Defending RRS against uninformed haters on friendlyatheist.com
RECOVERED FROM GOOGLE CACHE AFTER A TWO WEEK LOSS OF DATA ON SERVER.
Hemant Mehta, the Friendly Atheist posted a blog which supports our collective effort, as he's always done. His "friendly" community however had a bunch of comments that I have decided to respond to. I don't expect the "haters" to pick it up, but if you are someone that hears objections like these leveled at the RRS hopefully you'll take something away from it. I spoke to Hemant before I wrote this, asking if it was ok that I responded at length on my own site, he approved of the idea and suggested he would repost it, although I won't hold him to it due to it's length and it's lack of friendliness.
Nice how Brian considers himself to be “an intellectual”.
I agree. I was also including my partners in that group as they are all brilliant. Unfortunately we have to deal with people who have harsh criticisms of our group, including claims that we are not intelligent. They undercut reality. They seem to believe that if they assert their "RRS is not intellectual" argument enough, it will sound silly if we call ourselves intellectual. It's up to us to avoid the ignorant meme that we're not intellectual; some just can't escape the emotional argument over the rational one... that we're obviously damn bright. As the literal definition of intellectual includes the ability to use the mind creatively, I think it's obvious that we are able to do that. Still there will be dissenters. People will say or write negative comments about us even to the point where they'll make emotional arguments against us while claiming that they don't like us for using emotive arguments.
I always thought that what the RRS did best was to galvanize people who are already atheists into some sort of action. I certainly do not expect the things they do to be well received by beleivers, so they will not have much success deconverting anyone.
The primary purpose for the RRS website is to get atheists together on the internet so they can feel more comfortable speaking out against religion in the real world. Note: this is the purpose of the website, not necessarily the RRS. As for “deconverting” success, we counted no less than 150 emails and 50 posts on our forum in the last year from believers who--in full or large part credit the RRS for their deconversion. I'd like to see how that stacks up against other atheist groups! I don't have the numbers, so unlike others such as Richard Wade, I can’t even guess.
(to Hemant) And just speaking as an outsider, it seems to me that the same is true of these atheist camps too. It’s great to work together on whatever shared common goals you have, but at the same time a lot of what the other side is doing is actually undermining what you are trying to do.
This is the meme that I talked about in my post which Hemant referred to. Of course theists are going to object to groups that are highly effective at ending religion! And like the delusional fantasy beliefs of invisible men in the sky they are not above lying to themselves and to you about their feelings. In this case the theist tells us that RRS is undermining what Hemant is trying to do even though Hemant and I agree this is untrue. Even though Hemant and I have a collective 15 years of experience running, promoting, and assisting atheist organizations. Even though Hemant and I understand the dichotomy of religious dialogue from exceptional amounts of experience, there are still people who think we will be convinced by arguments such as the above with absolutely no evidence.(see how MikeClawson provided none)
Ironically some atheists will buy into this, and become theistic pawns. Like they were when they were still religious, only now they're atheist pawns for theism. It's highly ironic (coming up) when they buy into the dishonest meme with no evidence and ask me for evidence of mine. My case would be that our actions lead to people abandoning religion, a simple search through our website would prove so.
I just got off the phone with Hemant and both of us see the issue in obverse. Hemant and I feel as if our collective effort is stronger than our non-collective. That the "passive atheist" can help the "strident atheist" and vice versa. We derive this conclusion from years of experience as atheists, so forgive us if we don't buy into an argument which we know to be false. And my apologies on behalf of other atheists who don't utilize all faculties of thought to see just how very wrong you are.
If it makes you feel better, I can say with certainty that dishonest/ignorant vacuous memes from Christians actually work against some atheists. Some atheists actually buy the utter bullshit that theists sell... even after they've managed to overcome religion.
What evidence does Mr. Sapient provide that people who feel threatened or “shaken up” are more able to think rationally? This contradicts most of what I have learned about psychology and pedagogy.
What would serve as conclusive evidence? If I showed you 200 emails from people that indicated they left religion because of us, would you be skeptical enough to require email validation with IP address and accompanying phone numbers to interview them?
Would your skeptic senses require that the 50+ people who claim they left religion by making a post on our website be needed for deposition?
If you do call these people on the phone, would you recognize that this could be an elaborate scheme of my own family members to confirm my work? Would 250 names and comments of people who have left religion in one year be good enough for you?
Most importantly... if I did in fact take the many hours to bow down to the whim of the dissenters, would you continue to “straw man” me? I never said shaken up people are more able to think rationally; you misunderstood. I was inferring that some people are more open to an atheistic line of thought after seeing how sure or firm we are about the lack of reasoning for believing in a god. They're not able to think more rationally, they're simply more susceptible to certain very specific thoughts.
Your psychology studies should have taught you that different people are susceptible to different modes of thought. One person's bitter pill is another's only chance to get through to. I've got a bitter pill and Hemant carries a glass of water around with him. You see how we work together? For a few years I carried water around with me, but they had a discount on bitter pills ever since George Bush took office. As I write this one of my friends pointed out that Hemant probably carries Xanax around with his water, I find it ironic that Xanax actually has a bitter taste. Maybe we use the same pill, I just shove it in your throat because I know you need it, Hemant gives it to you by hand and hopes you trust him to take it. He'll be able to attest to the fact that he doesn't have tons of luck here... although I'm sure or at least hopeful that he has some.
Religionists and atheist appeasers around here and elsewhere that demand that we all give religion special status. If you give them an inch, they’ll take a mile, it might not seem too bad now to appease them, but blasphemy laws and religious dogma are a thing of the recent past, and it’s not entirely resolved, even in Europe.
A round of applause for honest common sense! <applause> (due to space concerns, a round of applause should go to Dr. Zachary Moore as well)
Richard Wade said,
Some people think that there are only two modes in life, aggressive or passive. Modes like assertive, constructive, affirmative or cooperative are never considered by them and are all dismissed as passive. This is a childish bully’s view of the world.
I love using memes like this. It's ironic that Richard claims he doesn't like (his uninformed view of) my tactics because he uses the exact same tactics that I occasionally use! I enjoy making the readers think, I enjoy inferring something about someone and leading them down a path to make them question things.
I propose that Richard would like you to believe that we/I never consider modes of constructive, affirmative, or cooperative behaviors. You see how he finalizes his statement by saying "this is a childish bully's view of the world?" He makes his first point in the first sentence by equating those exact qualities to those of a bully! Although he never states that I am uncooperative or unconstructive, the inference is there. This is a tactic I sometimes use. I don't use it with the intent to be dishonest; I use it with the intent to make others think.
Vincent dropped a similar inference in the previously made comment, "Nice how Brian considers himself to be “an intellectual.” Notice that he never said I'm not an intellectual? We can reasonably assume that someone who considers me to be an intellectual wouldn't make such a comment, as it would be misunderstood. Be clear Vincent...do you have any evidence to prove I'm not an intellectual or was it just an empty comment that I/we should scoff at?
I’m very skeptical about Sapient’s portrayal of his “RRS ’shakeup’” as some kind of tough love slap in the face where the person says, “Thanks, I needed that.” It smells like the arrogance, self-righteousness and immunity from doubt that we see in some of the worst fundies.
I give Richard kudos for his skepticism on the "shake-up." As religion has grown to the immense power it has today on the backs of arrogant, self-righteous men who were convinced that what they believe is true, wouldn't it be reasonable to consider that arrogant and rational atheists could be an effective means of altering the way people view the dogma of religion? Or do you think we atheists should instead embrace the use of genocide that religions have used to rid the world of other religions? Maybe I could embrace the terroristic message: believe this or burn in hell. Or maybe you bought the arrogance meme and didn't realize it was confidence.
If you're going to compare me to the men who organized and built religion to where it is today (the fundies), at least give me credit for not embracing the ideals (or lack thereof) of a radical terrorist.
I'll admit to having a certain amount of arrogance and I'll admit to being positive that no Abrahmic god/religion is anywhere in the realm of possibility, unless of course the holy books are written all wrong, but then that wouldn't say much for the power of god to tell his story well. A god who is supposed to be all powerful.
As for the claim that you think I consider myself immune from doubt I challenge you to look up the words "constructive criticism" and Sapient. A skeptic is always in pursuit of the truth. Richard, everything you say has been asked and answered.
Notice how often you can see me asking for constructive criticism. See how many times that I instituted that criticism, thereby validating it as useful criticism which indicates that I am more than willing to keep an open mind. And keep in mind as soon as you find one instance of such a thing, you have just invalidated your assumptions. One criticism that was heeded that isn't google searchable until now is the removal of the slogan from our banner. Through real scientific testing it was determined to be less frequented than comparable other slogans that could go in it's place. The scientifically tested (google text ads) winning phrase was "Believe in God? We can fix that." And based on that testing, that science, I personally determined that to keep traffic high on our site we should remove it from the top banner and use the winning slogan in all future ads.
It's ironic that in this post as I expose the flaws of naysayers that they will likely find me arrogant and self righteous. I have something to say about that. Earlier, “monkey mind” alluded to what he's learned about psychology. I think he's referring to the notion that being wrong puts people on the defensive instantly, rather than make them receptive to change. He's right to some degree. I would say a great example of that is when we take the time to expose the holes in the naysayers arguments, and they respond by calling us arrogant or some other name because they're unable to come up with a coherent rebuttal. There is no real substance to these personal attacks, at least it almost never seems that way. And ironically the criticism from Richard Wade is far from constructive.
So we’re playing “good atheist/bad atheist” and together we have a powerful effect in “helping a friend overcome theism?” Yeah right. Before you open up your Religion Recovery Clinic, show me the data. Where is the documentation that your treatment method works at all?
It's all over our website. Your skeptical senses don't instruct you to do research? I left a series of questions for monkeymind, I'd like to hear your answers but I'd like to add another question.
If I post the emails of people who send us personal heartfelt stories of them leaving religion because of RRS will I be seen as tacky? For the most part we've rarely posted the deconversion stories sent to our email addresses because it feels wrong when doing so. Most of them include some of the most emotional and tough statements that people make. To me it almost inevitably feels like we're kicking someone while they're down if we post their deconversion. Or it feels as if I'm just saying "I told you so."
So the dissenters put us in between a rock and a hard place. They don't research our website, they require proof, and in the past I have provided it only to be called tacky by someone else.
What would a skeptic do? My take has been to post about 2% of the deconversions via email, and to hope that people would post their stories somewhere on our website. Here is a thread that got buried, that I will place on the homepage and send out in a newsletter in the hopes of keeping one easy to browse archive:
http://www.rationalresponders.com/forum/the_rational_response_squad_radio_show/the_rational_response_squad/2842 (upon explaining this live as I wrote it, two people in my chat room on the spot said they needed to make a post in there, and did so, there was only about 10 people there.)
Here's a thread from a more well known conversion. He was a raving crazed fundie and on our show credits the blunt but often polite discourse of my partner Mike with his deconversion, in addition to claiming that Todangst gave him a wakeup call with his stridency.
Remember this now famous young man? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CxaaIP-D0XI
He's now a semi-hero at his school in Idaho, and I am currently working with him on impacting change within the atheist group they created at his school. I'm gladly doing so by making sure he knows all of the resources available, not just projects I'm responsible for like your "self-righteous" claim would infer.
Should I keep going or are the appeaser/naysayers starting to see how ignorant they look when they say "RRS will never change anyone?"
Maybe I’m misjudging him. Maybe I don’t know enough about him.
Yes, misjudging and don't know enough would be accurate. Thanks for the understanding that you could be wrong, the sign of an open mind, I hope I can show you enough to sway you.
But so far from his actions I think Sapient would be a bully in any field.
I'm a pacifist, I only supported war in Afghanistan to the extent of finding Bin Laden or anyone else responsible for 9-11. The last war I would've supported with US involvement would've been getting involved in WWII. Calling me a bully in this context is quite a meme. For the record my website and radio show reflect my desire for world peace and my stance against violence. But you don't seem to know anything about my show or site, so I can understand why a skeptic would have come to this outlandish position.
Oh.. is it my sarcasm when someone acts stupid that you disagree with as a tactic?
Promotion of atheism does not seem to be his primary goal, the indulgence in his aggression is.
Promotion of atheism isn't a goal of mine at all. I don't give a shit about atheism, quote me. Promotion of a world in which the word atheist doesn't even need to exist is my primary goal. Atheist is simply the word that describes me since I managed to abandon theism. My message is much more about the dishonesty and ignorance of those who don't employ critical thought properly. This may be why we've taken some heat from certain atheist circles. We are just as likely to call out an atheist for thinking poorly as we are a theist.
I don't like being aggressive. I am a passive laid back person, what you see is my Eminem to the behind the scenes Marshall Mathers that you know doesn't actually kill his wife and stick her in a trunk. What you see is aggression out of necessity not out of desire. And may I add, less of this aggression would be needed if more people would stand up for reason, and fight back against the irrational world that theists would lead us to if they could.
While Hemant does fit the "passive" atheist role I spoke of, Hemant hit the nail on the head. The "passive atheist" isn't necessarily someone who does nothing to confront religion, the "passive atheist" is someone a religious person can stomach having a conversation with. If you've heard every show I've done you'd find tons of instances of passive action from RRS towards a theist. There is a time and place for everything, that I know well, even though you've inferred in your opening statement with almost no knowledge of me, that I don't.
In business he’d be a ruthless and destructive company eater.
Goal accomplished! I should jump back in to the corporate world where I was making $60,000 a year managing the sales staff of a multi-million dollar company. With a referral like that on my resume, you make me want to call Donald Trump who I've admired for quite some time.
While I should do that for myself, I wont. You know why? I care more about humanity overall than I do myself. I recognize I'm merely one person. I can use my life to make myself feel good, or I can use it to make the world a better place. Or in an ideal world, I can remain positive and hopeful, and seek enjoyment from giving my life to others. By using the one life I get, to make the lives of others better, even if it appears on the surface as if I am insulting them has become my purpose and I do it with a smile even though it sucks that someone has to do it. I know of quite a few highly important atheist activists who simply give up because it is too hard to see the ills of the world and see how slow progress occurs. I fight those feelings, and make sure not to allow naysayers with vacuous arguments deter me. Those naysayers are often theist, but the occasional atheist can get you down as well. A "don't fuck with me, I'll shred your arguments attitude" is a necessity for what I have chosen to do with my life. If I didn't have that attitude your next confrontation with me could be on the sales floor of a Mercedes Benz dealership (in case it's not clear, I'd be the one selling the car).
Some will be swayed by me, and some will be swayed by Hemant after seeing a link on our site. The point is, I was a ruthless company eater... I left it to become a ruthless irrational thinker eater. This is probably part of the reason the RRS has managed to attain the highest ranking on Alexa.com of any atheist site within 2 years of inception, something only Richard Dawkins has ever done (from what I can find in my research).
Is that the tactic you hate? That we do what we do damn good, and that other more passive orgs struggle to do the same? Does it just boil down to jealousy? As Kelly has often pointed out when her Eminem side comes out, this song resembles many of our atheistic haters: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZbYoojgh04A
(don't feel all bitter afterwards if you listen, instead you should question yourself)
For a comparison as to how "passive atheism" doesn't attract people like "aggressive atheism" does look towards the Humanist Vision challenge. A project that we were happy to support and put an equal amount of effort in to as compared to our Blasphemy Challenge. A project that I'd consider a failure in comparison and I know the reasons why, do you?
Humanist vision: 6 responses (note the overwhelming support from RRS via "links"
Blasphemy Challenge 1,444 responses, and there were about another 700 that have been removed for a multitude of reasons that are not relevant to the current discussion.
Were you saying something about the lack of RRS cooperative effort? Would helping the AHA with a humanist vision challenge posted on our homepage for several months during the time when we were receiving all of our press for the Blasphemy Challenge be an example of cooperative effort? How about hosting Hemant on our show and supporting him, does that count? How about taking the time to purchase the domain "MargaretDowney.com" for Margaret a few months ago and dedicating volunteer time to helping her to build a website which in 2 months is already ranked higher than American Humanist and Greg Epstein.
Alexa 3 mos average rank (Margarets site has only been up 2 months, in other words she's getting short changed on this stat):
Greg Epsteins thenewhumanism.org: 10,529,176
So whose ideas are working?
Speaking of cooperation, not only did I help build MargaretDowney.com but I enlisted the help of 20 of my best activists who would normally be working on other RRS specific projects. Instead we spent several weeks including several sleepless nights VOLUNTEERING our time to setting up the foundation for her website instead of working solely on ourselves. Hemant can attest to this, as he is one person who we called to help us, and in fact is given a special thanks here for his efforts: http://www.margaretdowney.com/welcome_to_margarets_brand_new_site
For your personalized pwning from Margaret Downey, call her on the phone and tell her you had the gall to imply RRS and Brian Sapient aren't cooperative. If she doesn't laugh and hang up, you'll end up with some reality, not your jaded uninformed ignorant version of it.
Is that the tactic you don't like? When someone looks stupid and I expose it? Or maybe it's usage of the word "pwn." Or maybe I should treat people who are spreading or inferring bullshit about us with kid gloves... is that the problem?
In politics he’d be a petty dictator.
This is where I should start name calling right back. But I wont stoop to that level, because you probably disaprove of such tactics (apparently I'm not yet above sarcasm, another tactic you likely disaprove of). If I was in politics I would likely be a libertarian.
Some on topic actions you'd see if I was a politician:
- reduction size of our military to a point where it isn't so much dramatically larger than every other in the world.
- churches would pay taxes
- money wasted on the military would either stay in the pockets of the people or used to improve our schooling system.
- the school system would see dramatic improvements, from how we teach to what we teach. Of course we'd teach more comparitive religious studies, science, math, critical thought, and philosophy.
In religion he’d be exactly like the bigots we face.
Oh fuck it.... Fuck you Richard Wade.
If anyone wants to disagree, you’ll have a better chance of convincing me if you don’t try his tactics on me.
1. Did I convince you?
2. Can you admit you learned something?
3. Exactly how do your tactics difer from mine. The only difference I see so far is I don't open my mouth unless I am right, you seem to not be so careful. By all means, please describe in detail my "tactics" and how they are so bad.
Richard and Monkey don't like good cop, bad cop...
Good cop/bad cop games may be good at extracting confessions, but for promoting critical thinking - not so much.
Do you realize Dawkins refers to himself as bad cop and Dennett as good cop?
Secular Planet said,
Does he offer any actual evidence that his tactics work in acheiving the goal of deconverting theists?
Yes. You claim on your site you're a "devout skeptic," you should take the time to see and learn what it is that we are doing instead of...
Secular Planet said,
I haven’t seen him do anything but reinforce the stereotype about atheists who like to swear and make fun of believers.
If that's the only thing you've seen me do, you need to hit our site or start paying attention. Have you ever heard of the Humanist Vision challenge? I did that. You probably didn't hear about it because it wasn't controversial enough. Or you've heard about it, and instead chose to use emotive absolute language embraced by dogmatic non-skeptics.
Secular Planet said,
I’ve never seen anyone deconvert because of that.
Quite a creative meme! Maybe you're an intellectual. RRS thinks everyone deconverts when you shout curses at them!! HA HA HA! I'm a skeptic.
Was that the tactic you don't like Richard? (the one where I show how some people work in a dishonest manner to attempt to discredit us through extremely dry sarcasm)
Secular Planet said,
As a deconvert myself, I only used relatively scholarly materials to investigate my doubts and would have been really turned off by RRS’s tactics if I had encountered them at that time.
You'd have stopped investigating a claim altogether because someone seemed overly confident about their claim? Doesn't seem very skeptical to me. Someone in pursuit of the truth can read past any harshness in presentation, someone prone to reinforce delusions are going to reinforce their delusions in any manner they see fit. A self deluded reinforcer could be reciting the pledge with god in it, hearing someone say America is a Christian nation, or hearing that a website named "Friendly athest" exists. And I can nearly bet my life that someone has heard the name "friendly atheist" and been turned off the moment they heard it. Do you not get that? The same is true with calling yourself a skeptic or a bright. When theists who are prone to faithful delusional behavior find out that "bright" and "skeptic" are other words that describe "godless" they start attaching the same negative stigma they attach to "atheism." The stereotype you speak of isn't a stereotype of atheists, it's a stereotype of anyone without a belief in god... including people who only call themself agnostic, bright, or humanist.
Where's my evidence for that claim though? Do the same thing I do. Set up google alerts on the words "atheist" "bright" "humanist" "agnostic." As you receive your alerts look at the continual trend by the media to attach a negative stigma to any word that has anything to do with not believing in god. Look at how you start to see "brights" and "new atheism" referred to as the exact same thing, when the "brights" we're founded to escape that stigma. This is a whole different issue though, that 've written on extensively all over the web. In fact it's partly the origination of the "chicken shit atheist" comment which describes Richard Wade more than a "bright" or "agnostic" who accepts and supports the work of RDF and RRS.
SecularPlanet, you should know that your comment led me to remove several links on our sites that went to your site. We had your feed aggregating and being supported on our site, however we only like working and supporting people who can manage to muster the same sort of support for us in recognition of a much bigger goal. Seeing as you are not one of those people I've pulled my support. Should you choose to want to work to unite atheists on all levels, let me know and we can recipricate links.
Though I personally haven’t found that aggressive, mocking, in-your-face approaches are all that useful for fostering “open discussion of questions” either.
I'll give you credit for this one... you're right. What you haven't factored in to your equation is that some people will never change unless they get a swift wake up call from someone who is sure their god doesn't exist. From someone who can show them that they are unable to prove their god exists. We do that all the time.
Since the dissenters and personal attackers I am answering today have no clue how effective we are and are chanting for evidence, I don't expect them to know this either, however please understand that people who are having their most cherished beliefs exposed as false are not likely to tell you that you've had this effect. The FCC has a formula in which they claim that if someone voices a complaint to the FCC it correlates to many more who were troubled by the offensive moment. However because people are generally lazy they don't contact the FCC. Now as a culture do you think humans are more likely to be lazy or more likely to desire to be right about their most cherished beliefs? I think on a whole our desire to be right outweighs our laziness.
In other words if 5 people leave religion because of Hemant or I, it is entirely possible that none of the 5 will ever tell us. They will reflect upon what we say in private, abandon religion, go on with their life, and never tell us. It can be embarassing for some, or in the case of RRS because we make our "end theism" goals so obvious, a person abandoning theism because of our site may resent us initially and never choose to come back. I don't need that credit, it's ok with me that people will not always tell us. Furthermore I propose that Hemant is much more likely to hear those deconversion stories from people he helped, than I am to hear them from the people I helped. The number of deconversions that I can credit to RRS either directly or indirectly me is in the hundreds, how many can you count for yourself? I like Hemant very much and don't mean to call him out, but I'd be curious how many people he can count for himself, or maybe how many he can attribute to the SSA in the last two years.
There’s a lot of people under the non-theist umbrella, and we are never going to act all alike. It’s the balance that’s important - we need a lot more Hemants than Brians. A couple is plenty.
I agree. You should all be like Hemant, or August Brunsman, or Margaret Downey. Do it. Do it! I beg of you humanists, brights, agnostics, and friendlies, look to these people as your role models. There is no sarcasm here. Ask Hemant... when I heard that we were the topic of conversation at an important meeting of atheist leaders last year revolving around our succesful attempts at media attention, the first thing I did was pick up the phone and call everyone I could that was in the building, and urged them not to adopt our approach. We only need one RRS, one group just plowing through all the shit and shaking the whole lot up, and millions of active and kind atheists like Hemant can come sweep up the filth.
When you embrace the ideals of Hemant or August or Margaret, please also embrace the ideal that enables them to have a friendship with myself and other RRS activists rather than spew empty arguments at us that you know almost nothing of.
I bet Hemant’s reached more people (i.e. giving them a more positive image of atheists and helping them realize atheists are good, moral people) than RRS has.
I wouldn't take that bet, you're probably right. He can put positive spin on all day, if theists get to know me (I almost never let them in to my heart as I don't have the time for that cause) they'd meet a guy just as friendly as Hemant. Instead they get parody, logic, critical thought, satire, sarcasm, rationality, and a swift wake up call. While I'd agree Hemant puts a more positive image of atheists out there, I'd bet big money that RRS has led more people away from religion than any other atheist org in the US in the last two years.
I don’t think being nasty and rude helps anyone’s cause...
"I think this is a war of ideas that has to be fought on a hundred fronts at once. There’s not one piece that is going to trump all others.
But I think we should not underestimate the power of embarrassment. The book Freakonomics briefly discusses the way the Ku Klux Klan lost its subscribers, and the example is instructive. A man named Stetson Kennedy, almost single-handedly it seems, eroded the prestige of the Ku Klux Klan in the 1940s by joining them and then leaking all of their secret passwords and goofy lingo to the people who were writing “The Adventures of Superman” radio show. Week after week, there were episodes of Superman fighting the Klan, and the real Klan’s mumbo jumbo was put out all over the airwaves for people to laugh at. Kids were playing Superman vs. the Klan on their front lawns. The Klan was humiliated by this, and was made to look foolish; and we went from a world in which the Klan was a legitimate organization with tens of millions of members—many of whom were senators, and even one president—to a world in which there are now something like 5,000 Klansmen. It’s basically a defunct organization.
So public embarrassment is one principle. Once you lift the taboo around criticizing faith and demand that people start talking sense, then the capacity for making religious certitude look stupid will be exploited, and we’ll start laughing at people who believe the things that the Tom DeLays, the Pat Robertsons of the world believe. We’ll laugh at them in a way that will be synonymous with excluding them from our halls of power." - Sam Harris
The name “Squad” is kind of telling. Like some kind of paramilitary misfit hero gang blasting through fortifications with their think-tank. The Atheist A-team. Uh huh. Where can I get the action figure?
Rational Response Squad is partly a parody of similar theistic groups like Crusade for Christ. Like I said in my post that either wasn't read or heeded... SENSE OF HUMOR, GET ONE!!!!!
A-Team atheists is a group that was created to copy the RRS much like the hundreds of people who have copied us, to the point where people on the Ron Paul presidential campaign forum suggested they copy the Blasphemy Challenge idea. We also have a list of the 50+ different challenges that copied us after we made the Blasphemy Challenge with all sorts of "challenges" of their own. Clearly a creative idea, that others thought worthy to follow, and not many of them have figured out the controversy side necessary to make it succesful. But what do I know? I'm just a dumb punk 16 year old puerile juvenille immature atheist who started doing this yesterday.
Richard Wade said,
Then I noticed a person responding to incessant abuse from others with patience, equanimity, respect and integrity. She was a Muslim woman. You can imagine the relentless pummeling she faced, but never once did she react with aggression nor was she ever passive, submissive or obsequious. I stopped right in my tracks. It didn’t matter whether she was “convincing” anybody of anything. Her method was honorable and admirable, and most of all it was true to her principles and that was more important than her effectiveness. It certainly had an effect on me, and I ceased my wicked ways. She didn’t win me over to her religion but to her way of interacting.
First of all her holy book tells her to murder you for not believing the same thing she did, you probably should have been informed of her ideals (unlike her) before you respected her for them. Secondly her kindness said nothing about the validity of her arguments and you should know this, humanity should know it, they don't always, but they should. Also could you point me to the atheistic code of principles that says atheists are never to embrace the things that I do? You mentioned she remained true to her principles and this was honorable and admirable. I hope you feel the same way about my rebuttal to your points, they were obviously admirable and honorable right? You know... because I held true to my prinicple of refuting ignorant concepts.
We just hired a creationist as the Chair for the Texas board of education, Don McLeary. We just had the Director for the Science Texas Teacher’s Association resign, Chris Comer, because she forewarned some people there was going to be an ID lecture coming up by some group. And now the Creation Institute wants Texas to allow biblical creation to be taught at a private online institution where students will earn a masters in science education and be accredited so new teachers can teach this in public and private Texas schools. I guess for me just letting people know about atheism and getting infuriated about this type of stuff is not even a simple matter of indifference. Why am I blunt about this? Because the three recent events are common and it’s bullxxxx.
TXatheist, there are a group of lawyers and activists in Texas working on this problem. I am in the loop, one of the organizers is a major contributor to RRS, and we'll be an activism arm for him as long as he needs us throughout the process to save science in Texas.
As for the rest of the dissent, I'll rest my arguments for now and await the shit storm. A published author friend of mine thinks the entirety of the hate directed at RRS is based on one thing… they don’t like it when we’re arrogant and right at the same time, it leaves them with no real defense other than to say “I don’t like you because you just schooled me.” With this in mind, I don’t expect our atheist haters to stop anytime soon, unless of course they’d like to open their mind a little. This was 5 hours that should have been spent elsewhere. Every objection raised has been answered 5 times or more. Every commenter vocalizing dissent was largely ignorant of our work, and did not heed the advice seen here, most likely because they’ve never seen it.
To those that have some sort of standard to uphold for atheism like Richard Wade infers when he explains how he became passive by watching a muslim, as if atheists have some sort of moral code of kindness, go ahead and write your atheist bible so we can make an atheist bible challenge where we piss on it and pick up dog shit with it. Oh and to humanists who value kindness, and compassion to other humans... stop being assholes to us, you're hypocrites, don't take the lessons of the head humanist hypocrite Greg Epstein! (sorry for another Eminem moment... he's just a juvenile kid who's never gonna get anywhere)