Tektonics Ministry "J.P. Holding"/Robert Turkel

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2004-11-28 (Former?) Turkelite Derek Pierson has been reading libertarian economics and philosophy lately, and dropped me a line to say he now agrees that the OT Yahweh is immoral, and hopes to salvage his Christianity by rejecting as errant the OT endorsement that the gospels place on Jesus' lips. Thus Robert Turkel has had to take down Derek's essay Find A Better Way, Critics! Of course, Turkel's notice doesn't dare reveal that Derek now finds the OT Yahweh indefensible, but instead just says Derek "has currently been reconsidering his attitude". But what else would you expect from the coward Turkel?


LAKEGEORGEGUY: It’s clear you’ve never read or studied any science Holding. It frightens you. You were scared to even take a position on the foolishness of YEC because you claimed such woeful ignorance about science. You have no clue about any of the modern discoveries of neuroscience, and in this post it’s clear you don’t even understand the one subject you’ve devoted your entire obsessive life to. I find you tragically amusing, it’s like you’re some kind of macabre Shakespearean character completely unaware of what a despicably ugly and flawed person you are. 4/7/05


"As the text says - because despite Mr. Holding's smokescreens, he cannot escape the fact that the Bible tells us exactly what happened to Jephthah's daughter, and her fate was categorically not the one he would desperately like to believe it was. The plain, brutal facts are these: Judges 11:39 says that Jephthah ultimately 'did with [his daughter] according to his vow which he had vowed.' Mr. Holding weakly suggests that this is 'non-specific', but the opposite is true; it is perfectly specific. The vow that this refers to is, of course, the one contained in Judges 11:30-31: 'And Jephthah vowed a vow unto the Lord, and said, If thou shalt without fail deliver the children of Ammon into mine hands, then it shall be, that whatsoever cometh forth of the doors of my house to meet me, when I return in peace from the children of Ammon, shall surely be the Lord's, and I will offer it up for a burnt offering.'"

"The text specifically and clearly says burnt offering (Hebrew 'olah, meaning holocaust, burnt offering, sacrifice). It does not say Temple service. Jephthah did as he had vowed, and what he vowed was to make a blood sacrifice. How obvious does this have to be before Mr. Holding is forced to acknowledge it? To what lengths will he strain to resolve even the most plainly insoluble problems? The text itself flatly and undeniably shoots down his tortured solution. Mr. Holding simply has no case whatsoever here."


Judges 11 contains a story about Yahweh accepting a young virgin girl as a human sacrifice. Clearly this is not good PR for Yahweh, so Turkel tries very hard to deny that the girl was actually sacrificed in the story. He speculates that she was not killed but was instead made to devote her life to "Temple service." This explanation is not at all believable and it illustrates just how far Turkel will go to deny the obvious.


TURKEL:...Incidentally, since LakeSewageGuy has been beating that "talking donkey" naturalist-begged question into the concrete on his head for the past sixty years, for lack of being able to say anything else, let's just make something clear:

I reckon that the talking donkey episode is a midrashic jab at Balaam:


LAKEGEORGEGUY: You “reckon”? You “reckon” things now Holding? Is that a quaint Florida term for “I don’t really have a clue but this should sound good so I can cross talking donkeys off the list of things I’m forced to defend and admit I believe in…”

But we are making progress in your deprogramming. So the talking donkey episode DID NOT REALLY HAPPEN….it is a MIDRASH…in other words, a FICTIONAL STORY…is that what you are saying Holding? Lets be clear. DONKEYS CAN”T TALK…this is great progress…soon you’ll be interested in the real age of the world…I can just feel it…

Now, perhaps you can also tell your readers if the Genesis creations accounts, the flood story, the Exodus account, the books of Jonah and Job, and the various gospel passion stories are MIDRASH as well?

Perhaps you have a cross reference on tectonics that lists all the books of the bible and clearly delineates what is reliable biblical “history” from MIDRASHIC FICTIONAL STORIES. It would be nice if it also translates those tricky metaphorical words like “unquenchable fire” into what the author really meant, a feeling of eternal “shame”…

TURKEL: So sorry, while I don't buy the materialist presupposition, that donkey won't ride here. Time to find a new dodgeball to play with.

LAKEGEORGEGUY: As a keen student of the animal kingdom, I always thought it more likely that a donkey could talk versus a snake. Perhaps we can cover that in next weeks deprogramming session. This is good, we have to celebrate small victories like these. I wish I could “stop the sun” so this great day would not end till every last Christian knew of your progress… 11/1/04


"In regards to more substantive material, it is my impression that Mr. Holding essentially has only one argument, only one defense to skeptical attacks and charges of contradiction. This defense recurs throughout his site, phrased in a variety of different ways and appearing in a number of different guises, but it always boils down to the same thing. This defense, as I have pointed out before, is essentially, 'The Bible doesn't mean what it says.'"

"Naturally, though, Mr. Holding is never this blatant about saying so, and he has devised a wide variety of ways to say it so as not to appear that he is repeating himself. He might say that the Bible can't be 'read like a newspaper'. He might say that statements in it are 'paradoxical' or 'in tension', but they are never contradictory. It's not true that God doesn't know everything, but nevertheless there are some verses where he 'feigns ignorance' and acts as if he doesn't. It's not true that two gospels depict the same event as having happened at different times - that's just an example of 'dischronologized narrative'. If a blanket statement contradicts some other verses, that statement is 'proverbial literature' and thus non-absolute; or else there were exceptions 'implicit in the social context'. Or else that statement is a 'strong, colorful expression', an 'outrageous, rhetorical teaching technique', or an 'exaggeration for emphasis', the product of a mindset that was 'given to expressing itself in hyperbole and extremes'. If an entire book contains many such blanket statements, it is a symbolic 'discourse of a man who lives without knowledge of God' and we're supposed to realize that nothing in it can be taken literally. If a statement contradicts other statements by saying 'don't do X,' it's a 'negation idiom', and what it means is 'do do X'. And if all else fails, Mr. Holding simply declares the contradiction 'intentional', which 'puts [it] beyond the measure of 'contradiction' and into the semantic realm of artistic license.' After all, a Van Gogh painting can hardly be construed as 'contradicting' a Picasso."


"My comments above about Mr. Holding's straining for any explanation rather than admit the errancy of the Bible apply with force here. In his bid to defend this book, which he believes to be the true Word of God, he has indeed actually declared some of the contradictions in it 'artistic license'. While the ludicrousness of the lengths he will go to may provoke laughter, the fact remains that he is deadly serious, and can offer such incredibly forced arguments without irony. This is, of course, another symptom of fundamentalist religious indoctrination, that memetic virus which has locked itself around the minds of Mr. Holding and those like him, preventing them from viewing the world through any lens but their own rigid preconceptions, and removing their ability to ever admit error or uncertainty in any matter of theological significance. (A clear case of Morton's Demon in action.)"

Theology Web (URL pending)

TURKEL: How do you spell "Sauron"? H-Y-P-O-C-R-I-T-E.

SAURON: Nope. I'm not the one who:

1. avoids discussing evolution, cosmology, and earth history, and

2. tries to says that he is unqualified to discuss such topics, yet after all that

3. continues to put forth AiG as a reputable scientific organization, and

4. refuses to explain why

If #1 and #2 are true, then #3 is nonsense - if you don't have the skills to evaluate evolution, then quite frankly you don't know and cannot tell who is right, and who is wrong.

You refuse to justify a reliance on AiG, yet simultaneously try to skip out on debating evolution because "you're not qualified". Bottom line here is that you're too chicken to debate this topic, because you've already seen that the creationists lose - and badly. So to avoid getting you and your precious ego dirty, you wave your hands and try to sneak out the back door.


"Turkel is losing this debate so badly that his defeat is amusing to quantify. In his latest response alone Turkel fails 79 times to answer, acknowledge, or correctly represent my arguments. On six occasions his reasoning is so faulty as to constitute textbook examples of fallacies, and in six other instances he exhibits a misunderstanding of the elementary logic of his own Trilemma argument. In 19 instances he edited his essay to hide from his readers his defeat on particular points, and six other times he changed the subject to deflect attention from a defeat. Seven separate times he adopts the pretense that forcing a successful defense of my thesis is somehow a victory for him. Finally, on 14 occasions he indulges in insubstantial argument by way of generalization, hollow bluster, ad hominem, and slurs (such as calling me 'bigoted' for disagreeing with people of other cultures)."


"I have been known to employ touches of sarcasm myself, and I can be provocative, but I have always been careful to maintain a basic level of civility. Mr. Holding knows little of this concept, which is a common characteristic of the zealot, who regards dissenters as the incarnation of the devil."


Mr. Holding's position is one that will concede no ground and countenance no loss, no matter the evidence or logic arrayed against him, no matter how soundly he is trounced, no matter how hopeless his case is. In such circumstances he will clutch at any argument, no matter how strained, and present it with a belligerence usually inversely proportional to its strength.


"The abundant use of 'satire' and emotionally-charged words ('biased,' 'bigot,' 'confetti in the air,' 'low-level,' 'absurd,' 'showboating,' etc., the ad hominem and flippant title, inviting the reader to laugh at all lawyers) should have very limited place in a rational discussion, and their overuse by a disputant generally is an indication of a realization (conscious or subconscious) that the argument at that point is weak. Such tone also is useful when one is preaching to the choir, when substance is less necessary."

To be continued...

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