Tom Hoopes: Christian warrior.

So Tom Hoopes wrote an article misleadingly titled “The Top 10 Awkward Facts About the Atheist Monument”.  Both Hemant and I pointed out that his “facts” weren’t always facts, exactly, and that his reasoning even when he did point out something true was completely specious.  So Tom Hoopes took to twitter to do…what?  To say “Whoops!  My bad.  I’m very proud of my faith and believe it can be defended, and should be defended, without resorting to untruths or to piss poor reasoning.  I apologize and will do better next time.”?

Of course not, silly.  He first tweeted at me:

.@pjmccann3 @jteberhard I hear Willie Nelson singing “You are always on my mind” in the background …

I assumed he was suggesting that he was always on my mind, so I responded by telling him that frisking pieces like his is what I do for a living and not to get too flattered.  He responded:

@jteberhard @pjmccann3 Thanks. I know it’s not me who is always on your mind!

Oh!  It’s not Hoopes that’s on my mind, it’s Jesus!  It turns out my repeated negative analysis of the bible, various religious leaders, and columns like Hoopes’ isn’t an expression of the fact that I think religions have undue influence in the world that needs to be rectified, but because I’m running away from the truth of it all (presumably by repeatedly explaining why it’s not true).  It cannot be that I wrote my piece detailing all the ways in which Hoopes got it wrong because he got it wrong.  No, it could only be that I’m the one reaching, not because Hoopes released an entire article of poorly reasoned claims, but because Hoopes was actually right on the money and I’m turning my back from Jesus.

You know what he could have done to demonstrate that I’m denying the truth because I’m resisting the loving influence of Jesus?  He could’ve explained why I was wrong.  But the passive-aggressive tweet was probably easier.

Of course, Tom Hoopes has as much evidence for being able to rip my true, hidden motivation out of my head as he does for the American Atheists monument being awkward – zero.  But that sure doesn’t stop him from asserting it with an equal amount of confidence.  I guess to some Christians this is “taking a stand”, when to anybody who gives a shit about, y’know, being right, it’s just asserting things for which you have no evidence, complete with condescending smirk.

Sally on, Christian warrior!

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://www.skeptimusprime.com/ Dylan Walker (Skeptimus Prime)

    Aww, I wrote a post about it too, but I didn’t get random tweets from him telling me I need Jesus. Now I don’t feel special. :)

  • Jasper

    Given how much Christians talk about Muslims, one can only conclude they have Muhammad on the mind

    • Miss_Beara

      Also, given how much Christians talk about gays, one can only conclude they have gays on the mind.

      • Jasper

        And the Muslims clearly have infidels on the mind. Apparently, what we can conclude is:

        1) Atheists are actually Christian

        2) Christians are actually gay Muslims

        3) Muslims are Infidels

        • Park James

          And according to Muslims, infidels have Islam on the mind… so… atheists are actually Muslims as well. Probably also gay.

  • Ted Thompson

    This guy really puts the ass in jackass.

  • Zinc Avenger

    Ah, the old “If you have to prove me wrong, that just proves I’m right”. I assume next he’s going to break out “I’m rubber, you’re glue!”.

  • http://bearlyatheist.wordpress.com/ Bear Millotts

    Well, we actually *do* have evidence that Willie Nelson exists and that he sang “You are always on my mind.”

    I hear “Checkmate, atheists!” In the background….

  • Ryan Jean

    Tom Hoopes is a perfect example of the newer, formalized definition of “Derp“: The annoyingly repetitive broadcasting of one’s strong Bayesian priors despite (or perhaps because of) the continued lack of evidence for the position.

    • baal

      I read the link. Still don’t like ‘derp’ as it continues to be ableist. This can be seen by playing world of warcraft, using ‘derp’ and then seeing how the average 12 year old gamer in chat responds. The players there do not view the word in the same way the author in the link does.

      • Artor

        I’m not sure how you find “derp” to be ableist. Anybody can make stupid mistakes, and I find myself derping on a too-regular basis. But I agree that the linked definition doesn’t seem to match the common usage at all.

        • baal

          The wow usage relies on making fun of sterotypes of folks with Down’s or other forms of intellectual disability. Hurrr, duuuurrrr, duhhh, derrrrrrrp, and other noises along with spastic movement and screwed up facial expressions round out the slur. On line, you don’t get the physical part of the act and the extra letters may or may not be present (other slurs are also often typed differently than the verbal usage). I have a hard time seeing ‘derp’ as have a derivation outside of this slur.

          • DrVanNostrand

            Mr. Derp was a character in South Park in 1999, predating WoW. “Derp” was his catchphrase, which he used as a sort of punchline to his asinine, unimaginative, annoying, slapstick comedy. I’ve used it ever since as a reference to generally stupid behavior and expanded its use to an exclamation because I like its onomatopoetic quality, sort of like “Doh!”

          • invivoMark

            This appears to be correct: “Matt and Trey reveal that his namesake, “Derp,” is the sound commonly made in a klutzy situation when things go horribly wrong”

            I had never thought of the word as being ableist, but I can definitely see why one would assume so. I’m not sure what to think. The word’s origins, as well as its modern connotations, appear innocuous enough, so I don’t feel compelled to upbraid people for its usage. However, I rarely use the word myself, if ever, and I don’t think that is going to change.

      • Ryan Jean

        After your second comment, to Artor, I can see how you view the term as “ableist”, but what I think is missing is that the word had no formal definition, so for many it was just a generic insult, and they never thought of it so specifically. In fact, every time I’ve heard it used, the comparison made was that of a willful idiot who ought to know better, not of a mentally disabled person. That doesn’t excuse using it as a slur for disability, but I don’t think 12 year old’s on WoW should be the prime example for meanings given to word choice.

        I will, however, be more considerate of the concern you raised going forward.

        I’m also not sure “derp,” with it’s deliberate insult baggage of any form, is the best choice for a word to cover the concept that Noahpinion was trying to explain. However, I found the explanation itself of people shouting their biased priors more loudly in the face of disconfirming evidence to be plenty appropriate to this thread, and equally appropriate for most online discussions regarding religious apologists. In that light, I hope you can understand the intent in linking it.


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