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.

kellym78's picture

ragdish wrote: As a

ragdish wrote:

As a newcomer here...

Just had to say that you're my new favorite RRS newbie. It's nice to see that somebody gets it without having it explained to them first. 

Aufbau1928 wrote: A couple

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.

Has anyone told you you sound like a pretentious, overcompensating twat? Like bad breath and dander, your friends won't tell you.

Aufbau1928 wrote:
Also, the classification of my sentence as an "ad hom" (cool logic slang!) is inaccurate.

Not slang. I prefer brevity, and leading by example. Hint.

Aufbau1928 wrote:
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.

I didn't noticed that as a stated topic of her blog.

Aufbau1928 wrote:
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.

Which is a goal you impose.

Aufbau1928 wrote:
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?

Because logic isn't the strength of the average person, and its language is insulating and pretentious-sounding.

Aufbau1928 wrote:
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.

The whole of "atheist defenses" being this blog, evidently. If I'd only realized what was at stake... Kelly! Why didn't you tell me?!

Aufbau1928 wrote:
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.

Yep, "god" is an incoherent term.

Aufbau1928 wrote:
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'd hate to see that happen. There are pretend intellectual friends waiting to be wowed over mocha at the local coffee house, so I'm sure it'll be a tough choice.

Aufbau1928 wrote:
I will reference an essay I think gives one of a few cogent arguments for it: http://philosophy.wisc.edu/sober/test.pdf

In line with your insistence on making the blog something other than it is... rather than, say, going to the philosophy section of the forum.

Aufbau1928's picture

Dogma

A very famous cheerleader of atheism (officially agnosticism), and a hero of mine, Carl Sagan, offers the following acumen: "Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence". Science does not work by debunking theories just based on criticizing them without any rivals in mind. If they do you can count on there not being very much progress in way of it. Theism does not have any testable alternatives, including atheism (the belief that God does not exist). Indeed many of you may have a different identification with this word; after all, language is dynamic, and changes to the congregate will of its users. But most (if not all) atheists at least adhere to statement that the existence of God is improbable or unlikely. This is the position I'm attacking, and find endorsed in almost all halls of atheistic assembly: God's existence is implausible. Which, quite naturally, leads us to suspect that the analysis of this claim falls prey to our understanding of the probability calculus. By rights of a theorem of conditional probabilities, called Bayes' theorem, or even just the Likelihood Principle, and its application to the services of science, we find no eligible way to make any to decide between God's existence or nonexistence given scientific inductive logic. Perhaps instead of not going beyond what one has learned in undergraduate courses in critical thinking, one ought to examine the issue of probabilistic inductive logic more closely.

Let me address one's post more directly. Perhaps it is already too polite to even reply to him or her; so I'll at least leave out names, and if he or she is interested, they can read it. Otherwise, I've at least refined more richly my views on the dogma currently under scrutiny.

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

In case you by happenstance just mustered sufficient comprehension to understand the position I've roughly outlined, you would realize that I'm making a case that is both detrimental to theism and atheism in the realm of rationality. For the record, I'm neither a Christian nor am I theist of any sort. Sure, I was raised Catholic (that explains a lot, right!), but I'm by no measure of the persuasion. Also, I'm a noncognitivist. So either showing or not showing compassion is neither a good nor a bad thing. You've really just literally given my statement a "Boooo!" with your thumbs pointed downwards in distaste. Way to go.

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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?

I understand critical thinking well enough to realize that this is ultimately a misleading and bogus position. If you reveal logical flaws in arguments for theism, then that makes that theistic argument trash--it doesn't destroy theism itself. Nor does it give it support, might I add. In order to show confirmation or disconfirmation for theism or atheism we need testable rival theories with the necessary conditions that I've noted (e.g. suitable auxiliary assumptions). And if by some argument you claim to get away with saying that you've defended atheism without resort to the scientific concepts of confirmation, then that is no rational position at all--it is more akin to what my wife calls "selective hearing". I'll repeat: you can only test those theories for which there are rivals it can be tested against. Simply saying the burden of proof is not on you is an immature avoidance mechanism to dealing with the question of what cash-value in observed data atheism actually has against theism. In so few words: none.

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So, you admit that theists have not properly described god, much less defended him, and in fact, have not described any refutable characteristics,

Yes. Not entirely accurate or the way I'd put it, but, overall, yes.

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and thus, you have relieved atheists of any real or imagined burden of refutation.

No. We can only say theism is not testable. That's it! Nothing more. We cannot say, given what you just stated as a premise in the prior quote, that God does not exist. We say, instead, that it has no testable rivals; therefore, we cannot say, rationally, whether God exists, or does not exist.

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We cannot very well refute that which has not been posited, nor can we deny that of which we have not been made aware.

Well, in confirmation you DO posit it. And you can. The question is whether when you posit it against another hypothesis it makes certain observed data more expected than the other hypothesis.

I find it odd that I've allegedly shot myself in the foot in any of what I've just said and you quoted in my post... I'd recommend going back and reading what I've said more carefully and check out the link I've provided in my previous post.

Aufbau1928's picture

Dogma

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And I thought I was pretentious!

Count on it.

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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."

You know, I did see it. And I detest Cameron and Comfort (the banana argument is very amusing). But at that debate there was no rational reason to suppose that atheism (the statement that God doesn't exist) and theism were tested against one another. They weren't.

Aufbau1928's picture

Quote: I find their

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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).

Hate to burst your bubble "newbie", but it's an illusion. There is no edgy and rational work going on here. Yes, it's admittedly "refreshing" to find a semi-good-looking women indulging herself at the hands of Reason. But it's a gimmick. And why must we (even myself) continually resort to this postdiction about what we were all like in high school? I didn't get laid in high school, but I didn't hang out with the pimply geek-squad either. And, yes, everyone knows, we all want to fuck the cheerleaders. But, who is this guy who seriously dwells about his high school years as being a letdown because he didn't fuck them? Not me.

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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.

I came here thinking it would be intelligent and funny. I found a little good humor here-and-there; and a lot of nothing intelligent to say. Personally, why would anyone come here but to either piss off vastly immature thinkers? If I want funny and intelligent I'll watch a Woody Allen film or Mr Show with Bob and David.

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"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"

Honestly, there's nothing like good blasphemy. If that's all this site was, I'd have nothing bad to say about it; nor would I have anything philosophically to say about it, specifically regarding atheism.

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

I would say that this theory is untestable. In sounds silly, but the way you've described the situation "when no one is present nor attempting to detect them" makes it so. By what rationale would we come to the assertion that it is both false and untestable? If there is any blasphemy going on here it is against scientific reasoning. For its reasoning schema does not permit the truth-value evaluation of those propositions that are not testable (i.e. those propositions which have no rivals to which it can be tested against).

Aufbau1928's picture

Quote: Has anyone told you

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Has anyone told you you sound like a pretentious, overcompensating twat? Like bad breath and dander, your friends won't tell you.

Well, yes, in fact they have. Perhaps if you kept up with the thread you'd see that some person (or robot--sometimes hard to discriminate here) did call me pretentious. "Overcompensating" is a new one, though I'm not convinced yet it's accurate.

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Not slang. I prefer brevity, and leading by example. Hint.
Thanks for the tip. I'll kp. it "simp" nxt tm.

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Because logic isn't the strength of the average person, and its language is insulating and pretentious-sounding.

Whatever sells best, sell it. But, what I'm concerned about is the truth-value status of this product... why offer members confidence in an emotive sense rather than a rational sense? After all, we must all "BE rational". But the latter leads to rejection, if one is rational, so I suppose it would, after all, be wise to ignore it or argue it in a forum where you're basically arguing chimps (e.g. Kelly arguing Comfort) and be funny. How else are you going to sell it?

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Yep, "god" is an incoherent term.
This doesn't show God is a contradictory term; it merely shows it is a term that when couched in an existential statement makes no observed expectations that are found in the world. Incoherency would arise if we insisted on our rationality, accepted God's existence as untestable, and persisted to say He didn't exist.

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In line with your insistence on making the blog something other than it is... rather than, say, going to the philosophy section of the forum.
I was unaware there was a philosophy forum here. I will not visit it. Also, my main point is not the philosophical point most responded to. I am basically asking why someone, like Kelly (e.g.), would go to so much trouble to be a cheerleader for an intellectual position that doesn't bother defending it with intelligent arguments. Rather there is an outpour of confusions on logic, and this laid back attitude of "You don't get it bro, just chill out and have a laugh; don't take it so serious." I would've just got stoned if I knew beforehand that THIS is what this forum would have amounted to.

Hambydammit's picture

Quote:

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In case you by happenstance just mustered sufficient comprehension to understand the position I've roughly outlined, you would realize that I'm making a case that is both detrimental to theism and atheism in the realm of rationality.

Let me help you with this:

"Dude, you shouldn't assume I'm a Christian. I'm not an atheist or a theist."

See... same message, less twaddle. You don't look intelligent when you write like that. You look like you're trying to sound intelligent.

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Also, I'm a noncognitivist.

Truly, I can't wait for the nonsequitur that's going to come from this.

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So either showing or not showing compassion is neither a good nor a bad thing.

Not as interesting as I hoped, but it'll do.

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You've really just literally given my statement a "Boooo!" with your thumbs pointed downwards in distaste. Way to go.

No, I've figuratively given your statement a "Booooo!" with my thumbs pointed downward in distaste. You're going to tell me you understand noncognitivism when you don't know the difference between literal and figurative?

How's this for pompous? Methinks the comprehension of your education's less than your estimation of the same.

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If you reveal logical flaws in arguments for theism, then that makes that theistic argument trash--it doesn't destroy theism itself.

Hey! Philosophy Genious! If all theist arguments are trash, then:

1) Theism is flawed

or

2) Theism has never been expressed in an unflawed manner.

IF (2) THEN Atheism is the logical and rational choice.

IF (1) Then Atheism is the logical and rational choice.

(Remember, rational arguments don't necessarily have to have true data. If theism is true but unrevealed or undiscovered, then the necessary data is not available, and it is rational to assume it is not rational until and unless rational justification is offered. You know this, though... You've studied critical thinking.)

IF You would like to express theism logically, THEN I'm all ears.

IF You can't, THEN you must concede that there is no logical reason to be a theist.

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In order to show confirmation or disconfirmation for theism or atheism we need testable rival theories with the necessary conditions that I've noted (e.g. suitable auxiliary assumptions).

What part of this is difficult? Negative belief is not a defensible position in an argument. It doesn't need to be. Are you confusing colloquial argument with debate or critical thinking?

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'll repeat: you can only test those theories for which there are rivals it can be tested against.

Horseshit.

We can test a theory when the only two choices are:

1) Theory A is True

2) Theory A is False

We need not have an alternate theory. If we find that theory A is false, and we have no alternate theory, we offer the answer, "I don't know."

Theism fails on many levels. Therefore, given its current definition, it is false. Atheists are under no obligation to offer alternative explanations for abiogenesis, cosmology, or anything else.

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Simply saying the burden of proof is not on you is an immature avoidance mechanism to dealing with the question of what cash-value in observed data atheism actually has against theism. In so few words: none.

No, dude. The burden of proof is fundamental to critical thinking. Without it, we could literally never get around to learning anything positive about anything because we'd be too busy eliminating all the potential negatives!

Think about that for just a second before you respond automatically, ok?

If there is no burden of proof, we can no nothing, for there is a literally endless number of potential negatives that we must disprove before we can be certain of what does exist. If we can never be reasonably certain of what does exist, we cannot even form the concepts necessary to begin proving any positive.

Also, with the current conceptualization of theism, atheism has a LOT going for it. Namely, it has the law of non-contradiction in its favor, as well as ontology itself. Theism contradicts itself, and therefore is either false or improperly described. In either case, with lack of anything else to examine, the default position is non-theism. Non-belief.

You don't even realize that you're an atheist. You must be, for you are not a theist. If you do not have a positive belief in a god, you are not a theist. If you are not a theist, you are an atheist. There is no middle ground. You can't believe in neither, any more than you can believe not either pregnant or non-pregnant in a living female. It's a dichotomy.

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Yes. Not entirely accurate or the way I'd put it, but, overall, yes.

In debate, we refute or concede. We don't hedge.

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No. We can only say theism is not testable. That's it! Nothing more.

That's all we need. Untestable is useless and irrelevant.

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We cannot say, given what you just stated as a premise in the prior quote, that God does not exist.

Please. Open your brain. We don't say god doesn't exist. We say there is absolutely no evidence, for there isn't even a definition.

There is also no evidence, and no definition for farblesquarbs. I don't go around saying "I know for sure there are no farblesquarbs." Neither do I give burnt offerings of onion powder and cat hair to the farblesquarb. Since I can't possibly know anything about a farblesquarb, it's damn silly to do such a thing.

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I find it odd that I've allegedly shot myself in the foot in any of what I've just said and you quoted in my post... I'd recommend going back and reading what I've said more carefully and check out the link I've provided in my previous post.

I did. Twice. You still look like a novice philosopher.

 

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

The definition of atheism

The definition of atheism that I'm considering, again, if you read my posts carefully, is that God does not exist. To say "there is no evidence" (a sloppy phrase I would never use), or that it is not testable is agnosticism. Those are my basic understandings of those terms.

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That's all we need. Untestable is useless and irrelevant.
But useless and irrelevant does not make a statement false. It's useless and irrelevant perhaps what I've said so far. It doesn't make what I've said false, though. And if someone said "I don't think there's a way we can test your claims", then they'd be agnostic. The "theist", by analogy would concede my points; and the "atheist" say what I've said is false. That's a pretty natural way of understanding the relations between theism, agnosticism and atheism. There IS middle ground when we have no ground to decide between poles. To say that "atheism" encompasses this idea that God's existence is not testable is to pervert the meanings of the terms.

Hambydammit's picture

Quote: The definition of

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The definition of atheism that I'm considering, again, if you read my posts carefully, is that God does not exist.

From now on, I'll consider the words, "Stop sign" to mean "chocolate milk."  Will stop signs become chocolate milk, or will I be playing a first year linguistics game?

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To say "there is no evidence" (a sloppy phrase I would never use), or that it is not testable is agnosticism.

a - not, negation

gnosticism - knowledge of a deity

agnosticism - lacking knowledge of a deity.

**********

a - negation, not

theism - belief in a deity.

atheism - lacking belief in a deity.

An agnostic, by definition, must be an atheist, for he has no knowledge of any deity, and cannot possibly believe in one.  Do you believe in Blacprenatlerism?   Clearly not, for you don't know what the hell it is.

 

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Those are my basic understandings of those terms.

You are mistaken.  The OED is a better source than you.

 

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But useless and irrelevant does not make a statement false.

And the default philosophical position MUST be false, until we are presented with evidence of truth.  The whole burden of proof thing, remember?  If we must prove all things false for which there is no evidence, we can know nothing.  Thought becomes an incoherent concept.

 

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It's useless and irrelevant perhaps what I've said so far. It doesn't make what I've said false, though.

Yes, Aufbau.  Everyone here except you knows that we understand this.

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And if someone said "I don't think there's a way we can test your claims", then they'd be agnostic.

If they believed in a god despite the lack of testability (evidence) then they'd be irrational.  If they did not believe in a god because of the lack of evidence, they'd be an atheist.

It's ok dude.  You don't have to call yourself an atheist if you don't want to.  Call yourself Chocolate Milk.  It's fun.  You can run around and pretend like you're different.

   

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The "theist", by analogy would concede my points; and the "atheist" say what I've said is false.

No, your mythical conception of an atheist would say it's false.  Ok.. granted, there are some atheists who don't know their asshole from a hole in the ground, but those who understand logic and philosophy would not dispute you.  That's precisely why they're atheists.

 

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That's a pretty natural way of understanding the relations between theism, agnosticism and atheism.

You're right, except for the part where it flies in the face of standard, accepted definitions, and it falls prey to several linguistic and philosophical errors.

 

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There IS middle ground when we have no ground to decide between poles. To say that "atheism" encompasses this idea that God's existence is not testable is to pervert the meanings of the terms.

Use whatever definition you like.  From now on, how about if we call people who don't believe in god, but call themselves atheists, "Sparkling Water," and we'll call people who don't believe in god, but don't call themselves atheists, "Toenail Clippers."

You're a toenail clipper, and I'm sparkling water.

Happy?

 

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

Aufbau1928 wrote:
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Has anyone told you you sound like a pretentious, overcompensating twat? Like bad breath and dander, your friends won't tell you.

Well, yes, in fact they have. Perhaps if you kept up with the thread you'd see that some person (or robot--sometimes hard to discriminate here) did call me pretentious.

It's possible I was in the process of replying, which can take longer depending on how much excess verbiage I have to wade through.

Aufbau1928 wrote:
"Overcompensating" is a new one, though I'm not convinced yet it's accurate.

OK.

Aufbau1928 wrote:
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Not slang. I prefer brevity, and leading by example. Hint.
Thanks for the tip. I'll kp. it "simp" nxt tm.

Thx, dpsht.

Aufbau1928 wrote:
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Because logic isn't the strength of the average person, and its language is insulating and pretentious-sounding.
Whatever sells best, sell it. But, what I'm concerned about is the truth-value status of this product... why offer members confidence in an emotive sense rather than a rational sense? After all, we must all "BE rational". But the latter leads to rejection, if one is rational, so I suppose it would, after all, be wise to ignore it or argue it in a forum where you're basically arguing chimps (e.g. Kelly arguing Comfort) and be funny. How else are you going to sell it?

You acknowledged the limited scope of the blog entries, and I've challenged you on your use of it against atheist arguments in general (even on this site alone), so I don't know why you ignore it to go back to square one.

Aufbau1928 wrote:
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Yep, "god" is an incoherent term.
This doesn't show God is a contradictory term; it merely shows it is a term that when couched in an existential statement makes no observed expectations that are found in the world. Incoherency would arise if we insisted on our rationality, accepted God's existence as untestable, and persisted to say He didn't exist.

Which isn't the topic, is limited to strong atheism, and has already been addressed by me and ignored by you.

Aufbau1928 wrote:
Quote:
In line with your insistence on making the blog something other than it is... rather than, say, going to the philosophy section of the forum.
I was unaware there was a philosophy forum here. I will not visit it.

That's that, then.

Aufbau1928 wrote:
Also, my main point is not the philosophical point most responded to. I am basically asking why someone, like Kelly (e.g.), would go to so much trouble to be a cheerleader for an intellectual position that doesn't bother defending it with intelligent arguments.

Then you shouldn't have devoted so many of your remarks to the philosophical position. Leave out the coy jabs, turgid prose, and avoid being misunderstood. If you want to make your case again, in a way that doesn't obscure your points and make you sound like an insecure cunt, be my guest.

Aufbau1928 wrote:
Rather there is an outpour of confusions on logic, and this laid back attitude of "You don't get it bro, just chill out and have a laugh; don't take it so serious." I would've just got stoned if I knew beforehand that THIS is what this forum would have amounted to.

Well, since you refuse to explore the site, I guess you're fucked.

Tilberian's picture

I have been wondering why

I have been wondering why the atheists attacking us here and elsewhere have sounded so much like theists (aside from the obvious reason that many of them probably are liars for Jesus) and the probable reason popped into my head this morning. They are using the time-honoured theist debating tactic of compartmentalization. Not compartmentalization in the sense of keeping your religious beliefs separate in your mind from your rational processes, but another kind of compartmentalization.

The tactic works like this: take your opponent's argument and put it in a conceptual box. Label that box. Words like "offensive," "rude," "intolerant" and "disrespectful" are useful. The Catholic church used to be able to see off a lot of arguments with the word "heretical," but, thanks in part to the efforts of atheists over the years, they have less luck doing that now.

The tactic works because no one wants to open that box and look at the contents because you've told them in advance that they will be seeing something unworthy of their attention. You can get away with discarding the whole argument, sight unseen, if you are successful in your first effort of labelling it.

What I'm seeing in our haters is a group of people who have fallen for this tactic and are, ironically, now using it themselves. Nothing matters to them except staying outside of those boxes. I'm seeing almost no discussion of our actual message or the things we stand for and promote. Instead it's all about whether some people might be able to slap a label on us and, worse, about the desire of some atheists to throw those labels around themselves.

We don't care about other people's labels. We are who we are and we do what we do and people can call it what they want. The only criticism we are interested in is substantial criticism about the actual content of what we do and whether we are right or wrong. So far, no one has been able to make an argument that there is something wrong with our message or our philosophical stance.

If you don't like how we put it out there, go ahead and send your constructive criticism but in the end we will be the architects of our own public relations strategy because we are competent to do that, as our results will attest. When we want your help creating strategy, we will ask for it. Unsolicited attempts to influence our strategy are unwelcome and ill-received because they amount to you fucking with our shit. Go away and make your own atheist group. Nowhere has the RRS every claimed or aspired to be the voice of all atheists, everywhere.

If there's one thing these debates have shown it is that there is no shortage of diversity in atheist approaches to getting the message out (or keeping it in, as our haters seem to want to do). If our method is flawed, it will die a natural death of failure. There is no need for you to help kill it, and no need for you to worry about the larger fate of atheism, as there are a lot of people out there trying to promote atheism by other means. 

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

Intelligent prose

I signed on here hoping to find some intelligent debate, and what I see is nothing much more than a slew of pseudo-intellectual pissing contests.

I've debated with the theists in many forums, and it really serves little purpose. The topic is one of little logic and pure emotion. I recently told Glen (The Rapture Right), that his satirical comedy will ultimately suffer for it, because of the level of frustration. 

The truth is, we are all guilty of the same behavoir most here condemn the theists of. We believe in love, which often looks alot more like hate. We flirt with hope, luck and karma, never demanding science prove these things.

Why, because we're human, and these things all exist if we believe they do. This is the power of the mind, and science has stacks of empirical proof to satisfy any rational mind of this phenomenon.

So, when you attack a person of faith on the behavoiral aspects of why they believe, you become a hypocrite. As for tit for tat debating of the facts, well this could go on forever, add quotes of dead philosophers and you'll need six browsers open just to keep up.

And at the end of the day your wife, husband, girlfiend, and family are sick of hearing about the latest of these endless debates. You're tired, frustrated, cranky and talking yourself in circles, and not one person has considered your well drafted prose, that wasn't already on the same page.

So take a deep breath, count the change in your pocket, because it represents the closest you've been to anything remotely called truth for awhile, and watch some comedy central. JM

 

 

 

 

manson48 wrote: I signed on

manson48 wrote:
I signed on here hoping to find some intelligent debate, and what I see is nothing much more than a slew of pseudo-intellectual pissing contests. [...]

Then start a different kind of conversation. There are different sets of posters to the forums that will show up depending on the content being discussed. 

Hambydammit's picture

Quote: I have been

Quote:
I have been wondering why the atheists attacking us here and elsewhere have sounded so much like theists (aside from the obvious reason that many of them probably are liars for Jesus) and the probable reason popped into my head this morning. They are using the time-honoured theist debating tactic of compartmentalization. Not compartmentalization in the sense of keeping your religious beliefs separate in your mind from your rational processes, but another kind of compartmentalization.

Give the man a cigar.

It's taking place on several levels, actually.  I've been spending a LOT of time recently examining the myths we live by, and the results have been disheartening.  Atheists, as many people have pointed out, don't have any common ground except for the lack of belief in god.  As others, myself included, have pointed out, it doesn't take much more than basic sentience to disbelieve in god.  I've seen five year olds do it when they still believed in Santa.  (After all, they can see the presents that Santa brings.)

So, we're getting an interesting backlash against some of our intellectual pursuits.  There are many atheists in the world who have simply never spent much time thinking, and they live within many of the myths that religion has created.  I've been dealing with sexuality most recently, and it's amazing how much of what we believe about our own sexual identity was created by religion -- and not for the benefit of mankind, but rather the benefit of church coffers.  Nevertheless, you can't throw a rock without hitting an atheist who subscribes to a more or less Christian view of human sexuality.

The same goes for damn near anything else you can think of.  Religion has permeated our society so completely that except for the few who have the time and energy to devote to intense research, it's nearly guaranteed that the myths will continue to propagate.

 

Quote:
What I'm seeing in our haters is a group of people who have fallen for this tactic and are, ironically, now using it themselves. Nothing matters to them except staying outside of those boxes. I'm seeing almost no discussion of our actual message or the things we stand for and promote. Instead it's all about whether some people might be able to slap a label on us and, worse, about the desire of some atheists to throw those labels around themselves.

Just like theists, when these atheists have one of their most deeply held beliefs threatened, they resort to emotional replies, for they know, whether subconsciously or consciously, that engaging in debate would be dangerous for their beliefs.

 

Quote:
If you don't like how we put it out there, go ahead and send your constructive criticism but in the end we will be the architects of our own public relations strategy because we are competent to do that, as our results will attest.

Yesterday was a record day, by the way.  Our daily traffic has doubled in just a few months, and we're not showing any signs of it diminishing.  What we're doing works.

 

Quote:
If there's one thing these debates have shown it is that there is no shortage of diversity in atheist approaches to getting the message out (or keeping it in, as our haters seem to want to do). If our method is flawed, it will die a natural death of failure. There is no need for you to help kill it, and no need for you to worry about the larger fate of atheism, as there are a lot of people out there trying to promote atheism by other means.

Well, to be honest, I disagree.  Theism is philosophically flawed, and it's done remarkably well.  The success of a meme is not dependent on its truth value.  We could succeed while promoting false information.

However, your point is well taken.  We don't censor anyone's posts, and I dare anyone to go through the website and find a competent argument against our methods or the content of our message.

 

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

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

Kelly, I thought your post

Kelly,

I thought your post was very good. I appreciate everything you said in it.  I do read at the Friendly Atheist site quite often as well and I didn't care for the way they objected to the RSS and the way you choose to approach theism.  I personally believe there has to be a good cop/ bad cop scenerio in a number of situations and atheism being one.  I believe we do need those of you that choose to shake people up/wake people up with a more hard line approach and then perhaps the friendly atheist movement to move in and buffer it a bit.

  I feel the need to point out though that in the comment section when the first poster posted his comments/objections to your post, if you read down further there are a couple other posters (I believe they are directly related mods here at RSS)that while defending you and your post, begin to name call. I found this disturbing and unfortunate not to mention, not necessary in getting a point across.

You had asked the first said poster to point out posts where this had happened. I see them right here in this thread. You yourself ask one poster to choose a side or maybe asked what  camp is he in? I don't think that is really a productive question.  I learned a long time ago, that I do not have to have 100% agreement with my opinions or thoughts to make them valid. We are all different with different modes of thought and ways to go about our lives, one way is not any less valid than another. They all can serve a purpose in this life/world of ours in some way. Your post indicated that, at least the way I understood it when I read it.

I am a 50 year old atheist who has been atheist since I was 14. Albeit a quiet atheist as for most years I felt alone in my community and was afraid to speak out. Its only been the last couple years that I have come to see through the internet that there are so many outspoken atheists and it has encouraged me to speak out more often than not of late. It has also provided me with finding atheist groups in my community to be able to share with like minded folk and to know I am not alone in my particular area. I give thanks to the On Faith website, Friendly Atheist, RSS and the numerous books out, for this newly found knowledge and strength.  

Thank you RSS for being part of a light in that dark tunnel I had existed in previously as an atheist. 

Hambydammit's picture

rb, thanks for the

rb, thanks for the constructive criticism. I agree that sometimes we get a little feisty, and I also agree that sometimes, even our mods get a little too worked up, and have been known to use less than high brow debate tactics.

As I've said before, one of my jobs (one that I take very seriously, by the way) is keeping the forums essentially respectful to those who are genuine. We make no apologies for the tone we take with trolls and preachers. That's part of our bad cop image, and we know the marketing value of it. On the other hand, what many of the posters can't see is that we have a private thread where the moderators talk about various posters, and the responses that have been made. Sometimes I reprimand the mods for going over the top, but you won't see that on the boards. We also don't go back and edit our posts to make it look like we are nicer than we are. In other words, if someone says something out of line, we leave it up. We're human, and we don't pretend to be anything else. Part of our credibility comes from the fact that all of our interaction with posters is transparent. If we do something wrong, we don't hide it. It's a constant process, and we don't claim to be perfect. We only claim to try to treat everyone with respect so long as they treat us that way.

*********************

To everyone else out here, take note. This poster has replied calmly, has voiced his disagreement in a broader sense of shared purpose. Not only that, he's pointed us to a place where some of our own might have resorted to name calling. It may or may not be true, but we at least know where to look, and we can agree or disagree once we see the evidence.

Notice how I'm not calling him any names, or blasting him for disagreeing? You know why? Because he didn't come in with a chip on his shoulder. He was polite, and treated us as if he believes us to be intelligent human beings who don't agree with him on everything.

Funny how that's pretty much what we've been saying all along. If you come here trying to preach, you're not going to get far. Intelligent dialog, on the other hand, is usually well received and returned in kind.

 

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

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

kellym78's picture

rbnjne wrote: Kelly, I

rbnjne wrote:

Kelly,

I thought your post was very good. I appreciate everything you said in it. I do read at the Friendly Atheist site quite often as well and I didn't care for the way they objected to the RSS and the way you choose to approach theism. I personally believe there has to be a good cop/ bad cop scenerio in a number of situations and atheism being one. I believe we do need those of you that choose to shake people up/wake people up with a more hard line approach and then perhaps the friendly atheist movement to move in and buffer it a bit.

Thanks. When I wrote that post, I really wanted to do it in a way that would help people understand where we're coming from with some of our more "objectionable" tactics. 

Quote:
I feel the need to point out though that in the comment section when the first poster posted his comments/objections to your post, if you read down further there are a couple other posters (I believe they are directly related mods here at RSS)that while defending you and your post, begin to name call. I found this disturbing and unfortunate not to mention, not necessary in getting a point across.

I echo Hamby's thoughts on that and also just would like to remind people that I have neither the desire nor inclination to control everybody's behavior here as long as it stays within certain boundaries. We're pretty relaxed here.  

Quote:
You had asked the first said poster to point out posts where this had happened. I see them right here in this thread. You yourself ask one poster to choose a side or maybe asked what camp is he in? I don't think that is really a productive question. I learned a long time ago, that I do not have to have 100% agreement with my opinions or thoughts to make them valid. We are all different with different modes of thought and ways to go about our lives, one way is not any less valid than another. They all can serve a purpose in this life/world of ours in some way. Your post indicated that, at least the way I understood it when I read it.

I was referring to the question at the beginning of the post where I asked if he had been influenced by other people's opinions of us or just didn't know us very well. Those were the "camps" in question. 

Quote:
I am a 50 year old atheist who has been atheist since I was 14. Albeit a quiet atheist as for most years I felt alone in my community and was afraid to speak out. Its only been the last couple years that I have come to see through the internet that there are so many outspoken atheists and it has encouraged me to speak out more often than not of late. It has also provided me with finding atheist groups in my community to be able to share with like minded folk and to know I am not alone in my particular area. I give thanks to the On Faith website, Friendly Atheist, RSS and the numerous books out, for this newly found knowledge and strength.

Thank you RSS for being part of a light in that dark tunnel I had existed in previously as an atheist.

 Thank you very much for that. It's this kind of feedback that makes us feel like all the crap we put up with is worth it. 

Sapient's picture

Aufbau1928 wrote: The

Aufbau1928 wrote:
The definition of atheism that I'm considering, again, if you read my posts carefully, is that God does not exist.

That's why you're taking so much heat.  How about using the actual definition for atheism?

 Here is how the Oxford English Dictionary defines atheism:

atheism: Disbelief in, or denial of, the existence of a god.

disbelieve 1. trans. Not to believe or credit; to refuse credence to: a. a statement or (alleged) fact: To reject the truth or reality of. 

 

manson48 wrote:

I signed on here hoping to find some intelligent debate, and what I see is nothing much more than a slew of pseudo-intellectual pissing contests.

Good luck on the next site you visit.  Shall we deactivate your account to make it easier on you to leave, or will you be staying to piss on everything along with us?

 

- Brian Sapient


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aiia's picture

Aufbau1928 wrote: A very

Aufbau1928 wrote:
A very famous cheerleader of atheism (officially agnosticism), and a hero of mine, Carl Sagan, offers the following acumen: "Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence".
This can only be applied to things that can actually exhibit evidence, which includes coherent concepts and things with ontology. If you can define 'god' with a coherent ontology let us know.
Quote:
Science does not work by debunking theories just based on criticizing them without any rivals in mind.
Rivals are not necessary, only falsifiability is necessary to debunk a theory. But I seriously doubt anything could be considered a theory unless it was tested for falsifiability. So I think you actually meant to say 'hypothesis', not theory.
Quote:
If they do you can count on there not being very much progress in way of it. Theism does not have any testable alternatives,
I agree.
Quote:
including atheism (the belief that God does not exist).
As was said, atheism is the lack of a belief of a deity and atheism is the consequence of theism not having any testable evidence.

 

Quote:
Indeed many of you may have a different identification with this word; after all, language is dynamic, and changes to the congregate will of its users. But most (if not all) atheists at least adhere to statement that the existence of God is improbable or unlikely. This is the position I'm attacking, and find endorsed in almost all halls of atheistic assembly: God's existence is implausible.
Prove it.

Quote:
Which, quite naturally, leads us to suspect that the analysis of this claim falls prey to our understanding of the probability calculus. By rights of a theorem of conditional probabilities, called Bayes' theorem, or even just the Likelihood Principle, and its application to the services of science, we find no eligible way to make any to decide between God's existence or nonexistence given scientific inductive logic. Perhaps instead of not going beyond what one has learned in undergraduate courses in critical thinking, one ought to examine the issue of probabilistic inductive logic more closely.
I am awaiting your demonstration of applying probability to, your words: that which “does not have any testable alternatives”.

People who think there is something they refer to as god don't ask enough questions.

Aufbau1928's picture

Quote: You know why?

Quote:
You know why? Because he didn't come in with a chip on his shoulder. He was polite, and treated us as if he believes us to be intelligent human beings who don't agree with him on everything.
Yes; it's akin to the same behavior used when trying to get laid, not to settle an intellectual dispute logically. I'm here not to make friends, not empathize with anyone's pains or pleasures, not to get points for being nice to people. I have a life outside of computer-land where those things are fulfilled sufficiently. I don't believe many of you to be above average intelligent human beings. Moreover, the lack of critical thinking is appalling by the frequent application of a dubious critical thinking concept often phrased as the so-called burden of proof. Unfortunatley, if you know anything about scientific inductive logic, or even testability, this tool is useless. Sagan's mantra is much more accurate, "Absence of evidence is not evidence of absense". If we find a theory that states that "Invisible, transcendental objects beyond sense exist in my basement" it is not false. Nor am I an atheist toward this theory. Rather I am agnostic, because there's no way to test it. "A-theism", in lexicography, is known as an orthographic accident. It holds about as much weight to say "a" means this, and "theism" means that; therefore "atheism" means the combination of the meanings; as it is to say "horse" means this, and "power" means that; therefore "horsepower" means the combination of those meanings.

Again, I wish to make clear why what I'm saying is relevant: (i) I think it's ironic that Kelly is a cheerleader for "atheism", an ill-conceived position in response to the failings of "theism"; and (ii) I was asked to either back or retract the claim that atheism is an ill-conceived position in response to the failings of "atheism".

 I've backed it quite sufficiently, and to not see this by now is a failure of comprehension not on my part, but of yours. EVERY theory must be more or less likely than a competitor for it to EVER receive scientific confirmation. If one doesn't (like the belief that a personal God doesn't exist), then we've committed an error in rationality. This is no secret or a controversial idea; nor is it new. It's the way inductive logic is best understood, in the context of the probability calculus. In all, it shows us that it is both irrational to be a theist OR an atheist. At best, both are the back burners of research until we're able to establish so far unfulfilled necessary conditions for evaluating either theories' plausibility.

Of course, this doesn't apply if we define "atheism" as the view of just having a "lack of theism"--but this is too inclusive a definition, for it includes those like me, who are agnostic and don't believe that His existence is testable, and those who outright deny the existence of God. Therefore, the definition is gratuitously ambiguous, for we possess a vocabulary already convenient for persons to make those distinctions--God exists (theism), He doesn't (atheism), or we can't rationally tell right now (agnosticism). Reasons why in each department or degrees in which they are advocated will spawn the subcategories in each, but this basic schemata serves its purpose to order it more finely and less muddled in accordance to ordinary usage. It is no wonder, or a mistake, that Sagan referred to himself as an agnostic in Contact's Ellie Arroway--she didn't think there was good enough reason to reject or accept God's existence. Were he to call himself an atheist, the implication would be that he outright denied it. It's silly to even argue this unless one wishes to be called an "atheist" when they're really agnostic or just believe theistic arguments are lousy. 

Aufbau1928's picture

Quote: Rivals are not

Quote:
Rivals are not necessary, only falsifiability is necessary to debunk a theory. But I seriously doubt anything could be considered a theory unless it was tested for falsifiability. So I think you actually meant to say 'hypothesis', not theory.

 

When confronted with a hypothesis that is questionable of having testability, ask not "how can we falsify this?" but "what are some possible competitors, and can it rank unequally with them?"  Unfortunately, saying that "God created biological life" and "A mindless chance process created biological life" is not a testable competition between hypotheses. There is no observation that confers to one more than the other. For a theist wants to always redefine his or her positions such that it can't be testable. It works to their advantage because no cogent argument can then ever be raised to say their belief is false. Instead of obsessing over making it false, focus needs to be turned to showing its untestability, making way for an agnostic viewpoint on theism's truth-value; not an atheistic one where we actually any distinct truth-value (i.e. T or F) at all. 

darth_josh's picture

Aufbau1928 wrote:   When

Aufbau1928 wrote:
 

When confronted with a hypothesis that is questionable of having testability, ask not "how can we falsify this?" but "what are some possible competitors, and can it rank unequally with them?" Unfortunately, saying that "God created biological life" and "A mindless chance process created biological life" is not a testable competition between hypotheses. There is no observation that confers to one more than the other. For a theist wants to always redefine his or her positions such that it can't be testable. It works to their advantage because no cogent argument can then ever be raised to say their belief is false. Instead of obsessing over making it false, focus needs to be turned to showing its untestability, making way for an agnostic viewpoint on theism's truth-value; not an atheistic one where we actually any distinct truth-value (i.e. T or F) at all.

And pray tell, my little lugnut, have you missed the 'Science' forum? The case against creationism as an hypothesis has been made. Whereas abiogenesis has a testable hypothesis. Ergo we have done half of what you have just asked of us.

Unfortunately, we are not here for the people just like you who understand that there is no question that the claims of theism are false scientifically, philosophically, and metaphysically. We're here to deal with the beliefs. As worded such, beliefs require no testability they require us to point out the irrationality of theistic beliefs being made into 'truths'. Get it? Theism = belief. Truth = testability

I'm going to ignore the absolutely ludicrous use of the words 'agnostic viewpoint' and 'theism's truth-value' on the basis that you have been here only 30 hours.

Come on over to the 'Introductions' thread and say 'Hi.' when you get these concepts concerning the verbiage given to you in this thread.

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Aufbau1928 wrote: Yes;

Aufbau1928 wrote:
Yes; it's akin to the same behavior used when trying to get laid, not to settle an intellectual dispute logically. I'm here not to make friends, not empathize with anyone's pains or pleasures, not to get points for being nice to people.

It's more about your bullshit getting in the way of conversation, and no one wanting to bother with it. Once one hacks through the hilarious posturing and tortured language, one ends up with something like: "You can't prove god doesn't exist," and "Atheism is commonly accepted to mean disbelief in gods." Points which are neither original, nor profound -- and in your hands, not even clear.

Aufbau1928 wrote:
I have a life outside of computer-land where those things are fulfilled sufficiently. I don't believe many of you to be above average intelligent human beings. Moreover, the lack of critical thinking is appalling by the frequent application of a dubious critical thinking concept often phrased as the so-called burden of proof. Unfortunatley, if you know anything about scientific inductive logic, or even testability, this tool is useless.

You pepper everything with ad homs and naked assertions. You don't sound like a smart bad boy, or whatever persona you're trying to invent -- you sound like a chubby, bitter, sarcastic, acne-scarred, insecure, flinching nerd, furiously trying to draw attention toward your blustery intellect, and away from something else. I don't care what that is, or even whether it is -- it's just the impression you give with your greasy affect.

Aufbau1928 wrote:
[...]

Snipped the remainder because it depends on conflation of strong atheism and any other variety.

ragdish's picture

Aufbau1928, What exactly do

Aufbau1928,

What exactly do you want from RRS? Why are you on this site?

You have described yourself as being neither a theist or atheist based on your account that both positions are untenable. Atheism is not defensible based on purely pointing out the irrational claims made by the theist camp. I will make the irrational claim that you are not conscious. Now it is up to you to prove you are indeed conscious. Now in the absence of a genuine scientific theory of how the brain generates consciousness, I can maintain the irrational claim that you are indeed a zombie. No matter what neurobiological or philosophical account you give, you will never convincingly prove your conscious existence. There is absolutely no way you could possibly translate your alleged first person introspective experiences into a third person scientific account. I can do an EEG, measure single neuron firings, functional neuroimaging, measure neurotransmitter levels in the CSF, actually talk to you in person etc..and none of this will absolutely convince me that you are not a zombie.  All of those objective measures are spurious correlations and do not verifiably show that you have a mind. They do not prove you have subjective mental states. Therefore, I stand by my irrational claim that you are not conscious. And because you are unable to adequately refute such a claim based on a genuine scientific theory of consciousness, you are therefore not above average intelligence. You also therefore lack any critical thinking. Cause I'm a Neurologist and I'm so much smarter than you. I know about the brain and you really don't. You see, I can be just as much of an arse as you. You come across as being extremely pretentious and pompous.

I couldn't care less if you completed a postdoctorate in Philosophy or a bloke that pumps gas for a living. Everyone with an open mind ought to be welcome here. Folks from different walks of life like to engage in discussion on this site. Each person has an individual expertise. And each person has different expectations from this site. I'm a Neurologist and I would be a total shithead if I expected everyone here to have an expertise in neuroscience and then think lowly of them if they did not. I came here purely for entertainment among like minded individuals. You can't expect everyone to express verbage like you.

It is very insulting the way you condescendingly describe the women of RRS. You seem to be preferentially picking on them. Your snide comments seem to imply that just because they are good looking or dress sexy that they have nothing important to say. Their blogs and threads express candor towards theists no different from Christopher Hitchens or Sam Harris. You don't aim your diatribe at them do you. With your attitude you wouldn't last long in my profession being surrounded by intelligent attractive women physicians.

You seem like an intelligent individual and you seek engaging in intellectual dialogue. That's great! Everyone here is like minded. As a piece of advice, I suggest getting down from your high horse and have fun on this site.

Aufbau1928's picture

Thanks for the tips. But,

Thanks for the tips. But, again, I'm not here to get down from any high horse, and I have fun enough being disliked and ostracized. I mean I'm no dummy; I know what I'm getting into when I enter a site like this--I must be well-equipped with some presumptions of my own in order to have ANY constructive and straightforward sparring. Otherwise is just everyone jerking everyone off with emotive spills of confidence in their prior beliefs regarding religion.  

Quote:
It is very insulting the way you condescendingly describe the women of RRS. You seem to be preferentially picking on them. Your snide comments seem to imply that just because they are good looking or dress sexy that they have nothing important to say. Their blogs and threads express candor towards theists no different from Christopher Hitchens or Sam Harris. You don't aim your diatribe at them do you. With your attitude you wouldn't last long in my profession being surrounded by intelligent attractive women physicians.

I wrote to Kelly. I have no problem with women in general. Though, I do have problems in general with anyone seriously affiliated with this website (e.g. supporters, donators, etc.). So, I think I'd do quite well with a chipper attitude in front of "women physicians". I'm no longer amused at writing anyone on this site, and wish to discontinue my membership. My effect here has been humorous to me and in no cognitive sense immoral. I feel I have, therefore, accomplished something of great value (though, of course, in no cognitive sense of the word). 

 

My last dying lines of being here are simple, and not to be taken lightly; for they sum up the entire cognitive content of those arguments put forth against me:

"Booooooooooooooooooo!!"

    Aufbau1928  , You

    Aufbau1928  , You are indeed near dead ,

hang out, a few slaps will help you .....

 

darth_josh's picture

Oh the pain! I feel his

Oh the pain! I feel his loss already. How strange that one troll would be enough to disrupt our discussion on divisiveness.

Will we ever win over the militant 'agnostics'?

How will we ever get along without our cognitive anchors in the freethought community?

Oh woe is me.

I weep the tears of the crocodile for the presumptive cognitivist.

Alas poor Aufbau, I knew him Horatio: a fellow of infinite jest...

 

What fell sound upon the moor, 'tis the steps he took away from us. That demon hath clutched at his very beating heart. Hypocrisy says you, says I. For one cannot label without accepting one. Yet one knows not the label ascribed by the whisperers in the deep fog. Sound thy horn and shine thy light for he hath flown too far to see himself for what we are.

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

Hambydammit's picture

Quote: I have fun enough

Quote:
I have fun enough being disliked and ostracized.

I don't like you.  Fuck off.

Is that what you expect and want?  I do what I can.  If that didn't help, I can try something else.

 

 

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 wrote: Thanks

Aufbau1928 wrote:

Thanks for the tips. But, again, I'm not here to get down from any high horse, and I have fun enough being disliked and ostracized.

I think I know what you were going for, but you missed the mark. The Greg House persona is rude because he knows he has a good argument. You're just noise.

Aufbau1928 wrote:
I mean I'm no dummy;

Said in passing, but oh so telling.

Aufbau1928 wrote:
I know what I'm getting into when I enter a site like this--I must be well-equipped with some presumptions of my own in order to have ANY constructive and straightforward sparring.

Straightforward! you say.

Aufbau1928 wrote:
Otherwise is just everyone jerking everyone off with emotive spills of confidence in their prior beliefs regarding religion.

A valid point, which you failed to demonstrate. This guy does a better job making the point against atheism as a position.

Aufbau1928 wrote:

Quote:
It is very insulting the way you condescendingly describe the women of RRS. You seem to be preferentially picking on them. Your snide comments seem to imply that just because they are good looking or dress sexy that they have nothing important to say. Their blogs and threads express candor towards theists no different from Christopher Hitchens or Sam Harris. You don't aim your diatribe at them do you. With your attitude you wouldn't last long in my profession being surrounded by intelligent attractive women physicians.

I wrote to Kelly. I have no problem with women in general.

It was hard not to read anything into your repeated bitching about "cheerleaders" and not getting laid in high school. Impossible, actually.

Aufbau1928 wrote:
Though, I do have problems in general with anyone seriously affiliated with this website (e.g. supporters, donators, etc.). So, I think I'd do quite well with a chipper attitude in front of "women physicians". I'm no longer amused at writing anyone on this site, and wish to discontinue my membership. My effect here has been humorous to me and in no cognitive sense immoral. I feel I have, therefore, accomplished something of great value (though, of course, in no cognitive sense of the word).

My last dying lines of being here are simple, and not to be taken lightly; for they sum up the entire cognitive content of those arguments put forth against me:

"Booooooooooooooooooo!!"

Fap, fap, and fap.

Quote:

Quote:
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.
No they shouldn't, but they seem to think they are above all reproach.
Quote:
I'd like to see some of these posts where atheists were undeservedly attacked.
Here you go: http://www.rationalresponders.com/defending_rrs_against_uninformed_haters_on_friendlyatheist_com Of course, many of the previous comments were "lost", so you can now say they weren't there to begin with.
Quote:
"Maybe instead of being rude and hurling insults, the more enlightened among us could actually do something constructive instead of destructive."
I absolutely agree. Why don't you start by taking your own advice. The hypocrisy is amazing. You can call anyone who doesn't agree with you an "appeaser". When people posted on another blog, not even attacking you per se just saying they didn't agree with or understand your tactics, you issued over 2 days worth of personal ad hominem attacks. But hey, you're "rational" so I guess it's okay for you-you just cry about it when it's done back to you. The moral of this blog: RRS can do what they want, b/c they are saving the world, and you can't criticize them, or you're a dirty appeaser!" You want the same pass above criticism that religion does. If you can't stand the heat honey, get out of the kitchen. When you put yourself out there and attack anyone who isn't your type of atheist the way you do (not to mention telling agnostics they don't exist-and yes, not all agnostics are atheists or theists), you will invite and get criticism, and you'll just have to learn to live with it. You live with your own dogma: all theists are crazy morons and we must treat them as such no matter what, and any atheist who tells us otherwise is an appeaser who wants religion to win. You should just make that the RRS motto and be done with it. Right, no middle ground, black or white. How religious of you. Here's a cartoon that sums up your attitude up pretty well:

http://bp1.blogger.com/_uqP_vX22k3Y/RfcwJT0rB_I/AAAAAAAAABs/GqirPno5nTI/s1600-h/appeaser_rhetoric.gif

 

Thomathy's picture

Aufbau1928, You're a

Aufbau1928,

You're a dick.  I just wanted to reinforce your conceptions about the site.

BigUniverse wrote,

"Well the things that happen less often are more likely to be the result of the supper natural. A thing like loosing my keys in the morning is not likely supper natural, but finding a thousand dollars or meeting a celebrity might be."

Thomathy's picture

friendlyagnostic

friendlyagnostic wrote:
When you put yourself out there and attack anyone who isn't your type of atheist the way you do (not to mention telling agnostics they don't exist-and yes, not all agnostics are atheists or theists)
I wasn't aware that there were '[...] type[s] of atheist[s]...'. I was under the impression that an Atheist merely lacked a god belief and that that was what defined an Atheist as such. I haven't seen anyone tell agnostics they don't exist. If you can't say that you believe in a god then you're an Atheist. If you happen, also, to be agnostic about deity claims, then you are an agnostic Atheist. It really isn't that difficult to understand. Allow me to simplify it in case it actually is that difficult to understand: Do you believe in a god (yes or no)? No? You're an Atheist. Yes? You're a theist.

BigUniverse wrote,

"Well the things that happen less often are more likely to be the result of the supper natural. A thing like loosing my keys in the morning is not likely supper natural, but finding a thousand dollars or meeting a celebrity might be."

Tilberian's picture

friendlyagnostic

friendlyagnostic wrote:
 all theists are crazy morons and we must treat them as such no matter what, and any atheist who tells us otherwise is an appeaser who wants religion to win.

You are close. The last clause should read "any atheist who would rather focus his attention on telling us otherwise than on resisting theists is an appeaser who wants religion to win."

 

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

kmisho's picture

I have for years said that

I have for years said that religion is only an example of a bigger problem. I haven't come up with a catchy name for it but I call it 'arbitrary assignment.'

Bad thinking is indeed part of the problem. Most of the rules of good thinking are not intuitive and must be learned. And once learned they must be exercised with as much consistency as a normal human daily life can allow. 1) Many people never learn the rules. 2) Of those who learn the rules, many treat it like math, "I'll never need this stuff in real life", and so forget it.

What they fall back on, then, is human nature which has evolved to prefer snap judgment and (not consisent thinking but) regularized thinking. The result is people making snap judgments that are often wrong then not changing those judgments for no other reason than it would require discarding the original judgment.

When these bad judgments last long enough and disperse wide enough, our nature preferring that decisions once made should last, they become traditional and even more difficult to dislodge. The end result after 1000's of years is entire cultures built on an Everest of fossilized guesswork.

Hambydammit's picture

Quack science, homeopathy,

Quack science, homeopathy, diet fads... all sorts of things are the result of the same thing.

I think the one element all of these beliefs have is dogmatic belief despite evidence to the contrary.  In other words, non-contingent faith.  Try talking to someone who believes in perpetual motion.  Despite the fact that the concept completely contradicts absolutely everything we know about physics, many people -- even some who know quite a bit about physics for a novice -- think perpetual motion is not only possible, but already exists.

When you ask them to explain the discrepancy with math and science, they'll invent wild stories of government plots, conspiracies, and corporate espionage.  In short, they'll invent something so implausible as to be ridiculous... exactly the same way apologists do when confronted with the impossibility of their god.

There is a certain arrogance, which I believe is related to the antisocial manifestations of delusional disorder, that is inherent in all who subscribe to such quackery.  They might hide it well, but in the end, you will always get to a point where they angrily insist that they're right, and if they have to, they'll tell themselves you're part of the conspiracy, or whatever else they need to convince themselves that they're correct.

Delusional disorder is not exclusive to theism.  Definitely not.

 

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

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

kellym78's picture

friendlyagnostic wrote:

friendlyagnostic wrote:
No they shouldn't, but they seem to think they are above all reproach.
Oh, of course. Silly you. We are the masters of the universe. We actually live at Castle Greyskull with He-Man and She-Ra. *rolls eyes*
Quote:
Here you go: http://www.rationalresponders.com/defending_rrs_against_uninformed_haters_on_friendlyatheist_com Of course, many of the previous comments were "lost", so you can now say they weren't there to begin with.
Yeah, we were totally lying about a server crash that cost us hundreds of hours in lost work plus the time to recover it to cover up some bullshit from haters at Hemant's blog. Puhleaze. I have better things to do.
Quote:
Why don't you start by taking your own advice. The hypocrisy is amazing. You can call anyone who doesn't agree with you an "appeaser".
I don't recall saying that anybody who doesn't agree with me is an appeaser. Maybe you should focus on your reading comprehension and try again later.
Quote:
When people posted on another blog, not even attacking you per se just saying they didn't agree with or understand your tactics, you issued over 2 days worth of personal ad hominem attacks. But hey, you're "rational" so I guess it's okay for you-you just cry about it when it's done back to you.
Well, dear, some of the posts there were insulting (oh noes!! my friends are never mean!) and the author of this blog (<----me) and Brian are different people. So whatever you didn't like about his response has nothing to do with the content of this particular post.
Quote:
The moral of this blog: RRS can do what they want, b/c they are saving the world, and you can't criticize them, or you're a dirty appeaser!" You want the same pass above criticism that religion does.
Yep...that's exactly what I said. Have fun knocking down that strawman?
Quote:
If you can't stand the heat honey, get out of the kitchen. When you put yourself out there and attack anyone who isn't your type of atheist the way you do (not to mention telling agnostics they don't exist-and yes, not all agnostics are atheists or theists), you will invite and get criticism, and you'll just have to learn to live with it.
Alternatively, I can just tell you to fuck off. If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen, right? How about I start making up lies about you and publishing them all over the internet like people do to us daily? Sound fun? We do not "attack" any atheist based solely on a difference of belief. Trust me, we'd be attacking practically everyone if we did. We do, however, attack moronic people who stroll onto our boards and presume that their fallacious arguments and insinuations will be tolerated. I have to deal with enough idiots every day to put up with them on my forums. As far as the agnosticism position goes, you are showing your total lack of knowledge--not only of us, but in general. One more time, agnosticism is an epistemological position dealing with the acquisition of knowledge. I certainly never said that they don't exist because I hold agnostic positions on many issues. Maybe if you people weren't so ignorant, we wouldn't be so frustrated.
Quote:
You live with your own dogma: all theists are crazy morons and we must treat them as such no matter what, and any atheist who tells us otherwise is an appeaser who wants religion to win. You should just make that the RRS motto and be done with it. Right, no middle ground, black or white. How religious of you.
Here's our only dogma: Try not to be a dumbass. You're failing. There's so much straw in here that if I light a match, we'll combust. Get me a single quote that says anything close to that, and I'll consider not banning you for lying. eta:I just spent the past 30 minutes trying to get the fucking quote boxes to work. You would think, considering the service that I give the owner of this place, that he could make those things work...but no. *makes angry face*

Tilberian's picture

kellym78 wrote:  You would

kellym78 wrote:
 You would think, considering the service that I give the owner of this place, that he could make those things work...but no. *makes angry face*

Get married. Now. There's no point in holding out any longer. 

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

My 2 Cents

 

Kelly, I enjoy your brash tone, and you out-there sexuality.  I think you are a smart hot sexy lady.  AND, I think that sometimes it is better to catch flies with honey than with vinegar. I have a co-worker who is a born-again Christian, who is a school teacher.  He believes that Biology shouldn't be taught in public schools because it is promoting religious beliefs on the public dime.  I have heard him say so to his students (college students).  OK, so I'm thinking, "this guy's an idiot," and I decide to engage him in argument to try to get him to change his position (it's either that or try to get him fired - he doesn't belong in education with beliefs like that).  The thing is he's NOT an idiot.  He is intelligent, articulate, well read, and completely deluded. As I have gotten to know him, I have decided to make him my project.  I'm working on showing him the gaping holes in his reasoning.  I am slowly forcing him to face his own cognitive dissonance. I am helping him to recognize that his belief in divine magic is completely inconsistent with his otherwise logical beliefs, and that he took on this magical thinking in response to psychological crisis that occurred as a part of his identity formation (I'm a shrink, so I think this way). In short I will de-convert him.  He is a very good candidate, because he considers himself intellectually honest, and he is a thoughtful young man.  I know I can do this, because I have deconverted a handful of born-agains in my time, and I consider it a hobby of mine.  The thing is, there is NO WAY I can do this if I take your tone.  The process of deconversion requires that I accept the person where they are at, and work to move them to my way of thinking. I don't want to denigrate your style.  As I said, I like it a lot (especially the cleavage part), but I do think that your approach has limited usefulness if your goal is to create dialogue.  Frankly I don't think your goal IS to create dialogue.  I think your goal is to create a social rallying point for free-thinkers.  I think that your style is GREAT for this kind of work.  I saw you in your big debate on the news, and you took a very different tone there, and I think you did perfect, thank you for your great work. I guess the point I am trying to make is that rather than defend your position, it might be more useful to clarify your goals, and then look at how your communication style works toward those goals.  Then, rather than wasting time arguing about if it's ok to say "Fuck" you can just say, "Well, I decided that saying fuck was the right thing to say at that time to reach my goals."  You use your sexuality to get attention, and having a potty-mouth is part of that.  Frankly I think it works for you (god knows it gets me hot around the collar).  I just think if you could articulate your intentions for using this language you would be able to shut up your critics and get on with the business of sharing your ideas (which are even better than the cleavage if you ask me).  The other adantage of this is that if you decide what your goals are clearly, you can make decisions about when to change your style to adress your changing goals. Thanks.

 

kellym78's picture

Well, gee...thanks. Could

Well, gee...thanks. Could you teach other people about the proper method of constructive criticism? Your tactic is very effective. At any rate, we have often attempted to explain some of the methods we employ, but it largely falls on deaf ears. The people who appreciate what we do already get it, so in a sense, it's like preaching to the choir. We also try to leave a little mystery in there as to our intentions just because that perpetuates the image that we wanted, although it has perhaps been too effective. Most of our critics seem incapable of either shutting up or examining our work further because they're already attached to hating us. I guess it's just a part of the deal.

HisWillness's picture

Susac wrote:Frankly I don't

Susac wrote:
Frankly I don't think your goal IS to create dialogue.  I think your goal is to create a social rallying point for free-thinkers. 

Bingo. There's enough material here to make someone feel like they're not alone when they get attacked for not believing in superstitious nonsense. And that's a good thing.

Saint Will: no gyration without funkstification.
fabulae! nil satis firmi video quam ob rem accipere hunc mi expediat metum. - Terence

Pick your Battles

kellym78 wrote:

Well, gee...thanks. Could you teach other people about the proper method of constructive criticism? Your tactic is very effective. At any rate, we have often attempted to explain some of the methods we employ, but it largely falls on deaf ears. The people who appreciate what we do already get it, so in a sense, it's like preaching to the choir. We also try to leave a little mystery in there as to our intentions just because that perpetuates the image that we wanted, although it has perhaps been too effective. Most of our critics seem incapable of either shutting up or examining our work further because they're already attached to hating us. I guess it's just a part of the deal.

 

Wow!  Thanks for asking!

I think that communication is a skill, and like any other skill, it can be cultivated and trained.  That said, it's a skill that MANY people suck at.  In order to get better at communication you have to remember one cardinal rule:

 

The meaning of a communication is the CHANGE IN THE LISTENER.

 

Because of this, it always pays to decide ahead of time what change you are trying to create!

 

If you are talking to hear yourself talk, your listener will tune out.  That is how they have changed, and what you have communicated is that you are boring and self-absorbed.

 

If you are reactive and emotionaly volitile in your communication, what you have communicated is that the listener is in control of the conversation and perhapse of you.

 

If you are show the person that you get what they have to say, even if you don't agree with it, then you are showing them that you are willing to be a partner in communication, even if you have not yet found common ground.

 

You can see how so much depends on your inention as you go into the conversation.

 

As is so often the case, if you have a dogmatic person who won't listen to you in turn, or who wilfully misinterprets your meaning, then you have two choices:

 

1) you can decide that the conversation is a waste of time.  Simply inform them (as politely as you want to) that you feel the conversation is a wast of time, because you have no common ground,

OR

2)  You can work to find common ground and build a relationship from there.  You may not persuade them to your side, but you can at least place them into a state of cognitive dissonence when you show them that their ideas are not consistent with each other or with the hard data.  Do that often enough, and the person will either change his mind or go away.

Some people argue because they are trying to derail the conversation and prevent you from getting your message out (think Bill O'Reily here).  If a peson is being dishonest in this way, call them on it, and shut them down.  I like to think about Christopher Hitchens:  When pundits do this to him he scolds them for inviting him on their show and then not letting him talk.  It makes him look smart and them look rude.  Do that.

I also try to do a gut-check - If i'm not having fun, then something is wrong.  I love talking about this stuff, so if I'm not having fun, then I'm probably being emotionally reactive.  If that is the case it may be time to withdraw from the conversation, cool off my temper and then approach the arguement again later.  This is why debates have formats:  To keep them from devolving into shouting matches.  This is also one of the things I love about message boards:  You can take the time to think about what you have to say.

Communication happens on at least two levels:  Content and Process.  The content of the communication is the point you are trying to make and the information you are trying to convey.  AT LEAST as important is HOW you say it!  This is the process of communication.  If you ignore the process, you will get no-where in the discussion.  Also, it is sometimes a good tactic to switch from talking about the content to talking about the process.  As in, "the process of critical thinking" for example.  Many people don't know how to think critically, and it is often helpful to educate them in a non-partonizing way (if you can pull that off).

 

Finally, When you are telling someone something that they don't want to hear, it is most effective to USE "I" MESSAGES, not "you" messages!

 

For instance if I say:  "You have to be crazy to believe that shit!"  You are shutting down the conversation right there.

 

But if I say: "When I hear you say 'Jesus raised the dead' I think that you are not using critical thought, because I know that what you are saying can't be confirmed in any way." you have criticized the person in a whay that they can hear, because you have couched it in terms of your own perception, which makes it less of a personal attack on them.

Of course they might counter with "Well I take it on fiath" but now you have gotten into the subject of "what's so great about faith anyway?"  Which you may or may not decide to go down.  At that point you can talk about faith or say "well then I guess we have no common ground - I can't reason with that, and it's not an arguement, so I'm not going to waste my time talking about it.

See?  You are ALWAYS in control!  Woot! 

Now sometimes you are on the wrong side of the arguement.  If that happens, don't get your panties in a bunch, give the person their point, and move on.  It doesn't mean your whole position is wrong (although it may mean that), and if you are wrong, you have learned something, so you still win.

Of course if what you WANT to do is shut the person down and piss them off, then by all means, let them have it with both barrels.  One of my favorites is "I agree with your reasoning, it's just that your BASIC ASSUMPTIONS are all wrong."  For some reason people really don't like hearing that one.  I wonder why?