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.
- She does not know what a wiki is or how it works
- 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.
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 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).
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.