The Controversy in Your Pocket

WE knew it was inevitable, and we’ve been dreading it, but we didn’t think it would happen so quickly. Alas, news has come to us today that your Curmudgeon is now technologically obsolete.

In the New York Times we read You Say God Is Dead? There’s an App for That. Here are some excerpts, with bold added by us:

Publishers of Christian material have begun producing iPhone applications that can cough up quick comebacks and rhetorical strategies for believers who want to fight back against what they view as a new strain of strident atheism. And a competing crop of apps is arming nonbelievers for battle.

[…]

For religious skeptics, the “BibleThumper” iPhone app boasts that it “allows the atheist to keep the most funny and irrational Bible verses right in their pocket” to be “always ready to confront fundamentalist Christians or have a little fun among friends.”

This sounds like a grand waste of time and technology, but let’s read on:

In a dozen new phone applications, whether faith-based or faith-bashing, the prospective debater is given a primer on the basic rules of engagement — how to parry the circular argument, the false dichotomy, the ad hominem attack, the straw man — and then coached on all the likely flashpoints of contention. Why Darwinism is scientifically sound, or not. The differences between intelligent design and creationism, and whether either theory has any merit. The proof that America was, or was not, founded on Christian principles.

Now it’s getting interesting. We continue:

One app, “Fast Facts, Challenges & Tactics” by LifeWay Christian Resources, suggests that in “reasoning with an unbeliever” it is sometimes effective to invoke the “anthropic principle,” which posits, more or less, that the world as we know it is mathematically too improbable to be an accident.

It offers an example: “The Bible’s 66 books were written over a span of 1,500 years by 40 different authors on three different continents who wrote in three different languages. Yet this diverse collection has a unified story line and no contradictions.”

Ah — the stupid really can be programmed! This is the first evidence we’ve ever seen for a magical Designer. Here’s more:

Sean McDowell, the editor of “Fast Facts” and some textbooks for Bible students, said he has become increasingly aware of a skill gap between believers and nonbelievers, who he feels tend to be instinctively more savvy at arguing. “Christians who believe, but cannot explain why they believe, become ‘Bible-thumpers’ who seem dogmatic and insecure about their convictions,” he said. “We have to deal with that.”

Good luck in dealing with that. This is a long article, so we’ll jump to the end:

If smart-phone software can improve the conversation, all to the good, he said. “The app store is our new public commons.”

Michael Beaty, chairman of the philosophy department at Baylor University, a Christian university in Waco, Tex., was not so sure. “We’d be better off if these people were studying Nietzsche and Kant,” he said.

Would “studying Nietzsche and Kant” really make us better off? Hold on while we load our ever-present copy of eCurmudgeon 2.0™ and search for “philosophers” and “not creationist.” We’ll have a snappy response in a nanosecond.

Copyright © 2010. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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3 responses to “The Controversy in Your Pocket

  1. I am actually surprised that this is news. I would have guessed that these apps were already there.

  2. It offers an example: “The Bible’s 66 books were written over a span of 1,500 years by 40 different authors on three different continents who wrote in three different languages. Yet this diverse collection has a unified story line and no contradictions.”

    Really? So I guess I’m just mistaken about Book one, verse one creating animals then mankind and Book one verse TWO saying it was a man, then animals, then women. Forget a good science class, these people need a reading comprehension class.

  3. longshadow

    Argumentum ad iphone app?

    New technology, same old garbage.