Sometimes the question of why interact with pop Gnus with strange arguments, like John Loftus or Richard Carrier, comes up. I noticed this morning that I'd explained my thinking on this on an obscure forum at this already obscure blog a few months ago pretty succinctly.
Sam: You really need to ignore John Loftus. He's nothing but a pseudo intellectual crackpot borderline narcissist.
David: We're all borderline narcissists, Sam. If I ignore the narcissists, I'll have to go join the nihilists, if they'll have me.
I think John raises interesting questions. I think those questions, properly understood, can help point people to the truth. I don't rebut Loftus because his arguments are terrifying, I rebut him because they are promising.
And the same, I think, should go for rebutting Avalos, Carrier, Dawkins, Dennett, Ehrman, Harris, Pagels, Price, etc. Sometimes they represent challenges -- and let's be honest enough to admit those challenges -- but nineteen times out of twenty, they represent opportunities. That's because the truth usually consists not of just saying, "You're wrong," but "You're right as well as wrong, and you haven't yet seen the quarter of it."
In other words, low-hanging fruit often tastes sweet, and one can gather a lot of it quickly.
Call that, my Philosophy of Lazy Apologetics. (PHLAP)