Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Kirk Hastings Declares Atheists Have Officially Lost

It's always fun when I stumble across a new sliver of writing by Kirk Hastings, and this missive posted to Why?Outreach does not disappoint.

The essay starts off with an image.
It's a bold statement to say the least. As intrigued as I was, my past experiences with Kirk Hastings had not left me optimistic. I decided to set aside my prejudices and let Kirk's own words speak for him.

The proof is all over the internet and Facebook these days -- atheists have officially lost the argument as far as Christianity, the Bible, theism, and God is concerned.
Totally frustrated by the mounting scientific evidence against their point of view and the increasingly sophisticated arguments of theists, atheists are simply imploding emotionally and intellectually. Almost all of their comments and responses on Facebook and other web pages has now been reduced to:
Woah, woah, woah, flag on the play.  Is this seriously going to be an essay claiming that the tone of Facebook pages Kirk Hastings has happened to read somehow resolves the question of the existence of God? Now, I'll grant that Facebook discussion threads are not quite the cesspool of Youtube comment threads or the Eldridge horror of Yahoo Answers, but they're hardly indicative of the status of reasoned debate or evidence. Facebook pages are very good at creating echo chambers for all groups, and those chambers tend to attract like minded people. You can pick any topic you want and find a Facebook group that will represent whatever aspect of that group you want to emphasize.

The Why?Outreach page itself is an excellent example of such an echo chamber. You rarely find dissenting opinions expressed in the comments on any of their pages. Even the notorious Birther site World Net Daily allows critical comments in their discussion threads, but not why?Outreach. I know people who consider it to be a game to post a respectful, thoughtful counter-argument and see how long it takes their comment to be deleted and their account banned from the group.

1) Generalized insults and put-downs of Christians and theists;
2) Generalized insults and put-downs of theist sites;
3) Generalized insults and put-downs of the people who run theist sites;
4) Flinging angry obscenities and blasphemies at theists wherever they can;
Why?Outreach itself offers the exact same from a theistic point of view. For example, here is one of the images posted in the comment thread on the essay in question:

It's a generalized insult that quite literally ignores the entirety of writing by atheists. It's a slander that glibly and smugly ignores the existence of a debate that has raged in one form or another since the first cave man called out to the heavens during a storm.

So far, the only "evidence" Kirk has offered of atheists having lost any kind of debate is the fact that Kirk asserts that he found a few jerks who happen to be atheists. You might as well argue that the existence of the Westboro Baptist Church and "Rev" James Manning prove Christians have lost the argument in favor of God.

5) Presenting totally shallow, unsubstantiated, evidence-poor "counter-arguments" that they insist are based on "science" and "reason", but are instead based on nothing more than emotional bias, scientism, rational contradictions (that for the most part they can not -- or will not -- see), secularistic propaganda, narrow-minded dogmatic atheist ideology, and outright lies.
Here we see Kirk Hastings is still very, very butthurt over how easily his "science" arguments were eviscerated by the multi-episode irreligiosophy review of his magnum opus "What is Truth?"

So far Kirk's argument that Atheists have been proven wrong boil down to "Some of them are mean and I disagree with them about science!" Homeopath John Benneth used the same tactics to defend his preferred mythology from scientific critics when he called Homeopathy the Jew of NAZI medicine.

Atheists stubbornly insist that they are right about everything and wrong about nothing, and that theists are wrong about everything and right about nothing. This is the tactic of one who is intellectually desperate: simply ignore everything that your opponents say, and in response keep repeating the same irrational atheistic mantras over and over again (that unfortunately have been thoroughly disproved by science, reason, and common sense). And when called out on these dishonest, disingenuous tactics, turn around and insist that it is the THEISTS who are actually doing this!
I've already written a good deal about how Kirk ignores criticism. I'm not going to retread that ground again. The bottom line is Kirk Hastings Responds to criticism in the exactly the way he describes above. This is well documented and examples are easy to find. That said, I will point out that Kirk Hastings is flat out lying when he claims atheists insist they're never wrong. Most the atheists I know are also fans of science and members of the skeptics movement. The essence of science is falsifiability. Science progresses in part by proving past ideas wrong.

When Ken Ham debated Bill Nye, they were both asked what it would take to change their minds. I think their respective responses demonstrate the falsehood of Kirk's accusation very succinctly.



Another favorite trick of atheists nowadays is, if you have published a book on theism, get all your atheist buddies to write in dozens of fake "reviews" of the book (even if you haven't read it!) so as to lower its rating on Amazon.com. Never mind that most of these "reviews" consist of little more than personal put-downs of the author (and theists in general), rather than any real critique of the book's content. And when you DO make some attempt at a critique of the book's content, then make sure you use plenty of generalized (so-called) "counter" arguments, such as "You're wrong!", "You're stupid!", and "You don't know what you're talking about!"
I'll admit that some of the reviews of Kirk's "What is Truth?" meet that criteria, but reviews such as There are intelligent defenses of Christianity. This is not one of them By Charles Morrison addressed specific issues that were found by reading the actual book. I recommend following that link and reading not only Chuck's initial review, but how Kirk Hastings replied to the criticism. Judge for yourself who is behaving in the manner Kirk Hastings describes.

But the real proof of the utter frustration and childish desperation of the atheist camp today is their latest tactic, which is to create false Facebook pages with the most vile, obscene, and blasphemous names that they can think of (with the complete cooperation of the equally dogmatic atheists who run Facebook), and then troll Facebook "liking" everything on theist pages, so that the crude Facebook names will show up everywhere. This kind of thing is the last-ditch tactic of the desperate, the totally frustrated, and the defeated. By doing this kind of thing, the atheists on Facebook have conceded that the intellectual argument for atheism is over -- now it's time to get down and dirty, and just use every morally underhanded dirty trick we can think up in order to "get back" at those theists for making us look like intellectual fools.
Here we see a legitimate complaint about juvenile behavior someone actually engaged in. Specifically someone created a Facebook account with a name similar to "Mary Should've Aborted Jesus" and started clicking the "Like" button on a bunch of pages and groups Kirk Hastings and his friends maintained. This means the name of the account showed up in the list of people who "Liked" the page. There were one or two people who did something similar. In Kirk's text above however, this handful of people somehow came to represent the entirety of the atheist community. Kirk also ignores the role he played in encouraging this behavior with his endless web comics attacking others, including the infamous "Fat Noah" incident, where Kirk Hastings used plagiarized and edited Fat Albert panels in an attempt to blackmail Noah Miller. When you behave in a juvenile and petulant manner, you attract similar responses.

Kirk's insistence that this deliberate trolling somehow constitutes a universal concession that the "intellectual argument for atheism is over" is an absurd and unsupported extrapolation. I could just as easily claim that his replies to Charles Mason constituted a concession that the intellectual argument for theism is over.

Kirk's paragraph ends quite disturbingly: 
"now it's time to get down and dirty, and just use every morally underhanded dirty trick we can think up in order to "get back" at those theists for making us look like intellectual fools."  - Kirk Hastings January 28, 2014
now it's time to get down and dirty, and just use every morally underhanded dirty trick we can think up in order to "get back" at those theists for making us look like intellectual fools.  - Kirk Hastings January 28, 2014
One of the few truly universal religious ideals is that of the Golden Rule. Jesus himself stated it in Matthew 7:12
So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.

and Luke 6:31.
Do to others as you would have them do to you.

 
The idea that we should treat others the way we want to be treated is mirrored throughout the epistles. The sad irony here is most of the grief Kirk Hastings has gotten online was the result of people responding in kind to his own initial behavior. If he followed the advice of the deity he claims to worship instead of his own childish hatred and anger, the "Mary should have aborted Jesus" account and "Question Kirk Hastings" would never have come into existence. Kirk Hastings is his own worst enemy, the bulk of his misery brought on by worshiping vengeance and anger while playing lip service to worshiping Jesus Christ.

Yep, the real argument is over. All that's left now is for the atheists out there to totally come apart at the seams and end up in a rubber room somewhere.
To summarize Kirk's argument: He encountered some mean atheists online, projected his own behavior onto them and now concludes that atheists are mentally unsound individuals.

He ends with an appeal to visit an apologetic site.

Go to www.carm.org for but a small sample of the evidences in support of Judeo-Christianity, otherwise examine the hundreds of articles/videos and mp3 files on this page alone.
Sadly, the essay makes it clear he's entirely too hypocritical to review what atheist ACTUALLY have to say. As demonstrated by my earlier replies to Kirk Hastings, he almost never addresses what people actually say or do, just the straw man image he has of them in his head.

Overall I found his most recent essay to be a disappointment, even by the usual standards of Mr. Hastings.While I'm accustomed to him making unsupported or poorly supported claims, this time he didn't even bother with a pretense of evidence, he just made one bald assertion after another. Yes, he hinted at a few examples of juvenile behavior he'd encountered, but he dishonestly extrapolated that to everyone who simply believes in one less god than he does. You can't judge all the world's Atheists by the behavior of a few people who annoyed Kirk Hastings any more than you can judge Fred Rogers by the behavior of Fred Phelps.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Memories Pizza Owned and Operated by Evil Geniuses

This is a very clever ploy by the Memories Pizza owners. There's a GoFundMe campaign for the pizza place which is fully funded and still collecting money. Given the narrow margins on most restaurants and the pizza shop's location, this campaign is probably going to exceed pizza place's normal annual net by a significant margin. Not too shabby for a time when the owners turn off their phones and stay home for a few days.

The pizza place is too far out of the way for there to be any real long-term consequences for their discriminatory stance, but thanks to the ease with which people who hate homosexuals can be fleeced, they're going to walk away from this with more than enough money to ether carry them through any economic hardship or relocate completely. As a bonus, they're now conservative culture war superstars, with all the profit opportunities that offers.

Memories Pizza is owned and operated by evil geniuses who saw and opportunity and took it.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Kirk Hastings Sorta Responds

Kirk Hastings had dropped out of my consciousness. He'd shut down all his publicly avaialbe Facebook pages and, from what I could gather, cut off a bunch of people he knew online over ideological issues. If he hadn't gone full hermit, he was getting pretty close. I'd nearly forgotten about him when a poster on the Irreligiosophy Fan Group page asked, "Is Kirk Hastings haz died?" I found myself searching Amazon to link to his book, only to discover my modest entry, Answering Kirk Hastings: Examining the Core Claims of the author of "What Is Truth?" had a new review written by Kirk Hastings himself!

I was momentarily thrilled by this fresh nugget of Kirky goodness and Mr Hastings did not disappoint. He didn't actually respond to what I had written, but instead produced a short screed that condensed everything about Kirk that I found so intellectually amusing and philosophically delectable.

This review is from: Answering Kirk Hastings: Examining the Core Claims of the author of "What Is Truth?" (Kindle Edition)
This "book" (pamphlet!) is a pathetic attempt to "answer" MY book "What Is Truth?", and is written by a typical angry, intellectually threatened member of the extremely defensive internet atheist group called Irreligiosophy. (Even the title of his "book", and his posted description of it, is nothing more than a personal attack upon me -- not a real description of his book's contents.) My book is 197 pages long with copious footnotes, showing that I did my research before writing it. This book/pamphlet is only 49 pages long, with NO objective scientific research behind it -- it is only the drawn-out, narrow-minded opinion of someone who simply refuses to consider the evidences for the Christian faith, no matter how supported scientifically or plausible they may be. Matthew Miller is NOT an unbiased writer; he is a close-minded ideologue who couldn't write a full-length book, or even get it into print -- so he chose the short-cut Kindle route instead (who will publish practically anything!). The positive "reviews" of this book are also written by Irreligiosophy members (just as ALL of the negative reviews posted under MY book are!). Irreligiosophy members don't live in the real world -- they consistently make up their own "facts" in order to try to justify their irrational atheist beliefs, and then they simply ignore all the evidence that might contradict their own predetermined point of view. Don't waste your time with this piece of slanted atheist propaganda. If you want to read a REAL book on the subject of creation vs. evolution, then try mine! ... http://www.amazon.com/What-Truth-Handbook-Separating-Propaganda-Filled/dp/1608362981/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1416157
I decided to unpack the review and take a closer look at it. The title is where Kirk makes his first error. I'm not an atheist. I'm more of a deist or agnostic. This is a topic I've discussed with Kirk on Facebook in the past, and he never seemed to grok the fact that there's a difference.

This "book" (pamphlet!) is a pathetic attempt to "answer" MY book "What Is Truth?"
Well, no, not really. The entirety of the book's contents are available on this blog under the Kirk Hastings tag.The vast bulk of the book addresses his short piece "Top Ten Questions for Darwinists." Kirk certainly came to my attention as a result of "What is Truth?" but it's not what I wrote about. His magnum opus "What is Truth?" is mentioned in the subtitle largely because his status as a sub-genre of Irreligiosophy fandom means it's a more recognizable criteria for identifying him than his past association with the defunct "Evidence4Faith" podcast.

and is written by a typical angry, intellectually threatened member of the extremely defensive internet atheist group called Irreligiosophy.
Irreligiosophy is a sporadically produced podcast with two hosts and the occasional guest. It's not an "atheist group." I'll let Kirk slide on this point however because he may be trying to refer to the Irreligiosophy fan base. The fans are largely atheist, but I'm at a loss to understand how he gets the idea that the fan base in general or I in particular are "angry." Given how thoroughly Kirk's arguments in "What is Truth?" were eviscerated by the Irreligiosophy hosts in their four part review of his book, I'm at an equal loss to understand how he gets the idea that any of the Irreligiosophy fans feel "intellectually threatened" by him. Quite the opposite. Kirk and Chuck had a delightful exchange in the reviews of Kirk's book where Kirk responded to Chuck's specific points not with refutations or counter arguments but insults. I particularly enjoyed the complete failure of Kirk to understand that the Second Law of Thermodynamics is an equation, and his equally epic failure to understand Chuck's efforts at giving him a remedial lesson in statistics.

(Even the title of his "book", and his posted description of it, is nothing more than a personal attack upon me -- not a real description of his book's contents.)
Since it's pretty clear he hasn't READ my book, his assertion that I failed to describe the book's contents remains unsubstantiated. That said, I will quote the book's title and description below so you, dear reader, can decided if the title and description constitute criticism of Kirk Hastings or a "personal attack."

Answering Kirk Hastings: Examining the Core Claims of the author of "What Is Truth?"

I first became aware of Kirk Hastings when he taunted the hosts of the Irreligiosophy podcast with a copy of his self-published Christian apologetic "What Is Truth?: A Handbook for Separating Fact from Fiction in a Propaganda-Filled World" The hosts replied with a multi-episode review of the book, picking apart it’s scientific errors, logical fallacies and overall poor construction.

Kirk’s response was embarrassing. He ranted and raved about atheist conspiracies and replied to his critics not with a rational debate, but with insults. Eventually he devolved into posting the same reply to multiple reviewers. A few months later, he went back and posted a Biblically themed word soup of divine revenge fantasy to all his critics in the Amazon reviews.

During all of this Kirk, or people acting upon his behalf, created a series of Facebook pages attacking his critics and defending Kirk.

There was a predictable pattern to the religion themed pages. At first the pages would get a flood of posts from people looking to engage Kirk, or the parties pretending to be him. After a few questions, they would get banned and their posts deleted. Their posts would then be described by the page moderator as having been profane, rude, offensive or some other adjective that would theoretically justify banning the person. The problem was, these insults were directed at just about anyone who posted critical content, regardless what they actually wrote. Eventually the page would consist largely of Kirk’s own comments, replies to posts that had been deleted. To anyone unfamiliar with what was going on, the pages came to resemble a madman talking to himself, posting replies to imaginary people. Given how divorced from reality his depictions of his critics tend to be, such a suspicion would not be far off.

That’s where this book comes in. Kirk’s endless stream of Facebook pages occasionally diverts from insults and hubris into asking or stating something deserving of a response. Since all the people interested in responding to him appear to have been banned from his pages, responding to him requires the conversation be taken elsewhere, someplace where he can’t delete the posts, and where he can’t claim someone was using profanity when they weren’t.

Back to examining Kirk's "review" of my book.
My book is 197 pages long with copious footnotes, showing that I did my research before writing it.
Now is as good a time as any to point out that Kirk's book retails for $24.95 on Amazon.com. That's a pretty steep price to ask for a 197 page paperback by an unknown apologetic writer best known for being discussed on a podcast hosted by an ex-Mormon.

I find it amusing that he lists the length of the book and the presence of footnotes as if it were an indication of the quality of the research contained within. David Icke's demented conspiracy theory book The Perception Deception is 724 pages long and heavily researched. The metric proposed by Kirk Hastings, length and footnote density, would make its conclusions superior to Kirk's, as it's longer and is based on a lot of research. It's also a better deal than Kirk's. $31.64 for 724 pages comes out to a shy more than 4 cents a page. Kirk's book is 12.66 cents a page. My book is the best deal however, costing a mere 2 cents a page. Pricing was key, as books about Kirk Hastings target a very small market indeed. My book contains a plethora of links to supporting content and references. If I were to publish a dead tree format version I would have to convert all those links into footnotes. If Kirk wants to get into a footnote-density phallus waving contest his book probably isn't going to fare very well compared to my modest collection of essays.

Given the fact that the Irreligiosophy podcast spent multiple episodes on the errors in Kirk's book and barely scratched the surface, his claim that "I did my research before writing it" tells us that while he may have done research, but he clearly didn't do it well. I highly recommend listening to all four Irreligiosophy episodes reviewing his paperback. 111: Kirk Hastings’ "What Is Truth?", 112: What Is Truth? II, 113: "WIT" III: The Reliability of the Bible and 114: "WIT" IV: The Case for Christ 

This book/pamphlet is only 49 pages long, with NO objective scientific research behind it
Since Kirk Hastings has already made it clear he's never even READ my 49 page pamphlet, he's not exactly in a position to comment on the nature of its contents. The section on the "Second Question for Darwinists" for example contains links to objective sources about the Second law of Thermodynamics.
 it is only the drawn-out, narrow-minded opinion of someone who simply refuses to consider the evidences for the Christian faith, no matter how supported scientifically or plausible they may be.
Quite the opposite. I used to be a hard core, deeply conservative Creationist. My movement away from that mindset was, ironically enough, the result of trying to find evidences for Christianity and Biblical Creationism. I was a big fan of men like Ken Ham, but I found their books to be poorly researched and amateurish. Kent Hovind was particularly embarrassing, as he contracted himself all the time. In the space of one sermon Hovind claimed the DNA for gigantism was gone, that gigantism was caused by increased air pressure from the pre-deluge waters being above the clouds, and that gigantism in fish could be induced by putting a fish tank under pressure. All of this ignores the fact that most deep-sea animals are quite small, while Hovind's arguments suggest they should have been made into gigantic beasts by the high pressure. The list of claims were contradictory and had no actual science to back them up. I decoded I could do better.

I started by trying to find sources for the claims made by the noted Creationist authors. I quickly realized there were innumerable problems with Creationist arguments. For example, the depiction of the Second Law of Thermodynamics in Creationist writing only functions if you ignore the existence of the Sun. One reason the Irreligiosophy review of Kirk's book resonated with me was because Kirk was reiterating all the same tired old arguments that I'd realized were bunk back in the 1990's."What is Truth?" was not so much researched as thinly plagiarized from Creationist works that were 10 to 20 years old.

I came to my agnosticism / deism by virtue of trying to prove Creationism. I did my research and let the actual evidence lead me where it did.

Matthew Miller is NOT an unbiased writer;
AH HA! An accurate statement! How refreshing, like finding a grain of gold in a bag of sand.
he is a close-minded ideologue
 Insert predictable "Pot calling the kettle black" joke here.
who couldn't write a full-length book
I wasn't trying to write a "full-length" book. I wrote a series of blog posts responding to Kirk's specific claims, and then collected them into an ebook. Then length of the book was dictated not by an arbitrary rule about what constitutes "full length" but by the content. I'd written what I had to write about Kirk's "Ten Questions for Darwinists." Drawing it out to reach an arbitrary page length would have been the kind of shenanigan I eschewed in my school days.
or even get it into print -- so he chose the short-cut Kindle route instead (who will publish practically anything!).
It's probably not worth the work for a book about Kirk Hastings. Producing a dead three format book would require me to take relevant content from all the linked articles and create footnotes, transcribe portions of the Irreligiosophy episodes dealing with Kirk's book and go through the hassle of formatting it all for print. The market for the book is too small to justify the effort of expanding into another format. Besides, as of February 20, 2015, my "pamphlet" is ALREADY outselling Kirk's "What is Truth?" on Amazon.com.

Answering Kirk Hastings: Examining the Core Claims of the author of "What Is Truth?" by Matthew Miller Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,262,128

What Is Truth?: A Handbook for Separating Fact from Fiction in a Propaganda-Filled World by Kirk Hastings Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,860,798

Ouch. Remember folks, lower numbers are better when discussing sales ranking.

The positive "reviews" of this book are also written by Irreligiosophy members (just as ALL of the negative reviews posted under MY book are!). 
That's because Irreligiosophy fans, (why does he keep calling us "members?") are the only people who CARE about his writing in any way. The only positive reviews of his book are from people who admit in the reviews that they are his friends. People must have an interest in a book before they'll purchase and review it. Nobody cares about what Kirk Hastings has to say about apologetic philosophy.

To give a frame of reference, this philosophy book has a better sales ranking on Amazon.com than Kirk's paperback:

What is Truth?: Second Edition by Matthew Wunderlich Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,253,674

Again. Ouch.

Irreligiosophy members don't live in the real world -- they consistently make up their own "facts" in order to try to justify their irrational atheist beliefs, and then they simply ignore all the evidence that might contradict their own predetermined point of view.
This entire kerfuffle started because the hosts of the Irreligiosophy podcast reviewed Kirk's paperback and found a number of problems with the content. Kirk has never addressed any of the factual errors in his paperback. Instead he has responded with insults and derision like the quote above. The Kirk Hastings response to criticism is comparable to a school child sticking his fingers in his ears and screaming "I can't hear you!" Don't take my word for it though. Read Kirk's replies to the reviews of his paperback. Decide for yourself if it's Kirk or the Irreligiosophy fans and hosts that are ignoring evidence and criticism in order to support an ideology.
Don't waste your time with this piece of slanted atheist propaganda.
Again, since Kirk Hastings never read it, he's not really in a position to judge if it's propaganda, or if it's humanist, atheist, deist, agnostic or even Christian.
If you want to read a REAL book on the subject of creation vs. evolution, then try mine!
Before you spend $25 on a 197 page paperback, I suggest you listen to the Irreligiosophy episodes where they read excerpts of the book. Regardless of if you take the criticism of the Irreligiosophy hosts seriously, they do read large portions of the book, letting you get a feel for its content before you spend your hard earned cash on it.
 
111: Kirk Hastings’ "What Is Truth?"
112: What Is Truth? II 
113: "WIT" III: The Reliability of the Bible
114: "WIT" IV: The Case for Christ   


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Monday, December 1, 2014

What are the Best Religious Movies?

What are the best religious movies?

It's December, which means it's time for the biannual invasion of lackluster live action sermons masquerading as entertainment. Christians are celebrating the birth of Christ. Setting aside the fact that he could NOT have been born in the Winter, that the holiday was scheduled to absorb assorted pagan and Yule festivals and the "celebration" is more "orgy of stuff" than religious remembrance, I choose to focus on mainstream entertainment that's actually religious.

The Charlie Brown Christmas Special is of course high on the list. While not a movie, it does an excellent job of touching on both the religious and commercial aspects of the holiday.

"A Man for All Seasons," is, in my opinion, one of, if not the best, treatment of faith by Hollywood. It deftly and intelligently examines the intersection of Man's Law and God's Law in a manner that's far more insightful and useful than just about anything said by anyone ranting about "Activist judges."

While I enjoy the original Robocop, and it's a very obvious Christ allegory, it really doesn't qualify as a "religious" movie unless you consider criticism of corporate dominance to be a religious topic.

What are your thoughts? What do you consider the best, or the most entertaining religious movies? Please, don't limit yourself to Christianity.