Possible upcoming debate, part III.

Here’s round 3 in my email exchange with AJ MacDonald.  Round 1 is here, and round 2 is here.

Thanks J. T., I will be the first to admit I am 100% confident your position is indefensible, intellectually, that I have a huge ego, and that – and this is more important – that I have been under a lot of stress due to the political and social justice movement I am organizing, which has caused me to have a very short fuse lately. I should apologize to Brian for approaching him they way I did, because you are both right about that, I think. I am normally very good at putting myself in other people’s shoes… and I guess since we are basically philosophical enemies I didn’t care to do so and simply assumed that, since most atheists are usually quick to ridicule and base Bible believers, I had no need to be nice but rather an obligation to be combative. As I said to Brian, his web site assert belief in the supernatural as inherently deceptive and dangerous which, as you might imagine pisses me off. Should it not? Not exactly an invitation to friendly dialogue…. and more like a challenge to me. See where I’m coming from? This entire episode was my reaction to a blustering bullshitter atheist, which is think all of you are, philosophically, since your position in logically and philosophically indefensible, and it pissed me off. I have tried to engage this writer but he will not respond… I have written a letter to the paper but they will not print it… I wrote to Brian to see if he, to, would not take up a challenge to debate the issue… I have taken it up with you as well, now… and it seems to me you guys are much happier making unproven and unprovable assertions via a one way street, because you do not wish to be shamed for being ignorant and holding unreasonable beliefs.

I’m not up for funding anyone’s travel and I assumed Brian was putting me in touch with someone in the area. Call it whatever you will my friend but it seems no of you cats are willing and able to defend what you so loudly and wrongly assert. I am simply tired of the bullshit is all. I’ve already written on this subject and am confident atheism is a dying breed, for a number of reasons. Anyways, if your guys ever wish to engage a BIble believer, which it seems you do not, I am available for any and all comers, regardless of how smart you may think they are…. I will win, I can assure of that, which is why I warned you off the same. I am very busy dealing with far more important, serious, and dangerous political and social issues these days and was hoping debate with atheists, which I do online now and then, would be fun, which it is because I never lose, or never have yet, because I prefer thinking about theology and science to politics any day…. unfortunately I am needed at this time for this area too, which I am also, apparently much better at than anyone I know of, and find quite pathetic and a sad commentary on the state of the American mind.

I responded…

AJ,

I’m sorry you’re stressed.  I agree you should apologize to Bryan and am glad you did so.  Good for you.

I guess since we are basically philosophical enemies I didn’t care to do so and simply assumed that, since most atheists are usually quick to ridicule and base Bible believers, I had no need to be nice but rather an obligation to be combative.

Personally, I don’t care if you’re nice.  I think niceness is overrated.  But taunting someone into a debate doesn’t merely express contempt, but instead betrays someone spoiling for a fight as opposed to the conversation you said you wanted.

And if you’re worried about people mocking believers, perhaps sending out seemingly unhinged emails with random capital letters and demands that someone take time out of their life to debate you, replete with youtube videos of chickens clucking as a very unclever way of accusing them of ignoring you out of fear, as well as promises of shaming them in public, to both the readers of your blog, as an equally unclever means to blackmail them into indulging you, is not the best way to go about avoiding mockery.

I mock bible believers.  Bible believers mock me.  The proper response is to defend your position.  That, ultimately, is the arbiter of which position deserves to be mocked (I say it’s yours).

 As I said to Brian, his web site assert belief in the supernatural as inherently deceptive and dangerous which, as you might imagine pisses me off.

I don’t think belief in the supernatural is inherently deceptive, though I do believe any dedication to irrationality is bad for humanity.  Most sincerely believe in the supernatural, so I don’t think they’re being deceptive.  I do, however, think that they are all wrong, and embarrassingly so.  If that pisses you off, oh well.

Should it not?

I don’t know.  Of course, if you’re also asking if your offense justifies the behavior I outlined above, or makes it somehow noble, then no, no it doesn’t.

Not exactly an invitation to friendly dialogue…

If you value friendly dialogue, as you say you do, then it shouldn’t matter what other people are looking for in that department.

…see where I’m coming from?

No.

This entire episode was my reaction to a blustering bullshitter atheist…

So you saw someone you perceived to be blustering and thought to yourself “I find that behavior despicable, I’d better adopt that behavior myself”?

Your message seems to be “I’m sorry for what this other guy made me do.”  This is childish, and it impacts the sincerity of your apology.  I read your exchange with Brian.  One of you was blustering, and it wasn’t him.

And if your debate approach is to frequently call your opponents things like “chickenshit”, “pathetic”, and “blustering bullshitter” while blaming them for your shortcomings and terrible behavior, then I’m thinking I don’t need to be spending my time with you.

…which is think all of you are…

Did I hear you say that you’re a writer?

philosophically, since your position in logically and philosophically indefensible, and it pissed me off.

Yes, the position that people don’t walk on water or rise from the dead is logically and philosophically indefensible.  That’s probably why Brian didn’t want to debate you: because he had no arguments for why people don’t rise from the dead, and certainly not because you were some random guy who emailed him out of the blue, flying off the handle, and acting like a petulant child.

I have tried to engage this writer but he will not respond…

News flash, AJ: you are not at the top of everybody’s priority lists, especially those who don’t know you from the dude at the grocery store blocking both sides of the aisle with his cart, and nobody owes you their time.  What’s more, you’re a lot less likely to get them to donate any of their time to you if all they’ve seen from you is chest-beating and self-aggrandizing.  Who wants to take time away from watching porn, orgies, and other fun atheist activities to go listen to some random guy they’ve never heard of talk about how good he is at debating?

I have written a letter to the paper but they will not print it…

Have you considered that it might be because your letter wasn’t very good?  Given the quality of your emails thus far, that seems far more likely than the world being in conspiracy to suppress your unequalled brilliance.

I wrote to Brian to see if he, to, would not take up a challenge to debate the issue… I have taken it up with you as well, now… and it seems to me you guys are much happier making unproven and unprovable assertions via a one way street…

Or there are more productive people to converse with.

And I think it’s a one-way street?  I wrote you back saying I’d debate you!  Christ, I just can’t win with some people.  Your inability to get past your own self-importance and persecution complex is really not helping our relationship.

because you do not wish to be shamed for being ignorant and holding unreasonable beliefs.

Or because we don’t feel like wasting time with every overconfident jackass off the internet trying to pick a fight with us.  Really AJ, we don’t know enough about you to be afraid of you.  I’ve debated physicists, so I’m not afraid of debating capable people.  But there are plenty of loons and idiots on the internet who think they’re god’s gift to apologetics (think “tacos are tasty” guy), and it’s highly likely that everyone you poked immediately tossed you into that category and, frankly, I can’t say I blame them.

When the kindergartner is telling us he’s ready to go twelve rounds, it’s pity (or just an unwillingness to be annoyed), not fear of shame, that keeps us from consenting.

Call it whatever you will my friend but it seems no of you cats are willing and able to defend what you so loudly and wrongly assert.

Piss on you.  I took the time out of my already busy day to email you to say I was willing to give you even more of my all-too-precious time.  I dedicate my life to defending my assertions about religion.  Do you think it took some guy I’ve never heard of, but who assured me that there was no way he could “loose”, to suddenly put the fear of god into me?  Say hi to Kanye West at the overblown ego awards.

I am simply tired of the bullshit is all.

It’s a hard knock life, I’m sure.

I’ve already written on this subject and am confident atheism is a dying breed, for a number of reasons.

Atheism is the fastest growing “religious” demographic in all 50 states.  Churches are hemorrhaging followers right now, with churches being foreclosed and sold in every state.  Atheism is also sharply on the rise on planet earth.  Your opinion here is simply wrong, unless you’ve got some spectacular explanation for how the decline of Christianity, paired with the rise of atheism, is indicative of our death throes.  More likely, your inability to grasp reality (like being certain people are frightened of you, rather than annoyed with you) is rearing its ugly head again.

Anyways, if your guys ever wish to engage a BIble believer, which it seems you do not, I am available for any and all comers, regardless of how smart you may think they are….

You say you’re a writer.  Maybe you are, but you seem to have some real problems reading.  I have told you I’m willing to engage you.

I will win, I can assure of that, which is why I warned you off the same.

Oh dear, an obnoxiously confident theist telling me I have no chance in a debate.  I was wondering when I’d encounter one of those for the first time in my life.  With the frequency you insist that you are unbeatable, I’m not sure it’s me you’re trying to convince.  You’re essentially saying “I really want you to debate me, but there’s no way you can win, so think about it before you say yes, but you’re a coward if you say no.”  This is not the approach of someone who is terribly confident.  This is what I’d expect from someone who thinks way too highly of himself and who wants others to acknowledge his genius before he’s demonstrated it.

Well AJ, I don’t recognize your unconquerable intellect.  Your emails thus far paint you as a guy who can’t even be coherent in talking about his own life, let alone about the existence of a god.

I am very busy dealing with far more important, serious, and dangerous political and social issues these days and was hoping debate with atheists, which I do online now and then, would be fun, which it is because I never lose, or never have yet, because I prefer thinking about theology and science to politics any day…. unfortunately I am needed at this time for this area too, which I am also, apparently much better at than anyone I know of, and find quite pathetic and a sad commentary on the state of the American mind.

Clearly, I have been wrong all these years.  There is a god, and he is you.  How do you stomach living in this world filled to the brim with less-talented people?  Perhaps, instead of beating up on poor, defenseless atheists on the internet, you should apply your peerless talent and unrivaled acumen to the task of inventing bacon that isn’t high in fat and calories?  Or the cure for cancer.  One of those two.

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.

  • ottod

    JT, in the last paragraph, you forgot, “…clarity of exposition, literary brilliance, and typing adequacy…” I was pretty impressed with all of those.

  • Jasper

    Apparently, there’s an alternative definition of the word “humble” he’s using.

  • iknklast

    I could tell from your response that you’re obviously shaking in your boots. You’re probably afraid you’ll hurt him, and end up having to explain that to all the rest of the incredibly brilliant apologists, and they’ll never leave you alone.

  • iknklast

    I think I encountered someone much like this the other day, though. This retired (male) architect took it upon himself to explain to me, a (female) biologist, how evolution works. It’s apparent, according to him, that women are hardwired for women things, and men aren’t as hard wired, but are in fact much more flexible and able to adapt to important men things. This, however, appears not to extend beyond white men, because American Indians are hard wired to an American Indian sort of life style; blacks are hard wired to hate whites and to be in subservient positions; Asians are hard wired to booby trap their babies and hand them to American soldiers. When I explained (for the 3rd time) that I had a Ph.D. in Biology, and a good understanding of how evolution works, he figuratively patted me on the head by telling me he is a 75 year old ex-Marine who has traveled a lot. So, obviously, that trumps a 52-year-old (female) biologist who has never been a Marine, and who travels a lot (though I’ll admit I’ve never been to Japan, although I have eaten Japanese food ;-) ) I am still fuming.

    • iknklast

      In case the reference to Japan is confusing, that’s the place he specifically mentioned having traveled to. Sorry if I didn’t make that clear.

    • Drakk

      Dunning-Kruger strikes again!

  • Loqi

    I don’t know that I’ve ever encountered a person with such an undue sense of superiority.

    • RobMcCune

      Didn’t evertoniancalvanist troll this blog at some point?

      • Loqi

        I don’t recognize the name, so either I’ve forgotten or I managed to not encounter the threads he/she infested.

        • Amyc

          Evertoniancalvanist trolled Hemant’s blog.

  • RobMcCune

    This guy is a conspiracy theorist, so it’s no wonder he’d have an over inflated ego and a persecution complex. I was looking forward to this debate, this guy is a pretend theologian with about zero understanding of the scientific method. He would get clobbered in a debate, at his best he’d just be annoying with presuppositionalism or gish gallops.

    I hope this isn’t A.J. declaring victory and running away, I was looking forward to seeing or reading the debate.

  • UsingReason

    He’s already won, so I guess he doesn’t really need to debate. Even though he really wants to. Really. A lot. (Of course he doesn’t but has already recreated reality in his head so that he can claim JT backed down, just like all the other scared atheists) Superdouche.

  • Ken

    AJ’s getting boring. Can we talk about bacon some more?

    • UsingReason

      I had a bacon martini yesterday, with a maple syrup salted rim. Pancakes and bacon in a glass.

      • satanaugustine

        Seriously? Can you give me the recipe?

        • UsingReason

          Sorry, I was having lunch at a local spot and it was on their menu, had to try it out. I don’t usually do martinis at lunch, I usually just drink straight vodka out of the bottle in my desk.

      • Loqi

        A former coworker of mine tried a bacon martini at his going away party. It was interesting.

  • Rory

    This is like the rhetorical equivalent of that scene in ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’ where the big dude waves his sword around for five minutes while Indy watches bemusedly and then shoots the swordsman.

  • IslandBrewer

    Bacon-salmon sushi:

    A strip of hickory or applewood smoked bacon around a salmon nigiri dipped in a maple syrup/ ponzu sauce.

    I just now invented that in my busy little brain meats. Mark that on your calendars.

    • Zinc Avenger (Sarcasm Tags 3.0 Compliant)

      The new reason for the season!

  • RuQu

    Of course he always wins. He has already been quite clear that he counts it as a “win” if you don’t show up to debate him, and then he proceeds to demonstrate that he is not worth debating. When no one bothers to waste time with him, that’s yet another “win” by his definition.

  • satanaugustine

    Given my mental health background (both professionally and personally) I can’t help but attempt to diagnose such obviously aberrant thinking and behavior. AJ sounds like he’s either in the middle of a manic episode of bipolar disorder and/or suffers from (or makes everyone else suffer from his) Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD). Based solely on his emails, he meets the following criteria for NPD (from the DSM-IV-TR):

    - An exaggerated sense of self-importance (e.g., exaggerates achievements and talents, expects to be recognized as superior without commensurate achievements)

    - Believes he is “special” and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people (or institutions)

    - Has a sense of entitlement; unreasonable expectations of especially favorable treatment or automatic compliance with his or her expectations.

    - Shows arrogant, haughty, patronizing, or contemptuous behaviors or attitudes

    - Lacks empathy: is unwilling to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others

    Your responses to AJ, JT, have been spot on brilliant, with just the right amount of, sometimes subtle, sarcasm. Be careful, though, this guy sounds so off-his-rocker (and yes, that is official clinical terminology) that further interaction may put him in the hospital, whether to treat his imminent heart attack or stroke, or to keep him from harming himself or others.

    On the other hand, he may just be an illogical, pompous, Christian asshole…(Also official clinical terminology).

    Frank W

  • Darren

    If he wants to debate someone live, why don’t you just give him the contact info for The Atheist Experience and send him on his way. I’m sure Matt and co. Would love the call.

  • PA_Year_of_the_Bible

    I can’t believe you guys are wasting precious hours of your one-and-only life engaging with that guy. Some people just aren’t worth the energy and time.

    • Nate Frein

      1.) It’s funny as shit to read JT’s responses. Entertainment is a legitimate way to spend time. Hardly what I would call a “waste”

      2.) Maybe, just maybe, the guy will get so burned by JT that he’ll think twice before pestering other atheist bloggers. Which would make anyone this guy bugged much happier.

    • http://anthrozine.com Cubist

      sez pa_year_of_the_bible: “I can’t believe you guys are wasting precious hours of your one-and-only life engaging with that guy.”
      And I can’t believe you are wasting precious minutes of your irreplaceable life waggling a finger at someone else’s choices regarding how they conduct their life.

      “Some people just aren’t worth the energy and time.”
      True enough, but I’m pissing away a bit of my own energy and time responding to you. [shrug] Go figure.

  • IslandBrewer

    I just want to see Part IV, his reaction to JTs response, and how he spins that as a win for him, and oh … how brilliant he is in the science and the logic.

  • eric

    So, in summary:
    AJ: “I am a great writer and philosopher. No atheist dares debate me!”
    JT: “I will via email. Each person gets three posts, 2,000 words each, maximum, topic of debate TBD.”
    AJ: “No, I don’t do those. Only in-person debates. Now where was I…oh yes, no atheist dares debate me!”
    JT: “I will debate you in person. Just pay my travel expenses and find a local venue.”
    AJ: “No, I won’t do that. Now where was I…oh yes. No atheist dares debate me! Also, I think your beliefs are ignorant. You’re blustering bullshitters. Atheism is dying. And despite my very respectful and kind responses, you’ve all said no. Must be that you’re scared. Oh well, I am busy now and must be on my way.”
    JT: “Look, I already said I’d debate you. You said no to my terms. And that wasn’t exactly respectful and kind.”

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