Friday, July 11, 2008

Debunking Dr. Avalos

Apostate Hector Avalos has responded to something Peter and I said about the legend of Sargon:

http://debunkingchristianity.blogspot.com/2008/07/dr-avalos-responds-to-triablogue-on.html

A few preliminary definitions are in order:

When I say the “legend” of Sargon, I’m not rendering a value judgment on the historicity, or lack thereof, of these traditions, but simply using a conventional scholarly designation for these traditions.

In addition, the point at issue is not all traditions associated with the Sargon legend, but rather, the claim that a section of Exod 2 is literarily dependent on parallel tradition in the Sargon legend.

“Hector Avalos wrote: Unfortunately, I don’t see any evidence that the authors of Triablogue are familiar with cuneiform literature, or can verify any information for themselves outside of secondary sources”

By leading with this statement, Avalos immediately backs himself into a dilemma. Who is the intended audience for his response? The immediate audience for his response are readers of DC. He apparently emailed his response to John Loftus, who posted his response with his permission.

Now, the implication of his statement is to disqualify any reader who doesn’t know cuneiform. If you don’t know cuneiform, then you’re in no position to verify secondary sources regarding the Sargon legend.

But in that event, few, if any readers of DC can verify the claims of Avalos. Therefore, his response is self-refuting.

If he’s going to disqualify anyone who doesn’t know cuneiform, then that disqualifies anyone reading his own response—unless the reader happens to know cuneiform. How many readers of DC know cuneiform?

Wouldn’t it make more sense for him to address his response directly to Hoffmeier? Why doesn’t he email Hoffmeier?

If, on the other hand, he grants that a nonspecialist is competent to register the force of whatver arguments which Avalos has marshaled in his response to Peter and me, then—by the same token—a nonspecialist is equally competent to register the force of whatever arguments were marshaled by Hoffmeier, et al.

And since he brings it up, it’s not as if Avalos generally confines himself to his field of expertise. For example, he’s a very vocal and public opponent of Intelligent Design theory. But that lies far outside his field of expertise. He also had a formal debate with William Lane Craig on the Resurrection. Yet that is Craig’s specialty.

“Such as those found in Hoffmeier, Hess, and other conservative scholars. I know the work of these conservative scholars well.”

This statement is misleading because you don’t have to be a conservative scholar to be sceptical about the literary dependence of Exod 2 on the legend of Sargon. For example, Nahum Sarna is hardly a “conservative” scholar as Avalos defines the term (a la Hoffmeier, Hess), yet this is what Sarna has to say in his commentary:

“A close examination of the account of the birth of Moses clearly demonstrates striking differences that distinguish it from the foregoing examples. Other than the life-threatening exposure of the infant, all the significant details of the Torah’s narrative are antithetical to groups of people variously referred to…,” The JPS Torah Commentary: Exodus (JPS 1991), 266-67

He then flaunts his credentials. But there are some problems with that move:

i) That’s an argument from authority. Avalos is presenting himself as an expert witness. And the implication of this statement is that we should take his word for it, given his expertise.

But one problem with that claim is that, in this case, the argument from authority cuts both ways. Hoffmeier is also an expert witness.

If there were scholarly consensus on the relationship between Exod 2:1-10 and the legend of Sargon, then his appeal would carry a bit more weight—although that wouldn’t be a logically compelling argument.

But if the nonspecialist is dependent on the specialist for his information, and if one expert disagrees with another, then the argument from authority cancels out the testimony of Avalos as well as Hoffmeier.

“I see no reference yet to perhaps the most important study of the Sargon legend— Brian Lewis, The Sargon Legend: A Study of the Akkadian Text and The Tale of the Hero Who Was Exposed at Birth (American Schools of Oriental Research: Cambridge, MA, 1980).”

Why would Avalos refer the readers of DC to the monograph by Brian Lewis? Isn’t that a secondary source? But unless the reader of DC knows his way around cuneiform, then he’s in no position to verify the claims of Lewis, right?

If, on the other, we should give heed to the claims of Lewis, then, by parity of reasoning, we should also give heed to the claims of Hoffmeier et al.

Incidentally, the monograph by Lewis was published back in 1980. The two scholars I cited (Hoffmeier, Longman) published their own monographs several years later. So it’s not as if they were unable to take Lewis into account.

Keep in mind that Avalos has set the bar very high for his own performance. If, on the one hand, he’s an expert while, on the other hand, Peter and I labor under the dual handicap of being both mistaken and incompetent, then it should be a piece of cake for Avalos to prove us wrong.

But if, after all is said and done, he fails to make his case, then that tells you how weak his position must be.

“Without the specifics of this linguistic evidence, this really does not mean very much.”

The specifics are supplied on pp138-40 of Hoffmeier’s Israel and Egypt, as well as the footnotes on pp157-58.

Remember, though, that Avalos told us he “knows the work of these conservatives scholars well”—referring to the work of Hoffmeier, among others.

So, if he knows the work of Hoffmeier well, then why doesn’t he know the specific linguistic evidence which Hoffmeier presents?

“In the case of the Moses story, there are no stories with parallels as close as that of the legend of Sargon. The story of Horus has been suggested, but the parallels are not very good.”

Notice that Avalos seems to be assuming the very point at issue. He seems to assume that Exod 2:1-10 must be indebted to some extraneous source, and it’s just a question of identifying the source.

Doesn’t that beg a key question? Where is the supporting argument for his “facile assumption?”

“In contrast, there are numerous more exact parallels with Mesopotamian literature. For example, the idea of handing over a foundling to a wet nurse who raises him until he is weaned finds a more exact legal parallel in the Sumerian-Akkadian lexical series known as ana ittishu, which was edited by B. Landsberger in Materialien zum sumerischen Lexicon I, p. 112, especially column iii.”

Well, there are several problems with this example:

i) That isn’t the “idea” which Evan was talking about. Evan was talking about section in Exod 2 where the Mosaic infant is put in a waterproof basket and set adrift on the Nile.

So this example is irrelevant to the point at issue.

ii) Notice the genre in which the parallel occurs. Avalos refers us to a legal text. But do case laws deal with hypothetical situations (“legends”) which never occur? Or do case laws deal with real life situations?

How would that parallel undermine the historicity of Exod 2 at this juncture? Wouldn’t the case law be based on real world events?

If so, foundlings aren’t limited to Mesopotamia, are they? Egypt would have its share of foundlings as well, would it not? And if a foundling is to survive, then it will need a wet-nurse.

Isn’t that the purpose of the law? And isn’t the rationale for the legal parallel applicable to comparable situations beyond the borders of Mesopotamia?

So how did Avalos establish that I committed a factual error? He didn’t.

Apparently, he’s making the facile assumption that if the situation of Exod 2:7-9 is parallel to comparable situation in Sumerian case law, then Exod 2:7-9 never happened. But how in the world does that follow?

“Actually, we have more for Sargon.”

Avalos is trying to disprove my position through selectively quoting what I said. And that, in turn, leads him to equivocate.

Did I deny that we have a lot of evidence for the existence of Sargon? No. Indeed, I repeatedly affirmed that fact.

But what I also said, more than once, is that we need to distinguish between general evidence for the historicity of Sargon, and specific evidence that the section of Exod 2 under dispute is indebted to the legend of Sargon.

Avalos is attacking a straw man. And he’s doing so to deflect attention away from the actual point at issue.

So how did Avalos establish that I committed a factual error? He didn’t.

“We also can see the potential development of some motifs rather early…This shows that the motif of Sargon being beloved of Ishtar, is already present hundreds of years before the Neo-Assyrian texts which contain the fuller account of the Legend of Sargon.”

Several problems with this move:

i) The issue is not whether an extant source may preserve an earlier motif. No doubt there are many such cases.

ii) But if you’re going to assert literary dependence, then you need concrete evidence commensurate with the specificity of the claim. The generic possibility that a given motif may antedate your extant sources doesn’t justify a claim of literary dependence. That would be a “facile assumption.”

iii) And not only do you need concrete evidence, but you need evidence specific to the claim. The fact that certain motifs in the fully-developed legend antedate its complete development doesn’t justify the claim that a particular motif antedates the fully-developed legend—absent specific evidence to that effect. That would be a “facile assumption.”

iv) Indeed, to illustrate his contention, Avalos had to document his example. If he had been unable to document the prior existence of this particular motif, then his claim would have been unwarranted. So he’s proving my point rather than his.

v) Finally, the very admission, on his part, that the legend of Sargon underwent internal development means that some motifs in later sources do not go back to earlier sources. Or if they do antedate the extant source, some motifs are still later than others.

Hence, you can’t simply posit literary dependence. You can’t take the fully-developed legend as your point of reference and simply extrapolate from that source to earlier stages of the legend. That would be a “facile assumption.”

So how did Avalos establish that I committed a factual error? He didn’t.

“We have nothing from Moses’ supposed lifetime that mentions him or any of his features. Not even close.”

Actually, we do have something from Moses’ supposed lifetime that mentions him and his features. We have Exodus-Deuteronomy. Those books contain many autobiographical references to Moses.

Of course, Avalos is a liberal, so he denies the Mosaic authorship of the Pentateuch. But his opinion doesn’t prove me wrong. It’s not as if conservative scholars haven’t defended the Mosaic authorship of the Pentateuch.

“Indeed, where do we have anything similar about Moses hundreds of years before the oldest Exodus manuscripts?”

That’s rather silly. Suppose I have a modern edition of Beza’s Life of Calvin. And suppose I have a first edition of Dwight Eisenhower’s autobiography. By Avalos’ logic, this creates the presumption that Eisenhower antedates Calvin.

Likewise, until the discovery of the DDS, our earliest OT Hebrew MSS were medieval MSS. By contrast, our earliest NT Greek MSS antedated the Hebrew MSS by centuries. By Avalos’ logic, this creates the presumption that the NT antedates the OT.

This is what happens when you disregard the elementary distinction between the Urtext and a copy of the Urtext.

Now, in the case of Scripture, we have various lines of evidence that the Bible antedates our MS evidence. For example, literary allusions imply literary dependence. If the NT cites, quotes, or alludes to the OT, then that would be solid evidence for literary dependence of the NT on the OT—even if our extant NT MSS antedated our OT MSS.

So how did Avalos establish that I committed a factual error? He didn’t.

I’d also reiterate, as I already pointed out to Evan, if you’re going to cast doubt on whether our extant MSS of Exodus are faithful to the Urtext of Exodus, then that undermines any claim that Exod 2 is indebted to the legend of Sargon. For even if Exod 2, in our extant MSS, were indebted to the legend of Sargon because of a scribal interpolation, then the Urtextual Exod 2 was not indebted to the legend of Sargon.

“We can talk all day long about textual or literary criticism supposedly helps us reach earlier or to ‘original’ compositions, but I think I have addressed this issue in great detail in The End of Biblical Studies (Amherst, NY: Prometheus Press, 2007), pp. 65-108.”

Why does Avalos refer the reader to his book? Isn’t that a secondary source? Is Avalos tacitly admitting that a nonspecialist is competent to evaluate the arguments of a specialist?

Incidentally, since Avalos is fond of flaunting his credentials, does he also think that we should judge a book by its publisher? Hoffmeier’s monograph was published by Oxford University Press. The book by Avalos was published by Prometheus Press. Which would you rather see on your resume?

“Textual criticism won’t help you much here in proving that Exodus 1-2 is written before the Sargon legend.”

i) Did we say that textual criticism proves the literary priority of Exod 1-2? No. And Avalos is illicitly shifting the burden of proof.

The point, rather, is that if you’re going to claim the literary priority of the Sargon legend to Exod 2, then you need to furnish specific, concrete evidence to substantiate your claim.

ii) Moreover, literary priority doesn’t establish that a later document is indebted to an earlier document. That’s only a bare, necessary condition.

The Tale of Genii is later than Isaiah. That doesn’t mean the Tale of Genii is indebted to Isaiah.

He then quotes Lewis: “It would appear more likely that the Vorlage of the Moses story be sought in the direction of Mesopotamia or Western Asia.”

Several problems:

i) He doesn’t quote the supporting arguments of Lewis.

ii) Why should I be more impressed by the scholarly opinion of Lewis than the contrary opinion of other scholars? Once again, the argument from authority is a double-bladed sword.

iii) And which is it? Mesopotamia or Western Asia?

“Moreover, textual criticism and literary criticism would still favor the Sargon legends being earlier compositions…We have four major manuscripts for the Legend of Sargon, and so we can do textual criticism.”

i) But Avalos just told us that textual criticism can’t help us to reach earlier or original compositions. In that event, how can he use textual criticism to establish the literary dependence of Exod 2 on the legend of Sargon? He’s dynamited his own appeal.

“Motifs and other elements found in earlier omens, and inscriptions related to Sargon can help us conduct much better literary analysis than is possible for Moses.”

Avalos is blurring the distinction between the historical Sargon and the literary Sargon—something he does throughout his response. But if Exodus-Deuteronomy is autobiographical, then we’d scarcely expect to find sources about the life of Moses which antedate the life of Moses. Exodus-Deuteronomy would be our earliest source of information about Moses because it was written by Moses. Autobiographies don’t antedate their authors.

By contrast, there are obviously sources of information on Sargon which antedate the legend of Sargon since the historical Sargon antedates the literary Sargon.

“In addition, we now have a fragment of the Gilgamesh epic from Palestine, and so we know that this story was there. In contrast, we don’t have any biblical texts in Mesopotamian dating from the time of the Gilgamesh epic.”

The Epic of Gilgamesh is a red herring. We’re not debating the literary dependence (or not) of Gen 6-9 on the Epic of Gilgamesh.

(Incidentally, notice that Avalos doesn’t give the date for this Palestinian fragment.)

It betrays the weakness of his case when Avalos has to pepper his response with decoys.

“We have mountains of Akkadian stories and others types of texts.”

Avalos is now trying to snow the reader with a lot of generic evidence that’s absolutely irrelevant to the specific evidence he would need to establish a specific claim. More decoys to throw us off the scent.

“So, the OVERWHELMING weight of the evidence suggests that, if there were any copying, the Hebrews copied from earlier Mesopotamian literature, and not the other way around.”

Notice how he couches his statement in hypothetical terms: “If there were any copying...”

So, after all is said and done; after all the chest-thumping about his CV; after every irrelevant parallel he could cobble together, he hasn’t actually moved the argument a single inch in establishing that Exod 2 was copied from the legend of Sargon. He gives the reader a hypothetical in lieu of any hard evidence.

“Good history begins with the extant sources. The Sargon legend is in actual manuscripts from the seventh century BCE. We can trace crucial elements of this legend hundreds (or even thousands) of years before that.”

i) Notice the blatant equivocation. In the issue at hand, the crucial element would be a parallel between Exod 2:3 and the legend of Sargon.

Has Avalos done the slightest thing to show that this crucial element antedates our 7C BC MSS by hundreds or even thousands of years? No. Not at all.

ii) And suppose, for the sake of argument, that he did succeed. Would that prove that Exod 2:3 copied the legend of Sargon? Would that prove that Exod 2:3 is unhistorical?

None of the above. Only if you operate with the “facile assumption” that something like Exod 2:3 couldn’t happen in real life would you jump to the conclusion the Exod 2:3 a legendary statement, indebted to another legendary statement.

Where is the supporting argument for this “facile assumption”? None is forthcoming from Avalos.

“The Moses story appears in manuscripts no earlier than the 2nd-3rd centuries BCE. We have NOTHING about Moses before this. Any textual or literary criticism we can apply will still result in Sargon stories being attested far longer and better than those of Moses.”

This is just a rehash of the fallacious arguments he’s been dishing out all along. Didn’t take long for Avalos to shoot his wad.

“1. How do you explain the parallels between the Moses story and the Sumerian ana ittishu legal directives?”

Asked and answered (see above).

“2. What pattern of parallels from an Egyptian story is closer than the one from Sargon for the Moses story?”

i) Observe the “facile assumption” underlying the question. It’s not as if Exod 2 requires a literary parallel of any kind, whether Egyptian or Mesopotamian.

It’s only if you assume, a priori, that events like this don’t happen that you automatically treat this account as a literary fiction.

ii) As a matter of fact, there is a partial parallel. That’s in Genesis. The wording of 2:3 is, in part, a literary allusion to the flood account. Moses wants to remind the reader of another instance of God’s providence.

“Could you provide ONE text critical detail that would help you date the Moses story before the Sargon story.”

Once again, Avalos is illicitly shifting the burden of proof. The onus is not on me to disprove literary dependence.

“4. Are you able to read: A. Assyro-Babylonian; B. Hebrew?”

Are the readers of DC able to read Assyro-Babylonian or Hebrew? If not, who were you writing for?

In sum, his response is riddled with decoys, equivocations, sophistries, and self-contradictions. The fact that a specialist did this badly when trying to rebut a nonspecialist like Peter or me shows how weak his case really is.

18 comments:

  1. Avalos ois not impressive. You are quite right in pointing out that one can't merely assert that similarity equals copying or influences. Case in point. In graduate school I wanted do a paper saying that Fritz Mouther influenced Beckett. Dr. Tim Redman did not allow me to make this claim until I found historical evidence that there was actually a proven link from Mouthner to Beckett. I found the quote that Beckett read Mouthner to James Joyce when he went blind. But even that was not enough for Redman. I still had to go further, that was just the beginning.

    I one sees all sorts of mistakes Avalos makes, he mines data that supports his view and just ignores whole schools in a field that disagree with him. His chapter on the historical Jesus is pathetic. I will work that up soon.

    The whole Mocking Christianity site (debunking, which for them is nothing but mocking) is a game. They try to sell their badly written books and spend all their time plugging each other on Amazon. I suspect that's the true function of the blog.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I'm stil waiting for Avalos to resign. He is the one who said biblical studies is a waste of tiem. you would think he would have found a new field by now.

    Well, it may hard so I can help. Chick fila has an opening. they are always hiring.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Joe said...The whole Mocking Christianity site (debunking, which for them is nothing but mocking) is a game. They try to sell their badly written books and spend all their time plugging each other on Amazon. I suspect that's the true function of the blog.

    I gues you've never written a book, eh? I also gather you also don't know what it's like to feel you did a good job on it and want others to read it. You too plug that which you write (in the thread above), so why the blatant hypocricy? We all plug that which we write, silly. Nor do you understand that no author but a bestselling author is fairly compensated monetarily for his work. Why do teachers teach? It's not to get rich you duffas!

    Furthermore, why do you think we have "badly written books" until or unless you've read them? Isn't that jumping the gun? Is it your habit to regularly believe things without any evidence? There are people who have read mine who don't think it's a bad book, even Christian apologists and philosophers, to the point of recommending it.

    Lastly, you don't realize that the people at Triablogue are treating you like a "useful idiot." That's right. You are ignorant not to see this. They will turn on you with invectives and ad hominems in a heart beat, you liberal! They hate liberals just as much as they hate atheists. These people are not your friends.

    You and I have more things in common than you do with them, and yet you continue to attack me. Go ahead then, but wait and see what the Triabloguers have to say about your theology next time around. Then you'll know exactly what I mean.

    Get your head on straight, Joe, please.

    ReplyDelete
  4. JOHN W. LOFTUS SAID:

    “Lastly, you don't realize that the people at Triablogue are treating you like a ‘useful idiot’."

    Actually, we allow Loftus to post comments here because we like to use Loftus as a useful idiot—and he unfailingly plays the part we assign to him.

    And to who his real friends are, it’s not as if Joe enjoyed a very friendly reception over at DC. For example:

    http://debunkingchristianity.blogspot.com/2008/07/evan-on-legend-of-sargon.html?showComment=1215796620000#c6615382065608798047

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hmmm, in another thread, just a few days ago, John, you went on and on about "the principle of charity" and waxed indignant about the way you're treated here...

    and here you are saying now:

    I gues you've never written a book, eh? I also gather you also don't know what it's like to feel you did a good job on it and want others to read it. You too plug that which you write (in the thread above), so why the blatant hypocricy? We all plug that which we write, silly. Nor do you understand that no author but a bestselling author is fairly compensated monetarily for his work. Why do teachers teach? It's not to get rich you duffas!

    Then we can see how Joe was treated on your blog.

    John, how many personalities are in there?

    ReplyDelete
  6. Listen, I like Joe. He knows it too. And he also thinks we are a respectful lot over at DC. He said so recently. But he also got out of hand over there and apologized for doing so. When you provoke people you will get fired upon, yes.

    You should also know I have given free reign to the admins there to publish within certain guidlines. Sometimes those guidlines aren't followed. But I didn't publish the comment you linked to. Someone else did.

    When Joe writes something that is plainly stupid, like, all we want is to plug our books, then I think the word "duffas" is appropriate to get his head out of his ass, especially since he and I have more in common than you boys and he. Why doesn't he see the nose that's plainly on his face, I don't know. But he doesn't.

    And the principle of charity is not an inspired principle to be used in all cases, either. You never use it when it comes to infidels and apostates because we're unworthy, whereas I almost always use it with rare exceptions.

    ReplyDelete
  7. And the principle of charity is not an inspired principle to be used in all cases, either.

    Obviously, for you, it's not...it's just another ad hoc "principle" that you can't ground in your atheism. If we're all just blobs of protoplasm, then what does it matter how you're treated.

    And notice here that this is a caveat not in your original. It's not to be used in all cases, so where can we find the list of exceptions that gives you license not to use it. We'll wait for another of your ad hoc restrictions.

    Why doesn't he see the nose that's plainly on his face, I don't know. But he doesn't.
    You never use it when it comes to infidels and apostates because we're unworthy, whereas I almost always use it with rare exceptions.

    Contrary to your continued misrepresentation, we don't believe here that only conservative, evangelical Calvinists are "worthy." Indeed, not all of us fit that mold here.

    You never use it when it comes to infidels and apostates because we're unworthy, whereas I almost always use it with rare exceptions.

    You're such a liar. We've never said you're treated the way you're treated because you're "unworthy." Quite the opposite is the case. You're quite "worthy" of the treatment you receive precisely because you're an apostate, not just any apostate, you're one who tries to drag others along with you. We've been over this with you so many times I've lost count, and you still can't state the truth of the matter. You tell others they are "hypocrites" and then proceed to play the part quite well yourself. Good job.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Joe said...The whole Mocking Christianity site (debunking, which for them is nothing but mocking) is a game. They try to sell their badly written books and spend all their time plugging each other on Amazon. I suspect that's the true function of the blog.

    I gues you've never written a book, eh? I also gather you also don't know what it's like to feel you did a good job on it and want others to read it.

    I have no written a book unless you count a Ph.D dissertation. But I am writing one now. I can understand your feelings. That wasn't' what I said. Go back and look at the criticism again. I'm not criticizing that you think your book is good. It probalby is, I said badly written based upon reading Hecotor's book.

    the marketing I'm objecting to.





    You too plug that which you write (in the thread above), so why the blatant hypocricy? We all plug that which we write, silly. Nor do you understand that no author but a bestselling author is fairly compensated monetarily for his work. Why do teachers teach? It's not to get rich you duffas!


    I don't do a self published book then get friends to write reviews on amazing and make it look like a real publisher chose it and people who don't know me love it.

    Furthermore, why do you think we have "badly written books" until or unless you've read them? Isn't that jumping the gun?

    I read Hector's book. I should not have said that without informing the reading that I have not read your book.


    Is it your habit to regularly believe things without any evidence? There are people who have read mine who don't think it's a bad book, even Christian apologists and philosophers, to the point of recommending it.


    I guess I better read it. I am of the opinion that is probably good.

    Lastly, you don't realize that the people at Triablogue are treating you like a "useful idiot." That's right. You are ignorant not to see this. They will turn on you with invectives and ad hominems in a heart beat, you liberal! They hate liberals just as much as they hate atheists. These people are not your friends.


    I see how they are. you got it backwards man. they are my useful idiots.

    You and I have more things in common than you do with them, and yet you continue to attack me. Go ahead then, but wait and see what the Triabloguers have to say about your theology next time around. Then you'll know exactly what I mean.


    I am sure they think I'm the spawn of satan. You are right you and I have more in common then I do with them.

    but the problem is you are not fari in attacks on Christianity. none of you are. You act like the only kind of Christinaity is fundie and when you do make a small number of posts you have made saying why you don't accept liberal Christianity you really don't deal fairly with it.

    Just saying "read my book" is nto an argument. you refuse to argue. you wont come out in the open where we can really clash.

    I could clash as a gentleman. you wont give me a chance to have a fair exchange in the open where we both really go into it. if we could get down to cases I'm sure I could get you to see the problem with your world view.


    Get your head on straight, Joe, please.


    keep your little minions going off the deep end and cursing at me every time I say something they don't understand.

    ReplyDelete
  9. John, the one thing you and I don't have in common and that the Triblogue guys and I do have in common is that you threw Jesus out of you heart, for some reason which I don't get, and I have not.

    that outweighs everything else.

    ReplyDelete
  10. What John Loftus doesn’t know is that us Tbloggers on are Joe Hinman’s payroll. You see, Joe is using Loftus as a useful idiot to unwittingly promote Joe’s forthcoming book. When DC launches a public attack on Joe, that merely raises Joe’s public profile. It’s free advertising.

    But Joe needed to lure Loftus and his fellow debunkers out into the open and make them play into his hands. So he used the Tbloggers as bait.

    He went to Useful Idiots R Us (a recruiting firm for useful idiots), and hired the Tbloggers as temporary useful idiots to dupe Loftus. It’s like that Victor/Victoria movie where Julie Andrews plays a woman playing a man playing a woman.

    And you took the bait, John. Hook, line, and sinker. Joe was using us as useful idiots so that he could use you and your team as useful idiots. Joe’s just too clever for you, John. He played you for a chump.

    Joe and I were snickering about it as he paid me for my services.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Joe said...I see how they are. you got it backwards man. they are my useful idiots.

    Is there any reason why I can't like this guy?

    ReplyDelete
  12. Steve said...Joe and I were snickering about it as he paid me for my services.

    And is there any reason why I can't like this guy?

    Hmmmm. That I'll have to think about.......

    ReplyDelete
  13. What John Loftus doesn’t know is that us Tbloggers on are Joe Hinman’s payroll. You see, Joe is using Loftus as a useful idiot to unwittingly promote Joe’s forthcoming book. When DC launches a public attack on Joe, that merely raises Joe’s public profile. It’s free advertising.

    But Joe needed to lure Loftus and his fellow debunkers out into the open and make them play into his hands. So he used the Tbloggers as bait.

    He went to Useful Idiots R Us (a recruiting firm for useful idiots), and hired the Tbloggers as temporary useful idiots to dupe Loftus. It’s like that Victor/Victoria movie where Julie Andrews plays a woman playing a man playing a woman.

    And you took the bait, John. Hook, line, and sinker. Joe was using us as useful idiots so that he could use you and your team as useful idiots. Joe’s just too clever for you, John. He played you for a chump.

    Joe and I were snickering about it as he paid me for my services.


    ahahahahahahahahahahaahahahah

    I don't always agree with you guys in the conclusions you draw, as John notes, but one they thing they cannot beat you on is sense of humor. they have none and you guys are a riot, I mean that in a good way.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Listen, I like Joe. He knows it too. And he also thinks we are a respectful lot over at DC. He said so recently. But he also got out of hand over there and apologized for doing so. When you provoke people you will get fired upon, yes.

    I consider John a friend. He is willing to forgive when I make an ass of myself. That's a friend. We don't agree on our major world views but then, that's not a prerequisite for friendship, not to me it isn't.

    You should also know I have given free reign to the admins there to publish within certain guidlines. Sometimes those guidlines aren't followed. But I didn't publish the comment you linked to. Someone else did.

    I have done self publishing of sorts. I did it in a way that is less frowned upon the academy. John apparently has tumbled to that yet, but maybe I am off the mark in my criticisms. IF I have to do my book through the self publishing ting on Amazon I hope by friends will write good reviews for it. So maybe I should drop that line.

    When Joe writes something that is plainly stupid, like, all we want is to plug our books, then I think the word "duffas" is appropriate to get his head out of his ass, especially since he and I have more in common than you boys and he. Why doesn't he see the nose that's plainly on his face, I don't know. But he doesn't.

    no that's fair enough. I can dig that. I've been known to be an ass. that doesn't damage our friendship. just like when I tell John that he avoid real argument and uses lines like "read my book" to give the impression that he has an answer but the answer is always receding into one previously written blog piece that you can't find after another and he never does actually get around to direct clash, I'm sure that doesn't damage the friendship.

    And the principle of charity is not an inspired principle to be used in all cases, either. You never use it when it comes to infidels and apostates because we're unworthy, whereas I almost always use it with rare exceptions.


    I agree that I don't find a lot of compassion among fundamentalists in the heat of battle, but as I have continually challenged all atheists, go to an atheist board, pretend to be a Christian, and see how they treat you.

    7/12/2008 2:53 PM

    ReplyDelete
  15. what I mean when I say I've done self publishing but in a way that removs the onus of being self published, here's what I mean:

    I started an academic journal, Negations. It was a real journal, refereed, achieved, indexed, we were getting ISSN number when I had to put it to bed.

    I wrote articles for my own journal. I was the publisher, not the editor, but the editor was a good buddy. The other editors and staff were all friends. So it might appear that I just got my stuff automatically every time, after all it was my journal.

    However, I didn't do that. I sent my papers to the referees fro pier review just as everyone else. It was a blind submission and they did not know me that well anyway. But they didn't know whose papers they were reading.

    This is what you need to do. you need a pier review process that is not just a rubber stamp but a real mark of having to meet a standard.

    that's the whole reason that self publishing is frowned upon anyway. anyone can write a book and publish it himself. the whole thing could be "Mary had a little lamb" over and over for a thousand pages, if you had the money to print it you could get it on amazon and get your friends to say its brilliant.

    I'm not saying that's what your book is, I'm just saying why self publishing is bad.

    btw here is the journal I published

    ReplyDelete
  16. What I find unconvincing about Loftus's constant refrain that he is an honest doubter is his blanket statement, more than once, that even if he were to admit that Christianity is true he WOULD NOT follow it.

    Further, he has said that the advantage of his books is that they serve as a "slow acting poison" (his words) that can serve to destroy a person's faith in a time of crises.

    He is not seeking honest argument at all.

    It is more in the nature of a propaganda campaign.

    And just try reviewing his material on Amazon, he will personally comment and call you names...he did it to a friend of mine.

    But rest assured, we will be posting reviews of his new Book, and he won't be able to delete them!

    ReplyDelete
  17. Joe:

    With the way apostrophes are incorrectly used these days, are you certain you didn't go to Useful Idiots R U's?

    I'm just checking...

    --
    Stan

    ReplyDelete