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.
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.
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.
eco-pessimist nonsense crept onto the California LP candidates' list,
so I corrected it 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.
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.
reader pointed me to some new
material concerning ASA Jones (aka Amy Jones of ex-atheist.com). 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.
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
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.
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".
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.
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
to rebut Stinnett's own subsequent efforts to defend his book.
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?
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 tribe.net 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
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
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.)
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".
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
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.
report about my second of three candidates' forums.
report about my first of three candidates' forums.
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
response to his response
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,
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.
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
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.
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
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
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
2004-04-16 I finally sent
to ex-atheist Christian Kris Key that I wrote last December.
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
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.
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 infidels.org. 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
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.
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
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:
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
infidels.org. The feedback variously misconstrues or ignores my central
thesis that Koons is confused about the relationship between parsimony
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: marketliberal.org
2003-07-24 Posted my dismantling of Bob Norsworthy's arguments/assertions that
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 holtz.org/Thoughts as virtual web host, replacing redirection to attbi.com.
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.
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 infidels.org). [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.