Rapid Rebuttal–Why “Natural” Disasters?

Because Zeus is angry. Duh.

PCG has just produced a new booklet titled Why “Natural” Disasters. We have already thoroughly addressed the faulty reasoning, bad science, and plain false statements that characterize all such nature mythology–and PCG’s latest attempt provides no new insights into the subject–but…well, we just can’t help ourselves.

We will only be examining the first chapter, since the others (judging by their chapter titles, which include “Are You Ready for the End of the World?”) are all patent nonsense that depend entirely upon the veracity of the proposition of the first chapter. So, let’s dive right in to this holy mess of sloppy research, faulty logic, and idiotic assertions, and try to make some sense of it all. … Continue reading.

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An Open Letter to the Ex-CoG Community: Atheists Are People Too

OMG! Atheists! Run! They have superior arguments and--oh, sweet baby Jesus--facts!

Let’s say you don’t believe in Zeus. Let’s say you’ve attempted honestly to examine all the evidence for his existence but have not found any. Let’s say you have given philosophical arguments for his existence a fair shake, and have subsequently found that there are not even any valid arguments in support of his existence, at least none that stand up to rational scrutiny. Let’s say you have considered the possibility that you might, despite the lack of any evidence, evoke an emotionally driven faith in Zeus’ existence–to believe without reason–but you have discovered that your mind just does not work that way. Let’s say you’ve considered the potential pragmatical repercussions of non-belief in Zeus, but that they do not frighten you. Let’s say you have an abiding love of truth, and that you aren’t able to deceive yourself into believing things you have no reason to believe.

Now, let’s plop you down right in the midst of a society in which Zeus worship of myriad forms is the norm. And let’s pretend that any time you let on you don’t believe in Zeus, a crowd of hysterical believers descends upon you, making all sorts of weird and irrelevant noises: they question your upbringing; they say you never had a decent relationship with your father; they claim you stopped believing in Zeus because you are angry over your treatment in one of the smaller, less orthodox sects devoted to him; they call you arrogant; they say you hate Zeus (wha?); they try to shame you by associating you with members of the Dionysus cult (shudder).

How would you feel? How would you feel if, in all of this nonsense, not one argument for the existence of Zeus were ever uttered? … Continue reading.

Sophistry: A Case Study

Artist's rendering of Maynard delivering a persuasive red herring.

Since our first article we have had a policy of allowing any and all kinds of ideas to be offered up to (and from) our readers in our comments, which we like to think of as a kind of laissez faire marketplace of ideas. We have not made any moves to edit anyone’s comments, and we don’t intend to (except our own, and then only for the sake of clarification–the one genuine mistake I ever had pointed out by an opponent in a debate, for example, was left as a strikeout followed by the correction). We follow (so far) a strict no-banning policy as well: you don’t have to worry about ever getting “disfellowshiped” from Armstrong Delusion (again, so far), nor will your dissent ever be censored. We don’t even moderate our comments, except for a spam filter.

Why are we so open?

Ah, this is where things get a little diabolical. You see, the reason we follow such an “open door” policy is because we love and respect our readers so much that we don’t think they need to be “protected” from stupid ideas. Instead, we think they should be given a chance to see those stupid ideas refuted in print and, like the specimens of some twisted idiocy collector, preserved for the world to benefit from.

This policy, of course, makes the organic development of an adversarial environment more or less inevitable, at least with respect to certain controversial subjects. One of those subjects, for some reason, has to do with the fact that most of the contributors to Armstrong Delusion happen to be atheists–and, get this, they aren’t ashamed of it! I know, right? How dare they!

Well, the past few days has seen a preponderance of comments from a particular anti-atheist polemicist by the name of Michael Maynard (henceforth, May-tard). This fellow (who is obviously not the brightest bulb in the box) has fallen into a rut of using invalid arguments that often sound convincing on the surface (a tactic known as sophistry). He has engaged in sophistry to such a great degree and in such classic form, in fact, that I have decided to feature him as a case study in this, the illustrious return of Friday Fallacy. … Continue reading.

Birds, Fish, and Cows, oh My!

Eric Sell

I think I’ll start calling these occasional articles, wherein I directly criticize a single article in the Trumpet, the “Uncertain Sound” series. It’s from 1 Cor.: “For if the trumpet gave an uncertain sound, who would prepare himself for war…”, and I do believe you’ll find the soundness of the Trumpet to be uncertain. I did one on natural disasters, and as it turns out, the second one is on the same topic.

There is a long history of seeing the Hand of God in the natural world and weather patterns. Some natural events seem naturally to beg a divine explanation—such as a particularly large earthquake, or simply an ordinary earthquake in an unusual area (or at least they did before we knew about tectonic plates and fault lines). But there are other times when people see patterns where there simply are none. This is called clustering illusion. But when is nature, or weather, attributable to the Hand of God and when is it just the result of a chaotic world? Continue reading

Why Wasn’t 9/11 Predicted?

Many religious leaders woke up on September 11, 2001 to breaking news. Some of them reacted with shock and profound sorrow, like the rest of us. Others had to wipe the drool from their lips. But during those weeks of hype and rhetoric buzzing around the most prophecy-fixated of the Armstrong cults, PCG, one curious fact went unnoticed. “That prophet” was caught with his pants down! Flurry never saw this earth-shattering, world-changing event coming. Why not? … Continue reading

We’re All Gonna Die! …Or Maybe Not.

S. D. Bruce

On Friday, December 21, 2012, human life will be obliterated from this planet—and guess what? We won’t even get the credit. The seas will vaporize into choking, blistering clouds of steam, obscuring the cataclysmic fusion of the tectonic plates below. Volcanic ash and molten stone will smother the world’s great cities while oceans of contaminated mud bury mountain villages, fertile farmland and suburban housing developments. Military bunkers will be crushed instantly as mountain ranges topple and merge with writhing valleys. The international space station will disintegrate within the first few seconds, but any astronauts on board won’t see the impact coming: spikes in coronal mass ejections from the sun will melt communications gear days before the ultimate blow. Within a year nothing will be left of our once-vibrant, frenzied globe but a chilled cinder wafting like scorched paper through the frozen void. … Continue reading

Natural Disasters are Natural Disasters

Eric Sell

There are many signs of the end listed in the Bible. There is an entire school of “thought” dedicated to deciphering the prophecies and signs of the end—eschatology. The enthusiastic eschatologists point to the increase in earthquakes and natural disasters (Luke 21:11) as a warning that “the end is near.” Of course, Matt 24:7 and Mark 13:8 put the emphasis on wars (nation against nation, kingdom against kingdom) more than the famine and pestilences. There are other places that say it will be a time of trouble such as has never been seen before. Yes, there’s more to the whole of eschatology than this, but these are the main signs of the end.

So, is this the end? … Continue reading