Showing posts sorted by relevance for query Dustin Lawson. Sort by date Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query Dustin Lawson. Sort by date Show all posts

Two Awesome Guys, Frank Zindler and Dustin Lawson

I had a delightful day with Frank Zindler and Dustin Lawson (Dustin is pictured in the middle). Frank is awesome. I know a little about a lot of things whereas he knows a lot about a lot of things, it seems to me. He is the past president of American Atheists and editor of the American Atheist Press. They drove 3 1/2 hours to visit little ole' me. What an honor it was! I counted it a rare pleasure to hear him dramatically read the last chapter of his new book, Bart Ehrman and the Quest of the Historical Jesus of Nazareth: An Evaluation of Ehrman's Did Jesus Exist?He is one of the few people I think bested William Lane Craig in a debate, which can be viewed right here. Dustin Lawson is awesome as well. He was Josh McDowell's protege. McDowell goes around to churches telling them to try to disprove Christianity. Well, Dustin listened to him and followed his advice! Guess what happened? ;-) Dustin is the author of Christian Agnostic: The Doubt Jesus Requires his Followers to Have.McDowell will probably never mention Dustin unless asked. So ask him. See what he says. Frank brought together two former proteges of the two most famous evangelical Christian apologists. I liked it.

Dustin Lawson on my book "Unapologetic"

Dustin Lawson just wrote me:

"I was looking into a doctorate in philosophy of religion at Ohio State University then I picked up and read your book "Unapologetic." Now, I am reconsidering."

Dustin is a former disciple of Josh McDowell, yes that McDowell, the father of Sean McDowell. ;-)

The Josh McDowell Test for Faith!

Hey you who are indoctrinating your children. [See "Indoctrination" tag below] Yes you! What have you done to make sure you're religious faith is correct that's different from what other believers have done, who were raised to believe differently, and are equally sure they're religious faith is correct? If you have done NOTHING but accept your indoctrination then you are ignorant fools. If you have done NOTHING DIFFERENT than others you have no warrant to indoctrinate your children.
David Marshall showed up on Facebook with something irrelevant, saying: "Maybe the inability to persuade is why atheists have among the least success in passing their beliefs on to the next generation." But surely, if he read what I wrote and thought about all the religious parents indoctrinating their kids out there, he should agree with me. Otherwise, what's the problem?

As to who's losing this intellectual war of ideas goes, the polls say faith is. Christians admit it too. Famed apologist Josh McDowell says one of the big reasons for this is due to the access of ideas!! What else could he mean?

Dustin Lawson was Josh McDowell's protege. McDowell goes around to churches telling them to try to disprove Christianity. I think that's really good advice for adults interested in knowing whether their indoctrinated faith is true. Well, Dustin listened to him and followed his advice! Guess what happened? He no longer believes, surprise!

Dustin Lawson's Review of the Book "God or Godless"

Dustin as you already know, is a friend of mine who is Josh McDowell's Infidel Disciple. Via email he said this:
I finished God or Godless?I have a hard time believing that I used to be like this Randal guy, so often avoiding answering his critics tough questions even though he thinks he is answering them. It was like he was in the ring getting beaten up but he didn't realize it. It is hard to believe I used to be like him, but I know I was.

The Evidential Value of Conversion/Deconversion Stories. Reviewing Mittelberg's "Confident Faith" Part 7


I'm reviewing Mark Mittelberg's book Confident Faith. [See the "Mark Mittelberg" tag below for others].

I want to digress a bit for this post to discuss the value of personal conversion/deconversion stories. [Nomenclature: A conversion story is one which an atheist or nonbeliever becomes a Christian. A deconversion story is one in which a Christian becomes a non-believer or atheist.] In Mittelberg's book, conversion stories seem to play an important role. He discusses the apostle Paul's Damascus Road conversion experience, who was a persecutor of the church then a believer. Then there's Augustine of Hippo's conversion, from out of the pagan religion of Manichaeism. Jumping to our time he tells us of Lee Strobel, an atheist who turned evangelical, and the late Nabeel Qureshi, who was a Muslim but later became an evangelical after discussions with David Wood, who has his own shocking conversion story from atheist to evangelical Christian (which has 825K hits so far!). There is Mark Mittelberg's own story in this book, from a doubter to a confident Christian. He mentions other nonbelievers who became Christians, like Simon Greeleaf, Frank Morison (A.K.A. Albert Henry Ross), C.S. Lewis and Josh McDowell. Mittelberg also exploits the late Antony Flew's story (pp. 144-145), who was an atheist philosopher but came to believe in a deistic creator of the universe (but nothing more).

Mittelberg never tells any Christian-to-atheist deconversion stories. He just tells atheist-to-Christian conversion stories (plus Antony Flew's story). Should we fault him for not telling any deconversion stories? Yes, I think so! For it means he's not offering readers any evidence to consider, but rather trying to persuade them to believe based on the conclusions others reached. His faulty line of reasoning goes this: since atheist person X became a Christian, you should too. Why should that matter? He had asked readers to follow the evidence for themselves. But by putting forth several stories of skeptic/atheist conversions to Christianity he's not actually presenting any objective evidence for the readers to consider. Instead, he's presenting the conclusions of others about the evidence, which is arguing by authority, the very thing he questions later. He had also asked readers to follow logic. But by adopting the conclusion of others just because they adopted it is not logical. Why not just present the evidence? The stories are a propaganda technique designed purposefully to persuade.

Russell Blackford Comments On the Book, "God or Godless"

Russell Blackford is a philosopher with numerous books to his name. On Facebook he said this:
I'm currently reading God or Godless?by John W. Loftus and Randal Rauser. From my perspective, the former is intellectually demolishing the latter. You may think I'm biased, but it's not that simple. I suspect that I would (to my dismay) have had the same response even in my Christian days. Loftus is very good in this debate, but even that is not the problem for Rauser. So much Christian apologetics may be internally consistent... but still looks bizarre and implausible the moment you try to look at it from the outside. There's not much Rauser can do about this.
Biblical scholar Robert Price said the same thing. Dustin Lawson, Josh McDowell's infidel disciple, agreed wholeheartedly.

This is all gratifying to me personally. For anyone who has not seen it, co-author Randal Rauser and I debated each other in Edmonton, Canada, on June 5, 2013. Enjoy it below:

Why Do Tom Gilson and Tim McGrew Disagree With What Peter Boghossian Actually Does?

Here's a comment I left on Tom Gilson's blog Thinking Christian, where Tom expresses his and McGrew's disagreement with Boghossian's actual practice of using questions to get people to think deeper about what they believe. Do Tom and Tim represent the Thinking Christian or not? Do they advocate thinking? Or are thinking Christians not needed? Yes, I'm serious!
Tom, I don't think you should be disagreeing with the actual practice of what Boghossian does, regardless of his motivations. You mentioned Josh McDowell, who does this same thing. As a result Dustin Lawson, McDowell's former protege, left the faith. So? You should still do what Josh McDowell does if you think truth will win out. In my forthcoming book which you should read titled, "How To Defend the Christian Faith: Advice from an Atheist", one of the most important chapters is "Become an Honest Life-Long Seeker of Truth." You should advocate the same thing. Here's a link to info about it.

The very fact that you disagree with what Boghossian actually does leaves me wondering if you think it's wrong to start the "hapless Christian" on an intellectual journey. If you represent the "party of true reason" you should be happy he does this because truth should win the day. In fact, he might be sending Christian people to read your book(s).

You should pick up more converts from Boghossian's efforts. You should pick up better informed Christians from his efforts. What am I missing?

Tristan Vick's New Book Exposes Randal Rauser As a Rhetorician Without Much Substance

Tristan Vick is the Advocatus Atheist and has interacted with Randal Rauser for a few years. This past weekend Vick released a new book dealing with the rhetoric of Rauser, titled The Swedish Fish, Deflating the Scuba Diver and Working the Rabbit's Foot, which Edward Babinski and Robert M. Price helped him on.I've seen an advanced copy and I recommended it in these words:
Randal Rauser prides himself on reaching out to atheists. But if Tristan Vick’s book is any indication, he’s failing. He’s failing precisely because he’s not really interested in searching for truth but in defending what he already believes is truth. Although Vick doesn’t have the credentials Rauser has, it doesn’t take much to find fault with the rhetoric that Rauser substitutes in place of good arguments. Tristan Vick effectively demonstrates he will say just about anything in defense of his faith. Well done Tristan!

I'm going recap how Rauser has done so far, and give my predictions of upcoming projects.

A Refutation of David Marshall's Book Rebuttal of My OTF, Part 1

I've decided to write more than just one post about Dr. David Marshall's “rebuttal” to my book The Outsider Test for Faith (OTF). I will attempt to show why Marshall's book, How Jesus Passes the Outsider Test: The Inside Story,is really bad. In fact, it's so bad I'm using the word "refutation" for what I'm about to do to it. I hardly ever use that word because refutations are usually unachievable in these kinds of debates. If I'm largely successful then it also says something about Dr. Randal Rauser, that he will say and endorse anything in order to defend his Christian faith. No educated intellectual worthy the name would have written Marshall's book. No educated intellectual should think it's worthy of any kind of a blurb either. Rauser blurbed it saying, “Delightful riposte . . . rhetorical wit and the cosmopolitan vision of a true world citizen!” On his blog Rauser additionally recommended it saying, "While I don’t think much of Loftus’s faltering attempt to make an enduring contribution to serious academic discourse, I do think highly of Marshall’s eloquent rebuttal of it." Drs. Miriam Adeney and Ivan Satyavrata also recommend Marshall's book.

Here we go then, little ole me against four, count 'em, four Ph.D.'s. What chance might I have? How dare I even try?

The Amateurishness and Toxicity of Randal Rauser

Benjamin Blake Speed Watkins put up a twofold discussion starter question on Twitter, which he's very good at doing. He asked, "What are ways that atheists and theists can raise the level of discourse online? How do we get these discussions to look more like philosophy?" 
Presumably he's addressing our lower levels of discourse and our lower levels of philosophy. He wanted to know how we can raise them up to better, higher standards. In what follows you'll see an egregious example of the problem he seeks to address. Since he can be a bit provocative at times, I began with something provocative.

Day Five of the Twelve Days of Solstice


We're celebrating the 12 days of Solstice rather than the 12 days of Christmas. I'm done writing and editing books. So I'm highlighting each of my twelve books leading up to the 25th of the month when we party. I'll tell you something about each of them you probably don't know. [See Tag Below]

Today I'll tell you about my co-written book with Dr. Randal Rauser, God or Godless?: One Atheist. One Christian. Twenty Controversial Questions, published in April, 2013.

The first thing to say is that Rauser contacted me to co-write the book without first reading my magnum opus Why I Became an Atheist. I think that's instructive, since he didn't research into how formidable of an opponent I might be. More on that a bit later.

Dr. David Madison, Debunker Par Excellence!


I'm a big fan of former Methodist minister and biblical scholar Dr. David Madison, who no longer believes. He understands how best to debunk Christianity. It has to do a great deal with the Bible. Since the Bible makes atheists out of readers--doing so will shock you to the bone--then how much more does reading what Madison says about the Bible. He honors us at DC by writing weekly essays on Friday, plus so much more, as he's also an administrator.  He honored me by asking for a Foreword to his book three years ago, Ten Tough Problems in Christian Thought and Belief (2nd ed. 2018). With his permission, here it is: