinking. Its telling an event that took place. So, again, you're assuming what the writer of Genesis ws thinking."

So? If you think there is EVER a justification for forcing a woman to marry her rapist, you're hopeless. You don't deserve to be listened to. Neither do Zacharias or Strobel.

"Wrong, it NEVER says "if she doesn't cry out loud enough." It NEVER says that. This passage speaks about an unfaithful wife. Here's what the Bible says? Proving you're lying."

Only if she's betrothed to be married, you callous twerp.

"This speaks about marriage violations."

Wow. Once again you are justifying a system that blames victims. You ARE insane.

"Here's the whole verse. "28 If a man happens to meet a virgin who is not pledged to be married and rapes her and they are discovered, 29 he shall pay her father fifty shekels of silver. He must marry the young woman, for he has violated her. He can never divorce her as long as he lives.""

That's not a punishment for the MAN (especially if they can't relate well enough to women to marry them with consent). That's a punishment for the WOMAN, who has to spend her entire life living with her rapist. You are even more insane than I first thought you to be.

"Now, what you are not saying is sex outside of marriage IS rape. It NEVER says whether or not the girl fought against his advances."

But the bible doesn't care about what the woman wants, does it? It's all about spreading the seed and preserving the patriarchy, correct?

"How dare you lie about the Bible. Ravi is right, atheism is equated with some pedophile and eugenics. Many Nazi scientists who favored eugenics got these ideas from Darwin's origin of the species and THE PRESERVATION OF FAVORED RACES."

In Darwin's day, race = species. You are both insane and uneducated.

We also know that 10% of all young men who complete their seminary training end up as child rapists. That's much, much more than the <1% statistic in the general population. Now you're not just lying, but tarring others with a huge, mendacious brush.

"To atheists rape is okay."

NO. IT. ISN'T. Liar. Atheism isn't nihilism or psychopathy. Atheism is a SINGLE position on a SINGLE issue. All babies are agnostic atheists until brainwashed to think otherwise. You should be ashamed of your mendacity. You probably won't be, because lying for Jesus is A-OK, right!?

"Yes, because there is no real wrong or right, it's all subjective. From the atheist point of view. There is no TRUE wrong or right. If people say they're Christians, then they have to be lying because Christ does not condone that."

Really? Jesus asked his followers to SLAY his enemies. And your morality isn't objective either - it's based on threats of punishment. You don't know how to argue with valid premises, do you?

Luke 19:27 But those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before me.

"And this proves what? Where is the data?"

Rape per capita statistics are on the NationMaster website. There is also this study you can google:"Pornography, Public Acceptance and Sex Related Crime: A Review."

"What substance is there behind atheism?"

Empirical evidence. Are you a retard, or are you a liar?

"This is just rambling from a biased perspective, is there any evidence for that claim to be true? No."

So you don't care that the US is the most religious nation, and also has the most murder per capita? That's insanity."

"This makes no sense, God can not be killed. God restores life, because he is the bringer of life."

That's still a might-makes-right argument. Your god is the ultimate evil dictator who has such thin skin that he 'must' punish those who don't love him.

"This coming from someone who clinches to scientific evidence to make something true, I ask you, where is the scientific evidence that proves this claim is true? Do you have any??"

If Ravi was a Muslim, you'd have no trouble accepting my statements, now would you?

"Were not trying to deny civil rights, gay people have rights, but not because they're gay, but because they're human beings. So, why don't I have special rights for being straight? I mean it's not fair for someone to have rights because of their sexual preference and I can't. Right???"

Sexual preferences are based on brain structures and biology, and occur in nature. They are not "choices," you ignorant pile of effluent.

"Is there any evidence to back up this claim? Or are you talking out of your rear end? Based on biased personal perception."

Naked assertions and insults are coming from the theist side of the isle. What facts do you have to show that there is more freedom in theocracies? None, I'd wager.

"No, because life is a blessing and a gift. To die is to gain, as the Bible states, but to live is Christ. So, bad logic there my friend."

Tell that to Andrea Yates. And Mohammed Atta. They actually BELIEVED the lies in their holy books.

"He never says they can't. Also the highest rates of suicide come from atheists countries, what about the data on that?"

It's highest in Australia, where assisted dying is illegal. And suicide is not "immoral by default" or because a deity says so. Ever hear of Christian Rossiter and his condition (spastic quadriplegia)? Those are times when death is more merciful than life.

"I'll tell you what people need to avoid, someone (you) who can't prove any of his own claims with evidence. We will be here to refute you and your disciples. ;)"

Go fist yourself. :P
Sat Jul 30, 2011 7:40 am
AyameTanPosts: 75Joined: Tue Mar 08, 2011 6:18 am Gender: Male

Post Re: Countering Fundies Through Amazon

My latest reviews (non-religious products included).

Copouts, Evasions and Hidden Assumptions Aplenty, August 10, 2011

This review is from: The Problem of Pain (Paperback)
CS Lewis is held by many to be the premier Christian apologist of the 20th century. Unless one is morbidly naive, or has yet to encounter the counterarguments to Christianity in particular and theism in general, I honestly cannot see where his appeal lies.

While Lewis is usually a good writer, capable of spinning yarns to attract the attention of children and young teenagers, he also assumes that there is a deep, overriding purpose behind suffering. This purpose is so important that it is more critical to his god to NOT end suffering now, but to let things run their "natural" course until his plan is complete. In service of this goal, he creates a short story that is akin to an essay on theistic evolution, and how man is ultimately responsible for the Fall and his own corruption. If god knows everything, including the future, then he orchestrated the fall (and everything else) before setting his plan into motion. Arguing that god exists outside of time is a lazy copout, nothing more.

As a 'loudspeaker' for the Christian god, pain has done more to drive people away from him than anything else. An all-knowing, all-powerful and all-good god would not allow any suffering, even in the service of a so-called "greater good." And if such a god desires suffering for a greater good, then it would follow logically that his followers should cause suffering to convert more people. After all, that is god's best tool for getting our attention, is it not? Fortunately, CS Lewis and most Christians today do not follow this logic to its end point. Those who do open hospitals and hospices and waste money on bibles rather than food (explaining why only 25% of tithes go to benefit indigent people around the world).




Mary and Max [Blu-ray]

Mary and Max [Blu-ray]
DVD ~ Toni Collette
Offered by rightpricedvd
Price: $17.45
Availability: In Stock

30 used & new from $12.94

5.0 out of 5 stars Humourous, Hilarious, Touching and Sensitive, August 10, 2011

This review is from: Mary and Max [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
I was fortunate enough to catch two screenings of Mary and Max in Singapore. As soon as I popped back to Australia, I picked up two copies of the DVD and one of the Blu-ray.

Although made on a small budget (compared to American claymation films/CGI animation) of AUD 6 million, there are plenty of sight gags to keep any audience amused. The story is brilliant in its simplicity (Mary picks a random name out of the US phone book, and it happens to be Max Horrowitz), and shines as we are shown more of Max's history, personality and eccentricities (apparently, being a member of a science fiction club wasn't enough to convince army recruiters to consider Max 'insane' enough to stay out of military service).

Phillip Seymour Hoffman shines as a middle-aged Jewish man with Asperger's. A very quiet man, he only speaks twice (in Yiddish). He is able to express himself very eloquently with nothing more than his typewriter (although he frequently suffers from a minuscule attention span).

Mary lives with her mother Vera (a kleptomaniac shoplifter), and a father who has one of the most boring jobs in the world (attaching strings to teabags... in a FACTORY!). Her neighbours include the school bully and the stuttering Damien. While the bully (quite likely a future criminal) is very simple and shallow, Damien and the Vietnam veteran turned amputee-agoraphobe certainly aren't.

The extras include a brief audition from Young Mary, and a director's commentary track (well worth listening to, and tons of fun). Eric Bana's mini-interview is very elucidating also. I was happy to learn that no minorities were offended (at least according to the commentary). For my part, I only take offense when people (usually religious apologists) trivialise and/or glorify suffering to further their goals of converting people.



The Mentalist: The Complete Second Season

The Mentalist: The Complete Second Season
DVD ~ Simon Baker
Offered by GradePrice-SP
Price: $32.99
Availability: In Stock

68 used & new from $19.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Attaches Perfectly to Season One, August 9, 2011

Amazon Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: The Mentalist: The Complete Second Season (DVD)
As we enter the second season of The Mentalist, the Red John case has been taken from Gisbon, Jane, Rigsby, van Pelt and Cho. Fortunately, there's still plenty of cases to solve and suspicious characters to interview. The inscrutable are ripped open and laid bare for the viewers to see. Anyone who has read Daniel Goleman's Emotional Intelligence will notice the references to the brain research cited.

While we were given little more than shallow glimpses into the members of the CBI team during the first 23 episodes of the show, in this DVD set we are given more background on Cho, Rigsby, van Pelt and especially Gisbon, the assertive feminine leader of the team. Gisbon struggles with the myriad demands of the job while still desiring to be feminine and loving. The stress has taken a toll on her, a price that was exacted long before the series began. And that is what makes the show so engrossing. The characters are real and very relatable (although Cho and van Pelt's histories are still quite shrouded in mystery).

Like the first season, the Red John episodes are the most interesting, as they feature the primary villain of the show. And, as Jane says, we can "assume nothing about Red John." Despite this, most people will likely have their own prime suspects by the end of this season.

I have yet to view the extra features, but I fully plan to as soon as I feel like getting around to it.



The Mentalist: The Complete First Season

The Mentalist: The Complete First Season
DVD ~ Simon Baker
Offered by GradePrice-SP
Price: $30.49
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5.0 out of 5 stars Patrick Jane is Unconventional and Effective, August 7, 2011

This review is from: The Mentalist: The Complete First Season (DVD)
Unlike Teresa Gisbon who prefers a very methodical approach to solving cases, Patrick Jane takes a different tack. He looks for the motive behind the murders with his finely-honed cold reading skills. As we are introduced to him, Jane solves a case in under five minutes. He is placed on suspension as the culprit is fatally shot, but we soon see that he was quickly vindicated once the evidence was collected.

Red John features prominently in three episodes, and there is strong chemistry between Wayne Rigsby and Grace van Pelt (not to mention a traumatic experience between Jane and Gisbon during the season's climactic episode).

Outside these episodes, there are themes of revenge, murder, obstruction of justice, child abuse, and aggressive paternalism. They are all worth watching, and it is always fun to try to solve the mystery before Jane does. It's not always easy (indeed, it's often excruciatingly difficult) to catch all the clues before the killer is revealed.

I have not watched the extra features at this time, having been too absorbed in the storylines (overarching and episodic), but this set would be worth purchasing in any case. Highly recommended.
Thu Aug 11, 2011 5:14 am
AyameTanPosts: 75Joined: Tue Mar 08, 2011 6:18 am Gender: Male

Post Re: Countering Fundies Through Amazon

I just finished listening to Ravi Zacharias' audiobook, Has Christianity Failed You? and decided to write a review.


Nonsense and Callous Bile

During his introduction, Ravi regales us with a story about his family's Border Collie, GK, named after one of their favourite authors, GK Chesterton. Immediately I was struck by their callous attitude in forcing a member of their family to suffer the ravages of a natural death from cancer rather than put it quietly and peacefully to sleep. Sadly, Ravi takes a similar stance when he addresses the readers in the greater part of this book.

The author attempts to delineate "true" Christianity from the Christianity practiced in some churches today, and blames this for the reason people are leaving it in droves. He won't even entertain the idea that Christianity is false. The superficial saving grace in his book is his call to churches to be more supportive and understanding of those who have fallen away and "sinned" (a vacuous religious concept to begin with).

Ravi claims that although his god is sovereign, he has also blessed us with free will. Anyone who has read Exodus should know that this is nonsense. A god who would violate Pharoah's free will to shunt himself up onto a pedestal and cause further gratuitous suffering is not only a deity brimming with malfeasance, but has no respect for free will. On a related note, Ravi complains that if one amputee was cured, this would be unfair to all other amputees, and we would demand more evidence and miracles. What, you mean like what allegedly occurred in the Old Testament? This flimsy excuse holds no water, especially since his god is supposedly all-powerful and could never get weary.

He initially attempts to tackle arguments for the validity of theism over naturalism. He immediately falls flat at the starting gate by appealing to the sheer unlikeliness of life arising from random chance, and mentions monkeys randomly mashing keys until they produce the works of Shakespeare. According to him, the chances are too high for it to occur naturally during the alleged age of the universe. What he doesn't realise is that incredibly unlikely things occur every day - every person, every sperm and egg combination, is one in several hundred million. Add the chances of our parents meeting, and the thousands of human generations throughout our 200,000-year history, and the odds are far more unlikely than the "astronomical" odds Ravi mentions.

He also rails against secularism and "relativism", although situational ethics would be a better descriptor for what he is decrying here. Moral differences generally stem from the plurality of upbringings and the lack of complete information available or willing to be considered by parties in a given situation. When information is more detailed and situations and players considered more deeply, concurrence towards a single moral outcome is more likely, no matter who is considering the issue. That is why, for example, support for the right to die has risen considerably in Western countries over the past few decades, even in countries that have a majority of Christians, such as Australia.

In attempting to bolster his case for the truth of Christianity, he mentions William Lane Craig. This is a feeble attempt. Anyone who has seen Craig debate should know that intellectual rigour is not his strong suit. The opposite, in fact. Craig has mentioned several times that if the evidence should go against Christianity and the "internal witness of the holy spirit", the latter should take precedence against the former. Such an apologist, who decries the scientific method as being based on "the shifting sands of evidence and argument" himself uses arguments, and has therefore undermined at least half of his own case. There is no such thing as "reasonable faith", and few demonstrate this better than Craig himself.

Ravi's chapter on prayer is the longest, and perhaps the worst. In this rambling, incoherent pile of flopped justifications, excuses and blame-shifting, Ravi redefines prayer, and what Jesus "really meant" when he said "knock, and the door shall be opened." Prayer isn't supposed to work "instantaneously or magically." Well, then why pray?! It would seem that Ravi doesn't seem to realise that he is making his god out to be a highly skilled huckster, by redefining his promises and covenants to suit himself.

In the final chapter, Ravi arrogantly assumes that anyone who has reached that point has understood that Christianity has not failed them, but people and/or institutions such as the church have. Well, all I have to say about this is that the actions of those who purport to act in god's name reflect either well or poorly on that deity, and any deity who would not clearly make his will and endorsements known to all is responsible for the impressions made by such believers (assuming, of course, that such a deity exists in the first place). He rails against Islam and their mighty birth rate (implying that Christians must outbreed and out-brainwash them), and in a further act of incoherence and mental gymnastics, Ravi mentions the declining fish stocks worldwide. We cannot fix a perceived problem by making it worse. Woman's suffrage in the Muslim world is the only way to both stop the tide of Muslim takeover that he fears, and the scythe of overpopulation that will destroy us from within.
Wed Aug 15, 2012 11:42 pm
AyameTanPosts: 75Joined: Tue Mar 08, 2011 6:18 am Gender: Male

Post Re: Countering Fundies Through Amazon

Some more reviews.

Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed

Ignores Science and Presents Lies as Truth

The Ninth Commandment certainly wasn't held in high esteem by the filmmakers (although they might argue that it only applies to witnesses held under oath in court). A thorough refutation would take several hundred pages and several years of biological education. As I specialised in business management and marketing in college, I will address the most egregious errors in the movie.

The lies and misrepresentations about what actually happened to the academics mentioned and interviewed in this "documentary" are already well-documented by Expelled Exposed, so I will not address them here. Suffice it to say that creationism isn't science and has no basis in academic journals until they can bring forth the evidence. So far, they have yet to do so.

The complexity of the cell - this is a red herring, and has nothing to do with evolution. It is more of an attack on abiogenesis (which we now know is possible). It certainly wasn't as simple as "lighting striking a mud puddle." The original cells that came into existence from self-replicating molecules and protobionts would have been much simpler than cells that comprise living beings that are the result of billions of years of evolution. Moving on.

"Science leads you to killing people." Get real, Ben Stein. Science is a process for learning about the world. It has produced innumerable benefits for humanity (and non-human animals as well). A short list would include:

- Smallpox eradication
- Measles vaccines
- Annual influenza vaccines
- DNA sequencing
- Exponentially higher harvests worldwide
- Contraception
- Safe childbirth and elective abortions
- Chemotherapy and radiotherapy (and soon, nanotherapy) cancer treatments
- Computers
- Calculators
- Social networking
- Skyscrapers
- Antidepressants
- Plastic
- Cardboard
- The Internet
- Radio
- Television

If Stein and his shills really believed in their nonsense, why don't they join the anti-vaccine movement? Is it because they see the consequences of dead children who were denied medical treatment from their parents? Vaccines need to evolve as diseases evolve.

As for his claim that "love of god and compassion leads you to a glorious place." He attempts to conflate Darwinian evolution with social Darwinism. "There would have been no Holocaust without Darwinism." A proper understanding of evolution would lead people to understand that mutual co-operation, rather than selfishness and genocide, leads people to a happier and more prosperous society. Stein doesn't know what he's talking about. He's far out of his depth on this issue.

Religion leads to scientific suppression, and does not have any methods or structures available for learning more about the universe. And before anyone trots out the nonsense about "the bible isn't meant to be a science book", why would the bible include "cures" for leprosy? Christians can't have it both ways.

Evolution has been observed in laboratory conditions. Fruit fly speciation and bacteria evolving to consume nylon prove this (see Michael Shermer's Why Darwin Matters). This is a propaganda piece filled with lies to promote the Creationist agenda. They won't be satisfied until Creationism has shoved evolution to the back of the bus, so to speak. And in a country like the US, where the majority of the population doesn't even understand evolution, this is sadly quite possible.


Pornland: How Porn Has Hijacked Our Sexuality

Specious Puritanism from a Jealous, Repressed Woman

Read Dines' books and listen to her speeches and you'll come to the conclusion that she believes that all sex is rape. She blames capitalism and cites sources from the left side of politics. But what's ironic and almost hilarious (it would be if she wasn't in favour of fascistic legislation), is the abundance of pornography usage in conservative regions such as Utah. To make matters worse, she ignores the varied and detailed studies conducted that have shown an inverse correlation between acceptance of porn, availability of porn, and the rape rate (i.e. the more porn is accepted and widely available, the less rape there is). More ignorance and blatantly false assertions abound. According to her, porn was created by white capitalist men to oppress women. Wow. I guess making sex illegal unless supervised by Dines and her cadre of Puritans should be implemented. We all know how well that worked with Prohibition in the US, right? Well, imagine that imposed on something that nearly everyone wants to partake in.

She'd love to see porn made illegal. Thoughtcrime, anyone? What she fails to do is propose any workable system that would protect women (and men, who are suspiciously played-down in this book). Not only that, but the multi-billion dollar LEGAL worldwide pornography industry provides jobs. Self-regulation will ultimately win out, as the sheer surfeit of corporations Why does consent mean so little to her? Why does she want everything but vanilla sex illegal in the privacy of one's own bedroom? No wonder she was welcomed and treated as a quasi-deity in Australia, a country with fascistic restrictions on pornographic content (no fetishes are allowed, not even spanking). I bet she was positively delighted when she learned that more books, films and video games were outlawed in that backwater island than any other first-world nation.

Most of her "quotes" are unsourced, which speaks volumes about her intellectual honesty. If she had any valid points to make, why engage in such deception?

Sources:

Pornography, Public Acceptance and Sex Related Crime: A Review.
The Porn Report (available on Amazon)
Why Conservatives Spend More on Pornography. Conservative states spend more on pornography--hypocrisy or repression? (March 7, 2009 by Nigel Barber, Ph.D. in The Human Beast)


Gay Rights Special Rights

Anachronistic and Bigoted

Luckily, this video is available for free online. Don't give the creators your hard-earned bucks.

One of their first assertions is the claim that granting equality to the LGBT community would invalidate the 1964 Civil Rights Act. They don't go into detail about this, and it's no surprise - no one in the LGBT community wants the legal and social situation in the US to revert back to the times when African Americans were denied the right to vote, forced to use separate water fountains, or being forbidden from using certain seats on the bus. This is dishonesty, plain and simple.

False premises abound, including the lie that homosexuality is a "choice" and is determined by one's behaviour, not one's feelings or attractions. This is nonsense, and many so-called "ex-gays" have recanted their statements claiming that they have been "cured" by reparative therapy groups. Robert Spitzer is one such psychiatrist who has publicly apologised and recanted his past statements claiming that gays can be "converted" to heterosexuality thusly.

They use the US Supreme Court's three-point test that determines whether a group qualifies for minority status (and with it, special protections). These are: 1) Immutability, 2) The ability to earn an average mean income (financial discrimination), and 3) Political powerlessness. They ignore the centuries of discrimination against gays in public employment, private employment and social life.

Funnily enough, religion is far from a mutable trait in the US. No one will be strung up at the gallows, stoned or beheaded in the US for switching from Catholicism to Protestantism, or from Protestantism to Islam.

They mention the anti-sodomy laws that prohibit homosexual conduct, but use an ancient supreme court decision as the basis for retaining this prohibition. There is no basis for this outside the bible and religion, and as such, these laws clearly violated the first amendment of the US constitution. They also prohibited certain kinds of heterosexual intercourse, but the laws were almost exclusively applied only to gays and lesbians in practice.

The film's climax is a rapid-fire shotgun attempt to demonise the LGBT community by describing fetishes and sex acts that most people would find sick and repulsive. Not only is this portion of the "documentary" offensive and revolting, but it is also a complete and utter red herring. Who cares about fisting and S&M practices done between consenting adults? Only Puritans and fascists, as far as I know. A great deal of heterosexual couples engage in these acts as well, but we don't see too many people calling for a nanny state's intrusion into their private business.

The overarching concept of the film, that gays want "special" rights, is based on a false premise. Gays want equal rights; the right to marry an individual of their own choosing and who they have romantic love for. Heterosexuals are granted this right unequivocally. Bisexuals are granted half of this right. But gays can only marry those of the opposite sex (at least in most US states), and that leads to misery, broken marriages, and more suffering for both parties and their families. To claim that equal rights exist because "no one can marry someone of the same gender" is to callously ignore the point.


8: The Mormon Proposition

A Powerful Look at Social Justice and the Cardinal Virtue of Church-State Separation

Utah has the highest teen suicide rate. But why? Isn't it forbidden by the bible? Well, no; Samson's suicide is generally held up as a laudable event. The bible even clearly states that god granted him superhuman strength during his final moments. Therefore, god approves of suicide (at least if you take out several thousand of his enemies simutaneously). By extension, the bible gives Christians no reasons to oppose suicide bombing.

The tragedy behind Utah's youth suicide rate is quite simple once you learn that the majority of the state is Mormon. It is also profoundly and undeniably tragic. Under Mormon teachings, being gay is second only to murder under their collection of "sins." The threat of hell is certainly no match for the oppression, "reparative" therapies and condemnation from pulpits and parents alike. And yet the Mormon hierarchies aren't satisfied with tormenting those who were unfortunate enough to live in their state. They funded and supplied countless volunteers to pass Proposition 8 back in 2008. Needless to say, the pool of Mormon sheep blackmailed with excommunication amounted to tens of thousands of flyer-distributors, yellers and election-day "advisors." As anyone well-versed in political science is well aware, dedicated (or in this case, at least partially-coerced) volunteers can run circles around a smaller but more well-funded opposition.

Families sacrificed their childrens' college funds, retirement funds, and whatever else was demanded of them by comfortable, affluent and above all lazy clergy. And for what? For holding back social justice, compassion and understanding for a few years until the Judge Walker of California's district court declared it unconstitutional. Are the families going to receive aid from their conservative leaders who fleeced them of so much money? I highly doubt it. Utah will be profoundly dependent on the government teat (i.e. welfare) for the near future. So much for right-wing conservatism and personal responsibility. This was religious blackmail at its most pernicious.

Or consider this - convicted mass murderers on death row and sex offenders can marry the person of their choice, but gays and lesbians cannot. That likens them to slaves in the Antebellum South, who were not allowed to marry. Like the emancipated African Americans before them, members of the LGBT community gathered in throngs to get married. To equate them to slaves and imply that they are worse than murderers is both profoundly callous and bigoted. Such discriminatory laws have no place in secular societies.

By sticking its unwanted neck into the public sphere, the Mormon community unequivocably and unforgivably violated the first amendment of the US Constitution. There can be no freedom of religion without freedom FROM religion. The Mormons would no doubt throw childish hissy fits if their tax-exempt status was revoked and they were held accountable for their pernicious actions in shoving their baseless religious beliefs on the rest of California. Yet that would only be fair. There should be no governmental representation without taxation. This guiding axiom of democracy must work both ways for healthy societies to function and thrive.

I am ecstatic that NOM is now under investigation for violating the US tax code. Justice for them, and the rest of society, is past its due date, but better late than never. Hiding financial figures and the names of one's donors is a clear sign of guilt (or at the least, a profound fear of embarrassment). As the recent 2012 referenda showed, it is only a matter of time before social justice spreads across the developed world. Religion cannot stop it, and their efforts to try only make things worse for us all (how many foster children could have been helped by the money thrown down the toilet on Proposition 8?).

I would highly recommend Marriage On Trial's re-enactment of the Prop 8 Trial to see just how flimsy and unsupported the case against marriage equality is. Black, Cowan and Greenstreet deserve our respect and admiration for bringing these clandestine truths to light.


Reasonable Faith Study Guide

Beyond Worthless

Why trust someone who holds the "internal witness of the holy spirit" in a higher regard than empirical evidence? How can one have an honest discussion with an individual who accuses everyone who doesn't subscribe to his religious view as one who "loves darkness rather than light"? It can't be done (at least not without redefining terms such as "honesty."

In a debate with Mark Smith, the apologist was asked, "Dr. Craig, for the sake of argument let's pretend that a time machine gets built. You and I hop in it, and travel back to the day before Easter, 33 AD. We park it outside the tomb of Jesus. We wait. Easter morning rolls around, and nothing happens. We continue to wait. After several weeks of waiting, still nothing happens. There is no resurrection- Jesus is quietly rotting away in the tomb.", Craig replied, that he would still believe because of the "self-authenticating witness of the Holy Spirit."

Christopher Hitchens also brought up this point in their debate shortly before his death. Craig's faith isn't reasonable. It isn't intellectually vigorous to conflate blind faith with trust and the acceptance of scientific principles that have proven themselves over hundreds of years. They can be demonstrated to work. Craig's faith has no such basis in reality. There is no evidence that would cause Craig to deconvert, as I have just demonstrated.

Additionally, Craig has also claimed that if evolution occurred, it would be a miracle. Well, I guess he doesn't need vaccines or the other fruits of that branch of biological research. Hypocrite.
Sat Dec 01, 2012 5:10 am
Gnug215ModeratorUser avatarPosts: 2558Joined: Sat Feb 21, 2009 10:31 pm

Post Re: Countering Fundies Through Amazon

Very nice work. I enjoy reading these.

Although I didn't enjoy finding out about the crap that's out there.
- Gnug215

YouTube channel:
http://www.youtube.com/user/Gnug215


The horse is a ferocious predator.
Sat Dec 01, 2012 9:57 am
AyameTanPosts: 75Joined: Tue Mar 08, 2011 6:18 am Gender: Male

Post Re: Countering Fundies Through Amazon

Gnug215 wrote:Very nice work. I enjoy reading these.


Thanks. I'm currently plowing through D. James Kennedy's Skeptics Answered and Frank Turek's Correct not Politically Correct.

For a preview of Turek's unrestrained vitriol, watch this playlist:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KcK539YH ... 09396C40BA

The uploader is none other than GodGunsGutsGlory.

Gnug215 wrote:Although I didn't enjoy finding out about the crap that's out there.


It's good for its value as a form of black humour, but that's about it. :(
Sat Dec 01, 2012 11:28 am
AyameTanPosts: 75Joined: Tue Mar 08, 2011 6:18 am Gender: Male

Post Re: Countering Fundies Through Amazon

I just tackled D. James Kennedy's Skeptics Answered.

http://www.amazon.com/review/RJVBA4UZ83 ... hisHelpful

It's my longest review yet. XD

The initial chapter gave me high hopes for this book of apologetics (at least initially). I have no issues with reasoning together. I think it's essential if we are to come closer to the truth on any subject. Sadly, I was rapidly disappointed.

He refers to Josh McDowell (author of Evidence that Demands a Verdict). As McDowell became a Christian due to the evidence, so claims Kennedy, anyone who does not also convert to Christianity after looking through the evidence is intellectually dishonest. So we're not even past chapter 1, and the intended audience is already being insulted.

The nasty asides don't stop coming. Immediately prior his thinly-veiled blackmail (aka Pascal's Wager), Kennedy accuses non-Christians of being rebellious (p20).Such arguments have no place in a forum based on reason. Sadly, after reading and listening to a considerable amount of apologetics, I have come to expect dishonest and condescending tactics such as these.

Chapter 2 continues with using a "fulcrum" to knock your opponent (in this case, the nonbeliever) off-balance. He suggests starting by recognising the nonbeliever's right to disbelieve, and to be willing to fight for it. This, claims Kennedy, will surprise the unbeliever. I don't see where the surprise comes in. I would certainly respect a believer who is willing to leave unbelievers alone, but I would not see this as evidence for his position. Empirical evidence stands or falls on its own merits, not on the individual who provides such information. Kennedy's pat follow-up is "If you don't believe the bible's message, then you don't understand it. What is the bible's message, in your view?" Wow. Not only is this condescending, but is a classic example of arguing from one's conclusions. The author starts from the conclusion that the bible is true (a dubious proposition at best, given that he is apparently addressing skeptics), and launches his assaults on (true) reason and non-belief from that position.

Unsurprisingly, he holds the bible to possess monumental spiritual power that can change hearts and lives (he must be unaware of the plethora of atheists who deconverted precisely because they read the bible and found more holes in it than your average wedge of Northern European cheese).

So what is the bible's main message? How to teach people how to gain eternal life (the invisible carrot). Sugar helps bitter medicine go down. One always catches more insects with honey. The early bird gets the worm. Personally, I am happy to accept the fact that I won't live forever. Nor would I. Eternal boredom would not appeal to me. But I digress. The bible is not evidence, nor historical (there are Christians that assert that the bible isn't meant to be a science book, but then why would it claim to offer "cures" for leprosy and boils?).

Next, Kennedy goes on to address the natural historicity of the bible (miracles will be addressed in a later chapter). He concedes that the original Hebrew texts no longer exist (wouldn't this count as rather strong evidence against his god's desire to preserve the original meaning of his word?). So, according to the author, their reliability can be determined by collating the number of copies we have, their consistency, and the time lag between the originals and the oldest copies in existence.

He claims that there is only a thirty year gap between the events of the gospel and the disciple John's penning of his tome. He doesn't cite secular sources for this, but the apologists Norman Geisler and William Nix. It also raises a curious issue - why would John wait three decades after the events he witnessed? It's far more likely that the "gospel" of "John" was penned by another individual who had access to the Old Testament and made good use of this to "fulfill" ancient prophecies by writing such events into it.

Chapter 2 ends by accusing skeptics of scouring the bible for "excuses not to believe." The two examples he uses are not even contradictions (Cain's wife and Peter's metaphor of Jesus being "hung from a tree"). Well, if he's going to aim high, he might as well aim for the broad side of a barn, I suppose. He proceeds to (unwittingly) embarrass his faith and himself by claiming that Christianity is a reasonable belief. Why? Because, according to 2 Peter 1:16, ""¦we were eyewitnesses to his majesty." Too bad no one alive today was alive then, and so we must rely on hearsay.

Well, there are ten more chapters, plus an epilogue, so I will try to be as brief as possible.



Chapter 3: Miracles and Prophecies: Fact or Fiction?

Kennedy launches into this chapter by attacking Jefferson and his now-famous abridged bible. I must agree that anyone who believes in a deity that created the universe and stepped back is not far from being an atheist (though some theists disagree). Believing in a single supernatural event is not far removed from believing in numerous supernatural events. So, according to the author, someone who believes in a deist-type god should have no problem making the simple step of moving to believing in a theist-style deity.

Unfortunately, all miraculous claims have already failed the test of empirical studies and analysis. Take the famous Templeton Prayer Study (2006), which empirically tested 1800 heart patients split into three groups.

(1. Patients who were told people would pray for them)

(2. Patients who were not told people would pray for them, but people did pray for them)

(3. Patients who were not told anything, and nobody prayed for them)

The patients who knew they were being prayed for ended up with the most post-surgery complications (likely due to expectation bias).

Moreover, where are the healed amputees? Why aren't theologians winning Nobel prizes left and right for demonstrating the existence of miracles? Because miracles don't exist, the supernatural doesn't exist, and Kennedy is a dishonest huckster. Expectedly, he trots out the tired old libelous canard that skeptics fear a god that will judge them (page 32). He concludes this chapter by citing Lee Strobel, a fake skeptic who believes that honest skepticism will lead anyone to Christ (hah!).


Chapter 4: Be Ready Always

After admonishing a novice preacher for relying on prayer rather than an orderly set of sermon notes (I hope I'm not the only one seeing the irony here), Kennedy quotes 1 Peter 3:15, and admonishes Christians to always be ready to answer any skeptics they may encounter. He concedes that most Christians don't even know what they believe, and so cannot begin a long dissertation into the wherefores of their faith.

As for the fulfilled prophecies, I could easily point to a whole bundle of unfulfilled ones. These are just a small appetizer from RationalWiki:

(Failure to smite Jebus
In Joshua 3:10 the eponymous Jew is quoted as saying the following:
Hereby ye shall know that the living God is among you, and that he will without fail drive out from before you the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Hivites, and the Perizzites, and the Girgashites, and the Amorites, and the Jebusites.
This is a repetition of a promise had from God's own lips in earlier books. However, mere moments later we learn that:
As for the Jebusites the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the children of Judah could not drive them out; but the Jebusites dwell with the children of Judah at Jerusalem unto this day.[7]
Apparently, while good at smiting the amusingly named Girgashites, Jebus was a bit too tough for Joshua.

Israelites will be unbeatable
In Exodus 23:27 God tells Moses that he will defeat every enemy he encounters:
I will send my terror ahead of you and throw into confusion every nation you encounter. I will make all your enemies turn their backs and run. (NIV)
However, history indicates many defeats suffered by the Israelites. Note that most believers will pull a no true Scotsman and claim that the defeats happened only at times when the Israelites weren't pious enough.

Land promises
In the Bible, God allegedly made promises to Abraham to deliver him land then under the control of other tribes. For example, upon Abraham entering Canaan, Genesis 12:7 states, in part, "The LORD appeared to Abram and said, 'To your offspring I will give this land.'" (NIV) This promise was reiterated in slightly different ways throughout the books of Genesis and Exodus.
However, this did not reasonably soon thereafter come to be, as illustrated by Hebrews 11:13, which, regarding Abraham's descendents, states,
All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance. And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth. (NIV)
Similarly, in Exodus 23:31 God promises to give the Israelites all the land from the Mediterranean to the Red Sea and from the Euphrates River to "the desert." Historically this never happened.
Joshua was also promised specific land. Per Joshua 1:3-5:
I will give you every place where you set your foot, as I promised Moses. Your territory will extend from the desert to Lebanon, and from the great river, the Euphrates,all the Hittite country,to the Great Sea on the west. No one will be able to stand up against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you. (NIV)
Strangely, Joshua 11:23 indicates that he did indeed take the land:
So Joshua took the entire land, just as the LORD had directed Moses, and he gave it as an inheritance to Israel according to their tribal divisions. Then the land had rest from war. (NIV)
However, history and the Bible indicate all the land was not taken. Per Joshua 13:1-5:
When Joshua was old and well advanced in years, the LORD said to him, "You are very old, and there are still very large areas of land to be taken over. This is the land that remains: all the regions of the Philistines and Geshurites: from the Shihor River on the east of Egypt to the territory of Ekron on the north, all of it counted as Canaanite; the territory of the five Philistine rulers in Gaza, Ashdod, Ashkelon, Gath and Ekron,that of the Avvites from the south, all the land of the Canaanites, from Arah of the Sidonians as far as Aphek, the region of the Amorites, the area of the Gebalites; and all Lebanon to the east, from Baal Gad below Mount Hermon to Lebo Hamath. (NIV)

Israel will live in peace with its neighbors


A Merkava vineyard planter
Ezekiel 28:26-24 predicts that Israel will live in peace with its neighbors:
No longer will the people of Israel have malicious neighbors who are painful briers and sharp thorns. Then they will know that I am the Sovereign LORD. This is what the Sovereign LORD says: When I gather the people of Israel from the nations where they have been scattered, I will show myself holy among them in the sight of the nations. Then they will live in their own land, which I gave to my servant Jacob. They will live there in safety and will build houses and plant vineyards; they will live in safety when I inflict punishment on all their neighbors who maligned them. Then they will know that I am the LORD their God. (NIV)
Ouch, that one hurt. A consistent aspect of history is that Israel has never gotten along with its neighbors. (Or, if you prefer, that its neighbors have never gotten along with it.))

Back to my review.

He uses Zeno's Paradox to illustrate the limit of logic. He goes on to accuse skeptics of using logic to support their preconceived conclusions. This is rich, and beyond insulting, given the willful ignorance of Christians and their undying desire to ignore evidence for evolution and rebuttals to their own positions. Their ceaseless attempts to limbo under the problem of suffering is a perfect case in point.


Chapters 10 and 11 - the Problems of Evil and Pain (or Suffering)

I have slogged through dozens of hours of theodicies attempting to reconcile an all-powerful, all-knowing and all-loving god with the existence of suffering, so I will recap my primary rejoinders here.

The Problem of Evil is an insurmountable one for Christians (and all other theists who believe in a perfectly loving, all-powerful and all-knowing god). There have been intense and motivated efforts over the past two millennia to defend such a position rationally, and they have all failed. Miserably. Utterly. And in many cases, dishonestly.

Some approached involve invoking an unknown "greater good" defense (which throws god's omnipotence under the bus. An omnipotent deity could simply actualise a desired goal without needing to use suffering as a "middle man"). Attempts to shift the problem by asserting that human happiness is not the goal of life (but knowing god is) removes the omnibenevolence and omnipotence of god (if you love someone, you don't want them to suffer. It really is that simple).

Here, Plantinga takes the old canard of free will. Unfortunately, free will is meaningless unless everyone has an equal amount of it. This is undeniably NOT the case. Not everyone is given the same lifespan, physical strength, mental acuity, political clout, financial resources, and so on. Plantinga is pontificating from the luxurious confines of his residence, funded by conveniently gullible sheep. This has certainly damaged his ability to empathise with the billions who live on less than a dollar each day. And the thousands who starve to death every time the Earth completes a full rotation.

Plantinga also, perhaps unwittingly, advocates a social Darwinism in which the rich and physically powerful are able to murder, rape and steal from weaker individuals (and are therefore less able to exercise their own free will to prevent their own suffering). Plantinga worships a cosmic pedophile who revels in granting freedom to abhorrent individuals while getting his jollies from seeing the most vulnerable suffer and die in agony (only to get thrown into even more torture in the Christian vision of hell).

Lastly, a loving god would take away free will from those who would willingly surrender it in return for a life without suffering. Funnily enough, Plantinga seems to believe in a heaven without suffering but with all the bells and whistles of freedom. So why not create that universe from the get-go and stick with it? Why create a universe with even the possibility of corruption? It certainly is not something a perfect god would do. Then again, a perfect god would not blackmail beings he supposedly loves for eternal worship.

Eternalism doesn't work as a dodge. If a god has perfect foreknowledge, then he's still responsible. And as we experience a coherent, cohesive set of events, I don't see how eternalism could be true.

NONE of the theodicies thus far created hold any water. Why? Because an omnipotent deity does not need to use evil to achieve greater goods.

Any such being could achieve the desired outcome from the get-go, no suffering required.

Kennedy engages in numerous logical fallacies. He commits special pleading to let his god off the hook. He clearly does not hold his god to the same moral standard as his god supposedly holds humans to. An all-powerful, all-knowing being who did nothing while billions starved to death is just as guilty as someone who caused such deeds personally. Might does not make right.

Painting god as a loving father who "suffers with" us is almost as bad. Such a god doesn't do a thing to alleviate suffering.

In summary, a thorough response to this book would have to be at least twice its length. Kennedy is simply preaching to the choir and trying to rope in armchair skeptics who have not done the historical research (or are too lazy to). This would be more useful in a goat's belly than on a bookshelf.


Many thanks to RationalWiki!
Fri Dec 21, 2012 1:16 pm
AyameTanPosts: 75Joined: Tue Mar 08, 2011 6:18 am Gender: Male

Post Re: Countering Fundies Through Amazon

Just updated my review of Lewis' The Problem of Pain. How can this asshat be so popular? Is it simply because his books are short? That would explain why it's currently Amazon's #1 seller in Religious Ethics (don't get me started on that oxymoron).

http://www.amazon.com/review/R1UNOP41DT ... hisHelpful

CS Lewis is held by many to be the premier Christian apologist of the 20th century. Unless one is morbidly naive, or has yet to encounter the counterarguments to Christianity in particular and theism in general, I honestly cannot see where his appeal lies.

The Problem of Evil is an insurmountable one for Christians (and all other theists who believe in a perfectly loving, all-powerful and all-knowing god). There have been intense and motivated efforts over the past two millennia to defend such a position rationally, and they have all failed. Miserably. Utterly. And in many cases, dishonestly.

Some approached involve invoking an unknown "greater good" defense (which throws god's omnipotence under the bus. An omnipotent deity could simply actualise a desired goal without needing to use suffering as a "middle man"). Attempts to shift the problem by asserting that human happiness is not the goal of life (but knowing god is) removes the omnibenevolence and omnipotence of god (if you love someone, you don't want them to suffer. It really is that simple). On page 104, Lewis concedes that not everyone suffers equally. He does not give a reason for this, and indeed, admits that our puny human minds cannot understand why god would allow some to live decades in comfort and luxury while others suffer for months or years on end. To quote Lewis himself: "The causes of this distribution I do not know; but from our present point of view it ought to be clear that the real problem is not why some humble, pious, believing people suffer, but why some do NOT (emphasis Lewis', in italics). Our Lord Himself, it will be remembered, explained the salvation of those who are fortunate in this world only by referring to the unsearchable omnipotence of God."

That's not an explanation. Lewis is falling back on the ancient and ubiquitous appeal to ignorance. God's mysterious ways are beyond us. Well, by that "logic," he could send all Christians to hell and everyone else to heaven, and Lewis, by his own admission, would just have to suck up an eternity of torture.

The old canard of free will is often invoked. Unfortunately, free will is meaningless unless everyone has an equal amount of it. This is undeniably NOT the case. Not everyone is given the same lifespan, physical strength, mental acuity, political clout, financial resources, and so on. Lewis is pontificating from the luxurious confines of his residence, funded by conveniently gullible sheep. This has certainly damaged his ability to empathise with the billions who live on less than a dollar each day. And the thousands who starve to death every time the Earth completes a full rotation.

Lewis also, perhaps unwittingly, advocates a social Darwinism in which the rich and physically powerful are able to murder, rape and steal from weaker individuals (and are therefore less able to exercise their own free will to prevent their own suffering). Lewis worships a cosmic pedophile who revels in granting freedom to abhorrent individuals while getting his jollies from seeing the most vulnerable suffer and die in agony (only to get thrown into even more torture in the Christian vision of hell).

Lastly, a loving god would take away free will from those who would willingly surrender it in return for a life without suffering. Funnily enough, Lewis seems to believe in a heaven without suffering but with all the bells and whistles of freedom. So why not create that universe from the get-go and stick with it? Why create a universe with even the possibility of corruption? It certainly is not something a perfect god would do. Then again, a perfect god would not blackmail beings he supposedly loves for eternal worship.

While Lewis is usually a good writer, capable of spinning yarns to attract the attention of children and young teenagers, he also assumes that there is a deep, overriding purpose behind suffering. This purpose is so important that it is more critical to his god to NOT end suffering now, but to let things run their "natural" course until his plan is complete. In service of this goal, he creates a short story that is akin to an essay on theistic evolution, and how man is ultimately responsible for the Fall and his own corruption. If god knows everything, including the future, then he orchestrated the fall (and everything else) before setting his plan into motion. Arguing that god exists outside of time is a lazy copout, nothing more.

As a 'loudspeaker' for the Christian god, pain has done more to drive people away from him than anything else. An all-knowing, all-powerful and all-good god would not allow any suffering, even in the service of a so-called "greater good." And if such a god desires suffering for a greater good, then it would follow logically that his followers should cause suffering to convert more people. After all, that is god's best tool for getting our attention, is it not? Fortunately, CS Lewis and most Christians today do not follow this logic to its end point. Those who do open hospitals and hospices and waste money on bibles rather than food (explaining why only 25% of tithes go to benefit indigent people around the world).
Sat Dec 22, 2012 6:42 am
australopithecusAdministratorUser avatarPosts: 4279Joined: Sun Feb 22, 2009 9:27 pmLocation: Kernow Gender: Time Lord

Post Re: Countering Fundies Through Amazon

Great idea, too many of these Amazon reviews are padded out by this kind of apologetic bullshit. However (and this is a petty point) capitalising the name God isn't so much a matter of respect, it's a matter of grammar. It is a proper noun after all.

Oh shit, I've turned into Prole.
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Sun Dec 23, 2012 5:36 pm
AyameTanPosts: 75Joined: Tue Mar 08, 2011 6:18 am Gender: Male

Post Re: Countering Fundies Through Amazon

australopithecus wrote:Great idea, too many of these Amazon reviews are padded out by this kind of apologetic bullshit. However (and this is a petty point) capitalising the name God isn't so much a matter of respect, it's a matter of grammar. It is a proper noun after all.

Oh shit, I've turned into Prole.


Thanks for the encouragement. :) I don't know who Prole is, but Ray Comfort requires god to have a capital g.

As I understand it, a lower-case god denotes any deity in general. I suppose if one wished to be polite, or use it as a name, capitalisation would be correct. I prefer using the lower case in all situations. Riling fundies up is a fringe benefit of this. :)
Sun Dec 23, 2012 5:42 pm
australopithecusAdministratorUser avatarPosts: 4279Joined: Sun Feb 22, 2009 9:27 pmLocation: Kernow Gender: Time Lord

Post Re: Countering Fundies Through Amazon

Lower case would be if referring to a non-specifc god ie; "I don't believe in any god". However if referring to the Judeo-Christian God it would be capitalised as it is a proper noun.

But as I said, t'is only a petty point. I'll put the grammar Nazi away now.
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Sun Dec 23, 2012 6:30 pm
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