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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Archeopteryx wrote:Quote: my

Archeopteryx wrote:

Quote:

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.

asserting that does not make it so.

Do you disagree with me that a cult will exhibit strongly all of the characteristics listed in the OP?

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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.

And I specifically addressed that.
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"We can fix that" implies a lot more than simply "we have logic".

Did I deny its connotations?

No, but you skirted around them for some reason rather than deal with them outright.

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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.

 

Sure, but don't complain when I pull you up for the fact that the reason you give for your disagreement doesn't logically entail the point I was making: in that case it would not be a counter-point but instead a non-sequitur because of a previously misunderstood point .

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So....?

You said you were unaware of the background behind my "Anonymous are gonna get me" reference. It is at that link.
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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.

Charm is never something I try to cultivate on the net, but in real life i'm a real nice guy. Honest.

 

 


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http://richarddawkins.net/for

 

http://richarddawkins.net/forum/viewtopic.php?p=714124#p714124

 

Just click and keep reading. Incidentally a number of people previously supportive of the RRS have changed position as a result of the things reported there and elsewhere.

Commentary on this thread starts here:

http://richarddawkins.net/forum/viewtopic.php?p=785258#p785258

There you go, there is a wider breadth of argument and observation there, feel free to join in and counter anything you disagree with.


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Marks of a Troll

There is a common mindset I've witnessed (and even been guilty of) in online forums that one can gain a certain status amongst ones percieved peers by getting banned/booted/delisted whatever from forums advocating ideas with which we don't agree.

It's a 'see how dangerous and right I am, they are skeeered of me...' kind of thing.

No matter that you actually have to hack the system, or perform some act that would get ANYONE banned, in your mind it was because you were such a threat to the 'man'...

LC >;-}>

 

Christianity: A disgusting middle eastern blood cult, based in human sacrifice, with sacraments of cannibalism and vampirism, whose highest icon is of a near naked man hanging in torment from a device of torture.


nigelTheBold
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YouAre Right wrote:No the

YouAre Right wrote:

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.

Wow. So any financially self-sustaining membership-driven organization would appear to be a cult. Cub Scouts, for instance. The Girls Scouts get their members to sell merchandise for profit. Now that's a cult. But their dogma-laced cookies are quite delicious.

I believe there has to be some form of blind acceptance of dogma to go along with "cult" status.

YouAre Right wrote:

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.

Pretty much every website tries to up its membership by increasing visibility. What you're describing isn't a "cult," it's the internet.

YouAre Right wrote:

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.

The stop using it as a definition.

You have very specious arguments. Cults share many similarities with other social organizations, because, guess what? They are a social organization! Oh, wow. You've stumbled onto some great insight there.

The key defining factors of a cult are a dogmatic willingness to accept the leaders as divinely-inspired, and the willingness of the members to subjugate themselves to the leaders. None of the founders here have ever demonstrated a desire to enforce their views. They present their views, and are willing to defend them, but they certainly don't enforce them in any way.

How is this different from any other social organization founded on common interest?

YouAre Right wrote:

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.

Wow!

How many unfounded assertions are in those two paragraphs? There's a whole lot of allegation with no evidence. None whatsoever. Present evidence, rather than innuendo; otherwise, you amount to nothing more than a poorly-argued troll.

Oh, and for the record:

Hey, Sapient! Fuck off, you cult-forming bastard!

"Yes, I seriously believe that consciousness is a product of a natural process. I find that the neuroscientists, psychologists, and philosophers who proceed from that premise are the ones who are actually making useful contributions to our understanding of the mind." - PZ Myers


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Louis_Cypher wrote:There is

Louis_Cypher wrote:

There is a common mindset I've witnessed (and even been guilty of) in online forums that one can gain a certain status amongst ones percieved peers by getting banned/booted/delisted whatever from forums advocating ideas with which we don't agree.

It's a 'see how dangerous and right I am, they are skeeered of me...' kind of thing.

No matter that you actually have to hack the system, or perform some act that would get ANYONE banned, in your mind it was because you were such a threat to the 'man'...

LC >;-}>

 

Indeed, I was thinking the very same thing. This seems very similiar to when theists come and bet they will get banned for not agreeing on ideas and and arguing a different position. Then when they break an actual rule and get banned, they no doubt think their claim was vindicated.

(Note to OP:I'm not saying you're a theist, in case you tell them back at RD.net we pulled the christian troll card or something)

some RD guy wrote:

Though I get the impression that it'll degenerate into stfu and gtfo before long. Or just a ban+ignore special.

It just seems to me the point of this whole exercise is to goad people as far as you can then see if you get banned. At which point-victory! Though I do not believe for a second you would get banned without sufficient reason, like breaking one of the forum rules.

 

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.


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YouAre Right wrote:No I

YouAre Right wrote:

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

Ah. For Halloween, were you pot, or kettle?

"Yes, I seriously believe that consciousness is a product of a natural process. I find that the neuroscientists, psychologists, and philosophers who proceed from that premise are the ones who are actually making useful contributions to our understanding of the mind." - PZ Myers


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Louis_Cypher wrote:There is

Louis_Cypher wrote:

There is a common mindset I've witnessed (and even been guilty of) in online forums that one can gain a certain status amongst ones percieved peers by getting banned/booted/delisted whatever from forums advocating ideas with which we don't agree.

It's a 'see how dangerous and right I am, they are skeeered of me...' kind of thing.

No matter that you actually have to hack the system, or perform some act that would get ANYONE banned, in your mind it was because you were such a threat to the 'man'...

LC >;-}>

So assuming I haven't done anything other than criticise the Rational Response Squad and its leaders/founders/core which is not bannable then I'm safe yeah?

Or perhaps your intent is to imply some Freudian self-fulfilling wish?

Perhaps an "identity" model of human motivation might be more enlightening. I consider myself a committed rationalist and I seriously question the RRS, its founders, its rationale, its raison d'etre, its behaviour and its attitude. It is the fact that I identify with resurgent atheism and a renewed attempt to propagate enlightenment values - values which I hold as valuable and vital - which motivates me to come here and discuss here what I have been discussing elsewhere for weeks. I expect to get banned, like Rathpig was: did Rathpig do anything egregious? I didn't see anything, and I followed the thread throughout until Rathpig announced his banning from here at RDF/RnR.

I'm not looking for a ban, but I do have a few bets out as to when/how it will come. First off I got a tenner for the initial responses to the OP, and now I got more on double or quits for being called Assmunch (faux-humourous ad-hom) and a troll. Other commentators elsewhere were quick to spot Kelly's preparation of the ground: by labelling me an ass (which is bannable of course - according to the moderation standard outlined in this thread) and a possible troll.

But this form of labelling and categorisation to deflect criticism is typical of closed minded fundamentalists, or self-appointed cult-leaders with egos to defend. Since it is my premise that Brian, Kelly and Rook are this category of person, then I would naturally predict such behaviour. I did and it is epic win for my pocket so far: £40 and counting.

Double or quits on what Kelly, Brian or Rook come up with next, I could be making enough to pay for a years subs at this rate.

So what logical error will follow next? What simple point will be misrepresented back to me in another display of doublethink and rhetorical elision?

Will I be moved to troll-ville and have the addition of a funky avatar? Or will I just get a straight ban. We'll see.


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nigelTheBold wrote:Ah. For

nigelTheBold wrote:
Ah. For Halloween, were you pot, or kettle?

I don't know Nigel. Have I promoted myself? I am anonymous, there is nothing to promote: you do not know me and have not come to know me through this thread.

Have I self-aggrandized? All I have done is offer up an argument which for many reasons exercises some of the members here. I gain nothing from that: no following, no extra-hits on my webspace, no money in any coffers.

So tell me Nigel, can you actually draw the symmetry you are poorly eluding to rather than hide behind a cryptic one liner? Some facts and reasoning would be good around now. People are watching, the internet is interested. Have you noticed how the server has slowed? What, it's always this slow? Not a very successful expansion then was it?

 

What is the daily volume of posts here? 100 ish?


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YouAre Right wrote:No, but

YouAre Right wrote:

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.

And here's the real problem, folks. It seems YAR is upset because RRS claims to be the #1 Atheist Website, and has some Google stats. A little jealousy seems to go a loooong way.

How fucking childish.

"Yes, I seriously believe that consciousness is a product of a natural process. I find that the neuroscientists, psychologists, and philosophers who proceed from that premise are the ones who are actually making useful contributions to our understanding of the mind." - PZ Myers


nigelTheBold
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YouAre Right

YouAre Right wrote:

nigelTheBold wrote:
Ah. For Halloween, were you pot, or kettle?

I don't know Nigel. Have I promoted myself? I am anonymous, there is nothing to promote: you do not know me and have not come to know me through this thread.

God, I hope not. If you're anything as you represent yourself here, you're a complete and utter prick.

YouAre Right wrote:

Have I self-aggrandized? All I have done is offer up an argument which for many reasons exercises some of the members here. I gain nothing from that: no following, no extra-hits on my webspace, no money in any coffers.

So tell me Nigel, can you actually draw the symmetry you are poorly eluding to rather than hide behind a cryptic one liner? Some facts and reasoning would be good around now. People are watching, the internet is interested. Have you noticed how the server has slowed? What, it's always this slow? Not a very successful expansion then was it?

 

What is the daily volume of posts here? 100 ish?

Ah, yes. Nothing like a little condescension to convince me you don't have an overblown sense of yourself.

And again, the whole allusion to popularity. It certainly seems you have a hard-on about internet popularity. What was that other site you were promoting just a bit ago? Something about Richard Dawkins? Who's he?

"Yes, I seriously believe that consciousness is a product of a natural process. I find that the neuroscientists, psychologists, and philosophers who proceed from that premise are the ones who are actually making useful contributions to our understanding of the mind." - PZ Myers


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nigelTheBold wrote:YouAre

nigelTheBold wrote:

YouAre Right wrote:

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.

Wow. So any financially self-sustaining membership-driven organization would appear to be a cult. Cub Scouts, for instance. The Girls Scouts get their members to sell merchandise for profit. Now that's a cult. But their dogma-laced cookies are quite delicious.

I believe there has to be some form of blind acceptance of dogma to go along with "cult" status.

There is: pseudo atheist dogmas of "Theism is mental illness" and "Jesus Mythicism" are advanced without critical questioning by the main content generators where it comes to actual substantive issues.

Theism is mental illness is arrived at through specious use of medical definitions and ad-hoc definitions of theism.

Jesus Mythicism is merely a mirror image of biblical literalism. both are dogmatic positions unsupported by evidence yet advanced unquestioningly and outside of the realm of objective criticism by people claiming knowledge.

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YouAre Right wrote:

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.

Pretty much every website tries to up its membership by increasing visibility. What you're describing isn't a "cult," it's the internet.

Wow, you guys sure are good at not reading something when it suits you to not get it.
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YouAre Right wrote:

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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.

The stop using it as a definition.

I'm not. It is a description: it says what cults look like, not what they are. What they are is not covered by my terms therefore it is not a definition of a cult. Are you all this logically challenged? I find it easier to get theists to see the logical inconsistencies in their pet God-proof than I do getting you guys to actually pay attention to the words and intent and stop slipping off on them.
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You have very specious arguments. Cults share many similarities with other social organizations, because, guess what? They are a social organization! Oh, wow. You've stumbled onto some great insight there.

No great insight, but you know what: you're nearly there. All social organisations can be seen to exist on a continuum: where one might put wholly altruistic and open organisations at one end and highly controlling and anti-criticism (closed) organisations at the other. How then do we differentiate? By making note of the characteristics which change along the continuum: openness and frankness through to shout-downs and verbal heckling, gentle discussion versus threats and harrassment, etc etc. Yes Brian Sapient has threatened and heckled and shouted down critics.

He also tried to sleight Richard Dawkins and a member of his staff for no objective reason at a time which corresponded to the RDFRS distancing itself from the RRS. One might conclude the "Sapient" was getting revenge for the hurt he felt, or one might at least consider that a possibility. Then when we see a history of legal threats and bullying, irrational behaviour that has caused many free-thinkers to see the RRS as little more than a teen angst filled joke created by a thirty-something never-grew-up and his buddies.

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The key defining factors of a cult are a dogmatic willingness to accept the leaders as divinely-inspired,

Wrong at first point. Nobody defines L.Ron Hubbard as divinely inspired, and the leaders of Jehovah's Witnesses specifically claim not to be divinely inspired. Two counter-example off the top of my head which falsify your point.

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and the willingness of the members to subjugate themselves to the leaders.

Close, but you're missing the point: they don't realise they're doing it so they don't actually "will" it: they have had their rational cognitive capacities side-lined and bypassed and cognitive dissonance prevents them from acknowledging it easily.

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None of the founders here have ever demonstrated a desire to enforce their views. They present their views, and are willing to defend them, but they certainly don't enforce them in any way.

Then why was Rathpig banned?

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How is this different from any other social organization founded on common interest?

It is different in the ways that the OP specifies.

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YouAre Right wrote:

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.

Wow!

How many unfounded assertions are in those two paragraphs?

Considering it begain with the words "not at all, you might be..." I would say that I asserted nothing but a possibility. Do you all make the same mistakes deliberately, for humour value, or something?
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There's a whole lot of allegation with no evidence. None whatsoever. Present evidence, rather than innuendo; otherwise, you amount to nothing more than a poorly-argued troll.

So how about the lack of transparency and the fact the Brian sees the RRS as a business venture for the future: which will pay his keep and lodgings? Is that not evidence that Brian sees this as a business opportiunity? Why indeed it is, because that's what a business does: provides income. And as everyone around here is quick to point out: RRS isn't not for profit.

So it would seem that there is evidence for my the hypothetical after-all it goes like this:

1. I assert that Brian Sapient sees this as a business opportunity.

2. It is shown on this thread by Kelly that Brian uses money from RRS for his own sustenance.

point is already established.

Now, tie this in with other cultic behaviours such as lack of transparency, self-appointed expertism, attention whoring and rejection of all criticism in downright egregious terms often accompanied by threats and one could just as easily be talking about Scientology.


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nigelTheBold wrote:YouAre

nigelTheBold wrote:

YouAre Right wrote:

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.

And here's the real problem, folks. It seems YAR is upset because RRS claims to be the #1 Atheist Website, and has some Google stats. A little jealousy seems to go a loooong way.

How fucking childish.

Wow, you really are good at misrepresenting what people say. Is that covered in one of the academy courses?

I'm not the one making the claims of #1ness, RRS is. I'm just pointing out how some people make a point of stats - which you would note had you been reading for comprehension - which therefore implies that stats are not important to me? No? Is that too complcated for you.

Me: RRS bigs up its stats. Pretty sad and lame manipulation of stats in ordert to make claims of size for ad revenue.

You: You're the one hung up about stats.

Can you see what it is yet?

Well done, another non-sequitor, but this time with free projection. Goody: two for one.


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nigelTheBold wrote:YouAre

nigelTheBold wrote:

YouAre Right wrote:

nigelTheBold wrote:
Ah. For Halloween, were you pot, or kettle?

I don't know Nigel. Have I promoted myself? I am anonymous, there is nothing to promote: you do not know me and have not come to know me through this thread.

God, I hope not. If you're anything as you represent yourself here, you're a complete and utter prick.

And you're a failure at logic 101 hence the resort to name-calling. Not doing well for the side here kiddo: better up your game. The clock is ticking and RRS looks like a bigger bunch of ignoramuses and incapables with every post. That's not my take. Like I say: go outside there's a big wide internet. Google is your friend.
Quote:

YouAre Right wrote:

Have I self-aggrandized? All I have done is offer up an argument which for many reasons exercises some of the members here. I gain nothing from that: no following, no extra-hits on my webspace, no money in any coffers.

So tell me Nigel, can you actually draw the symmetry you are poorly eluding to rather than hide behind a cryptic one liner? Some facts and reasoning would be good around now. People are watching, the internet is interested. Have you noticed how the server has slowed? What, it's always this slow? Not a very successful expansion then was it?

 

What is the daily volume of posts here? 100 ish?

Ah, yes. Nothing like a little condescension to convince me you don't have an overblown sense of yourself.

Inability to answer direct question but perseverance with original point unaffected duly noted: great tactics straight from the fundy archive.
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And again, the whole allusion to popularity. It certainly seems you have a hard-on about internet popularity. What was that other site you were promoting just a bit ago? Something about Richard Dawkins? Who's he?

See you're doing it again. I'm not promoting RD net, I'm encuraging people here to read a thread there, because there's more discussion there which is relevant, and because it shows my own position on things prior to coming here, which has been discussed previously.

 

It's called context, when you understand what all those things called words are meant to do you will come across a concept called meaning: from there you can move to a concept of how context can add or colour meaning. But it takes a willingness to look without finding excuses not to simply because you're trying to win an argument.


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Quote: It doesn't matter

 

Quote:

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

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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

When you made those rhetorical remarks, you were passing them as a description of cult-like behavior in general. Your applying those criteria to the RRS founders came later. I agree that you were probably thinking specifically of the RRS founders when you jotted down those criteria, because your assessment was never impartial. You wanted them to fit the criteria from the beginning, and so they did.

 

 

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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.

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I am not using it rhetorically: I'm using it literally.

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

Alright. I accept that you truly think the RRS is a cult.

 

 

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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.

But they have mentioned before that they don't mean it in the over-confident "we will convert any theist that signs up" sense. If it were me, I would change the tagline simply because it IS misleading in that way, but I don't run the website.

 

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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.

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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.

And you wouldn't be the only person who ever felt that way. She obviously doesn't seem to think so---at least not at this point---but she is allowed to think whatever she wants as long as she is prepared to defend it against anyone who questions.

I don't comment on it because I don't study psychology.

I'll leave that debate between you (or whatever other skeptic) and Kelly.

 

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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.

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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.

Maybe they are wrong. If their claim that religion is literally a mental disorder (or illness) is not very well substantiated or not substantiated at all, then I would agree that they should not act as if it were.

 

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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.

Oh, saved by the word "some". Thank goodness for hedging. =]

I would be surprised if anyone considered them "leaders". They're certainly not dolts, and they're respected for owning the domain and keeping the site up and running for the rest of us. They own the place and in that way they call the shots and are technically "authorities", but I would be surprised if anyone considered them authorities in the "leader" sense of the word, which seems to be the case you're making.

 

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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?

Subscribers receive no special treatment other than the fact that they are identified as subscribers and are allowed access to paid content. It has no affect on the social atmosphere of the site whatsoever. The subscribers and core members have no power over the unsubscribers or "outter" group unless they also happen to be mods.

 

 

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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.

Oh yes you can. But then you're not claiming that the RRS is about mere atheism so again your counter-point misses.

No, it doesn't. You claimed atheism could be an ideology. I claimed that mere atheism cannot be an ideology. The RRS is not about mere atheism, which is how it is able to organize people under common interests. You could definitely organize around an ideology related to atheism (e.g. rationalism), but you could not organize people around mere atheism, since it is, by definition, a lack of an ideology.

The only way my counterpoint misses is in reference to your initial post that, in order to be a cult, the RRS would need some ideal to go on.

Well, they do have ideals to go on, but I don't see that that says very much as far as proving they are guilty of cult behavior.

 

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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..

It's no mystery to the founders or to the members that there are many people who don't care for or respect the RRS and what they do.

The RRS, like anything else, is not above questioning.

 

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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.

No doubt true, but I don't think we can accuse the RRS of "cashing in" on atheism, since they predate The God Delusion and most of the recent media buzz.

 

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

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I'm not flaming. I am arguing.

 This was a response to your assertion that the founders offer irrational explanations that masquerade as being rational. You seem to be hung up on Kelly's assertion that theism is literally a mental illness. I was saying that if you disagree with that position, then you should maybe argue against that position.

But since this is the only instance of the RRS promoting "quack science" that you've offered, I don't think we can safely conclude that the RRS founders, as a whole, are endorsers of quack science. I don't even know that Kelly has ever passed her "mental illness" assertion as a verified scientific fact.

I was accusing you of flaming on the grounds that you seem to be going from "I think Kelly's assertion is bullshit" all the way to "therefore, Kelly's assertion is a cult behavior".

 

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They are not "rational".

The only instance of irrationality you seem to have is Kelly's assertion that theism is literally a mental disorder, which, again, I'm not sure is being pushed as a verified scientific fact.

 

 

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"Teacher".

Yes. Teacher. There has been plenty of bitching about Rook's lack of degree and credentials. You'll probably have to take a number on that one.

 

 

 

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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?

They've never pretended that the site is not a source of personal income. They've never pretended to be non-profit or a charity. It is a typical website.

I won't speak for what does or does not make the subscribers happy. All I know is that I'm not even a subscriber and I was aware of this.

 

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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.

Again, since they are a commercial site and don't claim to be non-profit, I don't raise a fuss. Should they provide full transparency of where donation money goes? It would probably be a nice gesture, especially if those sending the donations were genuinely concerned that the money was being spent in a way they wouldn't like.

 

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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.

They are simply a commercial site that does a variety of things. As far as I can tell, those things include:

1) Conduct a radio show for discussing atheism, rationality, and issues related, often with guest appearances. (I'm sure you're aware that RD has dropped in before.)

2) Host a forum for discussing atheism, rationalisty, and issues related, also for debating, and for general forum yik-yak.

3) Collecting user-generated articles and essays related to atheism, science, philosophy, etc.

4) Blogging (founders and users)

5) Providing an outlet for those who have no one else with whom to discuss their lack of belief (RRS is admittedly not the only possible outlet)

6) Providing links to affiliated sites with similar interests/goals

7) Responding in blogs or forum posts to published articles and essays

Cool Promoting atheism in general.

 

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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.

I think it is probably his intention to run a website. Not an organization. But I'll let him speak for himself.

 

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And you think its worth paying for?

I don't know. I haven't sampled the content. If I didn't like what I received, of course I wouldn't continue paying. But if I had a more steady income, I would look into it and consider.

 

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What are you a fan of?

The community I've found here. The forum is the main draw for me.

 

 

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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?

You'll need to provide some examples of "misinformation" and irrationalism disguised as rationalism, I think. I know you strongly disagree with Kelly's mental illness assertion, but is that your only complaint?

 

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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.

I don't see how their lack of credentials shows that they are dogmatic cult leaders. I don't consider them any different than the rest of the people on the website. The only difference between us and them is that they own and run the website.

 

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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.

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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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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.

You said: "cults will not tolerate criticism", suggesting that this is the behavior of the RRS.

I said: Not only does the RRS retain the right to defend themselves against criticism (you agreed), but also they will tolerate it.

This is a counter argument to your suggestion that the RRS, cult-like, will not tolerate criticism.

What they don't tolerate is people who are persistent assholes. It's possible to criticize without being a persistent asshole. Criticism is tolerated; trolls are not.

For example, if you had a serious question about how the RRS handles their finances, or if you had a serious objection to Kelly's assertion, you could have objected or raised questions in the normal fashion. But it seems that---even though I don't doubt that your  criticisms are sincere---you started this thread with the intention of raising a shit storm and provoking a reaction.

Criticisms are welcome. People who just like to start shit are generally not. You seem to be a mixed bag, so who knows.

 

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

I don't know what to tell you. I'm not a mod or an admin, so I can't really help you with that. I would suggest PMing some mods/admins to make sure that your question's been seen.

 

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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.

If that is in fact the case, then fair enough. I haven't looked into it at all, since I don't need theism to be an official mental disorder for me to scoff at it or consider it harmful.

 

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Yeah right. I got called a troll and an assmunch so far.

Well... you do seem like a bit of a troll, and seeing as how you've admitted to taking bets on this whole affair, it's probably safe to conclude that you are one.

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Quoteining scientific definitions to fit your preconceived notion is intellectually dishonest - ask any creationist.

You and I both know that wouldn't do any good. They'd never admit it. Eye-wink

 

 

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

Regardless of what the founders do or say, I enjoy myself on their forum, which is the portion of the site that I am a fan of.

 

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Sure they do, but I have been clear in the definition I intended so there is no need to be confused anymore.

Right. I understand what you mean now, but you're only asking for confusion by using the term in a way that others who will read your arguments will most likely misunderstand, since that isn't the way it tends to be used.

 

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Are you "The RRS"? Are the other forum participants here the RRS? No. The RRS is an abstract entity headed by these people.

"The RRS" seems to be used to refer to the website and its community.

Maybe there are people on the site who see it as a team that you are either on or you're not, or maybe that is the way it's intended to be, but I've been hanging around the site for almost a year now, and that has never been the impression I've got from it.

 

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Do they ask you to pay for dinner? Apparently that is where the subs often go to stop Brian dipping into his own money.

Again, I don't even subscribe and I'm aware that they make money off of the site. Frame it as pejoratively as you like, this doesn't demonstrate that they're doing anything unethical.

 

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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.

I can't comment on her work, so I'm not taking sides with either of you on this. I haven't read any of her arguments for her assertion and I'm frankly not all that interested. If she is putting ideology over facts, then that is definitely something that she should be approached about. I'll leave that to you, since you are obviously more interested in it than I am.

(Not because I don't care whether or not she is making irrational assertions, but because I don't psychology at all.)

 

 

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

When did they lie?

 

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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.

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?

I think these have already been addressed.

 

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So a website run by a group of friends debated WOTM in a TV studio?

WOTM's idea.

 

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

Only in the sense that I'm not employed here.

 

 

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ORLY? Where is the evidence that they are learned: their blog musings?

I don't read their blogs all that much. I mostly just visit the forum, where they occasionally post. I'm not claiming that they're on the same level as a Richard Dawkins or a Dan Dennett, so don't try and read me as saying that they're some kind of prominent intellectuals. I only mean they are learned in the sense that they do not demonstrate that they are unintelligent dolts, though I'm sure you disagree.

 

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Again: if it is solicited for one purpose but used for another it is fraudulent, no?

Again, when did they explicitly lie?

 

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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.

Cool. I approve of their doing so. If the RRS website does not want to claim charity status, though, that is up to them. I realize this doesn't give them the ethical guarantees of a charity website, but as long as I realize that the RRS is an independent commercial website, then I am not being deceived.

We could argue that it might be a good idea if they did claim charity status, but I don't think it should necessarily be counted against them if they don't.

 

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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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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".

As I said, it doesn't particularly interest me whether they are the #1 atheist site on the internet or not.

Obviously they shouldn't be deceitful when promoting themselves, but I mean it when I say I could care less if the site were #101

 

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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.

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.

 

Well, this is not my only outlet for discussing atheism or scientific topics. If I get the sense that there is a cult vibe, then I will be concerned. I don't get that vibe right now, but I only make forum posts, and I don't watch the core members all that closely, as I don't watch any one person on the forum all that closely.

Nonetheless, thanks for your criticism.

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


nigelTheBold
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YouAre Right

YouAre Right wrote:

nigelTheBold wrote:

Wow. So any financially self-sustaining membership-driven organization would appear to be a cult. Cub Scouts, for instance. The Girls Scouts get their members to sell merchandise for profit. Now that's a cult. But their dogma-laced cookies are quite delicious.

I believe there has to be some form of blind acceptance of dogma to go along with "cult" status.

There is: pseudo atheist dogmas of "Theism is mental illness" and "Jesus Mythicism" are advanced without critical questioning by the main content generators where it comes to actual substantive issues.

Theism is mental illness is arrived at through specious use of medical definitions and ad-hoc definitions of theism.

Jesus Mythicism is merely a mirror image of biblical literalism. both are dogmatic positions unsupported by evidence yet advanced unquestioningly and outside of the realm of objective criticism by people claiming knowledge.

These are views held by some of the founding members. Fine. I don't accept them. Neither do many of the people here. That's in direct contrast to a cult, in which the words of the founders are accepted unquestioningly. Also, the founding members don't ban people for pointing out that these assertions are not accepted by all. Again, this is in direct contradiction to the characteristics of a cult.

YouAre Right wrote:

nigelTheBold wrote:

Pretty much every website tries to up its membership by increasing visibility. What you're describing isn't a "cult," it's the internet.

Wow, you guys sure are good at not reading something when it suits you to not get it.

Okay, I'll give you the benefit of the doubt here. However, if we're not getting it, perhaps you are not making a clear distinction between shameless self-promotion for the sake of building website membership, and building membership for a cult.

Before you go into the "won't pay your dinner, get a real job" schtick again, let me point out than running a website is a real job. They are providing a service. I have not been a paying member, and I have never been criticized for my leeching. I will have to change that come next payday.

YouAre Right wrote:

nigelTheBold wrote:

The stop using it as a definition.

I'm not. It is a description: it says what cults look like, not what they are. What they are is not covered by my terms therefore it is not a definition of a cult. Are you all this logically challenged? I find it easier to get theists to see the logical inconsistencies in their pet God-proof than I do getting you guys to actually pay attention to the words and intent and stop slipping off on them.

Hey, thanks for saying I'm logically challenged! I guess I'm too stupid to see that you are attempting to define RRS as a cult, and are using a description as if it were a definition. Yeah, we're all too stupid to see through idiocy like that.

MANY things fit your description that are not cults, as has been demonstrated. And so, your argument is insufficient to identify RRS as a cult. Now, I see you place "wannabe" is as a qualifier. This does nothing more than weaken your assertion, which I assume you did intentionally, so there could be no logical argument against your insufficiency.

The point is, we're slipping off them because you're wrong. There are many supportable accusations you could lay at the feet of the RRS founders -- and you have done so. Claiming theism as a mental illness, for instance, is about as accurate as saying belief in UFOs or ghosts is a mental illness. Claiming they are making some profit off the running of the site is a potential goldmine, if anyone here really cared, or we thought they were living in mansions and driving expensive cars, rather than working real jobs and doing this in their free time. Hell, I mean, that guy who started Facebook is a billionaire. What the fuck's up with that? (I'm not being sardonic here. I'm serious.)

But you don't stick to that. You try to push it into illogical territory. This, plus your methods of doing so, indicate intellectual dishonesty, so it's hard to take you as other than a troll.

YouAre Right wrote:

No great insight, but you know what: you're nearly there. All social organisations can be seen to exist on a continuum: where one might put wholly altruistic and open organisations at one end and highly controlling and anti-criticism (closed) organisations at the other. How then do we differentiate? By making note of the characteristics which change along the continuum: openness and frankness through to shout-downs and verbal heckling, gentle discussion versus threats and harrassment, etc etc. Yes Brian Sapient has threatened and heckled and shouted down critics.

Now we're getting somewhere.

That's Sapient. There are others here who do that as well. I believe we call that "humanity." I have also been involved in some excellent discussions here with people of completely different viewpoints about rationality and belief. It can be frustrating sometimes, and I do sometimes behave like a prick, but only when I believe someone is not being honest, or is hiding their motives (perhaps even to themselves). If I cross a line, I apologize.

Here's what makes RRS different from a cult: we don't all behave like Brian Sapient. Each person here is distinct. We are even willing to disagree with Sapient, or Kelly, or Rook, if we feel they are wrong. They don't insist we don't question them. They defend their positions vigorously, and they are intelligent; and they are also abbrassive at times. (Well, not Rook, near as I can tell.)

Criticism is naturally met with a bit of aggression. Nobody likes to be criticised, especially the way you did it, with innuendo and ridiculous conclusions designed to annoy.  C'mon. What was the point of calling it a "wannabe" cult? If Brian were really trying to build a cult, he sure wouldn't be doing it the way he does. He doesn't have the charisma to build a cult, anyway.

They're building a community, just like everybody else. Theirs is no more and no less cultish than any other community out there. The folks at Slashdot did the same thing with the tech community. People there can be assholes, too (especially in the early days). For /., it helped that CmdrTaco is a good guy; but that's a personality difference, not a difference of intent.

For your scale, I'd say RRS falls right in the middle, just about where most other community-based websites fall.

YouAre Right wrote:

He also tried to sleight Richard Dawkins and a member of his staff for no objective reason at a time which corresponded to the RDFRS distancing itself from the RRS. One might conclude the "Sapient" was getting revenge for the hurt he felt, or one might at least consider that a possibility. Then when we see a history of legal threats and bullying, irrational behaviour that has caused many free-thinkers to see the RRS as little more than a teen angst filled joke created by a thirty-something never-grew-up and his buddies.

Sure. He might have felt upset, and said or done something stupid. He might regularly get upset and say or do stupid things. Sapient might be a petulent brat. I don't know him. I have read his posts enough to know he is intelligent, and he has a lot emotionally invested in this site. Other than that, I really don't know him.

Me, I hardly ever read the journal entries here. I stay in the forums. Why? Because that's where the interesting stuff is. That's where HisWillnes and maglium and jcgadfly and ProzacDeathWish and Eloise and deludedgod all hang out. And I like them. I enjoy interacting with them.

I've tried RDFRS. It's okay. There are some really intelligent folks there. But in the end, I didn't enjoy hanging out there as much. It seemed too dry. Too self-consciously intellectual. Too erudite for my taste.

I know, we're just a bunch of plebians. I don't deny it, when you compare us to RDFRS. We're like Budwieser to your Anchor Steam. (Mmmm. Anchor Steam.)

YouAre Right wrote:

Quote:

The key defining factors of a cult are a dogmatic willingness to accept the leaders as divinely-inspired,

Wrong at first point. Nobody defines L.Ron Hubbard as divinely inspired, and the leaders of Jehovah's Witnesses specifically claim not to be divinely inspired. Two counter-example off the top of my head which falsify your point.

But the members accept them as divinely-inspired nonetheless. I know both JWs and Scientologists, and they do believe their leaders are unerringly correct, and recieve their information from supernatural or fantastic sources. However, I'll give up that claim as the next is more relevent.

YouAre Right wrote:

Quote:

and the willingness of the members to subjugate themselves to the leaders.

Close, but you're missing the point: they don't realise they're doing it so they don't actually "will" it: they have had their rational cognitive capacities side-lined and bypassed and cognitive dissonance prevents them from acknowledging it easily.

As I said, I have seen people disagree with the founding members. It doesn't happen often, but it does happen. As it turns out, we don't generally disagree with each other here, too much. However, if Sapient or Kelly or Rook said something that was patently false, or even poorly-argued, most of us would be willing to point it out, if it fell in the realm of our understanding. That's part of the reason I don't generally read Kelly or Rook, though. Their areas of expertise are outside my own areas of knowlege and interest.

I see what you mean, though. I don't remember a damned thing from my first speech class in college, save this: "Don't worry about the people you disagree with. It's the people you agree with that are most dangerous." It was a profound point, one which I had not considred before.

YouAre Right wrote:

Quote:

None of the founders here have ever demonstrated a desire to enforce their views. They present their views, and are willing to defend them, but they certainly don't enforce them in any way.

Then why was Rathpig banned?

Beats the hell out of me. I don't know who Rathpig is. I assume it was for the same reason I've seen anyone banned: posting previously-copyrighted works, excessive trolling, spamming, etc.

Anyone know why Rathpig was banned?

YouAre Right wrote:

Quote:

How is this different from any other social organization founded on common interest?

It is different in the ways that the OP specifies.

For the most part, the OP was general enough to include pretty much every single social organzation founded on common interest in the world. The only specific things identified were:

1) A charismatic leader who can hoodwink followers

2) Quack science

I don't think you've established either of these. The "quack science" is certainly the easiest to prove, but all you've done is establish that not many historians are interested in the Jesus mythos, and that theism isn't classified as a mental disorder. I don't know enough about history or historians to dispute that claim, nor do I believe that theism is a mental disorder. However, the fact it isn't classified as a mental disorder is not a conclusive rebuttal, as there would be many political and social reasons to refrain from distinguishing it as such.

I don't believe it's a mental disorder, and I don't think there's enough evidence to support that it is. There are certain aspects that match with the official definition of a mental disorder, but that merely reflects the difficulty of classifying mental illnesses, rather than proof of theism as a mental illness.

 

YouAre Right wrote:

Quote:

YouAre Right wrote:

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.

Wow!

How many unfounded assertions are in those two paragraphs?

Considering it begain with the words "not at all, you might be..." I would say that I asserted nothing but a possibility. Do you all make the same mistakes deliberately, for humour value, or something?

Are you always so intellectually dishonest? Thinly disguising your allegations in the form of a hypothetical is merely an attempt to claim the "ha-ha, only serious" defence.

YouAre Right wrote:

nigelTheBold wrote:

There's a whole lot of allegation with no evidence. None whatsoever. Present evidence, rather than innuendo; otherwise, you amount to nothing more than a poorly-argued troll.

So how about the lack of transparency and the fact the Brian sees the RRS as a business venture for the future: which will pay his keep and lodgings? Is that not evidence that Brian sees this as a business opportiunity? Why indeed it is, because that's what a business does: provides income. And as everyone around here is quick to point out: RRS isn't not for profit.

So it would seem that there is evidence for my the hypothetical after-all it goes like this:

1. I assert that Brian Sapient sees this as a business opportunity.

2. It is shown on this thread by Kelly that Brian uses money from RRS for his own sustenance.

point is already established.

Now, tie this in with other cultic behaviours such as lack of transparency, self-appointed expertism, attention whoring and rejection of all criticism in downright egregious terms often accompanied by threats and one could just as easily be talking about Scientology.

This is where your argument falls apart. Right now, you've established that the founding members may use some contributions to purchase food or lodging. You've established that Brian is an asshole. You've established that some assertions made by the founding members are not established fact. You've established that some of the founding members have an interest in researching things that may or may not be relevant, or even provide hope for rational discovery. You've established that Sapient perhaps wishes this to be a business venture, rather than having a "real" job.

(As an aside: running a website is a real job. And their business model isn't outside the typical models used by other low-volume sites.)

It's a huge leap to "cult." Huge. And the comparison to Scientology is a bit off. If Sapient asked us to do something illegal, I suspect most of us would tell him to fuck off. I know I would.

And this is what makes you a troll:

You take possibly defensible points, and use them to jump to a conclusion that is intended to stir up emotional debate, rather than focusing on the validity of your points. Rather than engaging in productive discussion, you manufactured a controversial position, couched it in the most offensive terms possible, and posted it where it would stir up the strongest response.

 

[edited for quote bracketing]

"Yes, I seriously believe that consciousness is a product of a natural process. I find that the neuroscientists, psychologists, and philosophers who proceed from that premise are the ones who are actually making useful contributions to our understanding of the mind." - PZ Myers


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nigelTheBold wrote:YouAre

nigelTheBold wrote:

YouAre Right wrote:

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.

Wow. So any financially self-sustaining membership-driven organization would appear to be a cult. Cub Scouts, for instance. The Girls Scouts get their members to sell merchandise for profit. Now that's a cult. But their dogma-laced cookies are quite delicious.

 

Mmmmmm.... Cult Scout Cookies...

"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


BMcD
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YouAre Right

YouAre Right wrote:

nigelTheBold wrote:
Ah. For Halloween, were you pot, or kettle?

I don't know Nigel. Have I promoted myself? I am anonymous, there is nothing to promote: you do not know me and have not come to know me through this thread.

For the record:

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

could be taken as self-promotional, in the manner of "Look at me! I'm respected on these places! See? You should trust me based on my say-so because they like me there."

I'm not saying it was intended that way, but it certainly could be interpreted that way. Limitations of text make reading intent into things when it wasn't there very easy, after all.

"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


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YouAre Right wrote:2. It is

YouAre Right wrote:

2. It is shown on this thread by Kelly that Brian uses money from RRS for his own sustenance.

point is already established.

Actually, it's worth noting that no, that hasn't been established. What was said was:

Kellym78 wrote:

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

That states that Brian uses money from his personal savings. The only statement it makes about whether or not money from RRS is used for his own sustenance is that clearly, money from RRS does not pay all of his bills. Whether or not it pays any of them is not addressed. The statement would be equally valid if RRS pays for all but $.01 of Brian's living expenses, or if Brian is living entirely off of money saved from a massive financial windfall in the past and taking no money from RRS.

I really hate having to get nit-picky about things like this, but when dealing with what it obviously getting to be something of a charged topic, it's best to not read into or make assumptions about statements made, but to take the words said at face value. In this case, that value is: Brian takes money out of his personal savings, and might not if RRS made more money. That does not, however, mean that at this point RRS is providing Brian with income. For all we know, the donations might not completely cover operating costs, and continuing to cover the shortfall might be one of the things for which Brian is taking money out of his personal savings.

"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


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Somehow I predict the asshat

Somehow I predict the asshat avatar making an appearance and/or this thread getting moved to a lower category in the forums. Those of us who have been here long have seen this before - someone who keeps pushing the same point over and over, not backing it up well and not answering refutations to the point they finally DO get banned and then go "see! they won't tolerate criticism." Ater of course acting in a way which would get them banned from virtually any website.

 

I'm a bit late with this in answering the "cult" accusation:

 

Matt Shizzle has been banned from the Rational Response Squad website. This event shall provide an atmosphere more conducive to social growth. - Majority of the mod team


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Archeopteryx wrote:When you

Archeopteryx wrote:

When you made those rhetorical remarks, you were passing them as a description of cult-like behavior in general.

The "Rhetoric" was describing the kinds of people who found cults: their own self-opinion and other factors. I cited examples of such cult founders.
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Your applying those criteria to the RRS founders came later.

Of course it did: I was describing the characteristics of a cult before making any links to the RRS.
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I agree that you were probably thinking specifically of the RRS founders

Well I don't know who you are agreeing with, it isn't me. I gave you examples that exhibited the characteristics I was describing.

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when you jotted down those criteria, because your assessment was never impartial. You wanted them to fit the criteria from the beginning, and so they did.

No I was thinking specifically of Charles Taze Russell and L. Ron Hubbard. I drew a similarity towards the RRS later, as you correctly observed.

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

Alright. I accept that you truly think the RRS is a cult.

We're still there. I haven't said that the RRS is a cult, I'm saying that it is exhibiting cultic characteristics, a wannabe cult: it is on the road - it might not necessarily get there, it may collapse well before then.

You are not interested the entity RRS, you just like the forum, but you might end up giving them money come payday. Fine. Then we have nothing to disagree about. You have whatever objective grounds and bases you require to consider donating your hard-earned, that is your prerogative.

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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.

Maybe they are wrong. If their claim that religion is literally a mental disorder (or illness) is not very well substantiated or not substantiated at all, then I would agree that they should not act as if it were.

And yet it is held as if it were.

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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.

Oh, saved by the word "some". Thank goodness for hedging. =]

No, if it doesn't apply to you then it doesn't apply. Some people are much different to you in their emotional attachment and appreciation for all things "Sapient", have you met "Watcher" who turned up on RD.net and launched a white-knight tirade?

Some people buy Kelly and Brian's line on theism=mental illness without question because - one assumes - they have not experienced any real counter-arguments and rebuttals. Rook's Nook (replete with Mythicism apologetics) and history lectures reside in a member's only area: where critical evaluation is unlikely: thus no checks and balances are in place for experts to knowledgably critique some of this stuff.

And some people will be fooled by it. Fooled into thinking that belief in God is mental illness, and fooled into thinking that Jesus Mythicism is of any value whatsoever to  to rationalist discourse and refutation of theist claims.

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I would be surprised if anyone considered them "leaders". They're certainly not dolts, and they're respected for owning the domain and keeping the site up and running for the rest of us. They own the place and in that way they call the shots and are technically "authorities", but I would be surprised if anyone considered them authorities in the "leader" sense of the word, which seems to be the case you're making.

Well the case I'm making at first is that Brian, Kelly and Brook do put themselves forward as champions and voices of atheism and rationalism in particular. They even named their venture after it.
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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?

Subscribers receive no special treatment other than the fact that they are identified as subscribers and are allowed access to paid content. It has no affect on the social atmosphere of the site whatsoever. The subscribers and core members have no power over the unsubscribers or "outter" group unless they also happen to be mods.

But they do get access to non-critically reviewed content on matters historical and scientific, no? For this they pay, and there is no expert challenge inside the perimeter, is there?

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No, it doesn't. You claimed atheism could be an ideology.

I claimed that mere atheism cannot be an ideology. The RRS is not about mere atheism, which is how it is able to organize people under common interests. You could definitely organize around an ideology related to atheism (e.g. rationalism), but you could not organize people around mere atheism, since it is, by definition, a lack of an ideology.

So then (think about this) to make an ideology from atheism would be irrational. All ideologies are irrational:to idealise any philosophical position is irrational. Therefore there is nothing preventing someone from irrationally making an ideology from pure atheism. Some possible axioms:

1. Atheism is the truth.

2. Failure to recognise 1 renders you irrational/mentally ill.

That pretty much covers it, you have the foundation for a flourishing ideology, where the ideal is elevated by virtue of some abstract claim as to the mental capacity of those who do not hold it.

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The only way my counterpoint misses is in reference to your initial post that, in order to be a cult, the RRS would need some ideal to go on.

Well, they do have ideals to go on, but I don't see that that says very much as far as proving they are guilty of cult behavior.

Its just ticking boxes: founding ideology is just one box. Irrational positions regarding science and history are other boxes which get ticked as an organisation becomes cultic.
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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..

It's no mystery to the founders or to the members that there are many people who don't care for or respect the RRS and what they do.

The RRS, like anything else, is not above questioning.

True. Thank you.

They seem to be higher above some questions than others however.

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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.

No doubt true, but I don't think we can accuse the RRS of "cashing in" on atheism, since they predate The God Delusion and most of the recent media buzz.

Resurgent atheism dates back to at least 1997 when I (then a theist) became aware the Richard Dawkins was getting involved in the evo-creo debate motivated in part by their constant misrepresentations by quote-mine.

"How Mumbo Jumbo Conquered the world" by Francis Wheen predates TGD by several years and is probably the first mass circulation book devoted to rediscovering the enlightenment.

Brian was involved in atheist activism a while before setting up the RRS.

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

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I'm not flaming. I am arguing.

 This was a response to your assertion that the founders offer irrational explanations that masquerade as being rational. You seem to be hung up on Kelly's assertion that theism is literally a mental illness. I was saying that if you disagree with that position, then you should maybe argue against that position.

But since this is the only instance of the RRS promoting "quack science" that you've offered, I don't think we can safely conclude that the RRS founders, as a whole, are endorsers of quack science. I don't even know that Kelly has ever passed her "mental illness" assertion as a verified scientific fact.

No an assertion will do. You and I both realise that the assertion is unfounded really: that it is based on bad logic and misapplication of scientific definitions. Well I do anyway.
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I was accusing you of flaming on the grounds that you seem to be going from "I think Kelly's assertion is bullshit" all the way to "therefore, Kelly's assertion is a cult behavior".

Taken in isolation nothing is, put together and you have a picture.

Are you aware of how things like Likert Scales are used to differentiate groups according to behavioural and cultural characteristics?

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They are not "rational".

The only instance of irrationality you seem to have is Kelly's assertion that theism is literally a mental disorder, which, again, I'm not sure is being pushed as a verified scientific fact.

Did you read Brian's email about anonymous that I linked you to?

Plenty more irrationality where that came from.

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"Teacher".

Yes. Teacher. There has been plenty of bitching about Rook's lack of degree and credentials. You'll probably have to take a number on that one.

No it's ok, you just assert that Rook is a "teacher" now (how many different headings can one guy receive?) and I'll just smile at it.

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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?

They've never pretended that the site is not a source of personal income. They've never pretended to be non-profit or a charity. It is a typical website.

I won't speak for what does or does not make the subscribers happy. All I know is that I'm not even a subscriber and I was aware of this.

Ok so everyone is aware of where their money goes when they hand it over, or else they don't care. Well since it isn't the former (there are no public accounts) then it can only be the latter, unless that is a false dichotomy.

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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.

Again, since they are a commercial site and don't claim to be non-profit, I don't raise a fuss. Should they provide full transparency of where donation money goes? It would probably be a nice gesture, especially if those sending the donations were genuinely concerned that the money was being spent in a way they wouldn't like.

Well I was assuming that they would think it went towards tangible things to do with the running of the RRS, rather than just being absorbed into Brian's pocket if he so chooses. But, as you say, everyone knows Brian helps himself, and they don't mind paying him. Fine by me, it's not my money he's getting drunk on.

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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.

They are simply a commercial site

Not a campaigning site? Oh wait, a campaigning commercial site which solicits donations for server hosting and running costs which are actually not directly accounted for at all.
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that does a variety of things. As far as I can tell, those things include:

1) Conduct a radio show for discussing atheism, rationality, and issues related, often with guest appearances. (I'm sure you're aware that RD has dropped in before.)

Yes he has, but for some reason the Richard Dawkins Foundation has distanced itself from the RRS quite recently.

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2) Host a forum for discussing atheism, rationalisty, and issues related, also for debating, and for general forum yik-yak.

3) Collecting user-generated articles and essays related to atheism, science, philosophy, etc.

4) Blogging (founders and users)

5) Providing an outlet for those who have no one else with whom to discuss their lack of belief (RRS is admittedly not the only possible outlet)

6) Providing links to affiliated sites with similar interests/goals

7) Responding in blogs or forum posts to published articles and essays

Cool Promoting atheism in general.

Fine aims.
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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.

I think it is probably his intention to run a website. Not an organization. But I'll let him speak for himself.

He already had: he has said that the only thing stopping him from filing as non-profit was nothing (ok, he hadn't got around to it, same thing), and that he intended to register soon. That was several months ago.

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And you think its worth paying for?

I don't know. I haven't sampled the content. If I didn't like what I received, of course I wouldn't continue paying. But if I had a more steady income, I would look into it and consider.

But then you might not be qualified to critique what you find, by your own admission: so therefore how can you know if it is money well spent.
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What are you a fan of?

The community I've found here. The forum is the main draw for me.

Then you are not a fan of Brian, Kelly and Rook. Fine by me.
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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?

You'll need to provide some examples of "misinformation" and irrationalism disguised as rationalism, I think. I know you strongly disagree with Kelly's mental illness assertion, but is that your only complaint?

Is it not enough? The site contains numerous references. Is it misinformation? is is irrational? Yes to both.
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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.

I don't see how their lack of credentials shows that they are dogmatic cult leaders. I don't consider them any different than the rest of the people on the website. The only difference between us and them is that they own and run the website.

The lack of credentials doesn't make them cult leaders, but cults are often started by people who lack credentials yet still claim academic rigour. They are pretenders to academic achievement, though they frequently repudiate higher education on specious arguments. Wait, have I just assumed my conclusion again? No: cults really do tend to have a negative view of formal education, and so do Brian and Rook, as documented on this 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.

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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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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.

You said: "cults will not tolerate criticism", suggesting that this is the behavior of the RRS.

I said: Not only does the RRS retain the right to defend themselves against criticism (you agreed), but also they will tolerate it.

This is a counter argument to your suggestion that the RRS, cult-like, will not tolerate criticism.

What they don't tolerate is people who are persistent assholes. It's possible to criticize without being a persistent asshole. Criticism is tolerated; trolls are not.

For example, if you had a serious question about how the RRS handles their

I did have serious questions on this: they have been answered pretty much comprehensively. Thank you.
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finances, or if you had a serious objection to Kelly's assertion, you could have objected or raised questions in the normal fashion. But it seems that---even though I don't doubt that your  criticisms are sincere---you started this thread with the intention of raising a shit storm and provoking a reaction.

Oh I knew there would be a reaction, but I started the thread to see what the reaction would be, and in part to give the RRS a chance to address my points on their own ground. I did have certain predictions as to reactions in mind, but Kelly far surpassed my expectations on that one.

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Criticisms are welcome. People who just like to start shit are generally not. You seem to be a mixed bag, so who knows.

Ah well, it's all academic now. There isn't really any point in going over and over everything: and while I appreciate the opportunity to put my points and listen to the counter-arguments, it wouldn't really be polite of me to hang out here indefinitely: I might start thinking that the internet is serious business.
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So a website run by a group of friends debated WOTM in a TV studio?

WOTM's idea.

 

So the RRS is not a website: since it was not a website which arrived in the studio that day but Brian and Kelly of the RRS: are people "of a" website, or of the organisation behind it?
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And of course, you don't care. Don't forget that.

Only in the sense that I'm not employed here.

So you do care in every other sense.

 

I'll leave it there because I'm running out of time.

 

Just to say that after tonight (UK time) I won't make any more responses to this thread. This is not a troll declaring victory and riding off into the sunset, but more a recognition that as a guest here there is only so much room I can ask, and that there really isn;t anything further to get into except semantics.

Thanks for your responses.

Good luck and best wishes.


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YouAre Right

YouAre Right wrote:

Quote:
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"Teacher".

Yes. Teacher. There has been plenty of bitching about Rook's lack of degree and credentials. You'll probably have to take a number on that one.

No it's ok, you just assert that Rook is a "teacher" now (how many different headings can one guy receive?) and I'll just smile at it.

To be a "teacher" requires only that one teach. That doesn't mean what he's teaching is true, false, noble, reprehensible, logical, or complete nonsense. I'll point out here that the quote you're replying to in that is acknowledging that while Rook may endeavor to teach, there is obviously criticism regarding his qualifications to do so. You do remember suggesting that cults don't tolerate criticism, right?

"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


nigelTheBold
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YouAre Right wrote:No it's

YouAre Right wrote:

No it's ok, you just assert that Rook is a "teacher" now (how many different headings can one guy receive?) and I'll just smile at it.

Hold on. From the original context, I thought the reference was to Rook's teacher, not to Rook being a teacher. Not that it matters, really. I just think there's some cross-talk here.

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Ok so everyone is aware of where their money goes when they hand it over, or else they don't care. Well since it isn't the former (there are no public accounts) then it can only be the latter, unless that is a false dichotomy.

There's a third option: we can contingently trust Brian and Kelly and Rook not to lie to us, until proven otherwise. Of course, you might construe this as cultish behaviour, but it isn't significantly different from other websites of this size and tenor. Of course, that doesn't address the possibility that those other websites might also be cultish.

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Well I was assuming that they would think it went towards tangible things to do with the running of the RRS, rather than just being absorbed into Brian's pocket if he so chooses. But, as you say, everyone knows Brian helps himself, and they don't mind paying him. Fine by me, it's not my money he's getting drunk on.

Even not-for-profit websites pay their admins, and often their contributors. Since this isn't a not-for-profit website, I think one could reasonably assume somebody's getting paid for their time. As you say, there's no open books for us to examine. However, I do believe Kelly is speaking honestly when she said both she and Rook work, and Brian is spending his own money.

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Thanks for your responses.

Good luck and best wishes.

And to you. It was an interesting troll, and you presented some potentially valid points in all of it. Your conclusion is illogical, but you wouldn't've gotten the troll reaction if you'd just come in and stated your potentially valid points.

Have fun.

"Yes, I seriously believe that consciousness is a product of a natural process. I find that the neuroscientists, psychologists, and philosophers who proceed from that premise are the ones who are actually making useful contributions to our understanding of the mind." - PZ Myers


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nigelTheBold wrote:Wow. So

nigelTheBold wrote:

Wow. So any financially self-sustaining membership-driven organization would appear to be a cult. Cub Scouts, for instance. The Girls Scouts get their members to sell merchandise for profit. Now that's a cult. But their dogma-laced cookies are quite delicious.

I believe there has to be some form of blind acceptance of dogma to go along with "cult" status.

Yes there is, the apologetics of Brian, Kelly and Rook are more dogma driven than reason driven. They currently subscribe to these patently dogmatic and non-rational positions.
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These are views held by some of the founding members. Fine. I don't accept them. Neither do many of the people here. That's in direct contrast to a cult, in which the words of the founders are accepted unquestioningly.

Or where their teachings are only approached within the veil: people who sign up for one of Rook's courses are already at a point where their questioning is put on hold: they are signing up to be taught by an unqualified self-proclaimed (or Sapient proclaimed, which is probably worse) expert.
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Also, the founding members don't ban people for pointing out that these assertions are not accepted by all. Again, this is in direct contradiction to the characteristics of a cult.

Also in direct contrast to the characteristics of a cult would be to adopt a position of ambivalence where the data is inconclusive: this they do not do but press in with claims of mythicism and diagnoses of mental illness.

nigelTheBold wrote:

Pretty much every website tries to up its membership by increasing visibility. What you're describing isn't a "cult," it's the internet.

So you are saying it is normal behaviour to:

1. work out a way to massage the stats in your favour.

2. encourage people to act in this way (install alexa and other browser plugins) to up the stats count.

3. Claim, once the stats have been so massaged, to be #1.

Since that is what happened, then if that's normal behaviour we'll have to disagree as to "normal", forget trying to ascertain whether such behaviour is rational/pragmatic versus attention whoring.

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Wow, you guys sure are good at not reading something when it suits you to not get it.

Okay, I'll give you the benefit of the doubt here. However, if we're not getting it, perhaps you are not making a clear distinction between shameless self-promotion for the sake of building website membership, and building membership for a cult.

A cult is not an end in itself to which founders strive: cults tend to evolve as certain group-dynamic behaviours become embedded in the group structure.

Shameless self promotion is a facet of someone irrationally wedded to their own ego, whatever their ultimate intention. Cults are generally formed by people of such personality traits. Whether the RRS founders display those traits is up to you to decide for yourself. I just wanted you to think about it.

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Before you go into the "won't pay your dinner, get a real job" schtick again, let me point out than running a website is a real job. They are providing a service. I have not been a paying member, and I have never been criticized for my leeching. I will have to change that come next payday.

Enjoy.

YouAre Right wrote:

nigelTheBold wrote:

The stop using it as a definition.

I'm not. It is a description: it says what cults look like, not what they are. What they are is not covered by my terms therefore it is not a definition of a cult. Are you all this logically challenged? I find it easier to get theists to see the logical inconsistencies in their pet God-proof than I do getting you guys to actually pay attention to the words and intent and stop slipping off on them.

Hey, thanks for saying I'm logically challenged! I guess I'm too stupid to see that you are attempting to define RRS as a cult, and are using a description as if it were a definition. Yeah, we're all too stupid to see through idiocy like that.

let me help you here:

Is the definition of psychosis the same as the diagnostic criteria? No. Psychosis has a definition and a set of associated behaviours that come together to form the diagnosis. The same is true when diagnosing anything: a definition of gravity is not required for there to be a law of gravity: the law says what gravity does (what observables will be found) while the theory of gravity conceptualises the definition of gravity: curvature/warping of space-time or force at a distance. The definition and the physical characteristics are not the same.

It is perfectly legitimate to list behavioural criteria for diagnosis purposes: this is how things progress in the real world.

My saying you are logically challenged is directly related to your ignorance of this  fundamental distinction between a thing (how it is defined) and the phenomena it produces (how it is detected).

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MANY things fit your description that are not cults, as has been demonstrated. And so, your argument is insufficient to identify RRS as a cult. Now, I see you place "wannabe" is as a qualifier. This does nothing more than weaken your assertion, which I assume you did intentionally, so there could be no logical argument against your insufficiency.

It doesn't weaken anything, it merely brings you to where my argument really is after you've been busily laying into a straw man.

I have presented objective descriptions of certain factors which are observed to be the case in organisations which answer to the definition of the word "cult". I have said off the back of that that I think the RRS is a wannabe cult: in that it is ticking some of the boxes and may go on to tick more.

In the process I have questioned certain matters of financial propriety and accountability, I have questioned certain arguments and positions put forward by the RRS, with which the RRS is recognisably linked.

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The point is, we're slipping off them because you're wrong. There are many supportable accusations you could lay at the feet of the RRS founders -- and you have done so. Claiming theism as a mental illness, for instance, is about as accurate as saying belief in UFOs or ghosts is a mental illness. Claiming they are making some profit off the running of the site is a potential goldmine, if anyone here really cared, or we thought they were living in mansions and driving expensive cars, rather than working real jobs and doing this in their free time. Hell, I mean, that guy who started Facebook is a billionaire. What the fuck's up with that? (I'm not being sardonic here. I'm serious.)

But you don't stick to that. You try to push it into illogical territory. This, plus your methods of doing so, indicate intellectual dishonesty, so it's hard to take you as other than a troll.

But you keep missing my point in order to get to this position. If you read each word in the OP deliberately and carefully the point would be easy:

"These are come characteristics typical of cults", "I think that the RRS exhibits some of these characteristics". Sure you can disagree with me as to whether those characteristics are really exhibited but you've pretty much admitted that you don't really know one way or the other as you haven't really thought about it before. At least now you are thinking about it.

I have cited the banning of Rathpig as an example of unwanted criticism simply being swept aside, and I have also mentioned Brian's irrational fear of anon.

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YouAre Right wrote:

No great insight, but you know what: you're nearly there. All social organisations can be seen to exist on a continuum: where one might put wholly altruistic and open organisations at one end and highly controlling and anti-criticism (closed) organisations at the other. How then do we differentiate? By making note of the characteristics which change along the continuum: openness and frankness through to shout-downs and verbal heckling, gentle discussion versus threats and harrassment, etc etc. Yes Brian Sapient has threatened and heckled and shouted down critics.

Now we're getting somewhere.

That's Sapient. There are others here who do that as well. I believe we call that "humanity."

If we're being generous we do. But jerk is sometimes more appropriate.

Quote:
I have also been involved in some excellent discussions here with people of completely different viewpoints about rationality and belief. It can be frustrating sometimes, and I do sometimes behave like a prick, but only when I believe someone is not being honest, or is hiding their motives (perhaps even to themselves). If I cross a line, I apologize.

Here's what makes RRS different from a cult: we don't all behave like Brian Sapient.

Sure you don't all: but there is a hegemony and an orthodoxy which is apparent to outsiders vis mental disorders and mythicism.
Quote:

Each person here is distinct. We are even willing to disagree with Sapient, or Kelly, or Rook, if we feel they are wrong. They don't insist we don't question them. They defend their positions vigorously, and they are intelligent; and they are also abbrassive at times. (Well, not Rook, near as I can tell.)

Criticism is naturally met with a bit of aggression. Nobody likes to be criticised, especially the way you did it, with innuendo and ridiculous conclusions designed to annoy.  C'mon. What was the point of calling it a "wannabe" cult?

It was simply a way of highlighting the path that the RRS is on: whatever it wants to be: if some of the behaviours of the upper echelons are considered  then the organisation is somewhat cultic in its approach, and likely headed in that direction.
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If Brian were really trying to build a cult, he sure wouldn't be doing it the way he does. He doesn't have the charisma to build a cult, anyway.

Nobody really tries to build a cult, they tend to happen through group dynamics and conceptual evolution.
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They're building a community, just like everybody else. Theirs is no more and no less cultish than any other community out there. The folks at Slashdot did the same thing with the tech community. People there can be assholes, too (especially in the early days). For /., it helped that CmdrTaco is a good guy; but that's a personality difference, not a difference of intent.

For your scale, I'd say RRS falls right in the middle, just about where most other community-based websites fall.

I'd say they fall to the right of centre, and I would suggest that Sapient scored highly on the RWA scale I linked to earlier.
Quote:

YouAre Right wrote:

He also tried to sleight Richard Dawkins and a member of his staff for no objective reason at a time which corresponded to the RDFRS distancing itself from the RRS. One might conclude the "Sapient" was getting revenge for the hurt he felt, or one might at least consider that a possibility. Then when we see a history of legal threats and bullying, irrational behaviour that has caused many free-thinkers to see the RRS as little more than a teen angst filled joke created by a thirty-something never-grew-up and his buddies.

Sure. He might have felt upset, and said or done something stupid. He might regularly get upset and say or do stupid things. Sapient might be a petulent brat. I don't know him. I have read his posts enough to know he is intelligent, and he has a lot emotionally invested in this site. Other than that, I really don't know him.

Me, I hardly ever read the journal entries here. I stay in the forums. Why? Because that's where the interesting stuff is. That's where HisWillnes and maglium and jcgadfly and ProzacDeathWish and Eloise and deludedgod all hang out. And I like them. I enjoy interacting with them.

I've tried RDFRS. It's okay. There are some really intelligent folks there. But in the end, I didn't enjoy hanging out there as much. It seemed too dry. Too self-consciously intellectual. Too erudite for my taste.

I know, we're just a bunch of plebians. I don't deny it, when you compare us to RDFRS. We're like Budwieser to your Anchor Steam. (Mmmm. Anchor Steam.)

I'm not here to criticise your preferences for style of dialogue.
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YouAre Right wrote:

Quote:

The key defining factors of a cult are a dogmatic willingness to accept the leaders as divinely-inspired,

Wrong at first point. Nobody defines L.Ron Hubbard as divinely inspired, and the leaders of Jehovah's Witnesses specifically claim not to be divinely inspired. Two counter-example off the top of my head which falsify your point.

But the members accept them as divinely-inspired nonetheless. I know both JWs and Scientologists, and they do believe their leaders are unerringly correct, and recieve their information from supernatural or fantastic sources. However, I'll give up that claim as the next is more relevent.

It matters not, I see your point. But then it doesn't come to the conclusion you want it to.
Quote:

YouAre Right wrote:

Quote:

and the willingness of the members to subjugate themselves to the leaders.

Close, but you're missing the point: they don't realise they're doing it so they don't actually "will" it: they have had their rational cognitive capacities side-lined and bypassed and cognitive dissonance prevents them from acknowledging it easily.

As I said, I have seen people disagree with the founding members. It doesn't happen often, but it does happen. As it turns out, we don't generally disagree with each other here, too much. However, if Sapient or Kelly or Rook said something that was patently false, or even poorly-argued, most of us would be willing to point it out, if it fell in the realm of our understanding.

Yet none of it does. Does anyone here with access to the pay content have the facilities to take Rook to task on quotemined arguments and misapplications of second hand sources? Can anyone here debate Kelly on her pseudo-scientific claims? I don't see it happening, so your objection is moot:  When Rook and Kelly abandon their dogmatic irrational illogic and mangling of historical and medical facts then perhaps your point will carry.
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That's part of the reason I don't generally read Kelly or Rook, though. Their areas of expertise are outside my own areas of knowlege and interest.

I see what you mean, though. I don't remember a damned thing from my first speech class in college, save this: "Don't worry about the people you disagree with. It's the people you agree with that are most dangerous." It was a profound point, one which I had not considred before.

....

For the most part, the OP was general enough to include pretty much every single social organzation founded on common interest in the world. The only specific things identified were:

1) A charismatic leader who can hoodwink followers

With an inflated view of his own personal qualities and intellect despite a lack of objective support for such a view.
Quote:

2) Quack science

I don't think you've established either of these. The "quack science" is certainly the easiest to prove, but all you've done is establish that not many historians are interested in the Jesus mythos, and that theism isn't classified as a mental disorder.

Well that's enough to put Rook's nook and Kelly's blog to bed then.
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I don't know enough about history or historians to dispute that claim, nor do I believe that theism is a mental disorder. However, the fact it isn't classified as a mental disorder is not a conclusive rebuttal, as there would be many political and social reasons to refrain from distinguishing it as such.

Lol. maybe the reason it is not defineable is because it isn't mental illness: unless more than 50% of the population of the planet is mentally ill with a special strain of disease which can be cured by reason and thinking alone.
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I don't believe it's a mental disorder, and I don't think there's enough evidence to support that it is.

There is no evidence that it is, period. It means redefining mental disorder to make it meaningless and unable to distinguish between genuine cognitive malfunction from physical causes and malfunction (if we call theism that) due to cultural and other causes.
Quote:

There are certain aspects that match with the official definition of a mental disorder, but that merely reflects the difficulty of classifying mental illnesses, rather than proof of theism as a mental illness.

The difficulty in obtaining adequate diagnostic markers for certain disorders, or finding cogent definitions for categorisation, has nothing to do with whether something is or is not in the super-class "mental disorder" in the first place. Theism simply does not meet any of the diagnostic markers except by equivocation and mangling: definition by synonym: e.d. this condition X means you believe in things that aren't there: theists believe in god and he isn't there: therefore theists are infected with this disease X.

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Are you always so intellectually dishonest? Thinly disguising your allegations in the form of a hypothetical is merely an attempt to claim the "ha-ha, only serious" defence.

Lol, I shouldn't have to defend my intellectual honesty against your reading comprehension issues: the words were there from the outset, you just failed to account for them in your rebuttal: but now I'm at fault because you had to move to where the argument actually is? Good one.

nigelTheBold wrote:

There's a whole lot of allegation with no evidence. None whatsoever. Present evidence, rather than innuendo; otherwise, you amount to nothing more than a poorly-argued troll.

I've supplied a objective set of diagnostic criteria, explained how such are used and are valid, and drawn my inferences regarding the RRS as a result.

I can't really do much more: I've spent the best part of my day responding as much as I can, most of that correcting misrepresentations of my point from people who could just have take five minutes longer before hitting submit.

Quote:
Quote:

So how about the lack of transparency and the fact the Brian sees the RRS as a business venture for the future: which will pay his keep and lodgings? Is that not evidence that Brian sees this as a business opportiunity? Why indeed it is, because that's what a business does: provides income. And as everyone around here is quick to point out: RRS isn't not for profit.

So it would seem that there is evidence for my the hypothetical after-all it goes like this:

1. I assert that Brian Sapient sees this as a business opportunity.

2. It is shown on this thread by Kelly that Brian uses money from RRS for his own sustenance.

point is already established.

Now, tie this in with other cultic behaviours such as lack of transparency, self-appointed expertism, attention whoring and rejection of all criticism in downright egregious terms often accompanied by threats and one could just as easily be talking about Scientology.

This is where your argument falls apart. Right now, you've established that the founding members may use some contributions to purchase food or lodging. You've established that Brian is an asshole. You've established that some assertions made by the founding members are not established fact. You've established that some of the founding members have an interest in researching things that may or may not be relevant, or even provide hope for rational discovery. You've established that Sapient perhaps wishes this to be a business venture, rather than having a "real" job.

I have also showed an example of reds under the bed paranoia, and rejection of criticism al la summary excommunication of Rathpig.
Quote:

(As an aside: running a website is a real job. And their business model isn't outside the typical models used by other low-volume sites.)

Sure, they're typical of a small scale web business. Fine, if that is what they are: only it isn't really clear, so thanks for tidying that up.
Quote:

It's a huge leap to "cult."

Not at all, it is a gradual stepwise almost imperceptible evolution.

Cults are not established overnight, nor do they acquire their characteristics in one go - it is a continuum because it can be moved along.

Quote:

Huge. And the comparison to Scientology is a bit off. If Sapient asked us to do something illegal, I suspect most of us would tell him to fuck off. I know I would.

Well good for you. We cannot know whether there are any who would take the opposite line, but since you don't feel - and apply good reasons for taking the position - that cultic behaviours apply to your experience of the RRS then there's nothing to argue. Get in deeper and see where things are in a couple of years. In the mean time get some real experience inside cults: go to the KH or the Mormon church sometime.

Scientology makes lots of threats against those who seek to expose it, as spaient has made lots of threats against people who have threatened to expose him: even using a mangled understanding of civil/criminal law in order to send the police round to someone who had made one of Sapient's barmy emails public.

Quote:

And this is what makes you a troll:

You take possibly defensible points, and use them to jump to a conclusion that is intended to stir up emotional debate, rather than focusing on the validity of your points.

This is simply not true and you are again misrepresenting my intentions.
Quote:
Rather than engaging in productive discussion, you manufactured a controversial position, couched it in the most offensive terms possible, and posted it where it would stir up the strongest response.

I "manufactured" this position over a number of weeks of RRS-watching: it was a conclusion based on a fair degree of certainty that what I was viewing was not the behaviour of rational people in a rationalist organisation, but rather a clique exhibiting cultic tendencies. I have not been alone in this observation.

You say none of this applies to you and I see no reason to argue that point. Your own opinion is sufficient for you to carry your position there.

As for my bets: I had to have some entertainment while embarking on this marathon.

 

But never mind, I'll sign off from RRS and from this thread unless there are any new points (please forgive me for not wanting to reconfirm and clarify every syllable for every member here - but I'm not a robot.

Thanks for your time and input.

Best Wishes etc,


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BMcD wrote:YouAre Right

BMcD wrote:

YouAre Right wrote:

nigelTheBold wrote:
Ah. For Halloween, were you pot, or kettle?

I don't know Nigel. Have I promoted myself? I am anonymous, there is nothing to promote: you do not know me and have not come to know me through this thread.

For the record:

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

could be taken as self-promotional, in the manner of "Look at me! I'm respected on these places! See? You should trust me based on my say-so because they like me there."

I'm not saying it was intended that way, but it certainly could be interpreted that way. Limitations of text make reading intent into things when it wasn't there very easy, after all.

It could be interpreted that way if it my identity on RD.net had not already been a matter of discussion. Quote-mining can be used to prove anything and is indistinguishable from scripture citing as a style of argumentation. You wouldn't be so irrational as to base a conclusion on a quote-mine would you? Of course not.

But you are right to draw attention to the risks inherent in written communication, so I am pleased to see that you proceed on a safer basis of limiting your inferences to that which can be directly supported by the words, rather than second hand interpretations.


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nigelTheBold wrote:YouAre

nigelTheBold wrote:

YouAre Right wrote:

No it's ok, you just assert that Rook is a "teacher" now (how many different headings can one guy receive?) and I'll just smile at it.

Hold on. From the original context, I thought the reference was to Rook's teacher, not to Rook being a teacher. Not that it matters, really. I just think there's some cross-talk here.

No sorry I was referring to the so called college level courses run in the RRS academy where Rook is "faculty" and "teaches".
Quote:

Quote:

Ok so everyone is aware of where their money goes when they hand it over, or else they don't care. Well since it isn't the former (there are no public accounts) then it can only be the latter, unless that is a false dichotomy.

There's a third option: we can contingently trust Brian and Kelly and Rook not to lie to us, until proven otherwise.

That is indistinguishable from the second option: you don't care until made to care.
Quote:

Of course, you might construe this as cultish behaviour, but it isn't significantly different from other websites of this size and tenor.

Really? Ok, I'll take your word for it: when I contribute towards a something I like to know that my contribution is not being diverted to something else. If this does not bother you then you pays your money and you takes your choice.

Quote:

Of course, that doesn't address the possibility that those other websites might also be cultish.

It doesn't, but then I'm not interested in any old web-business, but I am interested in one which calls itself Rational and sets itself up as an atheist free-thinking hub.
Quote:

Quote:

Well I was assuming that they would think it went towards tangible things to do with the running of the RRS, rather than just being absorbed into Brian's pocket if he so chooses. But, as you say, everyone knows Brian helps himself, and they don't mind paying him. Fine by me, it's not my money he's getting drunk on.

Even not-for-profit websites pay their admins, and often their contributors. Since this isn't a not-for-profit website, I think one could reasonably assume somebody's getting paid for their time. As you say, there's no open books for us to examine. However, I do believe Kelly is speaking honestly when she said both she and Rook work, and Brian is spending his own money.

She never said that. Did you read her post? Try again.

Clue: Brian is not always spending his own money, only sometimes. She and Rook both derive financial benefit.

What is Rook's employment status: does he have a job at the RRS?

A charity is allowed staff: there is nothing to prevent Sapient from being paid, but it would come at the cost of legal transparency and greater accountability. There may well be nothing wrong: in which case there is nothing to hide.

Quote:

Quote:

Thanks for your responses.

Good luck and best wishes.

And to you. It was an interesting troll, and you presented some potentially valid points in all of it. Your conclusion is illogical,

Your misrepresentation and misinderstanding is illogical.
Quote:
but you wouldn't've gotten the troll reaction if you'd just come in and stated your potentially valid points.

Have fun.

 

cheers, trolling was not my intent: I thought my words were clear enough though most everyone seemed to take them further than they were intended to be taken.


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YouAre Right

YouAre Right wrote:

http://richarddawkins.net/forum/viewtopic.php?p=714124#p714124

 

Just click and keep reading. Incidentally a number of people previously supportive of the RRS have changed position as a result of the things reported there and elsewhere.

Commentary on this thread starts here:

http://richarddawkins.net/forum/viewtopic.php?p=785258#p785258

There you go, there is a wider breadth of argument and observation there, feel free to join in and counter anything you disagree with.

Grabs a seat, grabs some popcorn, and awaits core membership response


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BMcD wrote:YouAre Right

BMcD wrote:

YouAre Right wrote:

2. It is shown on this thread by Kelly that Brian uses money from RRS for his own sustenance.

point is already established.

Actually, it's worth noting that no, that hasn't been established. What was said was:

Kellym78 wrote:

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

That states that Brian uses money from his personal savings. The only statement it makes about whether or not money from RRS is used for his own sustenance is that clearly, money from RRS does not pay all of his bills. Whether or not it pays any of them is not addressed. The statement would be equally valid if RRS pays for all but $.01 of Brian's living expenses, or if Brian is living entirely off of money saved from a massive financial windfall in the past and taking no money from RRS.

I really hate having to get nit-picky about things like this, but when dealing with what it obviously getting to be something of a charged topic, it's best to not read into or make assumptions about statements made, but to take the words said at face value. In this case, that value is: Brian takes money out of his personal savings, and might not if RRS made more money. That does not, however, mean that at this point RRS is providing Brian with income. For all we know, the donations might not completely cover operating costs, and continuing to cover the shortfall might be one of the things for which Brian is taking money out of his personal savings.

Well if there were transparency the guesswork would be over wouldn't it?

Brian has already admitted elsewhere to taking money from the RRS for his personal use, this is public knowledge. I take your point with Kelly's words but I don't agree with your final nit-picked conclusion. The point is that it is already established that it is perfectly acceptable to the membership here that if the contributions exceed the operating costs the Brian can pocket the change.

Nobody objects to that, it seems to be pretty much a given that everyone who as spoken on the subject so far seems to have not difficulty with. The RRS is Brian Sapient's personal potential piggy bank. That's fine, whatever floats your financially assisted boat.


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Right that's me.Thank you

Right that's me.

Thank you for not banning me, it is genuinely good to see.

Pity Kelly couldn't have been more objective as it is only her reputation which was harmed.

 

Lol, enjoy yourselves guys and remember that the internet has serious business potential.

 

...

?

PROFIT!


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Rathpig?

This does seem to be turning into a trollfest. Youareright, are you Rathpig or are you associated with that person at all? I noticed you joined yesterday and have since done nothing but cling to the assertion that the RRS is a cult led by financially dishonest, unqualified amateurs purporting to be professionals that practice quack science and poor scholarship. I hope you are getting enjoyment out of this diatribe, otherwise, it seems like a big waste of time.

“Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.” Yoda


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HeyZeusCreaseToe wrote:This

HeyZeusCreaseToe wrote:

This does seem to be turning into a trollfest. Youareright, are you Rathpig or are you associated with that person at all? I noticed you joined yesterday and have since done nothing but cling to the assertion that the RRS is a cult led by financially dishonest, unqualified amateurs purporting to be professionals that practice quack science and poor scholarship. I hope you are getting enjoyment out of this diatribe, otherwise, it seems like a big waste of time.

As long as I don't have to clean up his keyboard, he can engage in as much masturbation (mental and otherwise) as he wishes.

"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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Lol

jcgadfly wrote:

As long as I don't have to clean up his keyboard, he can engage in as much masturbation (mental and otherwise) as he wishes.

I'm not trying deny his free speech on RRS, just wondering if this is entertainment for him to do this, if he was getting revenge for being banned, or if he really believes the RRS is a cult. I agree that this does seem to be bordering on mental masturbation as well as reminding me of similar reasoning applied by Rathpig in Rook Hawkins Reply to a Troll.

“Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.” Yoda


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YouAre Right wrote:It could

YouAre Right wrote:

It could be interpreted that way if it my identity on RD.net had not already been a matter of discussion. Quote-mining can be used to prove anything and is indistinguishable from scripture citing as a style of argumentation. You wouldn't be so irrational as to base a conclusion on a quote-mine would you? Of course not.

But you are right to draw attention to the risks inherent in written communication, so I am pleased to see that you proceed on a safer basis of limiting your inferences to that which can be directly supported by the words, rather than second hand interpretations.

Indeed, I would not be so irrational as to base a conclusion on  a quote-mine, nor was the implication that others should my aim. Instead, my aim was simply to point out to you and others the very risks you've acknowledged. It's important that we keep those risks in mind, so as to minimize them.

"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


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hey mr. YouAre Right, a rant

hey mr. YouAre Right, a rant for you, from me God,


Ummm, geezzz, WOW, a cult challenging the largest religious cults in the world is making a profit and even using provocative statements to further their cause.  How awful ? !  .....    NO,  very wonderful and good !

I AM JESUS, we are ONE, we are atheists with no Master ! Great prophets and socialologists George Carlin and Pat Condell, are high ranking cult leaders spreading higher awareness ....

It will take more than one method to skin the god of abe monster. All non violent methods and ideas are duely appreciated. Our indignation is our higher awareness and wish to end the unnecessary suffering in our world.  

Call it whatever you may, but all the world suffers from the sickness of religious god delusion. 

The atheist Jesus wisdom, (a Buddha one) said the temple church was a den ran by vipers and hypocrites and even got on Peter's ass, calling him satan .... 

Now with the Christ in me,  I say , all god of abe followers are freaking sick blind and retarded hypocrites and under the devils spell of delusion and god separation. Wake the fuck up. This is god , every particle .... 

And to my fellow atheists I say, LOUDER my brothers and sisters at RRS, Shout at the DEVIL !  Make RRS a power house of spreading the "good word" of NO MASTERS, NO IDOLS  ..... Louder louder . Make the PA system a billion watts loud .... That takes money, and btw, a healthy well feed, worldly wise, hands on, energized, hard working top crew.  

Whats your helpful advise again , Mr. YouAre Right ???    

BTW, When others make exaggerations, I AM often compelled to do likewise as a teaching devise ..... "I did not come to bring peace but a SWORD" .... Yeah,  I get ya loud and clear,  jesus,  my wise atheist friend .... 

 P.S. I sure do like seeing cool Dawkins in his "Atheists for Jesus" t-shirt. That's alot of what I do around here ! .....  


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YouAre Right wrote:jcgadfly

YouAre Right wrote:

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.

YouAre Right, you are a total fuckwit.

Imagine the people who believe such things and who are not ashamed to ignore, totally, all the patient findings of thinking minds through all the centuries since the Bible was written. And it is these ignorant people, the most uneducated, the most unimaginative, the most unthinking among us, who would make themselves the guides and leaders of us all; who would force their feeble and childish beliefs on us; who would invade our schools and libraries and homes. I personally resent it bitterly.
Isaac Asimov


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From our rules:"As the

From our rules:

"As the owners of this site, we reserve the right to remove anyone from our site, at any time, for any reason. We will not provide financial and/or commercial support for anyone whose main goal could be detrimental to this site. We will not publish anything online from anyone who makes deceptive or dishonest claims in order to undermine the credibility or viability of this site. We are open to criticism in order to improve the site, but attacks personal or otherwise, are not acceptable, especially from people who aren't willing to admit that they could be wrong."

2.1. Antagonism.
Antagonism is giving one or more members a hard time. Cases typically comprise a series of provocations, each not necessarily sanctionable in its own right. Incidents can include, but are by no means limited to the following:

  1. Slander/Libel
  2. Clear intent to not argue a position, but to merely attack a person
  3. Trolling

_______________________

Youareright, how about you move on to fighting the theism is a mental disorder claim?  Or something having to do with the religious discourse of the world we live in.  You know... something actually relevant and progressive towards our effort instead of engaging in dozens of posts that violate the forum rules.  This is your warning.  I am tired of seeing you tell lies about us even if a bunch of people unfamiliar with the lies you're telling have done a good job keeping their bullshit meter up.

 

 

 

 

- Brian Sapient


Buy popular atheist books and support the Rational Response Squad at the same time on Amazon.


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Wow, our great cult

   Wow,  our great cult leader speaks again ! I fucking love you Sapient to bits .... Get loving rich and kick ass ! And THANKS.

( and tongue Kelley for me , and give Rook a hug )

And hey Mr. Dawkins , thank you too  ..... for spreading love ....     and fun


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Sapient wrote:From our

Sapient wrote:

From our rules:

"As the owners of this site, we reserve the right to remove anyone from our site, at any time, for any reason. We will not provide financial and/or commercial support for anyone whose main goal could be detrimental to this site. We will not publish anything online from anyone who makes deceptive or dishonest claims in order to undermine the credibility or viability of this site. We are open to criticism in order to improve the site, but attacks personal or otherwise, are not acceptable, especially from people who aren't willing to admit that they could be wrong."

2.1. Antagonism.
Antagonism is giving one or more members a hard time. Cases typically comprise a series of provocations, each not necessarily sanctionable in its own right. Incidents can include, but are by no means limited to the following:

  1. Slander/Libel
  2. Clear intent to not argue a position, but to merely attack a person
  3. Trolling

_______________________

Youareright, how about you move on to fighting the theism is a mental disorder claim?  Or something having to do with the religious discourse of the world we live in.  You know... something actually relevant and progressive towards our effort instead of engaging in dozens of posts that violate the forum rules.  This is your warning.  I am tired of seeing you tell lies about us even if a bunch of people unfamiliar with the lies you're telling have done a good job keeping their bullshit meter up.

Ok Brian - we'll move onto the theism is a mental disorder question if you wish.

So where would you like to debate it? There are plenty of forums in web-land which offer moderated formal debates so here is my challenge to either you or Kelly:

Resolved: Theism is a mental disorder;

Brian/Kelly will propose, SpaghettiSawUs(YouAre Right) will oppose.

RD.net has a formal debate forum which is quite active. Naturally neutral territory would be a better place than here, where you can invent spurious grounds (as above) in order to silence critics and label them.

So how about it? Formal debate, and we can put this "Theism is a mental disorder" to bed once and for all, and you guys can stop mangling Psychiatric diagnostic criteria thereafter.

You know what I think? I think you guys are too scared to put your quack-science under the microscope. So go on an prove me wrong: accept my challenge to a formal online written debate on the subject somewhere where you don't hold the forum power.

This post has been reproduced here:

http://richarddawkins.net/forum/viewtopic.php?p=786921#p786921

So there you go Brian, your challenge is accepted, I'll gladly deal with your quack science. The only question now is whether you guys have either the intellectual honesty or the gumption to put it up for scrutiny in the forum of rational debate.

And in case you were wondering: I have a tenner riding on this which says you'll cry out of it or try to keep it here (I also have you down as a rather insecure little bunch but this is just my opinion).

So you have the opportunity to put your ego where your mouth is, lets see you avoid this one too.


The Doomed Soul
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I like Pie!

I like Pie!


AmericanIdle
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Quote:RD.net has a formal

Quote:
RD.net has a formal debate forum which is quite active. Naturally neutral territory would be a better place than here, where you can invent spurious grounds (as above) in order to silence critics and label them.

You really think the non-stop slander (mostly on ratpig's part) of Brian and RRS for over a month makes RD.net neutral? If you were someone worth debating you would have tried to put a stop to the continuous personal attacks about member's personal details, parenting skills, etc. (all of which you & the others, know absolutely nothing about) instead of chiming in to support that kind of slander. 

You've also had ample opportunity to confront your prejudice and preconceived notions on this site.  You could have started a thread asking RRS members to clarify what they mean by the theism/mental illness statements and discussed or debated those points accordingly.  Clarification was never really your intent though was it ?  You wanted to antagonize until you were banned and then use this to support your preconceived notions.

Granted the fact that you display this lack of character has nothing to do with your debate skills.  Those you could have displayed for everyone to see somewhere in this 3 (soon to be 4) page post you started.  You were clearly trying to make a point re: the cultlike nature of RRS. No one has bought anything you've had to say so far and if you haven't made your point yet, I suppose we're going to have to assume you never really had one to begin with.

 

You and ratpig have some sort of issue w/ RRS.  Reading the slander, it would probably be more apt to call it irrational hatred.  Now, one could either feed into this hatred by replying to you or one could simply ignore you.  Conventional wisdom would probably suggest #2.

Here's the problem though:  Repeat ill informed notions or slander often enough and those, more easily influenced, will start to believe it's true.  I hope that the administrators at RD.net eventually see the slander for what it is and put a stop to it.  I have much respect for Professor Dawkins and RD.net.  It's a shame to see it get used like it has been by certain individuals.

I think the idea of a good natured debate between forums would be an interesting concept, but good nature is not something I've seen from you or your buddy rathpig.  In fact, I've actually read many of your posts, both on RD.net and RnR and have had to form my opinion of you accordingly.  (For those of you that have not done this, it's probably much worse than you think).

Were I Brian, I'd afford neither of you so much as the time of day.

But hey, that's just me... Best Wishes.

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


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BTW as to the assertion that

BTW as to the assertion that the RRS won't criticize Scientology put out there - there was an entire "Scientology is Irrational" show. They do criticize it they just don't approve of Anonymous' tactics - which are often illegal and include severe harasment of individuals.

Matt Shizzle has been banned from the Rational Response Squad website. This event shall provide an atmosphere more conducive to social growth. - Majority of the mod team


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AmericanIdle wrote:Were I

AmericanIdle wrote:

Were I Brian, I'd afford neither of you so much as the time of day.

ditto

- Brian Sapient


Buy popular atheist books and support the Rational Response Squad at the same time on Amazon.


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MattShizzle wrote:BTW as to

MattShizzle wrote:

BTW as to the assertion that the RRS won't criticize Scientology put out there - there was an entire "Scientology is Irrational" show. They do criticize it they just don't approve of Anonymous' tactics - which are often illegal and include severe harasment of individuals.

 

SEE: Youareright for example of harassment.

 

 

 

- Brian Sapient


Buy popular atheist books and support the Rational Response Squad at the same time on Amazon.


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YouAre right was challenged

YouAre right was challenged in this thread to discuss the claim that RRS specifically and repeatedly makes; that of theism being a mental disorder. It is a central claim of the RRS.

He has accepted that challenge and has proposed a formal debate on what is a central plank of your claims.

More than that, he has suggested a venue which should be acceptable to you: RD.NET.

You did, after all, support the Richard Dawkins Foundation to the extent that you solicited donations to support it and spoke with the man himself.

Therefore, it is a venue where neither you nor YAR has moderation privileges nor admin rights, and is to take place in a venue which you yourself support. It would also be a very publicly available place for you to make your point.

It is a perfectly logical response to the challenge that was made in this very thread.Your group makes the claim and is now being challenged to defend it in a neutral venue which you yourself have supported.

Defend it. To do otherwise will smack of cowardice. I am currently contacting various sites to make sure that the challenge gets maximum publicity.

I am also copying this message elsewhere.

Time to piss or get off the pot.


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Teh internets: Where there

Teh internets: Where there are more socks on hands than there are on feets.


MattShizzle
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Who are you a sockpuppet for

Who are you a sockpuppet for Niall? It's been answered ad nauseam why a formal debate is a terrible method for this sort of thing - that's why Richard Dawkins himself doesn't do them.

Why are intellectually dishonest people so obsessed with the formal debate format? Did a class just graduate from the Asshat Academy?

Matt Shizzle has been banned from the Rational Response Squad website. This event shall provide an atmosphere more conducive to social growth. - Majority of the mod team


The Doomed Soul
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PIE OR DIE!!!!

PIE OR DIE!!!!


Nialler
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Bullshit.I'm not a sock, and

Bullshit.

I'm not a sock, and Brian will confirm that from an IP search. Mine is in France; and is not the same as YouAre Right's.

Thanks for playing and thanks for showing yet again the assumptive basis for your reasoning.

As an avowed and strong atheist with 9 years public record of the fact, I'm ashamed at the stupidity I see among my fellow atheists.

 

I challenge Brian to confirm the difference in IP addresses.


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The Cake Is A

The Cake Is A LIE!!!

 

Because its PIE!!


Nialler
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Per the previous post I am

Per the previous post I am not a sockpuppet. Brian will conform that my IP address is based in Paris, whereas YouAre Right is in the UK.

Formal debates are not an obsession of mine, but they are a bloody good way of getting to the truth. You have told a falsehood when you say that Dawkins doesn't do them; Dawkins has taken part in many debates - he chooses, correctly, not to debate creationists. That is because they tend to shift the goalposts frequently during a "debate" and they invoke special pleading. But debate he does. So does the RRS. What about their much-vaunted success against the banana people? That is something that they flaunt at every opportunity.

A formal debate - among atheists - would give great publicity to something whoch the RRS claims as fact. It would tease out the facts. It would refine ideas. It would strenghen arguments.

So piss off with your "intellectually dishonest" crap. The great foundations of intellectual thought are founded on debate. Ask Rook about the Dialogues. Even when the great thinkers of antiquity were publishing their ideas, they felt that a structured debate was a great way to present the pros and cons.

In any event, the challenge has been made and will be publicised. You have everything to gain from entering the debate and proving the point that you claim to be true, and everything to lose by shirking the challenge.

That's the way it is now. There really is no way out.

 Mattshizzle, you stated that Dawkins does not do debates.

It took less than .2 of a second to find this recent one mentioned:

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/faith/article2588509.ece

"intellectual dishonesty"? give me a break.