Atheist Divisiveness and Dogmatism

kellym78's picture

Lately, I've been realizing that, despite what I had come to believe, religion is not the biggest danger to society. Poor thinking is. Adherence to mindless dogmatism is. The self-serving desire to fit everybody into a mold, likely similar to your own, is. These traits are unfortunately not limited to theists.

 

Obviously, being a member of the Rational Response Squad puts me in a position to be critiqued and vilified by the people who possess the aforementioned character flaws, and recently I've been seeing it almost constantly. It literally pains me to see that so many who have managed to escape religion still cling to so many other similarly irrational ideas and use such blatantly poor logic-particularly if it involves us. Have we done some controversial things? Sure. Are we brash, loud-mouthed, occasionally immature, and possibly arrogant? Sometimes, yes. Have we made mistakes? Of course-show me one person who hasn't, and I'll show you a liar. Do we have conversations about sex, have ads all over the place containing visible cleavage (OMGZ!), and in general like to have some "old-fashioned" fun? Most definitely. Do you know why? Because atheists don't have to be stodgy intellectuals!

 

This might be news to you, so I'll try to take you through it easily. Atheism means one thing-not having a belief in a god. That's it. It doesn't mean that for the rest of my life I can only wear a certain type of clothing, can never swear, can't be overtly sexual or too attractive, can't have fun, can't drink, and can only read/watch/listen that which has been deemed appropriate by the Council for the Protection of the Public-Image of All Atheists Everywhere. That is called religion!

 

It is absolutely bewildering that so many have freed themselves of the shackles of religion only to put on new ones. Forgive my candor, but I've seen some atheists lately who appear to have a stick shoved so far up their asses that it is interfering with their neuronal circuitry. Listen guys-you'll be a lot more comfortable if you just yank it out, plus you'll have the added benefit of being able to sit comfortably. Eventually, you'll even be able to maneuver your neck enough so as not to be looking down your nose at everybody else.

 

Seriously, though, this is a problem. The number one reason why atheists have not become a force with which to be reckoned is because we're all too busy fighting with each other over inane nonsense-instead of uniting and actually accomplishing something. Division in the atheist community is nothing new. Most of the major atheist organizations have at least one thorn in their side, if not more, and if we break it down to individuals, it turns into a bona fide mudslinging competition worthy of a sorority house during rush week.

 

What is it that compels people to act in this manner? Every day, I look around and see people claiming to be intellectually superior to me or others fall prey to simple ad hominem attacks. I see groups that should be banding together to attain the influence that our numbers warrant squabbling over minutiae that have nothing to do with our common goals. We are divided into sects no different from those of religious groups and it is because these supposedly logical atheists are adhering to some unwritten dogma. How can we possibly criticize the religious groups when we are engaging in the same irrational behaviors?

 

Instead of harping continually on the use of the word "fuck", why don't we examine the truly offensive words like "should" and "ought"?  The expectation that to hold an opinion on a matter, one must have a degree in said area is ludicrous. I don't recall Pythagoras holding a degree from an accredited institution in geometry. The fact that one does not comply with the mores that are, in essence, mere remnants of religion does not invalidate an argument. No matter what kind of lifestyle one leads, people can be right or wrong; in fact, everybody has been both at some point. How is it that this is not clearly apparent to rational thinkers?

 

All this time spent bickering over what people do in their private lives or what content they have on their websites is time wasted--time that could be better spent by putting aside our differences and accepting the multiplicity of personalities and methods and seeing it as an advantage. If anything, what we should be offering to a populace ensnared by religion is freedom and acceptance. My experience in this community of "freethinkers" has me convinced that freethinker is a moniker undeserved by most who claim it.

 

I can understand that people have personal tastes and proclivities when it comes to with whom they choose to involve themselves, and I think that it's fantastic that there are groups out there for everybody to find their niche. The problem is that others aren't nearly as forgiving. Many of you probably recall the HNN podcast from the AAI conference in which Brian and I made the "chicken-shit atheist" comment. We knew we would take heat for it, although it seems that happens no matter what we do, but the point that was, perhaps poorly, intended was that we will support anybody in their struggle to attain equality in a society that continually marginalizes and disparages atheism. Even if you don't agree with us. Even if your tactics are the inverse of ours. Even if you are a chicken-shit atheist. And we have stuck by that. There is currently only one atheist against whom we have come out publicly and with whom we are not interested in mending fences, and that is because of the sheer duplicity with which this person made their entrance. We publicly boycotted his conference because of it, and from what I've heard of it, I'm glad we did.

 

My point here is not that I expect everybody to be close personal friends with everybody else or to even form close alliances with every group out there; I realize that people will be drawn to particular methods or styles. The point is that for every time that somebody accuses us of somehow "harming atheism", whatever that means, that person needs to take a look in the mirror and evaluate his or her own opinions. What is the origin of such a visceral reaction and why are you having it? BE rational-don't just talk about being rational. And, just FYI, it's okay to occasionally cut some of us imperfect people some slack for not meeting your criteria. Maybe instead of being rude and hurling insults, the more enlightened among us could actually do something constructive instead of destructive.

GodBeGone's picture

RRS harms atheism

I can't say what others have meant when they say RRS "harms atheism", But i can tell you what i mean when i say it.

It appears that the Atheist movement consists of two types of people/groups. One that genuinely wants to see an end to religion, or at least an end to religions influence in society, And another which wants nothing more than someone to argue with, Someone to offend and someone to harass. RRS seems to be in the later (as does Hitchens at times).

 If one thinks that Atheism should be about removing religion then having a group, Especially one as <i>popular</i> as RRS, Who get their jollies from arguing, shouting down and harassing the religious is seen as damaging.

  I can't imagine the pope or the archbishop of Canterbury ever saying "I'm tired of RRS saying i'm stupid or changing the words of religious festivals to make them sound rude... let's call it a day on this religion thing".

skepticchick's picture

Quote: Lately, I've been

Quote:
Lately, I've been realizing that, despite what I had come to believe, religion is not the biggest danger to society. Poor thinking is. Adherence to mindless dogmatism is. The self-serving desire to fit everybody into a mold, likely similar to your own, is. These traits are unfortunately not limited to theists.

I definitely agree with that! 

 

Archeopteryx's picture

GodBeGone wrote:

GodBeGone wrote:

I can't say what others have meant when they say RRS "harms atheism", But i can tell you what i mean when i say it.

It appears that the Atheist movement consists of two types of people/groups. One that genuinely wants to see an end to religion, or at least an end to religions influence in society, And another which wants nothing more than someone to argue with, Someone to offend and someone to harass. RRS seems to be in the later (as does Hitchens at times).

If one thinks that Atheism should be about removing religion then having a group, Especially one as <i>popular</i> as RRS, Who get their jollies from arguing, shouting down and harassing the religious is seen as damaging.

I can't imagine the pope or the archbishop of Canterbury ever saying "I'm tired of RRS saying i'm stupid or changing the words of religious festivals to make them sound rude... let's call it a day on this religion thing".

 

I don't think any of the core RRS members are trying to convert anyone, so that last paragraph, to me, seems like it misses the point.

From what I understand, the point of the RRS has nothing to do with theists. If the RRS piss off a theist, it doesn't really matter. If they convert a theist, well that's fucking great, but it's completely incidental.

The point is to rally together people who are already atheists or who are skeptical of religion and want to open their minds to it. The RRS use ridicule against theists not to convert them, but to expose how silly theism looks to bystanders who were maybe wondering about the question being discussed or who haven't made up their mind about the god question yet.

So, no, the RRS probably aren't going to convert anyone or convince any theists that atheism is okay, but there is a huge group of people out there that the RRS can motivate, stir to action, empower, and sometimes comfort. THAT is what they're going for, as far as I can tell.

The RRS isn't the end of the road. I see it as more of a stepping stone to bigger things. Maybe a teenager who felt trapped in their Christian conservative community read some articles and forum threads on this website, and maybe that caused them to feel comfortable with themselves (otherwise impossible in a community that told them they were going to burn in hell), and then maybe that teen will become the next Margaret Downey.

I don't claim to know everything the RRS is trying to do---I'm not even a paid subscriber, so I always feel like kind of an ass when I make posts like this. But it does seem like a lot of people hone in the fact that the RRS are combative and love to ridicule.

Yes, that's probably true, but it seems like there is more method to the madness than critics give credit for. Whether we're talking about the RRS or Hitchens, there is more to the argument than the argument itself. You have to ask who is WATCHING the argument. Some of that audience is simply going to get pissed off (probably theists), but hopefully the atheists watching will feel like they've got support, and hopefully the undecided or confused will come closer to making the rational decision. The RRS strategy seems to think long-term, empowerment, and strength in numbers, whereas their critics seem to want to think short-term, conversion, and the death of theism.

 

On the other hand, I'm just some guy they let hang out here sometimes. I may not even know what I'm talking about.

A place common to all will be maintained by none. A religion common to all is perhaps not much different.

strick09's picture

"I don't think any of the

"I don't think any of the core RRS members are trying to convert anyone, so that last paragraph, to me, seems like it misses the point."

 

Not to start a fight or anything, but they *do* have those shirts that say "Believe in God? We can fix that!" which kind of suggests the notion of conversion.

 

That said -- I agree with Kelly. I see an awful lot of folks out there who are giving up religion (yay!) but immediately asking "ok, so why am I giving this up again? Tell me!" It's unfortunate, but a lot of people just don't like to think on their own. Of course, I would rather have them on OUR side than on the oppositions (fewer people to chase me with pitchforks and torches).

I think some people view it as changing buses rather than getting off the bus entirely. It's possible the reason for that is that when some people get off the bus, they think "I feel passionate about this, I want to help other people free themselves", which creates a "cause." (This is probably why the religious folk refer to atheism as a religion). But it really boils down to your reasons for abdicating your religious belief -- is it because you reached the conclusion yourself? Or because you're following the crowd?

Hambydammit's picture

Quote: ...religion is not

Quote:
...religion is not the biggest danger to society. Poor thinking is.

So true that it makes me want to cry. The research I've recently been doing on family, sex, and reproduction has driven me to depression a couple of times. Details forthcoming when I feel positive enough to write about it.

Quote:
Because atheists don't have to be stodgy intellectuals!

I'd suggest one better -- leave the stodginess to the ivory towers. I prefer my friends and associates to be fun people. I've always thought that when I truly get stodgy, I'm ready to die.

Quote:
Seriously, though, this is a problem. The number one reason why atheists have not become a force with which to be reckoned is because we're all too busy fighting with each other over inane nonsense-instead of uniting and actually accomplishing something. Division in the atheist community is nothing new. Most of the major atheist organizations have at least one thorn in their side, if not more, and if we break it down to individuals, it turns into a bona fide mudslinging competition worthy of a sorority house during rush week.

It's likely a biproduct of what caused religion in the first place, but that's another topic. Clearly, there are people who can dispense with religion. If it ever had survival benefit, and I think it once did, it doesn't now. Similarly, the rather authoritarian attitudes of many atheists could well be replaced with a broader understanding of the diversity (and non-threatening nature) of human experience.

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Instead of harping continually on the use of the word "fuck", why don't we examine the truly offensive words like "should" and "ought"?

Fuckin' A!

Quote:
I don't recall Pythagoras holding a degree from an accredited institution in geometry.

Einstein, baby!

Quote:
The fact that one does not comply with the mores that are, in essence, mere remnants of religion does not invalidate an argument.

Ok. In all seriousness, most atheists have no idea just how deeply the roots of religion run. Particularly where they apply to sex, marriage, and monogamy, current moral thought really does trace back to a land grab by the Roman empire less than 100 years after Constantine converted Rome to Christianity.

I'm not kidding. The first laws passed by the new Church/State essentially did the following:

1) Outlawed inmarriage out to the 4th cousin.

2) Outlawed divorce

3) Outlawed adoption

4) Outlawed concubinage/polygamy

5) (Later laws outlawed passing land to non-family members)

6) Put in place mechanisms where childless couples could donate their land to the church in perpetuity.

Now, if you look closely at 1-5, you'll notice something. All of them reduce the number of potential heirs, leaving many people without anyone to pass land to. Within 400 years, the church owned nearly 40% of all the land in Christian occupied Europe. The family structures which had previously existed, which you can find detailed and mandated by God in the Old Testament -- note: Moses was adopted. Inmarriage was common. Solomon... 'nuff said. Abraham. I could go on, but you get the point. Pre-Roman society was tribal, and the current mom-dad-child family was essentially nonexistent. People relied on their group for support, allowing for much greater dispersion of family resources.

The church created the current model of indegency and poverty by systematically taking tribal lands in exchange for "treasure in heaven." What a deal!

Over the centuries, the church has done nothing but expand on its prohibitions on sex and marriage, to the point that medical doctors in the 17th century wrote of women's "inherent asexuality."

Celibacy of the priesthood was not instituted until centuries after Rome became Christian. It was done in large part to prevent priests from passing church property to their children, interestingly enough. Masturbation didn't fall out of favor until the 17th century.

In short, many atheists nee Christians fail to recognize the profound and life altering concepts that are so ingrained in our society that they feel normal -- until you really start asking the hard questions.

Quote:
If anything, what we should be offering to a populace ensnared by religion is freedom and acceptance.

The primary difficulty here is in realizing the difference between freedom and acceptance, and rationality and reason. We may vigorously defend a position, and we will probably tell people when we can demonstrate their irrationality. Freedom to do what you want doesn't mean freedom from hearing others tell you that it's irrational.

Where this hits us pretty hard is that the freedom we are trying to promote encourages exactly the kind of bitching and moaning we're trying to avoid. Freedom precedes wisdom, unfortunately.

Quote:
My experience in this community of "freethinkers" has me convinced that freethinker is a moniker undeserved by most who claim it.

I've never really liked the word "freethinker." Even the harshest secular critics of atheist morals are thinking quite freely. In fact, they're thinking so freely that they didn't bother with confining their thoughts to the realm of critical standards.

Quote:
And, just FYI, it's okay to occasionally cut some of us imperfect people some slack for not meeting your criteria. Maybe instead of being rude and hurling insults, the more enlightened among us could actually do something constructive instead of destructive.

I couldn't agree more.

 

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

http://hambydammit.wordpress.com/
Books about atheism

Hambydammit's picture

Quote: It appears that the

Quote:
It appears that the Atheist movement consists of two types of people/groups. One that genuinely wants to see an end to religion, or at least an end to religions influence in society, And another which wants nothing more than someone to argue with, Someone to offend and someone to harass. RRS seems to be in the later (as does Hitchens at times).

I'm curious. What method for dissuading people from religion do you recommend? We find that telling them what's wrong with it is direct and to the point. Other than using words, how would you suggest we demonstrate the irrationality of religion?

Quote:
If one thinks that Atheism should be about removing religion then having a group,

Here's some immature harrassment for you:

Hey, numbnuts! If there were no more religion, we wouldn't need RRS. Take your brain out of your ass, please.

Quote:
Especially one as <i>popular</i> as RRS, Who get their jollies from arguing, shouting down and harassing the religious is seen as damaging.

I get my jollies from food, wine, and having sex with my girlfriend, and anyone she cares to invite to the party. Put that in your pipe and smoke it.

I donate my time to RRS, along with a substantial part of my living money. It pisses me off to do a lot of the work I do here, because I could be eating, drinking, and fucking instead.

Piss up a rope.

Quote:
I can't imagine the pope or the archbishop of Canterbury ever saying "I'm tired of RRS saying i'm stupid or changing the words of religious festivals to make them sound rude... let's call it a day on this religion thing".

You're right. We should just let religion have their way. What a fool I've been. We shouldn't call stupid shit stupid. We should just be nice and polite. After all, it got us 45%(ish) of the population believing that George W. Bush was ordained by Baby Jesus to be president. If that isn't rational, I don't know what is.

I'm turning in my badge from the League of Atheist Assholes.

 

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

http://hambydammit.wordpress.com/
Books about atheism

Hambydammit's picture

Quote: From what I

Quote:
From what I understand, the point of the RRS has nothing to do with theists. If the RRS piss off a theist, it doesn't really matter. If they convert a theist, well that's fucking great, but it's completely incidental.

To be precise, RRS believes that large numbers of empowered, confident atheists will encourage fence-sitting theists to deconvert, and the balance of power will shift.  We're here to make it easier to be an atheist.  The hope is that those who are pretending at religion will see, and it will be easier for them to leave.

We recognize that many of the brainwashed can never be freed.  We have hope for the next generation.

 

Quote:
The RRS use ridicule against theists not to convert them, but to expose how silly theism looks to bystanders who were maybe wondering about the question being discussed or who haven't made up their mind about the god question yet.

Give the man a cigar!

 

Quote:
So, no, the RRS probably aren't going to convert anyone or convince any theists that atheism is okay, but there is a huge group of people out there that the RRS can motivate, stir to action, empower, and sometimes comfort. THAT is what they're going for, as far as I can tell.

Actually, we've got a nice number of deconverts to our credit.  JCE, one of our most awesomest fabulous-est mods, was a Christian until BGH helped her fix herself.

 

Quote:
I don't claim to know everything the RRS is trying to do---I'm not even a paid subscriber

For the price of one six pack a month, you could be!  FSM knows we could use the help.

 

Quote:
But it does seem like a lot of people hone in the fact that the RRS are combative and love to ridicule.

I wish I didn't have to do it.  Sincerely.  I hate being angry, but Christians make me angry.  As with most things that make me angry, I try to make them go away.

 

Quote:
Yes, that's probably true, but it seems like there is more method to the madness than critics give credit for.

Shhhhhh!  Don't give away all our secrets!

 

Quote:
On the other hand, I'm just some guy they let hang out here sometimes. I may not even know what I'm talking about.

You're doing great.  Thanks for the support!

 

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

http://hambydammit.wordpress.com/
Books about atheism

Tilberian's picture

Hamby did a good job on

Hamby did a good job on your garbage but I can't resist getting my licks in... 

GodBeGone wrote:

I can't say what others have meant when they say RRS "harms atheism", But i can tell you what i mean when i say it.

It appears that the Atheist movement consists of two types of people/groups. One that genuinely wants to see an end to religion, or at least an end to religions influence in society, And another which wants nothing more than someone to argue with, Someone to offend and someone to harass. RRS seems to be in the later (as does Hitchens at times).

First of all, Hitchens is at least one billion times as intelligent and experienced as you are. So you might want to respect his methods.

Mainly, though, you are using the time-honored theist trick of the false dichotomy. Either you approach atheism the way I do or you don't really want to end religion. Has it occured to you that some atheists think, with good reason, that your chicken-shit methods suck and don't accomplish anything?

 What have you done to bring about the end of religion lately?

GodBeGone wrote:

If one thinks that Atheism should be about removing religion then having a group,

How are you going to remove religion without a group? What are you, Superman?

GodBeGone wrote:

Especially one as <i>popular</i> as RRS,

Thank you for acknowledging that our methods work and are doing more to get people involved and engaged than all the pious philosophizing of your life. Are you getting it yet? Atheism has to be popular before it can be anything else.

GodBeGone wrote:

Who get their jollies from arguing, shouting down and harassing the religious is seen as damaging.

This is a straight-on ad hominem slag. Fuck you. I dare you to bring that shit over here. You have no evidence, at all, that anyone "gets their jollies" from anything in particular. Further, we never "shout down" religion or "harass" anyone. We argue with theists. They are rarely ever able to argue back, and when they are, their arguments fold like cheap umbrellas. Should we feel bad for winning all the time?

If our methods are seen as damaging by pricks like you, then I am twice as proud to be involved with the RRS as I am. You are probably a theist sock puppet anyway.

GodBeGone wrote:

I can't imagine the pope or the archbishop of Canterbury ever saying "I'm tired of RRS saying i'm stupid or changing the words of religious festivals to make them sound rude... let's call it a day on this religion thing".

Because they've been doing that so much in response to the chicken-shit atheist efforts we've seen so far.

Are you really so stupid that you think it is our goal to make people like the Pope publically renounce? Can you present the slightest shred of evidence that such is any part of our goal? Or are you just throwing shit against the wall hoping it sticks? 

You pissed me off GBG because your whole post is a thinly veiled ad hominem attack. I find it very difficult to believe you are really an atheist, though it would almost be more angering if you were.

 

Lazy is a word we use when someone isn't doing what we want them to do.
- Dr. Joy Brown

Hambydammit's picture

To be fair to GBG (because

To be fair to GBG (because I'm interested in the truth, even if it's ugly), Kelly's thoughts are spot on. Many atheists carry a lot of baggage from theism, and many of them don't even realize it's there. GBG might well have dropped the religion, but not have thought about the social implications of abandoning dogma and theism.

Our job as rationalists is to try to help everyone, atheist and theist alike, see that there are many things to be questioned. If an atheist decides he's comfortable in his 9-5, one wife (complete with no blow jobs since the last kid was born), two point seven kids, Ford Excessive, and a white picket fence, that's great. However, it would be nice if he would recognize that his choice is not representative of a great many people, and that we get a bit pissy when other people try to impose the same kinds of structures that religion does.

 [edit: As much as I hate it when theists pose as atheists, I'm beginning to suspect that we at the RRS just have a problem coming to grips with the number of atheists who still have their head up Jesus' bum.]

 

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

http://hambydammit.wordpress.com/
Books about atheism

ragdish's picture

It is extremely unfortunate

It is extremely unfortunate but atheism is heavily laced with one form of dogmatism or another. The term IMO should be stricken and simply replaced with reason, rationalism and unbelief. Tom Metzger of the White Aryan Nations is an atheist (or he may have converted to Odinism) and let's face it, he and Greydon will never be warm and fuzzy with each other. Tom Metzger may be an atheist but he is a white supremacist asshole and would never belong in RRS. And no rational person would ever argue that not believing in the supernatural will transform you into a neo-nazi.

 I can't stand alleged atheists who want to cram their morality down my throat. And usually one of the most divisive issues is porn. Why do certain atheists who still masturbate to vestiges of religious dogma feel compelled to point out the immorality of what an individual (or individuals) do in the privacy of his/her home with a box of tissues and a raunchy DVD or lad mag. I don't really care if you hate or like porn but that matter really has nothing to do with not believing in God. There are no set rules of moral behavior to follow by being atheist except for our innate Golden Rule as seen in our simian cousins.

If you fanatically adhere to an ideology, then IMO you're not a freethinker. If you have a moral compass with the expectation that everyone else's points in the same direction, then you're not a freethinker. You are in fact just a few nucleotides away from being like Tom Metzger.

Sapient's picture

Just as an FYI: Based on

Just as an FYI: Based on our knowledge of GBG he is an atheist.  Furthermore he is ironically a small portion of the reason Kelly wrote the post.  He's one atheist of about 15 from LAST WEEK that we found to be utilizing poor modes of thought.  One of about 15 people that represent a straw breaking a camels back.

I find it refreshing and a testament to the modes of thought that Tilberian and Hamby utilize that they feel similar to us about his opinion while forming those views independently of our interactions with him from last week. 

Nevertheless, welcome to the community GBG, sorry you're getting the brunt of it here.   

- Brian Sapient


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    About Odd atheist Me

   

About Odd atheist Me ---

Xlint thread Kelly, and imformation etc Hamby,

Hamby Wrote "[ edit: As much as I hate it when theists pose as atheists, I'm beginning to suspect that we at the RRS just have a problem coming to grips with the number of atheists who still have their head up Jesus' bum. ]"

This sounds like it could be directed at me, as I claim to be an "Atheist for Jesus/Buddha" etc etc

I realize my approach to debunking xians is confusing to many atheists. Basically I find it very helpful to steal the Jesus from the fundys and re-lable Jesus as an early atheist.

Fundys have created their ridiculous Jesus interpretation, so I just re-invent it and stick it up their asses and in their ears. The bible is the most important atheist handbook of all, and Jesus is an atheist hero ! hee hee ....

I've been wanting to write a better explaination of my "atheist teaching style" that seems to baffle so many here at RRS, that defends Jesus and promotes Buddha, and paralles them, as both being atheists.

Anyhow untill then, if ever, stay healthy, strong and wise RRS.

"Just say no to the god of abe, make Jesus/Buddha proud " ..... did I hear someone say WTF ! ??? ! (giggles)

L O L

Hambydammit's picture

You make me laugh IAM.  I

You make me laugh IAM.  I have never been able to figure out what you think about anything!  How could I direct it at you?

In all seriousness, you never crossed my mind as I was writing that.  No need to worry.

 

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

http://hambydammit.wordpress.com/
Books about atheism

I thought all atheists had

I thought all atheists had to be friends and only use nice words.  I thought we were a club here.  Kelly, you have single-handedly destroyed my faith in atheism.  I am shocked and astonished that you would want to infect my nice friendly social group with your opinions, sexuality, and horrific and childish language.  I scoff at you and those that agree with you.  How dare thee fly astray from our core belief structures?  I think you need to sit down and quitly re-read our founding books as I would hate for your soul to be endangered by your mis-aligning and dirty views.

   yo Hambydammit , I was

   yo Hambydammit , I was just generalizing, as I said "could be directed at me" ....

As serious as I can be, I'm most always trying to bring another angle to all the subjects, and usually giggling as I do it.

Sorry I confuse things mabey more than help .... shit, but it works here in my neighborhood ...

I really apprechiate big time, what you RRS folks do.

Really helpful Hamby, what you wrote above about the religious influence and church property etc.

I sent that to my large personal email audience.

Waiting for some more of that, but no hurry friend,

thanks .... *

 

 

  

darth_josh's picture

Tarpan wrote: I thought

Tarpan wrote:

I thought all atheists had to be friends and only use nice words. I thought we were a club here. Kelly, you have single-handedly destroyed my faith in atheism. I am shocked and astonished that you would want to infect my nice friendly social group with your opinions, sexuality, and horrific and childish language. I scoff at you and those that agree with you. How dare thee fly astray from our core belief structures? I think you need to sit down and quitly re-read our founding books as I would hate for your soul to be endangered by your mis-aligning and dirty views.

LMAO! Remember what her post is about. I'm sad to say it, but there is a huge number of people that don't recognize sarcastic humor.

Atheist Books, purchases on Amazon support the Rational Response Squad server, which houses Celebrity Atheists.

Archeopteryx's picture

Tarpan wrote: I thought

Tarpan wrote:

I thought all atheists had to be friends and only use nice words. I thought we were a club here. Kelly, you have single-handedly destroyed my faith in atheism. I am shocked and astonished that you would want to infect my nice friendly social group with your opinions, sexuality, and horrific and childish language. I scoff at you and those that agree with you. How dare thee fly astray from our core belief structures? I think you need to sit down and quitly re-read our founding books as I would hate for your soul to be endangered by your mis-aligning and dirty views.

 

Don't slander the leaders of atheist church, lest you be damned by nothing in particular to one week of southern baptist revival.

That is the punishment for those who somehow manage to break atheist commandments that do not exist. 

A place common to all will be maintained by none. A religion common to all is perhaps not much different.

Tilberian's picture

Hambydammit wrote: Our job

Hambydammit wrote:

Our job as rationalists is to try to help everyone, atheist and theist alike, see that there are many things to be questioned. If an atheist decides he's comfortable in his 9-5, one wife (complete with no blow jobs since the last kid was born), two point seven kids, Ford Excessive, and a white picket fence, that's great. However, it would be nice if he would recognize that his choice is not representative of a great many people, and that we get a bit pissy when other people try to impose the same kinds of structures that religion does.

You cut me there, Hamby. You cut me deep.

In defence of the lifestyle I will say that not every suburban dad experiences the aforementioned blowjob problem. In fact the spacious interior of the Ford Excessive can sometimes have utility beyond its ability to transport multiple kids. 

Lazy is a word we use when someone isn't doing what we want them to do.
- Dr. Joy Brown

munky99999's picture

Quote: Council for the

Quote:
Council for the Protection of the Public-Image of All Atheists Everywhere

Hmm good idea... time to start such a council immediately.

Quote:
Forgive my candor

I forgive you.

Quote:
Forgive my candor, but I've seen some atheists lately who appear to have a stick shoved so far up their asses that it is interfering with their neuronal circuitry. Listen guys-you'll be a lot more comfortable if you just yank it out, plus you'll have the added benefit of being able to sit comfortably. Eventually, you'll even be able to maneuver your neck enough so as not to be looking down your nose at everybody else.

I agree with your idea here... but as long as you keep this a suggestion and not something wrong with those atheists... As again they have every right to be the way they are.

Quote:
Instead of harping continually on the use of the word "fuck", why don't we examine the truly offensive words like "should" and "ought"?

Surprised

Quote:
The expectation that to hold an opinion on a matter, one must have a degree in said area is ludicrous. I don't recall Pythagoras holding a degree from an accredited institution in geometry.

That's what most don't see... you don't need a degree to be correct. The problem is that if you don't have a degree... chances are you might be wrong. When those attack you on not having a degree without actually arguing with your arguments... it's an ad hominem and this person has achieved nothing.

Quote:
How is it that this is not clearly apparent to rational thinkers?

...because those who actually sell these degrees and are making money off of these degrees have essentially sold society this idea.

Quote:
Many of you probably recall the HNN podcast from the AAI conference in which Brian and I made the "chicken-shit atheist" comment.

Oddly enough I don't think I have.  I'll go check that out a little later. I can only go and agree with you on this one myself. There are many chicken-shit atheists who don't want to be out there and say offensive things.

Quote:
We knew we would take heat for it, although it seems that happens no matter what we do, but the point that was, perhaps poorly, intended was that we will support anybody in their struggle to attain equality in a society that continually marginalizes and disparages atheism.

I forget the name that Martin Luther King Jr. gave to his fellow black men and women who thought he was doing something foolish or pointless. When he gave them a derogratory kind of name... he took heat from those people because they didn't think he was the way to bring change. History obviously shows who was the correct one. I think history will also show who was the correct one... though don't hold your breath on having a day off work for RRS day or Dawkins day.

Quote:
Even if you don't agree with us. Even if your tactics are the inverse of ours. Even if you are a chicken-shit atheist. And we have stuck by that. There is currently only one atheist against whom we have come out publicly and with whom we are not interested in mending fences, and that is because of the sheer duplicity with which this person made their entrance. We publicly boycotted his conference because of it, and from what I've heard of it, I'm glad we did.

Who is this? 

Quote:
I realize that people will be drawn to particular methods or styles. The point is that for every time that somebody accuses us of somehow "harming atheism"

If you guys harm atheism... what did stalin, mao, etc do? These morons need to remember that atheism is not a group which can be harmed. The best the RRS can do is make the RRS look like fools. Frankly I've yet to see that happen...

Jolt's picture

Quote: This might be news

Quote:
This might be news to you, so I'll try to take you through it easily. Atheism means one thing-not having a belief in a god. That's it. It doesn't mean that for the rest of my life I can only wear a certain type of clothing, can never swear, can't be overtly sexual or too attractive, can't have fun, can't drink, and can only read/watch/listen that which has been deemed appropriate by the Council for the Protection of the Public-Image of All Atheists Everywhere. That is called religion!

That seems more like conservative american values to me. Just because we believe in one less god than the christians doesn't make us any better. We're all human and subject to being narrow minded. Is this the baggage of christianity? I doubt it. Christian countries across the world follow the same book and have vastly different views on sexuality.

Quote:
My point here is not that I expect everybody to be close personal friends with everybody else or to even form close alliances with every group out there; I realize that people will be drawn to particular methods or styles. The point is that for every time that somebody accuses us of somehow "harming atheism", whatever that means, that person needs to take a look in the mirror and evaluate his or her own opinions. What is the origin of such a visceral reaction and why are you having it? BE rational-don't just talk about being rational. And, just FYI, it's okay to occasionally cut some of us imperfect people some slack for not meeting your criteria. Maybe instead of being rude and hurling insults, the more enlightened among us could actually do something constructive instead of destructive.

I don't agree with some of the actions of RRS, but some people go too far. You have to admit though that the RRS dishes out insults without much restraint. RRS shouldn't be surprised when it comes straight back at them.

 

 

Readiness to answer all questions is the infallible sign of stupidity. Saul Bellow, Herzog

Ragdish: Quote: It is

Ragdish:

Quote:
It is extremely unfortunate but atheism is heavily laced with one form of dogmatism or another. The term IMO should be stricken and simply replaced with reason, rationalism and unbelief. Tom Metzger of the White Aryan Nations is an atheist (or he may have converted to Odinism) and let's face it, he and Greydon will never be warm and fuzzy with each other.

Well, if Metzger is an Atheist while not being particularly rational, then it clearly shows the need for the term Atheist. It's a mistake to start using all these euphemisms that may or may not fit people in order to avoid controversy. Let's face it, none of us believe in God, but I think all of us are prone to be irrational and unreasonable occasionally, although not in the metaphysical sense. Nazis aside, I've seen a couple of fellow atheists having had fairly irrational views imho, but I want them to be active rather than silent. The only word apart from Atheist that would do is Materialist. The rest is crap. Especially "bright".

Anyway, the reason why I signed up here was to say that as long as Atheists are diverse then our diversity should be treated as a strength, not as a weakness. I'm all for the biologists and the physicists. They do a great job. But methinks there's plenty of room for lapdancers and whatnot. I'm Norwegian, and in the early 90s Black Metal had a renaissance here. It's a very antichristian music style, and some of these people burnt churches. (Luckily, the arson era was short lived and I personally got into the music for other reasons.) Anyway, the music lived on and still does. It's not rational. Not at all. It's pure escapism with focus on Satan and goatworship.

What I'm getting at is that Black Metal reaches some people that would never touch The God Delusion. And for teenagers it's a chance to ditch all values and rediscover which values are important. You'll find similarities between Black Metal/Satanism and Objectivism. I don't have time to write much longer, but what I'm saying is that while Black Metal may look like Dawkins worst nightmare it attracts people whom otherwise would simply see him as a some professor geezer. (And if you think of the leftist postmodernists who are a bunch of arrogant pricks, then they tend to prefer cranky subcultures than scientists any day.)

So that's why no-one should worry about the RRS. The RRS can shake up people whom otherwise would take no notice of what's going on. So let the RRS do their job, and you other critics can instead provide a nerdy but polite alternative.

[url=http://dailyatheist.blogspot.com]

GodBeGone wrote:

{DOUBLE}

GodBeGone wrote: I can't

GodBeGone wrote:
I can't say what others have meant when they say RRS "harms atheism", But i can tell you what i mean when i say it. It appears that the Atheist movement consists of two types of people/groups. One that genuinely wants to see an end to religion, or at least an end to religions influence in society, And another which wants nothing more than someone to argue with, Someone to offend and someone to harass. RRS seems to be in the later (as does Hitchens at times).

I'd be wary of an oversimplified taxonomy. I suspect you're looking for the "best" way to deal with religion, and my recommendation is abandoning that line of thought. If you have a way you think is more effective in certain situations, do it. If you want to combat irrationality in general, but think a nominal theism is OK, then have at it. Whatever it is, do it. Groups like RRS, and prominent authors like Hitchens, draw flack because some dissenting atheists assume someone is trying to represent them. It unfortunate that some people will get the impression that all atheists are the same as certain figures, but the fact is you have to speak up for your particular approach; and it's hard to argue we haven't profited over the years from people finally doing so.
GodBeGone wrote:
If one thinks that Atheism should be about removing religion then having a group, Especially one as <i>popular</i> as RRS, Who get their jollies from arguing, shouting down and harassing the religious is seen as damaging. I can't imagine the pope or the archbishop of Canterbury ever saying "I'm tired of RRS saying i'm stupid or changing the words of religious festivals to make them sound rude... let's call it a day on this religion thing".

That is an insane straw-man argument. You're ignoring the areas where the approach is effective: with people on the fence. You can't force someone to question their beliefs, but once they do, seeing that their position thus far is ultimately indefensible is a sobering experience.

Tilberian's picture

Jolt wrote: I don't agree

Jolt wrote:

I don't agree with some of the actions of RRS, but some people go too far. You have to admit though that the RRS dishes out insults without much restraint. RRS shouldn't be surprised when it comes straight back at them.

Check the record. You will rarely find anyone in the RRS, especially core members, dishing out any kind of insult unless that insult is richly deserved. You have to remember that we are regularly dealing with people saying things that would make them the subject of mockery in any conversation except one about religion. This exaggerated level of respect for religion is one of the things we want to attack.

You also have to remember that, by implication or direct statement, many of these people hold that we are immoral by definition, and that they would like us to believe that we are going to burn in eternal torment for our lack of belief. Basically, they are attempting to use death threats (only directed at our souls rather than our bodies) to scare us into shutting up. I don't see why such people deserve even basic politeness from us, and I would hope that our behaviour in insulting and ridiculing them when they resort to these tactics would inspire others to do the same thing. We are still ahead of them morally and socially, because if we sank to their level we'd be threatening violence. 

Lazy is a word we use when someone isn't doing what we want them to do.
- Dr. Joy Brown

Tilberian's picture

Strappado wrote: Well, if

Strappado wrote:

Well, if Metzger is an Atheist while not being particularly rational, then it clearly shows the need for the term Atheist. It's a mistake to start using all these euphemisms that may or may not fit people in order to avoid controversy. Let's face it, none of us believe in God, but I think all of us are prone to be irrational and unreasonable occasionally, although not in the metaphysical sense. Nazis aside, I've seen a couple of fellow atheists having had fairly irrational views imho, but I want them to be active rather than silent. The only word apart from Atheist that would do is Materialist. The rest is crap. Especially "bright".

Anyway, the reason why I signed up here was to say that as long as Atheists are diverse then our diversity should be treated as a strength, not as a weakness. I'm all for the biologists and the physicists. They do a great job. But methinks there's plenty of room for lapdancers and whatnot. I'm Norwegian, and in the early 90s Black Metal had a renaissance here. It's a very antichristian music style, and some of these people burnt churches. (Luckily, the arson era was short lived and I personally got into the music for other reasons.) Anyway, the music lived on and still does. It's not rational. Not at all. It's pure escapism with focus on Satan and goatworship.

What I'm getting at is that Black Metal reaches some people that would never touch The God Delusion. And for teenagers it's a chance to ditch all values and rediscover which values are important. You'll find similarities between Black Metal/Satanism and Objectivism. I don't have time to write much longer, but what I'm saying is that while Black Metal may look like Dawkins worst nightmare it attracts people whom otherwise would simply see him as a some professor geezer. (And if you think of the leftist postmodernists who are a bunch of arrogant pricks, then they tend to prefer cranky subcultures than scientists any day.)

So that's why no-one should worry about the RRS. The RRS can shake up people whom otherwise would take no notice of what's going on. So let the RRS do their job, and you other critics can instead provide a nerdy but polite alternative.

That is a great post Strappado, and right on the money, IMO. There are a lot of ways to be an atheist and we shouldn't be turning our fire on people just because they take a different approach. Yes, our diversity must be seen as a source of strength. The only line I would draw is if an atheist resorted to violence of some other such morally reprehensible activity. I prefer to leave such to the theists, as they show such great enthusiasm for them. 

Lazy is a word we use when someone isn't doing what we want them to do.
- Dr. Joy Brown

munky99999's picture

GodBeGone wrote: I can't

GodBeGone wrote:
I can't imagine the pope or the archbishop of Canterbury ever saying "I'm tired of RRS saying i'm stupid or changing the words of religious festivals to make them sound rude... let's call it a day on this religion thing".

Notice the "I can't imagine" here... you are clearly invoking an argument from ignorance here more or less.

The fact however is that Catholicism(given your pope reference) does change. It is not because the pope reread the bible and found new information... it is because outside forces to the church and bible have found a pure contradiction to their beliefs. Therefore they have to change.  The catholic encyclopedia basically contradicts itself now because of their take on omniscience. They no longer believe in true omniscience. Their God has limits in that it cannot create a Square-Circle.

The fact however is that there is change occuring from outside. Eventually the concept of God will more or less be a limited alien entity which doesn't really fulfill the my God has a larger dick than your God. You will suddenly see an exodus from these religions. We may even be seeing this already today. Less than 25% of their adherents go to church weekly for catholicism. Less than half the adherents actually go to church. How many of those people who don't even go to church are anything more than purely apathetic about religion to beginwith? I would bet a pretty large quantity.

When the studies come in and are showing that a vast majority of younger kids are infact of the homer-simpson type... or infact atheist. The churches are going to become very dangerous because they know that they have lost power. The catholic church in my area is very much seeing this. The diocese Bishop is thinking that this change may be due to priests raping little children so he is actively looking for this evidence and publically releasing the information. He is in denial of the fact that media has shifted against the traditional go to church... to the stay at home because church is boring or meaningless. Which is also another perfect example of how the catholic church deals with this external change. They have released a set of things that all catholics must follow. You must go to church at minimum twice a year. Twice at easter or once at easter and once at christmas. Where you must give $. IF you aren't doing this... you aren't a catholic. 

Jolt's picture

Tilberian wrote: Check the

Tilberian wrote:
Check the record. You will rarely find anyone in the RRS, especially core members, dishing out any kind of insult unless that insult is richly deserved.

I'm not going to sift through previous posts, but I've seen it more than a few times. I suppose it depends on your definition of "richly deserved", but RRS mods tend to give a smackdown and then later have a rational discussion over an issue. I love how RRS trys to show how rediculous religion is and that we aren't affair to say it, but I suspect that many of the detractors are pissed by RRS's behaviour to other atheist in this perspective.

Readiness to answer all questions is the infallible sign of stupidity. Saul Bellow, Herzog

Tilberian's picture

Jolt wrote: I'm not going

Jolt wrote:

I'm not going to sift through previous posts, but I've seen it more than a few times. I suppose it depends on your definition of "richly deserved", but RRS mods tend to give a smackdown and then later have a rational discussion over an issue. I love how RRS trys to show how rediculous religion is and that we aren't affair to say it, but I suspect that many of the detractors are pissed by RRS's behaviour to other atheist in this perspective.

Well, Jolt, I'm going to wager a guess that I've been here more than you and I have never witnessed the behaviour you are describing. Mods issue the "smackdown" only after warnings and repeated, egregious violations. In general, we like to let theists make asses of themselves on these boards so that everyone can see the bankruptcy of their thought, so we are actually reluctant to boot someone who is just being stupid and making their side look bad. the smackdown only comes in for spammers and trolls who are not actually participating in discussions.

Don't really know how to answer your charge, since you can't point to any specifics, except to say it doesn't agree with my experience.

Lazy is a word we use when someone isn't doing what we want them to do.
- Dr. Joy Brown

kellym78's picture

Jolt wrote: I'm not going

Jolt wrote:

I'm not going to sift through previous posts, but I've seen it more than a few times. I suppose it depends on your definition of "richly deserved", but RRS mods tend to give a smackdown and then later have a rational discussion over an issue. I love how RRS trys to show how rediculous religion is and that we aren't affair to say it, but I suspect that many of the detractors are pissed by RRS's behaviour to other atheist in this perspective.

I'd like to see some of these posts where atheists were undeservedly attacked. Your refusal to "sift through previous posts" seems to indicate that it would be difficult to find. If it's something obscure and rare, then why are you characterizing us as people who do this regularly?

It seems that most people who have beef with us are either misinformed or have little personal experience with us. Especially considering what I just posted. If an atheist comes in here being confrontational and rude, he'll get rudeness in return. If somebody makes a valid criticism politely, that is an entirely different matter. So, which camp do you fall into? Have you bought whatever BS has been spread about us or what? 

Jolt's picture

kellym78 wrote:

kellym78 wrote:
I'd like to see some of these posts where atheists were undeservedly attacked. Your refusal to "sift through previous posts" seems to indicate that it would be difficult to find. If it's something obscure and rare, then why are you characterizing us as people who do this regularly?

I said that I wasn't going to sift through past posts for examples, because:

1. it is very tedious. There are well over 20.000 posts; trying to find something I read more than a week old is very difficult.

2. I believe RRS would find that they were totally in the right.

I think what it comes down to is a difference in discussion philosophy. I personally, and I don't believe that I'm alone on this, want to consider new things. It doesn't matter if they are opinions accepted by a majority of scientists, philosophers, or whatever; It doesn't matter if RRS believes it is wrong. In the end, when I consider something that may be controverial I only learn more (I don't know if any of this is making sense, but I'm trying).

Now when RRS slams someone for even considering a controversial idea, I can imagine how people could get pissed. I can really understand it if someone gets steamed when they are refered to as a theist (ouch). I could probably think of one or two more reasons that people might be mad, but I think that the majority of the haters you are refering haven't even posted here.

I stumbled upon the other Rational response squad site a few days ago, and I have to say that's some mean shit. I don't care how you dress, what your day job is, or whether you have a college degree or whatever. They don't either. Christians for the first time in the U.S. have a group of people challenging the myths that they spent so long cultivating. That's why they are pissed.

As you said in the original post: Atheism means one thing-not having a belief in a god. Atheist attitudes, political opinions, and morals are (surprisingly!) just as varied as the population in general. When RRS picks a controversial tact, then they are bound to take flak from everyside. That's life.

Which side am I on? I don't pick sides.Laughing

Readiness to answer all questions is the infallible sign of stupidity. Saul Bellow, Herzog

darth_josh's picture

Jolt, Hypothetical

Jolt,

Hypothetical question.

If someone were to say,

"I am an atheist, but...(fill in the blank with something inanely unrelated). I wanted to know if the RRS supports me in this."

An honest to goodness justified response in my personal opinion is:

What the fuck does (inanely unrelated something mentioned) have to do with your atheism?

Trying to correlate another piece of one's worldview with atheism is the first step toward divisiveness. Inability or unwillingness to understand that not all atheists are (inanely unrelated something) leads to dogmatism.

When confronted with that in any conversation, message board or otherwise, it is foolish to think that any form of challenge to the correlation could be expressed politely because the individual is convinced within their own mind that 'their's is the one true atheism because of (inanely unrelated something)'.

Equally as foolish is the thought that just 'patting them on the head' and saying, "That's nice, sweety." is going to change them.

Challenging the ludicrous ideological correlations is a first step towards 'programming open-mindedness' in people who do that. Some without even thinking about it.

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Jolt's picture

How about this: "I am an

How about this:

"I am an atheist, but Kelly should really put a turtle-neck sweater on, she's setting atheism back 1000 years!!"  When people say this kind of shit, they assert that all atheist have to live up to certain arbitrary standards.  This is of course is complete nonsense and RRS should confront it head on.

 There is a difference though between that and posting in the forums about (fill in the blank with something inanely unrelated to atheism) to discuss

Readiness to answer all questions is the infallible sign of stupidity. Saul Bellow, Herzog

darth_josh's picture

Jolt wrote: How about

Jolt wrote:

How about this:

"I am an atheist, but Kelly should really put a turtle-neck sweater on, she's setting atheism back 1000 years!!" When people say this kind of shit, they assert that all atheist have to live up to certain arbitrary standards. This is of course is complete nonsense and RRS should confront it head on.

There is a difference though between that and posting in the forums about (fill in the blank with something inanely unrelated to atheism) to discuss.

And what would the second thing have to do with atheist divisiveness within the ideals presented? If the subject is unrelated then it becomes an individual consideration and everyone has their own individual way of dealing with it.

Personally,If someone can't handle a disagreement ON ANY LEVEL then how could they benefit any discourse, polite or rude?

Entertaining the idea that everyone should react in the same manner to a proposed subject for discourse seems highly irrational, bordering on wishful thinking.

The very idea that any mod or core could or should 'control' reactions of other posters is wholly ludicrous as well. Encouraging people to debate lucidly is about as far as one can go without hindering freethought.

For instance:

Person 1: You guys are stooped assholes.

Responder: Why do you think that, fucktard?

The permutations of subsequent actions and reactions takes us into chaos 'theory'. Ergo, asking for your version(whatever that may be) of rational discourse flies in the face of logic itself.

 

Atheist Books, purchases on Amazon support the Rational Response Squad server, which houses Celebrity Atheists.

Jolt's picture

darth_josh wrote: And what

darth_josh wrote:
And what would the second thing have to do with atheist divisiveness within the ideals presented? If the subject is unrelated then it becomes an individual consideration and everyone has their own individual way of dealing with it.

I don't think it has anything to do with atheist divisiveness. Everyone does have their own way with discussing things, I'll give you that. And no moderator is going to be able to controll everyone's reaction. But when RRS mods start slamming a poster from the start, saying stuff like the poster doesn't know what they talking about (even if it is true); its not just boring, its obnoxious. What's the point in discussing anything at all when one side cuts the conversation off short claiming they're dealing with a troll. The point I was trying to make before was that people get annoyed at this, and when people get annoyed (right or wrong) they start criticizing.

 

Readiness to answer all questions is the infallible sign of stupidity. Saul Bellow, Herzog

Sapient's picture

Jolt wrote: But when RRS

Jolt wrote:

But when RRS mods start slamming a poster from the start, saying stuff like the poster doesn't know what they talking about (even if it is true); its not just boring, its obnoxious.

If calling a spade a spade is obnoxious and boring, I'm proud to be obnoxious and boring.

 

- Brian Sapient


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Hambydammit's picture

Quote: But when RRS mods

Quote:
But when RRS mods start slamming a poster from the start, saying stuff like the poster doesn't know what they talking about (even if it is true);

You said, "even if it's true" as if we should stroke someone's ego before we tell them they're wrong.  If I know that someone doesn't know what they're talking about, what purpose does it serve to let them think they do?

In my experience, 9 out of 10 posters who start their post with (inane unrelated topic) have absolutely no interest in discussing.  They're here to preach, and they are as certain of their (inane unrelated topic) as a theist is of god's existence.

We are here to combat exactly that type of thinking.  Religion isn't our only target.  It's just the biggest.  We would like people to learn how to think with their brain engaged.  If someone is not doing it, we're going to tell them.

 

Quote:
What's the point in discussing anything at all when one side cuts the conversation off short claiming they're dealing with a troll.

Exactly correct.  If you had access to the mod boards, you would find a thread just this week where I admonished one of our mods for doing that.  I've come down on individual posters for it, too.  I could name at least a half a dozen atheists who no longer post on the boards because we wouldn't put up with them badgering new posters for little or no reason.

Even a heavily moderated board like this one has to find a balance.  We do our best not to ever delete or alter someone's comments, only to affect their future behavior.  With over 400 users on at any one moment, and a mod team of around ten to fifteen, it's really damn difficult to make sure everybody's being nice all the time.

 I think you'll find that the vast majority of our mods are overly tolerant of new posters, because we don't want to run someone off who was maybe just having a bad day, or wasn't thinking clearly.

There's a huge difference between recognizing a bullshit philosophical or scientific claim and antagonizing someone.  It's part of my job to help our mod team do just that, and I take the responsibility very seriously.

 

Quote:
The point I was trying to make before was that people get annoyed at this, and when people get annoyed (right or wrong) they start criticizing.

We don't really care if someone gets annoyed.  We're here to encourage good thinking, not to protect someone's emotions.  In some cases, we want people to be annoyed.  There's a broader picture than what users see, and a lot of thought goes into what happens here.  Trust me on that, ok?

 

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

http://hambydammit.wordpress.com/
Books about atheism

It's not like any of these

It's not like any of these comments are unique to these forums.  Everyone on the internet thinks they are teh shit and know everything so you get arguments and conflicts and heads butting on every topic from religion, to sports, to which potato is best for potato salad.

If you don't have thick enough skin to put up with peoples bullshit biased opinions then you're in the wrong internet.

Any heavily moderated forum is going to have problems with recognizing patterns of people who act like every other dick on the planet but turn out to not be dicks they just unwittingly started out the same as all the dicks that they didn't know.  If you can't allow for errors, human errors, sometimes then once again you need to calus your skin or grow some balls.

I don't blame moderators for cracking down on people who follow the same patterns as every idiot before them.  If you think your message is holier and more pure than every other knob before you then perhaps you should ask god to protect your post and will your post to have the effect that you want it to.  If it doesn't, I think you should take it up with your god since he has clearly failed you. 

darth_josh's picture

Jolt wrote: The point I was

Jolt wrote:
The point I was trying to make before was that people get annoyed at this, and when people get annoyed (right or wrong) they start criticizing.

 

We're all for NEW criticism.

However, it makes no sense to continue a conversation when at an impasse unless new information is presented by one side or the other.

You said we were obnoxious.

You were asked to show where.

You declined, but maintained the assertion.

I engaged you based on my perception of irrational expectations for internet debate presented by you.

You maintained the assertion that we don't know how best to deal with a troll situation. 

My dear new friend, we are at an impasse.

So, fuck off and find a new topic already. When more than one-third of your 126 points have been from posts criticizing the site instead of interacting with the rest of the posters, you become an interesting pain in the ass. lol.

I found your 'Is environmentalism a religion?' thread to be a fascinating endeavor because there can be a corollary drawn. However, within the context of this thread, you're looking for demons that only exist in your perception.

Atheist Books, purchases on Amazon support the Rational Response Squad server, which houses Celebrity Atheists.

Ferrack's picture

I believe the point is that

I believe the point is that the demons you reference may, and likely do, exist within the minds of those whom you might otherwise sway. 

An analogy, if you will.  You have at your disposal a sword, it is extraordinarily sharp and you have trained in its use.  You then proceed to bludgeon your foe with it, sheathed, because you have killed many foes with this sword and you do not wish to unsheath it yet again. 

In this case, he's obviously trying to get something through to you and instead of trying to understand what he's saying, or present a counterpoint, you've chosen to go with "fuck off" which is ironically an amazing illustration of the point.

I will give you this, he probably should have said, "When people get annoyed they stop listening."

The point being, you should try not to annoy those people on the sidelines listening with abrasive and perhaps even churlish behavior.  Presentation in the modern world being, as you've realized and stated, extremely important.

Jolt's picture

darth_josh wrote: So, fuck

darth_josh wrote:
So, fuck off and find a new topic already. When more than one-third of your 126 points have been from posts criticizing the site instead of interacting with the rest of the posters, you become an interesting pain in the ass. lol.

I'm offended, good job! As I said before the anger aimed at RRS in very likely not the result of this. I was just describing something that I percieved.

I asked what the point of RRS was the other day and got a pretty unsatisfying answer; something like "you'd know if you would look around". I think Hammbydammit indirectly cleared that answer up a bit. I don't totally agree, but I do believe that at the very least RRS forces people to think. Don't worry I wont mention this topic again...

Tarpan wrote:
I don't blame moderators for cracking down on people who follow the same patterns as every idiot before them. If you think your message is holier and more pure than every other knob before you then perhaps you should ask god to protect your post and will your post to have the effect that you want it to. If it doesn't, I think you should take it up with your god since he has clearly failed you.

Since you have no need for civil conversation: Are you a total dumb-fuck(is that spelled hyphenated?)? I have no god, and have never hinted in anyway that I believe in a god. If this is some kind of pathetic way to insult me, you'll have to really try harder. There is a difference between being brutally honest and stupid. You my friend are just stupid.

 

 

Readiness to answer all questions is the infallible sign of stupidity. Saul Bellow, Herzog

Archeopteryx's picture

  Not to pretend to be a

 

Not to pretend to be a mod or anything like that, but it would be cool if we could try and settle down, fellas. When I read a thread, I could care less if someone uses the word fuck, but it's more effective when it's used for "artistic emphasis" rather than as a bludgeoning object.

I'll take an order of opinions and arguments being exchanged--hold the irrelevant e-beef.

I only ask this because it looks like its about to escalate to an irritating level.

So please? yes? 

A place common to all will be maintained by none. A religion common to all is perhaps not much different.

Uniting Atheists

Atheism is in fact nothing more than a contrived word for those people of faith to anchor their beliefs, by seperating those that don't.

Every person on this planet is naturally born an atheist.  Therefore we only need the title of homosapiens, and not an infinite number of evolving titles to explain why we weren't born with theism, or anything else wild imaginations and/or pure desperation can dream up.

It is Theism that is un-natural and deserving of titles, and yet those that choose not to gather with the theists are constantly defending a title they did not choose, nor deserve.

I think we should call Theism: Wankerism, and point and stare every time we see one of these Wankers.

With all this said, asking for atheists to unite is a catastrophe in the making. History has taught us time and time again, that uniting men never ends well.

We'll need buildings, officials, rules and regulations, rituals and symbols. And when the enemy comes, they'll know exactly where we are, doing what with whom, and at exactly what time.

And all this to say: "Look, we are what you call us, see our badges: Atheists" It all just becomes more of the same: republicans against democrats, catholics against prodestants, and whoever has the biggest budget wins. We can clearly see this system has never worked.

 To ask such a think seems quite naive. JM 

 

 

 

Aufbau1928's picture

Dogma

I find that the most offensive sort of dogmatism is that which is masqueraded not to be. Atheism, for example. This is the dubious belief that God does not exist; a belief borne of the same fallacies of the natural theology it debases. Why should there be any union of the persons who follow these questionable presumptions? Surely, it cannot be that it is to spread what counts as truth. In fact, in most of your blogs, you (KELLY) sound more like a high-school pep-rally cheerleader for Atheism than a defender of its rational viability.

I am, fortunately, of a sympathetic audience to your choir that you preach. But it is undoubtedly curious that at each moment you speak of rationality (e.g. "BE rational"), or reason, I grin at the irony that such as you preach is missing from your practice. (I.e. the practice you make public, e.g. television --think I remember you debating Cameron and Comfort--, blogs, etc.)

Aufbau1928 wrote: I find

Aufbau1928 wrote:
I find that the most offensive sort of dogmatism is that which is masqueraded not to be. Atheism, for example. This is the dubious belief that God does not exist;

You describe strong atheism, which is a positive claim. The far more common form is what is commonly, and mistakenly, referred to as agnosticism. Weak/agnostic atheists don't make a positive claim that gods don't exist, but don't believe in any of them.

Aufbau1928 wrote:
a belief borne of the same fallacies of the natural theology it debases.

Substantiate or retract.

Aufbau1928 wrote:
Why should there be any union of the persons who follow these questionable presumptions?

You beg the question.

Aufbau1928 wrote:
Surely, it cannot be that it is to spread what counts as truth.

Rhetoric.

Aufbau1928 wrote:
In fact, in most of your blogs, you (KELLY) sound more like a high-school pep-rally cheerleader for Atheism than a defender of its rational viability.

Ad hom.

Aufbau1928 wrote:
I am, fortunately, of a sympathetic audience to your choir that you preach.

Then chill out.

Aufbau1928 wrote:
But it is undoubtedly curious that at each moment you speak of rationality (e.g. "BE rational&quotEye-wink, or reason, I grin at the irony that such as you preach is missing from your practice. (I.e. the practice you make public, e.g. television --think I remember you debating Cameron and Comfort--, blogs, etc.)

That sentence makes no sense.

Hambydammit's picture

Quote: I asked what the

Quote:
I asked what the point of RRS was the other day and got a pretty unsatisfying answer; something like "you'd know if you would look around". I think Hammbydammit indirectly cleared that answer up a bit.

I'm happy to help, even if indirectly.

 

Quote:
I don't totally agree, but I do believe that at the very least RRS forces people to think.

Your disagreement is acceptable.  As others have pointed out, we have precious little time for disagreement when it isn't accompanied by documentation or a suggestion for how to improve.  Seriously, you didn't seem too interested in backing up your observations.  It's cool if you just got the wrong impression, but your impression and the reality of what the mods do or don't do might just be skewed.  After all, we're quite familiar with all the posts we've made, and I'd wager you haven't read all of them.  At any rate, if you know a website besides us that's the number one atheist site in the United States  (We are) let us know what they're doing better than us, and we'll give it a look.

 

Quote:
Are you a total dumb-fuck(is that spelled hyphenated?)?

I normally just use two words.  Dictionary.com has no entry for dumbfuck or dumb-fuck.  Google returns 674,000 pages for "dumb fuck" and only 49,600 for "dumb-fuck."  Even "dumbfuck" returned 180,000, so I think based on the available information, you should stick with separate words.

Quote:
I have no god, and have never hinted in anyway that I believe in a god. If this is some kind of pathetic way to insult me, you'll have to really try harder. There is a difference between being brutally honest and stupid. You my friend are just stupid.

Technically, one can be brutally honest and stupid, as in when someone beats a dead horse for hours and hours while screaming, "I don't know if you're dead yet!  How do you tell if a horse is dead?  Can someone please tell me if this horse is dead yet??  Please?"

 

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

http://hambydammit.wordpress.com/
Books about atheism

Aufbau1928's picture

Dogma

A couple things I'd like to mention. The failure of your comprehension of my last sentence I will take as a fault of your own and will not clarify. Second, I am sympathetic to atheist attitudes, not the adherents' rational arguments, for which there is none I'm aware of.

Also, the classification of my sentence as an "ad hom" (cool logic slang!) is inaccurate. For I was backing with it the statement that Kelly does not argue rationally for a belief in no God or that no God exists. Rather the blogs are infested with her own odor of rhetoric that attempts to organize and rally atheists rather than defend the position intellectually, which has nowhere (I've seen) been accomplished. I would hope (and am confident) that her intentions were not in line with trying to give logical defenses of atheism; but rather to get people excited, i.e. to evince certain feelings from her audience (including me). The problem: why try and arouse feelings of approval (e.g. excitement, or enlightenment) for something that hasn't been adequately defended on a logical basis?

Basically, both the theist and atheist (and some versions of agnosticism) assume that each their viewpoints have consequences that manifest in observational data, be it human behavior, the design of objects, etc. The problem is, given how testability is the least problematically understood, observed data corroborates only those theories that are conjoined with suitable auxiliary asssumptions--this means that they must be independently established, and not assume the hypotheses in question (e.g. theism and atheism). Unfortunately, this doesn't happen in Atheist defenses. We have not independently established any assertion of what God's goals and abilities are; we have not justified that "God, if he existed, would see to it that such-and-such degree of evil did not exist" or "God, if he existed, would see to it that humans had consciousness", etc. And without these, God's existence or non-existence makes no expectations for what we'd find in nature. In fact, even if "God exists" is testable, it doesn't follow "God doesn't exist" is; for the negation of statements that have an infinite number of compatible and unidentical propositions does not have a well-defined plausibility.

Unfortunately, though, I cannot go much further without delving into probability theory; and at the chance that I might waste too much time doing a service to anyone, I will reference an essay I think gives one of a few cogent arguments for it: http://philosophy.wisc.edu/sober/test.pdf

Hambydammit's picture

Quote: The failure of your

Quote:
The failure of your comprehension of my last sentence I will take as a fault of your own and will not clarify.

Way to care for those who you believe are going to hell.  You're really compassionate.

 

Quote:
For I was backing with it the statement that Kelly does not argue rationally for a belief in no God or that no God exists.

Do you not understand the basics of critical thought?  The person making the positive claim is responsible for rationally arguing it.  The lack of a positive claim is not a defensible position, nor is there any need for it to be.  If it were otherwise, you'd be responsible for disproving literally everything that could be conceived but doesn't actually exist.

Didn't they teach you this stuff in college?

 

Quote:
The problem: why try and arouse feelings of approval (e.g. excitement, or enlightenment) for something that hasn't been adequately defended on a logical basis?

There is no basis and no need to adequately defend atheism.  Theism has utterly failed to defend itself, and Kelly does a pretty good job of pointing that out.

Didn't they teach you this stuff in college?  The positive claimant is responsible for providing evidence.  This is really, really simple.

 

Quote:
The problem is, given how testability is the least problematically understood, observed data corroborates only those theories that are conjoined with suitable auxiliary asssumptions--this means that they must be independently established, and not assume the hypotheses in question (e.g. theism and atheism).

T minus two sentences and counting until you shoot yourself in the foot...

 

Quote:
Unfortunately, this doesn't happen in Atheist defenses.

T minus one...

 

Quote:
We have not independently established any assertion of what God's goals and abilities are; we have not justified that "God, if he existed, would see to it that such-and-such degree of evil did not exist" or "God, if he existed, would see to it that humans had consciousness", etc. And without these, God's existence or non-existence makes no expectations for what we'd find in nature.

So, you admit that theists have not properly described god, much less defended him, and in fact, have not described any refutable characteristics, and thus, you have relieved atheists of any real or imagined burden of refutation.  We cannot very well refute that which has not been posited, nor can we deny that of which we have not been made aware.  You don't get to put the net down for your serve and leave the net up for ours.  Either hypotheses have to be falsifiable, or they don't.  If they are not falsifiable, they are not subject to math or logic -- in other words, they're not worth a tinker's damn.

Thanks for playing.

 

Quote:
In fact, even if "God exists" is testable, it doesn't follow "God doesn't exist" is; for the negation of statements that have an infinite number of compatible and unidentical propositions does not have a well-defined plausibility.

Which is why those of us who read the textbook for our freshman level critical thinking courses realize that a negative statement can never be considered for debate.

Which is why this whole theory of yours is flawed, and why atheists don't have a burden of disproof. (nobody ever does)

 

Quote:
Unfortunately, though, I cannot go much further without delving into probability theory;

I'm all a-quiver.

 

 

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

http://hambydammit.wordpress.com/
Books about atheism

FallenKnight's picture

Wow...

Aufbau1928 wrote: "The failure of your comprehension of my last sentence I will take as a fault of your own and will not clarify."

And I thought I was pretentious! You may want to revisit your comment as it made no sense to me either.

"Rather the blogs are infested with her own odor of rhetoric that attempts to organize and rally atheists rather than defend the position intellectually, which has nowhere (I've seen) been accomplished."

I hate to rain on your parade, but the staff here at RSS do far more to defend/explain Atheism than you seem to, atop your soapbox (frantically leafing through your thesaurus so you will sound like you're intelligent).

You may want to find the Nightline debate where 'KellyM' and 'Sapient' wrecked shop on the smarmy Kirk Cameron and Ray Comfort. Then you can see how easy they make it look to support Atheism against the laughable "proof" of the existence of a "creator."

ragdish's picture

Aufbau1928 wrote:

Aufbau1928 wrote:
A couple things I'd like to mention. The failure of your comprehension of my last sentence I will take as a fault of your own and will not clarify. Second, I am sympathetic to atheist attitudes, not the adherents' rational arguments, for which there is none I'm aware of. Also, the classification of my sentence as an "ad hom" (cool logic slang!) is inaccurate. For I was backing with it the statement that Kelly does not argue rationally for a belief in no God or that no God exists. Rather the blogs are infested with her own odor of rhetoric that attempts to organize and rally atheists rather than defend the position intellectually, which has nowhere (I've seen) been accomplished. I would hope (and am confident) that her intentions were not in line with trying to give logical defenses of atheism; but rather to get people excited, i.e. to evince certain feelings from her audience (including me). The problem: why try and arouse feelings of approval (e.g. excitement, or enlightenment) for something that hasn't been adequately defended on a logical basis? Basically, both the theist and atheist (and some versions of agnosticism) assume that each their viewpoints have consequences that manifest in observational data, be it human behavior, the design of objects, etc. The problem is, given how testability is the least problematically understood, observed data corroborates only those theories that are conjoined with suitable auxiliary asssumptions--this means that they must be independently established, and not assume the hypotheses in question (e.g. theism and atheism). Unfortunately, this doesn't happen in Atheist defenses. We have not independently established any assertion of what God's goals and abilities are; we have not justified that "God, if he existed, would see to it that such-and-such degree of evil did not exist" or "God, if he existed, would see to it that humans had consciousness", etc. And without these, God's existence or non-existence makes no expectations for what we'd find in nature. In fact, even if "God exists" is testable, it doesn't follow "God doesn't exist" is; for the negation of statements that have an infinite number of compatible and unidentical propositions does not have a well-defined plausibility. Unfortunately, though, I cannot go much further without delving into probability theory; and at the chance that I might waste too much time doing a service to anyone, I will reference an essay I think gives one of a few cogent arguments for it: http://philosophy.wisc.edu/sober/test.pdf

As a newcomer here, I am not in a position to defend Kelly and the rest of the RRS folks. I find their critiques of theism to be rational defense of atheism. Their verbage may be rants infused with raunchy humor, sex and swearing but nonetheless rational. I personally find it refreshing to see atheists of this ilk instead of the stereotypical, bookish, geeky introvert who wished he had fucked the hot high school cheerleader. Maybe he would have had he known that the cheerleader could also be an intellectual and an atheist (one could only hope).

This site is not an online course on philosophy. It isn't devoted to any specialty. It would be boring if it were. Yet in all their raunchiness, I actually come away learning something new about philosophy, science and history. I'm glad that to a certain extent these folks don't take themselves too seriously.

As an example, let's take a statement that a number of theists even today believe:

"A nightmare is the devil having sex with an unchaste woman in her sleep."

An RRS response could be:

"Another God fucker suckin' on the Jesus jism"

Now that statement is not by your standards a "rational defense of atheism." Such debauchery does IMO rationally point out the stupidity of the claimant and does "rally people to the cause." But it would be extremely boring and a turn off if the reply was:

"What a foolish twit. Doesn't he/she know that nightmares are the product of pontine cholinergic nuclei (the pedunculopontine and laterodorsotegmental to be precise) activated during REM sleep with the simultaneous inactivation of serotonergic systems which result in the increased activity of hippocampal neuronal populations which send retrograde signals to visual association cortices correlated with emotionally laden images? What an ignorant and impudent individual."

Yeah, this guy needs to get laid.

Your second point revolved around atheists lack of defense of their position. Correct me if I'm wrong but you contend that the atheists disbelief is an untestable hypothesis. But doesn't the burden of proof lie with the theists (ie. the magic teapot)? After quickly reading Sober's article, I don't draw the conclusion that atheists have to verify the non-existence of the supernatural. On the contrary, it is the theists who are in the "terra incognita" who need to put forth data to support their hypothesis. Otherwise, any fallacious statement can be made:

"There are polka dot goblins with sagging testicles dancing in my attic when no one is present nor attempting to detect them."

The burden of proof is not on me to show that this statement is false. The claimant's verbage attempts to falsely transform the phrase into an axiom. How can I possibly disprove this statement scientifically if the statement forbids objective scientific proof. The statement is based purely on faith and is identical to theists belief in God.

lazuli13's picture

Good post Kelly......

I couldn't agree more. Some supposed "atheists" miss the forest for the trees.