A while back, I asked:
…shouldn’t an atheist limit themselves to belief in brains only?
John W. Loftus took a stab, and here’s what he concluded:
A certain subset of Arabs and Israelis refrain from battle during the holiday of Ramadan, but seeing as how I'm not much a respecter of so-called "holy-days" in the first place, I'll spare no mercy to Ebonmuse this beautiful Thanksgiving afternoon.
Besides, the 'wife' (and 'baby') are out-of-town along with the rest of my usual 'crew' up here, so I've got ample writing time today. Which shouldn't matter, as although we'll certainly give it a fair shake, we don't need more than eight syllables to expose the flaw in Ebonmuse's so-called "Lesson of Autumn Leaves," and I already accomplished that in the title.
Alright, so I had stayed up until the morning yesterday writing and backlogging what I feel are three interesting and different posts for the upcoming week, on the decision that I was going to take a 10-day break from posting and blogging.
So what happened?
Well, I woke up this morning and after getting into the swing of things, popped over to DA where what I read in the first few sentences just happened to comprise perhaps the biggest example to date of an exegetical post of Ebonmuse's that completely misses the mark.
So I was overcome with an irresistable force to write, and barfed out the following.
All for the better, I suppose. It didn't take long, and I had been wondering what I would stumble across for #21 in the series. Although admittedly skewering a fish in a barrel, this fits the bill perfectly.
The question of biblical inerrancy comes up often in debates between believers and skeptics of all stripe, with the typical formula being gross overstatements on behalf of skeptics, and inefficient responses to these gross overstatements on behalf of believers. At the request of a commenter on DA calling himself Brad, I said that I would take a look at an essay titled Foundation of Sand, alleged to prove biblical contradiction and error.
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In Part I & Part II I alleged that significant biblical oversights compromise the integrity of the arguments contained in A Ghost In The Machine (AGITM), unfortunately rendering the piece little more than an extremely well-written and well-researched strawman / either-or fallacy.
Now I’d like to address a few more of the author’s statements, aiming to show that even when facts themselves are completely authoritative, interpretations are surely not always so. Although I don’t expect to convince any skeptics of the ‘soul’ or ‘spirit,’ if any skeptic will concede that my tripartite interpretation is at least internally consistent, or at least that the following paragraph contains genuine difficulties, I would consider such a success.
The author begins the second section of AGITM with:
“The evidence shows that (aspects of consciousness) are completely determined by the physical configuration of the brain, and that a change to this configuration can alter or eliminate any of them. In short, I will show that, as the materialist position predicts, every part of the mind is entirely dependent on and controlled by the brain.” (paren. and ital. mine)
The atheist blogger Ebonmuse has for nearly a decade now hosted an essay on his website titled The Theist’s Guide to Converting Atheists. I was originally pointed to the essay from a link on another atheist blog asking believers to consider potential facts or situations that would sway them from belief.
What follows is my initial set of responses to this essay.