Wherein Steve Gets a Fallacy Wrong

Well, Steve’s back over at Friendly Atheist post “What Does the Bible Say About Abortion” and this is my response to him (hint: he’s still being intellectually dishonest and his English comprehension is in the toilet yet again):

Psst. Future readers, Steve’s back and still trying to push his intellectual dishonesty away by not admitting it.

Let’s see where he goes with it:

Argumentum ad populum fallacy-

Ah, yes, Steve references a fallacy that demonstrates his lack of understanding.

But you, dear readers, know exactly what Argumentum ad populum actually means:

“In argumentation theory, an argumentum ad populum (Latin for “appeal to the people”) is a fallacious argument that concludes that a proposition is true because many or most people believe it: “If many believe so, it is so.”

Now, future readers, writing to you is not an Argumentum ad populum because the appeal in “appeal to the people” isn’t about directly conversing with you, but making an argument based on many people’s beliefs.

For example, saying “many people believe Elvis is alive, so Elvis must be alive” is an Argumentum ad populum. So the “appeal to the people” should be viewed as “appeal to the people’s beliefs”

Now, Steve doesn’t understand that. He thinks that writing to some future readers is appealing to them, but he just continues to demonstrate his lack of English comprehension.

Steve, however, still won’t admit that his words apply to him and is still being intellectually dishonest.

now how intellectually honest is that?

Hey, future readers, Steve thinks you’re dumb and can’t recognize that he’s the “pot calling the kettle black,” claiming that I’m being intellectually dishonest when he’s amply demonstrated his own dishonesty. It’s too bad the bible never mentions something similar (*ahem* Matthew 7:3).

Let’s recap: Steve won’t be held to his own words but expects me to be held to mine. What is that? Well, that’s intellectual dishonesty!

We are on your stomping grounds and you want others to prop you up.

And here, dear future readers, is where Steve continues his intellectual dishonesty:

Remember Steve said: “Discussing Biblical topics on an atheistic site is like asking a man, blind from birth, to describe what colors are around him”

And I turned it back around on Steve since we can sub in any other religion or philosophy to get “Discussing atheist topics on an atheist site, where Steve Maxedon isn’t an atheist, is like asking a man, blind from birth, to describe what colors are around him”

Yet Steve will not admit that his own words apply to himself.

Why is Steve still here? If, as Steve says, non-Xians can’t comment on Xianity, then the inverse is also true: non-atheists can’t comment on atheism. Steve applies a criteria to atheists that he will not apply to himself.

Yet Steve is still here on an atheist blog. Steve still won’t be held to his word and that’s what makes him intellectually dishonest.

Come on Bear, man up.

Future readers, you’ll notice that Steve attempts to bullshit macho bluster his way out of his intellectual dishonesty by telling me to “man up.”

That’s hilarious because a real man (or woman, to be all inclusive) admits when they are being intellectually dishonest, not double downs on that dishonesty.

A real man (or woman) admits their error and doesn’t hold other people to their words but not hold themself to their words. For a real man (or woman), their word is bond. A real man (or woman) isn’t afraid of admitting they were wrong.

In fact, dear readers, a weak person, a cowardly, impotent person, continues to try to change the subject from their intellectual dishonesty and weasel their way out of it by blaming the person who is holding them to their words.

And you, dear readers, note that Steve has had plenty of opportunities to admit to his intellectual dishonesty but has squandered every single one.

Besides if anyone had been interested one would think they would have weighed in by now.

Dear readers, did you see what Steve did there? Equating honesty to people being interested in responding to his intellectual dishonesty, when honesty is its own reward. Yet Steve still hasn’t admitted his intellectual dishonesty.

BTW, isn’t weighing in exactly what you did sixteen days ago?

Future readers, you’ll notice that Steve still continues to hold me to my words but doesn’t do the same for himself. He doesn’t realize that he has no grounds to hold me to my words if he also doesn’t do so for himself.

He’s also failing to understand that posting comments on blogs are open to all, even intellectually dishonest liars like him.

But I really am happy that Steve has decided to continue posting here on Friendly Atheist: it shows everyone just how intellectually dishonest he is. Now, if Steve truly believes that atheists shouldn’t talk about Xianity, then the inverse applies to him and he shouldn’t be here as a non-atheist or else he’s being intellectually dishonest. And guess what? He’s here.

Again, future readers, I’m sorry that Steve’s “personal relationship” with his bible god haven’t made him a better, more honest person. How could it be, when he bears false witness, tries to shift blame and is dishonest? One would think the bible has something to say about bearing false witness and honesty and that plank in Steve’s eye.

One would think Steve believes his “personal relationship” gives him carte blanche to behave this way and that no matter the shitty, dishonest things Steve does, he gets a free pass (and if so, what a bankrupt relationship that would be).

What’s next, dear readers, for Steve? Well, if he’s true to form, he’ll respond yet again, not admitting his intellectual dishonesty, but again try (and fail) to push it on me. I’m betting he invokes yet another fallacy he doesn’t understand.


More Intellectual Dishonesty from Steve

Steve’s back again with another comment on Friendly Atheist’s “What Does the Bible say about Abortion” post and this is my response to him:

Psst! Dear future readers. I don’t know whether you’ll be reading this later today or ten months from now but I wanted to address you specifically.

You see, I’m far more interested in talking to you rather than Steve. He’s going to try to shift the conversation from his intellectual dishonesty to me (and quite frankly, fail horribly) because he can’t admit that his own words apply equally to him.

So here’s a recap for you, the future readers:

Steve said this: “Discussing Biblical topics on an atheistic site is like asking a man, blind from birth, to describe what colors are around him”

I pointed out to Steve that this applies equally to all values of X =/= Y since “Discussing X topics on an Y site, where those discussing it are Y not X, is like asking a man, blind from birth, to describe what colors are around him” or equally “Discussing Y topics on an Y site, where those discussing it are X not Y, is like asking a man, blind from birth, to describe what colors are around him”

And then I turned it back around on Steve since we can sub in any other religion or philosophy to get “Discussing atheist topics on an atheist site, where Steve Maxedon isn’t an atheist, is like asking a man, blind from birth, to describe what colors are around him”

Yet Steve will not admit that his own words apply to himself and he continues to respond here, an atheist blog, when he’s not an atheist.

Now, on with his comments.

Addenum: intellectual honesty and reading comprehension

Dear future readers, did you see what Steve did here?

Instead of admitting his intellectual dishonesty, he brings it up but doesn’t admit to anything.

Let’s see how far he wants to take it.

In your blog

And here, dear future readers, Steve tries to turn it around on me instead of staying on the topic we’re working through — him failing to apply his words to himself and his intellectual dishonesty.

So, future readers, don’t be fooled. Steve thinks that reading my blog will provide a distraction from his dishonesty, as well as ammunition to throw at me. It’s really sad that he chooses to focus, not on the plank in his own eye, but on a speck in mine that he’s got to go hunting on my blog for.

you claim to have read the Bible through at least twice and once considered ‘joining the ministry’.

Future readers, Steve thinks that by mentioning this, it’ll fool you into thinking that the subject has changed. Nothing is farther from the truth as you, dear reader, are smart enough to recognize his obfuscation.

The topic is still Steve’s intellectual dishonesty. And by mining my blog for my words that he thinks to hold over me, well, then the inverse must also apply to him.

If Steve wants to hold me to my words, then he, too, in order to be intellectually honest, must be held to his words.

Now, dear reader, let me continue on that thought: Steve is being further dishonest because he’s applying a criteria to me that he isn’t applying to himself, namely that I should be held responsible for what I say. But he refuses to apply that standard to himself. And that, my friends, is the textbook definition of intellectually dishonest.

Not only was he being intellectually dishonest when he refused to apply his own words to himself, but now, by holding my words to me and again not applying that same criteria to himself, he’s doubled down and now is twice as intellectually dishonest.

So, dear readers, you have to ask yourselves why Steve just doesn’t admit his words apply to him and why he continues to be intellectually dishonest?

Your experience in the Christian world went badly and you claimed victim status.

Ah, see here, future readers? Steve is trying to make it all my fault. That’s known as gaslighting someone.

Except Steve left out the part where I examined my beliefs and realized I couldn’t believe things without evidence.

You see, I applied my skepticism about other religions like Islam and Hinduism to Xianity (see “The Outsider Test for Faith” by John Loftus, available at fine bookshops and on Amazon). By applying my skepticism for other religions to my own, I was intellectually honest.

You’ll notice, dear readers, that despite multiple opportunities to correct himself, Steve is still choosing to double down and keep adding to his dishonesty.

If you had really read and comprehended the Bible,

Ok, did you notice that? Steve, who has amply demonstrated his lack of English comprehension in this exchange with “mist” instead of “midst” and his repeated misunderstanding of what “intellectually dishonest” actually means, wants you to accept that my comprehension of the bible is wrong.

So you’ll forgive me, future readers, if I don’t take Steve’s word on comprehending the bible seriously, considering his lack.

Oh, by the by, it’s a mere trifling, but you’ll note that Steve fails again to admit his words apply to him and he chooses to continue to be intellectually dishonest.

your intellect would have told you it(Christianity) was your personal relationship with Christ and not the responsibility of anyone but you.

Again, dear readers, Steve invokes the No True Scotsman fallacy (I’m not surprised Steve doesn’t know what that is but I’m sure he’ll look that up).

According to what Steve the intellectually dishonest liar is implying, I wasn’t a True XianTM when I was a Xian because I didn’t realize that I was supposed to have a “personal relationship” with the bible god.

What does that have to do with the topic at hand, expressly Steve’s intellectual dishonesty? Absolutely nothing, future readers. Absolutely nothing.

And you recognize it as such.

So your playing the blame game is a poor excuse for your lack of faith.

What I find interesting, dear readers, is that Steve continues to hold me to a criteria that he, himself, won’t adhere to, namely that my words must be held against me while his aren’t held against him. Isn’t that intellectually dishonest? Yeah, I thought so, too.

You’ll also note that Steve is so busy trying to turn his flaming failure around onto me by trying to change the subject to my faith, or lack there of, instead of the topic that we haven’t left: namely his intellectual dishonesty by not applying his own words to himself.

I’m sure you’re laughing at his pathetic attempts as am I.

Its all you.

And that, dear readers, is Steve continuing to be intellectually dishonest by never admitting his own words apply to himself, instead trying to use my blog writing to shift the subject over to me.

I’m truly sorry, my friends, that Steve’s religious beliefs, his “personal relationship,” hasn’t made him a better person. He continue to be an intellectually dishonest liar despite numerous opportunities to become honest and stop lying.

I wonder, dear future readers, what the bible has to say about bearing false witness and the (hot) fate of liars?

Don’t worry, dear future readers, I’m sure Steve will respond yet again with stuff from my blog, seeking (and failing) to change the subject from his dishonesty over to me, //sarcasm// because everyone knows that that’s the way to resolve his intellectual dishonesty – by holding me to a criteria that he won’t apply to himself.


Steve runs away…..

So I got another response from Steve over on the “What Does the Bible Say about Abortion” post on Friendly Atheist (go on over there and look through the comments to see the full bit) and decided to post it in full (Steve’s comments are in blockquote and my responses below them):

OK Bear. you got me. By your words you are more intellectually honest than me.

Actually, it’s by your own words, not mine. You’re the one who can’t admit your own words apply equally to you.

Which is why you are intellectually dishonest.

Ouch! that stings! I will just go away and lick my wounds.

That’s quite the choice, when you could admit your words apply to you. But again, you’ve chosen to continue to be intellectually dishonest instead of admitting you were wrong.

Is that you ‘improving your mean gene’?

Wow, what a surprise! How completely unexpected that you’d throw something from my blog at me, as if it was shit that would stick.

Did you actually read that post? Because I specifically said I wanted to “(c)riticize ideas. Criticize poor writing, bad decisions, bankrupt philosophy, crappy political expediency.” Didn’t I criticize your ideas, poor writing, etc?

On the whole, I’ve been pretty nice to you, considering your trolling with “I am awestruck for being in the mist of such great thought” and your “I managed to show how trifling and petulant your intellect is by keeping you engaged for eight days” and calling me “Toady”.

It’s too bad your religion didn’t make you a better person, what with your insults and dishonesty.

Too bad your bible never said anything about doing unto others, right? Or bearing false witness. Eh, no matter.

I did notice you gave up on that blog after six months.

Don’t you know that no blog is truly abandoned until the Internet is dead?

Heck, I may come out of semi-retirement and post our interactions for shits-and-giggles.

I was looking forward //snip//

Do I detect some schadenfreude at other peoples’ tribulations? It’s a good thing that your bible never mentioned anything about do unto others, right? Or turning the other cheek, walking two miles, giving up your coat along with your shirt, etc.

I did notice you somehow managed to present mostly fringe and cockamamy purveyors of so called Christian ideas.

Bingo! I was waiting for you to invoke the No True Scotsman fallacy!

(You might want to become familiar with that one.)

And “somehow?” Do you think I sought these people out? Oh, no. They showed up on atheist blogs, there to defend their faith.

But don’t worry, when I write up a blog post about our interaction, I predict that some other Xian in the future will do the same that you did and claim you aren’t a “True XianTM” either.

Easy targets for you.

Actually, both you and they shot themselves in the foot. On their own. Me pointing it out to them isn’t pulling the trigger.

Your biases are showing.

True. I have a bias against things that aren’t real or can’t be evidenced, like unicorns, gods, spirits, ghosts and that gambling at Vegas is fair.

But why would we even talk about that until you’ve admitted your intellectual dishonesty?

You came across as bitter in your post where God and the bible is concerned.

Really? Why, pray tell, should I be bitter about an unevidenced bible god?

And why should I trust the assessment of someone who is as intellectually dishonest as you?

You engaged a fool in the person of Nick who was poorly equipped to spar with you. Not a fair contest.

I take it you haven’t read the Matthew 5:22 prohibition about calling someone a fool and the burning punishment therein? Ah, no matter.

As for Nick, he said he was a Xian and I believe him on that point. Who are you to say he wasn’t?

As for “poorly equipped,” well, seriously, that’s “the pot calling the kettle black.”

You’ve still failed to resolve your intellectual dishonesty.

Thanks for the lesson.

Seems that you actually haven’t learned anything. You’re still intellectually dishonest.

It was most enlightening to see how adroitly you pierced

Yeah, “somehow” I’m able to argue with Xians who can’t argue. Funny that.

the Amour of God.

Oh, L’amour! (As opposed to “Armor”)

Don’t worry: “I am awestruck for being in the mist of such great thought”

I will see myself to the door.

Don’t think I didn’t notice you’re leaving without resolving your dishonesty. Bub-bye!

Wouldn’t want you to get up out of your comfortable lounger.

Yep, why bother getting up when you’ll still be an intellectually dishonest liar?


The Intellectual Dishonesty of Steve

I’ve been having a back-and-forth with a biblical theist named Steve on Disqus. Steve visited Friendly Atheist to comment on the post “What does the Bible say about Abortion” and dropped this turd:

“Discussing Biblical topics on an atheistic site is like asking a man, blind from birth, to describe what colors are around him”

I pointed out this in response (this is from the tail-end of our exchange):

(Then) it applies equally to all values of X =/= Y since “Discussing X topics on an Y site, where those discussing it are Y not X, is like asking a man, blind from birth, to describe what colors are around him” or equally “Discussing Y topics on an Y site, where those discussing it are X not Y, is like asking a man, blind from birth, to describe what colors are around him”
And then I turned it back around on you since we can sub in any other religion or philosophy to get “Discussing atheist topics on an atheist site, where Steve Maxedon isn’t an atheist, is like asking a man, blind from birth, to describe what colors are around him”
Yet you will not admit that your own words apply to yourself.
Since you continue to not respond to your own words thrown back in your face, you are being intellectually dishonest.


If you truly believe that atheists cannot talk about the bible/Xians/Xianity, then to be consistent, you have to apply the inverse and you can’t talk about atheism.
Will you be consistent and apply your own words to yourself? Or will you continue to be intellectually dishonest?

No admission from Steve as of this writing, although he did take the time to write back to say he was reading my blog (Hi, Steve! Willing to admit you are being intellectually dishonest yet?) and then sent a second comment, again without admission (I’ll post my response to him separately).

Now, folks like Steve are interesting. He’s the sort that doesn’t understand what “intellectually dishonest” means, despite repeated explanations. I encounter theists like Steve on atheist blogs all the time.

You see, dear readers, if I made a claim like “Members of group X commenting on the beliefs of group Y is dumb” and I was a member of group Y, then, to be fair, I’d also have to apply those same standards to myself, specifically that “Members of group Y commenting on the beliefs of group X is dumb.”

Now, do you see what I did there? I applied the same standards to both group X and group Y, not to just one.

(Of course, I would never make such a claim because then I’d have to admit that by commenting on the other group, I’m violating my own claim. Oops! Additionally, I wouldn’t do it because ideas like religion aren’t immune to critical investigation or comment, as much as the religious would like them to be.)

So by applying those same standards, I’m being intellectually honest.

Now if I didn’t apply those standards equally over group X and group Y, then, well, that’s intellectually dishonest. And boys and girls, that’s exactly what Steve did.

Except Steve can’t admit that. Perhaps he thinks he’s perfect or maybe he’s a guy that can’t admit error because he wants to save face or maybe he thinks that no matter what he does, it’s ok because it’s in service to his religion. There could be even more reasons.
Whatever the reason, it really doesn’t matter. It’s not like his bible ever says anything about honesty or bearing false witness, right? And if he responded with insults and obfuscation, well, it’s not like his bible ever said anything about doing unto others, right? Besides his religious beliefs would salve any “sin” he commits because it’s not like he’s actually going to seek forgiveness from me, right?

So the lesson to learn, folks, is that when faced with an opportunity to apply a fair standard to things, don’t be like Steve. Show some integrity and swallow your pride and do the right thing. It might be hard but it’s worth it.

Slavery in the bible

I recently got into an argument on one of the Patheos blogs about slavery.

One fellow asked:

Precisely what system of slavery makes it possible for slaves to amass wealth? ( Leviticus 25 :49 )

This was my response:

A) The same biblical slavery that allows someone to own another person:

“However, you may purchase male or female slaves from among the foreigners who live among you. You may also purchase the children of such resident foreigners, including those who have been born in your land. You may treat them as your property, passing them on to your children as a permanent inheritance. You may treat your slaves like this, but the people of Israel, your relatives, must never be treated this way.” (Leviticus 25:44-46 NLT)

But there is an exception for Israelite slaves ….

“If you buy a Hebrew slave, he is to serve for only six years. Set him free in the seventh year, and he will owe you nothing for his freedom. If he was single when he became your slave and then married afterward, only he will go free in the seventh year. But if he was married before he became a slave, then his wife will be freed with him. If his master gave him a wife while he was a slave, and they had sons or daughters, then the man will be free in the seventh year, but his wife and children will still belong to his master. But the slave may plainly declare, ‘I love my master, my wife, and my children. I would rather not go free.’ If he does this, his master must present him before God. Then his master must take him to the door and publicly pierce his ear with an awl. After that, the slave will belong to his master forever.” (Exodus 21:2-6 NLT)

B) The same biblical slavery that allows a slave owner to kill his slave and not get punished for it:

“When a man strikes his male or female slave with a rod so hard that the slave dies under his hand, he shall be punished. If, however, the slave survives for a day or two, he is not to be punished, since the slave is his own property.”(Exodus 21:20-21 NAB)

C) The same biblical slavery that is equally promoted in the New Testament:

“Slaves, obey your earthly masters with deep respect and fear. Serve them sincerely as you would serve Christ.” (Ephesians 6:5 NLT)

“Christians who are slaves should give their masters full respect so that the name of God and his teaching will not be shamed. If your master is a Christian, that is no excuse for being disrespectful. You should work all the harder because you are helping another believer by your efforts. Teach these truths, Timothy, and encourage everyone to obey them.” (1 Timothy 6:1-2 NLT)

Slavery is immoral, whether slaves get to “amass wealth” or not.

Why would anyone believe in, much less worship, your un-evidenced god when it supports the immoral institution of slavery?

Guess what his answer was?

Knowing Truth from Error

“The Bible warns of the Antichrist coming and opposing all that are of God. How can we know truth from error? How can we recognize the true Antichrist? The truth will set you free from all fear.”

I took the above quote from a religious mailer titled “It’s Time to Rethink what you Think about the Apocalypse” that I received a few weeks ago.

The mailer was advertising a series of seven Xian seminars, all “free,” that promised “The Bible alone will be our textbook.”

This quote is from the seventh seminar and I thought it was ironic that a religious pamphlet would ask “how can we know truth from error?”

But I jump ahead of myself. I mean to critique this whole quote, not just part of it.

“The Bible warns of the Antichrist coming and opposing all that are of God.”

How do we know that the Bible is true?

Well, it says that it is! Checkmate, atheists!

No, no, that’s just circular logic, the dog chasing it’s tail around and around, till it’s too dizzy to stand up.

So, the first thing to do is to chuck out any circular reasoning. We can’t simply accept something as true because it says so, it’s got to have externally, verified evidence to support it.

All science does this: merely announcing a finding, without data and evidence to back it up, won’t work. Truth requires more than that.

So, without any evidence to back it up, the Antichrist and god are just as fictional as Sauron and Gandalf. And it’s up to Xians to provide that evidence, none of which ever seems to be forthcoming.

In fact, the Book of Revelation, from which the idea of the Antichrist springs forth, was written around 95CE by John of Patmos. It contains John’s prophetic dreams (aka prophesies) of the future.

Really? Prophesies? Really? Are you shitting me?

Why should we believe the ravings of some guy who lived nearly 2,000 years ago? What evidence supports believing any prophesy, much less John of Patmos’?

Well, the Bible says it’s true. Well, there we go back to circular logic.

“How can we know truth from error?”

Let’s see, something is true if it can be verified by external sources. For example, water is made up of two parts hydrogen and one part oxygen.

This can be verified by breaking apart water using electricity into hydrogen and oxygen gas. Then, it’s possible to create water by igniting the hydrogen gas in the presence of oxygen.

The chemical composition of water is a known truth. An error would be to say that water is made from tree spirits and cats whiskers and romance novels. We have a methodology that will show, fairly quickly, that water isn’t made from those things.

“How can we recognize the true Antichrist?”

See above. Either circular logic with the Bible or no evidence that such a creature exists or will exist.

“The truth will set you free from all fear.”

And the Bible isn’t the truth. In fact, the Bible is one big book of fear: fear a jealous and petty god, fear the devil, fear unblievers, fear skeptical inquiry, fear women, fear thinking for yourself. All fear, from the turtles on up.


A Decided Lack of Sin

Over at Friendly Atheist, Hemant posted a video by DarkMatter2525. It’s all about sin and the claim Xians make that “atheists just want to sin.” It’s a pretty good video and I urge you to watch it (with the clues I presented, use your favorite search engine to find it). It makes some good points by analogy, which is fine.

But the reason I’m not a theist is not because I want to sin, but because I want to believe as many true things as I can.

I’m not worried about sinning against Allah or Zeus or Odin, and I doubt very many Xians are.

I’m also not worried about sinning against Vishnu or Buddha or Apollo, and again I doubt very many Xians are, either.

There is no evidence that Allah or Zeus or Odin or Vishnu or Buddha or Apollo exist, and no Xian would ever argue for their existence, either. Both the Xian and I agree that these gods don’t exist.

So, much like any Muslim or Hindu or Buddhist or Viking or Ancient Greek wouldn’t worry about sinning against the Xian god, neither am I. And Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists and I agree that the Xian god doesn’t exist, either.

When a Xian dismisses all the possible, past, present and future, non-Xian gods that he could be sinning against, why should he be surprised that I, an atheist, would also dismiss one more god, his own?

The world completely lacks sin, whether it is Xian or Hindu or Viking or Muslim.