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“”Oh by the way, atheism is a bunch of crap. So let's go this way. Here we go... Woohoo! You guys have gotta get a motorcycle. You know what it's like to ride a motorcycle? It's like you feel like you're strapped on to a rocket and you just hold on and it takes you there. It's like a rollercoaster with rails. When the weather's nice, it's not too cold or not too hot... there's nothing like it.
|—Shockofgod simultaneously disproving atheism and riding a motorcycle[note 1]|
Shockofgod (real name Rich Allen Garcia) is a fundie YouTube vlogger who creates videos from Conservapedia articles with a video camera in his shaky hand in front of his computer monitor, and videos in which he babbles and mutters about atheism, machismo and Conservapedia while riding on his motorcycle. "Shock," as he's affectionately known, also runs an Internet radio show from his website "Shockawenow."
|—Shockofgod, on atheism|
Shockofgod makes no attempt to hide his strong Christian beliefs, to the point that it's not inconceivable that he's actually an atheist troll trying to make Christians look bad. Some of Shock's beliefs include:
- The Bible is the inerrant Word of God.
- The theory of evolution is a lie and Creationism is true.
- America is a Christian country.
- The Founding Fathers were Christian and the Declaration of Independence was divinely inspired.
- Christianity is the greatest force for freedom in the world.
- Christianity elevates women and guarantees their rights and safety; women in non-Christian countries fear for their lives and/or being forced into prostitution.
- Christianity ended slavery in America.
- Censorship is a valid substitute for an argument. Unless it's towards Christians, in which case it shows that the big bad atheists are being intolerant.
Intolerance of other belief systems
Shockofgod claims to have once been an atheist and a born-again Christian. He now attacks atheism and atheists with claims that:
- Atheism is a foolish and mad worldview
- Atheism is a religion
- Atheism promotes slavery
- Atheism makes you gay - He is also a homophobe
- Atheists are followers of Satan.
- Atheists are communists, socialists, and humanists who will destroy America from the inside and take away people's rights.
- Atheists can't prove and/or don't have evidence that atheism is true and correct—his favorite claim, which he insists atheists can't refute
- Shockofgod has also turned the ability to comment on his Youtube videos off, essentially making it impossible to debate with not only him, but his followers
Shockofgod also claims that every religion, except for Christianity, is the work of man, because non-Christian religions, rejecting the notion that Jesus Christ is the son of God, enslave people in sin. In one video, he expresses hatred for witchcraft.
Shock attempts to censor any questioning of his arguments, and rarely provides evidence to support his claims. Commenting on his videos is either screened or disabled, and vloggers who have posted negative videos about Shock have, perhaps coincidentally, seen their videos get flagged.
Censorship is also rampant in Shock's chat room, with anyone who poses difficult questions for the moderators - who include clowns like Nephilimfree - being instantly kicked out.
Shock has used vulgar and bigoted language against particular groups, including homosexuals and atheists. He has repeatedly attacked homosexuals by saying things like, "If a homosexual ever came on to me I would thouroughly[ ] have the right to kick his perverse ass...and I would." and:
“”Like I have said again and thank you for giving me another chance to spread my WRAITH[ ] AGAINST THE PERVERS[ ] HOMOSEXUALS who are BRINGING THE MORALITY OF OUR COUNTRY DOWN..IF A HOMOSEXUAL EVER EVER TRIED TO SCAM ON ME[ ] OR ONE OF MY FRIENDS WE WOULD HAVE THE RIGHT UNDER THE LAW TO THOUROUGHLY[ ] KICK HIS ASS...NO HOMOSEXUAL BETTER LAY A HAND ON A CRUSADER[ ]. ILL BEAT EM UP SIDE THE HEAD WITH MY BIBLE! AHAHAH
(What the undead have to do with gays remains an open question).
Shock enjoys a good laugh at the expense of people who get angry at him, oppose his views, or defend their own views; it would seem as if he takes attacks on his religious beliefs personally.
Inability to stay on topic
Shock is seemingly unable to stay on topic, evidenced by his frequent jabber about motorcycles and videos such as "Gorgeous amazing New Battlefield 3 maps".[note 2] Only half of his videos, perhaps even less, are actually arguments, the others being him rambling about motorcycle and war simulators. Shock, by conclusion, should probably stop complaining about how immature atheists are.[note 3]
On the radio
Shockofgod also runs an Internet radio show through his website which he uses as another platform from which to preach in much the same manner as his YouTube channel. Callers to his radio show who disagree with or challenge him are frequently interrupted, insulted, and cut off. He has also called in to a few atheist radio shows, where he's indulged in his boorish behavior in spite of reasonable attempts to debate him.
Shock's original Youtube channel ("Shockawenow") was removed from the website after it was discovered to be involved in a phishing attempt. Shock created a fake Youtube mirror page (hosted on his website) which he seamlessly linked to his channel. Once a user viewed the page, it would appear that they had been logged out of their account; logging back in from the fake Youtube page would give Shock access to a user's screenname and password.
Doing so, he broke two of the Ten Commandments: First he deceived people into believing they were on YouTube and then he stole information.
After being outed and his original account banned, he created several new ones in violation of the user agreement. These were eventually banned as well. Eventually Shock returned as "ShockOfGod."
"AMERICA.ZIP" is the name of an archive containing a short text supposedly written by one Rich Allen back in the BBS days. Apparently, "[t]hough it is an illiterate and meandering run-on sentence, it still provides a useful Manifesto of the Radical Religious Right".
So why is this mentioned here? Some of the details mentioned in the document supposedly match Shockofgod, including spending time volunteering on a suicide hotline and an account of his conversion. The file can be found on Skeptictank.org, along with a small dialogue between one 'Fredric Rice' (NotSoOldHippy on YouTube, who happens to be the brother of Desertphile, an atheist vlogger) and Mr. Allen. .
America.zip was uncovered on SkepticTank.org by a number of vloggers, including a Lefayad1991 and an OptimalRidge. We don't know why that detail is supposed to be important, but given how often it was brought up in the older revisions of this section, it's apparently a big deal.
A video taken from the (at the time) unofficial Atheist Experience Youtube channel exposed Shockofgod as a shameless and deliberate deceiver. In the video, Shock posted annotations of what people said about him online in a way that made it seem as if atheists were threatening him. Shock claimed not to be exaggerating, but analysis proved him wrong. He changed or edited the names and the messages, inserting vulgar language and slanderous phrases and replacing the names of some of his interlocutors with the names of the hosts of The Atheist Experience show.
Shock then commented on a blog, which he claims was written by Matt Dillahunty but was actually by Martin Wagner. He claimed that the blog contained vulgar language directed at him, but what he left out was that these were not the blogger's words, but quotes from a Christian cussing at an atheist. The blogger even stated in the first line of the paragraph "There are plenty of sincere Christian apologists out there genuinely interested in having a two-way conversation..." Shock then edited the post to make it appear as though it was calling Shock names that do not appear anywhere in the actual blog and to make it seem as if the blogger wanted Shockofgod and Christians in general to be annihilated.
Alliance of Christ
Shock has affiliated himself with other YouTube bigots and trolls. The Alliance of Christ is a band of Christians who speak out against particular groups while defending others against criticism. Shock was one of the main members of the Alliance, alongside fellow vlogger GodGunsGutsGlory (aka "GGGG" or "4G"). Alliance for Christ has targeted homosexuals and tried to censor critics who exposed their hateful message.
Shockofgod claimed his chat room was hacked and threatened the perpetrators with a lawsuit. Included in the threat were Lefayad1991 and OptimalRidge. When Lefayad1991 revealed that Shock did not have the law on his side, Shock changed his tune and claimed that GVO (the company that hosts Shock's chat room) was suing Lefayad. Lefayad1991 contacted GVO, and they responded with the following (emphasis added)
Please forward any communication from this person with regards to this issue. We take legal matters seriously as well, our rooms cannot be hacked. Please explain why this person may be contacting you with these allegations. Regards, Blake. C. Global Virtual Opportunities.
Shock is very selective of who he allows as moderator on his chat room, and apparently he fell for an agent provocateur. Believing that the moderator in question was on his side, only later to discover they were not, Shockofgod jumped to the conclusion that he was hacked. This served Shock's purposes in two ways: it protected him from looking like an idiot for being fooled and it provided him with more attention. He also accused other moderators who opposed of being false Christians.
Shockofgod has claimed that NephilimFree has recordings of Lefayad1991 discussing some serious "illegal" things on Pointmanzero's chat room (which Lefayad1991 visits often). Shock repeatedly claims that Lefayad1991 is facing imprisonment, but he has never revealed what "illegal" things Lefayad1991 was discussing. Shock's only response when questioned about these illegal activities is to refer all questioners to NephilimFree. This is very likely a scare tactic to get lefayad1991 to stop delving into his history and Shock simply craving more attention.
The threatened lawsuit was not Shock's first attempt at censoring those who disagreed with him. He also threatened YouTube user MikeLibertarian, who documented these threats in a four-part video series called "Nephilimgate."[note 4] A user named Shockofgod777, possibly one of ShockofGod's several sock accounts, commented on two of those videos: "You have 48 hours to remove this video or I'll be doing it for you. Jesus loves you."
Lefayad1991 challenged ShockofGod to a debate on his channel. As Lefayad1991 is a history major; the challenge was to "provide proof and evidence that the Bible is historically accurate and correct." Roughly a day after Lefayad1991 issued his challenge, Shock made a video calling Lefayad1991 a coward for refusing to debate him. Ironically, in that video, Shock purposefully obscured from his viewers the video on Lefayad1991's front page which reads "I Challenge Shock of God to a Debate." He also placed text on the screen (something that he rarely does) which hid the challenge.
Shock has not accepted Lefayad1991's challenge, since Lefayad1991 refuses to have the debate on Shock's chatroom (or as he calls it the "debate room") where Shock can boot him off the mic whenever he pleases (a common complaint amongst those who have "debated" Shock). Lefayad1991 has asked to have the debate at a neutral location such as on a Skype call or some other form of online communication. Shock has resorted to childlike tactics such as taunting Lefayad1991 about his large size and also calling Lefayad1991 a homosexual.
In June 2011, the Conservapedia sysop Ken DeMeyer proposed a debate between Penn Jillette and Shock. Jillette refused the debate, arguing that Conservapedia was a troll site where the contributors are probably atheists. He taunted the challengers, saying that they would call him fat and a chicken for not debating. Shock did just that, saying that Penn was too cowardly to debate, without even watching the rest of the video. He also claimed in the same video that it was he who had challenged Penn, when the original challenge was issued by DeMeyer.
What proof or evidence do you have that atheism is true and correct?
The above is a question that Shockofgod likes to ask atheists. He often claims to have been banned from call-in shows and forums for asking it (in reality he's banned because he just repeats it and never listens to any answers) and cites this as conclusive proof that atheists don't know the answer. Kyle Kulinski (Secular Talk radio host) was also challenged to answer this question by Conservapedia. His response was, to say the least, vague.
In these circumstances it can be ominously described only as The Question. Its use can be effective, but only when combined with a disregard for generally agreed conversational etiquette; because people answering it tend to get bogged down in trying to patiently explain that it is impossible to prove a negative, how burden of proof works and explaining the nature of evidence. While they are explaining these issues, ShockOfGod simply shouts the question at them again.
It's certainly arguable that atheists don't have proof that their lack of belief in God, or their belief that there is no God, is "true and correct". If there was conclusive proof one way or the other, the question probably would not be so much debated. But despite this, the question is far from unanswerable as Shockofgod's ego suggests. The answer is more convoluted than he would like and certainly doesn't provide the sort of answer he would expect. This is common with many amateur theologians or woo-pushers, who use loaded questions all the time. Contrast it with the question "can you give one example of a mutation that increases information in the genome?" which was once asked to Richard Dawkins, or Harun Yahya's Ask Darwinists to see that there is a certain style to such questioning that suggests the asker knows the answer is convoluted and that the question is probably not even wrong, but they ask the question anyway to score some points.
Burden of proof
First, let's actually look at the question. The main problem with it is that it attempts to shift the burden of proof from the people proposing an idea (i.e., "God exists") to those who reject the idea. The question assumes God must exist, and therefore anyone rejecting God's existence is required to present their evidence. This is problematic because such presuppositionalism works for anything and everything. When proposing an idea there are countless alternatives that could also be presumed in the same way - perhaps it's invisible goblins, not God, or perhaps it's Wotan, not God - so, unless you have at least a shred of supporting evidence for your presumed idea it is almost certainly wrong. In other words, there is an absence of evidence. Where one would reasonably expect such evidence to be abundant, an absence of evidence is evidence of absence.
This is why the burden of proof exists in the way that it does, and that it's the job of those who maintain that God exists to provide evidence for their beliefs. If convincing evidence has not been provided to back up a belief, then people who do not subscribe to that belief do not need to justify their lack of belief. This applies to most, if not all, assertions: Atheists have no more need to "prove" that God doesn't exist than they need to "prove" that Father Christmas or the tooth fairy doesn't exist. Turning the question around, an adherent to Christianity (much like Shockofgod himself) has no need to disprove the multitude of other gods that have existence in human history before settling on the Christian God as real.
Evidence for God
Given the burden of proof discussed above, it is possible to present some evidence for the existence of God. It is then up to the rejecter to state why such evidence is insufficient. This is a valid discussion point. The existence (or not) of miracles and the answering (or not) of prayer is frequently discussed. Atheist philosophers have discussed these numerous times, and a full understanding of what counts as effective evidence and what is personally convincing evidence is all part of the debate. While this sort of activity is valid, Shockofgod's question skips it out entirely. It leaps straight in at proving a negative by asking to prove atheism is "true and correct", which isn't really possible, and ignores the more subtle and productive discussion the burden of proof facilitates.
So why are you an atheist?
Before becoming atheists some individuals sought God, prayed, reflected and studied the world around them without finding any gods. If you are told that something exists, and is easy to find, and you look for it, and you don't find it, that must be strong evidence that the object in question is not real. So it is with God. Unlike the Loch Ness Monster, whose elusiveness can be explained away by being famously shy and living in a very large, dark loch, God is supposed to be everywhere, and to respond to those who call on him. Therefore if a reasonable search draws a blank, something is amiss. There is even an article explaining the concept of Evidence of Absence on that other wikipedia.
Does the atheist have proof? Of a negative? Certainly not. But does the atheist have evidence? Yes.
- Is there anything that guy can't do? (Besides understand reason.)
- Somewhat ironic for somebody who seems to hate video games so much on Conservapedia.
- Unless, that is, he regards yelling about motorcycles and playing video games to be more mature than investigating religion and not agreeing with it.
- Part 3 is no longer available.
- YouTube - Voice Chat room now live and Richard Dawkins sees a bear 6m~
- Shockofgod's comment regarding atheists as followers of satan.
- YouTube - DarkTheAtheist Calls in on Shockofgod's Radio Show - Mirror
- available here
- which can be viewed here
- Here, for example, he rings into a radio programme and asks it over and over and over again.