What to Understand about the "Infamous Loftus Ego" and How to Deal With That Rascal ;-)

I think the most often repeated complaint against me is that I'm thin-skinned, that I don't respond to criticism very well. Whew! That's a relief. At least I'm not being accused of jaywalking too! Jaywalking? Ahhh yes, I think I have done that on occasion. The undeniable fact is that we all have personality flaws. What's yours? No, really, WHAT'S YOURS? Biblical advice might be useful here: "How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye?" And this: "He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone." It would seem as though my critics want me to be more like them. But if I were more like them then I would have their faults rather then mine, since we all have faults. Sorry, I like my faults better than theirs, thank you very much! Despite mine I'm a really good person. Still, let me tell you how to deal with that so-called "infamous Loftus ego." ;-)

When you look at those who accuse me of this, uh, crime, it always originates from one of my half-brained critics. It always originates from someone who wrote an ignorant response to me, one I was able to show wrong. They don't like it when I do this. Got it! Then don't do that. Contrary to their accusations I take all fair respectful criticisms seriously and as honestly as I can. It's just that most people cannot offer a fair criticism of my work and defend it when challenged. I'm so sorry to have to tell them this, but fair criticisms of my work usually don't come from non-credentialed people, community college students or people with a B.A. degree in computer science. After participating in online debates for about ten years I can say this. If someone starts off by being simplistic, or straw-manning me then he or she won't like my response. Get that!

The truth is I can legitimately choose to deal with any criticisms of my work that I want to. I'm doing nothing wrong when I do. If you think otherwise then tell me what I'm doing wrong? I could even try to deal with every criticism of my work if I wanted to, and I still would be doing nothing wrong. So don't call me thin-skinned if I try. You might legitimately ask why I have so much time on my hands if I do, but that's all you could say if I did. ;-)

Deal with my arguments! Stop the irrelevant ad hominems!

Robert Ingersoll was accused of lecturing for money. This is what he said in response:
The arguments I advance are either good or bad. If they are bad, they can easily be answered by argument. If they are not, they cannot be answered by personalities or ascribing to me selfish motives. It is not a personal matter. It is a matter of logic–not a matter of slander, vituperation or hatred. I presume I am about as bad as most folks, and as good as some, but my goodness or badness has nothing to do with the question. I may have committed every crime in the world, yet that does not make the story of the flood reasonable, nor does it tend to show that the three gentlemen in the furnace were not scorched. I may be the best man in the world, yet that does not go to prove that Jonah was swallowed by the whale. Source
This is my response to my critics too.

There are a few small-minded atheists who are best described as haters. Read this link grasshoppers! They are jealous people. Jealous people try to bring down the people who are above them. That's what jealous people do. Don't be like them. Focus on the substance of what is actually being said using the principle of charity. That shouldn't be hard to comprehend, right? I dare say there aren't too many times when my discussion partners, or debate opponents claim I didn't properly understand them. So to these haters I say, grow up. I treat adults as adults. You'll get no pampering from me if you act like children by nipping at my heels. For if I was to change and treat them as the children they are, they would complain anyway.

The Book Fanatic, who is one of my atheist critics precisely because of what I wrote above, recently stated this on Amazon, to which you can see my responses:

If you're going to criticize me then here are the nine commandments for dealing with me, the rascal that I am: 1) Don't be disrespectful of me, or condescending, ever; 2) Don't tell me I ought to be nice--which can anger me (in the same way as telling someone to laugh without saying something funny); 3) Don't just nitpick, find something important to discuss with me; 4) Don't disproportionately single me out for disagreement very often, that is, don't constantly pick on me, or don't dog my every step; 5) Don't mischaracterize something I've written; 6) Don't offer poor arguments without good evidence for conclusions that don't obtain, or aren't relevant; 7) Don't claim more than what your argument actually entails; 8) Don't ever tell me what to do; and by all means, 9) Don't repeatedly do 1-8! [Oh dear, I do have to come up with one more to make it an even 10].

Is that too much to ask? Until there are breeches in 1-9, but especially 9, I do very well thank you.

If you were to write on a daily basis for ten years against a delusion like I have done, then I suspect you would be a bit more antagonistic against faith like I've become. You would be less willing to take potshots from people on your own "side" of the fence, who have not done as much good in enlightening believers out of their faith as I have done. That is my goal. If you as an atheist don't share my goal then at least state it publicly, so people can know where our differences really lie.

Since the Book Fanatic mentioned Jeff Lowder, let's be clear. Lowder doesn't share my goal. His stated goal is the honest pursuit of truth. There is nothing wrong that goal. I embrace it myself. I have a whole chapter in "How to Defend the Christian Faith" arguing we ought to be first and foremost honest life-long seekers of the truth. (chapter 3). But I have concluded something in my pursuit. I've concluded that in all of its forms, and in varying degrees, the Christian faith is a delusion. Precisely because this is my conclusion I seek to change the minds of Christians, which is my main goal now. Lowder? Not so much. In fact, he stands in the way of my goal, and therefore he also stands in the way of any atheist who shares my goal. To see why I say this read the last paragraph of this post if you want to know.

For about 20 years Lowder has acted like he's still seriously considering vague theistic assertions. I find him dishonest for acting in this way, as if the atheistic case is not yet closed. Any atheist intellectual who thinks the case is still open for the possibility that vague theistic assertions can be true, after 20 years of serious study and discussion, is not being honest, or he's ignorant, or both. Sure, anything can happen in the future given our present ignorance, but we won't exist in the future. We live now. We want to know what the probabilities are now. Faith is no answer to the probabilities as we know them now. Why would any atheist argue in the same manner that Christian theists do? That just doesn't make any sense. Theists use future uncertainties to argue for their faith. Sure, maybe there's a remote possibility we'll have hard evidence in the future for an after-life, or that someday in the future we'll know why God created the world with so much suffering in it. But conjectures like these that punt to future possibilities don't count. Faith doesn't count. Again we must think exclusively in terms of the probabilities as we know them now. Why can't Lowder shake his faith? Faith is irrational.

There's more I could say. Unbelievable as it may sound, people like me, really like me. They do so because I am a likable guy. I enjoy people. I find people interesting. I make them laugh. However online, when it comes to 1-9 above, I can be a bad ass for some of the reasons I just wrote. You want to deal with the "Infamous Loftus ego" then do not piss him off. ;-)

Let me end with what Ed Suominen recently said to encourage me:
Don’t let them grind you down. You are one of the single most important authors in this field, one that remains of critical importance to help people who are stuck in the situation I am so delighted to report I escaped from. And I did so thanks in part to your writing.
Ed is the co-author with Robert M. Price of the brilliant book, Evolving out of Eden.

Wait, what's that I see growing bigger? Can you see it? There's that "infamous Loftus ego" trying to rear it's head again! Seriously though, it keeps me going. It's partially what makes me who I am. Without it I probably wouldn't even be arguing online. It's a double-edged sword that cuts both ways. You have to take the good with the bad, as I have repeatedly said. This time I was almost ready to quit from the back and forth on Amazon with the nutcases. Not just that alone but along with other life pressures. Ed's comment helped me decide not to quit. Aren't you glad? You should be if you share my goal. If you don't, piss on ya, get ought of my way. I get attacked so often without much personal reward for what I do, that it's nice to be rewarded once in a while. Several people, especially Hector Avalos here, and Peter Boghossian there (?), have come through at poignant times for me, for which I am very grateful.

I need to ignore those few atheist critics of mine. Maybe I can do better now after finally putting this all out there. For in the future I can just link to this post and tell them to leave me the hell alone.