Friday, February 20, 2015

Kirk Hastings Sorta Responds

Kirk Hastings had dropped out of my consciousness. He'd shut down all his publicly available 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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1 comment:

Carin C said...

I'm not sure that congratulations are in order but it is rather amusing :)