Phlurrydelphia Trumpet hack Ron Fraser writes in the October issue:
In February 1934, Herbert W. Armstrong launched a magazine... It was to become the most widely circulated of all periodic publications during the 20th century.
That's an interesting claim, but is it really credible?
Of greater concern is the ratcheting up of PCG's anti-German rhetoric yet a further notch, if that's possible. When does this stuff stop being just wacky and cross the threshold into hate literature? A full page ad proclaims "The Fourth Reich is Rising." Another staff writer, Brad Macdonald, attempts to convince us that Herb was right all along when he said (in 1945):
And the Nazis have now gone UNDERGROUND. ... They plan to COME BACK and to win on the third try.
Wasn't Hitler supposed to be hiding out in South America, or in a secret base in Antarctica or something? How did Herb know that? I guess it was "the more sure word of prophecy." But hey, it's 2009 Brad. No matter, another Trumpet hack, Joel Hilliker, assures us...
It is all now so close to coming to pass. We are witnessing the beginning of the seventh and final resurrection of the Holy Roman Empire.
Sorry lads, but we are witnessing no such thing.
How can he say the Plain Truth was "the most widely circulated of all periodic publications during the 20th century"!!
What about the Watchtower! Brought to you by the Watchtower cult. They make like 37 million copies a month. Alas.
That's four times as much as PT in its height of 8 million. How can they say that?
Here's more from that Ron Fraser article.
"Called the Plain Truth, the first edition of that fledgling publication carried a cover article headlined dramatically, “Is a World Dictator About to Appear?”
"By August of that year, Adolf Hitler, whose declared goal was global rule, became the führer of Germany."
These words carefully hide the facts of HWA's false prophecies of the 1930s and 1940s.
"Yet Hitler, in alliance with Italian dictator Benito Mussolini, was not destined to realize his dream of global rule."
Too bad HWA never knew this till long, long after Hitler died. Even in the early 1950s HWA still insisted that Hitler was still alive. This may be seen in the August 1952 Plain Truth.
Flurry's Trumpet magazine can make patently false claims like...
"In February 1934, Herbert W. Armstrong launched a magazine... It was to become the most widely circulated of all periodic publications during the 20th century."
...because very few, if any, will publically question it. And if anyone does have the guts to stand up and openly refute it, then these people are simply labeled as "scoffers in a bad attitude" or “Satan’s henchmen out to destroy God’s Work” so their refutation can then be arrogantly dismissed and not clearly answered.
(And by the way, numerous periodicals, such as The Reader’s Digest for example, had considerably higher circulation rates during the 20th century than The Plain Truth ever remotely achieved.)
But this case is yet another illustrious example of the fundamentalists hatred of real facts – and their propensity toward make-believe – when it comes to pushing their supernatural concepts on the gullible and ill-informed.
For instance, those supernaturalists who regularly blog here on the AW website lazily use this cheap and easy method all the time in their various comments. That way they can evade having to deal with, at least to any intelligible degree of specificity, the real issues, yet have their “powerful witness to the world” appear to remain intact and unchallenged.
The making up of magical factoids out of thin air is a routine thing in the world of those promoting supernatural religion. It clearly was standard practice in the old WCG when it was convenient. There was a reason why Dr. Hoeh once told me, many years after it was first published, that his doctoral dissertation “Compendium of World History” wasn’t worth the paper it was written on! He, the author, actually said that! (In Dr. Hoeh’s defense may I say that I don’t think he was intentionally being deceptive in his book, but many of his conclusions were, however, based upon the research of others like Immanuel Velikovsky, who’s scholarship was latter refuted and proven unreliable to a large degree.)
And this practice is especially prevalent when True Believers attempt to mock and discredit evolutionary theory. Creationist authors (and to a lesser degree proponents of the Intelligent Design movement) have been caught and publically exposed numerous times fabricating "facts" like this out of whole clothe, or overlooking massive amounts of relevant research because it was plainly disconfirming of the creationist belief system.
For instance, Dr. Michael Behe was clearly guilty of this tactic in his 1996 book that is still extremely popular with creationists, “Darwin’s Black Box: The Biochemical Challenge to Evolution.” The essential arguments he argued for in this book have all but lost their original luster, having been refuted in great detail by biochemists.
But that fact doesn’t seem to matter to the True Believers – legitimate factual empirical evidence that can be verified by others means very little to those under orders from their God to aggressively push a religious agenda.
Well, it was a worldwide publication, sort of. However, I believe Reader's Digest had them beat. If limited to religious publications, Watch Tower definitely wins the prize.
I think the last thing Germany wants is another war. The last one completely devastated their country and didn't do a hell of a lot for the rest of Europe either.
Remember when everyone was saying that Britain would never join the EU? Well, that was just another time they were wrong.
Actually, it comes from a misinterpretation of Daniel. The ten toed kingdoms were what was left of Alexander's empire.
The four kingdoms in Daniel are; Babylonian, Lydian, Persian and Grecian - in that order, Rome isn't even mentioned.
Daniel was written about the time of the Maccabean revolt. It encouraged the Jews to fight for their freedom, which is why it was written, of course.
People who still believe that Daniel was written during the Babylonian exile are way behind on their biblical scholarship.
The idea that Germany is Assyria and the British are Israelites should be presented for what it is.
It is not based in anthopology or archaealogy or ethnography. It is purely a Conspiracy Theory.
It is like many of the anti-government conspiracy theories in the United States. A fundamental tenet is that the government knows the truth about whatever but is carefully concealing it (but we have found out and are smarter than everybody else.)
Throughout Hoeh's compendium you can find conspiracy theory based rhetoric. For instance, in writing about the history of Ireland, Hoeh wrote:
"A late fictitious genealogy going back to Magog arose in monkish times from the known fact that Hebrews once dwelt in Scythia, which was also inhabited by Magog."
Hoeh makes this assertion, as with many other idioscyncratic ideas in the compendium, without any verification or support from historical documentation. He had no evidence that Irish monks were working industriously to falsify ancient genealogies to conceal the fact that the Irish were descended from Israel. So the question that arises is how did Hoeh know this then? Was he there to witness these monks altering ancient records?
His statement above suggests that "true" genealogical manuscripts were available that showed the connection to Israel but one was introduced that showed descent from Magog. Did he ever produce an example of one of these "true" genealogies dating from the time before the monks did the falsification? Does any other historian know anything about such genealogies existing?
The problem with conspiracy theorist is that you can never back them into a corner. Mistakenly, they believe that this is because they have the "truth" but really it is because they are masters at rationalization.
They would be likely simply to say that nobody knows about the pre-existing and accurate genealogies showing a descent from Israel because the monks burnt them all. This is an unfounded assertion used to support another unfounded assertion.
For any of those who doubt my assertion countering the foolish claim made in the recent version of The Philadelphian Trumpet, that The Plain Truth was “the most widely circulated of all periodic publications during the 20th century” I present the following for your consideration.
It’s a section taken from an article on the history of periodical publishing I found out on the internet (http://www.answers.com/topic/periodicals-publishing-or-publishing-and-printing):
“The number and circulation of periodicals continued to proliferate rapidly during the early twentieth century. Among the most popular publications were Good Housekeeping and Ladies' Home Journal, which were joined by Life in 1923 and Newsweek ten years later. Reader's Digest, founded in 1922, became a classic American success story, its circulation soaring to a stunning 21 million during the 1950s.”
So the circulation of The Reader’s Digest had reached 21 million sometime during the 1950’s.
The highest circulation the PT ever had was 7-8 million (including the newsstand edition) in the mid to late ‘80’s.
Note that even HWA’s highly exaggerated and completely undocumented 17 million circulation figure he conjured up in his own mind doesn’t even exceed the 21 million figure The Reader’s Digest enjoyed in the ‘50’s, which was long before it reached it’s current status of “the world's most widely read magazine” with a global readership of more than 100 million, available in 48 editions and 19 different languages.
So again I ask, where do these fundamentalists come up with such figures in their attempt to push their corny end-time agenda?
I seem to recall somewhere in the Bible that an evil invisible being called Satan is said to exist, who’s primary method of operation is deception. Why then do “God’s chosen” like Bob Thiel and Gerald Flurry have to resort to such a satanic tactic in order to push their products?
“Facts are stubborn things. Whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.” American Founding Father and second President John Adams.
Gavin, lately I've noticed that every topic worthy of discussion in its own right has been seized on by one or two in particular as an opportunity for a general "rant" against anyone who "believes". Please clarify these new "on topic" rules.... Is it only "believers" who must stay "on topic"? Enquiring minds need to know....
Enough people are waking up that Flurry's income is continuing to decline. Notice the following from Flurry's September 21 letter to members and co-workers:
"First tithe and general offering income was down about 1 percent for the first eight months compared to the same period last year. What is most concerning is the 28 percent decline in special donations to our building fund. As construction on the house nears completion, please remember that building fund. The more we all sacrifice and give generously as we are able, the less we will have to borrow. That decrease is the primary contributing factor to our overall 5.7 percent decline in income in 2009 from 2008.
Mr. Flurry has repeated the "Nazis underground" statement in some recent Key of David telecasts as well. I'll let you check the transcripts at the web site and find them.
But don't you think they would have emerged in the last few weeks -- for instance, to help al-Qaeda disrupt Sunday's German national election? An election Angela Markel (the woman who apologized for the Holocaust before the Knesset) won?
Hoeh makes this assertion, as with many other idioscyncratic ideas in the compendium, without any verification or support from historical documentation. He had no evidence that Irish monks were working industriously to falsify ancient genealogies to conceal the fact that the Irish were descended from Israel.
So the question that arises is how did Hoeh know this then? Was he there to witness these monks altering ancient records?
What the worshippers of Dr Hoeh's Compendium of History fail to state is that Dr Hoeh disavowed his own book.
Say what you will about Dr Hoeh, but he's one of the few ministers in the WCG to retract what he wrote. It was never republished.
But like other false treatises such as the Elders of Zion it lives on in the hands of racists and bigots, in an attempt to bolster racial superiority.
I react much the way you do. Some folk do keep playing the same fiddle relentlessly.
The "on topic" rule was meant for just one thread, but I'd be happy to extend it. The problem arises when someone makes a really good point, then skips off into an extended rant that repeats something they've already said earlier in the thread.
I don't have the ability to edit those posts. They're either all in or all out. It can be frustrating.
I don't have an easy answer.
der Fuehrer lives.
Has not DNA shown that the supposed skull of Hitler is that of a woman; and all this in the last few days.What a great topic for sermons at the FOT in Taupo ( for initiates, pronounced toe-paw.)
Being descended from Charlemagne through the Danish Royal House of Oldenburg (Frederik 1st),I must state quite emphatically that Herr
Flurry is a most unworthy successor to Charlie the Grocer ( Karl der Grosse.)The great king would turn over in his sepulchure in Aachen if he knew that an impostor was wearing his diadem.
Mind you,I did like the portraiture.
It has been estimated that Charlemagne now has about 21 million descendants.
Herr Flurry has probably told his diminishing flock that they are all ROYAL.I have heard this from the lips of a Flurry adherent.
As Richard points out PCG has often used the trope of the Nazi conspiracy theory.
For instance in the February 2000 issue commenting on Kosovo Gerald Flurry cites HWA saying on May 9, 1945.
“We don’t understand German thoroughness....From the very start of World War II, they have considered the possibility of losing this second round, as they did the first—and they have carefully, methodically planned, in such eventuality, the third round—World War III!...the Nazis have now gone underground.”
No mention is made in this 2002 article of the fact that HWA taught that Hitler was the one who would fight Christ at his coming, after HWA gave up on Mussolini.
HWA would later use this fearful trope of the returning underground Nazis in 1975 in Prophecy.
Clearly PCG has never quite given up on this (false) Nazi conspiracy idea and are still perfectly happy to intimidate people with this error.
Don't forget the PT was Free, so comparisons are unfair. Remember when HWA bragged how he was outdoing TIME & NEWSWEEK? Yes Herb, but you're GIVING AWAY your amateur magazine! The PT's "success" was only possible because HWA was willing to hose millions of dollars down the drain.
Herman Hoeh did renounce the compendium later in life, I have been told. I have no evidence of this and what I have been told is just hearsay.
Herman Hoeh is also supposed to have stated that he did not want to be referred to as "doctor". But I later found out from a person who knew him well that he actually preferred to be called "doctor".
The compendium is an important component in the infrastructure of British-Israelism belief. The various Armstrongist groups are not going to let the compendium be classed as pseudo-science (even by Hoeh himself). It is too much of a loss.
But I would think it would be an instructive exercise for the students at Ambassador Bible Center (I think that is what it is called)to take Volume 1, Chapter 18 of the compendium, dealing with Irish History, and try to support through historical research the unfounded assertions that Hoeh makes in that chapter. It would make an interesting term paper and would elucidate much about what is wrong with Armstrongism in general.
But, then again, the conclusion would probably be that the conspiracy to conceal the true identity of Israel is so tight that historical resources cannot be found. We can only know it through the careful analysis (read: unfounded assertions) of Hoeh and Armstrong.
Kiwi, are the “rants” you complain of really just aimless tirades completely unrelated to the specific topics at hand?
Or are they precisely-expressed observations of, and challenges to, the fundamentalist’s religious claims that they constantly bring up, and yet have repeatedly proven themselves either unwilling or unable to intelligibly explain or discuss in any meaningful way through “give & take” dialog?
And what about the endless preaching, moralizing and religious sloganeering of the believers, does this not count as being off-topic as well?
Please think about this.
FYI, Blogger does things differently to WordPress. I realize that with WP editing comments IS possible, but that's NOT the case with Blogger. The two options are "publish" and "reject." I prefer Blogger for a whole range of reasons, but this isn't one of them.
"Herman Hoeh did renounce the compendium later in life, I have been told. I have no evidence of this and what I have been told is just hearsay."
Dr. Hoeh was a dear friend of mine (and, may I say, greatly missed to this day). And he in fact did renounce much of the "scholarship" in his dissertation.
Much of his Compendium was based upon the work of other, shall we say, unorthodoxed scholars (like Velikovsky) who’s scholarship was questionable, and much later proven so.
Also, much of the dating methodology was based on Hoeh’s incorrect view at the time the Compendium was written that the carbon 14 dating method (a relatively new technique discovered in the early to mid 1940’s) was not valid. But after spending an entire day with a carbon 14 scientist at the University of Arizona who carefully explained to him the precise step-by-step methodology behind carbon 14 dating (in the early 1980’s, I believe it was) he came away convinced that his previous assumption has been completely in error. He told me about this personally.
And another time I was talking to him about the Compendium, as I was trying to get hold of a copy of it, since I did not own one, and he made several disparaging references to it. This included the comment I made previously about it not being worth the paper it was written on.
This, of course, does NOT imply that everything written in it was wrong, but I once knew of someone who read it through very carefully, checking references, and this fellow (a real fan of Dr. Hoeh) came away from the experience very disappointed at the low-quality of real scholarship it actually contained.
And another issue that must be brought up: when a researcher already has a deep commitment to a certain ideology (in Dr. Hoeh’s case, British-Israelism) I would say it makes it virtually impossible for that researcher to be objective, and deal with his or her sources with rigor and honesty. This often takes place at the subconscious level, but it is a very real factor to consider.
Hence, when folks already have a strong emotional commitment with respect to a particular topic one way or the other, one cannot expect them to consider ALL the available evidence. Instead, they will tend to favor certain interpretations favorable to their particular ideology over others, even when ALL the evidence taken in aggregate does NOT lead to such a conclusion.
This is where the vital corrective of peer-reviewed professional journalism proves it real value – something, for instance, that the creationists and Intelligent Designers avoid like the plague in their work and publishing.
You shouldn't be surprised, or let this bother you. I certainly don't. There really are so many forums where one can participate in a good encouraging Bible Study without heckling, and most of us believers know where these are. It is pointless to discuss certain things with people who have long patterns of eliciting contributions from believers only for the purpose of making sport of them. But, I do have to remember that in a sense, Leo, Paul, and some others are only giving back to me what I used to dish out to believers myself. I really deserve their abuse, believe me, and it is probably doing some of my former victims some good, being able to watch me do penance!
We did have a number of regular posters here who have simply stopped participating, and it has left this blog a little lopsided. My own background tends toward the rough side, so I tend to be thicker skinned.
I'm thinking of inviting Leo to a Bible folder that I happen to moderate, and to challenge him by presenting him with a mirror image of his challenge to me. My challenge would be worded something like, "Leo, I want you to be articulate, and very literal about this: Please prove to me that God does not exist. But, remember, in so doing, that the only acceptable proofs which you may present must come directly from the Bible!"
We also need to remember that articulateness is as articulateness does! Articulate defense attorneys have been getting murderers off scott free for centuries now. And, HWA was very articulate in deceiving people with his charlatanism, as are many megalomaniacs.
Gavin, please don't put controls on leonardo.
Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence and it is refreshing to see that he calls out those who make claims without supporting evidence.
I'm all for people who want to believe in the christian bible as long as they are honest that their belief is based on faith or feelings but for far too long they have been allowed to get away with dishonestly presenting, as leonard puts it "magical factoids".
A tsunami is headed towards NZ what do you think of that? I am praying for the people of NZ and even you though you don't believe in God.
Oh, and Bear_track, I knew Herman Hoeh for 29 years, and he never ONCE corrected me for referring to him as DOCTOR Hoeh, as I always did.
In fact, I never heard anyone call him MISTER Hoeh in all the years I knew him.
For what the observation is worth.
But call him Dr. or Mr. or whatever – in my view he was a rare individual, and I count having known him, up close and personal, as one of the great and irreplaceable benefits of my life.
Leonardo: What I see here is a wide expression of views which is fine and just as it should be.
But this blog wouldn't even exist if we had not all been at one time or another "supernaturalists" as you put it.
Possibly we all - believers and non-believers alike - could be more aware of the human propensity to want to win others over to our points of view and then examine how best that might be done. Going off-topic is not the best way. But if there is an appropriate opportunity then a convincing account of personal experience is often the best. Insults rarely work.
For example, I conclude that I must be a "fundamentalist" because I seek to live by the fundamental instruction that is within the Bible. It's too bad if others use the term as an insult. I would much rather they sought to convince me with argument - not insult - as to why the fundamental instruction within the Bible is incorrect. Of course the same applies equally to "fundamentalists". Neither should they resort to insult but should be able to give a sound reason for why they believe.
In the end we are all free to agree to disagree.
Since this came up here...
DNA proves Hitler's Skull is from a woman!
Does this make HWA's teachings correct? Nope.
Even a broken clock is right twice a day.
The kind of sleight of hand used to develop a "historical" foundation for believing that Germany is Assyria is found throughout Armstrongist writing.
A good example is the identification of Darda in the genealogy of Judah in the Old Testament with the Dardanos from whom the Trojans are purpoted to descend.
Herman Hoeh wrote of this person in the Compendium:
"Dardanus, whom Josephus declares to be Darda or Dara (See II Chronicles 2:6"
Josephus did not "declare" an identification between the Trojan Dardanos and the Jewish Dara. All Josephus did was use a Greek name for Dara. There is no implicit declaration of identity implied.
Raymond McNair wrote, citing a Bible dictionary:
"Flavius Josephus equates Darda with the Greek Dardanos:"
Much more can be read into the term "equate" that the dictionary intended. It only intended to equate the names and not the personages. But the word "equate" fits nicely into the whole theory.
There is a large amount of evidence from classical history that defines the Trojan Dardanos as a descendent of Dodanim the son of Javan. This evidence is not dealt with by either Hoeh or McNair. The Irish and British genealogies show Dardanos as a descendent of Javan.
It make sense that Trojans, living in a mediterranean city located near Greece, would have a common ancestry with the Greeks, through Javan.
A Rabbi I have corresponded with notes that some of the descendants of Javan joined with the Celts of Britain after the fall of Troy.
So neither Josephus nor the Bible dictionary involved "declared" the Trojan Dardanos to be the same person as the Jewish Dara. Equating the persons involved is just a spin placed on the text by Hoeh and McNair.
The other history about the Trojans and their lineage being spread throughout the royal houses of Europe may well be true. But it is a Gentile lineage.
But people who are carried away with conspiracy theories do no yield to historical research. I remember long ago the John Birchers ranting ad infinitum on the radio about how floridation of water was a grand conspiracy to destroy the United States. My guess is that none of them ever recanted - they just went on to other conspiracies.
My view: I do not believe that Leonardo or anyone else should be able to do the blogger equivalent of shouting someone down at a town meeting. It's just crude. I admire passion as long as it is delivered with courtesy. On the other hand, a blog is like a marketplace. If you don't want to read someone's posts, you don't have to.
An Addendum: Homer wrote about the Trojan War extensively in the Illiad. He refers to the Trojans as Dardanians repeatedly. He knew something of their history and ethnic origin. Yet he never once mentions that they were descended from the Tribes of Israel. Considering how unusual it would be for an Israelite enclave to exist among the Gentile descendants of Javan, wouldn't Homer have made at least one reference to this highly atypical situation?
Byker Bob said...
"Please prove to me that God does not exist. But, remember, in so doing, that the only acceptable proofs which you may present must come directly from the Bible!".
Please, Bob, you know that the one who makes a positive claim has the burden of proof. You are the one making the positive claim that a God exists, it is up you to prove it.
Since you know this, why are you making the above challenge? Not a rhetorical question, I want an answer this time.
If "Dr" Hooey recanted almost everything he taught, he must have felt like a real jackass in the great 1990's Herbie meltdown.
How about this for a booklet:
"The Crucifixion was not on Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday!"
BB, why not just give Leonardo the link to the Bible discussion and let him decide if he's interested?
Personally, I find it an all-so-predictable back and forth(that ranges from armstrongist "Christian" and more mainstream "Christian" perspectives), and rather dull.
But, who knows? It just struck me as rather elitist for you to say, "I'm thinking of inviting you"- that kind of verbiage makes me cringe.
Heck, it's open for anybody to read.
"There really are so many forums where one can participate in a good encouraging Bible Study without heckling..."
Heckling? Is that how you view the calling into question your claim of a omnipotent supernatural being?
Well, mulling it over now I find this worldview attractive. If someone criticizes my research data at a seminar, or in a scientific journal, I can simply blow off any responsibility of defending my claim by labeling any questions as heckling.
The Apostate Paul
Kiwi and Byker Bob,
Well, this subject seems a bit off-topic to me, which I find especially odd coming from Kiwi, who just recently complained to Gavin about MY comments being off-topic, but here’s a few of my thoughts and sentiments, for what they’re worth.
Look, I must tell you both that my actual motives are definitely NOT what you tend to accuse them of being. Honestly, I am neither trying to “bait” you (as Larry recently accused me of) nor ridicule you guys personally. In fact, it frustrates me greatly when the True Believers are constantly drifting off-topic and onto religious sloganeering, which is essentially the bedrock of Christian apologetics these days, and the only way they have to “answer” the many questions and challenges I bring up. If this hasn’t been made crystal clear for all other bloggers to see the past several months, then I don’t know what has.
But my goal in posting here on AW is the very same one I have in my reading and studies, which is, first and foremost, to increase, expand and deepen my understanding of objective reality, and to accept relevant correction when required, to the end that my perspectives may be ever more accurate and in line with the way things ACTUALLY are, rather than how I may WISH them to be.
And if you fellows can’t believe me when I say this, then I really don’t know what more can be said. In spite of all my many personal faults and shortcomings, I am a genuine person who believes in being up-front and transparent in discussion. I know, that's very politically INcorrect these days, but that’s the way I am and most likely always will be.
Byker Bob wrote:
“We did have a number of regular posters here who have simply stopped participating, and it has left this blog a little lopsided.”
Bob, I have many others things I can do with my time other than to blog here, so if Gavin and others would prefer me to bow out, I will do so - and with no hard feelings at all. From my perspective it’s been intellectually stimulating – in spite of the fact that I’ve found the supernaturalists willing to resort to virtually anything they can in order to AVOID having to engage in meaningful dialog with those of opposing viewpoints.
But I think one of my primary points in blogging on AW has been made in spades, thanks mainly to you and Larry and Mr. Anonymous, and that is that True Believers can shout out at the top of their lungs all the hazy assertions they want to with respect to their supernatural religious beliefs, but in no way can they logically demonstrate them, explain them in detail or with any degree of clarity or intelligibility, nor provide open-minded readers solid reasons as to why they should accept such claims as being true in objective reality.
I mean, Byker Bob, most of your posts are text-book examples of Stone Age circular reasoning, question begging, etc., and yet I truly don’t think you even recognize it. And again, let me emphasize that my comments are not intended as “petty shots” against you on a personal level, but rather to point out the typical non-reasoning of supernatural fundamentalists. You and I, because of our shared background with the WCG, could probably enjoy a good beer together if we ever were to meet up with each other in person someday. And I truly believe that.
Byker Bob further writes:
“I'm thinking of inviting Leo to a Bible folder that I happen to moderate, and to challenge him by presenting him with a mirror image of his challenge to me. My challenge would be worded something like, "Leo, I want you to be articulate, and very literal about this: Please prove to me that God does not exist.”
Ummm, I wonder: why do I have a very strong gut-feeling that the quality of discussion on this “Bible folder” will not be all that high, meaningful or in-line with commonly-accepted standards of debate and dialog?!
Virtually all such sites I’ve ever blogged on in the past have been little more than fundamenalists blathering on incessantly with their non-arguments, groundless assertions and obsolete “proofs against evolution” that have been totally refuted decades ago by real scientists. What reason do I have to believe that your “Bible folder” would be any different, especially in light of the low quality of comments you typically tend to post here on AW?
Bob, as I’ve mentioned to you frequently in past blogs, nobody can “prove” a negative. This is just plain common sense, and an accepted elementary principle of debate and analytical thinking. The onus of proof is always on the person who first makes the affirmative claim, and then for him to demonstrate the reasons his proposition should be accepted by the rest of us as true. Your “challenge” to me would be the equivalent of me ardently asserting that invisible rainbow-colored unicorns exists, and then cowardly running off the field of debate by then magically shifting the burden of proof onto YOU to demonstrate that they DON’T.
But, in the words of the deep south (where I was born, by the way) “That old hound just don’t hunt!”
The vast majority of honest and clear-thinking people see right through this spineless ploy, so typical of the kind commonly used by folks like you pushing their pre-scientific, Stone Age belief systems.
This is just one of many of the deceptive tools fundamentalists attempt to use in debating those of opposing views. But it’s nothing but a cop-out, and deep down I think you realize this, Bob – though you also probably realize it’s a way of scoring a cheap and hollow “victory” with the uneducated and gullible folks who buy into and push the same mysticism that you do.
But let me say that I think Gavin has been more than fair as moderator of this site.
Gavin occasionally does not publish all of the posts I send into AW – either that, or they somehow disappear out into the alphabet heaven of the Internet network. All I know is I send them in, and some don’t appear on AW. But since Gavin is the originator and webmaster of this site, I humbly submit to his power of censorship, seeing it as his perfect right and responsibility.
However, I am concerned sometimes how people tend to want to provide shelter to the deeply religious, powerfully irrational, and shockingly Stone Age in worldview and conviction. Obviously, I don’t condemn all religious sentiment, as I think it only fair and wise to distinguish between the various gradations of bad ideas. Some, for example, plainly have little or no consequences at all. But some pose dire threat, putting civilization itself in great peril. And when it comes to religious dogmatism, we often have a hard time predicting how terrible its costs could eventually become.
"...this blog wouldn't even exist if we had not all been at one time or another "supernaturalists" as you put it."
Yes, I very much agree with you, Kiwi. I openly and unashamedly admit to having been a fervent supernaturalist for about 30 years of my adult life.
Just like once upon a time long ago most of us earnestly believed in a literal Santa Claus when we were young and naïve - but most of us have, since that time, grown in knowledge and understanding, and moved on to adopt new and more reasonable explanations for why pretty gifts appear underneath Christmas trees every December 25th.
Kiwi further wrote:
“…if there is an appropriate opportunity then a convincing account of personal experience is often the best. Insults rarely work.”
Kiwi, again I wholeheartedly agree. I frequently use real-life personal events and experiences from my own life here in this blog to make relevant points pertinent to the topic at hand, at least I perceive them as being on-topic.
As far as insults go, I agree with you here as well. But then tell the fundamentalists to stop accusing me (or the many others who disagree with their dogmatic religious beliefs) of motives that I don’t, in fact, have. I challenge you to go back over and re-read the various blogs made here the past several months or so, and see who is in truth hurling PERSONAL insults as opposed to intelligently pointing out the faulty reasoning and specious arguments of the True Believers. The actual proof is in the many exchanges recorded here on this site. It’s plain for all who are willing to see.
And also, please request the fundamentalists to articulate their personal experiences with enough reasonable amount of detail so that readers can actually make some sense of it. Otherwise, it just falls into the category of “useless assertion” or “religious sloganeering.”
“…I conclude that I must be a "fundamentalist" because I seek to live by the fundamental instruction that is within the Bible. It's too bad if others use the term as an insult.”
OK, Kiwi, you’ve made a fair point, and one that deserves an intelligible answer.
When I (and many others in the field) use the term “fundamentalist” or “fundamentalism” in the context of the topics usually discussed on this blogsite, we use it in the following way:
Simply stated, there are two primary aspects to religious fundamentalism.
First, fundamentalists commit themselves to a set of unprovable, indemonstrable, supernatural religious beliefs that must be accepted on faith alone – and then mindlessly cling to that set of beliefs unconditionally, without reservation or exception, no matter what.
And the second, and considerably more dangerous facet that is a natural outgrowth of the first: such fundamentalists then sincerely believe those who refuse to accept or embrace their beliefs to be worthy of condemnation.
That’s what I mean by the term. You use the term in your comment above in it’s literal dictionary meaning - which is fine, as long as we don’t conflate the two.
Kiwi also wrote:
“I would much rather they sought to convince me with argument - not insult - as to why the fundamental instruction within the Bible is incorrect.”
I think I’ve tried to make my points by appealing to reason using raw intellectual arguments rather than resorting to personal insult or emotionalism. In fact, many of the True Believers have ridiculed me for this very “overly intellectual” approach!
Byker Bob, for instance, continually seems to be getting his “knickers in a knot” because I calmly pose honest questions and issues to him that he simply cannot intelligently reply to, and so he then resorts to accusation and the imputing of motives I know I don’t have.
Kiwi concludes by writing:
“Of course the same applies equally to "fundamentalists". Neither should they resort to insult but should be able to give a sound reason for why they believe.”
Exactly, which is why I keep reminding them that part and parcel of their duties as Christians is to fulfill the exhortation of I Peter 3:15 to “…always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you…”
But I honestly ask you, when have you EVER seen the True Believers on this blogsite rise to this most basic of challenges, even though it’s written plainly for them right there in the pages of their holy book?
Well, good. But, has it occurred to anyone else here that everyone seems to want their own personal standards to be the universal ones by which all things are evaluated and judged, or else the other guy is insane or irrelevant? In reality, is not that what has caused all of the wars and strife throughout recorded history? I'm sorry, but I see a great deal of arrogance in all of that, unless the standards come from someone higher than ourselves, as opposed to the latest aspiring alpha male!
It is also reminiscent of HWA, who applied the standards normally reserved for evaluating classical music to rock n roll.
"Jesus bids us shine in the pure sure light
Like a little candle burning in the night
In this world of darkness weeee must shine
You in your small corner and I in mine."
Hey I remembered it from Sunday school! I think last line gives us all the leeway to fulfill our own special part of the picuture based on our own special experience with it.
"But, has it occurred to anyone else here that everyone seems to want their own personal standards to be the universal ones..."
Evidence is not a individual personal standard. It is a universal standard. Once again, (for the umpteenth time), you use this standard in every aspect of your life- except for one, and that is your religious beliefs. When it comes to your religious beliefs, you don't have any standards to evaluate or judge reality. Evidence is tossed out the window.
I think you should be consistent and apply your "standard" by which you "prove" the existence of God to all other aspects of your life. You'll make all sorts of discoveries, like the existence of leprechauns, Bigfoot, and a hollow earth. You won't have to worry about "fact" and "science" anymore since they will be unnecessary.
The Apostate Paul
"Evidence is not a (sic) individual personal standard."
I'm sorry Paul, I really didn't mean to single you out. Considering some of the remarks being made about the relative literacy of believers, I had to point out that all of us from time to time make errors.
Byker Bob wrote:
"...has it occurred to anyone else here that everyone seems to want their own personal standards to be the universal ones by which all things are evaluated and judged, or else the other guy is insane or irrelevant? In reality, is not that what has caused all of the wars and strife throughout recorded history? I'm sorry, but I see a great deal of arrogance in all of that…”
Oh, and you DON’T do this, Bob, by your constant appeal to the arrogance of FAITH, which is an absolute prerequisite in order to accept the many patently absurd supernatural tenets you so ardently push here on the AW site?
And what intellectual standards WOULD you recommend that we put in the place of reason, rationality, empirical evidence and the close observation of human experience, Bob?
Based purely upon your past comments here, I should think you would propose some combination of Stone Age ideology and pre-scientific method - which in past historical eras allowed scores of innocent people to have been stoned, strangled, beheaded, burned at the stake, cruelly tortured or otherwise ostracized from the society of their day simply because they proposed an alternative explanation for the workings of the world and universe around them that countered the official “God revealed” religious explanation of the day, which in virtually EVERY case proved in time to be false?
(Does the term “heliocentrism” ring a bell here, Bob? And remember, it wasn’t just the evil “Mother of Harlots” Catholic Church that fought this observation, Martin Luther ridiculed the concept that the earth actually circled around the sun as well as the Catholic heirarchy.)
Come on, Bobster – “blow the dust off your history books,” my friend, and learn that the root causes of most wars down through recorded history have been the IRRATIONAL worldviews of those having accumulated enough military power to allow them to attempt to FORCE their views upon other nearby cultures and nations.
Nazi and Communist ideology in fairly modern times providing some of the more obvious SECULAR examples of such irrationality – the Christian religion and militant Islamic ideology using either physical violence or legal pressure to enforce their own brand of irrational beliefs upon others providing just two of the many RELIGIOUS examples from the more distant historical record.
Bob, you really DO need to do some more serious and wide-ranging reading outside of the fundamentalists publications you seem to get most of your information from.
Search the record of history – and I think you will find it extremely difficult to cite instances where incoherence, circular reasoning, wishful thinking, religious dogmatism or any other ingredient so frequently found in the chaotic mixing bowl of irrational ideologies (secular or religious) have ever contributed to scientific progress—or to life-enhancing progress of any kind.
The overall series of Aristotelian or rational methods comprising what we nowadays refer to as “the scientific method” is not perfect. I’ll be the first to acknowledged that fact.
But right now it’s the closest method we have to an enterprise or culture built upon genuine intellectual honesty, in spite of it’s many shortcomings. In it’s relatively short history in modern times (say, 400 years at most) it has provided mankind with benefits of incalculable worth.
Sure, it can be misused, but I’m saying that, in aggregate and on the whole, the many advantages of science far outweighed it’s few perceived disadvantages.
Bob, please, I urge you to come out from your dark, dank fundamentalist cave of ignorance – there’s an entire world out there, and it’s not nearly the horrible place you envision it to be, in spite of it’s faults. It sure beats the intellectual darkness of the world of “revealed knowledge” from an invisible deity.
"I do not believe that Leonardo or anyone else should be able to do the blogger equivalent of shouting someone down at a town meeting. It's just crude."
But, Bear, HOW am I being crude, and when have I EVER "shouted down" others? I have absolutely no idea what you are talking about here.
Yes, perhaps my rationale and logic can vanquish certain hastily-made and expressed assertions that have no evidence behind them. Perhaps this is what you’re referring to here – but other than that, when have I personally ever been crude or disrespectful to others when they seek to present serious arguments here.
Could an alternative explanation be that you simply find that RATIONAL discussion which requires evidence, proof and logic to be too much of a strain on you, especially if you're part of a fundamentalist group where, let's face it, your mental capacities are hardly ever challenged and stretched.
OK, BB, let's see if I understand right.
Leo has no belief in any of the 2500 gods men have created. One of those gods, it is alleged, caused some holy writings known as the Bible to be produced. It is filled with absurdities, unfulfilled prophecies, myths, hate speech of a high order and the uninspired statements of uninspiring men.
Now you come forward and invite Leo to jump backwards through a hula hoop and produce from that uninspired holy book proof that the god in which he has no belief does not exist. Huh?
I was asked one time to produce proof any of the gods do not exist. I calmly required my challenger to tell me what he would accept as proof. He hasn't replied to this date.
So just what would you accept as proof from the mish-mash Bible that any of the gods do not exist? I mean in a basic sense. Please give us an example. Just what is it you want?
(Excuse me for butting in, Leo. I knew BB before he got religion and it's amazing how his thinking has become so terribly irrational).
"What the worshippers of Dr Hoeh's Compendium of History fail to state is that Dr Hoeh disavowed his own book."
Does anyone actually have this in writing, or can someone link me to a site that isn't posted/owned/manipulated by Gracie? I've read this sentence repeated so many times, it's starting to sound like an urban legend...and having sat through some truly God-awful sermons during the church's Hoeh-day (sorry), I still find it almost impossible to believe he could have done a 180 like that. Or, a sincere 180, I should say, given how many of the current crop of Jebus-preachers in Gracie are only hanging on for their pensions. (Which the Canucklehead ministers of misery stand to lose out on, after it all finally ends.)
"Blogger does things differently to WordPress. I realize that with WP editing comments IS possible, but that's NOT the case with Blogger. The two options are "publish" and "reject."
Eeeeew that sucks. My condolences, Gavin. I'm glad I never went with Blogger.
"But after spending an entire day with a carbon 14 scientist at the University of Arizona who carefully explained to him the precise step-by-step methodology behind carbon 14 dating (in the early 1980’s, I believe it was) he came away convinced that his previous assumption has been completely in error. He told me about this personally."
Pity he never told the rest of the church. They were still preaching the "Carbon-14 dating is an instrument of Satan's deception" claptrap in the early '90s, in my area.
"Please prove to me that God does not exist. But, remember, in so doing, that the only acceptable proofs which you may present must come directly from the Bible!"
such circular reasoning it's an infinitely closed loop
"Just like once upon a time long ago most of us earnestly believed in a literal Santa Claus when we were young and naïve"
Speak only for yourself, Leo, old boy. As one who was raised to be (but fortunately it didn't turn out that way) a cradle-to-Kingdom Armstrongite, I never believed in a literal Santa Claus.
The literal Eternal Lord of Hosts I DID believe in was bad enough !!!
"It is also reminiscent of HWA,"
Sigh. Not that old chestnut again.
"...every one seems to want their own personal standards to be the universal ones by which all things are evaluated and judged, or else the other guy is insane or irrelevant..."
Yes! That's it! Too many judge by subjective analysis.
One modern thinker wrote:
"The subjective means the arbitrary, the irrational, the blindly emotional."
Bob wants that the standards should "come from somone higher than ourselves."
Gee, I wonder who that could be?
Why, I'll bet it was that "strong hand from somewhere" that Herbert spoke about when he was about to apply his own power on the poor sheep he lorded it over.
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