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Old 5th January 2018, 08:45 PM
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Default How To Own a Fundie Nicely

I listened to this old Dan Barker debate today and I thought it was a good primer for atheists that are looking for "respectful" ways of conducting meaningful discussions with Christian fundamentalists.

It also occurred to me that even with the best arguments against fundamentalist religiosity, you will never win over someone that has been heavily indoctrinated for years. It could help with people that are fence-sitters though. See:

http://www.flamewarrior.com/barker_interview.htm

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In November of 2002, Dan Barker, former evangelist and author of "Losing Faith In Faith", and co-president of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, was interviewed by Jason Gastrich, by phone, on his christian radio show.

The interview is a classic and should be essential reading for anyone who has ever been involved in a debate with a fundamentalist. Dan Barker calmly, elegantly, and with a mixture of surgical precision and nuclear destruction, dismantles every silly, misinformed, and specious argument and stereotype thrown up by Mr. Gastrich.

In the vernacular, Dan "tore him a new ass hole", but he did it nice. My mental picture has the interviewer scurrying out of the studio, bloody, near tears, and pleading, "No more! No more!" It had to be an embarrassing ordeal for Mr. Gastrich. But, it is a great read and a primer for your next inevitable skirmish with a proselytizing bibler.
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Old 5th January 2018, 09:54 PM
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Default Re: How To Own a Fundie Nicely

Hmmm.

Coupla points.

Barker wasn't talking to Gastrich, he was talking to Gastrich's audience.

Gastrich himself then immediately went on to repeat the same crap again and again, on air and in print.
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Old 5th January 2018, 10:44 PM
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Default Re: How To Own a Fundie Nicely

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Loki said View Post
Hmmm.

Coupla points.

Barker wasn't talking to Gastrich, he was talking to Gastrich's audience.

Gastrich himself then immediately went on to repeat the same crap again and again, on air and in print.
Thanks Loki. Do you know any links to Gastrich's much later responses? This link wasn't very helpful:
http://www.flamewarrior.com/gastrich_response.htm
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Old 5th January 2018, 11:22 PM
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Default Re: How To Own a Fundie Nicely

Not terribly interested coz he isn't terribly interesting.

He did quite a number of those "debates", provided comic relief at a number of fora, got busted using sockpuppets to talk up fundagelicalism on Wiki and wrote a few books, including "
The Skeptic's Annotated Bible: Corrected and Explained" which was so bad a fundy "university" awarded him a PHD for it.
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Old 5th January 2018, 11:37 PM
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Default Re: How To Own a Fundie Nicely

Ha, just noticed the other link in the OP article, leads here.

Seems Gastrich emailed him complaining Barker caught him unawares and he only got completely owned coz he was being nice and definitely not because he had no answers and couldn't argue his way out of a wet paper bag with a chainsaw and a map.

Enough said?
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Last edited by Loki; 5th January 2018 at 11:39 PM.
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Old 6th January 2018, 06:12 AM
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Default Re: How To Own a Fundie Nicely

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Ha, just noticed the other link in the OP article, leads here.

Seems Gastrich emailed him complaining Barker caught him unawares and he only got completely owned coz he was being nice and definitely not because he had no answers and couldn't argue his way out of a wet paper bag with a chainsaw and a map.

Enough said?
Yeah, that's what I pointed out earlier. The links at the bottom of it were broken and I wanted to see him fumble again - but I'll get over it Ta for letting us know about his "rebuttal" to the SAB. He threatened that he was going to do that in the interview with Dan. I thought it was interesting that Jason said he was mostly convinced of the accuracy of the Bible because of the so called prophecies. Which led me to this article: https://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Biblical_prophecies Do you or anyone else know of any other resources on this topic?
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Old 7th January 2018, 12:56 AM
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Default Re: How To Own a Fundie Nicely

Thanks SEG.

Dan Barker is obviously far too intelligent for formulaic religion. He also has the courage to engage original thinking.

Jason Gastrich doesn't evidence any such thing. He couldn't keep up. He just downloads the received spiel like a JW does. He doesn't actually have a position, sounds like a bot. Barker runs rings around him. He is there for the audience.

Gastrich is so invested I doubt he experiences cognitive dissonance at all. Too far gone. But did I detect him hiding nervousness? He is intransigent.
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Old 8th January 2018, 06:14 PM
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Default Re: How To Own a Fundie Nicely

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Thanks SEG.

Dan Barker is obviously far too intelligent for formulaic religion. He also has the courage to engage original thinking.

Jason Gastrich doesn't evidence any such thing. He couldn't keep up. He just downloads the received spiel like a JW does. He doesn't actually have a position, sounds like a bot. Barker runs rings around him. He is there for the audience.

Gastrich is so invested I doubt he experiences cognitive dissonance at all. Too far gone. But did I detect him hiding nervousness? He is intransigent.
NP Strato. I wonder if he was serious when he said that he would castrate himself if God told him to? I reckon he was "point scoring" when he said that, knowing full well that he would never get the instruction.

Every time he got destroyed, he just changed tack. He even allowed Dan a plug at the end, which he took full advantage of.

I liked the debate because it was conducted in a friendly manner. It also made me realise that no amount of solid debating will change anyone's mind that is already made up.

I remember Dan Barker debating George Pell at Macquarie Uni a few years ago and thinking it was the worst debate that I have ever seen because of the total inadequacy of Pell to string words together logically. I like how Barker crafts his debates, but it was a wasted experience with Pell who was just cringe-worthy.
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Old 8th January 2018, 07:12 PM
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Default Re: How To Own a Fundie Nicely

I think it is not just about tearing down delusions, but demonstrating there is another way, and build on what is there [if anything].

Discarding one paradigm and adopting another is a huge and difficult and frightening thing. [I am not talking here about the ideological warriors for doctrine, but the people who have been duped by them].

With this in mind, my limited experience at "de-conversations" seems to point to:-

1. Threat reduction that is compatible with the truth. For example, the [perceived] threat science poses for faith. This not only includes examples of scientists who are also religious, but emphasising what is true about science. In other words, science is reality-agnostic. If it were not so, science would stop doing experiments. These people already have their "truths" [beliefs in god etc]. That is their perceived "reality". Trying to go head-on against that, and you will almost always get so much resistance, they won't concede anything, even if, in the heart-of-hearts, they think you are right.

You need a strategy that our enemies already use on us. The "wedge" strategy, but in this case, we are being honest brokers. In other words, don't insist on correcting every misconception they have, but try to wedge in alternate explanations, not with the aim of directly destroying their faith [in fact they are the only ones who can do that], but to set up a non-threatening [or at least low threat] alternative reality that they can understand, at least intellectually. Science is no [direct] threat to religion. The potential conflict lies entirely at the epistemological level of discourse.

The only hope you have of changing their minds is not to just pick holes in their nonsense, but construct something that their minds can work on.

Find points in their world views that do conform [at least roughly] to a reasonable view of reality/nature. Because it is impossible to live your life completely in "supernatural" mode. Reality intrudes when these people want to cross a busy road/highway, or "balance their chequebook", or taking out he garbage or whatever. We just have to get them to regard more phenomena as natural, rather than supernatural.
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Old 8th January 2018, 11:48 PM
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Default Re: How To Own a Fundie Nicely

I agree DBd.

And what you yourself expound on, evolution by natural selection and epistemology, how knowledge is acquired and accumulated are the themes it is most expedient to stick to in such engagements.

Jason Gastrich asked Dan Barker where morality came from? A perfect question opportunity to provide the Darwinian account, the right explanation. Evolution is the account of biological life. That is awesome.The meme is a brilliant, neo-Darwinian insight into cultural evolution.

Clearly Gastrich is clueless on evolution. Barker should really study the subject. There is a bit to it.

I thought Gastrich was a curmudgeon. Also just going through the motions, mulish. Barker was doing all the higher order thinking for him. Gastrich then emailed that he had been too easy on Barker, all in the name of civility and amity. Grasping to reinstate the preeminence of his rap.

Also I think Barker's lifelong ardour for the truth was his eventual salvation. Intellectual honesty led him to enlightenment after being this kind of super-Christian, living 'by faith.' His account of his Christian life, at the beginning of the podcast is pretty interesting.
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