Look at all the fucks I give

I normally don’t care when people leave negative comments.  Part of being public with your life means you’re going to get some criticism and, as the axiom goes, haters gonna hate.  Fortunately, I’m generally pretty good at separating bad criticism from criticism with merit.  Greta actually wonders how I never seem to let it get to me.

However, on the vid of the Texas debate with Matt Dillahunty, there are a couple people ragging on me.  There are just as many saying I rocked, but the raggers are saying everything from I flat out sucked to that I looked nervous and stumbled.  As Matt said…

JT and I talked strategy ahead of time and I tried to prepare for all possibilities . So the amount that JT had to talk in order to address their points was directly proportional to the number of points they raised. Whereas my job in the first debate was pretty easy: talk about the subject at a meta level that undercut the very fact that they were even attempting to argue this. Apart from the time spent measuring philosophical penises with Sloan (which HAD to be done), I had it pretty easy (which was good, as I got sick right before the debate).

The follow-up debate with Jay [Lucas] is one where I was on my own, so I prepared to, essentially, do my job and JT’s job. That’s a daunting task. Fortunately, my opponent didn’t force me to answer a ton of arguments.

I liked both debates and thought that JT did a great job (and probably a better job than I did during that debate, because his job required more on-the-fly effort).

That said, I liked the format of the second one better – and I want more of the direct, conversational questioning.

It’ll be interesting to see what happens to Chris DiCarlo and I next weekend.

Anyone saying JT sucked, simply doesn’t understand what was going on…and if they think I know more about this than JT, then they should agree with what I just said. Their argument is ultimately self-defeating. Mwahahahaha

He’s right about the format.  It could’ve been better.

Anyway, I had to go fast during my rounds because of the strategy we were taking.  We were planning on the William Lane Craig approach from the other team of throwing out a gajillion arguments and then harping on the ones we couldn’t get to.  That’s what they wound up doing (even a little prematurely).  So I was trying to get to as many as I could (all of them, optimally) to give Matt time to take a metaphorical scalpel to them.  The pace I had to take caused me to stumble over my words at times.  People were interpreting it as nerves, which it wasn’t.  I debate all the time and I’m pretty damn comfortable doing it (even alongside one of my debate heroes).  It was just trying to get as many of my arguments in as possible while trying to rebut as many of theirs as possible.

Was it my strongest performance?  Not at all, and there are things I’ll need to improve on.  But I thought I did alright and I certainly think my arguments were tight and I definitely feel we handily won the debate.  I don’t know why those comments are bugging me so much, but they are.

Anyway, I put out the call for digital hugs on facebook and the resulting onslaught of virtual hugs put me in a better mood immediately.  It moved me to produce a facebook cover more in-keeping with my new, hug-filled mood.

Now I feel better.  :)

PERSONAL: Cancer sucks.
POLITICS & GAY RIGHTS: Arkansas about to pass an anti-gay law just like Indiana’s.
FAITH: Another atheist blogger stabbed to death in Bangladesh.
About JT Eberhard

When not defending the planet from inevitable apocalypse at the rotting hands of the undead, JT is a writer and public speaker about atheism, gay rights, and more. He spent two and a half years with the Secular Student Alliance as their first high school organizer. During that time he built the SSA’s high school program and oversaw the development of groups nationwide. JT is also the co-founder of the popular Skepticon conference and served as the events lead organizer during its first three years.

  • http://freethoughtblogs.com/almostdiamonds/ Stephanie Zvan

    Oh, so not a polyamory post then. ;)

    One of the things I admire about the way you debate, probably all the more so because I won’t be assed to do it, is that you just don’t leave loose ends hanging. I’ll go to the heart of a ridiculous set of claims to cut it out, but you take the whole thing apart.

    • Brownian

      Oh, so not a polyamory post then.

      That was my thought too! “Free fucks! Awesom—oh, JT haz sad.”

      Anyway, I haven’t yet had a chance to watch the video and I don’t want to give JT hollow praise nor offer platitudes, so instead *hugs*.

      • http://florilegia.wordpress.com Ibis3, denizen of a spiteful ghetto

        There you go, JT. Hugs from Brownian and you didn’t even have to wait in line.

        (Oh, and *hugs* from me too. Haven’t watched yet but I will.)

    • http://www.facebook.com/msmith1 mattsmith

      And I thought, similarly, pix or it didn’t happen.

  • http://freethoughtblogs.com/almostdiamonds/ Stephanie Zvan

    Also, *hugs*.

  • ‘Tis Himself

    But if you’re giving fucks then why do you need a box? Shouldn’t the people you’re giving fucks to be the ones with boxes?

    • kagekiri

      I thought the empty box was there mostly to show that there are no fucks are being given.

    • Brownian

      You expect him to keep his fucks in a bag?

      C’mon, ‘Tis; give your head a shake.

      • ‘Tis Himself

        C’mon, Brownian, don’t they have fuckbags in Canuckistan?

      • Dustin

        Fuckbag. Lol.

        I’m going to use that as an insult.

    • Desert Son, OM

      Is this one of those “sophisticated theology” type exercises? How many angels can dance on the head of a pin? How many fucks fit in a cardboard box?

      También, *abrazos simpaticos* para JT.

      Still learning,


  • http://atheistlogic.wordpress.com OmniZ

    Don’t be down on yourself, I thought you rocked at the debate. I almost jumped up with glee when you smacked them down with your “We have’t refuted your arguments because it was our goddamned OPENING STATEMENT!”

    Aside from the philosophical penis measuring (sorry, I love the way Matt worded this too much not to steal it) I had a blast watching this.

    Personally, while there may have been room for improvement, I really enjoyed this new format. The length of the statements gave them enough time to embarrass themselves (although I pity how much you had to refute in your time), team strategies are an interesting twist I had never seen before, and the discussion at the end was a great idea, if not for the fact that it devolved into “I know bigger words than you”.

  • Zengaze

    I just love armchair generals, or the types who think because they can copy paste, or regurgitate arguments they have read from others at their own leisurely pace on a forum debate format, that they have the debate thing owned.

    I consider myself pretty swift footed at identifying the underlying argument behind the smoke mirror, but there have been countless times I’ve thought hours later…. Ahhh shit, why didn’t I just point that out, That would have cut through to the core….. And that’s just a passing conversation.

    In short, don’t give a fuck JT.

  • MichaelD

    I’ll admit I do think Matt comes off better in the debate. However he had it really easy. Given all the heavy lifting you had to do (something like 15 points to try to cover all told) I think you came off quite well. Don’t let the haters get to you.

  • see_the_galaxy

    Don’t let the bastards get you down. People line up to spit on Dawkins and Hitchens, not in spite of how good they are, but BECAUSE they’re good! JT a lot of people you’ve never met admire what we see you do.

  • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com WMDKitty


    U can haz happy nao?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1698151270 John-Henry Beck

    Maybe they’re too used to the polish of a scripted show where one author gets to put the words in everyone’s mouths and everyone knows what everyone means?
    Mostly sounds like just haters gotta hate.

    Without knowing that background stuff Matt does come off sounding a little better – as in smoother, or more practiced. Who’d expect that from someone doing a tv show regularly for years?

    I enjoyed it, though. I enjoyed a lot of cool stuff you threw in, JT. (I didn’t see anyone else serenading audience members!) Definitely good not to be all philosophers. I think it would be pretty hard to do any better than you did. (Highly unlikely I could, definitely.) So, go be proud of yourself and pet a kitty or something.

  • skepticallydenpa

    I found it frustrating for the same reason I find WLC debates frustrating. Trying to dismantle a shotgun array of arguments properly is damn near impossible. I couldn’t believe you were actually going for it(although, the video evidence is hard to deny). I want to see the results after you’ve practiced this approach. I’m sure most of the arguments can be shot down in one or two lines; but getting the audience to understand the argument in summary is where I run into difficulty.

    As for the idea that you were nervous… I have never seen debaters appear more relaxed than the two of you. You showed support for each other, humor, gratitude, and poise in between rebuttals/remarks. I know you could have handled many of the arguments much better than what you did on stage. But given the time constraints, well… there is a reason why WLC uses this approach.

    You did a great job. *hugs*

  • Anonymous

    I think gishgallop should be called out more often, when you take the podium highlighting it to the hall for the desperate strategy that it is.

    Do you see what just happened there, my opponent doesn’t have one good argument, so he throws a tirade of really really bad arguments, so that the ones I dont get time to address in rebuttal he claims I avoided answering! Maybe if he could inform me what he thinks the very best argument for his case is I could deal with that.

  • EcksLibris

    I’m a day late with hugs, but I was at the debate and thought you rocked it. From a live audience standpoint, nervousness was not projected at all.. And as I believe I mentioned to you before, if anyone ever tells you you’re not awesome, I can personally attest that you are awesome both personally and debate-ally ( I know, not really a word!). So, day-old hugs all around!

  • jassminewolfe

    I thought you were fantastic, JT.

    Hugs :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/cate.kurtis catekurtis

    Hey babe, don’t commit the logical fallacy of believing bullies to be relevant. Personal attacks are the best sign we have that they’re losing the battle in increasingly embarrassing ways.

    I think that you knocked it out of the park by simply stating the fact that at best theists can argue that a God designed the universe to make it look obvious that there is no designer.

  • see_the_galaxy

    My only issue btw was the idea that the brain uses most of the resources (however that was phrased) or that some hominids went extinct because of big brains. What is true is that the brain uses a disproportionate amount of resources, and that the large brain does have costs in terms of death in childbirth. So your overall point holds quite well. Here is a reference that might be of interest:

  • LadyBlack

    You get up in front of people. You get up in front of people and speak to them. You get up and speak to them, knowing that one or more of them might not agree with you.

    I can’t even do the first part.

    No criticism here. Hugs instead.