Five Original Arguments in My Book

A few Christian reviewers of my book, some of whom show no evidence they have even read it, claim there is nothing new in it. I beg to differ.

For people looking for new arguments I actually think I can count five new ones that have probably never been used before in one book (at least not in the way I do that I know of). That's quite an accomplishment since most people don't come up with a new argument their entire lives. It has been quipped, "Confound the ancients; they've stolen all of our ideas." New arguments are hard to come by because there have been thousands of years of books that predate ours. A.N. Whitehead said all philosophy is but a footnote to Plato (This is a gross exaggeration).

And yet, I think there are five things in my book that are probably original to it: 1) My outsider test for faith; 2) my version of the problem of evil (which assumes God exists); 3) Testing the results of prayer by praying to change the past; 4) Looking at the superstitious nature of the people in the Bible (this has been suggested before but mine is probably the first detailed discussion of it); 5) the structure of the whole book itself having three parts containing one cumulative and comprehensive argument against Christian theism.

Some very good reviews are being written about it, for which I'm very thankful. [I update this link periodically.]

14 comments:

J.L. Hinman said...

Reviwers don't read your book because you don't understand publishing. you are so cheap you wont give a review copy. you don't understand that's thw way the game is palyed. they are not trying to cheat you out of money, all reviewers expect free review copies. I used to run a journal and I got books just by asking, not because I'm cheap, but because it would bankrupt me to have to buy the books I would review.

You refuese to give review copies that's just like spitting in their faces. You can't understand that you have to grease the wheel. Put yourself out a few books to get a slew of reviewers on your side you will sell more books. Piss them off and you will sell less books.

Jason tried to tell you this but you don't listen.

You send me a free review copy and I'll review it for CADRE Blog, and my two blogs. And I'll put the review on Doxa.

I am serious, it's the just the SOP for all publishing and all publishers expect it. Not giving free review copies is like when someone puts his hand out to shake hands you say "what? are you asking me to give you something?" and then spitting on it.

J.L. Hinman said...

hey John haven't I proved I'm your pal? I wouldn't steer you wrong.

John W. Loftus said...

Yes, Joe, I consider you my friend, but if you want a review copy contact Prometheus Books. I don't see why they wouldn't do that for you. Just tell them your credentials and about your Blog. I hope they send one to you. And, I look forward to your review.

Darrin said...

J.L., I think John pays for his own copies of his book that he has in print (John correct me if I'm wrong about this). John may not wish to give away copies he's had to purchase under Prometheus rules for a review that may or may not come, and may or may not be a sufficient one if it does.

John, perhaps scanning up a PDF or make a text file copy of your book may work? It might ultimately mean a lesser percentage of reviewers, but if you give it to people whom you assess have proper credentials for a review (and whom are trustworthy enough to not give it away on Limewire or whatever) the extra folks would counterbalance that effect. I'm sure many Christians out there would give an honest lengthy response to your book if they received one via this method, given the sweeping case it presents and the commentary it has already gathered.

J.L. Hinman said...

sorry that I'm behind on the buzz but I don't have time to follow all the developments at DC. I didn't know you had a publisher. that may be old news, but I've been busy writing my own book.

So what you say makes sense. But I am responding to a context as I understood from some time ago.

Congratulations btw.

John W. Loftus said...

Yes, Darrin, except for a few free copies I pay for my own copies of my book.

Joe, did you click on the link of reviews in this post? There are a number of more than adequate reviews already out there.

And, a few more reviews are about to be published in a few Christian Journals that I know of by James F. Sennett, Douglas Groothuis, Richard G. Howe, and Craig Hazen.

Hambydammit said...

Wow, John. Original? Really? Are you sure you don't want to restate that slightly? Using a new example in an old argument isn't a new argument. It's a new example. Praying for something physically impossible and noting that it doesn't happen isn't a new argument. Have you noticed a website called whywontgodhealamputees.com ?

I read your blog post on the OTF, and don't see anything revolutionary. What's new about the process you went through with Matt?

Would you like me to point to at least a half a dozen places where I've addressed the problem of evil by assuming god exists? That's just me. I've heard that argument dozens of times from lots of people. I've heard Daniel Dennett speak about it, if you're trying to say you're the only *published* person to do it.

I'm rather surprised that you think you're the first person to go into detail about the superstitious nature of the bible and its writers/followers. You've read Joseph Campbell before, right?

As for creating a literary triptych, um... do you know what an argument is? An argument is an interconnected series of statements intended to establish a proposition. (Thanks, Monty Python!) It's not how many sections are in your book.

I've read the reviews of your book, and some of them are very good. I don't doubt that you present some fine interpretations of the age old rational responses to the fallacies of theism. But... honestly, John, do you want to set yourself up for a philosophical fall by claiming original arguments?

I've said it before, and I'll say it again that one of the things that changes when you switch sides from religion to rationalism is that you have to play by the rules of critical thought and epistemological correctness. If you have new arguments, that's one thing, but don't call a new spin on an old argument new. Call things what they are, please.

I just looked at Amazon and your book seems to be doing well. Good for you. But seriously, dude, there's a point where empty self aggrandizement is going to bite you in the ass.

John W. Loftus said...

It's crytstal clear to me Hambydammit that you have not read my book to be able to comment on it, and yet you did. I think you should become better informed before making ignorant statements, but then that's what I've seen before from you. You're a one issued conspiracy theorist. Anyone who disagrees with you on that one issue gets your wrath, even if ignorant. You do not know what it takes to win over the minds of Christians. I do. But because we disagree on whether or not Jesus existed you seek to poo poo my book.

Grow up child. My book may or may not be all that people say it is, but you haven't a clue about it at all.

Hambydammit said...

John, that's why I formed my response as a question. I asked you if maybe you shouldn't consider rephrasing, and then I offered my reasons for thinking so. If you'll glance at my other comment, I happily admit that I am not qualified to make pronouncements. THAT'S WHY I ASKED A QUESTION.

Do you believe your arguments are truly new in form? If so, that's great. If they are new in example, or in "spin" (for lack of a better word) then do you have a reason for sticking to your guns and claiming them as new?

Or, did you just speak casually? Did you not mean that they are formally new? Were you just finding an impressive way to say that you've got a neat new spin on some old arguments?

John, I'm going to make you a promise. I'm going to read your book, although I'm probably just going to read it at the bookstore and put it back because I really don't like the way you've responded to me, and I don't feel like giving you money. I have read most of the atheist literature out there, John, and I'm familiar with just about every atheist argument there is. I've been doing this a lot longer than you have, my friend. If I find that you do not have new arguments, but new spins, I am going to use every resource available to me to point that out to as many people as possible.

If you do indeed have new formal arguments, I will publicly say so on this board, my board, and every other board on which I regularly post.

I'm not afraid of being wrong, John. Are you?

John W. Loftus said...

Hambydammit, I don't care if you read my book or not, but I expect that if you do what you said, you should keep your word.

Even though I think you'll agree with what I said here about the originality of a few arguments in my book (and if not, I expect you to provide evidence) I'll predict that you won't like it because I didn't write it with narrow-minded skeptics like you in mind who comment on a subject while clearly in a state of ignorance about it. Because you won't like it you'll tell other skeptics not to get it, completely disregarding the fact that one reader said of it that: "I have read numerous books regarding the subject matter you covered in your book and by far, John, yours is the best one for Christians to read. There is no drug we can give a Christian to get them to see how irrational Christianity and all other religions truly are. However, in my opinion, this book is next best thing."

Even though many people think my book is the best antidote to Christianity, the fact is that you will not recommend it because you will not agree with the manner and the way that I argue. You also have a personal grudge with me because I disagree with you on a minor issue and choose instead to focus on the majors. You demand conformity of thought, don't you? You have a cookie cutter mentality, don't you? And so I doubt you can be objective about my book for these reasons.

Those are my predictions. Don't let me down.

------------

For anyone reading this exchange between the annonymous Hambydammit and me, you should know we have had a history. I always treat people respectfully who treat me respectfully. If I'm out of character then it's because of the person I'm dealing with.

John W. Loftus said...

By the way Hambydammit, judge what I actually said. You can read can't you?

I said:

For people looking for new arguments I actually think I can count five new ones that have probably never been used before in one book (at least not in the way I do that I know of).

I feel that with ignorant axe-to-grind narrow minded skeptics like you that I'm back in church with that cookie cutter mentality I spoke of earlier.

And yes, I'm taunting you. Skim through a few pages of my book at a bookstore and find some things in it you don't like. Then make an ass of yourself by posting all over the net that my book isn't a good one or that it doesn't live up to the hype. I don't care about that either (surprise!). You will just discredit your anonymous self (no wonder you won't tell us your real name or who your best friend on the net is--I think I know). Those who have read my book will eat you alive. Who cares about changing the minds of Christians, eh, for you have personal issues at stake. Let Christians beat the door down to answer the four horsemen. Steer them away from what most readers consider to be the book that has the best chance to change the Christian mind.

You remind me of a saying: No matter what side of an argument you're on, you always find some people on your side that you wish were on the other Side. -Jascha Heifetz

John W. Loftus said...

Hamby is temporarily banned for being ignorant and disrespectful, which, if he could read is part of our comment policy.

Nontheless he just tried to post this:

John, I'm going to read every word of your book. It may surprise you to learn this, but I read every word of every book I critique. Funny, eh? Knowing what you're talking about? Neat concept.

Now why in hell should I want to continue on with the likes of him? I have enough trouble dealing with idiot Christians with axes to grind and personal issues than to have to deal with idiot skeptics with axes to grind and personal issues.

I can almost guarantee that Hamby will scrutinize it with a fine toothed comb in order to nitpick it to death. In one sense I will enjoy reading what he has to say for he'll probably be right about those specific things and I can learn from him, as I do with anyone who knows something more than I do about one of the many topics I write about. So I don't mind pissing him off to get his best shot. Go ahead, show me where I'm wrong. I'll like it. But on the other hand it'll be interesting to see him argue against the overwhelming number of people on both sides of the fence that it isn't worth the paper it's printed on, if he does. THAT will discredit him.

You've read the reviews Hamby. Here are a couple of other ones:

First click here, and then click here. Notice in this second one I entered the discussion and said exactly what you will not like about my book. I will admit you won't like some things in it, and I say why. It's because I'm writing to convince Christians, not skeptics. Someone has to try to bridge the gap betwen us. All that I've seen so far are tomes written for each respective choir. But here's the problem you face. If it is indeed the best (or one of the best) antidotes to Christianity, then why would you desire to discourage people from buying and reading it? Are we not a minority seeking to persuade delusional Christians to abandon their faith? If so, then even though skeptics might not appreciate how I argue against Christianity shouldn't they still help promote it if they want to actually change the religious landscape in America? That'll be your choice.

I'd actually like to hope that after reading it you'll indeed help promote it, and you'll see I do know what I'm talking about, and that we will become friends in a common cause. I really think you'll like it and want to recommend it. I really do. But if you don't then I can't help you.

Eric said...

"3) Testing the results of prayer by praying to change the past"

I don't think there's any meaningful sense in which this is new since Aquinas was dealing with remarkably similar challenges over seven hundred years ago.

John W. Loftus said...

No doubt theologians have been asking whether or not God could change the past. Is backward causation possible? Does time flow in one direction? These are different times we live in where such things are not only possible but probable so what Aquinas said is antiquated. I merely introduced the element of prayer into this subject, and if that's new then that's new. If God has foreknowledge then he can do something differently in the past based upon prayers he foreknows in the future, and if that's so let's test it. What are you really afraid of here...that your faith will fail the test? Sure it is, otherwise you'd embrace the test.

Figures.