As always, check here for more Screwballs who didn't earn Gold. No gold emails this time, so we do to...

The August 2012 John Loftus Collection

John is winning his likely Platinum over on Randal Rauser's blog, where they're talking about how he went ballistic over a blurb someone wrote that he didn't think was suitably curtsy-q enough towards him. Highlights -- a guy styled "Crude" had posted:

'll say only one thing about this before moving on, because I don't want to flog a dead horse. I disagree with some of what you say, and agree with other things. You are talented, thoughtful, and you have communication skill. But you made a mistake by co-writing a book with Loftus - he is beneath you in terms of skill, intellect, and absolutely in terms of professionalism and engagement.

I will, frankly, consider you to have done Loftus some act of kindness by co-writing a book with him. A kind of "Man, this guy is a mediocrity at best, a hack at worst, and pretty unprofessional - but I'll throw him a bone" moment. But really, I hope this is the last of your cooperation with him. Find another, better atheist, because Loftus is just trying to cling to you as you gain prominence.

(And just in case Loftus storms in here screaming about how people are afraid of him and that's why anyone ever criticizes his abilities: Loftus, all I'm saying is the truth. How's the Denny's app going?)

He's got that right. Here's a set of Loftus' replies, f-bombs and such edited.

(to Rauser) You realize of course, that any personal attack on me as a credible opponent is also a personal attack on you for having co-authored our book. The very fact you did says something against what these hacks are saying. If you are a credible scholar then they shouldn't say these things, even if you may like hearing you are way above me. Just keep that in mind and keep on being the Switzerland of the net.

Crude go [aerate] yourself. I will gladly ridicule ignoramuses like you.

(to Rauser) No, but If you want a civil discussion from me then you should not make these people feel welcome. I think you did that with your first response though. Just a fair warning. I do not take kindly to lies about me, and Crude has already done that since it's clear he thinks of me as a threat while disingenuously saying I am not one.

I don't think you understand. I do not give a [scat], never did. I will not be linking to any Christian blogs at this point from now on. I have given them too much of an audience as it is. You're all on your own now, delusional people on a par with Scientologists, and I mean that. [Golly], it's hard dealing with [scat] for brains and acting like they have them.

Then, nice bit from Crude:

You just accused me of lying. Put up or shut up: what lies did I say? Point them out, quote me, let's see the links. If you can't manage this, I demand a retraction on your part. Or I'm going to accuse you of lying and slander in turn.

And, 'threat'? I used to call you the Jim Bakker of atheism, until I realized that was incorrect: Bakker was vastly more successful, and had talent. Frankly, your atheism is the least offensive part of your entire act. I have a low opinion of your behavior, your professionalism, your tone, your skill, and your intellect.

Sometimes, when a man tells you "you're rotten at what you do" it's not because he finds you threatening, or he's secretly jealous, or any other number of psychological coping mechanisms you cling to. Sometimes, the explanation is simple: you truly are rotten at what you do.

I'll give Rasuer an award too for thinking this was all a good idea. As one commenter says:

Randall, when you agreed to work with that dishonest man, you dirtied yourself. What do you expect from Loftus? Graciousness? Magnanimity? No, he comes on here calling people names like he does on his blog, and then he has the gall to pretend like he above such things. I seriously think he has become what he so often accuses others of...delusional. In fact, I am starting to feel sorry for the guy. He has wasted his life.

And, David Marshall wins the Gold Naivete Award:

I don't dislike John [Loftus] as much as many Christians seem to. He does self-promote: I think he is in some trouble over finances, feeling his apostacy cost him a career that he'd invented heavily in. But I don't really believe he has that high an opinion of himself. In fact, I find him more conscious of his faults that many atheists. He's very erratic, but he's neither stupid nor ignorant. I recently wrote a blurb for his new "debate book" with Christian philosopher Randal Rauser: it's actually pretty good, and both men get in their licks.

The Random Skeptic Collection

P. Z. Myers misses the mark:

We can make all the philosophical and scientific arguments that anyone might want, but ultimately what it all reduces to is a simple question: do women have autonomous control of their bodies or not?

14 year old DarkMatter2525 fan The SpitFury:

Don't bother with Darkmatter. He's actually very funny to us atheists and if you keep on refuting him when he doesn't actually say anything back it's just going to make you look bad.

YT user mickymauzer, on my point that Israel obviously did not fight cattle:

Why not? I mean, they had all kinds of animals to worry about those days: talking snakes forcing people into sin, talking donkeys, demon-possessed pigs. Why couldn't it be that cows were among those animals that time? I mean, maybe some talking cows started conspiring against the Yahweh?

Tony, on defining marriage:

Here's the thing none of you can apparently see: your position requires reasons & justifications, mine doesn't. I support any 2 adult humans getting married (with a reasonable exception for relation). Period. I don't need justification to back my position because I'm not restricting/denying anything. You have to have reasons to back your position because you're putting conditions on others.

YT user TheTexanCanadian simplifies matters for us:

The kalam argument fails on its first premise because it would require the universe to have began existing, and also it is an unsupportable argument in that it's impossible at present to prove that the universe began to exist from literal nothingness, and even if you could somehow prove that it did, that still doesn't prove it was a specific deity who was responsible. Plus the fact that an omnipresent, omnibenevolent, omnipotent and omniscient being is a logical contradiction, and it's a mess.

RaynorGo hyperbolizes:

So your god couldn't bring about his plan of salvation without first instituting a totalitarian regime that makes Uganda and North Korea almost look compassionate?

The Confused Theists Collection

A Buddhist meditates on this non sequitur:

Big Turnout for Support Chick-Fil-A Day...and their fatty foods that help fuel hate. There were big turnouts for cross burnings and lynchings also back in the day. Do people forget that the KKK was also a Christian organization?

Rachel Evans wins for whining about Chick-Fil-a day and claiming it nearly made her apostasize.

Wiccan technomage needs to keep his yap shut:

"The apologetics side of it" is not sufficient for an accurate understanding of an argument. Indeed, considering the cherry-picking and selective acceptance of evidence that some apologetes practice, it may very well be worse than abject ignorance.

Yup. Even if I gave reams of evidence, I doubt you would consider one iota of it: therefore, I'm not going to waste my time to dig it up, nor yours to ignore it.

You have Gospel writers who in some cases could not even get the geography straight. You had one Gospel writer ("Matthew") who twisted just about any prophecy he could find to "match" Jesus' life, and when he couldn't understand the prophecy, he had Jesus riding on two asses at once. You have one ("John") who made stuff up out of whole cloth to suit his doctrinal preferences.

The "witness" of Jesus s no more extraordinary than the "witness" of Aradia, and even though I'm Wiccan, I explicitly reject any historicity to that tale.

An orthodox Jewish person wins for this end-around:

Frequently, at the Kotel, I have the opportunity to try to help non-Jews. The vast majority of the non-Jewish visitors who come to the Kotel have studied Christianity, so I use that as a base to move them toward truth. The conversation usually goes like this:

“Tell me, according to your religion, is G-d in the heart of the devil?”

They are almost always taken aback by the question or they blurt out, “No way!”

“That’s why we say that your religion has a small god. Because your god is only in the good. The G-d of the Bible is everywhere. King David wrote, ‘If I make my bed in hell, you are there.’[ii] G-d is even in hell. G-d is unlimited. But you have a limited god.”

To become “believers” in their religion, many of them go through a rite, “asking god into their heart.” After they do so, they believe that G-d is then in there, and all they have to do from then on is to believe, and follow their bible. So, I also ask them, “Since G-d is everywhere, you did not have to ask Him into your heart, did you? He was in there before you were.” Although they have to be closed-minded to protect themselves from change, they walk away from this brief exchange with ideas that challenge those false beliefs.

Facebook commenter (who is wrong, BTW, about what is reported in NDEs):

I believe that we make our heaven and we make our hell . I believe there are different religions based on different people's beliefs. In the Old Testament it states that God made different languages based on different people . Is it unfair to say that he may have done the same with religion? That all of these religions, all of these Gods, are different versions of the same God?

And while, like stated above, in the bible it says that Isaiah was terrified when he entered this "heaven" because he himself was a sinner, Colton is just a four-year-old boy . He is of the most innocent of human beings. It makes sense that he was able to see these people in heaven because he does not yet know what it is to sin. We are being too demanding of a three year old boy. I know people who've had Near Death Experiences amd every single one has told of the same pearly white gates that are mentioned in this novel.

Im not saying that this is necessarily true because, honestly, i just dont know. Because I haven't ever experienced heaven and neither have most if you.

Screwball to Roseanne Barr for saying that anyone who eats at Chick-Fil-A "deserves to get cancer." Love and tolerance at its best.

Commenter on a Kansas City Star article wins, for this on a story about a man who tried to run off to Canada with a 12 year old girl he met online:

As I have asked so many times in these forums, "what harm befell the girl?" The man will likely spend decades in prison at our expense. For what? You know, the dumb goobers really do fall in love with them. I don't know what to do about them, but I don't think that little girl has been harmed one iota, except perhaps by exposure to law enforcement.

Screwball to the Chick-Fil-A protestors in Chicago who bullied a homeless man who was reading his Bible and preaching. Real class act there -- something like 5 against 1 in presence; beefy young men surrounding a somewhat frail, older man, and hoisting the usual "arguments by outrage" that they'd get splattered on if they tried it on Theologyweb.

Stating the obvious screwball, about books in Christian schools:

My study, as researchers Dan Fleming and Thomas Hunt also concluded in their study published in the March 1987 Phi Delta Kappan, shows that the textbooks and materials are clearly biased toward a conservative fundamentalist outlook.