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.


MattShizzle
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Well, I see some of the

 

[Entomophila deleted this comment and photo.

Matt, this reply and photo should be posted at the RDN forum, not here. I believe that you have a degree.

NOTE to the rest of you, both sides: ENTOMOPHILA is getting out her vacuum cleaner and is going to clean up this thread. Stop the Ad hominem attacks and get on with the debate. If you can ask or answer a valid question in a civil, reasonable manner, or have something constructive to say, then do so. Otherwise, please refrain from adding to this thread.

P.S. Matt, please google "circum vitae" (you should know what a CV is) and resize your photos so they are smaller and appropriate for forums]

 

 

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


Nialler
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jcgadfly wrote: It is

jcgadfly wrote:
It is unambiguous - He personally doesn't call theism a mental disorder. Nice LONG jump from there to "The RRS is wrong on their position.", wouldn't you say? Why did you make it?

He says: "I personally wouldn't consider theism itself a mental disorder for a few reasons..." That runs entirely counter to the claim made by the core RRS members.


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Nialler wrote:jcgadfly

Nialler wrote:

jcgadfly wrote:
It is unambiguous - He personally doesn't call theism a mental disorder. Nice LONG jump from there to "The RRS is wrong on their position.", wouldn't you say? Why did you make it?

He says: "I personally wouldn't consider theism itself a mental disorder for a few reasons..." That runs entirely counter to the claim made by the core RRS members.

It is also a personal opinion. Matt makes no claim to speak for anyone but himself.

So his personal position runs contrary to the RRS's stated position? Holy mother of fuck! Atheists think for themselves!
Head for the hills!

Kinda blows the OP's idea of RRS being a cult in the making out of the water too...

"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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I think the Topic creator is

I think the Topic creator is using 'cult' to get your attention by getting in your face. Not unlike tactics from the RRS.

 

Anyway, I started to read the topic, but got drowned out by the amount of wahmbulances in the backround.


 


kellym78
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Below is about five pages of

Below is about five pages of responses from me, mostly gleaned from the threads to which I previously linked you, that show that you have misrepresented my position and that of the RRS in general. Feel free to C&P this to your friends over at RD.net so that they can continue to have fun in their RRS hate thread. I would surely hate to demonstrate my humanity and cause anybody to feel guilty for continually vilifying and/or ridiculing me, so let's just suffice to say that none of your ignorant conclusions even approach truth and do not warrant responses.

 


 

Disordered in one regard does not imply the inability to be logical, rational, or ethical in all other areas. That would be like saying that somebody who has depression or ADHD is unable to function in any way, even those unrelated to their disorder, and nobody has made such a statement. (It just now occurred to me that all of these people who are having fits about this "disorder" thing have apparently all carried over their own stigma associated with that word. Nobody here has ever stated that anybody with any type of disorder is inherently and absolutely irrational, illogical, and stupid. Rather, it is precisely because one is capable of behaving rationally and logically in most other areas of their lives that it is even apparent that this ONE issue is not in line, and therefore "disordered", with the rest of their beliefs and behaviors.)

 

Not that you cannot control your body--obviously you can in most circumstances. But can a person with Parkinson's Disease "will" themselves to stop shaking? No. This is a purely physical reaction to the lack of dopamine in the neural synapses. Is it possible, in some cases, particulary cocaine-induced Parkinsonism, to repair the damaged parts of the brain, notably the GABA receptors and dopamine transporters/receptors, to diminish or eliminate the symptoms? Yes. But it all comes down to physical processes inside the brain. Just like all of your behaviors, thoughts, feelings, perceptions, etc. Right down to and including one's proclivity to believe in god and the way in which that proclivity manifests itself.

 

The more that this issue gets brought up, the more I think that not only is everybody misinterpreting our position, but that they have all carried their own stigmas associated with "disorder" into the fray.

 


More importantly, people need to understand that this is a multi-faceted attack on religion. As evil_religion said, we are merely pointing out the similarities between a delusional disorder, particularly grandiose delusional disorder, and the mindset of a typical theist. Obviously, Brian and I both understand that psychology is based on societal norms and therefore, religion couldn't technically be classified as a disorder because it is prevalent in our society. It is our goal, though, to make religion less prevalent; to make belief in bronze-age mythology so absolutely ridiculous that admitting that you have conversations with a deity would be embarrassing. That is the impetus behind our usage of that argument--to plant the seed in the heads of believers that they are deluding themselves (funny how nobody objects when you say that, but call it a disorder and all of a sudden people are throwing stones).

We purposely make controversial statements and do things like the blasphemy challenge to get people talking!! Sitting around being quiet and respectful has gotten us where in 2000 years? Sam Harris used the argument that the best way to take the power away from any social group is to ridicule it. "Theism is a mind disorder" IS ridicule. Now, don't try to twist my words and think that I don't stand behind the analysis--I do. I think that there is enough evidence out there that theism is mentally damaging to support it as well, but I am saying that this is also a strategic maneuver. Think of it as a counter-meme. We want this idea to spread to enough people that consulting your sky-daddy before bed IS recognized as a disorder. The only criterium that isn't met is in fact not a criterium, but a disclaimer that religion doesn't count. Is it possible that the APA and the editors of the DSM are being just a little politically correct here? Just the fact that this disclaimer was necessary is proof that the similarities are already there! Please take note that since we've started this meme it appears Dan Barker has taken it and run with it as well. Now he calls religion a mental illness. The meme is spreading, and atheists who want to see religious belief dissipate would be wise to not hinder our advancement in this area.

I had an epiphany when I was posting on this topic in another thread, but I'll recap here. Every person who finds the "disorder" thing offensive obviously has their own baggage related to mental disorders in mind and then want to project that onto us. I bear no such prejudice. I'm sure that I have multiple disorders, but the difference between me and them is that if somebody tells me that I have a disorder and wants to help me, I don't just say "UNH UH!! NOT ME!! I'm perfectly normal!!!" I seek to improve those errors in my thought processes. I strive to live without cognitive dissonance. Sorry that I don't want everybody else to continue living in denial while they destroy the world that I live in. At any rate, I stated in the other thread that the very reason that we can say that "theism is a mind disorder" is because all theists ARE NOT completely stupid, irrational in every way, or absolutely insane. (Although some may be) It is precisely because they operate rationally and logically in most other areas of their lives that their god-belief stands out so glaringly as an aberration.

So, I really want to convey here the level of frustration I have at being forced to constantly reiterate what our position is here. It is pretty clear in the three videos we made on the topic, so please just watch the damn things and actually listen before you attack us on this one. Especially from people who I would think understand us better than that. And who also understand that having a degree means you should be smart, but doesn't make you so, nor does it do the opposite.

I'm sick of typing. I think I'm developing a carpal tunnel disorder. (Disparaging wrists everywhere!!!)

 

I know the next argument that you're going to make, too. "Well, she was insane, so she would have done something horrible anyway." How do you know that? How do you know that she would have had any concept of a "demon" if it wasn't placed there? The bible clearly states that this is a war not of flesh and bones, but of spirits and the forces of good and evil. One is to arm themselves for battle and prepare to deflect the attacks of satan and his minions. People still believe in this stuff! Does anybody get this? The Pope is calling for mass exorcisms, and some evangelical christians believe that sicknesses are caused by satan and that you can "cast them out in Jesus' name." It is a travesty that the more obsequious among us have bought the propaganda hook, line, and sinker. Anybody who cannot see the correlation here is either blind or indifferent and will allow these things to continue to happen. All because we can't talk about religion like that-it's just not nice.

Obviously, the vast majority of religious people do not commit these kinds of crimes, but there is an overwhelming amount of violence perpetrated upon people that is religiously motivated. I've already pointed out the child abuse that occurs in the name of religion, and some christian parenting sites teach you how to "switch" your children with PVC tubing from the age of 9 months. Incidentally, a devotee of theirs was charged with first-degree murder when she wrapped her 4 year old son tightly in blankets because he kept getting out of bed and he suffocated to death.All because god is a god of order, not chaos, and you must maintain order in your home. Talk about fragile egos on these people who won't be manipulated by the cries of a hungry newborn baby.

I said this in my first post on this topic, and obviously I need to repeat myself for the either dense or dishonest critics, but even if religion only exploits existing mental illnesses, should we not give people one less reason to kill or harm others? Imagine a scenario in which small groups of racist people are still terrorizing anybody with darker skin than them, but since the vast majority of white people don't act that way, we just shouldn't address it.

In all honesty, the reason that most religious people do not act like the Phelps family is because they are nominal (insert religion here) only. A study done by the Barna Group, a christian research firm, showed that many young Americans see christians as hypocritical, and that they really are hypocrites. They surveyed 1003 adults on 20 "lifestyle elements," including things such as altruism, sexual behavior, and substance abuse. The results: on 15 of the 20 behaviors, evangelical christians were indistinguishable from us heathens, and the areas in which they do differ (porn consumption, cursing in public, playing the lottery, and music piracy), the difference is minor (One-third of heathens vs. one-quarter of christians) except for the music piracy, in which there is a 7% difference. That is not likely because of the commandment to not steal, but rather that resisting the urge to download music is much easier than resisting the urge to have sex. If that's not causing cognitive dissonance, I don't know what will.

 

Any study, particularly psychological or sociological, is going to establish correlations between things, hopefully with as few confounding factors as possible. So nobody should make the assumption that atheism causes these things, just that they are related for some reason. You could take the converse and say that theism is correlated to poor societal health. The real strength of these studies, though, is taking away the "without religion everybody would turn into wild animals" argument.

 

Now, I know what you guys are going to say--"It's not BECAUSE of religion." Actually, I don't think that a case could be made either way. Was he likely vulnerable to delusional behavior? Yeah, I'll concede that one. The fact that religion is unique in its ability to seep into the crevices of your mind so pervasively that this theme plays out in our society over and over again isn't addressed by that statement, though. How do the appeasers and framers answer that? Maybe it only manifests itself in those already prone to mental illness, but isn't that akin to excusing and perpetuating a belief system that preys on the weak? What exactly is it that causes atheists to feel this compulsion to cover for a malevolent, archaic belief that has caused mothers to kill their children, countless cases of child abuse, seemingly endless wars and violence, and self-mutilation and flagellation that can be traced back to the very foundation of the religion?

 

Furthermore, I did qualify my statement in the original post by saying that these delusions seemed to manifest themselves in vulnerable people, but again, if the bible didn't have a specific command to cut off your right hand if it offends you on the premise of it being better to enter heaven maimed than go to hell (an implicit threat of eternal punishment), this man likely would not have felt compelled to cut his right hand off with a circular saw.

Finally, when dealing with statistics, particularly in the field of psychology, there is practically never a case of clear causation. It's always a matter of correlation, and a positive correlation does not have to be excessively high to be considered statistically significant. I feel that the case for religion having detrimental effects on people's mental health can be made with certainty that there is a positive correlation between excessive religiosity and delusions resulting in violence to oneself or others.

 

"Religion" is not a mental disorder-it's the effects of religion on people's minds that may lead to or otherwise push the susceptible "over the edge", so to speak.

 

The fact that a certain part of the brain is stimulated during so-called "religious experiences" does not demonstrate anything other than the fact that a certain experience is associated with increased or decreased activity in areas of the brain, just like any other experience that we have. Using the term "hard-wired" muddies the waters by giving this predisposition an aura of seemingly scientific respectability. It would be a non sequitor to assume that this implies that it is supposed to operate in that fashion universally or that it was a necessary facet of the evolutionary process. The fact that the majority of people throughout history have believed in god would predispose their descendants to also have the same susceptibility to the type of temporal lobe stimulation that causes these experiences, and therefore cannot prove anything other than how the brain operates in certain circumstances.

I do believe that religion was necessary in our evolutionary history to facilitate social cohesion and provide answers to the unanswerable questions and solace regarding the frightening reality of life and impending death. I feel that we should do as Daniel Dennett suggests in Breaking the Spell and question whether or not it is still beneficial to society.

 

Again, you're making the naturalistic fallacy be presupposing that is equals ought. From a sociological perspective, the norm would be theistic belief because norms are always culturally defined. Just because it is the current norm doesn't mean that it should remain that way. I also never implied that any deviation from "pure rationality" is a mental illness. Anybody see a strawman?

 

I have thought things through, thanks. Sorry if you feel like I'm giving you a bad reputation. Maybe you should call yourself something other than atheist to differentiate yourself from the rest of us and avoid the stigma. Like anti-inflammatory-statementist. Or, never-tell-people-they're-full-of-shitist.

 

 

That would be the definition of a strawman, but let me clarify our position here. The title of that post, along with our former haeder banner slogan, are designed to be controversial and slightly offensive. We feel that ridiculing religion is one of the best tactics when trying to reduce the impact of religion on society. Every person who has seen that or even the "Believe in God? We can fix that" slogans has had a small seed of doubt planted in their minds. They may react with indignation, but that stems from the deep-seated fear that we are right.

Sam Harris talks about using ridicule to end the KKK's influence and power on Truthdig.com in response to how to end irrational faith. We are kind of following that model. Do I honestly think that every single person who believes in god has a mental illness? No. But I believe that certain people's pre-existing mental illnesses can be made worse, people may develop certain guilt complexes or suffer from perpetual fear because of their existence as depraved, disgusting, sinful creatures, many people develop pathological sexuality issues, and the compartmentalization necessary to maintain your faith essentially boils down to denial and self-deception. I think that anybody can look around them and see how religion incites and justifies violence against others. The more fundamentalist groups are much more prone to these types of issues, but as I said before, that doesn't excuse religion. There is still a positive correlation between religiosity and certain neuroses. I will attempt to gather some of the studies that have been done and post them later for reference.

 

It is relevant because any belief that is in constant conflict with actual evidence is psychologically harmful when it must be maintained despite conflicting evidence. Imagine that you suspect your partner is having an affair. When you start digging, you find odd charges from hotels, possibly other incriminating evidence, along with his/her sudden lack of interest in sex. For you to ignore all of what is staring you in the face will be extraordinarily difficult. It may cause anxiety, depression, intrusive thoughts about the issue, or anger and bitterness. Now, imagine that you try to repress all of that and pretend it's not happening. You will need to devote a lot of mental energy to doing so, and ultimately, you are then harming yourself. Religion does the same thing.

 


I would say that that particular action would not have happened if he was an atheist. Something else possibly, but not that exact action. If you believe in no mark of the beast, or better yet, had never heard of it, where would that idea come from? If there wasn't a biblical injunction to do so, why would that particular thing have been so prominent in that man's mind? So, his mental illness may or may not have been influenced by religion, but his actions certainly were.

 

If religion causes one to act in ways that are harmful to themselves or others, I feel that it should be held accountable for that. What is the difference between acting psychopathic and being psychopathic? Psychopathologies are defined by one's actions. It doesn't necessarily have to pervade every area of a person's life to still be considered problematic. An excellent read dealing with how theism, particularly evangelical christianity, affects the mental health of adherents is The Mind of the Bible Believer by Edmund Cohen. I also explained above the tactical reasons behind using controversial taglines.

 

I also fail to see the bigotry of which you speak. I have no prejudice against those who have been afflicted with mental illnesses. If I did, I would be bigoted against most of my family and probably myself. Is labeling depression a mental illness a sign of bigotry against them or a statement of fact?

 

I am glad that you like us, and that you're able to voice your objections in a reasonable manner. However, I do believe that the "scary evangelical religious faithful" are the victims of a mental disorder. Whether it was caused by religion or just worsened by it, it really doesn't matter. It is obvious that they are more likely to act on their religious convictions in an entirely different way than others. When's the last time you saw an atheist suicide bomber?


I AM GOD AS YOU
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Nialler wrote:I AM GOD AS

Nialler wrote:

I AM GOD AS YOU wrote:

  Rathpig and trollville  have not been compromised , but simply catorgized. So come again , we are all listening ..... as all new posts come to the top of the list .....

I'm not sure what you are trying to say here. Rathpig's ability to contribute here has most certainly been compromised in that he cannot do so any longer. That seems pretty final.

Regarding Trollville, well, the descriptive text for Trollville declares that: "If it just doesn't deserve to be mingling amongst our more intellectual posts it goes here."

Thus moving a thread to Trollville is a direct statement by the moderators as to how seriously a thread should be taken.

"

 

Well RRS founders have their opinions. I've even used trollville to start a silly rant. The story on Rathpig seems to be he kept breaking the forum rules. If he sent an "appropriate" PM to the RRS founders I'm sure he'd be reinstated.

Seems I remember him going berserk  ! ??? But it was fun .... Say hi to him for me ....

RRS seems very fair to me ...... Hey, after all,  I AM the only one that's perfect !  L O L to all you lower gods .....  

 


Nialler
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Thanks for the replies,

Thanks for the replies, Kelly.

It's clear from them that the theism/mental disorder meme is not much more than a provocative eye-catcher. An advertising slogan, if you like.

Even so, I fear that it will inevitably cause more harm than good.

As a claim associated with public and voluble atheists it may well come to be associated with atheism in general. Untested and unproven claims are the very thing that we accuse theists of. Indeed, these very forums contain such accusations in many places. We must avoid committing the same behaviours of the people we criticise.

I really do feel that the claim as it stands should be stood down. It makes the atheist community look bad (and even confirms some of the darker precepts about atheists); it allows for claims that we don't get involved in science either; it also causes outright and unnecessary offence to theists.

Mental health is not like a physical injury. Like it or not, it is quite a taboo subject for many people, and questions about a person's mental state are generally deemed to be far more intrusive than a question about a physical injury. To make a blanket claim like that is certain to antagonise and to close minds to your point.


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Nialler wrote:Thanks for the

Nialler wrote:

Thanks for the replies, Kelly.

It's clear from them that the theism/mental disorder meme is not much more than a provocative eye-catcher. An advertising slogan, if you like.

Even so, I fear that it will inevitably cause more harm than good.

As a claim associated with public and voluble atheists it may well come to be associated with atheism in general. Untested and unproven claims are the very thing that we accuse theists of. Indeed, these very forums contain such accusations in many places. We must avoid committing the same behaviours of the people we criticise.

I really do feel that the claim as it stands should be stood down. It makes the atheist community look bad (and even confirms some of the darker precepts about atheists); it allows for claims that we don't get involved in science either; it also causes outright and unnecessary offence to theists.

Mental health is not like a physical injury. Like it or not, it is quite a taboo subject for many people, and questions about a person's mental state are generally deemed to be far more intrusive than a question about a physical injury. To make a blanket claim like that is certain to antagonise and to close minds to your point.

Nothing quite like reading without following links...or did you?

If you did, it looks like a pretty strong circumstantial case. People have been executed on less evidence. 

"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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Nialler wrote:I really do

Nialler wrote:

I really do feel that the claim as it stands should be stood down. It makes the atheist community look bad (and even confirms some of the darker precepts about atheists); it allows for claims that we don't get involved in science either; it also causes outright and unnecessary offence to theists.

 

Expecting all atheists to conform to some unwritten code of atheist conduct smells kind of... what's the word... cultish?

 

As long as we all lack belief in god, we're good. Allowing ourselves to disagree and debate about secondary issues is one of our strong points.

I think it's just peachy that you guys disagree with Kelly about this and want to debate about it. But I find it kind of offensive that you think any one atheist's actions can hurt all of atheism. You might as well be invoking the "well Stalin was an atheist" argument. It doesn't matter what opinions Stalin had. He was an individual, and atheism is something other than that.

Kelly can say whatever she wants as an individual who has opinions. You may disagree with her, or you may not. I don't think anyone here considers any of the RRS core to be demagogues for atheism, so I find it strange that the danger you fear treats them as if they are.

The only way one atheist's personal opinions on matters unrelated to the existence of God can affect atheism as a whole is if a bunch of other atheists start going around saying that they do and, as a result, suggesting that atheism has some kind of dogma or creed that can be broken.

It is simply not the case. You can think Kelly is mildly retarded if you like, but whether or not she is, it has no affect on the atheist community unless some portion of the atheist community start to believe that it does.

Thankfully, the atheist community is like herding cats. I celebrate the fact.

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


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"Delusion" in a psychiatric

"Delusion" in a psychiatric context.

There have been a number of question and statements itt which appear as genuine attempts to understand the distinction between delusion as used colloquially, or within some realms of psychological definition,  and that intended within the narrow realm of psychiatric diagnosis.

The following examples should help to clarify this.

1) Tom is a stalker. He has followed Miss A for several months, and has been arrested by the police for harassment. Under examination Tom insists that Miss A has "feelings" for him, and that she enjoys his attentions. There are no bases for Tom's inference: Miss A has repeatedly told him, forcefully, to leave her alone, but to no avail. Miss A has expressed to Tom that he is causing her to fear him. Tom does not seem to have given cognition to these facts.

Tom is shown an interview with Miss A in which she states quite clearly that: it is she who called the police, that being because she was afraid of Tom; she finds Tom physically unattractive; she does not like Tom following her; and she dislikes Tom strongly. After viewing this Tom is in denial and insists instead that Miss A is lying about these things. Tom "knows" that Miss A is lying, because Tom "knows" that Miss A does like him and does enjoy him following her. When asked what would have motivated Miss A to contact police in that case Tom rationalises and says that she did it for attention, or some other reason: Tom implies that Miss A is in denial about her feelings for him.


2) Dave is a Young Earth Creationist. His father is a pastor and missionary, and Dave was brought up in a missionary home in South America, living among a particular tribe of natives now converted to Christianity. Dave receives a reasonable education in engineering, serves in the USAF, marries and has children. Dave does not accept the scientific view of Evolution or of the age of the cosmos, despite repeatedly losing debates on the subjects.

Dave has, from a very early age, had his critical faculties trained to evaluate data against a "higher truth", that which has been passed to him from trusted sources. In his childhood Dave was "wired" to accept uncritically that which trusted adult sources taught him, we all are.

3) Mike is a Soccer fan. For his seventh birthday his dad took him to see his local team play. It was a magical day for Mike: the atmosphere and the noise; the smells; the songs and the chants; and the sheer awe-inspiring noise of a crowd celebrating a goal. Mike's team won, and he has a wonderful afternoon with his Dad.

As he grows up Mike supports his team more and more, always going to the game and recapturing/savouring that first, wonderful, time with his dad. Now Mike is grown up, and he and his mates are all season-ticket holders who attend every home and away game, travelling up and down the country to do so. There is something "special" to Mike and his mates about their team, something ephemeral: they are the best; no other team has that special something which their team has. They fight for their team against the fools from the other teams whenever they can. Mike was never really a violent person but his mates soon showed him the physical excitement and adrenaline rush which can be experienced in a gang-fight. Mike has found a new way to discover even greater highs, and as a result is more psychologically attached to his team than ever before. They kick ass, and Mike and his mates kick ass alongside, part of the same identity: Mike's team, Mike's mates; Mike's team's "fight" on the field, Mike's and his mates' "fight" on the street.


---------------
Now take the time to think about each example.

Tom: there is no external cultural influence which has given rise to Tom's delusion (false belief) about Miss A. Falsification of Tom's delusion does not result in him realising that he is wrong, instead he insists - in all seriousness - that everyone else is wrong/lying.
Tom is delusional in the sense intended by the psychiatric (medical) definition, that included by the term "Delusional Disorder". The roots of Tom's "delusion" do not appear discoverable in the external world.

For Tom there is no validating context: his delusion is entirely in his head.

Dave: Dave has been given a framework for understanding reality which is above or at least equal to that framework provided by "science". Dave thinks it's just a question of which interpretive framework one selects: an old-world set of assumptions or a new world set. Whenever Dave is presented with de-facto falsifying evidence for a young earth he evaluates it against that cultural information which he already holds in authority, and as a result he rejects any information which is contrary to that higher information.

Dave is certainly "delusional" in a colloquial sense, and in a wider psychological sense: his critical faculties have been inoculated against contrary evidence, he is - to all intents and purposes - under the influence of mind-control. However, Dave is not covered by the definition of "delusional" in the medical sense: he has not "invented" his delusion in a vacuum off the back of bald and irrational inferences: it is not irrational for a child to to trust its parents. The roots of Dave's "delusion" can be discovered in the external world.

For Dave there is a validating context: his delusion is shared by many, it is not entirely in his head.

Mike is "delusional" in a colloquial sense: there is nothing "special" about one team over another - objectively speaking - nothing which would require violent "defence" in the form of physical aggression against supporters of other teams. The roots of Mike's delusion are both in his head and discoverable in the external world. His experience that first day with his Dad was evidently formative, and the emotional "high" it produced was over-interpreted by his young brain as somehow demonstrating something "super-natural" about his team: something ephemeral and awe-inspiring. His current view is validated by his friends, people who would "die for him, and he them": Mike is involved in male coalitionary violence, a recognised group-dynamic driven behaviour not limited to humans: i.e. it is likely a part of our evolutionary  heritage (chimps have been observed to carry out male coalitionary raids on other troops).


Hopefully the above gives a reasonable picture of what makes, and what does not make, a psychiatric delusional condition. Within clinical diagnostic definition of delusion intended by the DSM, only Tom is covered. It may be (it is possible) that both Dave and Mike also have underlying psychoses which are exascerbated or reinforced and channelled by the cultural links they have either inherited or forged: but that doesn't make their false beliefs "delusions" in the narrow sense intended by the word as used in clinical psychiatry.

Failure to recognise this distinction is easy, as some of the posts on this thread demonstrate, and that is why lay people are simply not equipped to offer diagnoses in line with such definition.: The DSM definition of "delusion" (reflecting the use within the psychiatric field) is a tight delineation, which is understood through rigorous training and understanding of various case histories and studies from which the defining characteristics are derived.

Does any of this mean that science, and psychological science in particular, has nothing to say on Dave and Mike? Absolutely not: the story and behaviours of each is certainly within the realm of investigation for any psychologist, or any anthropologist, and possible many other social sciences. Issues of religion and belonging to groups, how we develop and maintain self-identity, the idea of "parent worship", cognitive dissonance and denial/rationalisation strategies, male coalitionary raiding and violence and so on, are all phenomena which can be studied scientifically. They are being studied right now.

When we turn the spotlight of science onto the question of religion and the beliefs of theism - which is a valid thing to do - we need to recognise first how science must proceed: by asking questions which can be given meaningful answers.

So if you haven't yet done so please read Daniel Dennett's Breaking The Spell, Religion as a Natural Phenomenon. In it Dennett goes into the different directions various sciences are going in the study, what questions are being and can be asked, and how one can go about obtaining scientific answers. But there are no shortcuts in this endeavour, and it certainly doesn't proceed on the basis of misapplication of existing science and neither can unqualified people arrive at scientific conclusions without actually conducting science.

Picking a word from its scientific context and misusing it in order to present a position - for whatever reason - which one would like to believe is factual is not simply not science, it is quack-science, and it is no different in process to that engaged in by Answers in Genesis et al.

Now, can anyone on this board still manage not to understand this? I reckon so. Please falsify my reckoning and actually comprehend this fundamentally simple matter. Don't be like Dave and Mike: think about it objectively, please. Failure to do so doen not by necessity define you as delusional in the sense of Tom, unless you continue to insist on the equivocation of the meaning of "delusion" and if your equivocation is correct of course (perhaps I should leave the ironic references at the door for now).

I did say that I was out of this thread, and barring anything meaningful on this there's no reason to return. But I'm happy to. Perhaps Kelly and Brian will finally get around to answering my questions from earlier, which have been stated three times now and are still unanswered.

Kelly, I can read your responses to others' questions in the context in which they were provided. In the context of this thread I have set out several specific questions for you, Brian and anyone else advancing this "counter-meme" which you stand by to answer. Your post above does not do so. Are you unwilling to answer them.


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YouAre Right

YouAre Right wrote:

"Delusion" in a psychiatric context.

There have been a number of question and statements itt which appear as genuine attempts to understand the distinction between delusion as used colloquially, or within some realms of psychological definition,  and that intended within the narrow realm of psychiatric diagnosis.

The following examples should help to clarify this.

1) Tom is a stalker. He has followed Miss A for several months, and has been arrested by the police for harassment. Under examination Tom insists that Miss A has "feelings" for him, and that she enjoys his attentions. There are no bases for Tom's inference: Miss A has repeatedly told him, forcefully, to leave her alone, but to no avail. Miss A has expressed to Tom that he is causing her to fear him. Tom does not seem to have given cognition to these facts.

Tom is shown an interview with Miss A in which she states quite clearly that: it is she who called the police, that being because she was afraid of Tom; she finds Tom physically unattractive; she does not like Tom following her; and she dislikes Tom strongly. After viewing this Tom is in denial and insists instead that Miss A is lying about these things. Tom "knows" that Miss A is lying, because Tom "knows" that Miss A does like him and does enjoy him following her. When asked what would have motivated Miss A to contact police in that case Tom rationalises and says that she did it for attention, or some other reason: Tom implies that Miss A is in denial about her feelings for him.


2) Dave is a Young Earth Creationist. His father is a pastor and missionary, and Dave was brought up in a missionary home in South America, living among a particular tribe of natives now converted to Christianity. Dave receives a reasonable education in engineering, serves in the USAF, marries and has children. Dave does not accept the scientific view of Evolution or of the age of the cosmos, despite repeatedly losing debates on the subjects.

Dave has, from a very early age, had his critical faculties trained to evaluate data against a "higher truth", that which has been passed to him from trusted sources. In his childhood Dave was "wired" to accept uncritically that which trusted adult sources taught him, we all are.

3) Mike is a Soccer fan. For his seventh birthday his dad took him to see his local team play. It was a magical day for Mike: the atmosphere and the noise; the smells; the songs and the chants; and the sheer awe-inspiring noise of a crowd celebrating a goal. Mike's team won, and he has a wonderful afternoon with his Dad.

As he grows up Mike supports his team more and more, always going to the game and recapturing/savouring that first, wonderful, time with his dad. Now Mike is grown up, and he and his mates are all season-ticket holders who attend every home and away game, travelling up and down the country to do so. There is something "special" to Mike and his mates about their team, something ephemeral: they are the best; no other team has that special something which their team has. They fight for their team against the fools from the other teams whenever they can. Mike was never really a violent person but his mates soon showed him the physical excitement and adrenaline rush which can be experienced in a gang-fight. Mike has found a new way to discover even greater highs, and as a result is more psychologically attached to his team than ever before. They kick ass, and Mike and his mates kick ass alongside, part of the same identity: Mike's team, Mike's mates; Mike's team's "fight" on the field, Mike's and his mates' "fight" on the street.


---------------
Now take the time to think about each example.

Tom: there is no external cultural influence which has given rise to Tom's delusion (false belief) about Miss A. Falsification of Tom's delusion does not result in him realising that he is wrong, instead he insists - in all seriousness - that everyone else is wrong/lying.
Tom is delusional in the sense intended by the psychiatric (medical) definition, that included by the term "Delusional Disorder". The roots of Tom's "delusion" do not appear discoverable in the external world.

For Tom there is no validating context: his delusion is entirely in his head.

Dave: Dave has been given a framework for understanding reality which is above or at least equal to that framework provided by "science". Dave thinks it's just a question of which interpretive framework one selects: an old-world set of assumptions or a new world set. Whenever Dave is presented with de-facto falsifying evidence for a young earth he evaluates it against that cultural information which he already holds in authority, and as a result he rejects any information which is contrary to that higher information.

Dave is certainly "delusional" in a colloquial sense, and in a wider psychological sense: his critical faculties have been inoculated against contrary evidence, he is - to all intents and purposes - under the influence of mind-control. However, Dave is not covered by the definition of "delusional" in the medical sense: he has not "invented" his delusion in a vacuum off the back of bald and irrational inferences: it is not irrational for a child to to trust its parents. The roots of Dave's "delusion" can be discovered in the external world.

For Dave there is a validating context: his delusion is shared by many, it is not entirely in his head.

Mike is "delusional" in a colloquial sense: there is nothing "special" about one team over another - objectively speaking - nothing which would require violent "defence" in the form of physical aggression against supporters of other teams. The roots of Mike's delusion are both in his head and discoverable in the external world. His experience that first day with his Dad was evidently formative, and the emotional "high" it produced was over-interpreted by his young brain as somehow demonstrating something "super-natural" about his team: something ephemeral and awe-inspiring. His current view is validated by his friends, people who would "die for him, and he them": Mike is involved in male coalitionary violence, a recognised group-dynamic driven behaviour not limited to humans: i.e. it is likely a part of our evolutionary  heritage (chimps have been observed to carry out male coalitionary raids on other troops).


Hopefully the above gives a reasonable picture of what makes, and what does not make, a psychiatric delusional condition. Within clinical diagnostic definition of delusion intended by the DSM, only Tom is covered. It may be (it is possible) that both Dave and Mike also have underlying psychoses which are exascerbated or reinforced and channelled by the cultural links they have either inherited or forged: but that doesn't make their false beliefs "delusions" in the narrow sense intended by the word as used in clinical psychiatry.

Failure to recognise this distinction is easy, as some of the posts on this thread demonstrate, and that is why lay people are simply not equipped to offer diagnoses in line with such definition.: The DSM definition of "delusion" (reflecting the use within the psychiatric field) is a tight delineation, which is understood through rigorous training and understanding of various case histories and studies from which the defining characteristics are derived.

Does any of this mean that science, and psychological science in particular, has nothing to say on Dave and Mike? Absolutely not: the story and behaviours of each is certainly within the realm of investigation for any psychologist, or any anthropologist, and possible many other social sciences. Issues of religion and belonging to groups, how we develop and maintain self-identity, the idea of "parent worship", cognitive dissonance and denial/rationalisation strategies, male coalitionary raiding and violence and so on, are all phenomena which can be studied scientifically. They are being studied right now.

When we turn the spotlight of science onto the question of religion and the beliefs of theism - which is a valid thing to do - we need to recognise first how science must proceed: by asking questions which can be given meaningful answers.

So if you haven't yet done so please read Daniel Dennett's Breaking The Spell, Religion as a Natural Phenomenon. In it Dennett goes into the different directions various sciences are going in the study, what questions are being and can be asked, and how one can go about obtaining scientific answers. But there are no shortcuts in this endeavour, and it certainly doesn't proceed on the basis of misapplication of existing science and neither can unqualified people arrive at scientific conclusions without actually conducting science.

Picking a word from its scientific context and misusing it in order to present a position - for whatever reason - which one would like to believe is factual is not simply not science, it is quack-science, and it is no different in process to that engaged in by Answers in Genesis et al.

Now, can anyone on this board still manage not to understand this? I reckon so. Please falsify my reckoning and actually comprehend this fundamentally simple matter. Don't be like Dave and Mike: think about it objectively, please. Failure to do so doen not by necessity define you as delusional in the sense of Tom, unless you continue to insist on the equivocation of the meaning of "delusion" and if your equivocation is correct of course (perhaps I should leave the ironic references at the door for now).

I did say that I was out of this thread, and barring anything meaningful on this there's no reason to return. But I'm happy to. Perhaps Kelly and Brian will finally get around to answering my questions from earlier, which have been stated three times now and are still unanswered.

Kelly, I can read your responses to others' questions in the context in which they were provided. In the context of this thread I have set out several specific questions for you, Brian and anyone else advancing this "counter-meme" which you stand by to answer. Your post above does not do so. Are you unwilling to answer them.

As one of those questions you asked concerns the disbursement of funds, would you like to see their entire financial records or are they allowed to black out the personal stuff?

"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."
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SpaghettiSawUs Unfortunately

SpaghettiSawUs

Unfortunately the cross posting fun will have to continued, as I have yet to receive a confirmation e-mail for your forum

Also unfortunately it being a cold wet cycle home on a Monday, I'm just about awake enough to read, but I'm just to tied to respond to your post tonight, until tomorrow


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jcgadfly,I would have

jcgadfly,

I would have thought that the context of my post, and your own comprehensive reading of the thread, would have made it apparent which questions I was referring to. My questions regarding the RRS finances have been answered fully, as I have stated. There are no further questions regarding the RRS finances as how those finances are intended to be used has been clearly expressed. Any additional questions are in the realm of those asked by the IRS, and as I am not an employee or representative of that organisation, my own questions are irrelevant.

On the other hand, my questions regarding the claim - made by Kelly and Brian among others - that theism is a mental disorder, have been stated three times and remain un-answered.

FYI, and the benefit of others who see fit only to scan this thread, here I will restate them:

Where is the peer reviewed Data?

What criteria differentiates in a non-circular way?

For the list of criteria you have supplied for an existing recognised set of symptoms (Delusional Disorder as per this post): what case studies have you examined in order to understand the intent behind each diagnostic marker?

Why do you suppose that a mental health professional must receive training and oversight when it comes to diagnostics?

Do you believe it is possible to offer a diagnosis of mental illness without that training but simply through referring to a list of criteria?

Do you understand how such lists of diagnostic criteria are arrived at?

Do you understand how anyone making a diagnosis by referring to a list without understanding the background and the intent behind individual observational predictions is making a mistake?

What professional training in mental health diagnostics have Kelly, Brian, or Hambydammit received?

Cheers


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Archeopteryx wrote:Nialler

Archeopteryx wrote:

Nialler wrote:

I really do feel that the claim as it stands should be stood down. It makes the atheist community look bad (and even confirms some of the darker precepts about atheists); it allows for claims that we don't get involved in science either; it also causes outright and unnecessary offence to theists.

 

Expecting all atheists to conform to some unwritten code of atheist conduct smells kind of... what's the word... cultish?

 

Please tell me where I make that point. I am absolutely clear in my own mind that atheists hold a very varied seto f views about organised religion and theism.
Archeopteryx wrote:

As long as we all lack belief in god, we're good. Allowing ourselves to disagree and debate about secondary issues is one of our strong points.

Except when some people purport to represent a quorum in the issue.. When they aggitate against theists, declaring that they are mentally ill, and when they do it in the name of atheism there is a problem.

Archeopteryx wrote:

I think it's just peachy that you guys disagree with Kelly about this and want to debate about it. But I find it kind of offensive that you think any one atheist's actions can hurt all of atheism.

They claim to be the number one atheist website out there. That is their claim. If it is true, then I am bloody well entitled to check that they actually represent atheism in general.
Archeopteryx wrote:
You might as well be invoking the "well Stalin was an atheist" argument. It doesn't matter what opinions Stalin had. He was an individual, and atheism is something other than that.
Not from the publicity from the pulpit. Like it or not, theists are organised and are organising themselves in attacks on education and on scientific research et al. If you are happy that they become the only ones with a voice while the body of atheists walks around with no voice, then good luck to you.
Archeopteryx wrote:

Kelly can say whatever she wants as an individual who has opinions.

Please show me anywhere were I have said otherwise. I thank you for your homily.
Archeopteryx wrote:
You may disagree with her, or you may not. I don't think anyone here considers any of the RRS core to be demagogues for atheism, so I find it strange that the danger you fear treats them as if they are.
Because they fucking well claim to be. Have you not read a single word of their claims about being the number one atheist website on the internet? They're not exactly shrinking flowers when it comes to this claim.
Archeopteryx wrote:

The only way one atheist's personal opinions on matters unrelated to the existence of God can affect atheism as a whole is if a bunch of other atheists start going around saying that they do and, as a result, suggesting that atheism has some kind of dogma or creed that can be broken.

Which is precisely what the fucking RRS is doing with its two unproven claims; those are: Theism is a mental disorder, and, Jesus never existed and we can prove it. Have you not read a word in this thread? These things are being proclaimed as dogma, and in this thread some of us have been fucking well demanding proof of these.
Archeopteryx wrote:

It is simply not the case. You can think Kelly is mildly retarded if you like, but whether or not she is, it has no affect on the atheist community unless some portion of the atheist community start to believe that it does.

This is grossly offenisve to both me and to Kelly. Please show where I have claimed that she is "retarded" or withdraw that comment unequivocally.
Archeopteryx wrote:

Thankfully, the atheist community is like herding cats. I celebrate the fact.


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Some points:1. Anywhere I

Some points:

1. Anywhere I have seen/heard the statement "Number one atheist site on the internet", I've always seen it qualified by something along the lines of "as shown by Alexa". Perhaps I've missed something. Have the RDF folks(I'm assuming you're one)  got their pants in a twist about their standing or something? I may be looking for subtext where there is none.

2. Would you be happier if it said "Theism shares qualities with some mental disorders"? Dawkins calls it a "mind virus" and a parasite. Giving him any of what your bringing here?

3. Rook has done more research on the mythicist position than I - his research to this point has been compelling. I'm still more of a Jesus-lite person (Jesuses - probably several. Jesus the Son of God - not a one).

 

"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."
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jcgadfly wrote:Some

jcgadfly wrote:

Some points:

1. Anywhere I have seen/heard the statement "Number one atheist site on the internet", I've always seen it qualified by something along the lines of "as shown by Alexa".

Nope. The claim is often made without that qualification.
jcgadfly wrote:
Perhaps I've missed something. Have the RDF folks(I'm assuming you're one) 
Nope, I'm not, and I'm most certainly not a fan of RD.
jcgadfly wrote:
got their pants in a twist about their standing or something?
[NOt that I'm aware of, no.quote=jcgadfly] I may be looking for subtext where there is none.
So far as I know, there is no subtext other than the slandrous efforts of RRS to take down Dawkins after they were slapped down by his foundation.
jcgadfly wrote:

2. Would you be happier if it said "Theism shares qualities with some mental disorders"?

If it were proven to be true I would accept that, yes.
jcgadfly wrote:
Dawkins calls it a "mind virus" and a parasite.
Dawkins is not a preeminent authority on psychology and will admit that.
jcgadfly wrote:
Giving him any of what your bringing here?
That is a meaningless question.
jcgadfly wrote:

3. Rook has done more research on the mythicist position than I - his research to this point has been compelling.

And more than I have - possibly, but no, it's not compelling in the least because he still hasn't favoured us with one original observation.
jcgadfly wrote:
I'm still more of a Jesus-lite person (Jesuses - probably several. Jesus the Son of God - not a one).

 


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Nialler wrote:I really do

Nialler wrote:

I really do feel that the claim as it stands should be stood down. It makes the atheist community look bad (and even confirms some of the darker precepts about atheists); it allows for claims that we don't get involved in science either; it also causes outright and unnecessary offence to theists.

Archeopteryx wrote:

Expecting all atheists to conform to some unwritten code of atheist conduct smells kind of... what's the word... cultish?

 

Nialler wrote:
Please tell me where I make that point. I am absolutely clear in my own mind that atheists hold a very varied seto f views about organised religion and theism.

You never said that explicitly, but whether you intended it or not, it's implicit in the text that I bolded in the first quotation. If all atheists really do hold a variety of views on organized religion, then one atheist's view cannot jeopardize atheism, since there is no mandatory set of views (other than lacking god belief) for them to jeopardize.

archeopteryx wrote:

As long as we all lack belief in god, we're good. Allowing ourselves to disagree and debate about secondary issues is one of our strong points.

Nialler wrote:
Except when some people purport to represent a quorum in the issue.. When they aggitate against theists, declaring that they are mentally ill, and when they do it in the name of atheism there is a problem.

They claim to be the number one atheist website out there. That is their claim. If it is true, then I am bloody well entitled to check that they actually represent atheism in general.

I'll concede you that much. As one of the admins on a website that claims to be a popular atheism resource, it would probably be best if it were clear whether the information being presented is documented science or speculation based on science. It's always been my understanding that since Kelly presents her ideas as a blog and not as "articles" or "studies" that they are Kelly's individual opinions that others may accept or reject as they wish. But I can see your point that since she is the core member of a site that claims to be an atheist resource, it might be difficult to distinguish what is being presented as verified science and what is being presented as speculation or opinion.

Nialler wrote:
Not from the publicity from the pulpit. Like it or not, theists are organised and are organising themselves in attacks on education and on scientific research et al. If you are happy that they become the only ones with a voice while the body of atheists walks around with no voice, then good luck to you.

They're not the only atheists receiving attention. If they really are such bad representatives, as you say, then I expect that their hits would see a downward trend as the vast majority of atheists began searching for different outlets.

Also, I don't think that the upward trend in atheism has much to do with the atheists that are at the pulpit---the atheists whose voices are loudest (authors, website owners, popular youtubers, etc)---as much as it has to do with the atheists that are affected by those people. My voice may never be heard on the same level as Kelly's because I don't intend to start a website or to write any books on my opinions, but I know that I'm not alone in my opinions, and I know that other atheists are starting to feel comfortable with their opinions because of the authors, the site-owners, and the youtubers. I think it's the strength in numbers more than the so-called demagogues.

My personal opinion of the RRS---and I hope they don't find this offensive---is that they're somewhat of a stepping stone. They go out of their way to be loud and even offensive to get people's attention; though not necessarily to get them paying attention to the RRS, but to get them paying attention to atheist ideas in general. You don't have to agree with everything they say as long as you're paying attention. From here, people should move on to other things. The RRS are not the end-all-be-all of atheism.

Calling theism a mental illness, as was said before, is meant to sound insulting, but she also happens to believe it's true.

You may disagree with her on whether or not it's true once you're here, but the fact is that you did see it and you ARE here, and so, at the end of the day, it worked.

Is this "fishing with ridicule" strategy helpful or harmful? I really don't know, and I'm not sure it can be demonstrated either way. You can certainly predict that it might be harmful for one reason or the other, but the RRS core are predicting just the opposite.

The only opinion I have on the subject is that the RRS---and even the more famous atheists such as Dawkins, Dennett, Harris, Hitchens, etc---do not speak for all of atheism. Even the much-loved four horsemen, when they aren't simply refuting or debunking theist or creationist nonsense, are only presenting views. The degree to which atheists agree or relate determines the subsequent popularity.

If any theist (or atheist) makes the mistake of supposing one atheist with a website, one atheist with a series of youtube videos, or one atheist with a book has completely and accurately captured the entire range of atheist views, then I'm sorry they think so. Perhaps they should investigate a little more.

archeopteryx wrote:

Kelly can say whatever she wants as an individual who has opinions.

Nialler wrote:
Please show me anywhere were I have said otherwise. I thank you for your homily.

The part where you said her opinions make the entire atheist community look bad instead of being merely her opinions.

I did say earlier in the post, though, that I agree with you that since she is running a website that claims to be a sort of atheist resource, then she should maybe make it clear what information is being presented as documented science and what information is just her opinion based on science. I always that since the mental illness business was from her blog, then it was safe to assume that it was her own opinion or educated guess. Judging by all this uproar, I realize not everyone has seen it that way.

I thank you for your caustic sarcasm. Always a treat in these discussions. =]

 

Archeopteryx wrote:
You may disagree with her, or you may not. I don't think anyone here considers any of the RRS core to be demagogues for atheism, so I find it strange that the danger you fear treats them as if they are.

Nialler wrote:
Because they fucking well claim to be. Have you not read a single word of their claims about being the number one atheist website on the internet? They're not exactly shrinking flowers when it comes to this claim.

I think there is a difference between claiming to be the number one atheist website on the internet and claiming to be a demagogue for atheism.

(And for the record, I neither support nor condemn their claim to be the number one site since I don't know much about it. I would honestly expect RD.net to have many more hits, if I were asked to guess which was the more frequented site.)

Archeopteryx wrote:

The only way one atheist's personal opinions on matters unrelated to the existence of God can affect atheism as a whole is if a bunch of other atheists start going around saying that they do and, as a result, suggesting that atheism has some kind of dogma or creed that can be broken.

Nialler wrote:
Which is precisely what the fucking RRS is doing with its two unproven claims; those are: Theism is a mental disorder, and, Jesus never existed and we can prove it. Have you not read a word in this thread? These things are being proclaimed as dogma, and in this thread some of us have been fucking well demanding proof of these.

I've noticed how adamantly you disagree with the mythicist position and the claim that theism is a mental illness, and I've noticed all the requests for proof, but I'm not yet convinced that either is being pushed dogmatically. Emphatically maybe, but not dogmatically.

 

Archeopteryx wrote:

It is simply not the case. You can think Kelly is mildly retarded if you like, but whether or not she is, it has no affect on the atheist community unless some portion of the atheist community start to believe that it does.

Nialler wrote:
This is grossly offenisve to both me and to Kelly. Please show where I have claimed that she is "retarded" or withdraw that comment unequivocally.

That was intended to be hypothetical; therefore I was not claiming that Kelly is mildly retarded, nor was I claiming that you said so or think so. However, I was saying that if you did say or think so, or if she was (though we both realize this is not the case), it would make no difference to the atheist community at large.

I'm sorry if it seemed offensive. That wasn't my intention.

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


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Nialler wrote, post

Nialler wrote, post  #207
    
"It's clear from them that the theism/mental disorder meme is not much more than a provocative eye-catcher. An advertising slogan, if you like.

Even so, I fear that it will inevitably cause more harm than good.

To make a blanket claim like that is certain to antagonise and to close minds to your point."   //////
___________________________________________________

  Well,  "good cop, bad cop", working for the same goal. So you are the good cop, and that is indeed good, and I do that too." I AM an atheist for Jesus", I often say, who also got "indignant",  etc etc. .....  

I just also wanted re-say , I consider like 2/3 of the world delusional, and do understand that this is the unfortunate status quo we live with. This fact makes us all "sick" to some degree.

"When one person suffers from a delusion, it is called insanity. When many people suffer from a delusion, it is called religion."  - Robert Pirsig

Many call religion delusion. George Carlin says lots of people are "fucking stupid and "full of shit", and "fucking nuts", and religion is "bullshit".

Seems to me this does much "more good than harm" ! ?

Many have seen these vids , but if you haven't, do, and pass them on,  

George Carlin-some people are stupid  3 min   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oboyox3L_MI


George Carlin - Religion is bullshit. 10 min  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MeSSwKffj9o&feature=related
 

Thanks George, Thanks Kelley and RRS  ......   

BTW, read RRS Author Hambydammit's essay, "Please get pissed, please please" 

 


YouAre Right
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Kelly - some responses.

Kelly,

I've decided to do you the service I ask of you, and I shall respond point by point to your long post.

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Disordered in one regard does not imply the inability to be logical, rational, or ethical in all other areas.


Correct.

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That would be like saying that somebody who has depression or ADHD is unable to function in any way, even those unrelated to their disorder, and nobody has made such a statement.

Good, I am not accusing you of making this statement.

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(It just now occurred to me that all of these people who are having fits about this "disorder" thing have apparently all carried over their own stigma associated with that word.

That is your personal opinion.

But I have a problem with your logic here. In so far as you accept that there may be some stigma attached to the word "disorder", you accept that your intent - should "theism is a mental disorder" ever become accepted - includes the possibility of stigmatising theists. As an atheist I don't like being stigmatised, but I don't think the answer is to stigmatise in return.

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Nobody here has ever stated that anybody with any type of disorder is inherently and absolutely irrational, illogical, and stupid.


Good. Nobody here is saying that you are saying that (there's going to be plenty of this).

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Rather, it is precisely because one is capable of behaving rationally and logically in most other areas of their lives that it is even apparent that this ONE issue is not in line, and therefore "disordered", with the rest of their beliefs and behaviors.)


But theism is not '"disordered" with the rest of their beliefs and behaviours', which are informed and enforced culturally, and is therefore "normal" and "ordered" accordingly.

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Not that you cannot control your body--obviously you can in most circumstances. But can a person with Parkinson's Disease "will" themselves to stop shaking? No. This is a purely physical reaction to the lack of dopamine in the neural synapses. Is it possible, in some cases, particulary cocaine-induced Parkinsonism, to repair the damaged parts of the brain, notably the GABA receptors and dopamine transporters/receptors, to diminish or eliminate the symptoms? Yes. But it all comes down to physical processes inside the brain. Just like all of your behaviors, thoughts, feelings, perceptions, etc. Right down to and including one's proclivity to believe in god and the way in which that proclivity manifests itself.


This is a classic example of fallacy of logic, i'll let you work out which it is, I'll simply point out why it is wrong: unlike Parkinsons our proclivity to believe the unbelievable is not a malfunction of the bio-physical.

Children believe in magic, many cultures believe in magic and shamanism. People believe tall stories all the time: under the right circumstances.

Of course our cognitive processes are physical, but it does not follow that there is a physical cause for theism outside of our naturally evolved information processing systems - the shortcuts and imperfections perhaps hijacked and manipulated (of course) but not biophysical malfunction.

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The more that this issue gets brought up, the more I think that not only is everybody misinterpreting our position, but that they have all carried their own stigmas associated with "disorder" into the fray.


You seem to think this needs restating. What relevance does it have anyway? Even if people carry some semantic baggage, it does not make your use of the word valid, does it?

Your position may also be unclear and equivocal, in which case misinterpretation is pretty much guaranteed as people try to work out what you mean.

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More importantly, people need to understand that this is a multi-faceted attack on religion.


Really? You think there is an attack on religion of which this is a part. What if it is an ineffective attack, one which merely paints you as equally as irrational as they are, by doing what they do and advancing an irrational position without evidence?

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As evil_religion said, we are merely pointing out the similarities between a delusional disorder, particularly grandiose delusional disorder,


But there are no real similarities, only rhetorical ones.

Typical Delusion Disorder is stalking.

Typical Grandiose Delusion Disorder includes actual delusions of super-personal traits, including hotlines to God, the Great Spirit, and chatting to Napolean Bonaparte over tea. It includes concrete manifestations of grandiose delusions - not simply praying and believing in an invisible deity.

The similarities are purely rhetorical, and I think that you actually know this.
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and the mindset of a typical theist.


Can you define "typical" theist. What is the breadth of your experience? What can you say of the theist mindset? Were you once a theist? Which denomination? Can you speak for all denominations? Can you speak for others of the same denomination?

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Obviously, Brian and I both understand that psychology is based on societal norms and therefore, religion couldn't technically be classified as a disorder because it is prevalent in our society.


You make it sound as though it isn't inherent throughout human history. Religion didn't just turn up one day and lots of people believed it, you do know that. Societal norms often consist of those things which have helped society to function.

What if religion has given some evolutionary benefit in keeping a certain percentage of the popuation given to a lack of touch with reality in its fold and away from danger? Can we say anything yet on this very simple question? No. The jury is still out. You're not "ahead of the science" here, you're anticipating the answer to a very serious question: whatever benefit/service religion has provided for the human psyche, and what survival fitness this has produced is not known. Read "Breaking the Spell" again soon.

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It is our goal, though, to make religion less prevalent; to make belief in bronze-age mythology so absolutely ridiculous that admitting that you have conversations with a deity would be embarrassing.


What about belief in God as defined by modern day theology?

Can you refute Cartesian Dualism? Is a Cartesian Dualist worthy of ridicule?

I agree that it should be embarrassing, shit I cringe myself when I remember praying and believing that God was listening. If you want to make religion less prevalent then perhaps well thought out reasoned attacks are better than poorly supported pseudo-scientific positions.

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That is the impetus behind our usage of that argument--to plant the seed in the heads of believers that they are deluding themselves (funny how nobody objects when you say that, but call it a disorder and all of a sudden people are throwing stones).


Nobody objects when you say that theists are deluding themselves, because they are. The question is whether that delusion is based on biophysical malfunction or natural normal processing which has been "exapted".

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We purposely make controversial statements and do things like the blasphemy challenge to get people talking!! Sitting around being quiet and respectful has gotten us where in 2000 years?


So it doesn't matter how accurate or well founded the attack, so long as it gets people talking. Don't you think there is a responsibility not to misinform?

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Sam Harris used the argument that the best way to take the power away from any social group is to ridicule it.


Yes, sarcasm and satire are particularly
 effective in showing up the flaws through the use of caricature.

I wholly recommend it. Ridicule the ideas, not the people though.

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"Theism is a mind disorder" IS ridicule.


Ok, so it's just something you made up to ridicule people.

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Now, don't try to twist my words and think that I don't stand behind the analysis--I do.


So you believe it is true, nonetheless. Interesting.

Could you please provide the "analysis" which you stand behind? I have yet to see this. A few blog articles and a thread or two does not constitute sufficient analysis for such a claim. Surely you see this.

Or does the fact that it is partly intended as a tool of ridicue excuse from the need for real objective bases? You can believe it is true, and state is as true, but you don't have to support it scientifically because you're just saying it to ridicule.

Tell me: what is the target of the ridicule, religious ideas or religious people who hold those ideas?

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I think that there is enough evidence out there that theism is mentally damaging to support it as well, but I am saying that this is also a strategic maneuver.


Yes, you keep citing "evidence" in the form of nutters who were theists, and for whom their theism was somehow connected with their acts of nuttiness.

Kelly, "evidence" is not the plural of "anecdote". Show me one case where theism was a de-facto causing element. You cannot, because one does not exist, and you know why this is the case and it has nothing to do with whether the DSM is PC.

It is a simple philosophical position which you are going to have to get to grips with somehow: Theism is neither necessary nor sufficient to cause any particular set of abnormal behaviour (except in the eyes of those who do not share the particular practice of theism and for whom it is therefore "abnormal&quotEye-wink.

That is: theism does not cause "disorder"; heavy shepherding can, brain-washing can, regular trance-inducing prayer sessions can. People can be made pliant and suggestible by many methods, and thereby have their critical faculties over-ridden or by-passed: there is nothing worthy of ridicule in either that, or the possibility that people are genuinely mentally ill.
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Think of it as a counter-meme.


To be a meme it must replicate. Professor Dawkins has already sown a successful version of that meme, but his use of the word "delusion" is not intended in a psychiatric sense, unlike yours.

Perhaps you have over-extrapolated from Professor Dawkins' argument to provide your own approach, but I doubt that you would flea a professional for your own purposes.

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We want this idea to spread to enough people that consulting your sky-daddy before bed IS recognized as a disorder.


How can you make this statement in all seriousness?

You have to show that it is a disorder. You have not done this.

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The only criterium that isn't met is in fact not a criterium, but a disclaimer that religion doesn't count.


It isn't a disclaimer: it is something specifically highlighted as being excluded from the defining characteristics precisely to prevent someone making that mistake. There are many other things which could also be listed as excluded, but they are less obvious and therefore it is less likely that the uninformed will make the mistake which you are making with theism and the operating definition of delusion from a specific scientific context.

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Is it possible that the APA and the editors of the DSM are being just a little politically correct here?


You must show that they are, not merely question their integrity safe on the nets. Why don't you write to them and ask why theism is excluded by definition? Is that not better than second-guessing theirm motives?

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Just the fact that this disclaimer was necessary is proof that the similarities are already there!


Oh FFS: it is proof that uninformed people are likely to make stupid leaps by not understanding the scientific context behind the use of the word "delusion".

How can any sane rational person make such a statement?

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Please take note that since we've started this meme it appears Dan Barker has taken it and run with it as well. Now he calls religion a mental illness. The meme is spreading, and atheists who want to see religious belief dissipate would be wise to not hinder our advancement in this area.


Do you have any idea what you sound like?

Wow, just wow.

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I had an epiphany when I was posting on this topic in another thread, but I'll recap here. Every person who finds the "disorder" thing offensive obviously has their own baggage related to mental disorders in mind and then want to project that onto us.


Again you state this. Is it not the behaviour of the intellectually dishonest to keep questioning the motives of your detractors. Stop fighting strawmen: whatever people's baggage, and whether or not they are projecting it, is completely irrelevent. Stop poisoning the well.

If you are qualified to say what is and what is not a mental disorder then there is no problem. The fact is that none of you are qualified to make this claim, and your cited support for it is risible. If you had any shred of intellectual honesty you would think carefully and objectively about it rather that seeking to cast those who disagree with you in a bad light.

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I bear no such prejudice. I'm sure that I have multiple disorders, but the difference between me and them is that if somebody tells me that I have a disorder and wants to help me, I don't just say "UNH UH!! NOT ME!! I'm perfectly normal!!!" I seek to improve those errors in my thought processes.


Do you? Well fucking LISTEN then. You, Kelly, Brian, Hamby and co, are wrong.

Theism cannot be defined as a mental disorder.

This has nothing to do with baggage, nothing to do with words in books, and everything to do with science. Do the fucking science, and then make your claims, not before.

You haven't done the science, all you've done is draw some rhetorical simiarities:
 mangling deifnitions to make your point. This is wrong behaviour, bad behaviour, very very naughty indeed.


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I strive to live without cognitive dissonance.


So does everyone. Don't you know what cognitive dissonance is? We all try to avoid it, and you are doing an excellent job here.

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Sorry that I don't want everybody else to continue living in denial while they destroy the world that I live in.


Now its the slippery slope fallacy in justification: "I'm saving the world everyone!! if I don't do this they'll all destroy it".

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At any rate, I stated in the other thread that the very reason that we can say that "theism is a mind disorder" is because all theists ARE NOT completely stupid, irrational in every way, or absolutely insane.


Please try to use logic in your arguments Kelly. Your point here is completely dumb if only you take the time to look at it. Whether someone lives normally or not otherwise is not a defining characteristic of a disorder. You're fighting strawmen that nobody is advancing. How about addressing the real issues for a change?

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(Although some may be) It is precisely because they operate rationally and logically in most other areas of their lives that their god-belief stands out so glaringly as an aberration.


This is tiresome. This makes no point whatsoever Kelly. None at all. It sure looks like you're saying something here, but it is empty of relevant content.
Whether or not a person who is otherwise normal believes in God does not make his belief in God a mental aberration warranting the term "delusion" or "disorder" except in a colloquial sense. There is simply no justification for it.


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So, I really want to convey here the level of frustration I have at being forced to constantly reiterate what our position is here.


The thing is Kelly, you keep reiterating but never answering the questions directly.

I want to know the objectve scientfic basis for your position, and I think I can safely conclude that you have none. You have done nothing except support this conclusion throughout.

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It is pretty clear in the three videos we made on the topic, so please just watch the damn things and actually listen before you attack us on this one. Especially from people who I would think understand us better than that. And who also understand that having a degree means you should be smart, but doesn't make you so, nor does it do the opposite.

I'm sick of typing. I think I'm developing a carpal tunnel disorder. (Disparaging wrists everywhere!!!)
 

I know the next argument that you're going to make, too. "Well, she was insane, so she would have done something horrible anyway." How do you know that? How do you know that she would have had any concept of a "demon" if it wasn't placed there?

The bible clearly states that this is a war not of flesh and bones, but of spirits and the forces of good and evil. One is to arm themselves for battle and prepare to deflect the attacks of satan and his minions. People still believe in this stuff! Does anybody get this? The Pope is calling for mass exorcisms, and some evangelical christians believe that sicknesses are caused by satan and that you can "cast them out in Jesus' name."


It is a travesty that the more obsequious among us have bought the propaganda hook, line, and sinker. Anybody who cannot see the correlation here is either blind or indifferent


Correlation =/= causation. You do know this don't you?

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and will allow these things to continue to happen.


It does not follow that rejecting your position here means that we "allow these things to continue to happen".

One thing is for certain: if we make our arguments from unsound objective bases we will have no argument at all: we'll
 end up looking like irrational people arguing froma assumed conclusions and misrepresenting science in order to do so: just what we accuse Answers in Genesis of doing.


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All because we can't talk about religion like that-it's just not nice.


This isn't the issue. I'll slag off religion as much as anyone. This is another strawman you are fighting. Now wonder you are tired. Perhaps focus on the actual issues and save energy.

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Obviously, the vast majority of religious people do not commit these kinds of crimes,


A fact you do not consider relevant?

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but there is an overwhelming amount of violence perpetrated upon people that is religiously motivated.


Can you supply statistics to back up this assertion?

Was the Iraq war religiously motivated? What about the Chinese oppression of Tibet, is this religiously motivated?

Muggings, murders etc etc... lots of non-religiously motivated agression and violence.

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I've already pointed out the child abuse that occurs in the name of religion,


And in the absence of it (did you point that out too?).

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and some christian parenting sites teach you how to "switch" your children with PVC tubing from the age of 9 months.


Disgusting.

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Incidentally, a devotee of theirs was charged with first-degree murder when she wrapped her 4 year old son tightly in blankets because he kept getting out of bed and he suffocated to death.


Terrible, when people allow themselves to believe stuff they read on the net without checking out the facts or the people who supply it.

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All because god is a god of order, not chaos, and you must maintain order in your home.


And all because some people are too stupid to think for themselves and fall into the power and control of unscrupulous, and often unstable, individual "experts" on the internet.

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Talk about fragile egos on these people who won't be manipulated by the cries of a hungry newborn baby.


There are a number of mental disorders associated with post-pregnancy: none of them exclusive to theism.

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I said this in my first post on this topic, and obviously I need to repeat myself for the either dense or dishonest critics,


Why must you continue to question the moral standing and ethical position of those who criticise you? It does not smack of intellectual honesty when you poison the well so obviously.

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but even if religion only exploits existing mental illnesses, should we not give people one less reason to kill or harm others?


Yes. Making pseudo-scientific claims is not the way to do this.


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Imagine a scenario in which small groups of racist people are still terrorizing anybody with darker skin than them, but since the vast majority of white people don't act that way, we just shouldn't address it.


Again you battle those strawmen: racists are not necessarily mentally disordered either, just ill-informed and ignorant. Last time I looked, ignorance was not a mental disorder.

And of course racism should be addressed, hence the strawman: nobody is saying that it shouldn't be addressed, and nobody is saying that theism shouldn't be addressed either. I am saying that a misdirected attack does nothing to address theism, and makes the person advancing it appear stupid.

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In all honesty, the reason that most religious people do not act like the Phelps family is because they are nominal (insert religion here) only.


In all honesty? Perhaps you can support your honesty with honest evidence rather than honest opining.

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A study done by the Barna Group, a christian research firm, showed that many young Americans see christians as hypocritical, and that they really are hypocrites. They surveyed 1003 adults on 20 "lifestyle elements," including things such as altruism, sexual behavior, and substance abuse. The results: on 15 of the 20 behaviors, evangelical christians were indistinguishable from us heathens, and the areas in which they do differ (porn consumption, cursing in public, playing the lottery, and music piracy), the difference is minor (One-third of heathens vs. one-quarter of christians) except for the music piracy, in which there is a 7% difference.


And this is relevant how? You think this demonstrates "nominalism"? People beleive yet act against the most stringent interpretations of their "moral law" whenever they can justify it to themselves. This does not mean that they do not believe, it just means that they believe that they are justified in this case.

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That is not likely because of the commandment to not steal, but rather that resisting the urge to download music is much easier than resisting the urge to have sex. If that's not causing cognitive dissonance, I don't know what will.

So theist kids are downloading music to stop themselves thinking about sex? What tunes would they download in order to do that? Are there many songs which do not reference sexual love? Would they be avoiding these too? If not then your point is wholly spurious and based on a seriously flawed inference.

But let's say you're correct: therefore the act of downloading might be causing them dissonance. That's a good thing because it may cause them to question the reasons for why "downloading is wrong" and start to form their own moral position. Just saying: cognitive dissonance is useful you know, it is our brain's way of telling us something is wrong.

The problem is that we tend to rationalise in order to avoid facing it. This will include changing the subject when pushed, deliberately avoiding the point - even (deliberately but imperceptibly failing to comprehend it). The mind might start confabulating, going one way and another, digging up recently remembered factoids and examining them for relevance, flailing about for a resolution and the restoration of mental harmony.

One sees it in all sorts of places. I think I'm seeing it in you. It would explain
 the irrelevance, projection, accusation, rationalisation, confabulation, rhetorical evasion and justification you have engaged in throughout this series of posts.


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Any study, particularly psychological or sociological, is going to establish correlations between things, hopefully with as few confounding factors as possible. So nobody should make the assumption that atheism causes these things, just that they are related for some reason. You could take the converse and say that theism is correlated to poor societal health. The real strength of these studies, though, is taking away the "without religion everybody would turn into wild animals" argument.


I don't see how this is relevant to the question.

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Now, I know what you guys are going to say--"It's not BECAUSE of religion." Actually, I don't think that a case could be made either way. Was he likely vulnerable to delusional behavior? Yeah, I'll concede that one.


I'm afraid that's "case closed" as to whether the disorder was theism.

The question of whether theism - or his particular brand of religious practice even - contributed to his delusional behaviour is a separate question as to whether it caused it initially.

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The fact that religion is unique in its ability to seep into the crevices of your mind so pervasively that this theme plays out in our society over and over again isn't addressed by that statement, though. How do the appeasers and framers answer that?


Again with the poisoned well. Rejecting your hypothesis does not make a person an appeaser or a framer. You should really avoid this kind of rhetoric, it makes you sound like the Watchtower magazine.

The ability of religion to infiltrate the mind is oviously a function of two things: the mind's ability to accept and believe information and inform a worldview off it (the way we grow up and the way we learn, the way we trust and the people we trust); and the meme's effectiveness in securing a hold in the mind.

Neither implies disorder, on the contrary it appears to be normal processing exapted for an alternate purpose.

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Maybe it only manifests itself in those already prone to mental illness, but isn't that akin to excusing and perpetuating a belief system that preys on the weak?


Nobody needs to "excuse" religion in order to reject your hypothesis.

Your words do not describe religion being "excused", but in any case if religion preys on the weak we must examine that, investigate that.

What if religion has been very good at keeping the mentally weak in check? What if society "needs" religion to fulfil a function which we have not yet devised other ways to fulfil because we don't understand religion well enough to know what purposes it may serve.

There is a lot of science being done and yet to do, your position is not a contribution to that, and saying so does not make me an appeaser or any other negative term you wish to bandy about.

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What exactly is it that causes atheists to feel this compulsion to cover for a malevolent, archaic belief that has caused mothers to kill their children, countless cases of child abuse, seemingly endless wars and violence, and self-mutilation and flagellation that can be traced back to the very foundation of the religion?


Rejecting your hypothesis does not equal covering for a malevolent archaic belief, it is merely informing  you that you are wrong, which is unrelated to any position regarding archaic belief.

It is not a question of "for you or for theism", despite your evident will to make it so.

Sorry Kelly, your position is  plain wrong. Wrong-headed, badly conceived, illogical, unsupported, incoherent and unscientific. Rejecting it does not equate to supporting theism, and you know it.

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Furthermore, I did qualify my statement in the original post by saying that these delusions seemed to manifest themselves in vulnerable people, but again, if the bible didn't have a specific command to cut off your right hand if it offends you on the premise of it being better to enter heaven maimed than go to hell (an implicit threat of eternal punishment), this man likely would not have felt compelled to cut his right hand off with a circular saw.


No, he might just have jumped off a balconey instead, or copied a good movie self-mutilation, or something from a novel, and done something else dumb instead.

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Finally, when dealing with statistics, particularly in the field of psychology, there is practically never a case of clear causation. It's always a matter of correlation, and a positive correlation does not have to be excessively high to be considered statistically significant.


So you do recognise that correlation does not equal causation. You seem to equivocate on this earlier, glad to see I can happily scrub your point above.

Statistical significance is a quesion of what is *signified* by the particular statistical pattern uncovered. But this is irrelevant: you have not produced any statistics.

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I feel that the case for religion having detrimental effects on people's mental health can be made with certainty that there is a positive correlation between excessive religiosity and delusions resulting in violence to oneself or others.


Ok then, supply the stats to support your position. What you feel can be accomplished is irrelevant: make the case for certainty or else learn to temper your feelings.

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"Religion" is not a mental disorder-it's the effects of religion on people's minds that may lead to or otherwise push the susceptible "over the edge", so to speak.


But it may have an opposite effect on other people, mighten it?

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The fact that a certain part of the brain is stimulated during so-called "religious experiences" does not demonstrate anything other than the fact that a certain experience is associated with increased or decreased activity in areas of the brain, just like any other experience that we have. Using the term "hard-wired" muddies the waters by giving this predisposition an aura of seemingly scientific respectability.


Hahaha, "aura of scientific respectability". Clever.


I agree that there is no hard-wiring in the sense that certain brain areas gve euphoric feelings when stimulated/malfunctioning. However this is not what is meant by "hard wiring" in terms of evolutionary psychology where people like Pinker use it to describe the cognitive pathways and abilities set in our genes - and the possible links between these and human behaviours and typicalities.

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It would be a non sequitor to assume that this implies that it is supposed to operate in that fashion universally or that it was a necessary facet of the evolutionary process.


It would be a fallacy to assume that anything evolved is "supposed to operate" in any way: it would be a teleoligical fallacy assuming "purpose behind - use for", which is obviously not forseen. To make this point simply: legs are not "for" walking, they're just bloody good at it.

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The fact that the majority of people throughout history have believed in god would predispose their descendants to also have the same susceptibility to the type of temporal lobe stimulation that causes these experiences,


You are assuming a link between temporal lobe function/malfunction and theism. This link is not proven and nor is anyone attempting to prove it. The existence of one believer who does not experience any temporal lobe activity above normal would be a de-facto falsification of such a prediction, but it is nonetheless irrelevant since nobody actually doing the science is making that prediction. Neither is it relevant to your position: temporal lobe epilepsy is not only related to religious euphoria, and not limited to those of theistic belief.

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and therefore cannot prove anything other than how the brain operates in certain circumstances.


For certain people, experiencing certain things, in certain contexts.

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I do believe that religion was necessary in our evolutionary history to facilitate social cohesion and provide answers to the unanswerable questions and solace regarding the frightening reality of life and impending death.


It may have served greater purposes that those you can think of off the top of your head. Read Dennett (again).

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I feel that we should do as Daniel Dennett suggests in Breaking the Spell and question whether or not it is still beneficial to society.


Why do you miss the fact that Dennett leaves the answer to that question open pending the science? Isn't this what you should be doing at this point in time?

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Again, you're making the naturalistic fallacy be presupposing that is equals ought. From a sociological perspective, the norm would be theistic belief because norms are always culturally defined. Just because it is the current norm doesn't mean that it should remain that way. I also never implied that any deviation from "pure rationality" is a mental illness. Anybody see a strawman?


They're all over the place itt, none of them mine.

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I have thought things through, thanks. Sorry if you feel like I'm giving you a bad reputation. Maybe you should call yourself something other than atheist to differentiate yourself from the rest of us and avoid the stigma.


So you do claim to speak for atheists then.

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Like anti-inflammatory-statementist. Or, never-tell-people-they're-full-of-shitist.


Ok, I'll be a show-me-the-science-or-shut-the-fuck-up-ist.

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That would be the definition of a strawman, but let me clarify our position here. The title of that post, along with our former haeder banner slogan, are designed to be controversial and slightly offensive. We feel that ridiculing religion is one of the best tactics when trying to reduce the impact of religion on society.


But you are not ridiculing religion by criticising it from a none-objective basis, you are just making a fool of yourself in their eyes, and giving them free reign to fail to support their own claims with scientific evidence. You are acting just like them.

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Every person who has seen that or even the "Believe in God? We can fix that" slogans has had a small seed of doubt planted in their minds.


Lol. you really think that? You do like to pull assertions out of the air when it suits you, don't you?

Do you think that Ken Ham might one day be saying "Everyone who's seen 'evolution is a lie' on the Answers in Genesis website has had a small seed of doubt planted in their minds", and you'll be agreeing with that. Or do you not think that Ken might be engaging in a little hubris?

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They may react with indignation, but that stems from the deep-seated fear that we are right.


Lol, how dishonest can you be? Have you never noticed that people are highly likely to get indignant
 when you are wrong and yet refuse to acknowledge it?


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Sam Harris talks about using ridicule to end the KKK's influence and power on Truthdig.com in response to how to end irrational faith. We are kind of following that model.


Badly, I might suggest. Very poorly indeed.


Quote:

Do I honestly think that every single person who believes in god has a mental illness? No. But I believe that certain people's pre-existing mental illnesses can be made worse, people may develop certain guilt complexes or suffer from perpetual fear because of their existence as depraved, disgusting, sinful creatures, many people develop pathological sexuality issues, and the compartmentalization necessary to maintain your faith essentially boils down to denial and self-deception.


So get rid of religion and you still have unscrupulous individuals and people seeking easy answers who are likely to fall into their grasp. Although certain religions definitely do encourage such behaviours through their structure etc, you are defining more cultic religions like YEC and Oneness Pentecostalism rather than all religion. Catholic girls were never really renowned for their pathological sexuality issues, despite the fact that the Roman Catholic church might have done its best to make them so.

But at least you are paying lip service at least to the complexity of the issues. All that remains is for you to recognise how your position does an injustice to that complexity.

Quote:

I think that anybody can look around them and see how religion incites and justifies violence against others. The more fundamentalist groups are much more prone to these types of issues, but as I said before, that doesn't excuse religion. There is still a positive correlation between religiosity and certain neuroses. I will attempt to gather some of the studies that have been done and post them later for reference.


I would have thought that you were familiar with and in possession of the studies before writing that paragraph.

Quote:

It is relevant because any belief that is in constant conflict with actual evidence is psychologically harmful when it must be maintained despite conflicting evidence.


Perhaps, but you miss both the fact that most theistic positions are unfalsifiable (therefore the existence of conflicting evidence is impossible)
, and the fact that for those positions which can be falsified - like YECism - falsifying evidence does not make it through the information filter.
 Therefore it does not contribute to dissonance or mental conflict, therefore it cannot create psycholgical harm.

Quote:

Imagine that you suspect your partner is having an affair. When you start digging, you find odd charges from hotels, possibly other incriminating evidence, along with his/her sudden lack of interest in sex. For you to ignore all of what is staring you in the face will be extraordinarily difficult. It may cause anxiety, depression, intrusive thoughts about the issue, or anger and bitterness. Now, imagine that you try to repress all of that and pretend it's not happening. You will need to devote a lot of mental energy to doing so, and ultimately, you are then harming yourself. Religion does the same thing.


What a spurious analogy! I'll leave it because it is completely irrelevant and bears only a loaded rhetorical similarity to a particular caricature of a doubting theist while the surrounding circumstances are wholly different.

Quote:

I would say that that particular action would not have happened if he was an atheist. Something else possibly, but not that exact action. If you believe in no mark of the beast, or better yet, had never heard of it, where would that idea come from? If there wasn't a biblical injunction to do so, why would that particular thing have been so prominent in that man's mind?


It wouldn't have been, as you say, it would be something else.

Quote:

So, his mental illness may or may not have been influenced by religion, but his actions certainly were.


And the actions of a madman who is into football will have his actions influenced accordingly. this proves nothing except that people who go mad tend to do so within their own cultural parameters. You don't get people from Birmingham suddenly going insane and enacting the shamanistic rituals of Indonesian tribesmen, because they know nothing about such rituals. Give them a book on making toffee and tomorrow's headlines could be about someone going berserk and boiling his hand off in a pot of toffee mixture.

Quote:

If religion causes one to act in ways that are harmful to themselves or others, I feel that it should be held accountable for that.


I wholly agree.
How does your postion hold it accountable?
Do you have some objective facts against which to hold religion accountable, or do you think this can be acheived by rhetorical devices and factually questionable counter-memes?

Quote:

What is the difference between acting psychopathic and being psychopathic? Psychopathologies are defined by one's actions.


No, no and thrice no.

Psychopathologies are diagnosed by the actions ("behaviours&quotEye-wink.

The behaviours are "defining characteristics".

"Defining characteristics" define what is included and what is excluded in the behaviours evident as a result of the psychopathology.

The psychopathology itself is defined in its own right, in as far as what is known about it in and of itself (its underlying pathology)
 has been expounded.

You really shouldn't equivocate terms in this way, people who are unfamiliar with the terminology might end up ill-informed. Please avoid making this mistake in future.




Quote:

It doesn't necessarily have to pervade every area of a person's life to still be considered problematic. An excellent read dealing with how theism, particularly evangelical christianity, affects the mental health of adherents is The Mind of the Bible Believer by Edmund Cohen. I also explained above the tactical reasons behind using controversial taglines.


Those tactical reasons might be fine, but it does not justify being factually wrong in your claims.

Quote:

I also fail to see the bigotry of which you speak. I have no prejudice against those who have been afflicted with mental illnesses. If I did, I would be bigoted against most of my family and probably myself. Is labeling depression a mental illness a sign of bigotry against them or a statement of fact?


No it isn't. Though this isn't relevant. Depression is often a symptom of mental illness, though not all causes fall within the narrow confines of "illness" at a mental level.

I don't think labelling theism a "mental disorder" makes you a bigot. But I do think that anyone who continues to hold an unreasonable and unfounded position without proper objective bases, and who resorts to well poisoning and rhetorical evasions in order to defend that position, is likely to be bigotted.

Quote:

I am glad that you like us, and that you're able to voice your objections in a reasonable manner. However, I do believe that the "scary evangelical religious faithful" are the victims of a mental disorder.


Well you'd be wrong. They may be the victims of psychological manipulation, or cultural ignorance, neither of which justifies the term "mental disorder".

Quote:

Whether it was caused by religion or just worsened by it, it really doesn't matter.


I'm afraid it does matter. This is an important question, not something to be brushed aside because with the claim that is doesn't matter. It might not matter to the concusions you wish to draw, but it certainly matters to anyone wanting to know the objective truth.

Quote:

It is obvious that they are more likely to act on their religious convictions in an entirely different way than others.


Well of course someone will act in accordance with their own cultural norms. But if someone is mad as a hatter it matters not whether they are religious or not: they'll do something mad.

Quote:

When's the last time you saw an atheist suicide bomber?


Well there have been many instances of atheists using suicide as a bargaining tool, and of atheists engaging in male-bonded coalitionary violence, of atheists dying for an ideology, and of atheists killing for an ideology.

You are suggesting theism is necessary and sufficient to produce suicide bombers, yet theism is neither necessary nor sufficient to any individual component of suicide bombing. This creates a contradiction: since if no part of a set can be shown to be necessary or sufficient then the whole set cannot have this property. At the very best,

Theists who also happen to be mad take advantage of various human psychological weaknesses in vulnerable people and turn them into suicide bombers.

But again, evidence is not the plural of anecdote.


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This quote interests me:We

This quote interests me:


We want this idea to spread to enough people that consulting your sky-daddy before bed IS recognized as a disorder.

Thus your intent is to spread a falsehood as a means of attacking religion? Can you not see how damagaing such an aim is?


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Nialler wrote:This quote

Nialler wrote:

This quote interests me:


We want this idea to spread to enough people that consulting your sky-daddy before bed IS recognized as a disorder.

Thus your intent is to spread a falsehood as a means of attacking religion? Can you not see how damagaing such an aim is?

Ok, let's lose the "recognized as".

I think the problem is that theism can be a potentially dangerous thing. It is also an  "acceptable" thing, similar to cigarette/alcohol addiction. In fact I can see it as more of an addiction than anything else.

"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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Cross posting fun "However,

Cross posting fun

wrote:

"However, you never answered whether you thought Milgram, Skinner, Pinker and (for the hell of it, because I want to see how you define "scientist&quotEye-wink Mendel were/are scientists. Forgetting the "umbrella" term for a moment: are the areas of psychology which I referred to - in particular diagnostic psychology, which is the relevant field in regards to what constitutes a "mental disorder" - science, in your humble opinion?"

I didn't answer your question because it's a very slippery slope, with a large flashing neon sign saying danger do not enter this trap, if a scientist studies psychiatry or psychology or creationism or anything this doesn't automatically make those disciplines scientific even if a scientific approach and scientific methods are employed in these fields

And you didn't answer my question

Rev_Devilin wrote:

Does it have a nomothetic approach ? are there Paradigm's in psychology

Would you care to clarify" Psychology is a science " ? as I believe this is sweeping general and inaccurate

And just for fun "Psychiatrists openly admitting at the 2006 APA convention that they have no scientific tests to prove mental illness and have no cures for these unproven mental illnesses"

Is everybody mentally ill ?

Can you see my problem in excepting "psychology" as a science

Thus my this is an unfair question for Kelly, as it cannot be answered using science

I still have much reading to do, and may yet find my position untenable

wrote:

"("hard&quotEye-wink science: Newtonian Mechanics versus General Relativity when examining Mercury's orbit is a classic example of how science refines the models."

There is also quantum gravitational effects, and not forgetting intelligent pushing, sin is the force holding man down and therefore those without sin can bodily rise to heaven

wrote:

"On another note, I am thinking of starting a thread in our science forum here - which is frequented by a number of professionals - with the express intent of systematically dissecting the whole of RRS "content" on the issue of theism and mental disorder, using the links Kelly provided as an outline. I mention this in the hope that you, or others who usually post on the RRS board, might be interested in participating."

Sound's good

I'll post a link in main forum when this starts

There are some professional people around here as well, (not me, dumb as a bag of hammer's is I)

And this isn't such a bad place if it was I wouldn't be here, if Brian and Kelly wanted to make a fast buck all they would have to do is see the light and convert to Christianity I'm sure they could make far more money doing that than this, I believe they are trying with the best of intentions, and they going to make plenty of mistakes along the way. will this put back the cause of atheism a thousand years ? not if people like you ruffle their feathers every now and then  and they are smart enough to except constructive criticism

We all learn from are mistakes do we not ?


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See, I'm sympathetic to the

See, I'm sympathetic to the approach that from the outside theism demands a degree of suspension of disbelief or that it invokes the acceptance of irrational precepts.

From the outside, this couls lead to behaviours which are at most anomalous to some of the symptoms of mental disorder.

But that's about as far as you can take it.

But to take an advocacy position for a moment: I'm minded of the Dawkins' ruminations in The God Delusion on the role of submission to your elders as a positive contributor to a child's development. He specifically mentions it in the context that a tendency to display such obedience may have been a necessary evolutionary step which resulted in more children heeding the advice of their parents and not playing near the crocodile hole. He speculates, IIRC, that this tendency may result in an innate need for authority, and a psychological predilection for having an authority to obey. Religion, he suggests, fills that role.

If that is the case, then someone who instinctively rejects all authority figures from birth could be seen to be the one with the mental disorder - if he survives the crocodile hole, that is.


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I like that Nialler ,

  I like that Nialler , "someone who instinctively rejects all authority figures from birth could be seen to be the one with the mental disorder - if he survives the crocodile hole, that is."   /////

    Thing is,  that crocodile hole we are talking about is a delusion of the god of abe religions. Adults with a fancy Santa Clause .... That kind of Religion dogma shuts down the importance of NOW and this life,  and that ain't good  ..... it's poison , someone famous said ..... and I agree .... and so i say you are god as i , Thanks atheist Jesus/Buddha ....Yes, yes  religion is delusion J/B insisted !  ......    

Dogma = shit , are people with shit all over them sick ? Okay , let's just say stinking sad ..... BTW, The few professional psychologists I've met personally were fucking stupid !       I laugh, but it ain't funny , is it !      What to do ..... ,       AHHH , Religion is fucking stinking sick stupid delusion shit ..... Save a Christian !  


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Nialler wrote:See, I'm

Nialler wrote:

See, I'm sympathetic to the approach that from the outside theism demands a degree of suspension of disbelief or that it invokes the acceptance of irrational precepts.

From the outside, this couls lead to behaviours which are at most anomalous to some of the symptoms of mental disorder.

But that's about as far as you can take it.

But to take an advocacy position for a moment: I'm minded of the Dawkins' ruminations in The God Delusion on the role of submission to your elders as a positive contributor to a child's development. He specifically mentions it in the context that a tendency to display such obedience may have been a necessary evolutionary step which resulted in more children heeding the advice of their parents and not playing near the crocodile hole. He speculates, IIRC, that this tendency may result in an innate need for authority, and a psychological predilection for having an authority to obey. Religion, he suggests, fills that role.

If that is the case, then someone who instinctively rejects all authority figures from birth could be seen to be the one with the mental disorder - if he survives the crocodile hole, that is.

No one can instinctively reject authority from birth. The problem comes when one clings to that authority for its own sake during their adult life despite evidence to the contrary.

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


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jcgadfly wrote:Nialler

jcgadfly wrote:

Nialler wrote:

See, I'm sympathetic to the approach that from the outside theism demands a degree of suspension of disbelief or that it invokes the acceptance of irrational precepts.

From the outside, this couls lead to behaviours which are at most anomalous to some of the symptoms of mental disorder.

But that's about as far as you can take it.

But to take an advocacy position for a moment: I'm minded of the Dawkins' ruminations in The God Delusion on the role of submission to your elders as a positive contributor to a child's development. He specifically mentions it in the context that a tendency to display such obedience may have been a necessary evolutionary step which resulted in more children heeding the advice of their parents and not playing near the crocodile hole. He speculates, IIRC, that this tendency may result in an innate need for authority, and a psychological predilection for having an authority to obey. Religion, he suggests, fills that role.

If that is the case, then someone who instinctively rejects all authority figures from birth could be seen to be the one with the mental disorder - if he survives the crocodile hole, that is.

No one can instinctively reject authority from birth. The problem comes when one clings to that authority for its own sake during their adult life despite evidence to the contrary.

Bu there is no evidence to the contrary. We can dance around that fact all week, but it remains true: we do not have - nor will we ever have - evidence against the existence of a god. When you add to that the fact that while the individual was at their most biddable the theistic beliefs were implanted, then you have a perfectly rational explanation as to why the individual has theistic beliefs and why they reject alternative belief systems.

In summary, they are being rational within the specific context of their cultural and developmental influences. And that is definitely not a sign of any form of mental disorder.


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Nialler wrote:jcgadfly

Nialler wrote:

jcgadfly wrote:

Nialler wrote:

See, I'm sympathetic to the approach that from the outside theism demands a degree of suspension of disbelief or that it invokes the acceptance of irrational precepts.

From the outside, this couls lead to behaviours which are at most anomalous to some of the symptoms of mental disorder.

But that's about as far as you can take it.

But to take an advocacy position for a moment: I'm minded of the Dawkins' ruminations in The God Delusion on the role of submission to your elders as a positive contributor to a child's development. He specifically mentions it in the context that a tendency to display such obedience may have been a necessary evolutionary step which resulted in more children heeding the advice of their parents and not playing near the crocodile hole. He speculates, IIRC, that this tendency may result in an innate need for authority, and a psychological predilection for having an authority to obey. Religion, he suggests, fills that role.

If that is the case, then someone who instinctively rejects all authority figures from birth could be seen to be the one with the mental disorder - if he survives the crocodile hole, that is.

No one can instinctively reject authority from birth. The problem comes when one clings to that authority for its own sake during their adult life despite evidence to the contrary.

Bu there is no evidence to the contrary. We can dance around that fact all week, but it remains true: we do not have - nor will we ever have - evidence against the existence of a god. When you add to that the fact that while the individual was at their most biddable the theistic beliefs were implanted, then you have a perfectly rational explanation as to why the individual has theistic beliefs and why they reject alternative belief systems.

In summary, they are being rational within the specific context of their cultural and developmental influences. And that is definitely not a sign of any form of mental disorder.

Rationality is purely subjective? I'm sure the folks who have committed crimes because they think God told them to will be ecstatic to hear that. What they did was rational for them, after all.

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


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jcgadfly wrote:Nialler

jcgadfly wrote:

Nialler wrote:

jcgadfly wrote:

Nialler wrote:

See, I'm sympathetic to the approach that from the outside theism demands a degree of suspension of disbelief or that it invokes the acceptance of irrational precepts.

From the outside, this couls lead to behaviours which are at most anomalous to some of the symptoms of mental disorder.

But that's about as far as you can take it.

But to take an advocacy position for a moment: I'm minded of the Dawkins' ruminations in The God Delusion on the role of submission to your elders as a positive contributor to a child's development. He specifically mentions it in the context that a tendency to display such obedience may have been a necessary evolutionary step which resulted in more children heeding the advice of their parents and not playing near the crocodile hole. He speculates, IIRC, that this tendency may result in an innate need for authority, and a psychological predilection for having an authority to obey. Religion, he suggests, fills that role.

If that is the case, then someone who instinctively rejects all authority figures from birth could be seen to be the one with the mental disorder - if he survives the crocodile hole, that is.

No one can instinctively reject authority from birth. The problem comes when one clings to that authority for its own sake during their adult life despite evidence to the contrary.

Bu there is no evidence to the contrary. We can dance around that fact all week, but it remains true: we do not have - nor will we ever have - evidence against the existence of a god. When you add to that the fact that while the individual was at their most biddable the theistic beliefs were implanted, then you have a perfectly rational explanation as to why the individual has theistic beliefs and why they reject alternative belief systems.

In summary, they are being rational within the specific context of their cultural and developmental influences. And that is definitely not a sign of any form of mental disorder.

Rationality is purely subjective? I'm sure the folks who have committed crimes because they think God told them to will be ecstatic to hear that. What they did was rational for them, after all.

That is utter bollocks and you know it. Voices in the head are an entirely different matter and are symptoms of various recognised psychological disorders which can exist outside a theistic framework. Try stay on topic.


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Piaget’s theory of

Piaget’s theory of object permanence

Wow I'd forgotten about that one, old open University program, thank's of the pdf

SpaghettiSawUs wrote:

As for the apparent "trap: this is a rather paranoid answer:

Just because I'm paranoid, it doesn't mean you weren't ouy to get me 

SpaghettiSawUs wrote:

so allow me to explain.
There is no slippery slope, what you say is only half correct, I have boldened the incorrect bit: what you have said effectively is that it isn't science even if they are doing science. Think about this some more

Well the slippery slope I perceived, ended with "everything is science" including the most ridiculous things imaginable, like Scientology thus the just for fun bit, I figured you'd bite on such a tempting morsel, I was out to get you on that one

But thinking about this while writing out a preconceived how can Scientology be considered science, I realized it can, just a very bad science

"this is an unfair question for Kelly, as it cannot be answered using science" I find my position untenable, and I thank you for helping me realize this

 

 

ps the gravity thing was humor, intelligent pushing ( come on ) , you will be telling me next that Newton didn't discover cat flaps and invent gravity


Rathpig wrote:

Everything in your post is very accurate

Nope it wasn't


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Nialler wrote:jcgadfly

Nialler wrote:

jcgadfly wrote:

Nialler wrote:

jcgadfly wrote:

Nialler wrote:

See, I'm sympathetic to the approach that from the outside theism demands a degree of suspension of disbelief or that it invokes the acceptance of irrational precepts.

From the outside, this couls lead to behaviours which are at most anomalous to some of the symptoms of mental disorder.

But that's about as far as you can take it.

But to take an advocacy position for a moment: I'm minded of the Dawkins' ruminations in The God Delusion on the role of submission to your elders as a positive contributor to a child's development. He specifically mentions it in the context that a tendency to display such obedience may have been a necessary evolutionary step which resulted in more children heeding the advice of their parents and not playing near the crocodile hole. He speculates, IIRC, that this tendency may result in an innate need for authority, and a psychological predilection for having an authority to obey. Religion, he suggests, fills that role.

If that is the case, then someone who instinctively rejects all authority figures from birth could be seen to be the one with the mental disorder - if he survives the crocodile hole, that is.

No one can instinctively reject authority from birth. The problem comes when one clings to that authority for its own sake during their adult life despite evidence to the contrary.

Bu there is no evidence to the contrary. We can dance around that fact all week, but it remains true: we do not have - nor will we ever have - evidence against the existence of a god. When you add to that the fact that while the individual was at their most biddable the theistic beliefs were implanted, then you have a perfectly rational explanation as to why the individual has theistic beliefs and why they reject alternative belief systems.

In summary, they are being rational within the specific context of their cultural and developmental influences. And that is definitely not a sign of any form of mental disorder.

Rationality is purely subjective? I'm sure the folks who have committed crimes because they think God told them to will be ecstatic to hear that. What they did was rational for them, after all.

That is utter bollocks and you know it. Voices in the head are an entirely different matter and are symptoms of various recognised psychological disorders which can exist outside a theistic framework. Try stay on topic.

Subjective rationality is indeed bollocks. Why did you bring it up?

I said nothing about voices in the head. What I was going for is your belief that a person could claim God told them to commit <insert crime here> and since we don't have (and can't get) evidence against the existence of a God, you claim we have to assume that they are acting rationally within their own specific cultural/developmental context.

"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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  I just posted this

  I just posted this elsewhere but think it applies here,

  It is far better to grasp the Universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring. -Carl Sagan

Incurably religious, that is the best way to describe the mental condition of so many people. - Thomas Edison


All religions, with their gods, demigods, prophets, messiahs and saints, are the product of the fancy and credulity of men who have not yet reached the full development and complete possession of their intellectual powers.
- Mikhail Bakunin

   ... are lots of psychologists sick too  ???  


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I AM GOD AS YOU wrote:  

I AM GOD AS YOU wrote:

   ... are lots of psychologists sick too  ???  

No not lots, all

Everybody with an undamaged fully developed brain and "a normal social upbringing", has every conceivable mental condition, everybody is psychotic delusional obsessive-compulsive and so on,  it's just to what degree, this defines social normality, ie everybody is mad, if you are as mad as the majority of society then you are considered sane, if you are slightly different compared to the majority of society then you are considered eccentric, and if you are significantly different to the majority of society then it's off to the funny farm, until you conform to the social norm = as mad as the majority of society

So if a large percentage of the population believes the earth is flat, then it is sane to believe the earth is flat

But here's the thing, if you are presented with undeniable and compelling evidence that the world is spherical, then you should except that the world is spherical, and the society norm changes

Now many atheists would consider fundamental religious people mad, as in the face of compelling evidence they refuse to except this evidence

But Kelly has asserted that all theists ( please correct me if I'm mistaken ) should be grouped together with the fundamental religious people

So any belief in any god/gods is delusional

But there is a significant difference between, all theists and religious fundamentalists, one could hold the belief that the universe is your god as it is your Creator, and as this is true it could not be considered delusional

Therefore "all theists" cannot be considered delusional and subsequently "all belief in god/gods" cannot be considered delusional

Or to put this another way Kelly has not differentiated between Buddhism and hard-core fundamentalist Christianity, in these are delusional beliefs

Which is mad


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  Bump , just cuz I can,

  Bump , just cuz I can, Thanks Rev_D


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jcgadfly wrote: Subjective

jcgadfly wrote:

 

Subjective rationality is indeed bollocks. Why did you bring it up?

I said nothing about voices in the head. What I was going for is your belief that a person could claim God told them to commit <insert crime here> and since we don't have (and can't get) evidence against the existence of a God, you claim we have to assume that they are acting rationally within their own specific cultural/developmental context.

The claim that od told a person to do something is a claim that they are hearing voices in their head, though. If it was the priest, the Vicar, the Imam or whoever, who told them, that is one thing, but any claims to hearing instructions from a god can only be labelled as delusional.

 

But in all events, that only represents a vanishingly tiny minority of theists.


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Actually, literally hearing

Actually, literally hearing the voice of god would be an auditory hallucination, which would be more schizotypic than delusional. Delusional disorders are generally differentiated by the lack of hallucinations.


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kellym78 wrote:Actually,

kellym78 wrote:

Actually, literally hearing the voice of god would be an auditory hallucination, which would be more schizotypic than delusional. Delusional disorders are generally differentiated by the lack of hallucinations.

Indeed. I have lapsed into usual vernacular terms, with all of the imprecision that implies.

 

Any substantive response to calls that the RRS drop its mental disorder/theism assertion? The assertion remains unproven, after all.


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  Nothing has been proven

  Nothing has been proven ever .... My opinion is religion is fucking nuts ! 


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Nialler wrote:jcgadfly

Nialler wrote:

jcgadfly wrote:

 

Subjective rationality is indeed bollocks. Why did you bring it up?

I said nothing about voices in the head. What I was going for is your belief that a person could claim God told them to commit <insert crime here> and since we don't have (and can't get) evidence against the existence of a God, you claim we have to assume that they are acting rationally within their own specific cultural/developmental context.

The claim that od told a person to do something is a claim that they are hearing voices in their head, though. If it was the priest, the Vicar, the Imam or whoever, who told them, that is one thing, but any claims to hearing instructions from a god can only be labelled as delusional.

 

But in all events, that only represents a vanishingly tiny minority of theists.

Who needs voices? what about those twits who take the Bible uber-literally? There's enough death and destruction commands in the bible to keep serial killers orgasmic for days on end. All that's needed is the attitude, "It says so in the Bible and that's God's holy word so I need to do what God's telling me to do."

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


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jcgadfly wrote:Who needs

jcgadfly wrote:
Who needs voices? what about those twits who take the Bible uber-literally? There's enough death and destruction commands in the bible to keep serial killers orgasmic for days on end. All that's needed is the attitude, "It says so in the Bible and that's God's holy word so I need to do what God's telling me to do."
DO I need to remind you that the number of bible literalists represents only a very tiny fraction of xtianity? Catholicism - by far the biggest faction in xtianity - does not ppush a literal bible. Hell, the Anglican aith even has bishops who describe the virgin birth and other beblical events as merely analogies. I'm tired of pointing this out to you.


jcgadfly
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Nialler wrote:jcgadfly

Nialler wrote:

jcgadfly wrote:
Who needs voices? what about those twits who take the Bible uber-literally? There's enough death and destruction commands in the bible to keep serial killers orgasmic for days on end. All that's needed is the attitude, "It says so in the Bible and that's God's holy word so I need to do what God's telling me to do."
DO I need to remind you that the number of bible literalists represents only a very tiny fraction of xtianity? Catholicism - by far the biggest faction in xtianity - does not ppush a literal bible. Hell, the Anglican aith even has bishops who describe the virgin birth and other beblical events as merely analogies. I'm tired of pointing this out to you.

No. Then again, you're the one making the claim that theism doesn't and can't lead to delusional behavior.

"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


Nialler
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jcgadfly wrote:Nialler

jcgadfly wrote:
Nialler wrote:

jcgadfly wrote:
Who needs voices? what about those twits who take the Bible uber-literally? There's enough death and destruction commands in the bible to keep serial killers orgasmic for days on end. All that's needed is the attitude, "It says so in the Bible and that's God's holy word so I need to do what God's telling me to do."
DO I need to remind you that the number of bible literalists represents only a very tiny fraction of xtianity? Catholicism - by far the biggest faction in xtianity - does not ppush a literal bible. Hell, the Anglican aith even has bishops who describe the virgin birth and other beblical events as merely analogies. I'm tired of pointing this out to you.

No. Then again, you're the one making the claim that theism doesn't and can't lead to delusional behavior.
Please show me exactly where I said that. I am 100% certain that I haven't, but maybe you know better.

My point is and always has been that theistic beliefs have not been clrearly and demonstrably associated with a related mental disorder - which is a denial of the claim being made by Kelly. I have never claimed what you claim that I have said.

Please show where or retract your comment.


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Nialler wrote:jcgadfly

Nialler wrote:

jcgadfly wrote:
Nialler wrote:

jcgadfly wrote:
Who needs voices? what about those twits who take the Bible uber-literally? There's enough death and destruction commands in the bible to keep serial killers orgasmic for days on end. All that's needed is the attitude, "It says so in the Bible and that's God's holy word so I need to do what God's telling me to do."
DO I need to remind you that the number of bible literalists represents only a very tiny fraction of xtianity? Catholicism - by far the biggest faction in xtianity - does not ppush a literal bible. Hell, the Anglican aith even has bishops who describe the virgin birth and other beblical events as merely analogies. I'm tired of pointing this out to you.

No. Then again, you're the one making the claim that theism doesn't and can't lead to delusional behavior.
Please show me exactly where I said that. I am 100% certain that I haven't, but maybe you know better.

My point is and always has been that theistic beliefs have not been clrearly and demonstrably associated with a related mental disorder - which is a denial of the claim being made by Kelly. I have never claimed what you claim that I have said.

Please show where or retract your comment.

Ok. Perhaps I'm reading it wrong. I'll be the first to admit I may be reading more into this than there is.

I'm saying that there are theists whose theism leads them to delusional behavior. People who exhibit delusional behavior generally suffer from a delusional disorder. Your position seems to be that because some (even most) theists don't exhibit delusional behavior theism can't lead to a delusional disorder.

Your comments about the other churches taking more enlightened positions on the Bible indicates a recovery from theism (they're getting their religious thinking straightened out). If they're trying to fix things, doesn't that mean they think their original interpretation was broken (perhaps even delusional)?

Do I have your position right or is your dispute based on the fact that medical science has not as yet officially labeled theism as a mental disorder?

Political expediency will keep the latter from ever happening. Too many lunatics running this particular political asylum.

"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


FulltimeDefendent
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YouAre Right wrote:What is a

YouAre Right wrote:

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

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.

 

Lay off the Kool-Aid, please. You'll thank us in the morning. Where EXACTLY have any atheists posted pseudoscience on this sight?

“It is true that in the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king. It is equally true that in the land of the blind, the two-eyed man is an enemy of the state, the people, and domestic tranquility… and necessarily so. Someone has to rearrange the furniture.”