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Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Blog Whoring?

Sometimes you hear a phrase once too often, and you suddenly realize there's nothing in it.
Back when I occasionally interacted with posters on Pharyngula, the radical atheist site run by PZ Myers, I would sometimes be accused of two contradictory crimes: (a) not backing up my claims with enough evidence, and (b) "blog-whoring," posting links to this site, where I had stashed quantities of evidence that did, in fact, back up the points I was making.  As a professional writer, I might have thought it was a concession to link to free sites, instead of saying, "Get yourself a copy of Jesus and the Religions of Man, and you'll see I cover this topic thoroughly in chapter ten." 

Anyway, it seems one is damned if one does (give evidence, which obviously can't be fully offered in a post on a hostile site), and equally damned if one doesn't.  That, in the end, is how PZ Myer's "solved the problem" of David Marshall showing up on his site.  He banned me for "blog whoring," at least long enough for me to ask what the point of going there in the first place had been. 

One site on the Freethought Blogs site I still sometimes visit, is that of the Uncredible Hallq.  He seems like a nice enough guy, low-maintanance, relatively speaking. 

A couple day ago Hallq posted a blog with the following title:

"What Christian blogs are worth interacting with?"

I answered by inviting Hallq's readers to come here, read some of the material on this site, and chat or challenge us, if they liked. 

The first comment after my post was kind, though it made me wish I'd stayed silent:

"I was actually going to recomend Mr Marshall here but assumed Chris knew about him, but now that he’s shown up I’ll second the recomendation, he’s always seemed like a good sport to me."

But the very next comment made an accusation that suddenly caused me to see the light:

Blog whoring again, DM?

And so I replied:

No, Otrame, I’m not “blog whoring,” I’m answering the OP by recommending a good (I think) discussion forum that meets the criteria mentioned above.

If I were to recommend my books, and they were on-subject, I wouldn’t see anything perverse, sinful or kinky about that, either. If you own an ice cream parlor, and someone asks, “Where can I get some good ice cream?”, and you really do think your ice cream is optimal, would saying so constitute “banana split whoring” in your eyes? (Not that I make any money from on-line activity, which is mostly a temptation.)

Beware of the "damned if you do, damned if you don't" mentality that you so often find among fanatics, like those who dominate Pharyngula. 

And if you disagree with me, and have a legitimate site to back up your point (this does require a certain level of trust, don't abuse it, and please give us reason to trust you by thoughtful comments in the first place) feel free to supplement your comments by linking to an appropriate site. 

8 comments:

Matthew Schultz said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Matthew Schultz said...

That's because their objections are not principled. They have only one ultimate goal, and that is to silence you. They hate what you stand for, and since it's impossible to truly destroy ideas, they hate those who embody any belief system that calls them to repentance to a God they ultimately know exists.

One of the first steps in silencing an opponent is discrediting them, hence false charges of "whoring" and "lack of evidence."

Thankfully, for you at least, their methods are patently self-contradictory, and serve only to underscore the asinine nature of a movement whose allegiance to "reason" is in name only.

XAtheistX said...

Dave, I have read your conversations with the atheists at Myer's blog and they were right. You don't provide evidence. I may have missed a few discussions where you have linked to your blog but this doesn't erase the fact that more often than not you refuse to give evidence for your views. Even the few times you have provided evidence the evidence you cite is either a) entirely wrong, or b) is heavily skewed because you ignore contrary evidence. Your stats about women and Christianity is a perfect example.

Matthew Schultz said...

XAtheistX,

Let's assume your prejudicial characterization is correct. Who cares? It's not like on atheism we have any obligation to provide evidence for our beliefs.

Crude said...

In my experience, David not only provides considerable amounts of evidence, as well as argument, but he also does so with some tremendous calm and grace - often in the face of opposition the lack all of the above.

And, I'd say, this is particularly prevalent with his arguments relating to women and Christianity. What often happens is that people don't like the arguments and data David presents, so they ignore it. When he explains why the arguments and evidence they're proposing don't establish what they hope, they ignore that too.

David B Marshall said...

I don't want to go on about Pharyngula too much: for those who give them, I'm sure hundreds of variants (or repetitions) on "FU!" constitute a cumulatively persuasive intellectual warrant for the skeptical position. And they caused me neither harm nor much emotional turmoil, aside from a little sadness. If I see opportunity (and have time) for real intellectual engagement with someone there, I'll be happy to wade through the muck again. (My challenge was usually to PZ, who like most of his followers, used insults to duck that challenge, or to try to scare Christians off.)

But aside from the Catch-22 mentality of many skeptics, described above, there was one sense in which I did "duck questions," and will do so again. That's when the question is patently insincere or off-topic. Very often, the attitude on Pharyngula is, "If a Christian shows up, no matter what the subject -- say, the Faucklands War -- he has to drop everything and prove to our satisfaction (which will of course never be given) that God exists, never mind what he's actually commenting about. Otherwise he has no right to say anything."

That's an absurd requiremet. When people make it, I tend to blow them off, on principle. (Unless I sense real sincerity behnd the question -- which has not happened yet.)

XAtheistX said...

Matthew: My characterization is correct. "On atheism we have no obligation to provide evidence. " WTF? This makes no sense.

Crude: I didn't say Dave always refused to provide evidence but his record of refusing to do so beats out the number of times he has.

Dave: I have to agree that the atheists who want proof of god no matter the topic in discussion are being silly. This doesn't do to answer the charge against you about failing to give evidence. Wouldn't you agree that in discussions evidence and sources should be provided willingly by both parties? Shouldn't this be standard in discussions like the ones between atheists and Christians? This way no one can just pull facts out their rear end and discussions can advance. So by refusing it makes it seem like you haven't got a strong case or that you've fudged the data in some way. By being more willing to give your sources I think you would avoid accusations like the ones in your blogger post.

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