I had a friend in high school that had a condition that caused him to jerk and twitch. He was a real good guy. He became an mechanical engineer, as I did. His condition didn't seem to affect him too much. Seems to me it was at its worst though around 5th or 6th grade, lessened somewhat through high school, and I think now he's outgrown it entirely.
Once in 6th grade I asked him if he could try and hold still. Don't twitch at all. So he tried and I watched him as the clock ticked away. He was concentrating. My pencil fell off my desk and I reached for it. As I was leaned over I looked back over my shoulder. He was twitching and jerking wildly, indulging the urge that he had been restraining for the last 30 seconds.
This was the first thing I thought of when I read Jason Engwer's recent post about me, which he calls Jon Curry's Losing Hand. What's natural for Jason is to insult his opponents, ridicule them, and in other various ways act in a rude manner. Having entered the str threads he proceeded to engage in the same behavior, but the Christian moderators at str know how that makes Christianity look, so they wouldn't tolerate it. Here's one exchange with the moderator Amy.
Jason-Since Joe is such a poor communicator, and he doesn't put much effort into his posts, we often have to guess at what he's trying to say.
Amy-Jason, we do encourage people to argue vigorously in their comments about the arguments, and I appreciate the arguments you've laid out here, but a personal statement like this one is not helpful.
I entered the thread and informed Joe that this abuse was typical of Jason, so don't take it too seriously. Now, Jason already knows that he's supposed to try and avoid being rude as he reacts to me at str, but rudeness is very natural for him and he can't restrain himself. But he's still trying. So he responds to me with similar rudeness and again Amy warns him to get himself under control or he could be banned.
So the subsequent posts focused on arguments to a large degree. Much larger than Jason typically does. I thought this was a great scenario. A chance to argue without the ad hominem distractions.
Now the thread has been closed, understandably. It's long and kind of out of hand. So now what? The restraints imposed of charity and grace have been removed, so Jason can return to his old self. And so he did immediately, probably jerking and twitching wildly to spew out the personal attacks that he had been restraining for so long. Start off with the very title of the thread. Jon Curry's Losing Hand. It seems one of the pillars of Jason's argumentative style is to simply assert that he is right and his opponents' arguments are very feeble (discussed before here and here). My hand is very weak. My arguments are very bad. His arguments are very strong and persuasive. He quotes Steve Hays assessment of me. I'm "in over my head", had "no good reason to repudiate the faith in the first place", he's "called my bluff" forcing me to "lay (my) losing hand on the table". He really showed me. He decided he did such a good job that he needed to pat himself on the back a little more with a "Mission accomplished". Good job, Steve.
What does this behavior really show? To me it exposes how little confidence they have in their own beliefs. Obviously science has dealt serious blows to their version of Christianity. Basic moral decency is another huge strike against the slavery endorsing, women owning, genocidal contents of the bible. Contradictions galore, miraculous claims that are dismissed as absurd in all non-Biblical contexts. The evidence thing isn't working out, so what's left? Do what the propagandists have done before when proven wrong. Assert the opposite. "Your arguments are very bad, mine are very good. You're running scared, I've destroyed you as I set out to do. Mission accomplished. You are a deceiver and a liar. You misrepresent the arguments because you cannot deal with them."
I'm biased too. I admit it. Which is why I don't feel the need to pontificate on which arguments are the "best". I've made this point before. But this repeated behavior of asserting your own dominance that the Triabloggers often engage in is just fascinating and prompts my reaction. I wonder if what Tacitus said of crime is also true of transparently erroneous, yet cherished beliefs. Tacitus said "Crime once exposed has no refuge but in audacity."
In the comments below I offer another rebuttal to Jason's latest over at str. You'd have to be an odd person to even read it, and maybe I'm a bigger weirdo for even writing it. But then maybe I'll learn something from the rude rebuttals. And why not keep these guys hopping?