CL emails

CL emails May 2, 2012

I’ve had requests for the emails between myself and cl that were the beginnings of my first attempt at a blogalog.  Here’s the story.

After the pleasantries, it started with cl.  His emails will be in green, mine in blue.

SOunds good, I’ll keep in touch. What’s your schedule like? Any real limitations?

Anything you’re absolutely off-limts to as far as debate topics go?

Lastly, I think we need to define some key concepts like “evidence” and “warrant” etc. before we get going… your thoughts?


I had said in my post that I’m looking for a discussion on the existence of god. As long as that’s the subject, no, go any direction you wish.

I think the only term that really needs to be defined here is “god”. The audience, I suspect, will be a good enough means of accountability if people get dodgy with the two you suggested.

Okay… good to know… I’d say I’m firm on the definitions thing, though. Since you’ll be arguing the position “there’s no evidence for God,” you need to define just what you mean by evidence. I want to start this exchange with clearly cemented goalposts. Otherwise we’re both just moving targets.

I’ll be arguing that there’s no good evidence for god. Important distinction on the *good*. There’s plenty of bad evidence for god.

Do you really need me to define evidence?

Yes, not only do I want you to define good evidence, I want you to provide examples. Context is key. “Reproduced in a laboratory” simply does not apply here. Most importantly, since we’re arguing two metaphysical positions here, you have to step outside your comfort box of logical positivism. Meaning, history comes into play, logical arguments come into play, etc.

This is like painting a house: the more time we spend prepping, the better the end result.

*sigh* says…

that which tends to prove or disprove something; ground for belief; proof.
something that makes plain or clear; an indication or sign: His flushed look was visible evidence of his fever.

Bad evidence example: tacos are tasty therefore grass is green.

Good evidence example (For the claim “I own a baseball”, since I know of no good evidence for god): pictures of the baseball, history of people owning baseballs, videotape of baseballs, etc.

If this gets too absurd, I’m dropping out of not wanting to waste my time. I suspect our own standards of not wanting to be gullible as well as the audience’s similar standards will suffice for what constitutes good/bad evidence, since I suspect you and I will not see eye to eye on that (but you never know).

Your criteria aren’t absurd, they’re just incredibly naive and subjective. Remember what you said about Bible prophecies not being specific enough? That’s what I’m trying to avoid here: wishy-washiness on *YOUR* part. The whole, “Oh, I know good evidence when I see it” crap that atheists love to pull. I’m going to define exactly what I mean by “God” and that’s what I’m going to argue for. Similarly, I want you to plant firm goalposts here and now so I know exactly where I have to kick the football. What I DON’T want is a debate where “good evidence” REALLY means “evidence that makes JT Eberhard give a public concession thus overturning his entire career as an atheist apologist.” We both know that’s not going to happen, right?

Really, we should have this discussion in the threads on either of our blogs. Why email, then copy and paste? It’s extra work, think about it. It’s not like you believe you have an eternity of time to waste…

Lastly, I’m beginning to sense a lack of patience here… if you really don’t want to take the time to cement some goalposts, fine, I’ll still oblige, but realize that’s exactly what you fault the Bible for and you’re coming off looking like a golden example of that which you criticize. The choice is yours.



It was at this point Adam Lee and another prominent atheist blogger got a hold of me and warned me that cl was a waste of time.

I recently received an email from Adam Lee over at Daylight Atheism.

OK, so here’s the deal with cl: What he loves, more than anything
else, is to hear himself talk. He was a regular on my blog for a
while, back in 2009, but I ultimately banned him for persistent and
incurable trolling.

In the beginning, he seems like a civil and somewhat reasonable
fellow, but if his past patterns hold up, he’ll soon begin hogging
comment threads. He loves to write filibuster-length comments that
rarely, if ever, say anything substantive, and he posts them with such
frequency that other commenters will get exasperated and start
dropping out of threads that he shows up in. He also loves to nitpick,
to quibble about definitions, and to constantly complain he’s being
misinterpreted without ever saying what his position actually is.
Judging by your comments on Twitter, I imagine he’s already making
some of these characteristics clear. What finally drove me to ban him
was when he started bragging about how he loves being the center of
attention, as well as posting petulant demands for me to pay attention
to him when I stopped writing personal responses to what he was

Adam also pointed me to the post where he banned cl.

The other blogger said the same thing of him.  Already these patterns were becoming clear and so, rather than commit myself to a huge waste of time with someone who was, in my eyes, setting himself up to redefine evidence as an intro to a discussion, I decided to abandon the project.  In doing so I said…

Cl will undoubtedly conclude that this is because I fear his overpowering intellect.  I’d ask him to consider the situation.  He’s been banned from other atheist blogs, blogs written by people who, like me, allow religious commenters and who have a history of conceding good points when they’re made.  What are the odds that cl is just so much better than all the rest that we fear him versus the odds that he’s getting repeatedly banned because he’s annoying as all hell?

We shall find that I’m like a prophet.  My next email to cl was…

I’m dropping this blogalog with you. Explanation here:

I think you should have a vote, personally, but if you want to go the fascist authoritarian route, so be it. It’s your world, JT.

Either way, I’ll have my say. I’ve been systematically dismantling your writings for 48 hours now.

Maybe you could at least do this: will you at least post links to my pieces when I write them? There were people on your blog who were interested…. I’m sure you’ll hear from some of them in the thread.

take care,


Because I was on shitty airport internet sending my previous email I accidentally sent it twice, which prompted this email from cl.

Hey look… you don’t need to email me twice. I get it. You’re over it. Drop it already and quit emailing me. Also, relax a little. I’m not going to waste any more time commenting on your blog. All you had to do was say “stop” and I would have saved it all for a debate. You, Greta, Adam and the rest of the “freethinkers” on your site are acting like high school cheerleaders.

You’re not the first atheist to chicken out, and you won’t be the last. If you can, just let me know if I’m allowed to post a link to my critiques of your so-called “arguments.”

Best of luck to you.


No. You get no links and no further attention. You’re a troll.

Hey am I banned or not? Last I asked, you said I wasn’t even allowed to post a link to my critiques of your “arguments,” and you withheld the only comment I tried to post on the “Ban Hammer” thread. Did you change your mind? Can you give a straight answer please??


No links to your blog. I’m not giving you any more attention.

You are presently not banned. If you keep with the same behavior you’ve exhibited so far (de-railing threads with endless tedium, trolling), you will be banned. This will be entirely at my discretion.

Okay… so did you cool off enough to pick the debate back up? I’m ready. I’d rather do that than comment on your blog anyways. This isn’t about attention. This is about truth.

And if I’m not banned, can you release the only comment I tried posting?

The comment he refers to bore a link back to his blog and several others, which is why it was caught up in the spam filter (if a comment contains an excessive number of links it gets sent to me for moderation since those comments are often spam). And since I’m not in the habit of linking to trolls, I didn’t release his comment.

It’s not a matter of cooling off It’s a matter of not wasting my time.

How would it be a waste of time to confront both my positive arguments for the God of the Bible, and my critiques of arguments you’ve already made? C’mon, you offered… let’s do this.

And after that I just ignored him.

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