Dad owning Steven Hodges.

The same person who said, “It matters” re-posted something my dad had on his facebook.

Then, because it’s Mountain Home, Arkansas, the believers came.

Doesn’t know the bible, but she sure has an opinion on the content of the book she doesn’t know and she sure as hell believes it.  So many people willing to base their lives on a book they’ve not entirely read, yet they’ll tell you it’s the most important book.  Most of these people have read through a Harry Potter book.

I’ll let dad tackle that one.

Steven Hodges asking for a hammering.  Dad obliges.


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.

  • Synfandel

    Your dad has far more patience than I. I stopped butting heads with Steven Hodges’ type long ago. There’s zero chance that any amount of reasoning and evidence will change his mind.

    • raethfall

      I’ve found that although I agree that Steve Hodges is likely never going to change his mind, the people who read that discussion will very likely be influenced, hopefully by the sound logic and evidence sited by John. I know that’s an enormous influence that my secular/atheist friends had on me. I’ve also found that being willing to argue with believers, even if I convince no one, sharpens my logic, wit, debating and comprehension skills. Can’t pass that up.

      That said, John Eberhard is my Hero.

    • Mikey

      You do it for the lurkers. Reading the back and forth on forums and facebook pages is what got me to fully become an atheist. It’s what made me really question and reflect on what I believe and why.

    • kagekiri

      I disagree.

      I was a YEC fundie wacko at one point, and an attempt to refute evolution on io9 with standard Creationist BS brought an utterly crushing rebuttal from one of the other commenters there.

      I’d heard of the God of the gaps before, but that one internet argument, one that didn’t really spare my feelings at all as he crushed all of my arguments with explanations of how silly they were and how real evidence was weighed far against me, made me finally take a hard look at the foundations of my belief in the compatibility between reality and the Bible.

      Of course, that wasn’t a single-hit knockout, as reality had been softening me up for years with all of the signs of injustice done in God’s name both inside scripture and throughout history, but it did act as an stunning blow that made me step back and re-evaluate my beliefs about the world.

      Without Creationism, I couldn’t have actual Biblical literalism, and without Biblical literalism; well, most of the Bible doesn’t make sense as a cohesive narrative anymore, and it makes the Biblical Jesus and Paul out to be rather stupid and uninformed for people who supposedly had direct lines to God (or in Jesus’ case, someone who “was God”). Hell, it made God seem pretty uninformed for our supposed creator if he didn’t record how he actually made us or why he actually allowed sin.

      I’d had some doubts before, and it wasn’t an instant cure to my deeply held religious ignorance, but I have to credit that argument, where it seemed futile and he didn’t even expect to convince me (as he told me later when I came back to thank him), for starting me firmly on a short road to deconversion.

  • Katherine Lorraine, Chaton de la Mort

    I’m sure you don’t need to be told this, JT.

    Your dad kicks ass.

  • Matthew

    I also like to add in Deuteronomy 22:23-24 to discussions on this topic:

    “If within the city a man comes upon a maiden who is betrothed, and has relations with her, you shall bring them both out of the gate of the city and there stone them to death: the girl because she did not cry out for help though she was in the city, and the man because he violated his neighbors wife.”

    So we’re supposed to murder the victim who failed to put herself in more even danger by crying out. The whole system just seems engineered to encourage 1) rapists to murder their victims so they themselves won’t get caught and punished, and 2) victims to never identify previous rapists for fear of being executed by the state themselves.

    It’s actually rather difficult for me to imagine an approach that treats women worse.

  • Randomfactor

    Keep in mind that since the virgins’ fathers have been obliterated with their families, there’s nobody to pay off–so the rape is duty-free!

  • steve84

    That guy mentioned to thoroughly cover all the cliches, didn’t he?

  • anteprepro

    Oh, that’s a sweet move there Steven. Implying that it is only a filthy non-believer’s filthy mind that would interpret “taking virgins” as something sexual, i.e. rape. Apparently it was just being a good samaritan, protecting their virginity. Yeah, I believe it. That’s why it talks about killing boys too. All about maintaining purity. Yep.

  • steve84

    Of course they’d get raped. The raping of women when sacking a besieged city was a common occurrence in warfare up to the 17th century. In a way it was considered normal and something to be expected. It’s also well documented in WWII and the Balkan wars, and various wars in Africa.

    It also wasn’t unusual for the men in defeated armies to be raped.

    • Kevin

      Rape is as common in war today as it ever was.

  • cswella

    I know PoD is a christian band, but the song, “Boom” was running through my head while reading the last part.

  • Rory

    I like to imagine the Rocky theme playing in the background while your dad types out his replies. Perhaps in some kind of montage format.

  • ednaz

    Owned indeed. Well done, Well Done! I love this.

    JT, You, your Dad and your Mom completely rock.

  • Jasper of Maine (I feel safe and welcome at FTB)
  • TGAP Dad

    I am a total fan of your dad, and have a feeling he’d be great to have a tall, cold one with. OTOH, I can’t imagine he’s popular in his rural Arkansas community. I imagine it being like West Michigan’s bible belt, which is saturated with the christian reformed/Dutch reformed brand of fundamental christianity.

  • memphis matt

    It seems that in John Eberhard’s Facebook universe, there is a direct correlation between a comment’s magnitude of stupidity and the number of thumbs-up it receives.

  • Pierce R. Butler

    … the parents of little boys should start saving up now because dowries can be expensive.

    Nope, it’s the parents of little _girls_ who need to start putting all their change in a jar, because dowries are a bribe to their prospective sons-in-law to take those cootie-ridden icky vessels of sin off their hands.

    • steve84

      There is bride price though. In some cultures, both parents are expected to bribe each other.

  • jaxkayaker

    Contra your father, the earth isn’t a closed system. That’s not to say the Noachian flood story is true.

    • steve84

      I noticed that too. While it’s true that the amount of water on Earth is more or less constant, the Earth loses atmosphere to space, radiates heat in space and receives energy from the sun, among others.

      • kagekiri

        Yeah, and I remember hearing theories that comets could bring additional water…but that’d have to be a ridiculous number of simultaneous comet strikes to support a flood.

        The theory I’ve heard espoused by Answers in Genesis is that the Genesis account of the Earth’s structure was right, so there are waters above, and waters below (so ground water, and a magical shell of water floating in the sky ABOVE the breathable atmosphere).

        This is the magical thing that somehow makes all carbon dating wrong, because it filtered out sunlight (or something). And by turning on gravity for that water, God was able to decrease our lifespans by letting UV through AND create a worldwide flood, and that’s why there was no rain and no oceans before the Flood, because the ground water and closed atmosphere made things not need rain. No idea how they made that fit with salt-water fish and fresh-water fish when they say there’s no macro-evolution…

        Man, I hate that I used to believe that…not even just as a kid, but through college.

        • Azkyroth, Former Growing Toaster Oven

          Yeah, and I remember hearing theories that comets could bring additional water…but that’d have to be a ridiculous number of simultaneous comet strikes to support a flood.

          Far more than required to vaporize most of the surface, I’d guess.

          • Joe

            Well, we can work it out. A comet contains, say, a billion kilograms of water, and weighs maybe twice that (These are very approximate figures, but should be within a couple of orders of magnitude).

            A meteorite will hit the Earth at around 10 km/s, so the kinetic energy of the comet can be found (E = 0.5 m v^2) to be around 10^17 Joules.

            The amount of comets needed can be found by figuring out how much water would be needed to cover the entire earth. I took it to a depth of 8 km (around the height of Mount Everest), and worked out that 10^21 kg or water would be needed. This is 10^12 comets worth, or 10^29 Joules of energy. To give you an idea, this is around the amount of energy the sun emits every 15 minutes. So yeah, vaporising the surface.

      • John Eberhard

        Thank you. In the future will use “the earth is a more or less closed system as far as water is concerned. The amount of water here is pretty much a constant.”

        • Armored Scrum Object

          You heard it here first, folks! Those strident evolutionists lack conviction!


          • Jasper of Maine (I feel safe and welcome at FTB)

            I hope you’re being sarcastic.

            It’s a strength of character and epistemology framework to accept critique and update one’s understanding/knowledge.

            That’s why we’re not still living in damp caves.

          • Kilian Hekhuis

            Yeah, always changing their mind when presented with new evidence, how can we be sure of anything????

  • Kaoru Negisa

    As I’ve said, your father must have learned how to debate by arguing with ill-tempered bears in the wild. Admittedly, he’s taken on tougher targets than this moron, but it’s always a pleasure to see him do so.

  • kagekiri

    JT, your family needs to start a school in counter-apologetics!

    That calm dissection of an opponent’s argument, along with an utterly precise series of counters without ceding an inch to any bad assumptions or false analogies…it’s pure poetry.

    It reminds me of a classic kung-fu movie training scene, with a master effortlessly deflecting an unruly enemy/student’s wild blows while calmly lecturing them on what they’re doing wrong.

  • baal

    Wait that’s totally batshit, the bible doesn’t say any of……oh, I guess it does.

    (I had this experience when I saw the movie, ‘the handmaids tail’ (based on a book of the same name). I had a serious WTF moment and wondered why anyone believes that book – it’s loaded with insane levels of non-sense.)

  • Randomfactor

    but that’d have to be a ridiculous number of simultaneous comet strikes to support a flood.

    The energy delivered alongside the water would’ve resulted in superheated steam which would’ve flash-cooked Noah and sterilized the Earth. Which would’ve been overdoing it, even for the Old Testament god.

    • kagekiri

      True, but drowning in a flood seems more torture-like and cruel…at least superheated steam would kill you fast : /

  • pneumo


    Seems reasonable, since it is about some mexican named Jesus.

  • Mark

    I agree, if the government is going to be involved in marriage, divorce should not be legal.

  • BethE

    Interesting in the other comments about how ‘oh, that’s just the Old Testament’ when there are comments from Jesus and Paul as well.

  • eric

    JT, I liked your dad’s responses but can’t help thinking he was drawn a little off track, a little in the weeds by discussing OT scripture.

    The top-level response to his opponents (claiming all that OT stuff doesn’t count) is that the bible’s opposition to divorce and prefrence for everyone to be unmarried and celibate is NT, not OT. You simply can’t use the “that was the old testament” response on those.

    The second commented I would’ve made is: fine, for sake of argument let’s say that the bible supports modern notions of heterosexual marriage. A law permitting gay marriage does not prevent you from celebrating your marriage, any more than a law permitting hamburger joints prevents you from opening an all-chicken restaurant.

  • Usernames are smart

    You’re rght that most Godiots™ have never read their little book.

    When they try to state the OT doesn’t apply any more, then you burn ‘em with a little, “so no more Ten Commandments, then?” and while they froth and foam, a roundhouse of, “great—gay sex is no longer forbidden, sweet!” will leave them lying on the floor, twitching.

  • Rick

    Mr. John, Well Done (TM).

    As for the idiots who like to claim that the Old testament is old and that Jesus wiped that all away, and that’s why we no longer have to pay attention to Numbers or Deuteronomy or Leviticus, have them read Matthew 5:17-19. Jesus clearly says “keep the old laws”.

    So if you believe Jesus is any kind of authority on the matter, then you must start stoning people for adultery, and kids for talking back to their parents.