Iron Chariots outage

FYI: Ironchariots.org will be experiencing some down time for a matter of hours or days as I try to complete this upgrade to the latest version of MediaWiki, which should help reduce spam and make more tools available to editors.

 

UPDATE: It’s been down since yesterday, now it’s back up.  It doesn’t look any different, but it’s on a shiny new server running software that’s six years newer.  Now I can start figuring out how to take advantage of the antispam stuff.  The forums are still down, but I’ll fix that shortly.

UPDATE 2: Both the wiki and the forum are now up and running.  I still need to upgrade the forum version so it may go down again.

Vote for Iron Chariots Wiki!

Atheism.about.com is running various polls for favorite atheist resources, and Iron Chariots is among the finalists!

So yes, this is shameless self-promotion of an Atheist Community of Austin-originated resource, but there are other great reasons to vote for it. Bear in mind that as a wiki, the more widely Iron Chariots is known, the easier it is to draw in great editors and improve the content. So get out there and vote!

Edit: The Atheist Experience is currently running second place for best podcast.

Update: As has been pointed out in the comments, both of ours are handily ahead now. Go, fans! We loves ya.

I ♥ Iron Chariots

Just wanted throw some words of praise at the intrepid editors over at Iron Chariots. I just finished writing a long email response to someone who wanted to know what came before the big bang. When I was finished, I thought to myself, “Self, this would be a great addition to the big bang article at Iron Chariots.”

When I got there, however, I discovered that edits were completely unnecessary, as a very thorough and well written account of what I wanted to say was already there. Some of my thoughts about the cosmological argument were not in the big bang article, but instead there was a very tidy link to a cosmological argument page with some great responses. And when I thought “Ah but this doesn’t address the kalam version” I was again proved wrong, as one sentence in the middle helpfully informed me that “Changing ‘Everything that exists has a cause’ to ‘Everything that begins to exist has a cause’ produces a variant known as the Kalam cosmological argument” which in turn led to another page with some stuff I hadn’t even thought of saying.

Then I thought “Surely there’s a lot to be done on the transcendental argument. I remember how incomplete it was when I looked it up while talking to Matt Slick.” Well, the page is in progress, but it already has the full version of the Slick argument posted, plus some initial refutations based partly on Matt’s and my discussions with him.

Needless to say, I’m delighted. It lightens the load of answering emails tremendously, because I can just link a pre-written article which expresses it better than I would off the cuff. That is, of course, exactly what we hoped for when we created this wiki.

I well remember when about 50% of the content had to be generated by me personally, so I’m gratified to see that it’s progressing very well without my intervention. Thanks!

Ray is preaching my stuff!

I just checked the latest post from Ray Comfort and submitted the following response. I’m doubtful that he’ll post it and I’m very doubtful that we’ll ever have any sort of dialog…but, darn it, I just can’t stop trying. I guess I’m a bit more masochistic than I thought.

For those that don’t want to read Ray’s post, the short version is: the OT and NT gods are the same, righteous, perfect and equally stern in their pure justice. This version has only a single change…I’ve actually provided the link to the wiki, as I can pretty much do whatever I want to do here. :)

Thanks, Ray…for (almost) preaching the very sermon I’ve been preaching for years.

So many Christians (and many non-Christians) dismiss the Old Testament view of God in favor of the cheek-turning compassion of the New Testament version. The mistakenly think that the NT version is better, softer or more kind.

There’s just one tiny area where we disagree (actually, there are several beyond this, but I’m only addressing the comparison)…you think the OT and NT versions are equally good, righteous and perfect. I don’t.

While some non-believers might agree with you, but opt for ‘equally bad’ as the appropriate description, I simply don’t agree. The NT doctrine is far worse.

Your cartoonish oversimplification of the wages of OT sin being “Hell” is not consistent with Jewish tradition and not Biblically supported without anachronistic reinterpretation of the OT. The very understanding of death and what happens after death is rather nebulous in the OT and much more vivid in the NT. This renders the NT version of God far worse than the OT version – because the immoral doctrines of original sin is compounded by the unjust concept of eternal punishment for finite ‘sins’ (though you’ll probably point out that sins against a God are necessarily infinite…that’s just a convenient interpretation that isn’t supported theologically, logically or Biblically).

The idea that it is just to punish people for their thoughts, doubts or disbelief is a perversion of any reasonable concept of justice. The system is further polluted by the claim that it rewards belief, regardless of, or in preference to action.

While you’ll find this sad, possibly offensive and may even refuse to publish it, I have no problem at all asserting that my moral values are superior to those of any character in the Bible, including the various characterizations of God. In fact, I’d argue that the God of the Bible may be one of the least moral characters in that entire collection of ancient writings.

When you sacrifice your humanity, your decency and your rational sense of justice in order to claim that the tyrannical acts of a more powerful being are intrinsically just, appealing to the banality of ‘might makes right’ – you’ve lost the battle.

The Euthyphro dilemma begins to make this point about fiat-morality…but it’s worth extending.

If you’re so impressed with the Sermon on the Mount, I’d be curious to hear your take on my response to it.

50 reasons to contribute to Iron Chariots

PZ Myers just posted an email he received entitled “50 reasons to believe in god.” While the apologetics contained therein are the usual unremarkable tripe, I thought this was a good opportunity to renew enthusiasm for Iron Chariots, the counter-apologetics wiki.

The mission of Iron Chariots is to collect in one handy reference guide an exhaustive list of theistic arguments and thorough rebuttals to each one. Here in this email, we find a neatly wrapped parcel of sound bites which collectively represent EXACTLY the sort of thing which Iron Chariots was set up to debunk.

Many of the bullet points from the email already have responses at IC, but many others do not. I’ve taken the liberty of creating a new page dedicated entirely to responding to this email. I’ve also included an example of the kind of response which would suffice to answer the first bullet point.

Go to the article and start editing!

The point of this exercise is not simply to write a long essay in the body of the response. If there is already a response within a different article, link it! If there is no such article, make one! If an existing article fails to sufficiently address the point, improve it! You can categorize new articles yourself, or simply write something basic and let our crack team of experienced editors come in behind you and wikify the contents. Either way, let’s make this a group activity. Have fun! And feel free to share the link.

Also, you’ll noticed that I’ve created a new category for this project called Internet Memes. If you know of any other good messages that fit into this category, feel free to create more articles in there.