The other day John Loftus wrote on Facebook, “Faith is an irrational leap over the probabilities based on at least one cognitive bias and buttressed by at least one logical fallacy.”
I don’t respond to John very often anymore, but something about the context of this post piqued my interest; or rather, it was the lack of all context. Sure, I know John could probably show where he thinks he got that claim from. But here it was just sitting here, just a stark, open, self-assured, unsupported assertion.
So I answered in kind, with a stark, open, self-assured unsupported assertion: “Ummm…. no, it isn’t. But thanks for your entry.”
You can be sure that I have read and written plenty to support that answer, but I didn’t see much need to return anything more in response than the claim deserved.
I knew what to expect, and I got it. Other commenters:
“Saying ‘no it’s not’ doesn’t contribute at all. Would you like to try again?”
I thought that was amusing, considering that John’s assertion had contributed nothing but predictable bias spoken ex cathedra in the first place.
Do you suppose he noticed that? I had. That’s why I answered so tersely.
“He can’t make any better ‘argument’ than this, Andrew. I’ve seen him try too many times.”
That’s funny, too, since it’s demonstrably false (see below). Makes you wonder whether these guys really are committed to evidence-based reasoning like they always say they are.
Someone else said, “Wow. Deep.” No, actually, it was neither a wow nor a deep thought, unless there’s something profound about noticing John had said nothing profound, and responding in kind. I don’t think that’s very deep at all. It seemed rather obvious to me.
So I didn’t have anything grandiose in mind. I suppose this sarcastic answer of his was supposed to bother me, as if I’d failed somewhere. Nope. Not here, anyway.
Finally ,the same person who said he’d never seen me produce a better argument added, “Gilson tries to pass himself off as a Christian intellectual.”
Here again there’s little sign that this person has any commitment to evidence-based reasoning. I represent myself as a thinking person, sure, and also a speaker, author, and ministry advisor. But I don’t call myself an intellectual. It’s too vague a term to be much use anyway, unless you’re in the academy, a think tank, or someplace similar where vocational expectations require you to adopt it for yourself.
So why bring this up here? It’s such a small, brief, trivial matter; and yet that’s what I find in today’s internet atheism. There’s nothing so small or inconsequential but that atheists will find ways to magnify it into an opportunity to drip mockery and ridicule all over it.
They parody themselves in the process.
Anyway, if someone wants to whether I have anything to say to expand just a bit on those four words, “Ummm…. no, it isn’t,” I do have an answer. The content there applies to Loftus’s view of faith as well as to Boghossian’s.