Brian Holtz
Updated 2005-09-14

I here publish messages that I have addressed to particular correspondents. I liberally and fairly quote my correspondents, and link to their material whenever it's available, but I don't normally devote my web space to others' material.  My correspondents are welcome to quote our correspondence in turn on their sites, as long as the primary or introductory page for such quotes includes a prominent link (through the or domain names) to the location on my site that is most relevant to our conversation, such as the anchor below devoted to that correspondent.


Paul Filseth has the finest mind I've ever interacted with. Unfortunately he also seems to have a very sensitive ego. As fellow libertarian atheists we don't have much to disagree about, but we managed to find something: whether God and supernaturality are clear-enough concepts for discussion of them to be meaningful. We also disagreed about my alleged incivility in our discussions. Search Google Groups like this to see our conversation on Usenet.

Paul Holbach is a German fellow who either knows too little philosophy or too much -- it's hard to tell which. :-)  He and I seem to agree on a lot of things, but it took me forever (so to speak) to convince him that a) most philosophers do not think actual infinitude is impossible, and b) "nothing exists" isn't self-contradictory.  Search Google Groups like this to see our conversation on Usenet.

Jesse Nowells eventually ran out of ways to misunderstand my modal realist definition of existence.

"Randau" (whose site is here) had a little difficulty in distinguishing between the limits of his understanding (regarding spacetime, dimensionality, etc.) and the limits of all possible human understanding.


Arundhati Roy is a celebrated Indian novelist who thinks Operation Iraqi Freedom demonstrates that American corporate imperialism is the greatest threat to humanity.

Anton Sherwood denies that the Libertarian Party's "my drugs and my taxes" message makes the party look selfish.

Franklin Schmidt says "the worst people" get rich and that limited stockholder liability gives corporations excess power, e.g. to ask employees to work in cubes.

Prof. Brad DeLong is a brilliant economic historian, but his 1993 internal Clinton Administration memo about the Reagan deficits was deceptive.

Robert Meeropol is a son of executed atomic spies Julius and Ethel Rosenberg; his leftist politics and personal history blind him to the fact that his parents tried to give atomic secrets to the most murderous government in human history.


JR Mooneyham (whose futurology site is here) likes my work but thinks civilization is more fragile than I do.

Dr. Timothy Wilken kindly includes some of my Futurology writing on his eco-pessimism site, but his site has no rebuttal of Julian Simon's eco-optimism.

Professor Larry Lessig couldn't really defend some of the statements in the conclusion to this book Code.

On rec.arts.sf in Jan 1992 I

Marvin Minsky is enough of a genius that he needed no help (and less than three hours) to figure out how I was right that there could be a planet between Earth and Mars.

Atheist Polemics

Glenn Miller (at has been wise enough :-) not to substantively reply to my rebuttals of his pamphlet and his essays on souls and Christian revelation, and his responses to my emailed questions have only been cursory. However, as a grieving parent himself, he did have some kind words in reaction to the death of my son.

Robert Turkel (at would be a formidable advocate for inerrantist Christianity if he didn't have a clear record of boorishness and regularly failing to answer, correctly represent, and link to his opponent's arguments. His record is quantified here in "State of the Debate", and see here for his clumsy effort to return the favor. In our correspondence he offers a feeble defense of the justness of hell, and evades my (still unanswered) detailed questions to him about heaven.

Jim Humphries surfaces periodically (under various pseudonyms) on alt.atheism.moderated to make many of the atheists there look foolish. He knows philosophy well enough to point out the obvious flaws in most atheists' positions, and to avoid enunciating any substantive positions that he might actually have to defend. Thus our debates consist mostly of me forcing him to retreat and cutting of his escape routes one by one. Search Google Groups like this to find his original postings.

India (at didn't have the stomach to defend an irrevocable unending period of net punishment or inflicted suffering for a repentant person. Most of our debate is online here, and almost all of our debate is ignored by her site's article on hell.

ASA Jones (at initially bristled at deconversion questions, but her ambivalence about Christianity left her open-minded enough to be "astounded at the quality of debate that you put forth" and to ask permission to post our correspondence on her site. Two years later she desperately tried to claim she was being sarcastic, but her claim just doesn't match the facts.  Jones has added some horn-tooting to her site about what an unbeatable debater she is, but her site continues to pretend our discussion never happened, even though my critique of her site is the highest-ranking one on Google and 2nd-highest on Yahoo. She can run, but she can't hide.

GZ Jordan (at considers questions about his deconversion to be a distraction from the Resurrection, but he seems unwilling to discuss the full range of possible explanations for the gospel evidence about it. Jordan's side of the discussion is here and here. In Mar 2003 Jordan bowed out of our debate, claiming I have "ignored" his case. I then told him that he "cannot quote a single element of your case which I have not rebutted" and that there are "over thirty arguments or pieces of evidence in my previous response that you here simply ignore".

Gary Amirault ( runs a site that seeks to dull down the sharp edges of Christianity and its doctrine of Hell. His first email advised me to "prepare yourself for the Truth", but he was manifestly unprepared for the exchange that followed, and then got upset that I here posted my responses that quoted some of his reckless comments.

Bob Norsworthy has an apologetics web site whose polemical reach is admirable but exceeds its grasp. He seems not to have confronted competent atheist polemics before. (He says he's not the Bob Norsworthy who wrote a book about how to "harvest" -- i.e. evangelize -- lonely foreign students etc.)

Kyle (at is a high-school Turkel fan (and creationist) who in fact exceeds his idol in maturity, philosophical sophistication, and scientific knowledge. Kyle attempted to answer my questions about Christianity's persuasiveness and afterlife doctrines. In his latest response, he claims that nobody ever dies a reasonable atheist, which I point out means he thinks I'm guaranteed not to die any time soon.

Jason Rennie is a Turkelite whose claims about skeptical polemics are easily rebutted.

Kris Key is a self-described ex-atheist who switched to Christianity because of 1) Paul's conversion, 2) the phenomenon of Near Death Experiences, and 3) his own ghost experience. In our initial discussion, Kris went to great lengths to avoid discussing 1) possible non-rational factors in his conversion, 2) possible explanations of the Gospel evidence, and 3) which other paranormal phenomena he thinks might be real.

Kyle Gerkin is an atheist whom Turkel finds convenient to debate.

Douglas (aka mistook me for someone trying to defend the thesis that Jesus was historical, despite me repeatedly telling him I don't bother debating the settled consensus of mainstream scholarship.

G. Riggs argues somewhat incoherently from his liberal ethics that Jesus' altruism proves Jesus' divinity.

Daniel Pech claims to specialize in "philosophy of physics", but his metaphysical and epistemological ramblings about divine "power" are demonstrably incoherent.

Scott Behm was a lawyer at Sun Microsystems when I worked there, and in 1998 he tried a liar-lunatic-lord argument on me but quickly found out he was unprepared for my counterarguments.

Paul Harvey and a few others on alt.atheism in 1992 tried to argue that everyone has faith because it is no different than lack of complete certainty.

U. of Michigan's Meet:Students was a campus electronic forum on which I participated in 1989-1990. My  religion-related postings discussed


Some correspondents are notable only for their buffoonery and how I skewer it.

Danny Chaplin (of Chaplin Public Relations at didn't like that I was skeptical of a local Louisiana official's sobbing televised accusation that his colleague's mother was "murdered" by post-Katrina federal failures to rescue her. It didn't faze him when it turned out I was right that she in fact was a victim of pre-Katrina local failures to evacuate her.  He also had no response when I eviscerated his puerile complaints about America's liberation of Iraq.