Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Coming Soon: Updated Website!

That's right, the team members here at WOTM Watchdog are updating the site and adding new features to the lineup! You may be wondering what the new and improved layout will include; here's a sneak peak:

  • A whole new look
  • Team member biographies
  • A discussion area
  • Lovemail and hatemail pages
  • An updated blog format
  • Multimedia
  • A secret weekly feature and more...

We've decided that our readers are worth it so we've gone all out and done it up right. We invite all of our readers to bookmark www.wotmwatchdog.org (the address will stay the same) in order stay up to date on the latest.

We are always open to feedback... just look for the "Contact" page on the new site and share your thoughts. If it's good (or bad) enough, it just might find its way to the lovemail (or hatemail) page! Thank you for your loyal readership.

Monday, October 22, 2007

A Rational Response?


Mark this date down on your calendars.

On October the 22nd, 2007 at approximately 3:00pm Eastern Standard Time, something amazing happened. Something so incredible that, if I were not an atheist, I would be tempted to call it a miracle.

At this date and time, Todd Friel actually acted in a rational manner.

I know, I’m shocked too! And I wouldn’t have believed it if I hadn’t heard it with my own ears. In fact, I’m so sure that even you, our loyal readers, won’t believe me, that I’m going to supply the link. (It’s the first thing on the show, so don’t worry about searching for it.)

A young man called into Way of the Master’s ‘Beep Talk’.

For those of you who don’t know, this is essentially a voicemail program that they utilize for people who want to call up and leave questions, comments, or criticisms. And while I doubt that they air even a small percentage of the criticisms they receive (in fact, I have yet to hear a single one), I will give Todd this much credit. He has actually chosen to use Beep Talk for something other than a way to have listeners sing his praises.

Call me a cynic, but I don’t expect this to last.

Now, for those of you who don’t want to sit through even a few minutes of Todd’s voice, this is what happened.

A young man called in and left a message of a medical nature. Although the beginning is a bit garbled, it seems that a faith healer told him he was healed and so he decided to stop taking his epilepsy medication. Since then, he has had seizures (obviously), and he asked Todd if this was because he had sinned in presuming that someone other than god could heal him directly.

Todd, shockingly, disabused the kid of this. He told the caller that he should resume taking his medication, because others have stopped taking their meds in similar situations and had died as a result.

That’s right. Todd did the rational, logical thing.

Before you faint, I should point out that Todd’s reasons weren’t completely rational. According to the Way of the Master worldview, god created everything for our benefit. Apparently that includes doctors, science and medication.

While they don’t understand evolution and embrace the pseudo-science of ID (intelligent design), it’s nice to see that the boys at WOTM haven’t gone completely over the deep end and rejected all of science. Todd put the health of someone over shilling his ministry. He may have used his bad philosophy to justify it, but he still deserves some credit for doing the right thing.

Does this mean that there may be hope for Todd, Ray and Kirk? Have they perhaps not gone so far into irrationality that we may yet call them back to the logical world?

Maybe. But I wouldn’t count on it.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Simple Counter-evangelism 101: Open-source methods

Ok I had a few requests on youtube to post a link to the text form of the "Simple Counter-evangelism 101" series of videos that I have made.

You see, it's a a document that contains all the tips and tricks that I have made concerning WOTM's tactics and against evangelism in general.

So I have compiled it as a PDF. Now there is a fun thing that occurs with this document. Here is where you can download it.

http://www.youshare.com/view.php?file=simpce101.pdf

It's Creative Commons. Meaning? You can feel free to redistribute it and moreover ADD TO IT.

You see, as time goes by, evangelists change their tactics, or some other atheists have their own methods that are efficient as well. Those should be added to the document. I can't think of everything and while I do have plenty of experience in dealing with fundementalists, I am not alone out there.

So why not add to their experience and methods to the mix, and therefore STRENGHTEN the counter-evangelism effort? So, I have layed out a basic framework in the document, and you can all build on it.

In other words, I removed the "blank page problem". You don't have to fear the blank page, there is no blank page. So bring in your tips and tricks, bring in your ideas on how to make it better and redistribute it.

Soon enough, this simple pdf can grow into a book that brings in all the tools, tactics, and information to activists on what to expect, and what to do about it.

The truth isn't pretty, now add to the ugly!!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Playing the martyr...

As an atheist, I can pretty much expect to be on the receiving end of abuse when listening to Way of the Master Radio every afternoon. Not direct abuse, of course. Todd and Ray always seem to be a bit reticent to actually come out and bad mouth their ideological enemies. They will, of course, glibly tell you that the bible says atheists are fools and that you're going to hell.

But that's not what I want to talk about. Instead, I want to hit on an interesting trend that has been occuring on the show. As much as Todd likes to go after the atheists, it's surprising how much time he spends going after other Christians.

Just the other day Ray witnessed to a Catholic at Seton Hall, but insisted on referring to it as Satan Hall.

Todd insists that former minister and current atheist Dan Barker was a false convert. Because, of course, had he actually believed he never would have changed his mind.

Anyone who comes to the show and speaks about Jesus' teachings on love and kindness is immediately labeled a liberal with no knowledge of the real Christ.

Of course, the Way of the Master would never refer to these people as Christians. At least not REAL CHRISTIANS (TM), which are the only kind that count. And the only way to become a REAL CHRISTIAN (TM), or so they would lead you to believe, is not by accepting Jesus. It's by accepting Jesus using the Way of the Master technique.

I can't really blame them for that. They're out there trying to sell a prod...er...I mean, they're saving souls! So of course they can't overlook their lost Christian brothers and sister.

Perhaps I'm a bit cynical, at least when it comes to the motives of Ray Comfort and Todd Friel, but I think they have a different reason for thinning their herd.

They want to be victims.

You hear it nearly every show. Either in one of their commercials (as if the show wasn't a two hour long infomercial for their products anyway) or in person Ray will give one of his stories about being verbally attacked or threatened while open-air preaching. He'll heap praise on the past Christian martyrs.

The problem, however, is that Christians are the majority in America.

How do you make yourself a victim when your people have bigger numbers than their competition?

They devise a test that no one can pass unless you already subscribe to the test-maker's brand of Christianity.

They visit Europe, where most people aren't religious and they really are the minority.

And then they return home and make their first targets are Christian self-help writers and a cartoon about the Ten Commandments.

It’s not about being Christian. And it’s not about Jesus. It’s about following the teachings of an overzealous New Zealander, a washed up comedian and a former child star.

If that can’t get you saved, what will?

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Proselytes or Pitchmen?


I want to take a few brief moments of your time to point out something that most freethinkers are attuned to when it comes to evangelical Christians: they are buying and selling... souls. The WOTM crew does it in a very clever manner and disguises it with a false sense of concern for the eternal destination of your immortal soul but, come on, can they even demonstrate that such a "thing" or "place" exists? Of course they can't; that's where their carefully crafted, finely honed sales pitch comes into play.

A quick internet search will reveal a great deal of interesting information on the perfect sales pitch. Here is the tried and true harangue:

* Start with conviction
* Winning against negative sentiments
* Preparations are the Key to Success
* Use emotions in the sales process
* Complete focus on the customer
* Objections are buying statements
* Closing thoughts

The way in which these points translates to the cookie-cutter WOTM speech is blatantly obvious. Knowing that Todd, Ray and Kirk are not only attuned to these sales methods but employ them, we can further understand why Living Waters and Way of the Master marketable goods are in such high demand. They've cornered a very large evangelical Christian market; they sell their products to both evangelists and the newly-converted alike.

We have to ask ourselves if they are really concerned for our souls or if they are simply looking for the next great sales gimmick. In all actuality, Todd would make quite an effective and prosperous replacement for Kevin Trudeau.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

News Mash : News illiteracy on the rise!

I've personally been off WotM for some time now, and actually find myself smiling at my podcasts directory, as I have a dozen hours of material to go through. Why I smile, I don't know. I'm weird that way.

A reader of ours sent the Watchdog crew a message concerning a recent gem in WotM news coverage. Yes, they do news. Science news when they disagree with the results, religion news, funny news, religious news, politics when they pertain to religion, etc. Inspired by this message, I decided to check the show out with my own ears. It's amazing! So let's examine the hour 2 news bit on WotM Radio on October 15th!

I can reed news reel gud

It's that time of the year again when the Nobel prizes start rolling out. Let's see how WotM's unbiased news hawks cover some items of this most exciting of ceremonies!

Tony Verkinnes, WotM news anchor and stoic counterweight to Todd's exuberance, sits in his chair, prays to God that his mic won't fail and starts his reporting. The news item that's at hand here concerns the fact that Al Gore won the Nobel peace prize, which is odd to Tony, because global warming is a fairytale. Of course, it couldn't have anything to do with someone working to encourage people to work together in harmony towards a good cause, being rewarded for propagating such selfish ideas is outright silly! Tony also passingly mentions that Al Gore kills babies, so he surely cannot be a man of peace. How relevant to the story, I'm glad you managed to sneak that in, Tony.

Tony finds relief in the fact that other Nobels go out for silly things too. Actually, he goes on to build a case that the whole Nobel ceremony has withered into a shebang of silly, and this to him perfectly discredits Al Gore's ideas in the process. For example, the Nobel of medicine, was awarded to a pair of researchers investigating the side effects of sword-swallowing and the literature prize was awarded to a linguist on her research on the word “the”. Now if anyone at WotM had paid more attention, they would have noticed, that among these prizes, we find that the peace prize actually went to the Air Force Wright Laboratory in Dayton, Ohio, for suggesting the research and development of a “gay bomb”. What? No Gore?

Of course no Gore, because I'm going through a list of the Ig Nobels. Tony just somehow “forgot” to mention this? This strikes us as an attempt to poke at the scientific community, trying to somehow signal to the listeners that “Gosh, those scientists are a kooky bunch”.

The Ig Nobel prizes, if you do not know (shame on you), are a spin-off and parody of the “real” Nobel prizes. It's a play on words, as you can read it as “ignoble”. The Ig Nobels are handed out by actual Nobel prize winners, to scientists and researchers for research that “first makes people laugh, and then make them think”. Did you know, that a hamster gets over a bout of jet lag faster when he ingests male potency medication?

Now let's not be hasty and throw blame around before we've considered the possibilities. I see a couple of possible scenarios here:

A) Maybe WotM studios received this list of prizes from someone that intentionally left out the crucial two letters “Ig”. Maybe it's not all their fault? Still, it's the Nobel prizes. Once. A. Year. Pretty much everyone runs into them in some form or another, digital or cellulose, it's not too hard to do a little background checking on something like this. If this is the case, it's a prime example of what I consider to be one of the most damaging effects of fervent fundamentalism: you lose your critical faculties. Hear/read something, eat it up, just as long as it sounds good to you. An example of information illiteracy and reader bias.

B) They read a story on the Ig Nobels and just ignored the letters"Ig", because of course that's the Nobels the story is written about, since they have never heard of the Ig Nobels. Ig is just something that they don't have to worry about. Mash the two stories together in your mind and you're good to go! A failure in fundamental literacy, the words are there but they are not heeded.

C) They intentionally didn't discern between the events because they are pushing an agenda and needed something to stick it to some liberal wackjob whose pitch-black soul is fueled by satanic ectoplasm that he extracts from the succulent eyeballs of cute little babies.

D) We listeners were undergoing a mass hallucination when in reality Tony was actually making perfect sense, covering the Ig Nobels in a sound and lightly humorous fashion as they should be.

None of these sound too good. I'm especially worried about the fourth one. Can you come up with more?

We've sent WotM Radio requests to address this issue on the show, as what they are doing is, intentionally or unintentionally, deceiving their listeners, peddling a distorted view of science by offering a misrepresentation of the facts. Nothing new there. Except that we now know that with the Fundie(™) method, you can get up to 78,5% more logical fallacies into two minutes of speech!

Nobel Prizes, official site
Ig Nobels at Wikipedia
The news bit in WotM, at beginning of the show

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Ray, have you ever told a lie?


Click here to download WOTMWatchdog's blitz promo video, then post it on your YouTube account in response to this one! Help support your friendly neighborhood Watchdogs! Click here for the now-famous Monkey song! Yes, it's ours, and the WOTM crew knows it, despite their continued feigned ignorance!


Yes, the RRS vs. WOTM debate on ABC's NightLine is old news. It happened back in May. I remember joining the fray on ABC's message boards, teaming up with another atheist, a perfect stranger, who called himself Former Follier. Ah, the memories. Little did I know that one day, WOTM Watchdog would bring us together once again to battle the juggernaut directly.


But now we hear a side of the story that has never been told. Our good friend Brian Sapient of the Rational Response Squad has agreed to share some inside information regarding the lead-up to the debate... And it doesn't reflect well on Mr. Comfort and Mr. Cameron.


For those who watched the debate, do you remember the promos? I do. Mr. Comfort and Mr. Cameron stated repeatedly that they would prove the existence of God, "scientifically, absolutely, without mentioning faith or the Bible." In fact, they are directly quoted saying exactly that on the ABC News web page promoting the debate. It's a claim Mr. Comfort makes often. For another example, listen to his "What Hollywood Believes" sermon. Conveniently, this sermon was broadcast the Way of the Master Radio program on October 10th, while the radio team took a day off. Thus, it's available on their audio archives page.


Ignoring, for now, the gaping technical flaw in Mr. Comfort's argument... Well, okay. We won't ignore the gaping technical flaw of Ray's argument. I just can't resist. Nothing can be proven scientifically and absolutely; science doesn't deal in absolutes. Nor does it deal in "proof." If it's proof you want, look into mathematics or formal logic. You'll find no such concepts in science, which only concerns itself with evidence. This is why nothing ever gets beyond the status of "theory" in science. If Mr. Comfort doesn't understand that, then he doesn't understand what the academic discipline we call "science" fundamentally is, and really shouldn't be throwing the word "scientifically" around. It just makes him look foolish. Anyway, back to the matter at hand. In the debate itself, "without mentioning faith or even the Bible" mysteriously became simply "without mentioning faith." When I first watched it, I didn't catch it. I had no idea that they tried to weasel their way out of their self-imposed terms until I saw Mr. Sapient's recently-released video. Rather convenient for Ray and Kirk, really, considering that they almost immediately invoked the Ten Commandments... Which, it turns out, are in the Bible.


Yes, there's really no way around it. The Rational Response Squad crew won this debate hands-down, and any honest, competent moderator would have granted them a decisive victory. Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron clearly failed to stick to the terms of the debate. They even failed to stick to their own stated position. It's not that they're poor debaters, it's that they're liars. Sleazy, slimy, manipulative, and very, very slick liars indeed.


Remember, Ray: Your own God says that all liars will have their part in the Lake of Fire. Does he make exceptions for people who lie for Him?


If you've been living under a rock for the past six months, click here to view some of the highlights of the debate, courtesy of the Rational Response Squad.

Disingenuous dialog? Two can play at that game!



On the October 11th edition of Way of the Master Radio, Todd Friel and guest Robert Spencer of jihadwatch.org discussed the "disingenuous dialog" of a group of 131 Muslims scholars.  These scholars, who represent every sect of Islam, are proposing that Christians and Muslims work together to find a way to co-exist peacefully, citing both Koran and Bible verses supporting their pro-peace message.  Mr. Friel and Mr. Spencer then proceeded to criticize this Muslim council for failing to acknowledge the numerous passages in the Koran calling for the death of Christians and others deemed infidels by Islam.

Now, far be it from me to defend Islam.  I'm not giving them a free pass.  From my atheistic frame of reference, there is very little distinction between the various forms of theism.  They're all equally false and potentially dangerous, and for very similar reasons.  But this blog isn't about criticizing Islam.  It's about criticizing Way of the Master.  And they're Christians.

While criticizing Muslims for failing to acknowledge that their scripture encourages (or even requires) violence, cruelty, and murder, it seems that Mr. Friel is engaging in a nearly-identical game of disingenuous dialog.  The Christian Bible is also chock-full of passages encouraging violence, cruelty, and murder.  I could sit here all day quoting Old Testament war epics and ridiculously extreme punishments for relatively minor crimes (remember, folks: talking back to your parents is a capital offense), but I don't have that kind of time.  Besides, Mr. Friel would most likely dismiss them as being "old covenant" or "pretaining to those people at that time" and having no relevance to us.  Unfortunately for Todd, Jesus disagreed.  Old Testament laws, in all their absurd cruelty, were just peachy with Junior, according to Matthew 5:17.  In 15:4-7, he criticizes parents for not killing their disobedient children.  Todd, have your children always been obedient?  If not, have you killed them?  For shame!

Let's see what else we can find in the New Testament:

Matthew 10:34-37:  Junior came "not to bring peace, but a sword," and will set family members against each other.  Doesn't sound like anyone I'd want to follow.

Luke 19:27:  "But those enemies of mine who did not me to be king over them, bring them here and kill them in front of me."  How very radical Muslim of Jesus.  I'm sure his father is very proud of the little terrorist.  Chip off the old block, and all.

Luke 10:10-15:  God is a like slave-owner who beats his slaves "with many blows."  Junior apparently approves.

These are only a few examples.  The letters of Paul are particularly atrocious.  In fact, according to an objective analysis done by the folks over at Skeptic's Anotated Bible, there are 857 passages condoning cruelty and violence in the Bible, while the Koran contains a mere 494.  Granted, it's important to note that the Bible is a larger volume than the Koran, and in terms of percentages, the Koran does come out ahead.  But still, that's 857 splinters in Christanity's eye that really need to be addressed before criticizing Islam for exactly the same damn thing.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

WOTM drone shuts down my youtube account

Well that was bound to happen. After all, if you are going up against WOTM, you are bound to irritate enough people who will flag your videos and try to shut you down.

The offending video? A video that questions the motives of WOTM. They are indeed trying to silence their critics. Here's the video in question.

video


I will of course get back on. This gives me a perfect opportunity to do a few things.

1) Finally get rid of the word "Pagan" in "THE PAGAN WOLF". I can just go as W01F from here on end. I meant to ditch the word "Pagan" for the last few months, as it confused people as whether I was an atheist or a Pagan.

2) I can do a "remake" of my "Simple counter-evangelism 101" series. Update the videos and make them more presentable. A lot of it was done with the "old school voice", which many people had difficulty to understand. Now I can update and use that 3rd generation voice.

3) It never hurts to start from scratch. A clean slate is just what the doctor ordered. Makes life a whole lot more interesting.

Youtube seems to have a problem with atheists and their freedom of speech. The rational response had a similar problem, and my first YT account suffered the same fate, Again because a video WOTM drones didn't like.

You flag my videos? So what? I'll just get a new account. It's no big gie for me. You can ban me dozens of times over, and I won't deter. It's an exercise in futility to do so. I will simply come back on.

The truth isn't pretty, and I will show the ugly.

Monday, October 8, 2007

What is Organized Atheism?


This list is taken from the Atheists for Human Rights web page.  It encapsulates the philosophy, ideology, and goals of atheist activism as well as anything I've ever seen.  I do take minor issue with one point it expresses, but we'll get to that later.  While this has little to do with WOTM or our watchdog activities thereof, some of our readers may have questions about what atheist activism -- a movement of which we are proud participants -- is all about.  This covers it pretty well:

  • Atheism accepts the natural world as all there is.
  • To live without god beliefs is intellectually stimulating.
  • To find one's own purpose and to be responsible for one's own life is exciting.
  • To be free of the imaginary surveillance of good and evil spirits is liberating.
  • To seek a peaceful world through work, friendship, and civic action is life-affirming.
  • Organized atheism supports the right to hold religious beliefs but vigorously opposes religious behavior that is politically or socially predatory or harms innocent people.
  • We support the social and political right to be religion-free.
  • We support state-church separation.
  • We oppose religious authoritarians and support all the rights they attack, including abortion rights, gay rights, physician aid in dying, and all the rest.

Now, you'd be hard-pressed to find an atheist activist who doesn't enthusiastically support and agree with most of these statements.  However, I do take slight issue with the last one:  While I personally agree with the views it expresses, I also feel strongly that there's room for disagreement within the community on those particular issues.  It is, however, important to note that these are the statements of one particular atheistic organization, and if that's what they've decided on for themselves, so be it.  Nonetheless, they serve as an excellent example of the philosophies behind atheist activism.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Darwinian Depression

When you stop to think about it, you realize that Todd Friel really is a Renaissance man. He’s a radio and TV host, a comedian (or at least he tries to be), an interviewer, and a professional evangelical. But now we have a new label to give Mr. Friel. Psychologist!

While we can’t give him that title officially, Todd did a wonderful job of showing us how much he understands the human psyche. While visiting some churches in Scotland, he asked his tour guide (who had visited America and Canada) two questions.

1. Are European teens more depressed than American teens?

2. If so, why? (Extra points if you can somehow include The Bible in the answer.)

Now to be fair, the first is a very good question. If it hasn’t been done already (and I’ve looked), a study on the percentage of American teens that suffer from depression versus the percentage of European teens that suffer the same would be very interesting.

Todd, however, is interested in running a radio show, not conducting a scientific study. And so rather than worry about it, he just asks his tour guide for his opinion. It isn’t terribly surprising that he believed that the European teens (or at least those in the UK) were on average more depressed than their cousins across the pond.

Less surprising is the reason Todd and his Scottish friend give for those depressed kids. It’s Charles Darwin and his evil theory of evolution.

What other answer could there be? The UK is more secular than the US. A larger percentage of their population accepts evolution. And, perhaps worst of all…Darwin is on their money! So of course Todd puts two and two together.

By believing in evolution, these poor teenagers think they came from nothing and are going nowhere. If they had Jesus and The Bible then they just might see that there’s something to live for.

First of all, I am not a scientist. But I am the youngest Watchdog here. It wasn’t all that long ago that I was a teenager myself. And a depressed one at that. While I can’t speak for even a small part of the population, I can say that not once did I stop and think about evolution being true and have that add to my bad vibes.

Second of all, Todd is forgetting a very simple thing…which isn’t that unusual for Todd. Let’s suppose that he’s one hundred percent correct. Not only are teens more depressed in Europe, but the reason for that depression is that they’ve been taught that evolution is correct and they can’t party with Jesus after they die.

Even if all that is true, it doesn’t disprove evolution or prove Christianity. All it would mean is that Christianity is comforting to people. Unfortunately for Todd, that is no kind of proof.

No one says it any better than Darwin’s bulldog himself:

"There are all sorts of things that would be comforting. I expect an injection of morphine would be comforting---it might be more comforting, for all I know. But to say that something is comforting is not to say that it's true." – Richard Dawkins.

The usual listeners of WOTM Radio may not figure that out for themselves. Because Jesus makes them feel good they assume he must be real. But with any luck, some of them will visit us and be put straight.

Even if they do end up going away depressed.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Creationism as pseudo-history.

Over the course of the past few years, we have noticed that creationism has been pushed as pseudo-science, but few people consider it's danger as pseudo-history.

You see history of any kind defines a people, gives them an origin. It is the study of the past, focused on human activity and leading up to the present day. More precisely, history is the continuous, systematic narrative and research of past events as relating to the human race.

For people like the creationist, people who have history and more importantly links to a past in which Christianity wasn't in charge, is rather inconvenient, as it raises many questions about the past and the true origins of man.

According to scientists, our humble beginnings as homo sapien, started around 200,000 BP in the Paleolithic era. According to the creationist who believes that the earth is only 6,000 years old, it's claim denies the history of thousands of cultures that came and went, for example, England's beaker people, or even the migrations of the First People from Asia to the new world.

It denies the Greeks and Roman empire, the Aztec, the Incas, the Indu culture and Chinese cultures. It denies many people their history and what shaped them as a race, a creed right down to the individual.

You really want to stop someone in their tracks, you deny them their identity as a Human being. And that starts back in denying them their cultural identity. Why do you think dying cultures on this planet fight tooth and nail to preserve their roots?

It shapes them, it defines them, and makes them who they are. History takes a great part in it.

And so, for the Evangelical movement, known for their aggressive proselytizing, part of their success is by denying the identity of a person and slowly attempting to replace it with the Evangelical Christian world-view.

And Creationism, is a nice way to do it. Only acknowledge the judeo-christian pantheon and "history". Bring the "Scientific" evidence, in a Orwellian Ingsoc fashion, rewriting history when needed or denying past transgressions in the course of history (crusades anyone?) as "True Christians do not do that" (another convenient form of historical revisionism).

Such revisions are meant to make it seem that they are indeed "Good people", while encouraging the evangelical double-think, loving thy neighbor while hating their differences, claiming the truth all the while they lie consistently in order to maintain the existence of a myth, and claiming to serve a prince of peace, while getting in conflict with right about anyone who's not one of their own.

The truth isn't pretty, I will show you the ugly.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Culture jamming.

video

Alot of people ask me why I take WOTM's videos and corrupt them or change the meaning of them.

Well that term's got a name, it's called culture jamming.

Culture jamming is the act of transforming mass media to produce commentary about itself, using the original medium's communication method

Usually it's aimed at multi-national corporations. I modified it to aim it at cash-cow ministries like WOTM. You see, it's my way of countering their propraganda. It's not that complicated. Half the time, the preachers of these cash-cow ministries say things that anyone could manipulate in the most hilarious fashion or more importantly, can be very telling of the actual nature of the ministry being spoofed.

Just manipulating their bits, and re-arranging them and reposting them on-line, I create the means to counter their message by using their own methods against them. This saves alot of time in productivity and you can end up with a vast array of footage that can be used.

This can be applied to all their propraganda, from their booklets, tracts and videos. It's all fair in a culture war, where they try to ensnare your free mind, with their traps and deceptions.

The truth isn't pretty, I'll show you the ugly!!

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

And then there were five...

I would like to take the opportunity to announce my joining of wotmwatchdog.org. For those who are youtubers, I am "that guy with the masks and the creepy voice" (at the very least, if your name is Todd Friel).

For many months, I have been opposing WOTM and been quite verbal on how they are merely con-artists who sell their pseudo-science as fact.

I am glad that I found some like minded people to exchange ideas on how to counter Ray Comfort's cash cow, which is really only but diminishing the collective human IQ by several notches.

And so, I will contribute to this project to the best of my ability, and have a blast monkey-wrenching their attempt at controlling the populace.

The truth isn't pretty, and I contribute to showing the ugly.

TPW

Our Roster is Complete!


The WOTM Watchdog team would like to welcome our newest and final addition, THE PAGAN WOLF. TPW is our Canadian counterpart and has been actively criticizing WOTM methodology and doctrine on his own for quite some time. He is also a veteran freethought activist.

Some of you may already be familiar with TPW; he is a well-known video director on YouTube, has been discussed numerous times on WOTM Radio and has written many counter-evangelism documents focusing on techniques favored and employed by Todd, Ray and Kirk.

The team here at WOTM Watchdog is excited about the prospects of having such a seasoned counter-evangelist on board and have much in store for our faithful readers.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

BoxerShorts: "We watch Way of the Master so you don't have to."

Monday, October 1, 2007

Homer Gots Nothin'

The guys at Way of the Master love false analogies. In fact, they use them so often and with such voracity that it is incredibly easy to peg WOTM Radio listeners simply by the way they talk. I have had the opportunity to stumble across many such individuals in recent weeks.

Today, I'm going to give you a sneak peak at the flawed logic in one of Todd's awful analogies by letting you eavesdrop on a conversation I had recently in a Christian Hip-Hop chat room. See if you can spot it. (The names of the Christian theist and the chat room have been changed to protect their anonymity.)


Christian Hip-Hop Radio Community -- Sept. 26

Real: Do you believe Homer wrote the Odessey[sic]?

Former Follier: I don't care whether or not Homer even existed. Using your world-view, I am not in danger of his damning my "eternal soul" to hell. I am indifferent to the existence of Homer. I have never read his supposed works nor do I maintain a stance on his existence.

Real: Okay do you have any books that you read???

Former Follier: Of course, I do. The bible.

Real: LOL... So you read the Bible??? For what?

Former Follier: Because it's a good read. Aren't you going to ask me if the authors of the bible existed, Real? That's what you were stacking me for, right?


For anyone who finds themselves unfamiliar with WOTM Radio and the tactics they use to try to back unbelievers into a corner, the preceding dialog may not hold much relevance. Let me try to make things just a bit clearer.

Todd is often confronted not only about the authenticity of the bible but the divinity of the bible. As a response, he devised a brilliant analogy comparing the canon of the bible against another antiquated text, Homer's The Odyssey, by showing how many more original copies and partials there are of the bible than any of Homer's works. If you are unable to see the false dichotomy I urge you take another look.

I accept the bible as an authentic historical text but that in no way imbues it with supernatural powers; it simply means that it is a book and that it is old. At this point I must concede that Todd is right; the bible is a much more authentic work of fiction than The Odyssey.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Sunday Special #2: Kids Say the Darndest Things (and you'd better believe them!)

Just some days ago someone called into “beep-talk” (WotM voicemail, basically), and said that his 4-year old never asks “How did this evolve?” but “Who made this?” when observing the world. Actually small children in general seldom use the word “evolve” or anything related to said word, so they seem to consciously steer clear of such nonsense subjects! This has absolutely nothing to do with parenting or cultural settings, so don't bring them up.

THIS JUST IN actually babies don't use any recognizable words before they learn them from other people. Apparently they are so smart before being subjected to others that they refuse to speak any human language altogether! Todd Friel is one of the rare adults who have managed to foster this godly trait so that it remains a part of his diction! That is the true path to wisdom! We are once again allowed to sip with glee from the overflowing cup of godly erudition that is his large cranium, as he argues for the existence of an intelligent designer:

Todd Proves the Intelligent Designer!

Thusly the Master of the Way of the Wapapapupipapapa spake unto thee! Now get out there and make some babies before you check back next week for more words of wisdom!

If you missed Sunday Special #1, check it out here!

Friday, September 28, 2007

Brace Yourself, Europe!


Dear European Union Citizen,

The "13 Countries in 13 Days" tour from the WOTM team is well underway. They have had a few minor setbacks to the tune of stolen production equipment, minor illnesses and the like but are still "pressing on toward the mark."

I'm curious as I write this if it will dawn on them as their itinerary leads them briefly through new stops, that the countries they are visiting are some of the most non-religious nations in the world. It's no coincidence that these nations (many of which I've had the opportunity of visiting while in the military) are among the most beautiful, peaceful and advanced in the world: the per capita homicide rate, infant mortality rate and poverty level are much lower than that of our own country and their life expectancies, quality of life and even literacy rates are higher than our own.

The Christian reader is undoubtedly wondering how I draw these parallels. Here's how:

While Christians place their importance on what's to come, non-theists place their importance on what is.

That is the distilled premise for this entry; atheists live much more fulfilling lives because they have accepted and even embraced their own mortality. Materialism provides a sense of assurity and peace that no religion can posit!

While the WOTM crew is in Western Europe spreading their American brand of Christianity as the truth (the same tactics used by missionaries the world over... we're right, you're wrong) in order to make their heavenly crowns all the more lustrous and ornate, we will be here waiting patiently to offer the side of reason.

We apologize for the intrusion of Ray, Kirk and Todd into your nation but must sadly inform you that they are a fair representation of the national majority. Don't be discouraged, all hope is not lost for America... yet.

Enduringly Yours,

The WOTM Watchdog Team

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Way of the Master: Operating Thetans?


It always struck me how easily the boys over at Way of the Master ridicule other religious faiths. In most cases I won’t really argue with them. Other religions and their corresponding stories are quite silly…but so is Christianity.

In a special edition of their radio show, broadcasting from England, Todd braved London’s pub district and ended up witnessing to some young Brits who had been dancing with a group of Hare Krishnas. You could hear the distaste dripping from every word as Todd told these kids how wrong they were to dance with the Krishnas when they didn’t even know that they were committing idolatry!

But that’s not what I want to dwell on. Because after covering how his religion is the only correct one, Todd fell into the tried and true WOTM witnessing method. The Brits, it isn’t necessary to say, were non-hostile but unimpressed.

So I started to think. Todd has always maintained that Christianity (or at least his brand of it) is unique among all the world religions. Yet there was something strangely familiar about his witnessing. And then it hit me.

Could Todd Friel be a Scientologist!?!?

No, I’m not serious. But it does make a certain amount of sense, doesn’t it? If you’re still scratching your head then let me break it down for you.

What I’m hinting at is the similarity between the evangelizing methods of the Way of the Master and the Church of Scientology.

THE PITCH:

Ray, Todd or occasionally Kirk will approach people in public places and begin with one of two gambits. Either they will ask if you believe in god (not much of a gambit in America, where approximately 80% of the population says they are believers, the majority of those being some sort of Christian) or they will ask if you think you’re a good person. In either case the probability is that you will respond positively to their opening questions, and they’ve got you on their hook.

The Church of Scientology is slightly less public with their pitch, but they operate under the same general guideline. They ask a question that has the most probability of getting a positive answer. In their case, it’s “Would you like to take a personality test?” And of course, who wouldn’t? Everyone thinks they have a great personality (or at least close to the same percentage who think they’re a good person), so who wouldn’t want to take a test that proved it? But just like the WOTM guys, they’ve caught you!

THE TEST:

Here’s where the real similarities start becoming clear.

By now we’re all relatively familiar with the witnessing method that Ray Comfort created. He or Todd or Kirk runs you through the Decalogue, asking if you’ve ever broken them. Never mind the fact that you may not believe in god, he tells you, what’s important is that if god exists then these are his commandments, aren’t they?

So you go through them. And if you’ve ever lied, then you’re a liar. And if you’ve ever stolen anything, you’re a thief. Maybe you’re not a murderer or an adulterer. But don’t worry! They have that covered as well. Because of course the bible says if you’ve ever had hateful thoughts about someone or looked at a person with lust, you’re a murderer and an adulterer. Suddenly you’re not so happy about stopping to talk with Todd, are you?

The key difference in this step is that the Church of Scientology has the decency to tell you that you’re taking a test. Unfortunately a Scientologist stress test makes no more logical sense than the WOTM method.

They take you in a room with their own version of Ray or Todd, whom they call an auditor, and they hook you up to an e-meter. It supposedly detects responses in your body and mind to questions given by the auditor. It should be noted that these e-meters don’t do anything. But that’s beside the point. The needle on the readout wobbles back and forth, and your friend across the table records its “readings” as if they actually meant something. I should point out that no one who has had an e-meter reading has ever been told that they don’t need the services of the Church of Scientology. Sound familiar?

THE SOLUTION:

So now you’ve failed the test. Not only have you wasted a good ten minutes speaking with Todd “Freakishly Tall” Friel, but you’ve found out that you’re a dirty, filthy sinner. But there’s hope!

In actuality EVERYONE is a dirty, filthy sinner. Yes, even Todd, Kirk and Ray. And while we all certainly deserve to go to hell and burn for eternity, there is a way to avoid that. To gain forgiveness we must give ourselves to Jesus, admit that we’re horrible and unworthy, praise god’s name and become evangelical and spread his word.

Oh, and why not purchase some of the Way of the Master training videos to learn how? (Order now, only $99.95!)

Let’s go back to the Scientologist testing room. Surprisingly you’ve failed their exam as well. But it’s not because you’re a sinner. The reason you failed their test isn’t even your fault!

It turns out you failed because you’re full of “engrams”. These are, essentially, bad memories that cause everything bad in your life, from stress and anxiety to psychological disorders and medical problems. (Never mind that these engrams are caused by the souls of dead space aliens…they’re not going to tell you that right off the bat!) But there’s hope!

The only way to get rid of these evil vibes and become “clear” is by more auditing. With more training, you can become an “operating thetan”, which means you start to have the ability to affect the world with your thoughts. Only a few years of auditing sessions and you can become a superhero. (Just like Tom Cruise!)

Unlike the first test, further sessions begin to cost money. Not to worry. If you can’t afford the price it costs to become clear, you can work it off by becoming an employee in one of Scientology’s many centers.


THE BREAKDOWN:

Looking at just the surface, no one would ever guess that the Way of the Master brand of Christianity and the Church of Scientology have anything in common. I like to think I’ve disabused you of that opinion.

Both approach you with seemingly positive motives.

Both administer a test that you not only fail, but which is designed specifically so that no one can pass it.

Both tell you the way to salvation, which conveniently can only be found through their organization.

They are creating a problem where no problem exists and then claiming that only they can solve it. This has been the method of every religion that seeks converts, and I doubt it will change any time soon.

Does this mean that Christianity is wrong? No. Does this mean that Scientology is wrong? No. All it means is that the methods of the salesmen, no matter what their product, is exactly the same. And that's the point. How can you choose between two ideologies that have the same message ("Our way or the highway!") and employ the same tactics?

(Hint: Choose neither.)

So the next time you laugh because Scientology is so ridiculous, remember one thing: The difference between the WOTM and the CoS is just the difference between how much they take from your bank account.

New Addition (Not The Band)

The WOTM Watchdog crew would like to welcome our newest and youngest contributor, Morse, to the project. Morse hails from Philadelphia, PA and spends his time studying his college course material, posting at his side project, and criticizing the methods and message of the Way of the Master trio.

If you haven't taken the opportunity to bookmark or subscribe to us, there is no better time than now. Morse has a hum-dinger of an intro article which should find it's way to the top of our page by tomorrow. Stick around and see if he doesn't impress you.

~~~~~

BoxerShorts: "We watch Way of the Master so you don't have to."

Monday, September 24, 2007

Why did Christ die?

I recently had the opportunity to interact with the author of an evangelical Christian blog through comments on one of his blog posts. The title of the entry is entitled "Christ Died For Sinners" which immediately caught my attention.

After reading the short entry and the enclosed quote, I submitted a question in comment form. To my astonishment, I got a reply. Not only do these bloggers seem to be amped up for evangelism but interested in apologetics as well. I welcome their arguments.



Former Follier Says: September 24th, 2007 at 3:30 pm
Christ died in order to save a fallen creation by taking the sins of an infinitely wicked world against an infinitely holy god upon himself, does that about sum it up?

One question: If our sins are so abhorrent to god as to allow his “son” to be the propitiation for our sin, then what is Jesus doing sitting at the right hand of god right now? If the sins of mankind are punishable by eternal damnation, shouldn’t the sacrifice bear the burden? Three days in the ground hardly seems “just”.

Good thing it’s only a fable.



Josh Says: September 24th, 2007 at 3:51 pm
Former Follier,

you obviously have your doubts as to whether or not the biblical account of Jesus death and atonement really is a fable or you wouldn’t have bothered checking our site. Jesus suffered the full weight of God’s anger for all the sins of all His people before he died, while he hung on the cross, and when he cried out “it is finished”, he signified that he had fully drunk the last dregs of the punishment that all his people deserved. It is certainly a mystery that Jesus could sustain an infinitely intense dose of God’s anger, enough punishment to keep all His people in Hell for all eternity. Only Jesus could do this because only Jesus was and is both God and man. His human nature was enabled to do what no other human nature could i.e. soak up all the wrath of God and come out the other side. The gospel is foolishness to the natural man - it is a mathematical improbability too great to fathom and yet it is the truth. God has no physical form and yet all power to create and sustain all things. Because something is a mystery doesn’t mean it isn’t true. For a simple analogy imagine God’s wrath like a tap with an infinite variety of pressure and volume settings - God says in his word that some will suffer more in hell and some less - all will suffer according to the nature of their sin. God turns the tap of his wrath to the precise measurement of what that sinner deserves. Jesus takes the place of all his people beneath the deluge of Gods wrath and God turns the tap on full bore to blast the soul of Jesus with the full weight of hell that all his people deserve. The volume and the pressure of that tap are of such severity that they fully satisfy the requirements of God’s justice. So severe was this punishment that the contemplation of it caused Jesus to sweat blood.We read it. We believe it.


Former Follier Says: September 25th, 2007 at 3:39 am
Josh,

Your assumptions that I am still wrestling with my beliefs are false. Simply looking at my online nickname (a portmanteau of “Former Follower” and “folly”) is a testament to that fact.

However, I still fail to comprehend how a god could send himself in human form to die for the sins which he allowed to enter the world in order to appease himself. It not only seems self-serving, it seems to be superfluous. Especially taking into consideration the fact that there was no good reason for him to supposedly create us in the first place. According to Christian theology, we are here to serve and glorify him. He already had a “heavenly host” of created beings (with free will as is evidenced by the fall of Lucifer and his demons) with no other purpose but to glorify and praise god (as the story goes).

Regardless, for god to send his “son” (himself in human form) for the sole purpose of dying to absolve a contrite mankind from its sin, doesn’t that equate to suicide? Whether or not Jesus killed himself is irrelevent; the fact that he came to earth knowing full-well what would occur meant that he submitted to and pursued his own death. It’s akin to the “suicide by cop” phenomenon on a cosmic scale.

The problem lies in your the last sentence of your reply: “We read it, we believe it.” I certainly hope mankind will have moved beyond such mental lethargy two thousand years from now at which point the Harry Potter chronicles could be considered diviniely inspired holy text.


Former Follier Says: September 25th, 2007 at 3:43 am
To clarify things a bit, I did not actively seek out your site or even your content, necessarily. I did a generic Google search for “Way of the Master” (which my website is devoted to countering) and stumbled across your blog. Divine providence, perhaps?

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Sunday Special #1: Todd Friel Explains Natural Selection

Are there questions left unanswered in your life? Don't fret, for fabtastic Mr. Funky Friel is in the house on Sundays to address any and all reader questions! To kick things off I asked him what he thought was natural selection's role in the biological world, and as a reply was sent this clarifying mp3! If you suspect this to be a jocular misrepresentation of what Todd believes or how he expresses his opinions, feel free to visit www.wayofthemasterradio.com/podcast and search for episodes with the words “monkey” or “evolution” in their description! Thanks, Todd, dude! Listen now!

Todd Discusses Natural Selection!

If you have a question for Todd about something, send it to me, I'll forward it to him, honestly. I'm sure he'll be more than glad to answer more questions!

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Todd Friel is a moral relativist and he doesn't even know it.


The WOTM crew is fond of speaking in terms of moral absolutes.  The whole "Good Person Test" is, of course, rife with them.  Occasionally, Mr. Friel will find himself witnessing to someone who disputes this claim.  He has some very clever ways of tripping them up, and he usually succeeds in making the mark look foolish.  But that's not the point of this post.

The point of this post is that the critics are right.  There are no moral absolutes.  There is no action a human being can commit that is intrinsically wrong in all possible contexts.  The moral value of an action is determined by its context.  For example, nearly all of us, regardless of faith or lack thereof, would agree that killing people is morally wrong...  Most of the time.  However, we would likely also agree that killing a person might be morally justified (or even morally imperative) in some rare cases.  We may quibble over exactly where the line is, but we agree that the line exists:  Killing people is usually morally wrong, but sometimes it's not.  The morality of the act is determined by the context in which it is committed.  This is true for all possible human actions.

Recently, while broadcasting from the Minnesota State Fair...

We interupt this blog entry for a trip down memory lane.  My first encounter with Mr. Friel was at the Minnesota State Fair in 2005.  Ah, those were the days.  Todd, if you're reading this -- and I know you are -- I was the guy who wanted to pretend Darth Vader was real on the grounds that he's a much cooler fictional character than God.  You also commented on my t-shirt, which read "Talk nerdy to me."  We now return you to your previously scheduled post.

...Mr. Friel witnessed to a young man who argued a similar case.  Todd, however, successfully tripped him by citing rape as an action that is intrinsically wrong in all contexts.  The young man, unfortunately, was unable to respond adequately.  Mr. Friel ended up looking right, and his victim ended up looking foolish.

But as we know, appearances can be deceiving.  Our young, anonymous friend was right, he just didn't know how to enunciate it.  Here's the response he was unsuccessfully floundering for:

Yes, rape is morally wrong in all possible cases.  However, it is still a matter of contextual morality rather than absolute morality because the concept of rape has contextual elements built right into it.  Strip the contextual factors from the concept of rape, and you're left with sex.  Now, it's a near-certainty that secularists and theists would quibble a whole lot about where the line between moral and immoral sex lies, but again, we can agree that there is a line.  Sex performed in a forced or nonconsensual context falls on the "morally wrong" side of that line.  But just like with killing people, it's the context that makes it wrong.

Now, I know some theist is going to come along and smugly ask about where atheists get their morality from in the first place.  And yes, there is an answer to that.  But it's a topic for another day.

Friday, September 21, 2007

WOTM Watchdog gets its own domain name!


Hi folks, BoxerShorts here.

Earlier this evening, we purchased the following domain names:  wotmwatchdog.org, wotmwatchdog.com, and wotmwatchdog.net.  The .org domain will be our primary base of operations.  For the time being, .com and .net will redirect to .org.  Please update your bookmarks.

We also have brand-spanking new email addresses:  BoxerShorts@wotmwatchdog.org, Former_Follier@wotmwatchdog.org, and Henwli@wotmwatchdog.org.  Please use these addresses when contacting us regarding WOTM or the blog.

Keep your eyes on this page for further developments.  While the blog will remain the primary focus of the site, we have some significant additions in mind.  Stay tuned.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Pascal's Wager vs. Losing Your Eyebrows

Hello everyone! Henwli here, the latest official contributor to WotM Watchdog. I'm an English major student from Finland with a strange fetish that involves iPods and Way of the Master Radio. Further introduction can wait as I tentatively stick my metaphorical toes in the virtual waters of online authorship with this little ditty:

Now, if you step outside of your house and get near a road, there's a chance you'll be wrestled into the back of a car, clobbered senseless and later wake up on a hill without your eyebrows. This stuff apparently happens.

Everyone knows (Blaise) Pascal's Wager, right? In short, the argument goes that if God exists, it's ultimately better to believe in Him, because if you don't you are headed straight to hell. The wager is based on simple math. Heaven is infinitely good, and hell infinitely bad. If you believe, either you go to heaven or nothing happens. If you don't believe, either you go to hell or nothing happens. So basically you're left with two choices:

A: nothing (0) or infinite good (+)

B: nothing (0) or infinite bad (-)

So, just in case God exists, aren't you really better off putting your money on the selection that will let you suckle angel teat for infinity after your time here is done? A fool would put their eternity on the line and willingly choose the hot poker up the bum option, surely.

Few people take the wager seriously any more. It's nothing more than a simple scare tactic. The WotM ministry has reinvigorated this old beaten battle horse and rides it's rickety carcass to town with their fishermen every day! Of course they don't present the wager in it's classic form, but sneakily implant it in their droning witness encounters.

If a person they're interviewing says that they do not believe in the Christian God, or they do not believe that they're going to hell, or they don't have a specific moment when they were “born again”, or hell, just happen to have one of the thousands of available attributes that makes them “not Christian” to a WotM advocate, they will be posed with a question:

“Rergardless of what you believe; if what I'm saying is true (that God judges everyone according to His standards), would you go to heaven or hell (implied infinity)?”

This is actually Pascal's wager in disguise.

By taking a person through the Ten Commandments, the WotM witnesser establishes that the witnessee (I'm making up words as I go!) has actually broken several of God's laws; that they are adultering, blasphemous thieves. Now in the theoretical situation that the supposed hell (and thus its counterpart also) exists, how screwed are you. Infinitely, of course. The question they pose always contains that one particle I can't quite understand – the “if”, which implies that the “nothing happens” scenario has also been taken into consideration. Why do they say “if”, if they truly, truly believe that what they say is a stone cold fact. Does it sound more persuasive? Isn't that being disingenuous toward you own beliefs? In essence the question posed is:

“You're a bad, bad person and I love you and God loves you, but if what I'm saying is true, would you rather choose:”

A: nothing (0) or infinite good (+∞)

B: nothing (0) or infinite bad (-∞)

The whole Pascal's wager is implied within this technique, and it works just as well in this guise: you still need someone who finds it in themselves to believe in these things. Non-believers, I believe, are called non-believers for a reason.

“Dear Henwli. I write in teary-eyed with shaking hands to thank, because you have saved my soul by converting me to believe in God with Pascal's super awesome wager! It totally rocked my socks right off my feet! And I was wearing shoes! But what did the eyebrow story have to do with anything? Thank you, you are a true angel! XOXOXOXO P.S. u r sooo hot"

It has been actually documented that there is a chance that someone will nab you off the street, beat you up and steal your eyebrows. We could go to the previous victim (who is, I am sure, the first victim in a long line of malevolent attacks that will keep all owners of eyebrows on their toes for decades to come) and observe his hairless ridge. If asked, he will most likely tell you that the event was very unpleasant. Now, the next time you go out, ask yourself is it worth the risk? There are two chances:

A: nothing (0) or you have a merry skip across the park and greet the birds that chatter the message of all-permeating happiness and universal love (+1)

B: nothing (0) or you get beaten up, lose facial hair (-1)

You'll notice that infinity does not appear in this scenario, but has been replaced by (arbitrary) finite numbers. Of course, one of these options is statistically more probable, but both options are based on the world we live in and are absolutely feasible. The infinity in the original wager is irrelevant, because it relies so much on speculation. Math that requires you to believe in the existence of a number didn't really apply last time I checked.

Living life under irrational fear brought on by a faulty mathematical equation sounds kind of exotic though, give it a shot and report back to me how it worked. And by the way, if you do send me e-mail or comment on this post, be careful not to be electrocuted by your computer.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Going Global!

As WOTM Watchdog welcomes a new addition to the team, we also take the opportunity to announce that we now have an international base of support!

The newest member to our group is Henwli, a native Finn whose intrigue in WOTM is on par with the current contributors. Henwli is an amazing writer and is showcased in the comment sections of some of the previous entries on the site. We are ecstatic to have him join the team and can't wait to read what he has to say.

If you haven't bookmarked/subscribed yet, now is definitely the time to do so.

Spread the word; WOTM Watchdog has gone global!

Point To Ponder

Do the doctrinal beliefs of the folks at Way of the Master and those of Fred Phelps' Westboro Baptist Church really differ all that much? Aside from their approach and delivery, both use the ten commandments to show "sinners" their shortcomings in the sight of God as well as sharing their predeterminalism.

What's the difference between the Phelps clan and the Friel clan? Who's the heretic?

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Todd Friel: Still A Liar


I am nothing if not fair and in fairness, I must retract a statment that I made in an earlier post; due to recent communication with Todd, a copy of the Evidence Bible is now on its way to my door via the United States Postal Service. I couldn't be more thrilled!

However, Todd is still a liar. He willfully misrepresents atheists as "God-haters" and, following Todd's logic, telling one lie makes you an untrustworthy liar. If Todd will lie about his supposed opponents, the atheists, what is keeping him from lying to his listening audience about salvation, redemption... even the very existence of God? Nothing, that's what.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Name That Logical Fallacy

For those of you who are still in the dark about this snake oil salesman, this will serve as a good introduction. Please watch this brief video and post your thoughts in the comment section. It will be interesting to see what everyone's views are.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

New Contributor...

A new talent has joined the team here at WOTM Watchdog and we couldn't be any more pleased to have him. BoxerShorts will be contributing new ideas and new content so bookmark this page or subscribe for instant updates, if you haven't already.

Boxershorts also has his own personal blog that is focused more on the Christian movement as a whole; please view "The Underblog" for scathing commentary on evangelical Christianity .

Stay tuned!

Todd Friel: Master Debater?

Hi folks, BoxerShorts here. I'm the newest member of the WOTM Watchdog team. Check out my own little corner of the web, The Underblog, for a different take on evangelical Christianity from an atheist perspective. There isn't much there yet, but I have plans. Oh yes, I do.

Anyway, now that introductions are out of the way, here's what you came here for:

Even among atheists, Mr. Friel has a reputation for being a skilled debater. While this is somewhat justified, it is mostly undeserved. Yes, he appeared to hold his own admirably against Dan Barker, and while I haven't heard the Eddie Tobash debate (I really need to download that one of these days), rumor has it he did pretty well there, as well. But appearances can be deceiving. Todd Friel is not a skilled debater.

Actually, let me qualify that. I don't know if Mr. Friel is a skilled debater, because I've never heard him debate. At least, not honestly. What he is skilled at is cheating at debate. I merely suspect, strongly, that he lacks skill at honest debate, because otherwise he wouldn't have to cheat.

Take a look at the Encyclopedia of Logical Fallacies. For all intents and purposes, these are forbidden in formal debate; a debater who uses them excessively automatically loses the debate by virtue of having used them. Likewise, they should be avoided in informal debate, but the rules there aren't quite as cut-and-dry. Let's take a look at a few that Mr. Friel uses frequently.

Arguments from Ignorance: Mr. Friel frequently challenges atheists to prove God doesn't exist. Well, in the most general possible sense, we can't. But we don't have to. As Isaac Asimov once said, "I don't have the evidence to prove God doesn't exist, but I so strongly suspect he doesn't that I don't want to waste my time."

Irrelevant Appeals: Mr. Friel uses these often, usually in the form of appeals to fear, pity, or wonder. While these can be persuasive, they have little to do with the matter at hand. In addition, they are irrational by their very nature, as they are designed specifically to exploit the listener's irrationality. Every time he brings up Hell, he's making an appeal to fear. This tactic is especially dishonest considering that the very existence of Hell is a subject of the very debate he's engaging in. Which also makes it an example of Circular Reasoning, also known as Begging the Question, a phrase that Mr. Friel frequently misuses, much to my annoyance.

Straw Man Arguments: Mr. Friel has a different Theory of Evolution than modern biologists. His version addresses the Big Bang, the formation of the solar system, and the spontaneous origins of life on Earth. The real Theory of Evolution has nothing to do with any of that, it addresses one phenomenon and one phenomenon only: The changes of populations over time in response to environmental pressures. The origins of the universe and of life on Earth are covered by other, separate (though related) theories. Todd's version of evolution also predicts that dogs can give birth to cats and monkeys to humans. Again, the real theory says nothing of the sort (rather, it states that monkeys and humans -- and cats and dogs, for that matter -- had a common ancestor, which is a much different claim). In fact, if either could be shown to have happened, they would disprove the Theory of Evolution as we know it. This is a Straw Man Argument: Todd claims that the Theory of Evolution is absurd, and indeed his version is. But since it in no way resembles the real theory, his argument has no relevance.

These are just a few examples of logical fallacies Mr. Friel has (knowingly, I suspect) engaged in. So how to we counter it? Well, that's the $64,000 question. As I said earlier, Mr. Friel is very good at cheating. He's very slick at sneaking these fallacious arguments past people. If I go through one of his shows line by line, I can catch a lot of them, but I'm not skilled enough to do it in real-time. We need to find someone who is, and send them off to go toe-to-toe with Todd.

Friday, September 14, 2007

What's In A Name?


Christians hate leprechauns! Did that get your attention? Most likely it did. While most would not find this to be an offensive claim against the fervently pious, how is the claim that atheists hate God, Jesus, Christians and the bible any different? The common Christian reply would be, "Well, leprechauns are fictional characters and God is real!" to which I could easily reply with, "Just like unicorns, satyrs, behemoths, talking serpents, burning bushes and immaculate conceptions are real?"; but we won't go down that path.

Instead, I'd like to focus on defining a few key terms, explaining how adding value judgments and connotations to a simple word can make it much more divisive than if used by its denotation. To do this, I will draw from Todd Friel as an example.

Todd loves nothing more than... God. Second to his love of God is his love of deceit. He habitually deceives his listeners into believing that atheists abhor God, that we absolutely cannot stomach the thought of God because if we were to do anything but hate him, the light of His truth would shine down on our iniquities. Can you tell I used to be a fervent believer? I'm going to show you how it is impossible for atheists to hate God.

Referring back to my leprechaun illustration, it is easy to see that Christians don't truly hate leprechauns. They don't hate them because they don't believe in them or, to put it into the form of a positive statement, they believe them to be non-existent. Here comes a blustering Christian, "I know leprechauns don't exist!". Do you really? Todd likes to probe atheists by questioning their stock of knowledge; do we know everything? No way! No one knows everything. Therefore, it is disingenuous of anyone to say that something absolutely, positively, unequivocally does not exist simply because they have not seen, experienced or interacted with it. For that reason, the vast majority of atheists (myself included) do not say there is no God like Todd would like people to believe. Atheists have a lack of belief in God... much in the same way our Christian in the example does not believe in leprechauns... or psychics, UFOs, holistic medicine, trepanation, etc.

Ask yourself this question: "What is theism?"

If you are being honest with yourself (why wouldn't you be?), you would say that theism is "the belief in god (being a higher power). What is a "theist"? A person who believes in a higher or divine being. What is an "atheist"? An individual who does not believe in a supreme being. Do you see the path of logic? The atheist simply does not believe.

Contrary to Todd's frequent and dishonest claim that atheists "shake their puny little fists at God in rebellion and hatred", we simply don't believe there is a god to shake our fist at. Would you, Mr. or Mrs. Christian, curse a centaur? No.

One major difference that may be the root of the atheist's perceived anger must be addressed: all of the fictional characters I have mentioned in this entry don't have throngs of people devoted to converting the world so they can escape the torture of eternal damnation. God does.