Threats of violence

Wonderist
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Threats of violence

I'm currently in a debate with Jadehawk (blog) over the question of the necessity of violence, or even threats of violence, in social movements such as the Gnu Atheist movement, and potential movements in the future, based on the prevalence of such violence and threats in past movements.

Specifically, I'm trying to pin down Jadehawk's position on the use of threats of violence, as opposed to actual violence. Read the whole blog/thread, but specifically, I'd be interested to hear others' opinions on this topic.

Here's my original comment (it soon degraded from there):

Wonderist wrote:

Jadehawk, although you’ve made it quite clear in your post and subsequent comments that you’re not advocating violence — which I appreciate — it does appear as if you’re potentially advocating the threat of violence:

“Two, throughout history it took serious threats of social disruption and violence (and sometimes ACTUAL social disruption and violence) to get anyone to do anything. Rights are taken, not politely asked for. Even the two most famous non-violent movements that were successes, were successful because everyone at some point realized that the choice was between dealing with MLK/Ghandi, or dealing with the seriously radical, violent elements …

Not that, at this point, I’m advocating turning to violence to get our points across, but at some times in history, it seems the threat thereof is the only way to get some social justice.”

While this may have been true of many movements in the past, I do not believe it is actually necessary, and I would urge you to avoid advocating it (or appearing to advocate it).

Personally, I am always thinking about how my words and ideas could be interpreted or abused long after I’ve said them. If I ever ‘inspired’ someone to actually commit an act of violence I would consider that a huge personal failure.

IMHO, we do not need even *threats* of violence to accomplish our goals. It didn’t require threats of violence to convince people that the world is round, that the Earth orbits the Sun, that humans are animals and the product of evolution, etc. etc. etc. Each of these, in their time, were hotly rejected by dogmatists — in some cases to the point of persecuting their advocates (e.g. Galileo).

What worked in these cases was simply persistent, unapologetic appeal to evidence, reason, critical thinking, and the rest.

Another good example would be the gay rights movement, which does not (as far as I’m aware) need threats of violence to make continual progress. We should be following their example. There are much better ways to change hearts and minds.

Personally, I advocate ‘unapologetic atheism’. If I could invent a backronym for GNU Atheism, it would be something like ‘Galvanized, Non-violent, Unapologetic Atheism’. We just keep talking about religion, criticizing it, ridiculing it, blaspheming it, proving it wrong and harmful, and never apologizing for merely being atheists. None of this requires violence or event threats of violence. It only requires Freedom of Thought and Speech, which fortunately we (most of us) have in our countries.

Also, another great way to turn the tide is to use popular media to express an open and realistic portrayal of the atheist viewpoint. I’m thinking along the lines of when Ellen DeGenres (sp?) came out as gay on her popular TV show. She didn’t have to make a big deal out if it — she just portrayed it as normal and ‘no big deal’. That’s what we need to push for.

When we’ve had our ‘Ellen’ moment, GNU Atheism will have accomplished its mission. IMHO. No threats of violence necessary.

Cheers!

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natural wrote:I’m

natural wrote:
I’m thinking along the lines of when Ellen DeGenres (sp?) came out as gay on her popular TV show. She didn’t have to make a big deal out if it — she just portrayed it as normal and ‘no big deal’.

Ellen DeGeneres doesn't define herself as "Non-Heterosexual" or even "Anti-Heterosexual". If she did, people would ask what that stands for besides implying rejection or hatred. And they would be right in asking. Therefor, whenever atheists compare themselves to gay rights activists, suffrogists, environmentalists etc, they should remember that these people don't just fight *against* something, but primarily *for* something. In other words, they don't define themselves through opposition alone, but they say "Yes" to something. What do atheists say "Yes" to?

I appears illogical to me to debate the methods before one has agreed on a common goal.


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Athene wrote:Ellen DeGeneres

Athene wrote:

Ellen DeGeneres doesn't define herself as "Non-Heterosexual" or even "Anti-Heterosexual". If she did, people would ask what that stands for besides implying rejection or hatred. And they would be right in asking. Therefor, whenever atheists compare themselves to gay rights activists, suffrogists, environmentalists etc, they should remember that these people don't just fight *against* something, but primarily *for* something. In other words, they don't define themselves through opposition alone, but they say "Yes" to something. What do atheists say "Yes" to?

I appears illogical to me to debate the methods before one has agreed on a common goal.

Apparently, you have zero clue what you're talking about.

Before Mr. or Ms. Troll derails this thread, can we at least get a couple of serious responses?

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Wow, how surprising! Another

Wow, how surprising! Another atheist who is completely inferior in regards to arguments but lacks the understanding, the will or the manners to admit it, instead seeking refuge in uninspired ad hominems. And even more surprising, he is a moderator, too! I'm beginning to see a pattern Cool Anyway, just keep going. And remember not to let reason confuse your opinions in the future, too. Otherwise, life could become complicated...


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Yes! Another one! You seem

Yes! Another one! You seem to be able to find them everywhere you go. It couldn't possibly have anything to do with your own lack of self-awareness.

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Athene wrote:Wow, how

Athene wrote:

Wow, how surprising! Another atheist who is completely inferior in regards to arguments but lacks the understanding, the will or the manners to admit it, instead seeking refuge in uninspired ad hominems. And even more surprising, he is a moderator, too! I'm beginning to see a pattern Cool Anyway, just keep going. And remember not to let reason confuse your opinions in the future, too. Otherwise, life could become complicated...

Athene, your post wasn't even on topic, what did you expect?  You interject random atheist bashing without answering questions or contributing and then you rant about how stupid everyone is.  Is your only goal to flame?  I hope for your sake you don't act like this outside of Internet forums because that is a sad life to live.  Is it really that hard to stay on topic and engage constructively?

To top it off, your response doesn't even make sense.  By your reasoning peace activists can't exist because they are against war and only want a state of non-war, or they don't believe violence is justified, even though they might not agree what that non-war world should look like.  Obviously, activist atheists think the world would be better off without some or all religious ideas, even if they don't all agree on specifics or outcomes.  They want to take religion out of some things and replace it with non-belief.  In our largely theistic world, non-belief *is* a positive thing.

-----------------------------------------------

OP: Well, political violence gets results sometimes, but I don't see how atheists in western countries could justify it, or what positive action could come of it...time, education and wealth seem to be the enemy of religious zeal.  In non-western countries where open atheism is a death sentence I don't think there is enough cohesion or numbers to sustain a violent compaign that might force their societies to let them enter the social and political process.

Everything makes more sense now that I've stopped believing.


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I can see the value of

I can see the value of social disruption though, to prove a point when things are egregious.  I'd probably agree with that in limited cases if there was a specific goal that might be influenced positively by such an action...sit ins, hunger strikes, unauthorized marches, social media disruption and propaganda, etc...

 

But I'd need to see data about effectiveness before I actually staged a disruptive protest for something.

Everything makes more sense now that I've stopped believing.


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 I don't see what the

 I don't see what the hubbub in regards to Athenes first post was about.  It wasn't on topic but it did seem to be something I've heard from many a great freethinker.  A few years back Sam Harris gave his speech about atheists being "pro-science" instead of "absent god" when putting the atheist image forward.  My own father tells me I should make RRS about what we believe in, not what we think is irrational.  I disagree obviously... but the point is I didn't think Athene warranted such vitriol in response.

I just thought Athene should know, lest he/she jump to an irrational conclusion about mods and their opposition to him/her.

 

For the record: I don't condone violence or threats of violence either.

 

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Athene wrote:natural

Athene wrote:

natural wrote:
I’m thinking along the lines of when Ellen DeGenres (sp?) came out as gay on her popular TV show. She didn’t have to make a big deal out if it — she just portrayed it as normal and ‘no big deal’.

Ellen DeGeneres doesn't define herself as "Non-Heterosexual" or even "Anti-Heterosexual". If she did, people would ask what that stands for besides implying rejection or hatred. And they would be right in asking. Therefor, whenever atheists compare themselves to gay rights activists, suffrogists, environmentalists etc, they should remember that these people don't just fight *against* something, but primarily *for* something. In other words, they don't define themselves through opposition alone, but they say "Yes" to something. What do atheists say "Yes" to?

I appears illogical to me to debate the methods before one has agreed on a common goal.

 

From my point of view, atheists are for a society with freedom from religion. Currently God is pushed in our faces everywhere we go. On the money, in patriotic songs, in the pledge, on government property, and even on the walls of the US Supreme Court. People are free to believe in whatever they want but not with government sanction. This has been getting better but it still has a long way to go. If you could imagine US currency with "In Horoscopes we Trust" or in the pledge, "One nation under Horoscopes" is an analogy how God comes across to me in these.

 

To the OP: Violence is never the answer, but non-violent resistance usually will get noticed. One should however be ready for the backlash where the majority uses violence against non-violent protests, it will happen. The recent election where Rand Paul supporters knocked down and stepped on an opponent is one example. 

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"God is omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent, - it says so right here on the label. If you have a mind capable of believing all three of these divine attributes simultaneously, I have a wonderful bargain for you. No checks please. Cash and in small bills." - Robert A Heinlein.


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Sapient wrote: I don't see

Sapient wrote:

 I don't see what the hubbub in regards to Athenes first post was about.  It wasn't on topic but it did seem to be something I've heard from many a great freethinker.  A few years back Sam Harris gave his speech about atheists being "pro-science" instead of "absent god" when putting the atheist image forward.  My own father tells me I should make RRS about what we believe in, not what we think is irrational.  I disagree obviously... but the point is I didn't think Athene warranted such vitriol in response.

I just thought Athene should know, lest he/she jump to an irrational conclusion about mods and their opposition to him/her.

 

For the record: I don't condone violence or threats of violence either.

 

You're right, apologies, again.

Everything makes more sense now that I've stopped believing.


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Upon review of all Athenes

Upon review of all Athenes posts and deliberation with council it has been determined that Athene warrants a troll badge.  We are working under the assumption that Athene has joined with the intent on trying to get himself/herself banned... or some other nefarious intent yet to be determined.  

 

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No, definitely not I *do*

No, definitely not Eye-wink I *do* know perfectly well that and why I'm attracting irrational atheists like hell *fg* They can't stand being intellectually inferior, but they can't stay quiet either. Therefor, in lack of arguments as well as self-effacement, their only way of acting is flaming. Nothing really miraculous about that.

The few rational atheists that exist (even on this website) are necessarily above trolling in the forum, and my rare encounters with them are - luckily - of no interest to the flamers who are just looking for a fight. The former ones have written some interesting articles which brought me to this site in the first place, but the majority of the people who are engaging in a discussion with me rather show the behavior of an irrational sect. The same delusion, the same ignorance towards arguments, the same desperate clinging to ingroup-outgroup-classifications...and likewise, they hate intruders who disturb the harmony of conformity and the illusion of enlightment. That happens when these intruders have better arguments and the serenity of rational superiority

Anyone who has debated cult-members before is familiar with this primitive mindset and reaction pattern. There a few things less demanding than predicting the behavior of such people. But you don't have to care about that, because you are shielded by ignorance and faith. Only those who decide to follow rationality and empiricism first have to consider changing their positions in the face of arguments and questions. All others can defend their social identity with all means, especially the logically invalid ones. Now isn't that comfortable?

 

tl;dr - You argue rationally or you lose. Butthurt insults are no sound substitute. And before your brethren show up: Outnumbering me isn't either.

 

PS: Oops, took to long to reply. Anyway, response was just what I expected. Wait, actually it surpassed my expectations:

Sapient wrote:
Upon review of all Athenes posts and deliberation with council it has been determined that Athene warrants a troll badge.  We are working under the assumption that Athene has joined with the intent on trying to get himself/herself banned... or some other nefarious intent yet to be determined.

So having better arguments, questioning unsubstantiated claims, successfully exposing fallacies or even defending against furious vilifications from the orthodox means to the atheists in charge here asking for punishment. In short: You are accusing me of blasphemy. By rational thinking and speaking, to be precise, even if you'd never say so (of course I simply must be evil and trouble-seeking for talking back, nothing more). That's an interesting aspect regarding the "Atheism is a religion!"-accusation, but that's a different topic. I'll keep it in mind, though - thanks for this comment. It's quite revealing.


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pauljohntheskeptic

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:
From my point of view, atheists are for a society with freedom from religion.

What about those who want to prohibit all religions and maybe even replace them with a totalitarian political ideology? They are atheists as well. How would that comply with a freedom *of* religion? Current nuisances couldn't be a justification for that, could they?

Violence surely wouldn't be a problem for such ideologies, though...


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Athene

Athene wrote:

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:
From my point of view, atheists are for a society with freedom from religion.

What about those who want to prohibit all religions and replace them with a totalitarian political ideology? They are atheists as well. How would that comply with a freedom of religion?

Violence surely wouldn't be a problem for such ideologies, though...

 

I clearly said what my point of view was and it isn't the imposition of anyone's beliefs on another. 

As long as your beliefs don't involve me, harm me, cost me, infringe on me I don't care what fairy tales you wish to consider reality. 

But if they are imposed on others without choice then problems will occur.

I'd consider it wrong to force anyone to acccept another's belief or ideology. Whether it's Christians doing so, Muslims or a totalitarian ideology.

Clear now?

 

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"God is omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent, - it says so right here on the label. If you have a mind capable of believing all three of these divine attributes simultaneously, I have a wonderful bargain for you. No checks please. Cash and in small bills." - Robert A Heinlein.


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Athene wrote:So having

Athene wrote:

So having better arguments, questioning unsubstantiated claims, successfully exposing fallacies or even defending against furious vilifications from the orthodox means to the atheists in charge here asking for punishment. In short: You are accusing me of blasphemy. By rational thinking and speaking, to be precise, even if you'd never say so (of course I simply must be evil and trouble-seeking for talking back, nothing more). That's an interesting aspect regarding the "Atheism is a religion!"-accusation, but that's a different topic. I'll keep it in mind, though - thanks for this comment. It's quite revealing.

Nice strawman argument, troll.

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So you say of yourself "As

So you say of yourself "As long as your beliefs don't involve me, harm me, cost me, infringe on me I don't care what fairy tales you wish to consider reality." I can work with that.

But you didn't limit your statement to that; you said what your point of view is on *what atheists are for.* Now I'm asking you to specify and test your statement in regard to various groups of people, especially certain groups of extreme atheists. Like atheists who want to prohibit all religions. Notice that this wouldn't even contradict your view that "atheists are for a society with freedom from religion".


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Athene wrote:So you say of

Athene wrote:

So you say of yourself "As long as your beliefs don't involve me, harm me, cost me, infringe on me I don't care what fairy tales you wish to consider reality." I can work with that.

But you didn't limit your statement to that; you said what your point of view is on *what atheists are for.* Now I'm asking you to specify and test your statement in regard to various groups of people, especially certain groups of extreme atheists. Like atheists who want to prohibit all religions. Notice that this wouldn't even contradict your view that "atheists are for a society with freedom from religion".

 

You might as well ask what are all black people for.  Atheists are people who are without a belief in a god and past that there isn't a single common thread shared by every single atheist on the planet.  That is why you have a tough time getting a good answer to this one.  If you want to see what it looks like when atheists band together and agree on what they are for look into humanism. http://www.americanhumanist.org/who_we_are/about_humanism/Humanist_Manifesto_III

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(No subject)

“A meritocratic society is one in which inequalities of wealth and social position solely reflect the unequal distribution of merit or skills amongst human beings, or are based upon factors beyond human control, for example luck or chance. Such a society is socially just because individuals are judged not by their gender, the colour of their skin or their religion, but according to their talents and willingness to work, or on what Martin Luther King called 'the content of their character'. By extension, social equality is unjust because it treats unequal individuals equally.” "Political Ideologies" by Andrew Heywood (2003)


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Athene wrote:So you say of

Athene wrote:

So you say of yourself "As long as your beliefs don't involve me, harm me, cost me, infringe on me I don't care what fairy tales you wish to consider reality." I can work with that.

But you didn't limit your statement to that; you said what your point of view is on *what atheists are for.* Now I'm asking you to specify and test your statement in regard to various groups of people, especially certain groups of extreme atheists. Like atheists who want to prohibit all religions. Notice that this wouldn't even contradict your view that "atheists are for a society with freedom from religion".

Obviously it still not clear for you.

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:
I'd consider it wrong to force anyone to acccept another's belief or ideology. Whether it's Christians doing so, Muslims or a totalitarian ideology.

 

Do you get it now?

It's wrong from my POV to force another to believe anything.

 

Got it?

Or would you like it in Spanish or Southern?

____________________________________________________________
"I guess it's time to ask if you live under high voltage power transmission lines which have been shown to cause stimulation of the fantasy centers of the brain due to electromagnetic waves?" - Me

"God is omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent, - it says so right here on the label. If you have a mind capable of believing all three of these divine attributes simultaneously, I have a wonderful bargain for you. No checks please. Cash and in small bills." - Robert A Heinlein.


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Sapient wrote:Athene

Sapient wrote:

Athene wrote:

So having better arguments, questioning unsubstantiated claims, successfully exposing fallacies or even defending against furious vilifications from the orthodox means to the atheists in charge here asking for punishment. In short: You are accusing me of blasphemy. By rational thinking and speaking, to be precise, even if you'd never say so (of course I simply must be evil and trouble-seeking for talking back, nothing more). That's an interesting aspect regarding the "Atheism is a religion!"-accusation, but that's a different topic. I'll keep it in mind, though - thanks for this comment. It's quite revealing.

Nice strawman argument, troll.

Just the inconvenient truth, flamer. Show me a thread where no irrational atheist loses all self-control towards me, but instead addresses my arguments in a calm and rational manner. So far, there is only one such thread, and only because none of the usual suspects engaged me there. Hell, even now you are just trolling instead of either focussing on arguments (let alone in a non-insulting way) or being silent. As a moderator you may act as you want and post as much
ad hominem OT stuff as you like. And obviously there are no standards that prevent you from doing so...I have never encountered a forum where the moderators themselves practice such double standards. Do you waste a thought on how this looks like to people who aren't biased by counting themselves to your social group?

 

Anyway, now I'd like to have a debate on contents, so would you kindly stop your OT attacks? Or does such a plea qualify as "asking for getting banned", too?


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We need an uber-troll badge.

We need an uber-troll badge.

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Okay, just for the record:

Okay, just for the record: Because just about two people on this website were even able to reply to my arguments without insulting me so far, by the power of the atheist logic and moral standards of the Rational Response Squad *I* just got the Troll badge  'Nuff said. Goodnight.


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 OK, I am going to ignore

 

OK, I am going to ignore the troll and assume that the thread is going normally. It will get no response from me.

 

That much having been said...

 

Sapient wrote:
For the record: I don't condone violence or threats of violence either.


That would certainly be the best way to make progress. Certainly, in the best of all possible worlds, one need get no more radical than Mohandas Ghandi. Would that we actually live in such a world.

 

OK, the best way that I can see to move our world in that direction is to continue with the whole non-violence thing and hope that others learn the power to be had from doing things that way.

 

The only thing is that I am not willing to rule out the idea of violence if it should ever again come to such a point where that is the tools that we need. Remember that our freedoms were hard won from our war of independence.

 

Granted, most of the countries that have similar freedoms today were able to get there without bloodshed (except for France but that was actually a forward ripple from the damage to their economy for having financed our revolution (long story, just run with it)). However, we fought and died for them and we had them before anyone else even though that they were a good idea.

 

As far as threats of violence, those I explicitly do not condone.

 

That tactic is basically “Do as I wish or blood will run in the streets”. From what I see, that is kind of what the moslems are doing in Europe right now. Pretty much they are trying to affect social change based on the crap that a few of them have pulled in various places. As far as I see it, they are trying to hold civilized Europe hostage to a threat.

 

This is patently obscene.

 

I really hope that violence can be a thing of the past. However, I am not willing to say that it truly is that. If it transpires that matters come down to that again, I am not willing to play Ghandi while my friends and fellow athiests are dying for what wee know to be right.

 

No apologies.

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Sapient wrote:We need an

Sapient wrote:

We need an uber-troll badge.

 

What font do you use for badges?  I am a graphics guy and I can make anything you think up.  Not that badges are all that hard but even so...

NoMoreCrazyPeople wrote:
Never ever did I say enything about free, I said "free."

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Hi Natural

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I think basic human morality shows the way forward here. I've argued elsewhere on the boards that certain religions are immoral with their claims of genetic evil, divine punishment and encouragment of earthly punishment (islam and christianity take a bow), but ultimately the do unto others/hurt no others rule has to be brought into play. I'd argue we make religious judgments using the application of this rule anyway, label it under the influence of jesus or no.

I'm not sure the godly can expect gentle treatment when their self-written books are racist, sexist, homophobic, anti-human. Take that content out and have churches teach kids that disbelief is equal to belief in terms of moral integrity (I think it's of greater worth) and I would be happy not to think violent thoughts about religion. I have moments of wanting to destroy religion utterly and blot all memory of it from the face of the earth. But this emotion is wrong.

 

 

 

"Experiments are the only means of knowledge at our disposal. The rest is poetry, imagination." Max Planck


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Answers in Gene Simmons

Answers in Gene Simmons wrote:

Sapient wrote:

We need an uber-troll badge.

 

What font do you use for badges?  I am a graphics guy and I can make anything you think up.  Not that badges are all that hard but even so...

I don't remember.  Photoshop is installed on a pc that is currently in need of repair. 

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@natural: you're not trying

@natural:

you're not trying to pin me down on anything at all, since I've told you exactly four times what my position is (five, if you include the OP itself). Your unwillingness to accept my answer is tiresome.

 

@athena:

did you even read the thread on my blog? because then you wouldn't need to talk about some generic atheism (and do tell, just where exactly would one find an atheist who wants to outlaw religion altogether? Because I've never met one), and know that I'm talking specifically about what's called "New Atheism" or "Gnu Atheism", which indeed has the stated goal to promote a secular society, i.e. freedom from religion and the end to religion being put on a pedestal and being exempt from all the rules that all other groups have to obey.


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Atheistextremist wrote:I'm

Atheistextremist wrote:
I'm not sure the godly can expect gentle treatment when their self-written books are racist, sexist, homophobic, anti-human.

OK, this a a minor digression but I don't think that the opposite is automatically any better. Pretty much setting rules that others are bound by because of some special idea that certain ideas are automatically special and reserved as “must be followed” still misses the basic point.

Let people do as they want. If the ideas are bad, then general discussion will out them. Just don't say that some ideas are automatically correct.

NoMoreCrazyPeople wrote:
Never ever did I say enything about free, I said "free."

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Sapient wrote:We need an

Sapient wrote:

We need an uber-troll badge.

Yes, and you will immediately give it to moi

“A meritocratic society is one in which inequalities of wealth and social position solely reflect the unequal distribution of merit or skills amongst human beings, or are based upon factors beyond human control, for example luck or chance. Such a society is socially just because individuals are judged not by their gender, the colour of their skin or their religion, but according to their talents and willingness to work, or on what Martin Luther King called 'the content of their character'. By extension, social equality is unjust because it treats unequal individuals equally.” "Political Ideologies" by Andrew Heywood (2003)


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Well, the discussion with

Well, the discussion with Jadehawk continues, and I still see her as dodging the primary question I've been asking repeatedly: Would she condone threats of violence within the Gnu Atheist community.

I'd appreciate some critical feedback. Am I incorrect in my assessment of her statements? Have I missed anything she's said that should settle the issue clearly and unambiguously? Am I moving goal-posts?

I'd like to give her the benefit of the doubt, but I find myself suspicious of what appears to me to be side-stepping and red-herrings. If I'm over-reacting I'd appreciate a non-partisan view. Obviously, the commenters there are beginning to rise to her defense, though I still find their defenses lacking.

Please review the thread for context. As a sampler, Here's my second-to-latest comment:

Wonderist wrote:

So, then, to clarify:

“In atheist activism, we are the extreme fringe, and I don’t advocate us using violence. Threats of such would be inconsequential, since they wouldn’t be credible.”

Are you saying that if threats of violence were credible/effective/consequential in the Gnu Atheist movement, you would condone them?

” Only an idiot would draw a tactical distinction there. If the threat is not credible, nobody will pay attention.

yeah, I’ve pretty much already said that in comment #18″

Are you saying that if the threats were credible, and people would pay attention, then you would condone them?

“1)In some contexts, the oppressed have no other means of achieving their goal than with credible threats of violence coming from the extremes, to give the less-than-extremes a space to be heard and be taken seriously.

2)There are no credible threats of violence without someone actually committing small and limited acts of violence already. You can’t have one without the other.

3)atheists are not in the situation described in 1), so no (threat of) violence is necessary.”

Although step 3 says that threats are not ‘necessary’, it does not say that you would *not* condone such unnecessary threats if they did occur.

Given your persistent ambiguity, I’m left to conclude that: If unnecessary, credible, effective, consequential threats of violence were made within the Gnu Atheist community, you still may either condone them or not condone them, depending on how you feel at the time (since you’ve stated no other criteria for not condoning them).

Does this represent your view? Because if it does, then I maintain you still haven’t actually answered the question, because it still leaves the question unresolved. If it doesn’t, then I also maintain that you still haven’t answered the question, because that is the most benefit-of-the-doubt interpretation I can make of your statements, and it doesn’t answer the question, and no other statements are available from you to clarify your position.

It would be like asking a politician: “Sir, if congress proposed a new tax this year, would you vote for it?” And the guy says, “Such a tax proposal would be ineffective and unnecessary, lacking credibility and therefore inconsequential.” “But sir, would you vote for it or not?”

It would be intellectually dishonest for the politician to reply, “It’s not my fault if you can’t figure out my position from what I’ve said. I’ve answered your question completely thoroughly. You’re an idiot for asking me again.”

The politician in this scenario has *not* answered the question in good faith, and appears to be dodging giving a concrete answer, perhaps to give himself room to vote in favour of such an unnecessary tax, should congress defy his expectations and actually propose one. Of course, the politician doesn’t want to admit this hedging of bets, so he gives a word-salad response without actually committing to a real answer.

Now, I’m not saying you are that politician. I’m just saying that you’ve given me no clear reason to believe you definitely aren’t. Your answers are too ambiguous and slippery to know for sure where you stand. It would be soooo easy for you to rectify that ambiguity by simply answering my question. But you persistently dodge it. So what am I to think?

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