On Christian Apologist

I’ve had some complaints that I have been speaking about Christian Apologist (Steph, @Lead1225) behind her back on Twitter, or that I’ve somehow unfairly blocked her.

Warning people off of her would be a full time job, and I am otherwise employed (though I’ll offer my opinion when asked). It would sink all the time I save by blocking her. But since there’s genuine interest in me defending my position, I’ll do it this once. I’ve no real intention of revisiting the issue.

The reason I’ve blocked her is because while I am fond of her (as indeed a great many people have been), I’m of the opinion that she is not interested in honest discourse (though she may well believe she is).

I am not sure what her interest is. Clearly she enjoys being thought of as an intellectual, but she does not seem to interested in maintaining proper intellectual discipline to maintain the integrity of one. In fact I find her to be extremely intellectually dishonest.

I’ve been asked to demonstrate how I reached my opinion. While I’ll give my personal examples presently, the best example is actually when she called in to Matt Dillahaunty at The Atheist Experience (a “debate” in which she claimed a victory because he hung up on her).

 

Now right off the bat she says she doesn’t blame him for trying to take credit for other people’s work. This is extremely hostile, aggressive, and unfounded. Further, she SHOULD blame him if she thinks that’s what he’s doing (which she does). This cutious comment is designed to ingratiate and be charming, but deeply underhanded. If it’s true she doesn’t blame him, she’s compromising her integrity, if it’s false, she’s undermined her integrity for making such a disingenuous comment.

Immediately you can tell two things.

  1. She does not know what a wiki is or how it works
  2. She will do absolutely anything she can to not admit to that fact.

Now there’s no shame in not knowing something, so I don’t understand her objection to simply letting him explain it, but she clearly has no interest in learning how a wiki is built and how credit distributed.

60 seconds learning these things would have saved everybody a lot of time, but Steph deliberately obstructs and mocks any attempt he makes to explain.

Refusing to admit when you don’t know something is intellectually dishonest, and extremely counterproductive.

She does this again when she makes an “Argument From Ignorance”. The argument she makes is the very definition of an argument from ignorance, but she appears not only to not know exactly what that is or it’s implications, but is completely unwilling to learn.

Argument from Ignorance is a technical term, not something out of thin air, and in an argument it has serious repercussions. Steph was clearly ignorant of that (and deliberately so).

 

This is my quintessential experience with Stephanie.

 

For example, the term “Theory” is well defined in science. I have tried repeatedly to explain the definition. You can find it online, in a dictionary, and the Codex has a 5 minute essay on it. She refuses to learn what the word means, and instead chooses to use it the way she thinks it should be. She mocks attempts to explain that, in science, a theory is stronger than facts, and makes use of facts to function. When I plead with her to actually talk to a science professor at her university, let him tell her the definition, she refuses.

So, just like the wiki, because she does not know what the word means in science, she makes nonsensical objections to “theories” like evolution. If you don’t know what a theory is, how can you refute one?

It doesn’t stop her trying.

The same goes for words like “logic” and “science”. These words have precise definitions, have had for hundreds of years. 60 seconds is all it would take to learn what they mean, but she utterly refuses to do so.

How can you debate or discuss with someone who deliberately refuses to learn what the words mean? Or who chooses to use her own definition instead of that used by people in the field we’re discussing?

I’ve pointed this out to her. “Faith”, for example, can mean “Blind Faith”, or it can mean “Trust (based on experience”. Those are two VERY different definitions, and she blisters when an atheist tries to switch one definition for another (as she should). I ALWAYS allow my opposition to use the definition they choose, to tell me what they mean, instead of ME telling THEM what THEY mean. I do not mind saying that I find this a double standard, and in fact hypocritical.

The straw that broke the camel’s back for me, where I realized that, in my opinion, honest dialogue is impossible with her, is when she deliberately and repeatedly misrepresented a study.

She had found a study which correlated atheism with higher levels of alcoholism and depression. I warned her before posting it not to draw causal conclusions from a corollary study.

She got upset at the suggestion that she would, or that she didn’t know the difference between a causal study and a corollary one (and the study clearly states in the title that it’s corollary).

None the less, while posting it on her blog as “corollary”, on twitter she repeatedly made the false claim that the study showed that “atheism causes depression”, a claim the authors of the study clearly said could not be drawn.

I reminded her that homosexual teens commit suicide at three times the rate of heterosexual teens, but that it’s a corollary relationship. Religious people say it’s because homosexuality is evil, but maybe it’s because they get bullied a lot more (which they do).

She agreed I was right, and that these were good points.

She then continued to say that “atheism causes depression”, despite agreeing that the study did not conclude that, and told me to “do the math” (which you are prohibited from doing in a causal study, so either she doesn’t know what one is, or doesn’t care).

She then deleted the tweets where she agreed that this was a causal study and couldn’t draw causal conclusions from it, and continued to intentionally misrepresent the study.

See the study didn’t even TRY to say why atheists have these issues, because they don’t know (and neither does Steph), if they did, they’d say it.

What she is doing here is a formal fallacy called “Post Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc”, and why it’s such a big problem can be found in our 5 minute essay here.

Indeed, perhaps the reason atheists suffer alcoholism and depression is that we’re bullied too. We’re the only minority it’s legal (will, until very recently) to discriminate against. We’re trusted less than rapists. In some states it’s written into the constitution that we can’t even run for office. As a high school teacher I had to hid my atheism from parents who wouldn’t want a godless heathen teaching their children.

You can get elected president as a Muslim easier than as an atheist.

You need a causal study to find out WHY atheists have these problems.

Either she lied when she said she knew the difference between corollary and causal studies (which I doubt, because she agreed with me this was corollary), or she didn’t care and misrepresented the findings intentionally (intellectual dishonesty).

She drew further, reprehensible and intellectually indefensible links from the study, including that atheists make bad parents. She then claimed that this study proved that atheism was child abuse. This caused as many as 50 atheists to bail on her, including name atheists like @atheistengineer, all of whom I think were fond of her, but took this as crossing a huge, indefensible line (the study makes no such claim).

If she has a study that says that, I’ll look at it But she doesn’t (and I know, because I read every one of these studies).Tell me how much Ice Cream was sold on any given day, I can tell you how many people died that day. But what does it MEAN?

The incident with this study is not a mistake. It is endemic. She does this all the time, with everything. This is how she operates, from Matt’s show to her blog to twitter.

My opinion of Christian apologist is that she is intellectually dishonest and has no genuine interest in discourse or growth. She is deliberately ignorant of formal terms like “Theory”, “Science”, “Logic”, “Correlation”, and other scientific words with precise meanings, and she maintains this ignorance—either so she can strawman the other side, or (as I believe) simply out of some terror against admitting she doesn’t know what the words actually mean. She considers herself and her arguments above the rules of formal logic and deductive reasoning (and again, doesn’t appear to know them), while claiming to use and employ these rules properly herself. Her command of science is at about the 8th grade level (and I’m state certified to make that assessment).

There are other issues as well. For example, in the rare occasion deductive reasoning is successful, and she is incapable of denying a point (like she once was on her misquoting Darwin), rather than give you the point, and allow you to follow through, she changes the topic. Any attempt to explain why your point is important in a larger context is dismissed as “Beating a dead horse”, and she will not permit conversation to continue once you’ve made a point. Or, in the case where she has clearly indefensible positions (such as her clearly self-contradictory position on homosexuality), she refuses to discuss them entirely, thereby denying one the chance to honestly critique and examine her position and its consequences.

Even a cursory examination of some of our previous rebuttals to her work (Reply To ChristianApologist on the Metaphysical, Second Reply to ChristianApologist on the Metaphysical) should further demonstrate the consistent pattern of the behaviors I’ve illustrated.

 

I hope it’s clear that a rational, cogent, or fair discussion under these circumstances is completely impossible.

I have blocked her because any discussion with her is, obviously, a waste of time.

I do see her on my thread from time to time. When asked I advise people that, while extremely affable, she has no interest in growth or learning (I don’t even think she’s interested in converting people, to be honest. Whatever her motivations are, they are beyond me) and that she is intellectually dishonest.

As yet, everyone who has asked my opinion has completely ignored it, just as I did when I received the same warnings about her myself (for the same reasons I ignored the warnings… arrogance. Sure smarter atheists than I failed to get her to have even a mildly honest convo, but they weren’t me).

I’ll continue to voice my opinion if and when it seems appropriate, and I trust it will continue to be ignored. But since I’ve been asked to lay out my case, I have now done so.

 

Thank you

 

Follow Up:

I posted this because it had been demanded of me that I “prove” my claim of intellectual dishonesty against Christian Apologist.

I am under no obligation to prove anything to anyone, these are my opinions, and I usually see no reason to make these kinds of disputes public, so normally I’d ignore such demands, or at a minimum, offer such proof in private.

However the person asking me to prove my claim was Dash_53.

There had been some speculation for weeks that Dash was Christian Apologist. I never speculated. I knew for a fact that, at a minimum, CA did use the account when she wanted to talk to people without them knowing it’s her. I know this because Dash, aside from having the exact same speech patterns, logical fallacies, and range of vocabulary, had, about a year ago, engaged me in conversation about CA, and accidentally used both “me” and “I” when speaking about CA, and accusations that she had illegally downloaded a Sam Harris’ book off the internet. Dash has never since repeated that mistake, but it was clear to me that I was actually speaking with Steph, and Dash was her alt.

Dash doggedly asked me for evidence, and that I present it publicly or retract my claims. Well, if Steph herself is going to demand I make a public statement, I will.

I made this post, and a great many people asked CA if she was Dash. She always evaded the question (“It’s a multi user account”). When Cornered with a rock solid question (“Have you EVER used the dash account to talk to people about Steph, in the hopes that, or knowing that, they may not know it’s you”) she replies with an attack, Tu Quoqe (“Well, since we’re asking questions, let me ask you…”), an evasion (“Why are you beating a dead horse”), mute or a block.

I expect this behavior from a twelve year old, not a college professes, and certainly not someone who professes a desire for honest dialogue (and one with Jesus on her side no less. She loves Jesus, and does these things?).

At the same time she was embroiled in another illegal book download. She illegally downloaded a copy of Dawkens’ book off the internet. When I asked her about it, the Christian lied to me about where she got it (She claimed Research Gate, where still in her feed she posted the link from archive.org. This is important because Research Gate is a ligit organization, archive.org is not. The fact that she would lie about the source is mens rea–she knows it was wrong, and is covering it up). That a university professor does not know that this is theft is mind blowing.

I suggested she ask any professor in her Computer Science or Legal department about it, but she remained possessed of the humble notion that she knows more about it than I, an author, computer scientist and law teacher.

I very much enjoyed the piece we did together. She was generous in her writing of it, and I had thought we could continue to work together. Obviously that’s simply not possible. Regrettably, we remain very much in the same circles, so I hear about her nearly every day. When asked to give an opinion, or if I think it’s helpful, I offer it (even in her defense, such as when she correctly pointed out that it is impossible to mock a belief without mocking the believer). But it is my belief that dealing with her is an absolute and utter waste of time. Whatever her interests are, open, honest dialogue is not one of them.

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Warren Kincaid
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I’ve read throught that. I find it interesting that we’ve had lenghthy discussions about the word “faith” and its different connotations. You always seemed to deny that (blind faith vs trust faith) dual connotation. Perhaps now you accept it. I hope you don’t take me as a “Troll”. I oppose your take on many things. But it’s because i don’t think the Atheist position looks deep enough and is not fair to itself on the topic of “religion”. Your opening post asks if I would want to know if it turned out that there is no “God”. I actually see no compelling evidence that there isn’t one. Respectfully.

The Humanist Codex
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Okay, in order…..

1) Faith has multiple connotations. I go by what the other person tells me, or “Blind Faith” until they tell me or make it obvious some other way (people use it as “Blind Faith” slightly more in the discussions I have, so more likely to be right if that’s the guess). My objection is when people play three card monty with it, and change definition mid argument. That’s why I’m EXTREAMLY carefull with it. I’m fine with whatever definition someone wants to use it for, so long as they’re consistant.

2) Trolls don’t wear Top Hats.

3) I don’t see any compelling evidence there is no God either. I see no compelling evidence against Zeus, Quexaquatal, Osiris, or Thor. But since people are trying to assert the existence of those entities, THEY’RE the ones who need to prove it, and I see no evidence even suggesting the existence of any of them. Now aliens, on the other hand—see those I’ve seen: https://www.theatheistcodex.com/codex/challenges/deyos-theory/

Warren Kincaid
Commenter
Member

I seem to remember your flat out denial of the word faith as it relates to trust. I didn’t seem to be making any head way on the topic (at that time). Thanks for taking a step forward.

Warren Kincaid
Commenter
Member

3: Evidence is dependant on what the individual will accept. I could say that (absolutely) everything that you touch, understand, experience, imagine, or even hope could be rooted in God. If He created all thins, then all things become evidence. (emphasis on All).

The Humanist Codex
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Warren Kincaid I hope your memory is wrong on that point. I seem to remember the conversation you’re talking about, I suppose I could look it up, but I believe I’ve been consistent.

Warren Kincaid
Commenter
Member

I seem to remeber it quite well. The only connotation you allowed to put into play was the “religious” one. And then you denied it had any viablity. Let me clarify. True faith of the Christian type is not based on something that is not “there” (although I’ve found it used once that be construed that way. But the words “not seen” are used. And it’s possible to be “not seen” but still “there”). It’s based on something that is there. Religious adaptation warps that view, yes. But the Biblical position is definately based on a God who is there. And beyond that, a God who communicates. That IS its basis.

Warren Kincaid
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Member

That’s my Grandson in the Bowler hat sitting in my Model T. He’s 11 now.

The Humanist Codex
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Warren Kincaid If so, at least that would suggest (as you say) I do indeed have an open mind and can be persuaded.

Warren Kincaid
Commenter
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I think you could, yes (actually, I think anyone could. It’s the likelihood that comes into question) Have you ever done any reading on “metaphysics and epistemology” from a biblical perspective?