Recent Updates to My Writings

Brian Holtz

2005-06-09  Today I began my blog, called Knowing Humans.

2005-06-06  I sent my reply to UT Austin Christian philosopher Robert Koons regarding his response to my  critique of his paper The Incompatibility of Naturalism and Scientific Realism.

2005-06-05  Derek Pierson writes to  say he confirmed to Turkel what I reported in my Nov 2004 update below.  Derek reveals that the evasive language in the takedown notice is not Turkel's but his own, and he justifies it saying "I'd rather keep my mouth shut than cause someone to start doubting their belief in Christ". This demonstrates nicely  what happens when truth and dogma collide on Turkel's site.  Also, I see that Turkel has finally tried to respond to the questions that he told me he would address when I posed them to him four years ago.  Turkel's response neither names me nor links to my material, and is not mentioned on his "what's new" page. This is quite understandable given the quality of his effort, which is laughable compared to, say, the far more thoughtful answers offered by college student and novice apologist Kyle. If four years is now how long it takes Turkel to muster the courage to answer a challenge from me, then in 2007 we might eventually see him respond to (though of course not accept) my reflective equilibrium challenge. Note that some of Turkel's delay here may have been due to how my questions corner a would-be defender of the traditional doctrine of Hell.  Did my questions in 2001 on this topic have some role in Turkel's c. 2004 recanting of that doctrine? We'll probably never know.

2005-06-04  I corrected some fellow LPSM members who had lingering doubts as to whether Social Security was initially pre-funded.

2005-05-20 Sixteen-year-old Christian Gerrit Van Ommering has sent an earnest response to some of my arguments against Christianity. I'll try to respond soon.

2005-05-18  Gary Amirault is still upset that I quote him in my posted responses to his reckless personal attacks,. He ran away after I invoked the Sermon on the Mount in challenging him to repeat his attacks against me on his Christianity web site. He apparently has a different standard for his own conduct when he thinks his words will not have a public audience.

2005-05-04 My friend and fellow Libertarian Allen Hacker said that atheism is a religion, so I had to correct him.

2005-04-14 Some eco-pessimist nonsense crept onto the California LP candidates' list, so I corrected it here, here, and here.

2005-03-30  On a "neolibertarian" blog I tried to explain once again that non-anarchist libertarianism is not "compromised" but rather is in fact more principled for textbook economic reasons.

2005-03-29  Peter Stone is a liberal voter who sent me a form letter about Big Tobacco right before the election. My reply to him triggered a deep and interesting discussion about libertarian theory, the influence of resource inequality on democracy, Bush's alleged lies, Social Security, and the relative power of the Left and Right in America. It's been really fun debating Peter, because intelligent liberals like him all too rarely face (let alone seek out) sustained intelligent criticism of their preconceptions. For example, I forced him to retract his claim -- a standard part of liberal conventional wisdom -- that Bush had issued a "bald-faced lie" about an Iraq-9/11 connection.

2005-03-10  Kevin Lo initially tried to defend Christianity from my critiques, but then wisely tried to switch to defending theism instead. Since doing so is not within his capacities, I tried (unsuccessfully) to get him to address some arguments against Christianity that I haven't seen Christians answer anywhere.

2005-03-05   A reader pointed me to some new material concerning ASA Jones (aka Amy Jones of  In the two years since she fled our initial discusision, Jones has added some horn-tooting to her site about what an unbeatable debater she is. However, this time it only took one response from me before she tacitly conceded a TKO.  In skimming her site's updates I found some new quotes strengthening my earlier conclusion that she cannot count as an atheist having long-term experience with both sides' arguments who later converted to Christianity primarily because of comparing those arguments.

2005-02-20  Craig Bonnes is yet another Christian who can't resist taking a drive-by potshot at my Atheist Cage Match Challenge, but then ends up on the list of would-be apologists who can't submit or even identify a document that can meet my challenge.

2005-02-15  Paul Ireland is the chairman of the San Bernardino County Libertarian Party. He announced he's running for LPC Executive Committee, and admitted he would expel moderates like me who think that the government's duty to defend liberty does not completely end at our borders. I embarrassed him over his knowledge of Constitutional jurisprudence and his inability to defend his preference for clean hands over the actual defense of liberty, so he called me some names and ran away.

2005-01-20  Paul Santana is a Christian who is "interested to know what kind of man you are Brian". He says he is truly happy because he has Jesus, and apparently wanted evidence that I am unhappy or of poor character. After giving him evidence to the contrary, I didn't hear from him again.

2004-12-23 I answered the Brights' request for naturalistic responses to "God bless you".

2004-12-12  Don Dickerson recounted some events in his family's life that he took as miraculous evidence for the truth of Christianity. I hope he keeps his promise to respond to my reaction to his account.

2004-12-10  The ordinarily-respectable Independent Institute in Oakland is promulgating the Pearl Harbor conspiracy theories of Robert Stinnett. Institute director David Theroux unwisely over-reacted to my critical comment, and a little web research made it easy to rebut Stinnett's own subsequent efforts to defend his book.

2004-11-28  (Former?) Turkelite Derek Pierson has been reading libertarian economics and philosophy lately, and dropped me a line to say he now agrees that the OT Yahweh is immoral, and hopes to salvage his Christianity by rejecting as errant the OT endorsement that the gospels place on Jesus' lips. Thus Robert Turkel's site has had to take down Derek's essay Find A Better Way, Critics!  Of course, the site's notice doesn't dare reveal that Derek now finds the OT Yahweh indefensible, but instead just says Derek "has currently been reconsidering his attitude". But what else would you expect from Turkel's site?

2004-11-23  I posted a report on my congressional campaign's mass emailing.

2004-11-11  Jeanavive Janssen is a teacher and voter who interviewed me for her Individualist Revolution zine.

2004-11-11  When it rains, it pours. Rich is yet another barely-literate Christian overcome by the urge to try to insult me. Are his effort comical or just sad?  You be the judge.

2004-11-10 The day after the election, The Brights sent out a bulletin asking "how it is the American people would vote as they did". I posted a reply saying "there are reasonable grounds for a Bright to be glad that Bush defeated Kerry", and was asked by the Brights leadership for an explanation. I gave it, and defended it from some pretty weak responses on the Brights-Net forum.

2004-11-09  Move over, Mike Mynes, I now have a Christian correspondent whose efforts usurp your crown of Most Feeble Debater Who Can Still Send Email. Dennis from Springfield, Missouri has neither his own email account nor the courage to give his name, so he uses the email account of his employer (who then busted the whelp for misusing that account). Dennis really takes a pounding here; this one is not for those with weak stomachs. (Dennis later gave me a nuh-uh comment on McDowell at Amazon under the nickname jhquartey.)

2004-11-06  Richard Rider is an amazing resource and indispensible activist for the LP, but his temper sometimes gets the better of him.  When he clearly over-reacted to my critique of a web site he mentioned, I gave him the last word on the candidates' list and privately refuted his ill-considered personal criticisms of me. He apparently didn't consider his criticism defensible, as he let the matter drop.

2004-11-05  The day after the election I posted a proposal for the LP's strategic focus: it's the entitlements, stupid. Then on the 5th I posted this explanation of why the Left and especially their neophobes are more of a threat than is the Right. On the 10th I sent an updated version of the explanation to the head of The Brights, on whose bulletin board I had pointed out that an atheist could rationally support Bush over Kerry.  Meanwhile, my commentary about entitlements has provoked a big debate (mainly with fellow LP candidate Harland Harrison) over whether entitlements or "fascism" should be the LP's main issue. In successfully defending the Cato Institute's 6.2 plan for Social Security reform I explained once and for all why the Social Security trust fund has not been "looted".

2004-11-03  The election outcome was just as I had predicted twelve months earlier.  I posted this thank-you to all my supporters.

2004-11-01  About 50 voters have sent me an automated anti-tobacco email over the last few weeks, so I sent them this reply.

2004-10-30  I spent the last two days sending this email to 23,000 voters in my district. My press release about it was ignored in the last-minute election hubbub. Ten recipients invoked my voluntary $1 self-penalty for spamming them, another fifteen opted out of further emails, and twenty or so sent positive responses. Initial indications are that thousand or more recipients viewed the email before the election.

2004-10-28  My letter to the editor of the San Mateo County Times on their endorsement of my opponent, pointing out a couple of inconsistencies.

2004-10-24  Worked all weekend to get our LPSM newsletter out before the election.

2004-10-17  Australian particle physcist John Clark has submitted the first serious attempt to meet my Atheist Cage Match Challenge. (Joseph Gootee later recognized his own attempt wasn't serious and retracted it.) I hope to respond in the first half of 2005.

2004-10-15  On Friday night Jewish LP candidate Sandor Woren retracted his support of our Senate candidate Judge Jim Gray and claimed that Gray is "probably anti-semitic". I immediately challenged Woren to substantiate or retract his statement, and pledged $10 to Gray's campaign for every Woren posting that did neither. 30 hours and $100 later, Woren retracted his statement.

2004-10-11  My blatant attempt to essentially re-cycle my May press release did not work: no media picked it up.

2004-10-03  After-action report about my second of three candidates' forums.

2004-09-28  After-action report about my first of three candidates' forums.

2004-09-24  Fellow local LP activist Kevin Takenaga and I had a sharp disagreement over the idea of a libertarian endorsing a Green.

2004-09-17  I rehearsed for my fellow candidates some research I did long ago on the commerce clause. My own research revealed I was wrong about how the Court interprets the general welfare clause.

2004-09-01  UT Austin Christian philosopher Robert Koons released on his website a response to my  critique of his paper The Incompatibility of Naturalism and Scientific Realism. The inadequacy of his response is readily apparent, and I quickly completed a rough draft of a reply that I will polish up after the election. [Reply released 2005-06-05.]

2004-08-24  I sent Kyle my response to his response to my response to his answers to my questions for theists. I refute his "Argument from Nonbelief" essay, in which he admits that a just God wouldn't let anyone die in reasonable nonbelief, and so apparently guarantees that I won't be dying any time soon. He tries gamely to grapple with my questions, but they force him into contortions, like when he said it would take miracles to disconfirm his belief in miracles.  I point out that his "God of the Gaps" essay has only one clause that even begins to defend the idea of using god(s) as explanations. I rebut his use of the Divine Shyness argument by citing no less than 14 cases in the Bible in which persons were granted direct first-person eyewitness of Yahweh or his miracles.  And bless his heart, young Kyle thinks he's resolved the millennia-old Euthyphro Dilemma.

2004-08-11  It was easy to expose Bill Clinton's misleading statements made on The Daily Show.

2004-07-29  Michael Moore's lame film Fahrenheit 9-11 has excited the conspiracy theorists among my fellow Libertarian candidates. I rebut their postings here, here, here, here, here, and here.

2004-06-14 San Francisco Libertarian Party activist Mike Denny couldn't defend his religious statements on the LPSF discussion list, so he tried to ostracize me from the list.  He had no answer to my final posting refuting his allegations about my behavior.

2006-07-13  The California Libertarian Party newsletter printed my article explaining that traditional Libertarian dogma about anti-pollution torts do not adequately deal with the problem of negative externalities.

2004-06-22  "Friendly theist" Josh Rasmussen has submitted a thoughtful attempt to answer my questions for theists. Responding to him will become a high priority after the November election.

2004-06-11 Nothing seems to upset a Christ-myther more than an atheist who neither believes their thesis nor is interested in debating it. Last year it was Douglas, this year it's Francois Tremblay.

2004-06-05  Ronald Reagan's death predictably elicited hysterical hyperbole from extremist Libertarians. I posted quite a few rebuttals, including this one summarizing Reagan's accomplishments and refuting an anti-Reagan piece by Murray Rothbard.

2004-05-03  My press release betting voters $2 each got national attention and was on the front page of the LPC June newsletter. I was willing to pay out to as many as 2500 voters, but in the end only three could answer a quiz on my positions and yet still promise not to vote for me.

2004-05-01 Joseph Gootee initially claimed he was trying to answer my Atheist Cage Match Challenge, but his effort was so poor it could be rebutted primarly by quoting back to him the parts of my document that he ignored. In his second message he said he would give better answers in "a week" and that I shouldn't consider his an official attempt to answer my challenge after all. I've never heard from him again (as of Jun 2005).

2004-04-29 Fellow Libertarian candidate Gary Kirkland says that "cause and effect is the god of science". His claim was easy to correct, but it took months before he stopped trying to defend it.

2004-04-17  Kris writes back to say he's since reconverted back to skepticism, thus eliminating him as a candidate for my study of Christian ex-atheists.

2004-04-16 I finally sent the response to ex-atheist Christian Kris Key that I wrote last December.  Unlike some of my recent Christian  correspondents, he actually had a few points that required more than pointing out obvious fallacy or pasting from my existing writings.

2004-04-14 Tis the season! Kurt Koerth says "the scholarly writings" of apologists like Craig and Strobel (hah!) "could give your article a run for your money". I replied that Craig is indeed queued up for rebuttal. When Kurt tried to answer some of my arguments himself, I showed him that I could answer his objections simply by pasting from my arguments themselves.

2004-04-09 Mike Mynes says my Cage Match Challenge remains unaccepted because "your arguments against Christianity are not new" and have been "answered hundreds of times". But he had no answer when in response to his lame insults I wrote "If you know of any qualifying texts of Christian apologetics that make a better argument than mine, just point me to your favorite one and enjoy watching me squirm as I link my argument directly to it. Go ahead, make me regret my challenge. If you can."

2004-03-15 Robert Turkel (aka J.P. Holding) has updated his Impossible Faith response to my critique. As I told Derek Pierson, "I'm delighted to let the record stand for quite some time in its current state, which by now shows that I can at my leisure easily rebut any new iteration of his childish rhetoric, sloppy reasoning, and clumsy handling of the 'data'. Indeed, that record is so overwhelmingly in my favor that I have no fear of linking to his unedited material, or even to new installments by Turkel for which I've yet to publish responses."

2004-03-11 I'm on the platform committee at this weekend's Libertarian convention in San Jose, so I asked my fellow committee members if they could explain the difference between the LP platform and anarchism.  None tried.  I included a new version of my analysis about how rivalry and excludability define what goods the government should provide or manage.

2004-03-05 Fellow Libertarian Richard Rider attempted to defend the Libertarian position on monopolies, but had no response to my rebuttal.

2004-02-29  My essay The Compatibility of Naturalism and Scientific Realism was published on  Over a year ago Dr. Koons said he would link to this critique of his paper, and in Sep 2004 he made good on his promise while posting his response.

2004-02-23 I was honored by a response from Declan McCullagh asking if the famous ex-Wired reporter "would be interested in the man-bites-dog potential of Libertarian candidates counter-demonstrating in defense of offshoring."

2004-02-23 Some fellow Libertarian candidates were surprised to learn that the LP platform seeks to eradicate all government medical aid, even to those in mortal peril. Richard Rider had no response when I asked "is there no possible level of suffering or death under a voluntary safety net that would make you relax your opposition to a mandatory safety net?" The discussion pretty much stopped when I posted an explanation of how the economic principles of rivalry and excludability provide an analysis showing why anarchism is untenable.

2004-02-14  Some fellow Libertarian candidates tried to claim that all taxes are passed on to consumers.  It took quotes from ten economists before they stopped disputing my report that whether taxes are passed on is a function of demand elasticity.

2004-02-09  Peter Logsdon advises that my Cage Match Challenge remains unaccepted because my "arguments are not scholarly enough or anything new to actually use valuable time to refute". He then joined the list of Christians unable or unwilling to simply point to a qualifying work of apologetics that they would like to see mutually linked with my (apparently devastating) arguments.

2004-01-27  Catholic believer Robert Greogler [name obfuscated on request] wrote me last month to say "I appreciate your website", but became offended at the "unnecessary polemical language and smug self-confidence" exhibited by me daring to call some of Yahweh's OT actions "crimes".  Like so many other Christian correspondents, he ended up using unsubstantiated accusations of my "arrogance" as an excuse for failing to answer my arguments.

2004-01-18  Released The "No Unique Advantages" Faith: Another Reply to Turkel, which had been finished since Spring of 2003. I decided to release it ahead of my pending Trilemma replies, the final edits to which are on indefinite hold because my time budget for atheist polemics is now reserved for better arguments than Turkel is able to muster.

2004-01-16  Have made a blizzard of additions to my congressional campaign website over the last three months:

2003-11-12  Clarified three points in my rebuttal to UT Austin philosopher Robert Koons' 1998 paper "The Incompatibility of Naturalism and Scientific Realism", in response to feedback from Koons and from two anonymous peer reviewers at The feedback variously misconstrues or ignores my central thesis that Koons is confused about the relationship between parsimony and truth.

2003-11-02 Bob Norseworthy has written a 58-page response to my last message, which I had withheld until July because he ignores or dismisses as "subjective" so many of my arguments, and then makes demonstrably false claims that I haven't answered all of his. Diagnosing his non-arguments will be very tedious, and it will be months or years before I bother doing so.

2003-11-02 Kris Key is still afraid to answer my analysis of the gospel possibilities, and still cannot answer my argument that the laws of probability apply to possible explanations of the evidence about Jesus. His frustrated charges of "dishonesty" and "lies" on my part were trivial to refute. I've already finished my dismantling of his new critique of my Easter explanation, but I'll again be withholding it for a while so as to limit the time spent answering such weak arguments..

2003-09-28 Started exchanging email with ex-atheist college student Kris Key, whose grip on reality should not be judged on his claims 1) to have seen a ghost and 2) that GZ Jordan "mopped the floor" with me. (It remains the case that neither Kris nor Jordan can quote a single element of Jordan's case which I have not rebutted, and that there are over thirty arguments or pieces of evidence in my last response that Jordan simply ignored.)

2003-09-17 Created a website for my congressional campaign:

2003-07-24 Posted my dismantling of Bob Norsworthy's arguments/assertions that

Norsworthy hadn't responded as of 2003-09.

2003-06-20 Gary Amirault is upset that I quote him in my posted responses to his reckless personal attacks, so I educated him about the "fair use" provision of copyright law.

2003-06-19 Composed my latest response in a discussion with fundamentalist Bob Norsworthy, but I'm withholding it for a while in order to slow the pace of my correspondence with him, since he ignores or dismisses as "subjective" so many of my arguments, and then makes demonstrably false claims that I haven't answered all of his.

2003-06-16 Created page of links to the Best Arguments For and Against Christianity and Theism.

2003-06-12 Created page summarizing positive and negative feedback on my writings.

2003-06-09 Set up as virtual web host, replacing redirection to

2003-06-04 Analyzed Lee Strobel's story on my Atheist Deconversion page.

2003-06-01 Analyzed Josh McDowell's story on my Atheist Deconversion page.

2003-04-11 Rebutted a crique of the Iraq invasion by celebrated Indian novelist and activist Arundhati Roy.

2003-03-30 Sent to UT Austin philosopher Robert Koons a rebuttal to his 1998 paper "The Incompatibility of Naturalism and Scientific Realism". (Thanks to David Parker for referring me to it some months ago.) Koons replied saying he would link to my rebuttal, but no such link was apparent as late as Apr 2004.

2003-03-29 Replied to Mark McFall's request for an article for the critics' corner of his "In The Word Ministries" site. I invited him to use my Arguments Against Christianity and to consider my Christianity-Atheism Reflective Equilibrium Challenge, but he has not responded as of June 2003.

2003-03-13 G. Z. Jordan has bowed out of our debate on the Resurrection, claiming I have "ignored" his case. I then pointed out that he "cannot quote a single element of your case which I have not rebutted" and that there are "over thirty arguments or pieces of evidence in my previous response that you here simply ignore".

2003-03-06  Debated brilliant Berkeley Economics professor Brad DeLong over his his 1993 internal Clinton Administration memo about the Reagan deficits.

2003-02-10  Posted my Atheist Cage Match Challenge. No takers as of June 2003.

2003-01-16  Posted an analysis of Possible Explanations of the Gospel Evidence.

2003-01-14's ASA Jones told me "I am astounded at the quality of debate that you put forth" and asked "permission to publish our current conversation" on her site, but apparently reconsidered after deciding I was "an inferior thinker".

2003-01  Embarrassed at the inadequacy of his June 2002 response in our Trilemma debate, Robert Turkel (aka J.P. Holding) has released a new version of it (apparently in response to my latest response being published at [As of Nov 2004, his new version is no longer on his site, but is archived here.]  I've already drafted a response to his first attempt, and will at my leisure extend it to include his do-over.

Text in red indicates criticisms of my writings to which I've yet to issue a response.