Live-blogging “Unpacking Atheism”.

8:47pm – RatioChristiJSU is going to be the source of my material while people give their anecdotes with vague homage to the design and moral arguments (drink, drink).  Their most recent is:

We’re enjoying hearing these testimonies about the efficacy of apologetics. #unpackingatheism

Atheism is the fastest growing “religious” demographic in all 50 states.  Churches are hemorrhaging followers right now.  Anecdotes work sometimes, but only on people who are less interested in facts and reason.  On that front, we are killing it.

Laptop is about to die.  Will be at it on twitter on the #unpackingatheism hashtag.

8:40pm – I just saw RatioChristiJSU on twitter say:

Dr. Ordway is a great reminder for us to practice our greatest apologetic, the way we live life with Jesus. #unpackingatheism

There is a person in the audience of this church who attempted to leave the following comment on my blog (and worse):

Look at the TITS on the atheist chick!

Too bad they are wasted on a little prick like JT.

But I am sure there are some other guys who are going to ask her out soon!

His name is Jim Christensen (he’s the guy with the dark hair who is clearly in his 60s, at best) and he was referring to my girlfriend.  If what Holly Ordway is doing is the most effective apologetic, the existence of believers like Chrstensen are proof that god doesn’t exist.

Nice people are everywhere.  When they fail to realize certain ideas, like killing someone for working on Saturday, were never moral, then they are nice and kind in spite of their religious beliefs, not because of them.  And the moment they fail to condemn such barbarity, those people are made less compassionate than they could be by faith.

Kind people are evidence only of kind people, not of god.


8:24pm – She keeps stressing that she is an academic, as if atheistic academics don’t exist.  In fact, lots of them are in the various scientific disciplines.

There’s the moral argument and the cosmological argument.  Drink up, everybody!

“I knew I wanted to be good and kind, but couldn’t figure out why.”  Even if you had no clue whatsoever, that doesn’t mean god.  Argument from ignorance.  More drinks.

“Life is meaningless except where we could create meaning, but that doesn’t work so well.”  Why not?  The meaning I’ve made for my life is awesome!  Why is yours better?

I cannot wait for people to try and convert me after this is over.  There’s a bunch of people in this room who are going to regurgitate this stuff thinking it makes them invincible.  I’m going to do them the favor of relieving them of that impression.

8:19pm – Ordway talking about historical Christians who were smart.  She could really highlight how great they were by juxtaposing them against the ones who killed scholars through their institutions or the racists unrepaired by faith in Christ.  I’m going to guess she won’t do that.

“What these Christians wrote was powerful.”  Atheists write powerful literature.  More powerful than the bible, in fact.  What’s more, skill at writing does not make someone right about ancient men rising from the dead.

8:13pm – Ok, after a an hour of bullshit covered with a philosophical blanket, which didn’t keep it from stinking up the internet, it’s time for people to tell their stories.  What I’d love to see is for them to put a Christian, a Muslim, and a Mormon up on the stage and let each of them tell their conversion stories before arguing over whose personal, subjective experiences of the ludicrous were genuine.

Right now they’ve got a lady up who wrote a book about “how a rational academic found a radical faith.”  The presumably rational academic is about to tell us how her rational self came to believe that a Canaanite Jew rose from the dead.

Her name is Holly Ordway.  I just tried to google her and found no real info.  At least she can admit that “if you died tomorrow, where would you end up?” is a shitty argument.  Everybody in this church laughed.  I wonder how many of them have used that argument.

8:03pm – Break time.  Seriously, fuck William Lane Craig.

Story time next.

8:01pm – “Hitchens was more concerned with organized religion than he was with rebutting the arguments for god’s existence.”  Oh you irretrievable asshole WLC.  The debate WLC uses as an example?  This one.

Now WLC is griping that Dawkins will neither debate Craig or shake his hand.  Craig’s a dishonest guy whose morality isn’t bothered by taking shots at a dead person, he just happens to be a talented debater.  Dawkins would rather debate people who are at least trying to be honest rather than people whose claim to relevance is skill at debate.

Matt Dillahunty, one of atheism’s most skilled debaters, would love to tussle with WLC, but WLC keeps ducking him.

7:56pm – “When Hitchens got cancer, Christians everywhere were praying for Hitchens and he said he felt that.”  How dare you.  What a reprehensible person he must be to quote mine a dead person when he isn’t here to defend himself.  Seriously, what a fuckstain.

7:55pm – “There is no hypothesis as plausible as the resurrection hypothesis.”  Really?  There’s no hypothesis more plausible than “some dude rose from the dead and flew into the sky”?  How about “some people made the shit up” like every other religion?

“Miracles do not contradict the laws of nature.”  That’s kind of the definition of them.  That’s the reason we don’t mind burying dead people now is because the laws of nature dictate that people don’t rise from the dead.  He cites the combustibility of potassium and chlorine and then points out that he has both in his body and that WLC doesn’t combust…because there are other forces interfering.  Does he imagine that the forces keeping those two elements from interacting are not natural?

He’s talking about how in debates he gives atheists the chance to rebut everything he says (and accuses the other side of not giving him enough time to rebut).  This is a flat out lie.  WLC’s debate style is to raise as many points as possible, because he knows it takes twice as long to rebut as it does to make an argument (and those emulating him do the same thing), before he tries to claim victory on all the rebutted points.  It’s a shoddy trick, but it’s exactly what he does.

7:47pm – Oh, here we go.  Now we’re defending the idea that someone rose from the dead 2,000 years ago.

“What makes Christianity unique is that god has revealed himself through historical events.”

1.  Almost every other religion makes these claims.

2.  There is no extra-biblical corroboration of the accounts of the gospels.

Now he’s going to lecture the historical community without submitting his ideas to peer review.

He’s throwing out shit as though it’s historically confirmed: Jesus was put into the tomb, such and so people found him…  “These represent the consensus of secular historians.”  No, no they don’t.

7:45pm – WLC is just rehashing his oral argument crap, so I’ll take this moment to point out that WLC has been ducking Matt Dillahunty for years.  He’s rather debate an empty chair, which is about an equally-matched opponent.

7:41pm – WLC says scientists are wrestling with how to explain the fine-tuning of the universe.  No, they’re not.  We evolve to better operate within our surroundings.  We have adapted to the universe, the universe was not molded to us.  If the people in this church would spend five fucking minutes on google.

He’s now saying that gravity is fine-tuned to one part out of [a whole bunch].  This is flat out bullshit.  Physicists know that gravity ain’t shit – it’s extremely weak.  If gravity were fine-tuned for life, how can we send people into a weightless scenario in space for years on end and they do fine?

Also, the universe could be without two of the four forces (gravity and the weak nuclear force) and it would look about the same as it presently does.  It’s not fine-tuned, and if these people would talk to scientists instead of quote-mining them, then they’d know this.  Or they do know this, and they just continue to ignore it.

Glad I didn’t make a rule about drinking every time WLC is a self-important, arrogant blowhard.

I should blog while drinking more often.  This is therapeutic.

7:36 – Oh, and there goes WLC accusing physicists of getting physics wrong.  And yet, he’s not submitting paper to peer review.  Seems he’s after the people who don’t know squat about physics, which are in this church.

Oh!  And here’s the quote mine from….  WLC says that Vilenkin says that no pre-Big Bang models can be right.

From Vilenkin’s book Many Worlds in One (page 181).

The state of “nothing” cannot be identified with absolute nothingness. The tunneling is described by the laws of quantum mechanics, and thus “nothing” should be subject to these laws. The laws of physics must have existed, even though there was no universe.

WLC has had this pointed out to him.  He still uses it because he’s a dishonest person.  This outlook is undoubtedly why he wrote in his book Reasonable Faith(pages 47-48 in the 3rd edition), wrote (bold mine):

I think Martin Luther correctly distinguished between what he called the magisterial and ministerial uses of reason. The magisterial use of reason occurs when reason stands over and above the gospel like a magistrate and judges it on the basis of argument and evidence. The ministerial use of reason occurs when reason submits to and serves the gospel…. Should a conflict arise between the witness of the Holy Spirit to the fundamental truth of the Christian faith and beliefs based on argument and evidence, then it is the former which must take precedence over the latter, not vice versa.

Should we drink for quote mines?  We might all be dead before the end of this abortion of reason.

7:30pm – Bah!  Kalam.  Trying to define god into existence without any evidence.  This is great theology according to Frank Turek.  This is question-begging nonsense to anybody with a skeptical bone in their body.

Drink again for argument from ignorance.

7:27pm – “We just don’t know where the moral lawgiver comes from.”  Everybody drink for argument from ignorance.

Oh, and there’s fine-tuning.  Drink again.  Three drinks in already…Christ.

WLC – “The possibility of god’s existence confirms god exists.”  What???  It’s possible that and invisible set of balls is on WLC’s forehead, therefore…

7:25pm – And we’re off!  WLC is up and it’s a strawman extravaganza!  He’s saying there’s no intellectual problem of evil.  He says there’s a difference between emotional problem of evil and the intellectual problem of evil…and that was the end of the argument.

Also, one of my blog’s biggest trolls is in the audience.  He was the one who said he was going to ask questions of me at the KC RAM and then lost his nerve.

Now he’s saying that we can’t talk about how our moral values are objectively right (everybody drink).  Of course, as long as we admit that suffering is bad and happiness is good (and, if you don’t agree with that, I don’t see how you can honestly be called human), then we can attack that objectively – and easily so.

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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.