Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Say Hello to My Little Friend

evangelism, witnessing, proselytizing, religion, god, bible, jesus, atheism, atheist, humor,
Somebody tried to Ray me into christianity yesterday. It was spectacularly unsuccessful, but quite amusing nonetheless. And yes, I will now mercilessly mock them.

The following exchange is from the comments to my From the If It Rhymes, It's Poetry School of Thought post.

your friend who doesn't use profanity said...
Logical question: How do you think the world began?

two issues right off the bat: (1) I talk like the proverbial sailor- on meth. I don't have any friends that don't use profanity. (2) Starting the conversation with a self righteous screen name probably isn't the best conversion strategy.

my answer:

logical answer: i'm not a physicist, i'm a legal secretary. the theory colloquially known as "big bang" isn't bad, though. there's a link in this post to universe beginning theories, if you want to learn more.

the fact of the matter, little friend, is that unlike you, i don't need absolute answers to every possible question. I'm fine with not knowing things. I don't know how to perform neurosurgery, I don't know how to build cars, and I don't know how the universe "started" (some theories seem to imply it didn't start or that start isn't really the right word).
apparently, my friend may now begin using profanity.

Your 'little friend' said...

I didn't say that I 'need absolute answeres to every possible question.' So don't jump to conclusions. Anyways, you say that you don't REALLY believe in anything- but if you WERE going to believe in something, it would be the big bang.Here's what the big band says: Everything (umm... that would be NOTHING) came together, spun really fast, and then blew up and created... everything!Now that just doesn't seem logical.

classic Ray Comfort right there. he puts words in my mouth, parrots the line about nothing into everything and then tells me it's not logical. and does it in the most ungrammatical, misspelled way possible.

and then I get snide:

First off, don't put words in my mouth. I said I don't know, and that I lack the knowledge base to make an informed decision on the issue.

However, that is not what the big bang theory states. That's what Ray Comfort says the big bang states, which is an entirely different thing.

What you did there is called a Strawman Fallacy. You built up a rather silly argument, attributed it to me, and then tore it down. Good for you, but all you did was display your ignorance.

Thanks for playing.

I thought maybe I'd come on too strong, but my little friend is persistant if nothing else. and just a little bit confused as to what an ad hominem attack is.

I'm not finished. What you just used in your last comment is called an 'ad hominen attack'. It's where you attack the person instead of his arguement. So you pretty much refuted my arguement by attacking me, good job chap. i seriously considered changing my name from Personal Failure to Good Job Chap.

You still haven't answered the question; the question is this: 'How was the world started?' All you've said so far is that you 'don't know'. So does that mean that you're open to sugestions? Or are you going to be ignorant with your own knowledge?

my response:

*sigh* telling a person what logical fallacy they committed is not considered an ad hom. an ad hom would be if i called you a liar, or stupid or a criminal, thus implying that nothing you say can be trusted because you are a bad person.

please learn the fallacies before you accuse people of them.

how could a person be ignorant with their own knowledge? that doesn't even make sense. do you know how the brain works? what about DNA? are intimately familiar with the inner workings of your own DNA? do you know exactly how your computer works?

every day every person on the planet, no matter how smart or educated, proceeds with ignorance. we are all ignorant about lots of things. there's simply too much to know to know it, and everyone else on the planet, are totally fine with this. you're clearly living your life instead of being paralyzed by the weight of your own ignorance, so why is my ignorance on a very esoteric subject of so much interest to you?

to put it another way "you can't prove how the universe got started" is not going to convert me. do you have any other strategies, or are you new at this?

geds jumps in with a new name for my little friend (which made me spew 7up):

Um, listen up, Sparky.An ad hominem attack would be me saying, "You're wrong because you rape puppies." Saying, "You're wrong because your arguments are stupid and fallacious," is called "rhetoric."

You might want to re-think what you're doing there...

charmingly, my little friend actually adopts the new name!

your 'little friend' Sparky said...

Alright, so I don't have a clue what I'm talking about. In fact, I'm new to this planet Earth, thank you for clearing things up for me. You STILL haven't answered the Q. All you've been doing is attacking me; you don't even know who I am or what I believe!

angry much? also, exactly how many times do i have to answer your question? i can definitively say that you are some sort of theist, because atheists don't Ray each other. (unless someone was poeing me)

now pay special attention to what my response is, because apparently sparky will not.

I'm not attacking you, but I also don't let logical fallacies go. I already told you what I know and don't know. I don't know what started the universe, I don't think it's god, and certainly not the god of the bible, or any other holy book I've read. If I saw proof of god (other than the creation itself), I'd certainly accept it, but that's hardly belief.
sparky then replies twice:

your 'little friend' Sparky said...

It goes like this:You're pretty much saying that you haven't a clue what you believe, but you KNOW that there is no God.

Hmm... Why's that?

your 'little friend' Sparky said...

Alright, you're finally getting somewhere...Now you're a person looking for proof, that's great!

Here we go...If you saw a coke (you know, like the good old-fashion coke) would you say that someone created the coke, or that it just came into existence?

total Ray, with the addendum that he is not talking about illegal substances. just in case.

no, i've never said I "know" there is no god. i've never seen proof of god. the bible isn't proof of god. your feelings aren't proof of god. existence proves nothing, because i've seen good scientific explanations for existence that don't rest on stories thousands of years old.

you're trying the new twist on the watchmaker argument. it's fallacious and silly, and i'll even explain why.

i can follow the delivery truck back to the manufacturing plant and watch people making coke cans right in front of me. i can touch those people, smell those people, see those people, hear those people, and if we're particularly friendly, i can taste them.

can i watch god making anything? no. do we have pictures of god making anything? no. can i smell or taste or hear god? no.

so, we've gone through two Comfort evangelization strategies, just for practice do you want to try another? the ten commandments exercise is always fun. presumptuous, but since we're apparently "friends", go for it.

in fairness to Sparky, that's actually not a twist on the watchmaker argument. it's still silly.

I really thought Sparky would stop after that, but no, he goes for the "you're so ignorant and stupid, i won't even bother" (although he does):

your 'little friend' said...

Well, to tell you the truth, I hadn't even heard of Ray Comfort until yesterday, so all of this is coming from your dear lil'o friend. Explain to me how Atheists can look around them, and not see that someone created everything... I look at the computer I'm typing on right now, and I KNOW that someone created it!

Besides, there are TONS of faults with the 'big bang' theory and evolution. If you wish, I can tell them to you, but chances are, even if I refute everything evolution has ever standed for, you'd still be ignorant.

yeah. sure. and what exactly did evolution "standed" for? (I'm the ignorant one?)

and now the big finish:

your 'little friend' said...

This is refering to your earlier point:What if I showed you a picture of God? Would you believe then?

I'll answer that for you: No. You wouldn't believe. Even if I provided you with every proof that God exists, you still wouldn't believe. But one day you WILL believe, and I hope you're on the right side, or you'll be 'Forever In Hell'. Christ says that "EVERY knee will bow and every tongue will confess..."

this is fantastic! i don't even have to answer his questions anymore- he'll do it for me! Sparky does totally get the name of my blog, but an argument to consequences is not a good one.

my reply:

I suppose you're right in one sense. If you said that I did not, in fact, have a niece, and then I showed you my niece, you wouldn't "believe" in my niece, you would accept the verified existence of my niece.

You seem to be saying that if god appeared before me right now, I'd shut my eyes, put my hands over my ears and start shouting LALALALA, which is just silly.

But one day you WILL believe, and I hope you're on the right side, or you'll be 'Forever In Hell'. Christ says that "EVERY knee will bow and every tongue will confess...Can you predict the future? Of course not. You have no idea what I will or will not do. Having lost the argument, you are now resorting to threatening me with your special book.

This is the fallacy of argument to consequences: do it, or suffer. it can be convincing in certain situations, but that doesn't make it any less fallacious.

By the way, I call bullshit on the idea that you have not heard of Ray Comfort. You have been giving me, word for word, all of Ray's Way of the Master evangelism arguments. If you really have not heard of Mr. Comfort, then whoever taught you those arguments certainly has.

I imagine the hilarity is now ended, but it was fun while it lasted.


  1. I know, me, too.

    I took enough philosophy courses to qualify for a minor in philosphy because I adored the philosophy professor at my college. (There were only two.) He was amazing, smart as all getout, dry humor, and he would argue you to ribbons on anything. It started as a trial by fire, but once I figured out that he wanted to be beaten, I started throwing it right back at him, and I actually won.


  2. I think Sparky was a bit out of his league in that conversation.

  3. Awesome lovely job. I should have stuck around in the comments on that post longer.

  4. Meaning no disrespect to Personal Failure's rhetorical skills (which are, as demonstrated above, exceptional), I'm pretty sure Sparky would have had trouble holding up his/her end of the argument in a debate with a bonobo. Parroting Ray Comfort incessantly is not "debating", it's a demonstration of an inability to think for oneself.

    What gets me is, why the hell do these people think Ray Comfort's arguments are so super-convincing? If you were on the receiving end of a diatribe based on William Land Craig then maybe we'd have the meat of an argument, but debating Comfort-wankers is like shooting fish in a barrel. With bazooka. And the barrel is on fire, and made of fish poison. And the fish are fully-grown tuna.

  5. debating Comfort-wankers is like shooting fish in a barrel. With bazooka. And the barrel is on fire, and made of fish poison. And the fish are fully-grown tuna.

  6. I loved the comment, "I do not know how cars are made, or neurosurgery is performed" because, if you claim that god must have done the big bang because you do not know how it happened, then by the same logic, if you do not know how a car is made...god did it!

    Also, the answer from geds, that you being wrong for raping puppies was priceless.

  7. I don't always comment on your posts but I do always them. As always, very enjoyable.

    I stopped blogging for a few weeks recently because of a similar mind numbing exchange with a fundie who was convinced she could "save" me. It was amusing at first but rapidly became very tedious and frustrating to watch her not comprehend or acknowledge any point or question.

    In any case, your patience is to be applauded. Someday your little friend might realize you were only trying to help him out of his own cage of ignorance.

    Super J.

  8. Just to add to Yunshui's analogy:

    A person can easily shoot a fish in a barrel.


    Because they didn’t want to use a live fish to test this myth, the Mythbusters obtained a dead fish and inserted a motor inside of it to simulate swimming. They then placed the fish in a wooden barrel filled with water and fired at the fish with a 9 mm pistol. However, their first attempt failed, so Adam painted the interior of the barrel white and added transparent windows to improve visibility. With these improvements, both Adam and Jamie were easily able to hit the fish. They then decided to use a multitude of smaller fish and upgraded their weapon to a shotgun. The buckshot managed to hit some of the fish, but only three out of the total of thirty fish. To put the myth to bed, the Mythbusters obtained a M134 minigun that could fire 50 bullets a second. They then set up a water filled barrel and placed a dead 3-foot (0.91 m) sea bass in it. They then fired the minigun at the barrel, tearing it to pieces along with the fish. Because of the vagueness of the conditions of the myth, the Mythbusters declared that shooting fish in a barrel is easy.

    The pressure shockwave from a bullet being fired into a barrel is enough to kill a fish.


    The Mythbusters calculated that the lethal amount of force required to kill a fish is 8.15 pounds per square inch. However, the instrument that measured PSI was not fast enough to register the impact of the bullet, so the Mythbusters instead opted to use special stickers that measure G force. After firing a single 9 mm bullet into the barrel, the Mythbusters found that the shockwave from the bullet was enough to trip even their highest pressure sensor. This means that the shooter does not necessarily have to hit the fish in order to kill it.

  9. Why do you get all the good trolls?

  10. i can't believe i missed that mythbusters!

    now i kinda want to ask sparky how, even if he got me to believe in a supreme being, he was planning to convert me to his particular brand of christianity? i could just as easily run off and become a muslim.

    a risk you have to take when evangelizing, i suppose.

  11. i can't believe i missed that mythbusters!The zombie fish were creepy as hell. But I now want an SUV with a concealed minigun turret. And you know what? I think I deserve it.

    i could just as easily run off and become a muslim.Y'know what? That's an awesome idea. Play along, pretend you get it, then say you're going to run off to the closest mosque.

  12. When I get to meet Adam at TAM7 I will take my picture with him just for you PF :P

  13. send me the picture of Adam! that would be awesome.

    and geds, i can't believe i missed the opportunity to tell sparky that he had successfully converted me to islam. i bet his reaction would have been priceless.

  14. That was great! I love how admitting our ignorance means (to them) that we should just fill in the blank with their god/theology.

    It's funny how they threaten us with punishment yet they lose no sleep at night over what will happen to them if Allah turns out to be the true god. Sigh.

    Nice work!

  15. 'little friend' SparkyApril 30, 2009 at 9:39 AM

    Hey buds, guess who?

    Here's the basics: God is God. There you go. It doesn't mattter what you think. It doesn't matter that you're an Atheist. It doesn't even matter that you're extremely smart and logical!

    The fact is that one day you WILL DIE. And one day you'll stand before God and in all your ignorance say, "I don't believe in you." And guess what? God will reply, "It doesn't matter that you don't believe in me, Personal Failure, I'm still here, and eternity is here..."

  16. Okay, that is absolutely the last bald assertion and appeal to consequences I am posting from you, Sparky.

    Go buy an argument or go away.


  17. If I may, I think I've improved Sparky's argument by turning it into a Mad Lib, and offering it up to the first people in my corner of the internet to fill in the appropriate parts of speech...


    Here's the basics: Hill-Rod is Hill-Rod. There you go. It doesn't mattter what you bang. It doesn't matter that you're a spork. It doesn't even matter that you're swimmingly quaint and squishy!

    The fact is that one day you WILL EMASCULATE. And one day you'll kick before Hill-Rod and in all your tediousness say, "I don't believe in cocaine." And guess what? Hill-Rod will reply, "It doesn't matter that you don't believe in cocaine, Personal Failure, I'm still awesome, and eternity is tropical..."

  18. Can I turn that into a post? That is AWESOME.

  19. ...

    and what if you are wrong, Sparky? because you cannot prove it either way. don't waste your tome harrassing someone who is hostile to your intent - go and try to convert someone wanting to covert. much better time management.

    Besides, when asked how he felt about atheists, God said "I don't believe in them"

    and also: there is *no* literal hell mentioned until Revelation. before then, any "hell" idea was PURELY the fear of being cut off from God. period. thats it.
    revelation was written by a guy trippin' his balls off.


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Forever in Hell by Personal Failure is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
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