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10/16/2004                                                                                       View Comments

Jason Gastrich vs Dan Barker





Jason Gastrich, or someone using that pseudonym, used to post here regularly. I doubt that person was authentic because his style differed markedly from Gastrich's stuff on sermonaudio.com.

Regardless, I've decided to make available a podcast of Dan Barker's debate with Jason Gastrich. If you take the time to listen, leave a comment or two. On semonaudio.com Gastrich was praised as the clear winner (would you expect otherwise?). A poll of who wins a debate is worthless when the only the choir is polled, but it would be interesting to get some feedback here with opinions on which arguments were the most thought provoking. Leaving specifics is most helpful.

Those who would like to purchase or read some excerpts from Dan's book, please click on this link: Losing Faith in Faith

35 comments:

GeneralTHC said...

What a gem. I had never had the pleasure of hearing Dan Barker speak. I have read everything I can find on the internet, a few debates and all the articles I can find and such. This Jason Gastrich dude was way out of his league. Dan Barker is a total pro he has already been there done that, he has heard it all before. It sounded like he was teaching a school boy. It if was a fight this Jason fellow would have been k.o. after 30 minutes. At one point Jason was at a losfer words about a simple contradiction in Acts . Dan Barker being the total pro he is says "well you don't have to comment now" Dan gave Jason professional courtesy that he didn't receive from Jason. Jason went as far as to attack Dan in a ad hominem fashion. Dan is a nice guy. personally if Jason isn't anymore informed than he apparently is about biblical inerrancy he needs to stay on the porch. Stay away from the BIG DOGS!!! Barker is a total pro, he clearly won this. This wasn't even a fight. It was basically Dan talking with a baby christian (lucky he's a nice guy). Quite a treat really. Do you have any more Dan Barker stuff. I am really wanting the 3rd Barker-Horner debate, now that will be a debate. This Jason dude had no business trying to debate Dan. That's all there is to it .

TheNJBen said...

I think the problem with most atheist debaters, and atheists themselves, is they lack the understand of what kind of being a God is. They basically equate God to just a man who is in charge and with that assumption, their arguments are very strong. For example, Dan Barker says that because God knows all his future decisions, He has no free will and at best is some computer-like being. However, if there is a God who exists outside of the physical universe, then time (and terms like past present and future) are irrelevant. If you note, in the Bible, God always refers to himself in the present tense even when speaking of times past (past as it related to the relevant audience). You may argue that it is a convenient argument to make, but regardless of how one may feel about the validity, it is quite proven that the Bible was written long before the advanced physics were developed to understand such a statement.

Marion said...

thenjben: you are so right, I do have problems understanding the god you believe in. It is supposed to exist *outside* of the physical universe, you say? Outside of the billions of galaxies and the who knows how much emptiness between those galaxies, outside of any *physical* existence, there is this 'god'. Which according to believers mind very much whether you lie, or masturbate or brush your teeth. This 'god' is *outside* the physical universe, is no part of it, and yet you think it is somehow important to 'believe' in it. To what purpose, I might ask? If this 'god' of yours in no part of the physical universe, what possible purpose could there be in believing in it? Even ghosts (and I don't believe in *them* either!) are supposedly part of the physical universe for they (according to the people who believe in them)interact with the living (who *do* exist in the physical universe).
You are right, my poor atheist brain has difficulty percieving anything existing outside the physical universe, let alone that that something interacts with us who are part of the physical univers. You aparantly can percieve of such a thing. My congratulations: your mind must be wiiiide. And incredible shallow as a consequence.

Anonymous said...

Q. Why did Dan Refuse to debate him a second time?

A. Barker's philosophy is limited to what was displayed in the 1st contest. Refute that (which Jason has admitted he was a bit new to the game at the time of the 1st debate) and he is left with nothing.

A second debate would be the best Idea for both parties.

As far as inerrancy, generalthc, pick up the "Skeptics Annotated Bible: Corrected and Explained" at skepticsannotatedbible.org

and remember "there is no such thing as absolute truth" is self-refuting.

boomSLANG said...

Q. Why did Dan Refuse to debate him a second time?

The same reason any adult wouldn't waste their time debating the existance of the Great Pumpkin with a 4th grader.

A. Barker's philosophy is limited to what was displayed in the 1st contest. Refute that (which Jason has admitted he was a bit new to the game at the time of the 1st debate) and he is left with nothing.

His philosophy is limited? Oh, I see.....I guess the same way that Jason's "philosophy" would be "limited" to the possibility of Allah, Zeus, Osisris, Toth, and basically, all other gods existing. 'Got it.

A second debate would be the best Idea for both parties.

So Jason, or Jason's friend----a second ass-whoopin' is a charm?

As far as inerrancy, generalthc, pick up the "Skeptics Annotated Bible: Corrected and Explained" at skepticsannotatedbible.org

Why? The bible can't speak for itself? 'Written by a "God", is it?

and remember "there is no such thing as absolute truth" is self-refuting.

God isn't disproven....only unproven.

.:webmaster:. said...

Isn't Jason Gastrich in jail for tax evasion yet?

Anonymous said...

personal attacks are an even more definitive sign of failing philosophy!

I enjoyed both portions of the debate, and admit Jason was a bit overwhelmed, he should be commended for sticking to his guns, though.

Another question. . .

. . .after reading several of your articles, Dan, how does an atheist define evil? and on what grounds/authority?

I thought moral relativism was more your thing, bro?

Atheists (psuedo religion in my opinion) never seem to remain very consistent in thier writings.

Jim Arver said...

Anonymous: "personal attacks are an even more definitive sign of failing philosophy!"

I agree. And we certainly see our share of personal attacks from Christians. Often their very first post is filled with personal attacks. (Not always, of course, but frequently.)

Anonymous: ". . .after reading several of your articles, Dan, how does an atheist define evil?..."

What do you mean by "an atheist"? Are you inferring that each atheist has the same definition? With a nebulous and emotion-laden concept such as "evil", that would be quite remarkable. I will simply give you my definition(s):

1) A religious concept that is intrinsically tied to the notion of rules established by fiat; i.e., acting in direct opposition to the wishes/nature of an (imagined) all-powerful deity.

2) A label that we give to actions or events that are inherently detrimental or disturbing to humans.

If you believe in supernatural entities, the first definition is probably more appealing to you. If not, then the second definition is preferable.

Anonymous: "...and on what grounds/authority?"

Authority? On what "authority" do we assert that gravity follows an inverse-square law? Newton's? No. It's a description of an observed pattern. Authority has nothing to do with it. To me it is quite clear that "evil" is a man-made category, which is NOT the same thing as saying that it is therefore *arbitrary*, as religionists usually claim. We are highly social creatures with much shared and deeply rooted psychological machinery. What we deem to be "evil" is tied to our biology, and amplified by society and tradition. (To claim that morality somehow began with the Decalogue is rather like claiming that the very idea of cooking began with a Betty Crocker recipe.)

Anonymous: "I thought moral relativism was more your thing, bro?"

The idea of moral relativism (often used as a brickbat used by religionists against materialism) is an absurd straw man. Inherent in that notion is the idea that any set of rules as justified as another, so long as we agree. This completely ignores the role of biology.

Anonymous: "Atheists (psuedo religion in my opinion) never seem to remain very consistent in thier writings."

Atheism posits no invisible conscious entities; virtually all religions do, and that is the crux of the issue. If you wish to equate atheism and religion, please point out which invisible conscious entities we are touting.

As for consistency, there is PRECISELY one point of agreement among atheists; that there is no credible evidence for invisible conscious entities. Beyond that, you should expect considerable disagreement since it is not a creed, nor a philosophy, nor anything even approaching a religion. It is simply an observation based on the stunning lack of evidence for a fantastic assertion. What conclusions one draws from is goes beyond the label "atheist".

In my opinion it is religionists whose stated doctrine is inconsistent to the point of incoherence. But that's another discussion.

boomSLANG said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
boomSLANG said...

personal attacks are an even more definitive sign of failing philosophy!

Let's see---I wonder how many times a "Christian" would allow some hillbilly to stand on their front porch and scream at the top of their lungs---"Bigfoot exists!!!!!" Yes, I wonder how many times that behavior would be allowed, before said Christian would get personal with the rude, and intruding, lunatic---especially, if each and EVERY time said lunatic had zero first-hand empirical evidence for said claim. Or how about if they said such things as---"Bigfoot exists!...it says so right here in my National Bigfoot Tracker, pg. 89, paragraph 3!"...or how about, "Bigfoot exists!...I feel it in my heart!...you just need to let Bigfoot in your heart!" Would merely pointing out the flaws in that "logic" make the philosophy that "I have NO belief in Bigfoot until I see the evidence for myself", a "failing philosophy"? No, it wouldn't.

I enjoyed both portions of the debate, and admit Jason was a bit overwhelmed, he should be commended for sticking to his guns, though.

You mean, sticking to his conviction? That's the problem with convictions...you lose in the long-run, because we live in a CHANGING universe. We know now that a "firmament" doesn't "support the water in the sky" and that the earth doesn't "stand on pillars". We know now that people don't set up up camp inside a whale's belly. It's MYTHOLOGY.

. . .after reading several of your articles, Dan, how does an atheist define evil? and on what grounds/authority?

That's odd, I thought Dan made it crystal clear that "evil" is causing unnecessary harm to others. I think he touched on cultural relativity, too...making it clear that there can be no "objective" morality.

Atheists (psuedo religion in my opinion) never seem to remain very consistent in thier writings.

I do NOT collect stamps. Therefore, stamp collecting is my "pseudo-hobby". Brilliant. And BTW, there's 1,200 or so denominations of Christianity, yet, Atheists disbelieve ALL of it. Gee, which shows more consistancy?

Jim Arvo said...

In response to yet-another-unnamed poster, BoomSLANG said "I do NOT collect stamps. Therefore, stamp collecting is my 'pseudo-hobby'".

I love it. Nicely put, BoomSLANG.

Anonymous, I'm very curious to see if you have anything at all to support your position. But, I expect you will disappear like most of the other visitng Christians when their rhetoric is challenged. Good day.

Jim Arvo (not Arver) said...

I can't believe I misspelled my own name above. Sheesh.

Anonymous said...

wow, as an avowed atheist, this was an ey-opener for me. I hereby retract all support I ever held for our failed philosopher here. it reminds me of his incoherence at times in the Gastrich and fernandes debates. Barker is NO Martin. . .

http://www.geocities.com/atheismsucks/danbarfer.htm

boomSLANG said...

'Can't make heads or tails out of the above critique---if it was Barker who was deemed the "loser", I'd love to know on exactly what point, or points, did he show "incoherence"? I think little christ-boy got his ass handed to him---like, uh, totally "nukular", dude! "Nukular"????

LMAO!

Anonymous said...

anonymous posted previously:

"wow, as an avowed atheist, this was an ey-opener for me. I hereby retract all support I ever held for our failed philosopher here. it reminds me of his incoherence at times in the Gastrich and fernandes debates. Barker is NO Martin. . ."

How "avowed" of an atheist could you have been anonymous? If such a lame debate as this one was able to "open your eyes"?

This anonymous post was probably written bt "Dr." Gastrich himself to make it appear as if he was able to convert an atheist to Christ.

"Dr." Gastrich then sends people to this site to see the "effectiveness" of his "debates" so they will pay him money to do a debate at their church.

Nice try "Dr." Jason. Your phoney doctors title won't fool anyone, and neither will your "anonymous" posts...well...maybe no one but a fundamentalist christian.

Anonymous said...

On an aside, I'd like to noe an observation.

It is said that Barker was deemed the looser simly because they let the Choir vote on the matter. THis basicllay means that because the Church Gastritch debated at was filled with Christains, they deemed the Christain the winner irregardless of the argments employed by both.

However, this website is Ex-Christins.Net. Barker is an Ex-Christain, and former preacher. Wouldn't this site be as biased as the Church Gastritch debated in, and its atendants?

Many here, and perhaps most, will see Barker as the clear winner, and his arguments as solid, irrefutable, and powerful, whole seeing Gastritch as weak and foolish, simply because Barker is an Ex-CHristain preacher, preaching now agaisnt Christainity.

Its no real difference, and seems to be rather moot.

SKW

webmdave said...

I liked this conversation very much. Dan presents a compelling case, but I have never been a fan of the omnipotence argument. Even if a being can see his future decisions, it does not follow that he cannot decide, it just means that he/she has pre-decided. The point in linear time when the decision is made does not apply to a being that exists outside of the bounds of time. I got into a pretty heated debate with one of my philosophy classes about this argument. I think atheism has much more compelling basis for rebutting the nature of god, and they shouldn't focus on this argument as much.

webmdave said...

On an aside, I'd like to noe an observation.

It is said that Barker was deemed the looser simly because they let the Choir vote on the matter. THis basicllay means that because the Church Gastritch debated at was filled with Christains, they deemed the Christain the winner irregardless of the argments employed by both.

However, this website is Ex-Christins.Net. Barker is an Ex-Christain, and former preacher. Wouldn't this site be as biased as the Church Gastritch debated in, and its atendants?

Many here, and perhaps most, will see Barker as the clear winner, and his arguments as solid, irrefutable, and powerful, whole seeing Gastritch as weak and foolish, simply because Barker is an Ex-CHristain preacher, preaching now agaisnt Christainity.

Its no real difference, and seems to be rather moot.

SKW

webmdave said...

anonymous posted previously:

"wow, as an avowed atheist, this was an ey-opener for me. I hereby retract all support I ever held for our failed philosopher here. it reminds me of his incoherence at times in the Gastrich and fernandes debates. Barker is NO Martin. . ."

How "avowed" of an atheist could you have been anonymous? If such a lame debate as this one was able to "open your eyes"?

This anonymous post was probably written bt "Dr." Gastrich himself to make it appear as if he was able to convert an atheist to Christ.

"Dr." Gastrich then sends people to this site to see the "effectiveness" of his "debates" so they will pay him money to do a debate at their church.

Nice try "Dr." Jason. Your phoney doctors title won't fool anyone, and neither will your "anonymous" posts...well...maybe no one but a fundamentalist christian.

webmdave said...

'Can't make heads or tails out of the above critique---if it was Barker who was deemed the "loser", I'd love to know on exactly what point, or points, did he show "incoherence"? I think little christ-boy got his ass handed to him---like, uh, totally "nukular", dude! "Nukular"????

LMAO!

webmdave said...

'Can't make heads or tails out of the above critique---if it was Barker who was deemed the "loser", I'd love to know on exactly what point, or points, did he show "incoherence"? I think little christ-boy got his ass handed to him---like, uh, totally "nukular", dude! "Nukular"????

LMAO!

webmdave said...

wow, as an avowed atheist, this was an ey-opener for me. I hereby retract all support I ever held for our failed philosopher here. it reminds me of his incoherence at times in the Gastrich and fernandes debates. Barker is NO Martin. . .

http://www.geocities.com/atheismsucks/danbarfer.htm

webmdave said...

I can't believe I misspelled my own name above. Sheesh.

webmdave said...

In response to yet-another-unnamed poster, BoomSLANG said "I do NOT collect stamps. Therefore, stamp collecting is my 'pseudo-hobby'".

I love it. Nicely put, BoomSLANG.

Anonymous, I'm very curious to see if you have anything at all to support your position. But, I expect you will disappear like most of the other visitng Christians when their rhetoric is challenged. Good day.

webmdave said...

In response to yet-another-unnamed poster, BoomSLANG said "I do NOT collect stamps. Therefore, stamp collecting is my 'pseudo-hobby'".

I love it. Nicely put, BoomSLANG.

Anonymous, I'm very curious to see if you have anything at all to support your position. But, I expect you will disappear like most of the other visitng Christians when their rhetoric is challenged. Good day.

webmdave said...

Anonymous: "personal attacks are an even more definitive sign of failing philosophy!"

I agree. And we certainly see our share of personal attacks from Christians. Often their very first post is filled with personal attacks. (Not always, of course, but frequently.)

Anonymous: ". . .after reading several of your articles, Dan, how does an atheist define evil?..."

What do you mean by "an atheist"? Are you inferring that each atheist has the same definition? With a nebulous and emotion-laden concept such as "evil", that would be quite remarkable. I will simply give you my definition(s):

1) A religious concept that is intrinsically tied to the notion of rules established by fiat; i.e., acting in direct opposition to the wishes/nature of an (imagined) all-powerful deity.

2) A label that we give to actions or events that are inherently detrimental or disturbing to humans.

If you believe in supernatural entities, the first definition is probably more appealing to you. If not, then the second definition is preferable.

Anonymous: "...and on what grounds/authority?"

Authority? On what "authority" do we assert that gravity follows an inverse-square law? Newton's? No. It's a description of an observed pattern. Authority has nothing to do with it. To me it is quite clear that "evil" is a man-made category, which is NOT the same thing as saying that it is therefore *arbitrary*, as religionists usually claim. We are highly social creatures with much shared and deeply rooted psychological machinery. What we deem to be "evil" is tied to our biology, and amplified by society and tradition. (To claim that morality somehow began with the Decalogue is rather like claiming that the very idea of cooking began with a Betty Crocker recipe.)

Anonymous: "I thought moral relativism was more your thing, bro?"

The idea of moral relativism (often used as a brickbat used by religionists against materialism) is an absurd straw man. Inherent in that notion is the idea that any set of rules as justified as another, so long as we agree. This completely ignores the role of biology.

Anonymous: "Atheists (psuedo religion in my opinion) never seem to remain very consistent in thier writings."

Atheism posits no invisible conscious entities; virtually all religions do, and that is the crux of the issue. If you wish to equate atheism and religion, please point out which invisible conscious entities we are touting.

As for consistency, there is PRECISELY one point of agreement among atheists; that there is no credible evidence for invisible conscious entities. Beyond that, you should expect considerable disagreement since it is not a creed, nor a philosophy, nor anything even approaching a religion. It is simply an observation based on the stunning lack of evidence for a fantastic assertion. What conclusions one draws from is goes beyond the label "atheist".

In my opinion it is religionists whose stated doctrine is inconsistent to the point of incoherence. But that's another discussion.

webmdave said...

personal attacks are an even more definitive sign of failing philosophy!

I enjoyed both portions of the debate, and admit Jason was a bit overwhelmed, he should be commended for sticking to his guns, though.

Another question. . .

. . .after reading several of your articles, Dan, how does an atheist define evil? and on what grounds/authority?

I thought moral relativism was more your thing, bro?

Atheists (psuedo religion in my opinion) never seem to remain very consistent in thier writings.

webmdave said...

Q. Why did Dan Refuse to debate him a second time?

The same reason any adult wouldn't waste their time debating the existance of the Great Pumpkin with a 4th grader.

A. Barker's philosophy is limited to what was displayed in the 1st contest. Refute that (which Jason has admitted he was a bit new to the game at the time of the 1st debate) and he is left with nothing.

His philosophy is limited? Oh, I see.....I guess the same way that Jason's "philosophy" would be "limited" to the possibility of Allah, Zeus, Osisris, Toth, and basically, all other gods existing. 'Got it.

A second debate would be the best Idea for both parties.

So Jason, or Jason's friend----a second ass-whoopin' is a charm?

As far as inerrancy, generalthc, pick up the "Skeptics Annotated Bible: Corrected and Explained" at skepticsannotatedbible.org

Why? The bible can't speak for itself? 'Written by a "God", is it?

and remember "there is no such thing as absolute truth" is self-refuting.

God isn't disproven....only unproven.

webmdave said...

Q. Why did Dan Refuse to debate him a second time?

A. Barker's philosophy is limited to what was displayed in the 1st contest. Refute that (which Jason has admitted he was a bit new to the game at the time of the 1st debate) and he is left with nothing.

A second debate would be the best Idea for both parties.

As far as inerrancy, generalthc, pick up the "Skeptics Annotated Bible: Corrected and Explained" at skepticsannotatedbible.org

and remember "there is no such thing as absolute truth" is self-refuting.

webmdave said...

thenjben: you are so right, I do have problems understanding the god you believe in. It is supposed to exist *outside* of the physical universe, you say? Outside of the billions of galaxies and the who knows how much emptiness between those galaxies, outside of any *physical* existence, there is this 'god'. Which according to believers mind very much whether you lie, or masturbate or brush your teeth. This 'god' is *outside* the physical universe, is no part of it, and yet you think it is somehow important to 'believe' in it. To what purpose, I might ask? If this 'god' of yours in no part of the physical universe, what possible purpose could there be in believing in it? Even ghosts (and I don't believe in *them* either!) are supposedly part of the physical universe for they (according to the people who believe in them)interact with the living (who *do* exist in the physical universe).
You are right, my poor atheist brain has difficulty percieving anything existing outside the physical universe, let alone that that something interacts with us who are part of the physical univers. You aparantly can percieve of such a thing. My congratulations: your mind must be wiiiide. And incredible shallow as a consequence.

webmdave said...

thenjben: you are so right, I do have problems understanding the god you believe in. It is supposed to exist *outside* of the physical universe, you say? Outside of the billions of galaxies and the who knows how much emptiness between those galaxies, outside of any *physical* existence, there is this 'god'. Which according to believers mind very much whether you lie, or masturbate or brush your teeth. This 'god' is *outside* the physical universe, is no part of it, and yet you think it is somehow important to 'believe' in it. To what purpose, I might ask? If this 'god' of yours in no part of the physical universe, what possible purpose could there be in believing in it? Even ghosts (and I don't believe in *them* either!) are supposedly part of the physical universe for they (according to the people who believe in them)interact with the living (who *do* exist in the physical universe).
You are right, my poor atheist brain has difficulty percieving anything existing outside the physical universe, let alone that that something interacts with us who are part of the physical univers. You aparantly can percieve of such a thing. My congratulations: your mind must be wiiiide. And incredible shallow as a consequence.

webmdave said...

I think the problem with most atheist debaters, and atheists themselves, is they lack the understand of what kind of being a God is. They basically equate God to just a man who is in charge and with that assumption, their arguments are very strong. For example, Dan Barker says that because God knows all his future decisions, He has no free will and at best is some computer-like being. However, if there is a God who exists outside of the physical universe, then time (and terms like past present and future) are irrelevant. If you note, in the Bible, God always refers to himself in the present tense even when speaking of times past (past as it related to the relevant audience). You may argue that it is a convenient argument to make, but regardless of how one may feel about the validity, it is quite proven that the Bible was written long before the advanced physics were developed to understand such a statement.

webmdave said...

What a gem. I had never had the pleasure of hearing Dan Barker speak. I have read everything I can find on the internet, a few debates and all the articles I can find and such. This Jason Gastrich dude was way out of his league. Dan Barker is a total pro he has already been there done that, he has heard it all before. It sounded like he was teaching a school boy. It if was a fight this Jason fellow would have been k.o. after 30 minutes. At one point Jason was at a losfer words about a simple contradiction in Acts . Dan Barker being the total pro he is says "well you don't have to comment now" Dan gave Jason professional courtesy that he didn't receive from Jason. Jason went as far as to attack Dan in a ad hominem fashion. Dan is a nice guy. personally if Jason isn't anymore informed than he apparently is about biblical inerrancy he needs to stay on the porch. Stay away from the BIG DOGS!!! Barker is a total pro, he clearly won this. This wasn't even a fight. It was basically Dan talking with a baby christian (lucky he's a nice guy). Quite a treat really. Do you have any more Dan Barker stuff. I am really wanting the 3rd Barker-Horner debate, now that will be a debate. This Jason dude had no business trying to debate Dan. That's all there is to it .

webmdave said...

What a gem. I had never had the pleasure of hearing Dan Barker speak. I have read everything I can find on the internet, a few debates and all the articles I can find and such. This Jason Gastrich dude was way out of his league. Dan Barker is a total pro he has already been there done that, he has heard it all before. It sounded like he was teaching a school boy. It if was a fight this Jason fellow would have been k.o. after 30 minutes. At one point Jason was at a losfer words about a simple contradiction in Acts . Dan Barker being the total pro he is says "well you don't have to comment now" Dan gave Jason professional courtesy that he didn't receive from Jason. Jason went as far as to attack Dan in a ad hominem fashion. Dan is a nice guy. personally if Jason isn't anymore informed than he apparently is about biblical inerrancy he needs to stay on the porch. Stay away from the BIG DOGS!!! Barker is a total pro, he clearly won this. This wasn't even a fight. It was basically Dan talking with a baby christian (lucky he's a nice guy). Quite a treat really. Do you have any more Dan Barker stuff. I am really wanting the 3rd Barker-Horner debate, now that will be a debate. This Jason dude had no business trying to debate Dan. That's all there is to it .

webmdave said...

I think Barker won and not in the by the skin of his teeth sense, he won by leaps and bounds over the other guy

On a side note many of the arguments presented by the other guy are what I used to hear all the time, and never had a great answer to