Why the Fowl Atheist ran away

It was probably wise of PZ to run away from me, considering that he couldn’t even beat an incompetent Canadian:

I attended the debate tonight, and I have to honestly say that PZ lost… badly.

He basically decided to dismiss the agreed topic of debate and then proceeded to lecture on Hox genes. If the topic of debate was really evolution vs Intelligent Design he certainly would have won on the issue of genetics, but still would have lost on the issue of overall rationale.

In the end, his conclusion was that he couldn’t argue the agreed-upon question because it wasn’t his area of expertise and they should have gotten someone else.

PZ is so incompetent and historically ignorant that I doubt he could win a debate that remained solidly within his area of expertise. There’s a reason he’s still a community college professor, after all. Have a look through the blog at every single exchange that’s ever taken place between us; you’ll see that painfully lame ad hominem is the very best that he can ever do. It doesn’t sound like Durston was much of a debater himself, but that doesn’t prevent PZ from whining about him. That’s pathetic, since nothing is easier than slashing apart someone who is attempting to play fast and loose with the facts. They do your job for you.

PZ was completely wrong when he attempted to claim that Hitler was a Christian. (PZ’s opponent was also wrong, as Hitler was not an atheist although he was a science fetishist.) The OSS reports released in 2001, with which PZ is obviously unfamiliar, make it clear that while the man was, like Dawkins and Hitchens, raised within a church tradition, he abandoned it and sought to destroy both the Protestant and Catholic churches as an adult.

As for those who completely dismiss the legitimacy of the Testimonium Flavianum, I would merely inquire by what evidence they do so. I completely agree that the text doesn’t sound like Josephus, but then, that’s hardly conclusive proof of it being a post-facto addition. Moreover, the Testimonium Flavianum is not the only reference to Jesus in the Antiquities, it’s merely the only one whose legitimacy is seriously questioned.

Vox vs the Experts – the results

The 2008 Housing Price Test:

NAR EXPERTS’ 2008 FORECAST: “Existing-home prices are expected to… hold essentially even in 2008 at $218,300.”

VOX: Instead of $218k, I’m expecting a decline that would project to $175k or less by the end of the year.

THE VERDICT: “The median price crashed 15.3% year over year in December, to just $175,400.”

That, ladies and gentlemen, is why I am entirely unconcerned with whatever the expert scientific consensus of the moment happens to be. Intelligence and logic will usually – not always, but usually – trump expertise and consensus. Consider the track record: 2008 housing prices, check. Embryonic stem cell research, check. Dark matter, check. Global warming, check. Evolution, okay, jury’s still out.

And I am an expert in precisely none of those things. Now, if you’re still not convinced, what more would it take to convince you?

Atheist Demotivator #4

While atheists are quite understandably reluctant to embrace “their” responsibility for the mass murders committed by their godless brethren, what they consistently fail to understand is that pinning the responsibility on the godless murderer is not about implying that the average atheist today is inclined to commit mass murder, but rather demonstrating the complete absurdity of the oft-made case that historical crimes committed by those of vaguely similar belief somehow justify advocating legal or social restrictions on individuals who have not committed any such crimes.

Atheists aren’t the only ones guilty of such cross-temporal guilt assignations. Medieval Christians certainly did so, and some of the more foolish Jews do the same thing today, forgetting that if it is right to judge today’s Christians for the historical crimes of medieval Christians who persecuted Jews, then those medieval Christians were entirely justified in persecuting medieval Jews for the crimes of ancient Jews who persecuted Christians. Responsibility must either be assigned individually or collectively. If the former, then no Christian today can be held responsible for the First Crusade, no atheist today can be held responsible for the Holodomor, and no Jew today can be held responsible for killing Jesus Christ or any of his followers. If the latter, then Christians, atheists, and Jews are all justified in engaging a war of all against all, in which case one would probably be wise to bet on the Muslims.

But with regards to the mass slaughters of the previous century, there is simply no way to escape the established fact that individual atheists have been among mankind’s very worst killers. This doesn’t mean that the average atheist is any more likely to be homicidally inclined than anyone else, it does, however, cast serious doubt on the common atheist assertion that a godless society will be a peaceful one. The significant question has never been if atheism causes political leaders to kill in large quantities, it is why political leaders who happen to be atheist have been inordinately inclined to kill in large quantities.

As I wrote in TIA, the answer is probably to be found in the fact that atheists who have committed great historical crimes are almost exclusively left-wing atheists with utopian visions of restructuring human society; Ayn Rand atheists aren’t exactly known for attempting to violently restructure societal order. This is why atheists like Bertrand Russell, Sam Harris, Christopher Hitchens, and especially Michel Onfray are far more dangerous than those more akin to Daniel Dennett and even Richard Dawkins.