Marks of a cult [Trollville]

YouAre Right
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Marks of a cult [Trollville]

What is a cult? What does one look like and how does it act?

Are all cults religious or is it possible for a cult to be non-religious? Marketing cults, such as Amway, are non-religious and pseudo-religious - they are not necessarily theistic.

It therefore follows that it is possible to be cultic - that is under the influence of mind control, and therefore irrational - without being theistic.

What is a cult? What does one look like and how does it act?

A cult needs formation, it needs a person with an overblown sense of themself and an ability to blag that onto other people, to start it. These people are good enough at rhetoric and self promotion to get enough people to believe that they are what they make themselves out to be: a person of insight, a leader, a thinker. They see themselves as natural leaders and people of insight, and they are successful at conning some people into seeing them as such.

Next there needs to be some ideal: something which sets the group apart, something unassailable and profound. This can be God, or money, or unGod. For a cult this hook must be stressed and packaged as something of value. Most cultic information is only available to insiders: Scientologists charge you a fee, the Moonies practically kidnap and brainwash you, the JWs come and sit in your lounge and some mustachioed ponce for unGod comes over your internetz.

Cults will generally be unaccountable in their finances, keeping an accounting system which involves certain hidden factors and non-disclosures. The Watchtower Society sells its literature to the public by pressuring JWs to pay up front for the literature they distribute, and then to contribute any payment they might receive from the public in "voluntary donations". This way they keep free of sales tax. All cults have questionable accounts and none are fully transparent.

To be in a cult will cost money and time.

A cult will have a defined identity that its followers will be encouraged to adopt.

A cult will not tolerate criticism.

People who criticise a cult from within will be removed: a term Orwell coined is "unperson". They will no longer be considered to be a voice worth listening to.

All cults get involved in quack-science and poor scholarship. The quack science will be advanced by those in the echelons who have sufficient grasp of science to sound knowledgable while getting away with the most egregious non-sequitors undetected; and the fake scholarship will be advanced by those zealous enough to provide vaguely credible scholarly support. Fred Franz was typical of this crowd: they fail miserably at academia but gain enough to think that they are better: the result is that they put themselves up as credible scholars on dubious grounds, but of course the rubes are encouraged not to question this.

Scientific quackery is only what is in line with the cult, this may range from the pseudo-geology of YEC flood apologetics through to the fake-psychology of L.Ron Hubbard inc. In between are a myriad of pseudo-science dogmas masquerading as fact advanced by a wide range of self-proclaimed experts and commentators.

Membership is important to cults, and they pass by no opportunity to remind people - especially their followers - just how successful they are. They will spin whatever numerical markers they can in order to make themselves appear "mainstream", "popular" or "in touch". Stats matter to cults, but only the right stats.

Am I missing anything? Yeah: RRS bears the hallmarks of a wannabe cult.


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Whoopty-fucking-shit.

Whoopty-fucking-shit.


Jeffrick
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cults

   Close but no cigar!!!   There are far too meny free thinkers on this site to be cultish.  Brien Sapient gave me permission to say that with ten Hail Kellys and five Our shizzles.

"Very funny Scotty; now beam down our clothes."

VEGETARIAN: Ancient Hindu word for "lousy hunter"

If man was formed from dirt, why is there still dirt?


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except the following mistakes

I do not pay any money to be here, nor do theists. There is no quack science going on here, since only back is actual scientific information completed and done by the scientific community at large, not by it's own members. No members are requires to adopt an identity [all atheists have one thing in common, non beliefs in god(s)/Deity(s)/Supernatural being(s)] and members of these forums are from all back grounds and beliefs.

If criticism wasn't tolerated then threads like these would be deleted, they are not, on the contrary they are dissected and rebutted, but you are free to critique this site all you want.

I don't know of a specific leader of the RRS website. Last time I checked there are a bunch of founding members, and none of them are the official leader (unless I am mistaken and someone can feel free to correct me)

None of the members here have ever expressed to me how successful I am, and the fact is the atheists as a whole are a minority (except in a few european countries) Now, as for the money, you can purchase merchandise, which I am sure there is taxes on it, plus, any other donations, such as the server donation are strictly voluntary, and no one has pressured me or anyone else to make a payment.

So other than that the founding members of this website all are atheists......what else makes the RRS a cult? Oh and cult, is a really hard definition at any case, it could be a sect or religion if you really wanted to go that way, i mean if you are for it, it's religion, if you are indifferent it's a sect and if you are against it, it is a cult. All depends on the view point, or in this case, a website forum to discuss issues about religion, both for and against.


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movies

Eight Foot Manchild wrote:

Whoopty-fucking-shit.

  Isn't that photo from Dr.Stranglove?

"Very funny Scotty; now beam down our clothes."

VEGETARIAN: Ancient Hindu word for "lousy hunter"

If man was formed from dirt, why is there still dirt?


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1. You pay money for the

1. You pay money for the inside content. You can remain on the fringes but if you want to be on the inside, you gotta pay.

2. There is no transparent accounting.

3. "Theism is mental illness" is quack science.

4. Jesus Mythism is quack scholarship.

5. The RRS is not a website.

6. How long till I am banned?

7. How often are critics banned?

8 You are sure of the finances and the tax: please provide an objective basis for your certainty or else admit that it is just something you pulled out of your ass.

9. The RRS wastes no opportunity to create an aura of success for itself. Google Alex Ratings for this site and see how often they are cited. Tie this to the fact that Brian Sapient encourages users to install the Alexa Toolbar (spyware) in order to up the hit count: stats matter.

10. A definition of a cult is not difficult, but I have instead gven you a practical description. Do you disagree with my description of the factors one sees when one examines cults?


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Cool badge you got there Jeffrick. Did you ask for that or were you given it spontaneously.


latincanuck
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Oh boy

Then by your definition, Microsoft is a cult, Apple is a cult, as for critics being banned, none that I am aware of only those that refuse to obey simple rules of insulting people (of course you are capable of reading the rules right?) I have never had Sapient encourage me to install the Alexa toolbar, and yes I do disagree with your definition it is so broad that any company can be a cult. Again 2 that I have provided are cults by your own definition. Second Theism as a mental illness sure, it could be in many forms it has shown itself to be damaging to humans (i myself have provide 2 articles in which the parents ended up killing their children because their religious beliefs over rode their common sense of taking the children to the hospital) but, how wide spread is this idea of mental illness in the scientific community, I don't know personally, but I am sure someone can provide the back up to this information from the scientific community at large. This is a website, the RRS is a group of people, but I am a member of this website as are you, now. So it is both a group and a website forum. Jesus Mythism, umm no this is again being discussed by biblical scholars, so it's not quackery.

As for how long before you are banned, simple want to do it quick repeatedly break some of the forum rules. if you do that you will be banned, but not because you are criticizing RRS, but because your daft enough to break the rules.

As for inside content, hey Microsoft requires that you pay for the Xbox live content, I mean you can get the silver member ship, but that gives you jack shit, you are on the fringes, but once you pay you get the inside contents....that makes them a cult right?


Jeffrick
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Cool badge

YouAre Right wrote:

Cool badge you got there Jeffrick. Did you ask for that or were you given it spontaneously.

All nifty neato things like that come from his lordness Sapient the first.  I am, as always his free think subordinant. Meanwhile for ten more minutes it is still APRIL FIRST!

"Very funny Scotty; now beam down our clothes."

VEGETARIAN: Ancient Hindu word for "lousy hunter"

If man was formed from dirt, why is there still dirt?


YouAre Right
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I hear scurrying.

I hear scurrying.


latincanuck
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I got 3 minutes on my

I got 3 minutes on my side....oh yeah we must follow the dogma of atheism, and the use of reason and logic yes, this is out cult, reason and logic.


latincanuck
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call someone then

YouAre Right wrote:

I hear scurrying.

You might have rats, raccoons, or maybe squirrels in your walls or attic


deludedgod
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Quote:Theism is mental

Quote:

Theism is mental illness" is quack science.

Which not everyone has to agree with. The last time I checked, you can't be banned for disagreeing with something on the site. To be banned you have to spam, create a sock puppet, or plaigarize. Then, the mods must agree that you must be banned based on sufficient evidence that you have done one of these. In addition, any of the High Level mods can reinstate blocked accounts. Rogue blocking is not allowed. I have been on this site for 60 weeks and in this time, I have never seen anyone banned for disagreement. I don't agree that theism is a "mental disorder" and I am both openly expressing it and hold one of the highest positions on this sites (which kinda sinks your little boat).

Quote:

Jesus Mythism is quack scholarship.

Again, not everyone on here has to agree with Jesus mysticism. There is no "unperson designation" for embracing or not embracing a belief that some of the core members, or other members, may hold to. Nobody has ever been banned for disagreeing with Jesus mysticism.

Quote:

How often are critics banned?

Nobody is banned for being a critic. To be banned you must plaigarize, puppet, spam, as I said above. Death threats, attempts at cybercrime, etc. are also legitimate reasons for banning.

Quote:

How long till I am banned?

If you do what I mentioned, you'll probably be banned. Other than that, welcome.

Quote:

The RRS is not a website.

*Looks at the URL*

 

"Physical reality” isn’t some arbitrary demarcation. It is defined in terms of what we can systematically investigate, directly or not, by means of our senses. It is preposterous to assert that the process of systematic scientific reasoning arbitrarily excludes “non-physical explanations” because the very notion of “non-physical explanation” is contradictory.

-Me

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YouAre Right wrote:1. You

YouAre Right wrote:

1. You pay money for the inside content. You can remain on the fringes but if you want to be on the inside, you gotta pay.

2. There is no transparent accounting.

3. "Theism is mental illness" is quack science.

4. Jesus Mythism is quack scholarship.

5. The RRS is not a website.

6. How long till I am banned?

7. How often are critics banned?

8 You are sure of the finances and the tax: please provide an objective basis for your certainty or else admit that it is just something you pulled out of your ass.

9. The RRS wastes no opportunity to create an aura of success for itself. Google Alex Ratings for this site and see how often they are cited. Tie this to the fact that Brian Sapient encourages users to install the Alexa Toolbar (spyware) in order to up the hit count: stats matter.

10. A definition of a cult is not difficult, but I have instead gven you a practical description. Do you disagree with my description of the factors one sees when one examines cults?

1. Some of the "inside content" is free. There is no supreme RRS commanding that I give 10% or more of my income.

2. Paypal is very transparent and the RRS is very straightforward about where the money goes.

3. Theism shares many characteristics with some mental disorders. Simple observation.

4. On what scholarship is your statement based? What makes "God did it" sound scholarship?

5. No, the RRS are people who share a common cause or concern.

6. How long do you plan to not be an ass? Criticism does not merit banning - being an asshole does.

7. See 6.

8. What the devil are you talking about?

9. Oh no! Charting hits makes you a cult! Damn, I guess people can't take attendance in school or record grade distributions in classes. We can't have any indicators of our success.

10. Your definiton of cult covers nearly every profit-making business in the world.

Of course, I expect you to dismiss what I say because "I'm in the cult".

"I do this real moron thing, and it's called thinking. And apparently I'm not a very good American because I like to form my own opinions."
— George Carlin


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jcgadfly wrote:6. How long

jcgadfly wrote:
6. How long do you plan to not be an ass? Criticism does not merit banning - being an asshole does.

 

We're all screwed! i tell ya! screwed!

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jcgadfly
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The Doomed Soul

The Doomed Soul wrote:

jcgadfly wrote:
6. How long do you plan to not be an ass? Criticism does not merit banning - being an asshole does.

 

We're all screwed! it tell ya! screwed!

There are times I've "banned" myself for being an ass.

Hey there's another reason why RRS isn't a cult. We have moderators, not pastors/priests who wield the threat of eternal punishment over us until they get the money they want.

"I do this real moron thing, and it's called thinking. And apparently I'm not a very good American because I like to form my own opinions."
— George Carlin


YouAre Right
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latincanuck wrote:Then by

latincanuck wrote:

Then by your definition, Microsoft is a cult,

Can you read: I never gave a definition. And yes, microsoft can be quite cultic in its pursuit of dominance and expects a certain level of compliance from its own staff.

A cult is identified by a number of traits not only one, you take them all together to identify a cult so no, microsoft is not typically a cult conforming to the description I have offered. OTOH the RRS is a wannabe cult.

latincanuck wrote:
I have never had Sapient encourage me to install the Alexa toolbar,

Well it may not have been you personally, but the encouragement is on record none-the-less.

latincanuck wrote:

and yes I do disagree with your definition it is so broad that any company can be a cult.

No they can't, though at times certain things can be cultic in ways but you have to tick all the boxes to be fully cultic.

latincanuck wrote:

Again 2 that I have provided are cults by your own definition.

No they're not, read for comprehension please.

latincanuck wrote:

Second Theism as a mental illness sure,

Sure? Got any actual science to go with that certainty or just another ass-pulled factoid?

latincanuck wrote:

it could be in many forms it has shown itself to be damaging to humans (i myself have provide 2 articles in which the parents ended up killing their children because their religious beliefs over rode their common sense of taking the children to the hospital) but, how wide spread is this idea of mental illness in the scientific community, I don't know personally, but I am sure someone can provide the back up to this information from the scientific community at large. This is a website, the RRS is a group of people, but I am a member of this website as are you, now. So it is both a group and a website forum. Jesus Mythism, umm no this is again being discussed by biblical scholars, so it's not quackery.

Yes well of course if you really cannot differentiate between such simple concepts as mind control and exploitation of human cognitive faculties and the actual presence of disease then I can't help you with such fundamental logic.

Name me a serious biblical scholar who takes mythism as a serious academic subject.

latincanuck wrote:

As for how long before you are banned, simple want to do it quick repeatedly break some of the forum rules. if you do that you will be banned, but not because you are criticizing RRS, but because your daft enough to break the rules.

I have no need to insult, but then I don't expect to have to explain simple concepts to people in order to rebut their mangling of my point.

latincanuck wrote:

As for inside content, hey Microsoft requires that you pay for the Xbox live content, I mean you can get the silver member ship, but that gives you jack shit, you are on the fringes, but once you pay you get the inside contents....that makes them a cult right?

No. Are you actually listening or just assuming your conclusion and trying to find ways to support it.


Go back to the beginning and read it again until you get it.

Meanwhile have a think about what I might possibly mean by "wannabe": clue: it implies "is not (yet)".

 


YouAre Right
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jcgadfly wrote:YouAre Right

jcgadfly wrote:
YouAre Right wrote:

1. You pay money for the inside content. You can remain on the fringes but if you want to be on the inside, you gotta pay.

2. There is no transparent accounting.

3. "Theism is mental illness" is quack science.

4. Jesus Mythism is quack scholarship.

5. The RRS is not a website.

6. How long till I am banned?

7. How often are critics banned?

8 You are sure of the finances and the tax: please provide an objective basis for your certainty or else admit that it is just something you pulled out of your ass.

9. The RRS wastes no opportunity to create an aura of success for itself. Google Alex Ratings for this site and see how often they are cited. Tie this to the fact that Brian Sapient encourages users to install the Alexa Toolbar (spyware) in order to up the hit count: stats matter.

10. A definition of a cult is not difficult, but I have instead gven you a practical description. Do you disagree with my description of the factors one sees when one examines cults?

1. Some of the "inside content" is free. There is no supreme RRS commanding that I give 10% or more of my income.

No, but you don't if you don't pay. And the ads are there to make you want.

Quote:

2. Paypal is very transparent and the RRS is very straightforward about where the money goes.

Really? Where are the accounts? Can I see them?
Quote:

3. Theism shares many characteristics with some mental disorders. Simple observation.

Not so simple challenge: back that up with objective science rather than pulled out of assertion.
Quote:

4. On what scholarship is your statement based? What makes "God did it" sound scholarship?

Nothing. "God did it is" not sound scholarship. I am not a theist.

Must you erect specious dichotomies?

Quote:

5. No, the RRS are people who share a common cause or concern.

No the RRS is an organisation headed by Brian "Sapient" and other founding members, run out of a house, receiving income by subscription and merchandise, setting itself up as some atheist free-thinker's watering hole and portal to all things rational. I'm questioning that and I'm saying that actually the RRS looks more like a wannabe cult.
Quote:

6. How long do you plan to not be an ass?

I am never an ass. You know me, you would agree.
Quote:

Criticism does not merit banning - being an asshole does. 7. See 6. 8. What the devil are you talking about?

Finances. Everyone is so sure how well everything is spent and how proper and above board it all is yet nobody here has seen any accounts, nobody has seen anything indicating financial propriety.
Quote:

9. Oh no! Charting hits makes you a cult!

No, but making a bit thing out of whatever figures can be made a big thing of is typical of cult leaderships: "#1 Atheist website" anyone? You have google.
Quote:

Damn, I guess people can't take attendance in school or record grade distributions in classes. We can't have any indicators of our success.

What good are indicators which are actively pursued other than attempts to create an image of popularity. Why the need to project image and stats?
Quote:

10. Your definiton of cult covers nearly every profit-making business in the world.

No it doesn't, and its not a definition. Finally, get this please someone: "wannabe" implies seeks to be. I am highlighting those factors which are true of these organisations which when taken together spell trouble. In isolation they may be found in businesses, and some business are more cultic than others.
Quote:

Of course, I expect you to dismiss what I say because "I'm in the cult".

Not at all. You might be under the influence of a little by-passing of your critical faculties regarding the Rational Response Squad by virtue of the fact that you agree with them on the big question of theism. I am suggesting that Brian Sapient and co utilise this "business opportunity" to make a buck out of selling "atheism" and "rationalism".
In so doing he is on the road to forming a cult around himself and those in the inner-circle.


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jcgadfly wrote:The Doomed

jcgadfly wrote:
The Doomed Soul wrote:

jcgadfly wrote:
6. How long do you plan to not be an ass? Criticism does not merit banning - being an asshole does.

 

We're all screwed! it tell ya! screwed!

There are times I've "banned" myself for being an ass. Hey there's another reason why RRS isn't a cult. We have moderators, not pastors/priests who wield the threat of eternal punishment over us until they get the money they want.

Epic miss. pastors versus mods is not an indicator of cultishness, sorry to disappoint.


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deludedgod

deludedgod wrote:

Quote:

Theism is mental illness" is quack science.

Which not everyone has to agree with. The last time I checked, you can't be banned for disagreeing with something on the site. To be banned you have to spam, create a sock puppet, or plaigarize.

what if I continually question the financial propriety of the organisation? Because that is what I intend to do, among other things.

I am here to criticise the RRS, and only that.

Will I be banned for this or not?

Quote:

I have never seen anyone banned for disagreement. I don't agree that theism is a "mental disorder" and I am both openly expressing it and hold one of the highest positions on this sites (which kinda sinks your little boat).

Not quite: it is still quack science with which the RRS is strongly associated.
Quote:

Quote:

Jesus Mythism is quack scholarship.

Again, not everyone on here has to agree with Jesus mysticism. There is no "unperson designation" for embracing or not embracing a belief that some of the core members, or other members, may hold to. Nobody has ever been banned for disagreeing with Jesus mysticism.

An unperson is simply a banned person in forum-land: it is the functional equivalent. This status is granted to critics of the organisation in order to silence them.
Quote:

Quote:

How often are critics banned?

Nobody is banned for being a critic. To be banned you must plaigarize, puppet, spam, as I said above. Death threats, attempts at cybercrime, etc. are also legitimate reasons for banning.

Then I should pull up a chair.
Quote:

Quote:

How long till I am banned?

If you do what I mentioned, you'll probably be banned. Other than that, welcome.

Quote:

Thank you.
Quote:

The RRS is not a website.

*Looks at the URL*

 

Lol.

www.rationalresponders.com/

Rational Response Squad is not this server, nor the URL, nor the site. As you well know. The Rational Response Squad is Brian, Kelly and Rook, plus the membership and subscribers. We can at least try to be honest in our appraisal of words: you know what the RRS is. And you know it is not a website: or are you performing doublethink right now?


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YouAre Right wrote:Epic

YouAre Right wrote:

Epic miss. pastors versus mods is not an indicator of cultishness, sorry to disappoint.

Not even if its an internet forum cult >.>?

What Would Kharn Do?


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The Doomed Soul wrote:YouAre

The Doomed Soul wrote:

YouAre Right wrote:

Epic miss. pastors versus mods is not an indicator of cultishness, sorry to disappoint.

Not even if its an internet forum cult >.>?

Mods are certainly useful in maintaining the information control. I bet if I keep asking where the accounts are and how much personal financial benefit is derived by Brian, Kelly et al the mods would prove very useful to Brian in ensuring that these questions were not asked.


But a cult does not need to be religious, which was where the epic fail lay, since I had established that point within the first few sentences of the OP.

But then I noticed that so far there as been a general tendency to miss the point overall, almost as though some degree of personal identity sufficient to cause input filtering was invested in the OP not being correct.

Be honest: nobody was really in disagreement with the OP until the final sentence. It's ok, the cognitive dissonance does that.

 

I nearly left the final sentence out to see whether people agreed up front, before going into the RRS, but I thought I'd win a bet instead. Cheers, I collected £10 - my mate reckoned that people would actually get what I was saying without seeing how it applied to the RRS (that would be where the dissonance lay: they would have no problem with the characteristics per se, just disagree with the application) but my prediction was that in order to make it easier to deny the assertion in the final sentence you would mangle the main points. This would make it easier for you to "logically arrive at" your conclusion without objectively evaluating it. An equivalent of Morton's Demon perhaps: but just plain old doublethink to you and me.


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Quote:Will I be banned for

Quote:

Will I be banned for this or not?

No.

Quote:

Not quite: it is still quack science with which the RRS is strongly associated.

But you insisted that the "Marks of a cult" constituted banning, silencing, etc those who disagreed with the "official position". If the core members of the RRS, those who founded the website, want to believe theism is a mental disorder, they can do so. I on the other hand, do not, which makes your assertion about banning/silencing dubious.

Quote:

An unperson is simply a banned person in forum-land: it is the functional equivalent. This status is granted to critics of the organisation in order to silence them.

I did not mean unperson designation literally, I meant in the same way you did, that a person is banned or silenced for disagreeing. But as I said, I've never seen that happen.

Quote:

Rational Response Squad is not this server, nor the URL, nor the site.

My apologies. I have become used to associating the RRS with this forum. When I say the RRS I mean "this website". Likewise, when most people on the forum refer to "the RRS" they usually mean the website. So, if I say "the RRS should change its background color" they mean "this website should change its background color". Since I have never met any of the RRS core members or encountered any non-internet based activities and such, like the radio show, I have become accustomed to saying "the RRS" and meaning "this website".

"Physical reality” isn’t some arbitrary demarcation. It is defined in terms of what we can systematically investigate, directly or not, by means of our senses. It is preposterous to assert that the process of systematic scientific reasoning arbitrarily excludes “non-physical explanations” because the very notion of “non-physical explanation” is contradictory.

-Me

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Quote:I bet if I keep asking

Quote:

I bet if I keep asking where the accounts are and how much personal financial benefit is derived by Brian, Kelly et al the mods would prove very useful to Brian in ensuring that these questions were not asked.

I'll tell you what. I have the ability to unblock any ban that is instituted. I will personally ensure that if you are banned for any reason that is not in concordance with the rules (spam, threats, hacking, puppets or plaigarism) I will reinstate your account.

Quote:

But a cult does not need to be religious, which was where the epic fail lay, since I had established that point within the first few sentences of the OP.

This is true, a cult does not need to be religious. The analogy with the pastors is with respect to the idea of how authority figures choose to wield said authority (although not all pastors are meglomaniacal, so the analogy was rather poor, a better analogy would have been the Gestapo or the Stasi). The mods are not tyrants. There are people who are genuinely breaking the rules and so can be banned. The purpose of the mod system is to ensure that unjust bans are not lodged, so that the core members cannot lord over the process. In my experience as a mod, the system tends to work. The mods are not a homogenous body. THere is plenty of mod dissent. In general, if the mods are going to boot someone, they have an excellent reason (see above).

"Physical reality” isn’t some arbitrary demarcation. It is defined in terms of what we can systematically investigate, directly or not, by means of our senses. It is preposterous to assert that the process of systematic scientific reasoning arbitrarily excludes “non-physical explanations” because the very notion of “non-physical explanation” is contradictory.

-Me

Books about atheism


YouAre Right
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deludedgod wrote:But you

deludedgod wrote:

But you insisted that the "Marks of a cult" constituted banning, silencing, etc those who disagreed with the "official position". If the core members of the RRS, those who founded the website, want to believe theism is a mental disorder, they can do so. I on the other hand, do not, which makes your assertion about banning/silencing dubious.

I said:

"People who criticise a cult from within will be removed".

Quote:

I did not mean unperson designation literally, I meant in the same way you did, that a person is banned or silenced for disagreeing. But as I said, I've never seen that happen.

I said:

"People who criticise a cult from within will be removed".

Disagreeing is not criticising.

Quote:

My apologies....

No problem. I am glad we've got some clarity in terms. Please reconsider my points in the light of these correct conceptions.


 


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Why was Rathpig banned?

latincanuck
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Jesus Mythism

Well the idea of the myth of jesus starts more or less around 1790 with the french free thinkers of Constantine Francois Volney and Charles Francois Dupuis, later historical scholar Burno Bauer would continue this idea, as well as biblical scholars A.D Loman and G.I.P. Bolland argued for the jesus myth as well author Edwin Johnson made the argument for the myth.

Then in more recent time, 1927 Bertrand Russell why I am not a christian made the argument for the myth as did Arthur Drew's book The Christ Myth (1909) and Joseph Wheless in 1930 made the argument in his book The forgery in Christianity. In recent years, George Albert Wells, has written the Jesus Legend and the Jesus Myth, Timothy Freke and Peter Gandy wrote their own books, the Jesus Mysteries and Jesus and the lost Goddess. Other proponents are Earl Doherty, Joseph Atwill, Hermann Detering and Robert M. Price.

However like all argument there are counter arguments to these, but I have at least given you some sources....so please next time do some research on the topic, just a little bit, a wee bit. Because there are scholars on this subject, both historical and biblical.


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YouAre Right wrote:Alexa

YouAre Right wrote:

Alexa Toolbar (spyware)

Personally I'd say the Alexa Toolbar is AdWare, I run a anti-spyware site and have done so for 6 years, pages on my site containing specific information on how to deal with stubborn spyware are used by a number of independent anti-spyware and tec help forums

I also have criticized this site, I also have suggested cult like behaviors, I'm still here

YouAre Right wrote:

5. The RRS is not a website.

? could you elaborate

YouAre Right wrote:

3. "Theism is mental illness" is quack science.

Psychology is not a scientific discipline, as it  is not covered by logic, logic is defined as the correct principles of reason, psychology is defined as the psychology of reason, religion was defined by the founding fathers of psychology as dangerous,  and or a mental illness


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Quote:A cult needs

Quote:

A cult needs formation,

So does a government. So do businesses.

Can either be like a cult? Sure.

Can they also be unlike a cult? Yes.

 

Quote:

it needs a person [with an overblown sense of themself and an ability to blag that onto other people] to start it.

If we remove your rhetoric (brackets), we're simply discussing any organized activity.

If we allow your rhetoric, we see that you're purposely stacking the deck toward "demonstrating" that the RRS is a cult.

 

Quote:

These people are good enough at rhetoric

Says the person who was just using it to establish one of his own points.

 

Quote:

and self promotion to get enough people to believe that they are what they make themselves out to be: a person of insight, a leader, a thinker.

They also tend to pitch their "cult" as somehow life-changing. They speak to their listeners as though, without the help of their [cult], the listeners' lives will continue to be unsatisfying; but with the help of their [cult], fulfillment and happiness are finally possible.

The RRS, and atheism in general, do not claim that kind of power.

 

Quote:

They see themselves as natural leaders and people of insight, and they are successful at conning some people into seeing them as such.

I come to this site all the time, and I don't look up to anyone here as a "leader".

Are there some people here that are more intelligent than me? Yes.

Do many people here know things that I don't? Absolutely.

Do I therefore seek their help on certain questions? Certainly.

I acknowledge that this site has authority figures (mods, founders, etc); but I would not call them "leaders", and I doubt anyone else would either.

 

Quote:

Next there needs to be some ideal: something which sets the group apart, something unassailable and profound. This can be God, or money, or unGod.

No, actually, it can't be "ungod". Nice try.

That's like starting a club for people who don't own cats, or people who don't like fast food, or people who don't smoke. There is nothing "in common" about that.

Everyone that comes to this website probably comes for a different reason. Some of us are politically motivated, looking to promote atheism and fight stereotypes; others are here because they love science and learning; others are here because they simply want to hear other points of view. There is not any one "thing" that unites this website, which is both a strength and a weakness.

 

Quote:

For a cult this hook must be stressed and packaged as something of value.

The RRS doesn't pitch that atheism is something of value (and actually, its focus is not JUST atheism, but all irrational claims). It just asserts that rational explanations must be accepted and that irrational explanations must be abandoned.

You'd practically have to call us a cult of "un-santa-claus-ists" if you wanted to pursue this course.

 

Quote:

Most cultic information is only available to insiders: Scientologists charge you a fee, the Moonies practically kidnap and brainwash you, the JWs come and sit in your lounge and some mustachioed ponce for unGod comes over your internetz.

Whereas all the information promoted by the RRS and similar websites is publicly available information.

 

Quote:

Cults will generally be unaccountable in their finances, keeping an accounting system which involves certain hidden factors and non-disclosures.

Are you calling the RRS founders scammers?

 

Quote:

The Watchtower Society sells its literature to the public by pressuring JWs to pay up front for the literature they distribute, and then to contribute any payment they might receive from the public in "voluntary donations". This way they keep free of sales tax. All cults have questionable accounts and none are fully transparent.

Charities ask for donations. Would you call charities cults?

 

Quote:

To be in a cult will cost money and time.

Coming to RRS requires no money, and you put in only as much time as you like.

It's a website. That's pretty much what websites do.

 

Quote:

A cult will have a defined identity that its followers will be encouraged to adopt.

That doesn't necessarily only apply to cults. That could also apply to political and ideological movements.

Would you accuse every black American that cheered for MLK as participating in cult behavior?

 

Quote:

A cult will not tolerate criticism.

Whereas the RRS will gladly accept any criticism; however, the RRS retains the right to defend itself.

Free speech does not mean you get to say whatever you want and the person to whom you're saying it has to grin and bear it. Actually, that's pretty much the opposite of what it means.

 

Quote:

People who criticise a cult from within will be removed: a term Orwell coined is "unperson". They will no longer be considered to be a voice worth listening to.

The RRS website HAS been criticized from within multiple times. I don't recall any of those people being banned or killed.

 

Quote:

All cults get involved in quack-science and poor scholarship. The quack science will be advanced by those in the echelons who have sufficient grasp of science to sound knowledgable while getting away with the most egregious non-sequitors undetected; and the fake scholarship will be advanced by those zealous enough to provide vaguely credible scholarly support.

Are you accusing the RRS of promoting quack science? (A serious accusation, since that's one of the main things the site aims to be against).

 

Quote:

Fred Franz was typical of this crowd: they fail miserably at academia but gain enough to think that they are better: the result is that they put themselves up as credible scholars on dubious grounds, but of course the rubes are encouraged not to question this.

Whereas, again, the RRS is open to questioning.

 

Quote:

Scientific quackery is only what is in line with the cult, this may range from the pseudo-geology of YEC flood apologetics through to the fake-psychology of L.Ron Hubbard inc. In between are a myriad of pseudo-science dogmas masquerading as fact advanced by a wide range of self-proclaimed experts and commentators.

Again, if you have a serious argument with any science put forth by anyone on the RRS forum, then correct them. If you can show that they are, in fact, mistaken, you may find that they are even grateful.

 

Quote:

Membership is important to cults, and they pass by no opportunity to remind people - especially their followers - just how successful they are.

Memberships, donations, subscriptions, merchandise, and advertising. This is how websites stay afloat.

The RRS can't do what they do for free. It's not required that you become a member (I've been here for a long time now, and I'm still not a member), and there is no pressure on you to do so.

But you can't accuse the RRS of cult behavior for simply trying to support themselves. People gotta eat.

 

Quote:

They will spin whatever numerical markers they can in order to make themselves appear "mainstream", "popular" or "in touch". Stats matter to cults, but only the right stats.

I have seen the RRS make claims about being the most popular atheist website on the internet, and I honestly have no idea whether or not it's true; but what I do know is that their popularity makes no difference. I'm not here to be "in on the fad".

Claiming to be the most popular is also common in advertising. I don't point this out to suggest that the RRS makes that claim to advertise (since I've only ever seen the claim made in passing), but I point it out to show that it is not a strictly cultic practice.

 

Quote:

Am I missing anything? Yeah: RRS bears the hallmarks of a wannabe cult.

 

I commend you. You're pretty good at stacking your vocabulary in just the right ways to make yourself sound like you know what you're talking about to the inattentive ear. This is obvious in your applying the word "cult" in its most negative sense. Technically, the word could apply to many things. Vegetarians could be considered a cult, for example.

However, the word in its most common sense is specifically reserved for pejorative situations. I could call vegetarians a cult, if I wanted to their ideas to be perceived as silly and somewhat strange in their enthusiasm, but that would be mere rhetoric.

Maybe you should go start a "cult", Senor Wordsmith.

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


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Archeopteryx wrote:Quote:A

Archeopteryx wrote:

Quote:

A cult needs formation,

So does a government. So do businesses.

Can either be like a cult? Sure.

Can they also be unlike a cult? Yes.

 

Quote:

it needs a person [with an overblown sense of themself and an ability to blag that onto other people] to start it.

If we remove your rhetoric (brackets), we're simply discussing any organized activity.

No, the personality traits of the cult founders are imperative to what makes a cult cultic in the first place.
Quote:

If we allow your rhetoric, we see that you're purposely stacking the deck toward "demonstrating" that the RRS is a cult.

Only if you see some way in which that description fits anyone in particular.
Quote:

Quote:

These people are good enough at rhetoric

Says the person who was just using it to establish one of his own points.

No I wasn't, I was referring to specific personal traits: an overblown sense of self-importance, and eager self-promotion.
Quote:

Quote:

and self promotion to get enough people to believe that they are what they make themselves out to be: a person of insight, a leader, a thinker.

They also tend to pitch their "cult" as somehow life-changing.

"Believe in god? We can fix that"
Quote:

They speak to their listeners as though, without the help of their [cult], the listeners' lives will continue to be unsatisfying; but with the help of their [cult], fulfillment and happiness are finally possible.

The RRS, and atheism in general, do not claim that kind of power.

"Believe in God? We can fix that", "Theism is a mental illness (disease)".
Quote:

Quote:

They see themselves as natural leaders and people of insight, and they are successful at conning some people into seeing them as such.

I come to this site all the time, and I don't look up to anyone here as a "leader".

Read again: "They see themselves...", then read your respose and say "non sequitur".
Quote:

Are there some people here that are more intelligent than me? Yes.

Do many people here know things that I don't? Absolutely.

Do I therefore seek their help on certain questions? Certainly.

Congratulations. I'm happy for you.
Quote:

I acknowledge that this site has authority figures (mods, founders, etc); but I would not call them "leaders", and I doubt anyone else would either.

Would they call themselves anything particular? Titular wordplay is loved by the self-aggrandizing. They like to call themselves things, and have different lines of demarcation: inner party / outer party / other.
Quote:

Quote:

Next there needs to be some ideal: something which sets the group apart, something unassailable and profound. This can be God, or money, or unGod.

No, actually, it can't be "ungod". Nice try.

Philosophy 101: give me a logical definition and I can give you the negation. The negation for any advanced concept of God would by definition be rendered unGod to denote the negation. You might also say NOT God if you like, or ¬God, or ~God, or even !God if you wanna go C.
Quote:

That's like starting a club for people who don't own cats, or people who don't like fast food, or people who don't smoke. There is nothing "in common" about that.

Not initially, but it can be idealised can't it? And if it can then it is possible that someone might try to idealise atheism for their own personal ego and financial benefit. That is at least possible, no?
Quote:

Everyone that comes to this website probably comes for a different reason. Some of us are politically motivated, looking to promote atheism and fight stereotypes; others are here because they love science and learning; others are here because they simply want to hear other points of view. There is not any one "thing" that unites this website, which is both a strength and a weakness.

I'm talking about the Rational Response Squad. This website and its content does not constitute that entity to which I refer.
Quote:

Quote:

For a cult this hook must be stressed and packaged as something of value.

The RRS doesn't pitch that atheism is something of value (and actually, its focus is not JUST atheism, but all irrational claims).

Like "Theism is mental illness?" and "Anonymous are out to get me"?
Quote:

It just asserts that rational explanations must be accepted and that irrational explanations must be abandoned.

It goes further into advancing irrational explanations masquerading as rational.
Quote:

You'd practically have to call us a cult of "un-santa-claus-ists" if you wanted to pursue this course.

No, the RRS is not defined by its stance against Santa.
Quote:

Quote:

Most cultic information is only available to insiders: Scientologists charge you a fee, the Moonies practically kidnap and brainwash you, the JWs come and sit in your lounge and some mustachioed ponce for unGod comes over your internetz.

Whereas all the information promoted by the RRS and similar websites is publicly available information.

 

Not all of it. Correct your facts: you must pay for the inside stuff: Rook's "college" courses are only open to subscribers, no? There is plenty of content which is pay-per-view.
Quote:

Quote:

Cults will generally be unaccountable in their finances, keeping an accounting system which involves certain hidden factors and non-disclosures.

Are you calling the RRS founders scammers?

Are you saying that someone who is not forthcoming in matters of financial fidelity is a scammer? I'd say that lack of financial transparency in a campaigning organisation which solicits contributions is highly questionable. Wouldn't you?

Are you as certain of the financial propriety of the RRS as the others here? If so, what objective grounds do you have? So far nobody has offered anything on this score.

Quote:

Quote:

The Watchtower Society sells its literature to the public by pressuring JWs to pay up front for the literature they distribute, and then to contribute any payment they might receive from the public in "voluntary donations". This way they keep free of sales tax. All cults have questionable accounts and none are fully transparent.

Charities ask for donations. Would you call charities cults?

Charities must be transparent. Did you not know this? They are audited and regulated.

Is the RRS a charity? What is it then? Are the incomes set against personal taxation as a private sole-trader business? Cui Bono?

Quote:

Quote:

To be in a cult will cost money and time.

Coming to RRS requires no money, and you put in only as much time as you like.

It's a website. That's pretty much what websites do.

 

For the website side. I take it you haven't formed a local chapter and you don't subscribe, though you are a superfan.
Quote:

Quote:

A cult will have a defined identity that its followers will be encouraged to adopt.

That doesn't necessarily only apply to cults. That could also apply to political and ideological movements.

On its own yes, but it's a whole bag of tricks together which identifies a cult. Think of it as a continuum: wholly meritorious organisations run on altruisitic principles will be at one end, and selfish consuming organisations which prey on vulnerable people and con them while selling them a "fix" are at the other. The more of those little boxes you tick the further down the scale you slide.
Quote:

Would you accuse every black American that cheered for MLK as participating in cult behavior?

No. But objectively some of them might be. At least many of them would be pretty easy prey for cults: Black Panthers?

Quote:

Quote:

A cult will not tolerate criticism.

Whereas the RRS will gladly accept any criticism; however, the RRS retains the right to defend itself.

Of course it does.

Quote:

Free speech does not mean you get to say whatever you want and the person to whom you're saying it has to grin and bear it. Actually, that's pretty much the opposite of what it means.

Thank you but please spare me the English lessons. Free speech has nothing to do with anyone grinning and bearing it.

Quote:

Quote:

People who criticise a cult from within will be removed: a term Orwell coined is "unperson". They will no longer be considered to be a voice worth listening to.

The RRS website HAS been criticized from within multiple times. I don't recall any of those people being banned or killed.

 

Why was Rathpig banned?
Quote:

Quote:

All cults get involved in quack-science and poor scholarship. The quack science will be advanced by those in the echelons who have sufficient grasp of science to sound knowledgable while getting away with the most egregious non-sequitors undetected; and the fake scholarship will be advanced by those zealous enough to provide vaguely credible scholarly support.

Are you accusing the RRS of promoting quack science? (A serious accusation, since that's one of the main things the site aims to be against).

 

"Theism is a mental illness" is quack science without a shred of empirical support.
Quote:

Quote:

Fred Franz was typical of this crowd: they fail miserably at academia but gain enough to think that they are better: the result is that they put themselves up as credible scholars on dubious grounds, but of course the rubes are encouraged not to question this.

Whereas, again, the RRS is open to questioning.

Is it? Then where are the accounts?

Quote:

Quote:

Scientific quackery is only what is in line with the cult, this may range from the pseudo-geology of YEC flood apologetics through to the fake-psychology of L.Ron Hubbard inc. In between are a myriad of pseudo-science dogmas masquerading as fact advanced by a wide range of self-proclaimed experts and commentators.

Again, if you have a serious argument with any science put forth by anyone on the RRS forum, then correct them. If you can show that they are, in fact, mistaken, you may find that they are even grateful.

I'm not here to debate science with the forum, I'm here to question the Rational Response Squad. You can defend them if you want but please stop confusing concepts: this website is not the Rational Response Squad which consists of founding/core members, organisation members and subscribers - others who wear the badge.

Quote:

Quote:

Membership is important to cults, and they pass by no opportunity to remind people - especially their followers - just how successful they are.

Memberships, donations, subscriptions, merchandise, and advertising. This is how websites stay afloat.

The RRS can't do what they do for free. It's not required that you become a member (I've been here for a long time now, and I'm still not a member), and there is no pressure on you to do so.

But you don't get the good stuff then do you? You get the forum, but hey they're ten a penny. Oh of course there Kelly's blog where she makes shit up and apologises that its not an "official" thesis (whatever an unofficial one is).
Quote:

But you can't accuse the RRS of cult behavior for simply trying to support themselves. People gotta eat.

People gotta be accountable for what they do. If an organisation wants to put itself forward as a campaigning "theist delusion fixer" and internet rationalist portal then it has to be transparent and above reproach. No?

Where does the money go? How much is it? What is the nature of the RRS organisation? Is is a body of any sort? Are there articles of association? How do we know this is not just a group of self-appointed air-heads with a tidy scam for raking in a few bucks off the back of a resurgent atheism? Are there any objective grounds on which to make a judgement? No.

On the other hand the Richard Dawkins Foundation has jumped through countless hoops in order to comply with the highest standards of regulation and oversight.

Quote:

Quote:

They will spin whatever numerical markers they can in order to make themselves appear "mainstream", "popular" or "in touch". Stats matter to cults, but only the right stats.

I have seen the RRS make claims about being the most popular atheist website on the internet, and I honestly have no idea whether or not it's true; but what I do know is that their popularity makes no difference. I'm not here to be "in on the fad".

I'm not talking about you, I'm talking about them. Please stop taking my points personally and think about them objectively. IOW stop taking offense and make an effort to evaluate what I am saying without letting your own feelings get in the way.
Quote:

Claiming to be the most popular is also common in advertising. I don't point this out to suggest that the RRS makes that claim to advertise (since I've only ever seen the claim made in passing), but I point it out to show that it is not a strictly cultic practice.

Not strictly: but spinning and manipulating statistics and then trumpeting them is very much cultic since it implies messing with the information flow in order to produce a desired result.
Quote:

Quote:

Am I missing anything? Yeah: RRS bears the hallmarks of a wannabe cult.

 

I commend you. You're pretty good at stacking your vocabulary in just the right ways to make yourself sound like you know what you're talking about to the inattentive ear. This is obvious in your applying the word "cult" in its most negative sense. Technically, the word could apply to many things. Vegetarians could be considered a cult, for example.

However, the word in its most common sense is specifically reserved for pejorative situations. I could call vegetarians a cult, if I wanted to their ideas to be perceived as silly and somewhat strange in their enthusiasm, but that would be mere rhetoric.

Maybe you should go start a "cult", Senor Wordsmith.

I have been clear in the terms I have used and how they apply. The sense in which I am referring to a cult is not the way that vegetarianism might be termed a cult. Please do not equivocate my meanings in order to make your point.


 


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latincanuck wrote:Well the

latincanuck wrote:

Well the idea of the myth of jesus starts more or less around 1790 with the french free thinkers of Constantine Francois Volney and Charles Francois Dupuis, later historical scholar Burno Bauer would continue this idea, as well as biblical scholars A.D Loman and G.I.P. Bolland argued for the jesus myth as well author Edwin Johnson made the argument for the myth.

Then in more recent time, 1927 Bertrand Russell why I am not a christian made the argument for the myth as did Arthur Drew's book The Christ Myth (1909) and Joseph Wheless in 1930 made the argument in his book The forgery in Christianity. In recent years, George Albert Wells, has written the Jesus Legend and the Jesus Myth, Timothy Freke and Peter Gandy wrote their own books, the Jesus Mysteries and Jesus and the lost Goddess. Other proponents are Earl Doherty, Joseph Atwill, Hermann Detering and Robert M. Price.

However like all argument there are counter arguments to these, but I have at least given you some sources....so please next time do some research on the topic, just a little bit, a wee bit. Because there are scholars on this subject, both historical and biblical.

Thank you for the history lesson but perhaps my point was not clear: there are no contemporary historians who consider the Jesus Mythist position to have any value: the question of the actual existence of Jesus is not relevant to cultural and anthropological questions of human history. It's not scholarship: it's just historical revisionism.

It is also completely irrelevant to atheism. If it were shown tomorrow that Jesus really existed it would not make Christianity true.

 


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Hey, YouAre Right

  Hey,  YouAre Right ...... YUP, you is right sometimes, whatever ..... ( good cop / bad cop working towards the same goal ) ..... Bad ass RRS is doing a great job!

My atheist Jesus didn't save me , I AM saving him !  Buddha too ..... and RRS is helping my ATHEIST old buddies ....  you know, my ancient family of wise ones .... my gramps was cool ....  


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No, you said Biblical Scholar

That would be Robert M. Price a professor of Theology and Scriptural Studies. So yeah that would a modern Biblical Scholar, of course if this isn't good enough for you (which I doubt it will be since you already changed what you asked from biblical to historical now), well nothing really will be good for you, but this still makes your statement about quackery irrelevant so far.


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Ok just an aside question

Ok just an aside question for you "superfans". Obviously this badge is not handed out to all and sundry, so each of you must therefore have a choice as to whether r not to be identified in this way. In the case of each of you you have made a conscious choice that the badge "superfan" applies in some sense to yourself.

 

This being the case I'd like to ask what it is that you consider yourselves superfans of, exactly. Did you ask to be "superfans" or was it offered to you? What motivated you?

I am a member of the Richard Dawkins forum where I am a veteran member, though this was assigned to me without my asking for it. There is also a badge that I may display though I choose not to. If I did, and for those that do, display the badge to says nothing other than that I am a long time member with a posting record. While it may imply that I am a fan of the forum (I am) it does not identify me as one, and certainly not as some fan of RD (though I am that also). There are veteran members who are not atheists, they too wear the badge though they are not fans of RD.

Yet some of you see some value in self-identifying as fans of the Rational Response Squad. I venture to suggest that "fans" are not objective evaluators of that of which they are fanatically attached.


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latincanuck wrote:That would

latincanuck wrote:

That would be Robert M. Price a professor of Theology and Scriptural Studies. So yeah that would a modern Biblical Scholar, of course if this isn't good enough for you (which I doubt it will be since you already changed what you asked from biblical to historical now), well nothing really will be good for you, but this still makes your statement about quackery irrelevant so far.

My apologies. Let me clarify: a biblical scholar is a historian. That the gospels are mythical is not in question, but whether or not Jesus existed really has no relevance to the study of biblical history: it is an unprovable, yet the RRS advance it and identify with it none-the-less

Let me get this straight: Robert M Price has what? Published on the mythist position in journals? Or is this position only to be found within the pages of populist books?

Not that it is relevant to the real issue: Jesus mythism suits the RRS's needs as an apologetic position, and the RRS is involved in nothing more than counter-apologetics. The argument could be played out forever on Theology Web without resolution, so it is irrelevant by virtue of being of no consequence to the study of cultural history (which is what biblical scholarship is - the bible is a cultural artifact).


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YouAre Right wrote:1. You

YouAre Right wrote:

1. You pay money for the inside content. You can remain on the fringes but if you want to be on the inside, you gotta pay.

And this is unlike any other independently-run website how? We have server fees, domain name registrations, hardware costs, etc just like anybody else.

Quote:
2. There is no transparent accounting.

What do you want? Copies of our 1040s? We tell people where their money goes, and if that's not good enough for you, then don't donate. You are making such a fuss about the money when it's clear that we don't make enough for me or Rook to stop working and for Brian to not take money out of his personal savings (none of which is any of your business, but I digress.)

Quote:
3. "Theism is mental illness" is quack science.

I disagree, and there are professionals in the field who do as well. Call it whatever you want--it meets certain criteria and that is the determining factor. Not your opinion.

Quote:
4. Jesus Mythism is quack scholarship.

I assume you mean "mythicism"? It most certainly is not and if you can prove that the character of Jesus isn't fiction, as would be indicated by the absolute penury of evidence, then do it.

Quote:
5. The RRS is not a website.

Huh...where am I then?

Quote:
6. How long till I am banned?

Who knows? It's a mystery. How long are you going to insist on being an asshole?

Quote:
7. How often are critics banned?

As often as they turn into trolls, which fits you more and more with every post.

Quote:
8 You are sure of the finances and the tax: please provide an objective basis for your certainty or else admit that it is just something you pulled out of your ass.

Again, none of your business. What the fuck do taxes and finances matter to you--somebody who has never given us a penny? And how do you know that we don't provide more detailed information to those who do? Please, go back to whatever corner of the interwebs from which you came.

Quote:
9. The RRS wastes no opportunity to create an aura of success for itself. Google Alex Ratings for this site and see how often they are cited. Tie this to the fact that Brian Sapient encourages users to install the Alexa Toolbar (spyware) in order to up the hit count: stats matter.

We didn't "create" an aura of success--the media did a good enough job of that. Which incidentally had nothing to do with our own devious machinations. Alexa rankings are important in terms of advertiser dollars and what's wrong with asking those who visit your site to be counted so that we can all benefit from it? You are clearly a total ass on a personal vendetta here--get over yourself. Your opinion isn't the final word on anything and your lack of comprehension only confirms your utter uselessness.

Quote:
10. A definition of a cult is not difficult, but I have instead gven you a practical description. Do you disagree with my description of the factors one sees when one examines cults?

Oh, so we use quack science, but you can redefine words? Looked in the mirror lately? (BTW - if you knew anything about cults, you would know that public criticism only serves to further entrench the members and ultimately strengthens the organization. So, if you believe your own premise, your tactic is counter-productive.)


AmericanIdle
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YouAreRight wrote:Quote:stop

YouAreRight wrote:

Quote:
stop taking offense and make an effort to evaluate what I am saying without letting your own feelings get in the way.

I usually wait until someone has made some sort of valid point before I bother to "evaluate" or examine my own objectivity.  Saves me effort that I could otherwise spend on something useful.  I have yet to see you make any of the valid kind.

The RRS members have taken a steady stream of criticism since their inception which has ranged from the non-stop senseless to graphic threats of death.

Here's what bothers me most about that though.  Those same RRS members have their pictures/videos on this website, have had their real names exposed, their words in print for all the world to dissect, twist, exaggerate and take out of context.  They've laid themselves on the line making themselves vulnerable to an endless barrage of criticism.

Yet any "Assmunch" w/ a personal vendetta can saunter in here under the protection of anonymity (and a spiffy screen name) and spout whatever "crap" comes to mind, comfortable in the knowledge that the people I'm criticizing or (maligning as the case may be) will never know my name, my actual reputation, my real agenda or even if I'm a sock puppet w/ a brand new IP...

Sounds real fair doesn't it ?

But wait, there's more...an "Assmunch" doesn't even have to know what they're talking about to formulate opinions or make false assumptions...and if they did, wouldn't that have eliminated religious apologists long ago ?

Your comparison of RRS to a cult is idiotic.

You don't know enough about the people you're criticizing to even make the slightest assumption about financial impropriety, so stop talking out your ass...oh, and when I send money to RRS...I hope they spend it all on candy and gum.  Happy ?

I think I read somewhere that websites cost $$ to run.

RRS are far from the first to make comparisons to or insinuations that theism has correlation w/ mental illness.  Read your history.

Quote:
No I wasn't, I was referring to specific personal traits: an overblown sense of self-importance, and eager self-promotion.

Say hi to rathpig for me.

 

"In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act."
George Orwell


BMcD
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YouAre Right wrote:What is a

YouAre Right wrote:

What is a cult? What does one look like and how does it act?

<snipe for length>

Am I missing anything? Yeah: RRS bears the hallmarks of a wannabe cult.

By your description, the Boy Scouts of America fit the 'cult' description far more than the RRS. I pay nothing to the RRS, and if there's one thing a long-term web habit does teach you, it's how to totally not see ads.

As to 'unGod', the simplest core nugget of atheism isn't something anyone should have to pay for to find out about:

Cogito, ergo sum.

This is the only statement that can ever be shown to be indubitable. Every other statement, including the one I am typing now, can be doubted. If it can be doubted, then it cannot be known as true. If it cannot be known as true, then it cannot be invested with belief. To do so would be self-deception.

And that's it, Binky. Understanding that is all you need, and realizing that no matter how much they might desperately want to be able to say "but I can <insert sensory interaction here> X!" doesn't mean that they can trust X, or any of their senses, or any other thought they have. You can't trust your senses, because they could be lies being fed to your mind by you or someone else. You can't trust your thoughts because they're responses to untrustworthy stimuli. All you can trust is that something is doing the thinking.

That's free. It's centuries old. And it trumps everything you will find on any website.

So, criticize if you want. Call the RRS a cult if you like. The things that get folks banned here seem to be less about the criticisms they bring and more about an unwillingness to remain a civil part of the discussions going on.

As for 'the rubes are encouraged not to question this'... question it. Question everything. That's what makes the scientific method work. Be skeptical! Be rigorous in your skepticism! Never give up, never surrender! By Grap'thar's Hammer, you will be ave...errr.... strike that last bit. But question everything!

If you can prove the people here wrong, and I do mean prove, not just assert, and then correct their error, many of them are likely to thank you for the correction. In general, we like to learn. We don't much like to deal with obfuscation and misrepresentation masquerading as education/enlightenment, though.

 

BTW, the cult angle's an interesting one, and I say that as someone who's helped found a cult in the past. The First Church of the Metric Week. I'd go into our beliefs and such, but first I'm required by our oral traditions (which is most of them, at the time we formed the Cult, I was the only one w/a computer, so the others' stuff is all oral) to offer you Salvation; specifically, you agree to give us $50 US... well... let's make it $50 Canadian given the dollar these days... and we agree to never bother you with our crackpot religion again.

You'd be surprised how many people coughed up some dough when we were in college...

"You've got to remember that these are just simple farmers. These are people of the land. The common clay of the new West. You know... morons." - The Waco Kid


ronin-dog
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Firstly, thanks... I knew I

Firstly, thanks... I knew I was right all along.

You seem to be very happy thinking that everything you disagree with was pulled out of someones ass, yet reading your opening post there is so much that seems to have been pulled out of your ass that I was surprised that there is anything left. Yet you always seem to have more. You are so full of shit.

I understand what you are saying about companies like Amway, but really they are a con, not a cult. I did go to a big pep-rally thing of theirs once and they did try to whip-people up into a religious-like fervour in order to help people think less clearly, but it is still just a con tactic.

The only difference between religion and a cult is the number of followers.

 

Even if you are right, and RRS is a wanna-be cult, if you include businesses and nearly every organisation in your loose definition, so what? Your point is meaningless if you make your definition so broad.

You may as well be saying, "the RRS is totally comprised of humans! Just like religion!"

 

PS: Religion is the biggest con of all time.

 

Zen-atheist wielding Occam's katana.

Jesus said, "Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division." - Luke 12:51


I AM GOD AS YOU
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   YouAre Right , is

   YouAre Right , is wrong. RRS is NOT,

"involved in nothing more than counter-apologetics. "  There is no rule book.

For one thing, me, I AM GOD > is < here !

Putting such a label on RRS is fucking stupid. RRS is simply a public open tool for spreading discussion regarding primarily the negative effects of religion. That is why I AM here.

Yeah, the bible doesn't really matter, BUT it is BIG TIME ..... and every where .....

YOU are now RRS too .....    You have been RRS'ed .....    

 

 


YouAre Right
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kellym78 wrote:YouAre Right

kellym78 wrote:

YouAre Right wrote:

1. You pay money for the inside content. You can remain on the fringes but if you want to be on the inside, you gotta pay.

And this is unlike any other independently-run website how? We have server fees, domain name registrations, hardware costs, etc just like anybody else.

Is that where all the money goes?

kellym78 wrote:

Quote:
2. There is no transparent accounting.

What do you want? Copies of our 1040s? We tell people where their money goes, and if that's not good enough for you, then don't donate. You are making such a fuss about the money when it's clear that we don't make enough for me or Rook to stop working and for Brian to not take money out of his personal savings (none of which is any of your business, but I digress.)

So you admit that all three of you do take personal income from the donations/subscriptions? I just think you should be up front about this. Don't you?

I won't donate to your dinner - get a job - but I'll gladly support rationalist organisations.

kellym78 wrote:

Quote:
3. "Theism is mental illness" is quack science.

I disagree, and there are professionals in the field who do as well. Call it whatever you want--it meets certain criteria and that is the determining factor. Not your opinion.

Who are these professionals and what papers outline the results to which you refer? So far you have given your opinion, show me the science which states that "theism is mental illness".

Do you define delusion as mental illness? If so you are saying that anyone who falls for a magic trick is mentally ill, and you ignore whole rafts of cognitive science and psychology in the process.

kellym78 wrote:

Quote:
4. Jesus Mythism is quack scholarship.

I assume you mean "mythicism"? It most certainly is not and if you can prove that the character of Jesus isn't fiction, as would be indicated by the absolute penury of evidence, then do it.

It isn't relevant: it can't be proved either way: which is why it is just apologetics. Arguing from history towards an ideological view is nothing but.

kellym78 wrote:

Quote:
5. The RRS is not a website.

Huh...where am I then?

Wow, you really are on a website. Awesome. There was me thinking it was an abstract conception of machine functionality and programming to produce digital media, but people really live there?

kellym78 wrote:

Quote:
6. How long till I am banned?

Who knows? It's a mystery. How long are you going to insist on being an asshole?

Are you always this rational?

kellym78 wrote:

Quote:
7. How often are critics banned?

As often as they turn into trolls, which fits you more and more with every post.

Yes of course, labelling me makes it easier to fit me into a box and categorise me as unworthy of attention. Of course that would suit your ends here wouldn't it? Excommunication and disfellowshipping, call it what you like: get the ritic out the door, and call them names.

kellym78 wrote:

Quote:
8 You are sure of the finances and the tax: please provide an objective basis for your certainty or else admit that it is just something you pulled out of your ass.

Again, none of your business. What the fuck do taxes and finances matter to you--somebody who has never given us a penny?

Because a) I could give a penny, and I would want to know how such was utilised, and b) I believe that your finances are questionable and I believe that this is why you get so aggressive when the subject is raised.

kellym78 wrote:

And how do you know that we don't provide more detailed information to those who do? Please, go back to whatever corner of the interwebs from which you came.

I don't. But then that still isn't public accountability is it?
kellym78 wrote:

Quote:
9. The RRS wastes no opportunity to create an aura of success for itself. Google Alex Ratings for this site and see how often they are cited. Tie this to the fact that Brian Sapient encourages users to install the Alexa Toolbar (spyware) in order to up the hit count: stats matter.

We didn't "create" an aura of success--the media did a good enough job of that. Which incidentally had nothing to do with our own devious machinations.

Haha. You guys jump in front of the media at every opportunity.

kellym78 wrote:

Alexa rankings are important in terms of advertiser dollars and what's wrong with asking those who visit your site to be counted so that we can all benefit from it? You are clearly a total ass on a personal vendetta here--get over yourself. Your opinion isn't the final word on anything and your lack of comprehension only confirms your utter uselessness.

I just think it is interesting that the money is important to you and you admit to living off it from time to time.

kellym78 wrote:

Quote:
10. A definition of a cult is not difficult, but I have instead gven you a practical description. Do you disagree with my description of the factors one sees when one examines cults?

Oh, so we use quack science, but you can redefine words?

i never defined a word: I described characteristics which are often true of organisations which are called by that word. They are pretty well accepted characteristics.

kellym78 wrote:

Looked in the mirror lately?

Yes. I'm pleased with the result. You?

kellym78 wrote:

(BTW - if you knew anything about cults, you would know that public criticism only serves to further entrench the members and ultimately strengthens the organization. So, if you believe your own premise, your tactic is counter-productive.)

As your response shows. I accept that getting through to someone like you or Brian is not possible: you're too invested to take any objective criticism on board. But your aggression and labelling in order to negatively categorise is straight from the fundy playbook.


YouAre Right
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ronin-dog wrote:Firstly,

ronin-dog wrote:

Firstly, thanks... I knew I was right all along.

You're welcome, but I bet you weren't.

ronin-dog wrote:

You seem to be very happy thinking that everything you disagree with was pulled out of someones ass, yet reading your opening post there is so much that seems to have been pulled out of your ass that I was surprised that there is anything left. Yet you always seem to have more. You are so full of shit.

Fine objective start there. People have made objective claims without evidence - which is the same as pulling stuff out of your ass. On the other hand I provided a by-no-means complete list of characteristics evident in cultic organisations  which is pretty self explanatory but people here a) don't understand and constantly misrepresent it and b) try to rebut it with assertions of "Theism is mental illness, sure".

ronin-dog wrote:

I understand what you are saying about companies like Amway, but really they are a con, not a cult.

Then you don't know what a cult is, and you don't know who I am or what my involvement with cults might be.

Amway was/is a cult. I know it is a con, all cults are also cons, but they are more than that.

ronin-dog wrote:

I did go to a big pep-rally thing of theirs once and they did try to whip-people up into a religious-like fervour in order to help people think less clearly, but it is still just a con tactic.

The only difference between religion and a cult is the number of followers.

 

Not at all. Jehovah's witnesses are both a cult and a religion, while the local CofE is only a religion.

ronin-dog wrote:

Even if you are right, and RRS is a wanna-be cult, if you include businesses and nearly every organisation in your loose definition, so what? Your point is meaningless if you make your definition so broad.

It isn't a definition, it is a set of characteristics which are either true of an organisation or not. Cults, typically, have all of those characteristics which I outlined. You can disagree with the list if you want but I wouldn't suggest doing so, it is quite correct though incomplete.

Ask yourself if you would have disagreed with me had I been arguing that some other entity on the net, unrelated to this, a theistic entity perhaps, was a cult. What if I used the same argument in that case? Would you have difficulty in accepting the point then?

ronin-dog wrote:

You may as well be saying, "the RRS is totally comprised of humans! Just like religion!"

 

PS: Religion is the biggest con of all time.

 

I agree.

It is the nature of the organisation, its behaviours and response to criticism, the use of threats and aggression, the doublethink which sets cults apart particularly. All cults start somewhere.


Loc
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YouAre Right wrote:Ok just

YouAre Right wrote:

Ok just an aside question for you "superfans". Obviously this badge is not handed out to all and sundry, so each of you must therefore have a choice as to whether r not to be identified in this way. In the case of each of you you have made a conscious choice that the badge "superfan" applies in some sense to yourself.

 

This being the case I'd like to ask what it is that you consider yourselves superfans of, exactly. Did you ask to be "superfans" or was it offered to you? What motivated you?

I am a member of the Richard Dawkins forum where I am a veteran member, though this was assigned to me without my asking for it. There is also a badge that I may display though I choose not to. If I did, and for those that do, display the badge to says nothing other than that I am a long time member with a posting record. While it may imply that I am a fan of the forum (I am) it does not identify me as one, and certainly not as some fan of RD (though I am that also). There are veteran members who are not atheists, they too wear the badge though they are not fans of RD.

Yet some of you see some value in self-identifying as fans of the Rational Response Squad. I venture to suggest that "fans" are not objective evaluators of that of which they are fanatically attached.

Ah so you are no doubt one of the people in this thread:   http://richarddawkins.net/forum/viewtopic.php?f=20&t=39112

So nobody at RD likes the RRS. That seems evident. What do you hope to accomplish by comparing it to a cult though? In your OP, even before the end I knew you were going to say RRS is cult-ish.

Some people were given the superfan badge without asking for it. I asked for it, just because I think it's a cool way to show support and dedication, as I am unable to donate money. OMG donating money it must be a CULT!! No ones forcing me to donate anything, and I'm pretty sure I can do whatever I want with my money without being a cultist. The superfan badges are pretty recent, and I got along fine without it. I just like it.That's all.I feel indebted to the RRS for helping me so much in establishing and growing in my new atheism. That doesn't mean I'm going to commit suicide for my 'cult leader' though.

As for fans not being objective evaluators, I will admit that at times I have found myself trusting posts here simply because the people here made them. However, I noticed this and made an effort to do my own research.

I am not a brainwashed minion.I admire the work of the RRS team, and that means everyone, not just the core group.

Psalm 14:1 "the fool hath said in his heart there is a God"-From a 1763 misprinted edition of the bible

dudeofthemoment wrote:
This is getting redudnant. My patience with the unteachable[atheists] is limited.

Argument from Sadism: Theist presents argument in a wall of text with no punctuation and wrong spelling. Atheist cannot read and is forced to concede.


Archeopteryx
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YouAre Right wrote:Quote:it

 

Quote:

it needs a person [with an overblown sense of themself and an ability to blag that onto other people] to start it.

Quote:

If we remove your rhetoric (brackets), we're simply discussing any organized activity.

Quote:
No, the personality traits of the cult founders are imperative to what makes a cult cultic in the first place.

I wasn't completely disagreeing with what you said as much as I was pointing out the irony of how you were saying it. You are criticizing cult leaders of using rhetoric and yet, ironically, you are using rhetoric in your critique of them. That's all I was saying.

 

Quote:

If we allow your rhetoric, we see that you're purposely stacking the deck toward "demonstrating" that the RRS is a cult.

Quote:
Only if you see some way in which that description fits anyone in particular.

It doesn't matter who you're saying it about. Your description of cult participants uses pejorative vocabulary and therefore it is rhetoric. It is not an impartial description. When I pointed out that vegetarians could be called cultists, if we wished to call them by that name, I was pointing out that the word "cult" itself is often used rhetorically.

I think your accusing the RRS of being a "wannabe cult" is just an "overblown" way of saying you don't care for their methods of promotion.

 

 

Quote:

Says the person who was just using it to establish one of his own points.

Quote:
No I wasn't, I was referring to specific personal traits: an overblown sense of self-importance, and eager self-promotion.

 

Firstly, you didn't use the words "eager self-promotion" before.

Secondly, the words I was taking issue with were these: "overblown" and "blag".

While these words might be denotatively accurate, they are not connotatively impartial. They are connotatively biased toward the pejorative. It is on these grounds that I accuse you of using rhetoric. The word "eager self-promotion" don't have such a pejorative connotation, and so I wouldn't have accused you of rhetoric, had you said something along those lines.

 

Quote:

They also tend to pitch their "cult" as somehow life-changing.

Quote:
"Believe in god? We can fix that"

That doesn't suggest that they can change lives. That only suggests that they can argue successfully that a certain philosophical position is not true (in the sense that there are no grounds on which to say that it is).

I don't recall them every reporting that giving up your belief in God is guaranteed to be an incredibly positive experience. As a matter of fact, many people have very difficult deconversion experiences.

The word "fix" does inherently suggest that god-belief is inferior---something broken and undesirable that requires a fixer-upper---but again that doesn't suggest that the opposite position (the one held by RRS) is incredibly positive; it only suggests it is superior. But of course they think their position is superior. If they didn't, there would be no debate. So I don't think using the word "fix" is overblown.

Also, they have explained many times in the past (since you are not the first to criticize that tagline), that they are targeting fence-sitters. People who are unsure and are genuinely asking questions. If a person believes in a personal god and is absolutely uninterested in exploring the idea that there may not be, this is not demographic targeted by the RRS.

I would concede that, given their defense of the tagline, the tagline is perhaps misleading.

 

Quote:
"Believe in God? We can fix that", "Theism is a mental illness (disease)".

I've already addressed your first quote.

As for the second, there are plenty of people who disagree with their labeling religion as a "mental illness". They don't do so completely rhetorically, though. If you talked to Kelly about it, she would list you the common criteria of a "mental disorder" as listed by the DSM and explain to you how religion seems to fit. Since she and the RRS core members are literally arguing that it may be labeled a mental disorder, they cannot be accused of using "mental disorder" in a pejorative rhetorical way. They really mean it.

But, as I said before, there are plenty who don't agree.

 

 

Quote:

They see themselves as natural leaders and people of insight, and they are successful at conning some people into seeing them as such.

Quote:
I come to this site all the time, and I don't look up to anyone here as a "leader".

Quote:
Read again: "They see themselves...", then read your respose and say "non sequitur".

Read again: "and they are successful at conning some people into seeing them as such."

Then read your response and say "oops".

 

Quote:

Congratulations. I'm happy for you.

Thanks. How very sweet of you.

 

Quote:
Would they call themselves anything particular? Titular wordplay is loved by the self-aggrandizing. They like to call themselves things, and have different lines of demarcation: inner party / outer party / other.

Well, there is "founder", but that is not an arbitrary label. They founded the website, so that's a mere declaration.

Then there are the terms "administrator" and "moderator", but those are forum terms, not RRS terms.

Then there is the term "core member", which denotes those who support the site and contribute content, namely essays. Again, a perfectly fair label.

Then there are the smaller labels they hand out, such as "superfan", "science freak", "affiliate", etc.

But again, giving out ranks and labels for participation, affiliation, or expertise is a customary forum activity. It was not invented by the RRS.

The use of the "theist" label was not invented to make people feel excluded. There are theists that post regularly on the forums, and a few of them are on friendly terms with the atheist bunch. It was mostly devised as a way to prevent deception with the intent to harm (e.g. theists pretending to be atheists so that they can purposely act like assholes to purposely make the site look bad, etc). I know it sounds like something silly people wouldn't be likely to do, but crazily enough, they do it.

 

 

Quote:
Philosophy 101: give me a logical definition and I can give you the negation. The negation for any advanced concept of God would by definition be rendered unGod to denote the negation. You might also say NOT God if you like, or ¬God, or ~God, or even !God if you wanna go C.

You may have misunderstood me. I wasn't saying that "ungod" was not a philosophical position one could hold. I was saying that you can't organize people around a lack of an ideology. That's why sites like the RRS and things like the AAI convention are not just about atheism. If they were, they would have no ideology to go on, nothing to discuss (unless they just wanted to sit around hashing the same religion jokes at every meeting), nothing to accomplish.

This is why I pointed out that people who come here are politically motivated, or educationally motivated. There are ideologies there for people to endorse.

 

Quote:

Not initially, but it can be idealised can't it? And if it can then it is possible that someone might try to idealise atheism for their own personal ego and financial benefit. That is at least possible, no?

As I said, you can't make an ideology out of mere atheism.

But.

It's true that the opinions and interests of atheists do cross paths at some other places, and this is what allows them to gather together. But other atheists are not as active, and those other interests are not contingent on atheism.

 

 

Quote:

Everyone that comes to this website probably comes for a different reason. Some of us are politically motivated, looking to promote atheism and fight stereotypes; others are here because they love science and learning; others are here because they simply want to hear other points of view. There is not any one "thing" that unites this website, which is both a strength and a weakness.

Quote:
I'm talking about the Rational Response Squad. This website and its content does not constitute that entity to which I refer.

The RRS founders have multiple motivations as well. The other members of the forum may or may not share all of those motivations, or they may have motivations that the RRS founds do not.

Dan Dennett once said (at AAI, I think) that organizing atheists "is like herding cats".

This is exactly the phenomenon he was talking about. =]

 

Quote:
Like "Theism is mental illness?" and "Anonymous are out to get me"?

Again, they are being serious when they say that. They are not being rhetorical.

And even if they were, that would not be pitching atheism as highly positive, that would only be pitching theism as highly negative.

I can't speak to the anonymous situation, since I'm not familiar with whatever situation you're quoting from. (Though I know what Anonymous refers to.)

 

 

Quote:

It just asserts that rational explanations must be accepted and that irrational explanations must be abandoned.

Quote:

It goes further into advancing irrational explanations masquerading as rational.

If you disagree with their atheistic position, start arguing and stop flaming.

 

 

Quote:

You'd practically have to call us a cult of "un-santa-claus-ists" if you wanted to pursue this course.

Quote:
No, the RRS is not defined by its stance against Santa.

Sure it is. Ask them for their mission statement.

They fight "irrational claims", including god concepts, but not at all excluding Santa Claus.

They are not the "atheist response squad", are they?

 

 

Quote:

Not all of it. Correct your facts: you must pay for the inside stuff: Rook's "college" courses are only open to subscribers, no? There is plenty of content which is pay-per-view.

Right. They do radio shows and the like that are only available to subscribers, but that's because they need to generate content to make a profit, because websites cost money, and they would like to continue having a website, and they would like to improve on the website they do have.

However, their shows largely consist of discussions and interviews. There is no actual information that is being withheld. It's like distinguishing the news from the features.

 

I don't participate in Rook's college, but I assume that it is a place where Rook passes down what he has learned to other members in the form of lessons. But again, the information that Rook has studied is publicly available, as is all scholarly information. Paying for Rook's college is just a matter of paying to learn from a specific teacher.

 

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Are you saying that someone who is not forthcoming in matters of financial fidelity is a scammer? I'd say that lack of financial transparency in a campaigning organisation which solicits contributions is highly questionable. Wouldn't you?

Are you as certain of the financial propriety of the RRS as the others here? If so, what objective grounds do you have? So far nobody has offered anything on this score.

I don't see anything questionable about the way they handle finances. They make money from advertising, they sell merchandise, they have subscriptions for content they generate, and they accept donations---all of which are common practices on internet websites.

You might question how the money is being used, since they don't offer a publicly available record of their purchases, but most websites don't. I don't think the RRS have ever claimed to be non-profit, so I don't see your issue.

 

 

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Charities ask for donations. Would you call charities cults?

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Charities must be transparent. Did you not know this? They are audited and regulated.

I'll gladly concede you that.

It's not out of the ordinary for a website to offer donations, though, charity or not.

 

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Is the RRS a charity? What is it then? Are the incomes set against personal taxation as a private sole-trader business? Cui Bono?

No, they're not, and I never claimed they were. I was simply asking if you would consider a charity a cult. I never said anything about the RRS qualifying as one.

 

 

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For the website side. I take it you haven't formed a local chapter and you don't subscribe, though you are a superfan.

Forming a local chapter is optional.

Subscribing is optional.

I would consider subscribing if I had a more steady income.

I have a superfan badge because I am, in fact, a fan. And it was free. And optional.

 

 

 

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On its own yes, but it's a whole bag of tricks together which identifies a cult. Think of it as a continuum: wholly meritorious organisations run on altruisitic principles will be at one end, and selfish consuming organisations which prey on vulnerable people and con them while selling them a "fix" are at the other. The more of those little boxes you tick the further down the scale you slide.

So you think the RRS is more along the lines of a selfish consuming organization that preys on innocent people while conning them and selling them a fix?

Again, they've never claimed to be a non-profit website, so you can't accuse them of "preying" for making a profit off their site.

As for offering a "fix".... what was the "fix" again?

 

 

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Would you accuse every black American that cheered for MLK as participating in cult behavior?

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No. But objectively some of them might be. At least many of them would be pretty easy prey for cults: Black Panthers?

Some atheists are probably cultish as well (which is why there have been articles written condemning "dogmatic atheism&quotEye-wink, but overall they and their complaints about theism are very diverse. (This includes those who support the site.)

 

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Thank you but please spare me the English lessons. Free speech has nothing to do with anyone grinning and bearing it.

I'm sorry, but weren't you the one who suggested that RRS didn't allow criticism?

If you don't want me to offer certain counter-arguments, then perhaps you shouldn't make suggestions that elicit them.

 

 

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Why was Rathpig banned?

Maybe you should ask an administrator/moderator? It's not like they're hiding anything. Send a PM or something.

 

 

 

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"Theism is a mental illness" is quack science without a shred of empirical support.

As long as they are using real science to back up the claim, then it is not quack science. It is, at best, a weak claim.

They are unique in their attempt to have religion classified as a mental disorder, but I don't know that they've exercised any intellectual dishonesty so far. If you know that they have, I'd be glad to read your criticisms, and I'm sure so would they.

 

 

 

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Whereas, again, the RRS is open to questioning.

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Is it? Then where are the accounts?

I'm not going to scour the forum for every argument, but I know they've recently been contested over giving people the "scientist" label because it was misleading, which is why it was changed to "science freak".

They've been contested over their tagline (also questioned by you), they've been questioned over whether the denial in the BC videos was actually blasphemy, they've been challenged on national television by Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron to defend their position (and did so), and they often have their position challenged on the website and, as I understand, even on their show.

Most recently, I think, they were contested over their use of the terms "historian" and "professional" to refer to Rook (some of the protesters included questioners "from within" ). The RRS founders didn't think it was inappropriate to use those terms to describe Rook, but they eventually acknowledged that others might not approve and admitted they would take it into consideration in the future.

If you have a specific complaint, then take it up.

 

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I'm not here to debate science with the forum, I'm here to question the Rational Response Squad.

And in doing so, you are accusing them of scientific quackery, and therefore you are here to debate science. Otherwise you are making "unsupported claims".

If you feel that some bit of information they've offered as science is questionable, then say so. Is it the "mental illness" thing? Cool. Awesome. Start a thread and make your case.

Are you making a case, or are you just name-calling?

 

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You can defend them if you want but please stop confusing concepts: this website is not the Rational Response Squad which consists of founding/core members, organisation members and subscribers - others who wear the badge.

Maybe it's you who has your concepts confused?

Most everyone on the forum uses the term "RRS" to refer to the website and the body of individuals that participate on the site regularly, subscribers or not.

If you have a problem specifically with Brian, Kelly, and Rook, then you might want to start referring to them as the site founders or by "Brian, Kelly, and Rook".

 

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But you don't get the good stuff then do you? You get the forum, but hey they're ten a penny. Oh of course there Kelly's blog where she makes shit up and apologises that its not an "official" thesis (whatever an unofficial one is).

No, I don't get the subscription content, but who cares? Like I said, that's how sites stay afloat. They have a website, it doesn't claim to be non-profit, and it needs to keep itself up and running. The fact that they ask people to pay for certain things is not at all questionable.

Kelly can say whatever she wants in her blog. It is, after all, a blog.

 

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People gotta be accountable for what they do. If an organisation wants to put itself forward as a campaigning "theist delusion fixer" and internet rationalist portal then it has to be transparent and above reproach. No?

Only if it's claiming to be a non-profit website.

 

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Where does the money go?

It's not a non-profit website, so who cares?

Considering that the site is still up and running and has even been recently upgraded, I think it's safe to say that the money is not squandered solely on beer and porno movies.

 

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How much is it?

Not a non-profit site, so who cares?

 

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What is the nature of the RRS organisation? Is is a body of any sort?

It's an organization? I thought it was just a website run by a group of friends.

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Are there articles of association?

No, idea, since I'm not involved in running the website.

 

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How do we know this is not just a group of self-appointed air-heads with a tidy scam for raking in a few bucks off the back of a resurgent atheism?

Well we know they're not airheads, since they've demonstrated that they're learned.

Again, they don't claim to be non-profit, so I don't see how taking the money we give them can be considered a scam.

 

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On the other hand the Richard Dawkins Foundation has jumped through countless hoops in order to comply with the highest standards of regulation and oversight.

It also claims charity status. The RRS website does not.

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Not strictly: but spinning and manipulating statistics and then trumpeting them is very much cultic since it implies messing with the information flow in order to produce a desired result.

I don't remember them ever posting any actual statistics, so I know of no statistics for them to spin or twist. They do claim popular status, though. On what grounds, I'll admit that I do not know, as I've never wondered or cared. I'm here for the conversations.

 

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I have been clear in the terms I have used and how they apply. The sense in which I am referring to a cult is not the way that vegetarianism might be termed a cult. Please do not equivocate my meanings in order to make your point.

I only say this because it's obvious that you don't trust the RRS and disapprove of the way they manage their website. Therefore, it's very likely that you're only calling them a cult because you wish to see them in a pejorative light.

Using much of your same criteria, I could probably make a pretty good case that World of Warcraft is a cult, but only if I wanted to associate the popular online game with a commonly negative term.

Maybe you are, in fact, being completely sincere in calling the RRS a cult, but if you want to convince everyone else that the RRS should be considered a cult, you will probably have a slippery slope to climb.

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


YouAre Right
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Sorry the broken quotamid

Sorry the broken quotamid makes it impossible to respond to your post properly.

i'll try to tackle what I can get at:

my description of a cult leader is not hyperbole. I am referring to people such as Charles Taze Russell, The Reverend Sun Myung Moon, L. Ron. Hubbard. Their self-promotion knows no bounds, their ego no limit, and their self-assessment is always overblown. This isn't rhetoric, just words with meaning: I mean what I'm saying, not going for effect.

I did say "self-promotion", "eager" came later, I stand by both.

Mental disorders are not diagnosed via a dictionary. And we're talking stronger terminology than "disorder" which can include delusion but not necessarily illusion: illness goes further. If illness is not what is meant then by all means drop the term. Religion as a mental disorder can be loosely defined, in the same way that falling for a magic trick can be a mental disorder: it is not an illness which needs a cure or a "fix".

"We can fix that" implies a lot more than simply "we have logic".

You were claiming not to have been led to believe that they are leaders, therefore you were not covered by my point, but you still addressed it as though you were. I know it may seem subtle but its quite clear really if you thnk about what is included and what is excluded by the words I used, then think about where your response met that (or not as the case may be).

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I can't speak to the anonymous situation, since I'm not familiar with whatever situation you're quoting from. (Though I know what Anonymous refers to.)

Enlighten thyself:

Enlightnement awaits Eye-wink

By the way, for what its worth, I am SpaghettiSawUs on RD.net, and fwisong on RnR.


I AM GOD AS YOU
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It's amazing and rather

   It's amazing and rather sad how dumb the freshmen can often be ..... ummm, so thats life as we presently know it .....  so put loving healing indignation on the freshmen .....        

I would certainly hope that the founders and hands on workers that make this important site available to the whole wide world, would in fact be enjoying a very comfortable living and sharing their vacation photos taken from around the world, with renewed energy and devotion to the RRS cause. I love the RRS and all such sites. Kill god of abe  ...... Make RRS GOD , Like ME, hey,  we are ONE !     


Archeopteryx
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YouAre Right wrote:Sorry the

YouAre Right wrote:

Sorry the broken quotamid makes it impossible to respond to your post properly.

I realized that and fixed it as soon as possible. You may try again, now that I've fixed the tags.

 

 

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my description of a cult leader is not hyperbole. I am referring to people such as Charles Taze Russell, The Reverend Sun Myung Moon, L. Ron. Hubbard. Their self-promotion knows no bounds, their ego no limit, and their self-assessment is always overblown. This isn't rhetoric, just words with meaning: I mean what I'm saying, not going for effect.

Alright then. So you really mean it. Your case is still lousy.

 

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I did say "self-promotion", "eager" came later, I stand by both.

And I didn't complain about "self-promotion". I specifically state what words I was objecting to.

 

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Mental disorders are not diagnosed via a dictionary. And we're talking stronger terminology than "disorder" which can include delusion but not necessarily illusion: illness goes further. If illness is not what is meant then by all means drop the term. Religion as a mental disorder can be loosely defined, in the same way that falling for a magic trick can be a mental disorder: it is not an illness which needs a cure or a "fix".

I'll let Kelly debate you over whether or not the term should actually apply. The only point I cared to get across was that she means it literally, not rhetorically.

 

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"We can fix that" implies a lot more than simply "we have logic".

Did I deny its connotations?

 

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You were claiming not to have been led to believe that they are leaders, therefore you were not covered by my point, but you still addressed it as though you were. I know it may seem subtle but its quite clear really if you thnk about what is included and what is excluded by the words I used, then think about where your response met that (or not as the case may be).

Just because I'm not the target of your assault doesn't mean I don't get to disagree with you.

 

So....?

 

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By the way, for what its worth, I am SpaghettiSawUs on RD.net, and fwisong on RnR.

That's okay. I don't exactly find you charming thus far.

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


YouAre Right
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Sorry the broken quotamid

Sorry the broken quotamid makes it impossible to respond to your post properly.

i'll try to tackle what I can get at:

my description of a cult leader is not hyperbole. I am referring to people such as Charles Taze Russell, The Reverend Sun Myung Moon, L. Ron. Hubbard. Their self-promotion knows no bounds, their ego no limit, and their self-assessment is always overblown. This isn't rhetoric, just words with meaning: I mean what I'm saying, not going for effect.

I did say "self-promotion", "eager" came later, I stand by both.

Mental disorders are not diagnosed via a dictionary. And we're talking stronger terminology than "disorder" which can include delusion but not necessarily illusion: illness goes further. If illness is not what is meant then by all means drop the term. Religion as a mental disorder can be loosely defined, in the same way that falling for a magic trick can be a mental disorder: it is not an illness which needs a cure or a "fix".

"We can fix that" implies a lot more than simply "we have logic".

You were claiming not to have been led to believe that they are leaders, therefore you were not covered by my point, but you still addressed it as though you were. I know it may seem subtle but its quite clear really if you thnk about what is included and what is excluded by the words I used, then think about where your response met that (or not as the case may be).

Quote:
I can't speak to the anonymous situation, since I'm not familiar with whatever situation you're quoting from. (Though I know what Anonymous refers to.)

Enlighten thyself:

Enlightnement awaits Eye-wink

By the way, for what its worth, I am SpaghettiSawUs on RD.net, and fwisong on RnR.


Archeopteryx
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 I already got that one. 

 

I already got that one.

 


I AM GOD AS YOU
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The world IS fucking sick

  The world IS fucking sick in god delusion, because of religion.  "Believe in (a religious) GOD , we can fix that" , ( so we hope and will try)

One sure way to get attention is to start a fight ..... To fight the "good fight" you have to get people debating,  ..... the SWORD atheist Jesus called it .... "I have not come to bring peace" (with the hypocrites) but a sword, to insist you make a stand , even if that divides "mother and daughter, father and son" ..... This didn't mean to hurt anyone , but to turn your dead brains on ...... THANKS RRS , as atheist jesus  would all approve ...... 


YouAre Right
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Archeopteryx wrote: It

Archeopteryx wrote:

 It doesn't matter who you're saying it about. Your description of cult participants

I'm talking about the founders in the "rhetoric" to which you refer, not to the participants. The founders are combinations of these two: 

http://www.apa.org/journals/features/psp7761121.pdf

http://members.shaw.ca/jeanaltemeyer/drbob/TheAuthoritarians.pdf

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uses pejorative vocabulary and therefore it is rhetoric.

get back to me on that after you've digested the above links.
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It is not an impartial description. When I pointed out that vegetarians could be called cultists, if we wished to call them by that name, I was pointing out that the word "cult" itself is often used rhetorically.

I am not using it rhetorically: I'm using it literally.
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I think your accusing the RRS of being a "wannabe cult" is just an "overblown" way of saying you don't care for their methods of promotion.

 

You think wrong: I believe they are a wannabe cult because that's what they look like.

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They also tend to pitch their "cult" as somehow life-changing.

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"Believe in god? We can fix that"

That doesn't suggest that they can change lives. That only suggests that they can argue successfully that a certain philosophical position is not true (in the sense that there are no grounds on which to say that it is).

I don't recall them every reporting that giving up your belief in God is guaranteed to be an incredibly positive experience. As a matter of fact, many people have very difficult deconversion experiences.

The word "fix" does inherently suggest that god-belief is inferior---something broken and undesirable that requires a fixer-upper---but again that doesn't suggest that the opposite position (the one held by RRS) is incredibly positive; it only suggests it is superior. But of course they think their position is superior. If they didn't, there would be no debate. So I don't think using the word "fix" is overblown.

Also, they have explained many times in the past (since you are not the first to criticize that tagline), that they are targeting fence-sitters. People who are unsure and are genuinely asking questions. If a person believes in a personal god and is absolutely uninterested in exploring the idea that there may not be, this is not demographic targeted by the RRS.

I would concede that, given their defense of the tagline, the tagline is perhaps misleading.

I would say that it makes a questionable claim, and I would question the rationality of someone who made that claim. I have been involved in cult exit counselling and "deprogramming" (it isn't really called that, but people will know what I mean) for some years: neither I nor any professional in the field (I am not a professional) would make a similar claim and I do help people to cast off the chains of irrational belief.
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"Believe in God? We can fix that", "Theism is a mental illness (disease)".

I've already addressed your first quote.

As for the second, there are plenty of people who disagree with their labeling religion as a "mental illness". They don't do so completely rhetorically, though.

They don't do so at all rhetorically.
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If you talked to Kelly about it, she would list you the common criteria of a "mental disorder" as listed by the DSM and explain to you how religion seems to fit.

And I would explain to her how her shoehorning of the definitions actually mangles the science, but I bet she wouldn't be open to this.

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Since she and the RRS core members are literally arguing that it may be labelled a mental disorder, they cannot be accused of using "mental disorder" in a pejorative rhetorical way. They really mean it.

Sure they do, and they're wrong.

The DSM does not list theism as a mental disorder: as Kelly and Brian well know. Diagnostics do not proceed on the basis of interpretive apologetics from medical books.

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They see themselves as natural leaders and people of insight, and they are successful at conning some people into seeing them as such.

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I come to this site all the time, and I don't look up to anyone here as a "leader".

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Read again: "They see themselves...", then read your respose and say "non sequitur".

Read again: "and they are successful at conning some people into seeing them as such."

Then read your response and say "oops".

You still don't see it. You claim to not be one of those people, therefore your personal testimony had no bearing on my point.

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Would they call themselves anything particular? Titular wordplay is loved by the self-aggrandizing. They like to call themselves things, and have different lines of demarcation: inner party / outer party / other.

Well, there is "founder", but that is not an arbitrary label. They founded the website, so that's a mere declaration.

Then there are the terms "administrator" and "moderator", but those are forum terms, not RRS terms.

Then there is the term "core member", which denotes those who support the site and contribute content, namely essays. Again, a perfectly fair label.

Then there are the smaller labels they hand out, such as "superfan", "science freak", "affiliate", etc.

But again, giving out ranks and labels for participation, affiliation, or expertise is a customary forum activity. It was not invented by the RRS.

If I ask you to tell me who belongs to which group: inner core or outer membership you have no problem in identifying where everyone sits. Cults are always keen to maintain an in group and an out group: if you aint a subscriber you aint anywhere near the in-group, are you?
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Philosophy 101: give me a logical definition and I can give you the negation. The negation for any advanced concept of God would by definition be rendered unGod to denote the negation. You might also say NOT God if you like, or ¬God, or ~God, or even !God if you wanna go C.

You may have misunderstood me. I wasn't saying that "ungod" was not a philosophical position one could hold. I was saying that you can't organize people around a lack of an ideology.

Perhaps now would be a good time to remind you that pretty much anything can be turned into an ideology. Rationalism certainly, atheism, without much difficulty.

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Not initially, but it can be idealised can't it? And if it can then it is possible that someone might try to idealise atheism for their own personal ego and financial benefit. That is at least possible, no?

As I said, you can't make an ideology out of mere atheism.

Oh yes you can. But then you're not claiming that the RRS is about mere atheism so again your counter-point misses.
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The RRS founders have multiple motivations as well. The other members of the forum may or may not share all of those motivations, or they may have motivations that the RRS founds do not.

Or they may never have questioned the motivations of the RRS, identifying with them in the great enlightenment as they do they might proceed on an assumption that the RRS is a really well respected entity within the netland of atheist activism..
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Dan Dennett once said (at AAI, I think) that organizing atheists "is like herding cats".

This is exactly the phenomenon he was talking about. =]

I agree with Dennett: organising ideologues of any description is a piece of cake however, especially when there's money to be made and celebrity to be had for the ego centric.
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Like "Theism is mental illness?" and "Anonymous are out to get me"?

Again, they are being serious when they say that. They are not being rhetorical.

Yes I know they are being serious: that's the fucking problem.

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If you disagree with their atheistic position, start arguing and stop flaming.

I'm not flaming. I am arguing.
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You'd practically have to call us a cult of "un-santa-claus-ists" if you wanted to pursue this course.

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No, the RRS is not defined by its stance against Santa.

Sure it is. Ask them for their mission statement.

They fight "irrational claims", including god concepts, but not at all excluding Santa Claus.

They are not the "atheist response squad", are they?

They are not "rational".
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Not all of it. Correct your facts: you must pay for the inside stuff: Rook's "college" courses are only open to subscribers, no? There is plenty of content which is pay-per-view.

Right. They do radio shows and the like that are only available to subscribers, but that's because they need to generate content to make a profit, because websites cost money, and they would like to continue having a website, and they would like to improve on the website they do have.

However, their shows largely consist of discussions and interviews. There is no actual information that is being withheld. It's like distinguishing the news from the features.

I don't participate in Rook's college, but I assume that it is a place where Rook passes down what he has learned to other members in the form of lessons. But again, the information that Rook has studied is publicly available, as is all scholarly information. Paying for Rook's college is just a matter of paying to learn from a specific teacher.

"Teacher".
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Are you saying that someone who is not forthcoming in matters of financial fidelity is a scammer? I'd say that lack of financial transparency in a campaigning organisation which solicits contributions is highly questionable. Wouldn't you?

Are you as certain of the financial propriety of the RRS as the others here? If so, what objective grounds do you have? So far nobody has offered anything on this score.

I don't see anything questionable about the way they handle finances. They make money from advertising, they sell merchandise, they have subscriptions for content they generate, and they accept donations---all of which are common practices on internet websites.

You might question how the money is being used, since they don't offer a publicly available record of their purchases, but most websites don't. I don't think the RRS have ever claimed to be non-profit, so I don't see your issue.

Does everyone contributing to the cost of the server realise that such funds may actually be used for other purposes. When soliciting donations does it not make sense to have a transparent system of accounting for them? Or do people not care what they do with your money? I would want to know that at least some specific corporate governance is in place: and there is none such. Kelly has pretty much admitted itt that they use the funds for living expenses: i.e. personal income. Are all subscribers happy to pay for Brian's dinner and Rook's laundry?
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Charities ask for donations. Would you call charities cults?

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Charities must be transparent. Did you not know this? They are audited and regulated.

I'll gladly concede you that.

It's not out of the ordinary for a website to offer donations, though, charity or not.

Really: it is not out of the ordinary for theistic internet celeb sites to solicit donations, but any good site which does provides full transparency as to expenditure.
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Is the RRS a charity? What is it then? Are the incomes set against personal taxation as a private sole-trader business? Cui Bono?

No, they're not, and I never claimed they were. I was simply asking if you would consider a charity a cult. I never said anything about the RRS qualifying as one.

So what are they? The answer to this question has a direct bearing ont what they can and cannot do, and what claims they can and cannot make.

 

To a legitimate organisation registration as non-profit is a small price to pay for the legitimacy and oversight that result. What has prevent Brian from doing this? It is his intention, apparently.

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For the website side. I take it you haven't formed a local chapter and you don't subscribe, though you are a superfan.

Forming a local chapter is optional.

Subscribing is optional.

I would consider subscribing if I had a more steady income.

And you think its worth paying for?
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I have a superfan badge because I am, in fact, a fan. And it was free. And optional.

What are you a fan of?
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On its own yes, but it's a whole bag of tricks together which identifies a cult. Think of it as a continuum: wholly meritorious organisations run on altruisitic principles will be at one end, and selfish consuming organisations which prey on vulnerable people and con them while selling them a "fix" are at the other. The more of those little boxes you tick the further down the scale you slide.

So you think the RRS is more along the lines of a selfish consuming organization that preys on innocent people while conning them and selling them a fix?

In one.
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Again, they've never claimed to be a non-profit website, so you can't accuse them of "preying" for making a profit off their site.

As for offering a "fix".... what was the "fix" again?

Bill bloggs starts a campaigning website full of misinformation.

Bill bloggs makes claims about the content, and uses words like "rational" and "logical" to describe it. Bill attracts people who are coming to appreciate the benefits of a rational world-view, but have not yet made the full transition. Bill convinces these people that what they are getting it rationalism, whereas really it is just anti-theist apologetics and rhetoric performed by self-appointed "people of learning".

Bill is a fucking con-merchant, no?

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Would you accuse every black American that cheered for MLK as participating in cult behavior?

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No. But objectively some of them might be. At least many of them would be pretty easy prey for cults: Black Panthers?

Some atheists are probably cultish as well (which is why there have been articles written condemning "dogmatic atheism&quotEye-wink, but overall they and their complaints about theism are very diverse. (This includes those who support the site.)

Yes they are, and the RRS is a prime example: Brian "Sapient" Cutler,  Kelly the non-scientist and Rook the non-historian are the inner clique sponging off the membership.
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Thank you but please spare me the English lessons. Free speech has nothing to do with anyone grinning and bearing it.

I'm sorry, but weren't you the one who suggested that RRS didn't allow criticism?

If you don't want me to offer certain counter-arguments, then perhaps you shouldn't make suggestions that elicit them.

Your point was not a counter argument: you confused free speech with the reaction to free speech: I was merely pointing out your error of equivocation.
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Why was Rathpig banned?

Maybe you should ask an administrator/moderator? It's not like they're hiding anything. Send a PM or something.

Well I've asked openly in the thread, but no response yet.

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"Theism is a mental illness" is quack science without a shred of empirical support.

As long as they are using real science to back up the claim, then it is not quack science. It is, at best, a weak claim.

They are not using real science, they are quotemining certain defined mental disorders and equivocating the objective terms in order to include a specific definition of theism: it is just begging the question, and science does not agree with their assessment.

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They are unique in their attempt to have religion classified as a mental disorder, but I don't know that they've exercised any intellectual dishonesty so far. If you know that they have, I'd be glad to read your criticisms, and I'm sure so would they.

Yeah right. I got called a troll and an assmunch so far. Quoteining scientific definitions to fit your preconceived notion is intellectually dishonest - ask any creationist.

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Are you making a case, or are you just name-calling?

No I'm making a case, but I can see why a self-described fan might fail to see it. 

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You can defend them if you want but please stop confusing concepts: this website is not the Rational Response Squad which consists of founding/core members, organisation members and subscribers - others who wear the badge.

Maybe it's you who has your concepts confused?

Most everyone on the forum uses the term "RRS" to refer to the website and the body of individuals that participate on the site regularly, subscribers or not.

Sure they do, but I have been clear in the definition I intended so there is no need to be confused anymore.
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If you have a problem specifically with Brian, Kelly, and Rook, then you might want to start referring to them as the site founders or by "Brian, Kelly, and Rook".

Are you "The RRS"? Are the other forum participants here the RRS? No. The RRS is an abstract entity headed by these people.
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But you don't get the good stuff then do you? You get the forum, but hey they're ten a penny. Oh of course there Kelly's blog where she makes shit up and apologises that its not an "official" thesis (whatever an unofficial one is).

No, I don't get the subscription content, but who cares? Like I said, that's how sites stay afloat. They have a website, it doesn't claim to be non-profit, and it needs to keep itself up and running. The fact that they ask people to pay for certain things is not at all questionable.

Do they ask you to pay for dinner? Apparently that is where the subs often go to stop Brian dipping into his own money.
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Kelly can say whatever she wants in her blog. It is, after all, a blog.

Of course she can, and she can excuse two weeks of writing a poor essay on the basis that going to the library was too much like hard work so to be happy with a "unofficial thesis". I'm not questioning her blogging, I'm questioning her objectivity and commitment to fact above ideololgy.
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People gotta be accountable for what they do. If an organisation wants to put itself forward as a campaigning "theist delusion fixer" and internet rationalist portal then it has to be transparent and above reproach. No?

Only if it's claiming to be a non-profit website.

And if it is claiming to be using the money for something which it actually isn't.

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Where does the money go?

It's not a non-profit website, so who cares?

Anyone who subscribes thinking that they are paying server costs but instead finds out that they got last night's dinner in might care. Or perhaps if you paid for someone to make a video of themselves getting drunk, and discovered that you had bought the beer, and that the video was available only on pay-per-view, then might care.
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Considering that the site is still up and running and has even been recently upgraded, I think it's safe to say that the money is not squandered solely on beer and porno movies.

Should any of it be? Is any of it solicited on the understanding that it might well be spent on personal entertainment and physical sustenance of a wannabe atheist celebrity club?
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How much is it?

Not a non-profit site, so who cares?

 

You don't really think about these things very deeply do you?
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What is the nature of the RRS organisation? Is is a body of any sort?

It's an organization? I thought it was just a website run by a group of friends.

So a website run by a group of friends debated WOTM in a TV studio?
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Are there articles of association?

No, idea, since I'm not involved in running the website.

And of course, you don't care. Don't forget that.

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How do we know this is not just a group of self-appointed air-heads with a tidy scam for raking in a few bucks off the back of a resurgent atheism?

Well we know they're not airheads, since they've demonstrated that they're learned.

ORLY? Where is the evidence that they are learned: their blog musings?
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Again, they don't claim to be non-profit, so I don't see how taking the money we give them can be considered a scam.

Again: if it is solicited for one purpose but used for another it is fraudulent, no?
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On the other hand the Richard Dawkins Foundation has jumped through countless hoops in order to comply with the highest standards of regulation and oversight.

It also claims charity status. The RRS website does not.

It claims charity status for a reason: corporate governance and protection for contributors who can be assured that the organisation adheres to the highest ethics expected by law.
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Not strictly: but spinning and manipulating statistics and then trumpeting them is very much cultic since it implies messing with the information flow in order to produce a desired result.

I don't remember them ever posting any actual statistics, so I know of no statistics for them to spin or twist. They do claim popular status, though. On what grounds, I'll admit that I do not know, as I've never wondered or cared. I'm here for the conversations.

Sure you are. But you don't think that taking steps to deliberately up the hit count on Alexa, and then citing that hit count as evidence of "#1 Atheist website" is pre-heating the oven somewhat? Stats are important to some, massaged/artificially inflated stats are useful for making certain claims.

Step 1: up the stats.

Step 2: claim something off the back of that.

In practice this is "install alexa"; "hey look, Alexa says we're #1 therefore we're #1".

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I have been clear in the terms I have used and how they apply. The sense in which I am referring to a cult is not the way that vegetarianism might be termed a cult. Please do not equivocate my meanings in order to make your point.

I only say this because it's obvious that you don't trust the RRS and disapprove of the way they manage their website. Therefore, it's very likely that you're only calling them a cult because you wish to see them in a pejorative light.

Up until a month ago I had known of the RRS, had occasionally looked in here, but remained ambivalent: a "horses for courses" kind of guy. Of late this position has changed to that reflected in my posts here. It is a conclusion not an assumption.
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Using much of your same criteria, I could probably make a pretty good case that World of Warcraft is a cult, but only if I wanted to associate the popular online game with a commonly negative term.

And only if you again missed the point entirely.

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Maybe you are, in fact, being completely sincere in calling the RRS a cult, but if you want to convince everyone else that the RRS should be considered a cult, you will probably have a slippery slope to climb.

I am, in fact claiming that the RRS is well on the road to cult-hood. I am not alone in this observation and I encourage you and others to follow events away from this server for a more rounded view.