10 May 2006

The way to win

by Frank Turk

PROGRAMMING NOTE: Yes, this is almost 100% a gratuitous cross-post. I say "almost" because this version of this post -- originally seen on my personal blog -- did not have all the links in this version. So if you are not a person who normally reads my blog, all the details are duly linked here and you can now be part of the inner circle.

As many of you know, Brian Flemming declared himself the winner at the DebateBlog, and that’s fine – everyone needs to pad their resume, and if that helps him he’s welcome to it. I didn’t know that there was supposed to be a “winner” – I would have listed a point system in the rules if that was how I was looking at it.

Anyway, as the winner, Brian has recently posted a new set of rules for anyone who wants to debate him, and I thought it would be interesting to read them and see what they say. His blog entry looks like this:

So you would like to challenge me about the claims I make in The God Who Wasn't There?

No problem. But please understand that I get a lot of these requests, and I can't waste my time arguing with people who are not open to changing their minds or who haven't developed enough familiarity with the material.

So just download and sign this "Statement of Belief" PDF, have it notarized, then mail it to Beyond Belief Media. Then we can talk.

If you are unable to sign the Statement, we cannot talk any further, for one or both of the following reasons:

1) You are not familiar enough with the facts to be ready for a meaningful discussion at this time.

2) Your capacity to understand the facts is so compromised by your religious ideology that a conversation with you would be pointless.
Honestly, who wants to debate somebody who is not in the game, so to speak? It seems superficially reasonable that Brian is simply eliminating people who don’t have enough information to make a case for their own side.

I think that’s a great idea – and given that I have a Master of Arts in Literature in English, I think that Brian is making a fair demand that people who want to talk about the Bible as literature ought to know something about literature. For example: we should exclude people who do not have advanced degrees in literature, or any complete formal academic training.


Yes, Certainly. James White and William Lane Craig have the same kinds of rules. I agree. Well, that is until I read the PDF:
STATEMENT OF BELIEF

I believe it is possible that Jesus did not exist.

I believe there is no evidence for the existence of Jesus Christ that dates to the time of his alleged life.

I believe there are no written eyewitness accounts of the existence of Jesus Christ.

I believe the names of the Gospels were added well after their composition, and there is no good reason to believe that these names correspond to the original writers.

I believe there is no good reason to believe that any of the Gospels were written by disciples of Jesus Christ, or that any eyewitnesses to Jesus were involved in their composition.

I believe the Bible is not infallible. I believe it is common for religious cults to make things up.

I believe it is common for religions to influence each other, and for young religions to be derived from older religions.

I believe that any claim can be part of Christian tradition and also be false.

I believe that no figures such as "God" or "The Holy Spirit" or "Satan" performed any supernatural actions that had any significant effect upon the formation of early Christianity.

I swear, under penalty of perjury, that the foregoing is true and correct.
Now, re-read the bits I highlighted there. Go on.

Do they sound familiar in some way? Ah yes! They do! They are actually all the premises of Brian’s argument! So it turns out that Brian doesn’t want to debate anybody that actually disagrees with him about his argument.

Dude: maybe we should check the definition of a "debate" before we provide this document to the world. This is more like a mutual admiration society. It is exactly like me saying, “In order to play at DebateBlog, you have to first sign off (with witnesses) the T4G affirmations and denials. After that, we can argue all day long.”

It’s an easy way to stay undefeated, I am sure. You can say without any question, “after every debate I have ever had, the person I debated agreed with me.”

Well, except for that self-deluded fundie centuri0n – but he’s a liar who’s not familiar with the facts.

ON A SIMILAR NOTE: I'm looking for a community of like-minded people to synthesize a Wikipedia entry for me -- for me personally. If Brian Flemming can have a Wikipedia entry and not feel any pangs of self-indulgence, so can I.

Let me also say something about the entry: I would love it if guys like Armstrong and Johnson and even Tim Enloe created their own sections of this entry to express their concerns about me. It would be fantastic to get both the loyal fans and the loyal opposition to all make a wikipedia stew for my wiki-bio.

If it works out good, we can get Phil and the rest of TeamPyro wikipedia entries. Any all the sidekicks, too.







18 comments:

James Spurgeon said...

Frank, I would love to argue with you about this, but first I'm going to need a notarized statement that you have already admitted that I'm right.

Daniel said...

I hope that Mr. Flemming is simply being overly sarcastic - I can't imagine anyone being that clueless.

centuri0n said...

Daniel --

The new photo? Priceless.

donsands said...

That's way more than ridiculous.

Gordon Cloud said...

Sounds like Calvinball to me.

James Spurgeon said...

gordan, if you can't be nice I'll have to take my Calvinball and go home with it.

:>)

quicklikerodly said...

Seems this Mr. Fleeming wants the argument to be completly neutral. Nothing wrong with that...

except that it's impossible to be neutral and that he himself is not.

Bad form...

Frank Martens said...

Daniel,

Your comment along with a that picture of yours (looking clueless) = absolutely fantastic!

Matthew said...

pwned.

GeneMBridges said...

I say we keep this archived for the Most Ridiculous Apologetics Event of the Year award.

quicklikerodly said...

here's a web site put up by Americanvision.org in response to the DVD.

www.FoolsHeart.com

They are also doing a response DVD to itt.

Jeremy Weaver said...

What a lazy way to blog.
Can we cross-post comments, too?

ib.carlos said...

Question:

If an Ass is an Ass, but claims not to be, should we:

A) Smack in on the...hindquarters so as to wake him up to reality;
B) Ride him hard down a gravelly road;
C) Leave him to his own navel-contemplation exercises

???

(I think all 3 would be fun, but prolly 'C' is the kindest option.)

¡sbgtfa!

Gordon Cloud said...

I'll be nice, James. Don't go.

Jenson's Blog said...

You know, I almost thought that this post was a joke and Mr. Brian Flemming was made up for someone's idea of a prank. Seriously?!
He even has a page on Wikipedia?

No offense, I really enjoy posts on this blog, but do you not think that interacting with Brian is a waste of time?

Jerry Wragg said...

Frank –
Brian’s statement:

“I believe that no figures such as "God" or "The Holy Spirit" or "Satan" performed any supernatural actions that had any significant effect upon the formation of early Christianity.”

Does this mean that Brian does believe that God, the Holy Spirit, or Satan did at least perform “insignificant” supernatural acts?

Jerry Wragg said...

Brian Flemming says:

"If you are unable to sign the Statement, we cannot talk any further, for one or both of the following reasons:
1) You are not familiar enough with the facts to be ready for a meaningful discussion at this time.
2) Your capacity to understand the facts is so compromised by your religious ideology that a conversation with you would be pointless."

Why do these two reasons fit the "emerging conversation" ethos so well?

centuri0n said...

Jerry:

I dunno. I think he's not willing to attribute anything to God. Or Satan. Or Angels.

Don't torment the guy. He needs to think about this stuff, but not at the end of a snark-o-matic rifle.