Those few people who have logged onto one of Manuel de Dios Agosto's blog sites to discover his terms and conditions for 'debating' him when he issues one of his many challenges to do the impossible and prove the Christian god doesn't exist, will have been astonished to find some apparently idiotic conditions being imposed, failure to comply with which will result in Manny claiming victory by default.
Incidentally, thanks to Wulfwitch for that link to a cached copy of one of Manny's blogs. Manny's blogs tend to be quickly edited when he's embarrassed by them, just prior to calling people liars for quoting them verbatim. Thanks too to Wulfwitch for drawing my attention through his blog to these conditions that Manny tries to impose on people who may be tempted to try to have a grown-up debate with him.
Of course Manny runs hysterically from any challenge to prove his claim to have scientific proof that the Christian god actually exists and immediately resorts to abusing anyone issuing such a challenge. He issues an impossible challenge and even then, apparently, has to pile obstacles in the way just in case someone actually makes arguments he can't refute.
Remember, this is a man who claims to be a leading philosopher and world-renowned theological academic, and he's smugly challenging people to prove a negative, like a 12 year-old home-schooled fundy with retarded parents!
But Manny's self-evident dishonesty and cowardice in his dependence on tactics over substance isn't the purpose of this blog. The purpose of this blog is to look at the possible reason he imposed the idiotic condition that 'evidence' (for a negative!) meet the following conditions:
- It must be submitted in a Microsoft Word document.
- The document must be in 12 point font, double spaced.
- It must be a minimum of fifteen pages.
- It must include cites (sic) - presumably citations - and the methodology used to reach your conclusion.
Also, for some reason, you're not allowed to quote Richard Dawkins or include anything which Manuel deems to be a fallacy. Given his standard tactic on Twitter and elsewhere of arrogantly waving aside anything he can't refute as a 'fallacy' without deigning to explain what was wrong with the logic, the last condition is obviously his get-out-of-jail-free card intended to allow him to claim victory no matter what arguments are put forward.
Manny's definition of a 'fallacy' is a private one: it's anything he doesn't understand, doesn't want to be true, hadn't thought of or heard about or which he simply can't refute.
His evident fear of Richard Dawkins' arguments is the rather too obvious reason for his prohibition on using them, although, since you have to include 'cites', presumably you can use other people's arguments, apart from those used by Richard Dawkins, et al. See that catchall et al?. Would any well-known modern Atheist not qualify as an ally of Richard Dawkins in Manny's private dictionary? Manny doesn't deign to explain why perfectly sound arguments are banned simply because Dawkins has used them.
But, and this is the important point, since anyone who knows Manuel will know how he will use any dishonest tactic available to try to claim victory and then still habitually use abuse, lies and slander against his detractors, why has he imposed restrictions on the medium to be used and even on the formatting of any submissions? You may well be wondering what on Earth the formatting and medium have to do with the validity of an argument and the quality of the logic used and whether the conclusion flows from the evidence and the argument is properly constructed. You may also be wondering why Manuel appears unable to reformat text if he finds a font smaller than 12 point too difficult to read and can't follow the lines unless they are double spaced.
And why on Earth does it need to be a minimum of fifteen pages? What has that got to do with whether the debate has been lost or won? And this is, I think, the give-away of what's behind Manny's incessant 'challenges' to people to send him philosophical arguments.
To understand this we need to understand that, despite his ever-increasing claims of academic prowess as a leading Catholic theologian, senior university lecturer with multiple higher degrees, doctorates in everything from physics, philosophy, psychology, theology and no doubt town planning and macrame, and assistant professorships at institutes the names of which seem to elude him, he is in reality an unemployed failed seminarian who supplements his welfare cheque by online begging since being expelled from seminary in about 2005. More important to the point in hand, Manuel signed up for a basic philosophy course at Lehman Community College, Bronx last May.
And, if you haven't guessed it yet, electronic course assignment reports are normally required to be in 12 point font, double spaced Microsoft Word documents. For these sorts of assignments, a minimum of fifteen pages is pretty much the standard. Simply quoting Richard Dawkins, et al, is not considered adequate since the thinking and arguments are expected to be original, although authorities may be cited where appropriate and with proper citations.
Manuel's list of conditions looks suspiciously like a copy of the requirements for a course assignment report.
It looks distinctly possible that Manuel is trying to get people to do his assignments for him whilst he sits at home in his mother's apartment, drawing his welfare cheque as an adult in full-time education, fantasising about his academic prowess, dreaming up new scams and lies about his detractors, and setting up more fake Twitter accounts and blogs where he can agree with himself and abuse and harass people who see through his charade. And of course, begging for money online - doing anything in fact bar learning the subject he tells the welfare people he is studying full time.
So, unless you want to earn Manuel a qualification in basic philosophy, either don't do his assignments for him or make sure you publish them online on a dated blog, where Lehman College's routine plagiarism checks will find them. Remember, it may take some time for your publication to be picked up by internet crawlers and made available to online plagiarism checkers. Of course, and perish the thought, you could give Manuel an F grade! Or you could send it to the Chair of the Philosophy Department at Lehman College, Michael Buckley (email@example.com), telling him you think Manuel de Dios Agosto may try to pass it off as his original work.
On a serious point: bear in mind that Manuel goes to considerable lengths to try to discover personal details of those he abuses on line, for reasons which are probably not too hard to guess. Make doubly sure you remove any personal details, including author's name, from anything you send him, but bear in mind that he will even then have your email address, and he has recently resorted to sending email threats poorly disguised as coming from someone else.
The best advice is simply to ignore his incessant attention-seeking and not to join in his games where he sets the rules and decides the winner. The best approach is to turn his infantile challenge back on him and ask him to prove fairies, or any mythical god doesn't exist, and tell him you'll use his proof against the Christian god. At least people will enjoy the spectacle of an exposed pompous hypocrite in full rage, but be prepared for a torrent of abuse, false complaints of abuse and spamming to Twitter and several new Twitter accounts you'd never before heard of suddenly abusing you and replying to your tweets too.
[Update 18 November 2014]LOL! This is like taking candy from babies! Despite loudly protesting that he's not Manuel de Dios Agosto, the only individual named in this blog, two of Manny's sock puppet accounts on Twitter have tweeted disparagingly about it. If he's not Manuel de Dios Agosto, why the hysteria about Lehman College, and potential victims of plagiarism, being alerted to the possibility that he's trying to get people to write his assignment report for him?
"Manny! Come away from the cookie jar!"
"I'm not near the cookie jar and anyway I can't get the lid off!"