Tuesday, October 10, 2006

How to duck a book review

According to John Loftus:

“FYI: I have read several reviews of my book now. Most all of them aren't written very well at all. Two of them proceeded to argue with it chapter by chapter. A couple others went hodgepodge through it, pointing out things they liked and didn't like. But good reviews will first summarize the book”

Fine. Always happy to accommodate.

John Loftus’ book is string oft-refuted, reheated leftovers from the maggoty dumpster of infidelity, which he is attempting to serve up for the umpteenth time as something new and special by shamelessly riding on the coattails of William Lane Craig.

How’s that for a summary?

“Tell what the author is attempting to do”

Having committed spiritual suicide by jumping from the lifeboat of Christianity into the shark-invested waters of atheism, Loftus is spitefully attempting to punch holes in the lifeboat so that all his fellow passengers will share his same, sorry fate—while making a little ill-gotten gain on the side.

“Tell who would benefit the most from reading the book”

Nobody.

“Compare it to other books he's seen on the same topic”

A second-rate popularization of other men’s flea-bitten objections to the faith.

“And offer a generalized statement about how effective his book is in attaining his stated goals.”

Ineffective.

“Then at that point the reviewer can speak about some specifics in the book as examples that support his generalized statement by arguing with them or supporting them.”

See my review.

“This is High School stuff here.”

If so, then we’re merely answering him at his own, sophmoric level.

Satisfied now?

12 comments:

  1. Thank you. This let's the reader know the perspective of the reviewer. Now you should probably also explain why others have reviewed my book differently. The question is whether or not you've read the same book they have. Is everyone stupid who disagrees with you? Such a biased reviewer should not be taken to offer an objective review at all, and that's why it's important to provide what I had asked you to do. You've shown that you are clearly not objective. So now the reader can take you with a huge grain of salt, and that's why providing these summaries helps us know the objectivity of the reviewer.

    By Dr. James Sennett, "For years I have been saying that Christian apologetics is answering questions no one is asking. Scholarly unbelief is far more sophisticated, far more defensible than any of us would like to believe. John W. Loftus is a scholar and a former Christian who was overwhelmed by that sophistication and damaged irreparably by the inadequate apologetics he had at his disposal. His story is a wake up call to the church: it's time for us to start living in, and speaking to, the real world."

    By Dan Barker, "As a former fundamentalist minister who has followed a similar path from apostle to apostate, I empathize completely with the deep struggle Loftus had to make in order to shed his former cherished beliefs. I respect his scholarship, but more than that, I admire his courage. There are many treasures in this book, as well as provocative and controversial arguments, all presented with a crystal-clear and brutal honesty that is rare in religious scholarship. Loftus is a true freethinker, willing to follow the facts wherever they happen to lead."

    By Edward T. Babinski,"John W. Loftus is a former conservative Christian who at some point admitted that he could no longer honestly use the term `Christian' to describe his present beliefs or state of mind. His book is a clear, honest and concise summary of some of the questions he encountered along his spiritual, theological and philosophical journey. John's experience not only parallels that of other individuals but also parallels the experience of entire seminaries over the centuries that were once founded to promote conservative Christian views. John's book demonstrates to many who are having doubts, that there are others out there like him. There are probably a lot more unspoken doubts going on in the Christian world than anyone cares to personally relate."

    By David Van Allen, "This book is an absolute 'must have' for anyone who has left the Christian faith or is having serious intellectual doubts about the Christian religion. While the book starts out explaining some of his experiential reasons for leaving Christianity, the volume goes far beyond a mere personal testimony and dives deeply into the elemental contradictions of Christianity. The plethora of scholarly works referenced in this publication places it amongst the better resources for the honest student. Loftus deals evenly with the issues, carefully explaining the strengths and weaknesses of each argument. Loftus' coverage of the problems inherent in the claims of Christianity is comprehensive. Much of what he wrote sounds like an echo of many of my own introspections except expressed through the well oiled mind of an academia."

    Matthew J. Green, "It's not everyday that I get to befriend a fellow apostate and freethinker who left the Christian faith but also one who has a sharp theological mind such as John W. Loftus. A divinity school graduate with three master's degrees, a former student of William Lane Craig, and an academic star in his school days, Loftus has a formidable resume. That's why I was eager to purchase and read Loftus' book Why I Rejected Christianity. This book is one of the best introductory texts on the philosophical problems with Christianity I have read."

    Richard Carrier, said this about about "The Outsider Test for Faith" chapter: "that's an excellent chapter. The logic of it is insurmountable, in my opinion, even by a so-called reformed or 'holy spirit' epistemologist."

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  2. John, old man, it's nice to see you followed the best possible advice and got a picture. It's also nice to see that it isn't that ghastly one of you in an orange tee-shirt. I shall state a rare approval of your good sense.

    On objectivity. If your point was to show that when it comes to matters of religious faith objectivity is impossible, then you have suceeded.

    Atheists see in the book a reasoned case against Christianity, Christians see re-heated arguments. And I, for one, am not surpirised at either.

    You see, there is no such thing as neutrality when it comes to debates over matters of religion. Either one is a Christian or one is not. There is no middle ground. Thus there is no middle ground in this case. No objective review could be written.

    Of course, that is not to say that a review can be fair without being objective. I doubt that any of Ann Coulter of Michael Moore's books have ever been subjects of objective reviews, yet I have read long and fair reviews of their books (as well as ill-informed and hysterical ones). But in religion, as in politics, it is impossible to deal objectively with opinion pieces such as your book.

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  3. Steve,

    Did you notice that Matthew Green referred to me as "an academic star in his school days", and that I have "three master's degrees", and that I am "a former student of William Lane Craig"? That kid just makes me want to cry, those are my favorite 3 things about myself! I told you about William Lane Craig before right? Anyway, I'm sure you're impressed with the ringing endorsements I've quoted by truly intelligent and objective men (I even managed to get 2 fellow debunkers to say great things about me, and all I had to do was let them out of the DC headquarters for an extra day or two). Please read the bold type of my previous post and grovel pal! Yes, the world thinks I'm intelligent! Wait until I post the reviews of my chapter on the "bird-man". Ha ha ha ha ha ha

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  4. John,

    What's sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. (And no, I'm not trying to make fun of your bird-man argument by using that cliche.)

    Usually when someone offers defeaters for your position you need to show how it didn't really defeat your position. So, if you want Steve to follow your book review rules, why don't you follow man-up as well and show everyone where his critique failed. This way you can show that he's a sorry book reviewer, as well as an bad argument giver.

    What? Even granting you're a "scholar," does that absolve you from interacting with arguments against your book?

    Indeed, does the *content* of the arguments depend upon whether your interlocutor followed the guidelines in "Book Reviewing for Dummies?"

    So, we get the point: Steve Hays didn't follow the proper Book reviewing protocal, but his arguments are still hanging in the air for you to take out your six shooter and blast them out of the sky. Yeee doggie, cowboy

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  5. Hmmm....

    Why do I not find it surprising that you're getting glowing reviews from other Debunking Atheist members, Loftus?

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  6. that's cute when Manata posts as 'anonymous'.

    what a looser.

    "Man Up" manata, you big ol' discomfiter, you!

    Go back to puritan board and 'sharpen other men's iron' or whatever it is you boys do when you get together behind closed doors.

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  7. Paul,

    You must be flattered. Any time an anonymous Christian posts a reasoned response to an atheist pontificator, our apostate readers assume that it is you. I suppose they simply can’t handle the fact that more than one person in the world is able to debunk their self-debunking bunk.

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  8. Yeah Evan, what's even funnier is when an anonymous attacks another anonymous for posting anonymously!

    Let's say I posted anonymously, why does that make me a looser? And, if posting anonymously makes one a looser, then I guess our anonymous apostate just called him/herself a looser!

    Or, maybe s/he means that other people can post anonymously and not earn the honorable title: "looser," but when I (supposedly) post anonymously that just makes me a looser. But, what's the case for that?

    Either way, our apostate anonymous has (a) committed a non-sequitur or (b) called him/herself a looser.

    I guess when you're goal is to debunk people by attacking style and character, rather than content, you end up debunking yourself. sooner or later.

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  9. Or worse yet, what kind of loser repeatedly misspells 'loser' as 'looser'?

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  10. as iron sharpens iron10/11/2006 6:15 AM

    :::YAWN!!!:::

    what a bunch of loosers

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  11. Anonymous 1 speeled 'loser' as "looser." Everyone followed his lead, I guess. Maybe it was a subtle slap in the face of the first anonymous, the loooooser?

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  12. Loftus > Manata

    case closed.

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