Saturday, March 18, 2017

When Parody Turns On Itself

I have found myself the subject of yet another post at Christian Cadre.  This time, by none other than JP Holding.  JP is somewhat famous for making gratuitously insulting responses to well-known atheists, such as Ed Babinski, Robert Price, and Bart Ehrman.  Should I feel honored by this?  Hardly.  JP doesn't know the difference between a scholarly argument and a third-grader's crude retort.  To him. they're all just "fundy atheists", they're all stupid, and they can all be answered with facile responses.  Check out his channel at YouTube.  There, you will find many cartoon videos that go something like this:
Stupid atheist says some thing stupid.
Smart Christian says something clever to prove him wrong.
The End.

It is not my purpose here to whine about the fact that Holding has turned his acerbic wit against me.  OK.  It's a cute parody.  But there is one thing about it that I take issue with.  That is the idea that I will insult anyone who disagrees with me.  This is how his parody concludes:
So as you can see, if anything, the banana is prime evidence that if any God exists, he is a mean, nasty, disgusting, stupid, and pathetic moron! And if you don’t agree, you’re a snotty idiot and I don’t want to hear it!
Rather than a reflection of anything I have said, this is projection.  It might be informative to turn your attention to some of the other things JP says, because ridicule and insult seems to be rather typical of the way he addresses atheist arguments in general.  This is his stock in trade.  Let me quote from JP himself on the use of satire and insult in defense of religion:
It may not occur to those with less maturity that satire and riposte may be delivered calmly, rationally, and for targeted strategic purposes (eg, shaming those who err and mislead). ... they are offended by the possibility that such words as "moron" truly apply to them precisely because they lack intelligence; - JP Holding
Holding lives by those words.  Everyone who disagrees with him is stupid.  And by "everyone", I mean all atheists (and many Christians, as well).  And furthermore, for all these stupid people, he feels no obligation to tell the truth.
"It's quite clear that even you admit that 'honesty' works under the assumption that the recipient has a RIGHT to the truth. When they don't, the moral hierarchy shifts and it is patently absurd to call them 'lies' or 'deceptions' in a derogatory sense." - JP Holding
I should note that JP is no scholar.  He has a masters degree in library science, and his professional experience evidently consists of running a prison library. Nevertheless, he doesn't hesitate to challenge the work of actual scholars, and question their intelligence.  He has been around for a long time, and had run-ins with practically every well-respected atheist on the internet.  And as it turns out, they have a few things to say about him.  So let me just allow some of them to speak for themselves.  Please follow the links.

Jonathan MS Pearce: JP Holding and internet civility [miracles can happen! ;) ]


Hector Avalos: Dr. Hector Avalos Responds to JP Holding/Robert Turkel

Farrell Till: Reply to Robert Turkel (1998)

John Loftus: A Few Links About James P. Holding

James Lippard: Dishonesty by Robert Turkel (J.P. Holding)

Richard Carrier: The Rubicon Analogy

Ed Babinski: comments on Holding's theology in an e-mail

Matthew J. Green: Writing James P Holding Off!

The Anointed Tektonics Ministry Dishonesty (with more links)

There's plenty of material there to absorb.  Bad arguments, dishonest tactics, personal attacks and insults.  That's what we've heard about this guy for many years now.  So when he makes this little parody of me, I am amused.  What I see is a parody of him.


  1. I've always had a problem with any discussion of a persona intelligence (or lack thereof) - mainly because the concept of intelligence is so hard to pin down. IQ tests measure the thing that they measure but that may not be what we intuitively call intelligence.

    I also dislike bringing a participants intelligence into a discussion about the truth or falsehood of a proposition because a very smart person can be wrong and a dumb one can be right. However, there are certain mental processes that are associated with intelligence that our religious compatriots do seem to be sorely lacking in. One, in particular, is a seemingly, limited amount of imagination toward things that they don't believe. Our friends over a Dangerous Idea, just don't seem capable of imagining how the world, as we see it now, could come about by only natural processes.

    The discussions about the Crucifixion and the Resurrection show a severe lack of ability to imagine plausible alternatives to the official religious story line. The real problem is that there are so few actual historical facts from that period that there are too many plausible alternatives and no way to decide between them.

    1. This relates to another discussion I was recently involved in. It's about cognitive bias. Yes, we all have this, and it comes in many forms. Ideology is a major source of cognitive bias, and religion is a major form of ideology. There are many religious people who are very intelligent, but they suffer from this huge source of cognitive bias. This explains their lack of ability see alternatives to the religious story line.

      And in the case of JP Holding, it explains why he thinks everyone else is stupid.

    2. Other than to assuage my SIWOTE syndrome, the main reason that I visit religious websites is as a challenge to my own cognitive biases. I figure that if I can bring myself to understand their point of view (even if I disagree with it) then that is at least a step toward overcoming my own biases. But, then again, I'm rather partial to my own baises.

    3. that is suppose to be 'SIWOTI'.

    4. Is that self-referential or just meta?

    5. Is that self-referential or just meta?

      I'm not quite sure what you mean by that.

  2. I had a typo in my "Someone is wrong on the internet" acronym, which, of course, meant that I was 'wrong on the internet'.