Here I am!

Craigart14
Posts: 5
Joined: 2011-01-23
User is offlineOffline
Here I am!

I just stumbled onto this site the other day, though I have seen some Rational Response videos online.  My name is Craig, and I teach writing and literature at a small state college in Georgia.  I am continually astonished by the fact that most of my students believe in demons but do accept the theory of evolution.  Even more astonishing is that so many of my colleagues think like my students.  I was a very casual atheist until I came to the Bible belt, but for the past fifteen years I have been studying the Bible, along with various commentaries, Abrahamic religions and atheist writings.  Big fan of Dawkins, Hitchens, and Bart Ehrman.

I have made two posts so far, but I doubt I will post much because of time constraints and the simple-minded nonsense coming from theists.  Had the bad luck to encounter a post by Jean Chauvin first.  A Calvinist?  Really?  Martin Luther, the inventor of predestination, came up with the idea while sitting on the toilet, which is apparently where he had a lot of his ideas.  He also believed that he had fights with the actual, physical devil, whom he frightened away by throwing shit at him.  Some devil.

Anyway, I'm here.  I may borrow some of your arguments when students challenge me.  (It seems there's always one in every class who thinks he can disprove Darwin or prove Christianity in a three-page paper.)

Craig


butterbattle
ModeratorSuperfan
butterbattle's picture
Posts: 3729
Joined: 2008-09-12
User is offlineOffline
Welcome to the forum.

Welcome to the forum.

Our revels now are ended. These our actors, | As I foretold you, were all spirits, and | Are melted into air, into thin air; | And, like the baseless fabric of this vision, | The cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces, | The solemn temples, the great globe itself, - Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve, | And, like this insubstantial pageant faded, | Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff | As dreams are made on, and our little life | Is rounded with a sleep. - Shakespeare


Ktulu
atheist
Posts: 1830
Joined: 2010-12-21
User is offlineOffline
 me like writing beautiful

 me like writing beautiful sentences.  me big writer someday, you teach.  Smiling welcome to the forum.  Granted the majority of theists are 'simple-minded', I don't think they should all be dismissed so easily.  Perhaps I say that because at one point I held some sort of misguided agnostic... something or other, confused belief.  I've met a few theists on this forum that I would actually sit down and have a beer with.  Not many, actually the ratio is depressingly small, but point still stands that putting them all in the same broad category, may actually put you at a disadvantage when arguing with them.  

"Don't seek these laws to understand. Only the mad can comprehend..." -- George Cosbuc


harleysportster
atheist
harleysportster's picture
Posts: 3312
Joined: 2010-10-17
User is offlineOffline
Welcome to the forum

Welcome aboard.

We could always use another educated Atheist

A large majority of people on here are currently prisoners of the Bible Belt (like me for instance, hehe).

This is a great place with loads of information.

Since you mentioned being a teacher with students trying to debunk Darwin, I think you will get a big kick out of this thread :

(You may find it quite useful for the classroom). It addresses a total myth about Einstein once saying evil is a lack of something.

http://www.rationalresponders.com/debunking_an_urban_legend_evil_is_a_lack_of_something

 

“It is proof of a base and low mind for one to wish to think with the masses or majority, merely because the majority is the majority. Truth does not change because it is, or is not, believed by a majority of the people.”
― Giordano Bruno


Craigart14
Posts: 5
Joined: 2011-01-23
User is offlineOffline
Ktulu wrote: me like

Ktulu wrote:

 me like writing beautiful sentences.  me big writer someday, you teach.  Smiling welcome to the forum.  Granted the majority of theists are 'simple-minded', I don't think they should all be dismissed so easily.  Perhaps I say that because at one point I held some sort of misguided agnostic... something or other, confused belief.  I've met a few theists on this forum that I would actually sit down and have a beer with.  Not many, actually the ratio is depressingly small, but point still stands that putting them all in the same broad category, may actually put you at a disadvantage when arguing with them.  

Actually, I know quite a lot of nice and intelligent theists.  I didn't say that theists are simple minded, but that the nonsense they produce when defending religion is simple minded.  I don't suffer foolishness gladly, and even very bright people do and say foolish things now and then.  The usual expression would be that I don't suffer fools gladly, but that would attacking the arguer, not the argument.

Funny thing is that I really don't have a problem with religion.  Many people I know derive great comfort from their faith.  For example, I discovered recently that my dentist is a very devout Christian, and apparently all his employees are members of his church.  I've been going there for fifteen years, and I just found out they're all Christians.  They are nice, caring, and highly competent at their jobs, and they don't proselytize on the job.

The problem I have with religion is that it can be really judgmental and exclusionary, and large religious organizations are politically well organized and well connected, exerting far more power in America than their numbers should warrant.  And they would like to codify their belief system into law, which strikes me as un-American, or at least counter to our founding principles.

I did say that I had the bad luck to run into Jean Chauvin first.  His arguments are mostly gibberish, full of logical fallacies, casual insults, and condescending judgments of atheists.  He's a pretty good bad example.

So no, I don't dismiss the entire group.  Just the nonsensical, tired arguments--and the nonsensical fresh arguments.

Craig

Thanks for the welcome.


Craigart14
Posts: 5
Joined: 2011-01-23
User is offlineOffline
harleysportster

harleysportster wrote:

Welcome aboard.

We could always use another educated Atheist

A large majority of people on here are currently prisoners of the Bible Belt (like me for instance, hehe).

This is a great place with loads of information.

Since you mentioned being a teacher with students trying to debunk Darwin, I think you will get a big kick out of this thread :

(You may find it quite useful for the classroom). It addresses a total myth about Einstein once saying evil is a lack of something.

http://www.rationalresponders.com/debunking_an_urban_legend_evil_is_a_lack_of_something

 

Thanks for the welcome--and the link.  That article was hilarious.  I had a similar event the other day, when a student accused me of having faith in historians.  So I explained the fallacy of equivocation and gave a quick lesson on deductive reasoning and the importance of critical thinking.  He also asserted that people had a right to believe whatever they wanted, saying that if he put an apple on my desk, but I wanted to think it was an orange, it was my right.  So I had to explain what a falsifiable assertion is, and then false analogy.  He shut up then, and I said, "Can we get back to Henry V now?"

Craig


mellestad
Moderator
Posts: 2927
Joined: 2009-08-19
User is offlineOffline
Welcome! 

Welcome!

 

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


Tadgh
atheist
Tadgh's picture
Posts: 125
Joined: 2010-08-29
User is offlineOffline
Craigart14 wrote:Anyway, I'm

Craigart14 wrote:

Anyway, I'm here.  I may borrow some of your arguments when students challenge me.  (It seems there's always one in every class who thinks he can disprove Darwin or prove Christianity in a three-page paper.)

Craig

Aw... isn't that just the cutest little thing? They must write these papers because they know you're interested in the subject. Maybe they are hoping that you'll appreciate their attempts.

Or, maybe they think they'll save you.

In any case, welcome Craig.


BobSpence
High Level DonorRational VIP!ScientistWebsite Admin
BobSpence's picture
Posts: 5904
Joined: 2006-02-14
User is offlineOffline
Hey, welcome.I must admit I

Hey, welcome.

I must admit I get very annoyed at people who so seriously ignore or even attack basic principles of establishing what is the best  approximation to 'Truth', since I passionately desire to increase my knowledge and understanding or 'reality'.

So even when someone's crazy ideas don't directly impact me in any material sense, even when they are nice and polite, I can find it difficult to maintain my 'cool' when seeing or hearing someone making really illogical and willfully 'ignorant' assertions.

If there really is a lack of solid evidence for or against some idea, even when the alternative ideas seem pretty crazy, I don't have so much of a problem, but when they attack or dismiss really well-established principles or theories, like the Scientific Method, or Evolution, or Big Bang cosmology, I have a real problem.

EDIT:
I have always had a lower threshhold of 'losing my temper', as it was called when I grew up.

I seem to have fitted into what Wikipedia refers to in the statement that

"many common stereotypes exist regarding redheads and they are often portrayed as fiery-tempered".

even though as I got older my hair has lost a lot of the intensity of 'red' or ginger color. As I have gained much more ability to remain calm under provocation.

Your calmer disposition would seem to be far preferable in someone instructing students....

Favorite oxymorons: Gospel Truth, Rational Supernaturalist, Business Ethics, Christian Morality

"Theology is now little more than a branch of human ignorance. Indeed, it is ignorance with wings." - Sam Harris

The path to Truth lies via careful study of reality, not the dreams of our fallible minds - me

From the sublime to the ridiculous: Science -> Philosophy -> Theology


Brian37
atheistSuperfan
Brian37's picture
Posts: 13816
Joined: 2006-02-14
User is onlineOnline
I'll tell you what, I was

I'll tell you what, I was amazed pleasantly, when I went to Atlanta the first time, how diverse it actually was. But at the same time, you could literally see within blocks driving into the city on the outskirts, where the bible thumper line ended and the diversity began.

But that state for the most part is still stuck in the tribal right of the civil war south when you leave that metropolis.

I guess every state has it's oasis. Even Texas has Austin. Atlanta was a pleasant surprise.

In any case welcome.

"We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus -- and nonbelievers."Obama
Check out my poetry here on Rational Responders Like my poetry thread on Facebook under BrianJames Rational Poet also on twitter under Brianrrs37


Bufferkiller
Bufferkiller's picture
Posts: 11
Joined: 2011-02-05
User is offlineOffline
I don't think anyone can be

I don't think anyone can be a casual Atheist down here. It is extremely frustrating, but I don't think I'd know what I know (and what I'm going to know) without being challenged as much as I am living here.


Brian37
atheistSuperfan
Brian37's picture
Posts: 13816
Joined: 2006-02-14
User is onlineOnline
Bufferkiller wrote:I don't

Bufferkiller wrote:

I don't think anyone can be a casual Atheist down here. It is extremely frustrating, but I don't think I'd know what I know (and what I'm going to know) without being challenged as much as I am living here.

When I found myself in Lynchburg Va, not knowing that it was the city Jerry Falwell's family spent their lives bullying, I thought "oh shit, what have I gotten myself into". It turned out the more open I was, the more that I found that even the believers and some of his own students didn't like him mouthing off as much as he did. He managed to buy off the tv stations in the area, but pissed off one local newspaper who enjoyed being the billboard for people who wanted to be a thorn in his side.

You will always find intolerant people no matter where you live. But as big as that city is, you most certainly will find other atheists and even liberal secular believers who don't buy into the "christian nation" crap.

You live in a much bigger city and I am quite sure that you can even hang out with IG if and when he goes to atheist gatherings there.

You''ll do far better than the boondocks I live in. I found two local groups, but both meet in libraries and the ones I met are laymen atheists who seem to merely like the label because it doesn't conform to social norms. The last local meeting I went to ONLY ONE person there knew who Neil Degrees Tyson was. Two of them seemed like they were strung out on meth and one guy kept saying, "dude, I don't see why people are threatened by gang members, as long as you stay out of their business, they leave you alone".

I'd love to hang out with a group that hangs out at a bar and have more people along the lines of Bob Spence, Sapient and Hitchens and Dawkins. I found just a bunch of laymen who only hold the label atheist because they don't like how theists behave and have a far too politically correct "cant we all just get along" attitude.

There is a shitload of education that goes into being an atheist and I don't like the ones who act like weekend worshipers like theists,

 

"We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus -- and nonbelievers."Obama
Check out my poetry here on Rational Responders Like my poetry thread on Facebook under BrianJames Rational Poet also on twitter under Brianrrs37


Bufferkiller
Bufferkiller's picture
Posts: 11
Joined: 2011-02-05
User is offlineOffline
Brian37 wrote:Bufferkiller

Brian37 wrote:

Bufferkiller wrote:

I don't think anyone can be a casual Atheist down here. It is extremely frustrating, but I don't think I'd know what I know (and what I'm going to know) without being challenged as much as I am living here.

When I found myself in Lynchburg Va, not knowing that it was the city Jerry Falwell's family spent their lives bullying, I thought "oh shit, what have I gotten myself into". It turned out the more open I was, the more that I found that even the believers and some of his own students didn't like him mouthing off as much as he did. He managed to buy off the tv stations in the area, but pissed off one local newspaper who enjoyed being the billboard for people who wanted to be a thorn in his side.

You will always find intolerant people no matter where you live. But as big as that city is, you most certainly will find other atheists and even liberal secular believers who don't buy into the "christian nation" crap.

You live in a much bigger city and I am quite sure that you can even hang out with IG if and when he goes to atheist gatherings there.

You''ll do far better than the boondocks I live in. I found two local groups, but both meet in libraries and the ones I met are laymen atheists who seem to merely like the label because it doesn't conform to social norms. The last local meeting I went to ONLY ONE person there knew who Neil Degrees Tyson was. Two of them seemed like they were strung out on meth and one guy kept saying, "dude, I don't see why people are threatened by gang members, as long as you stay out of their business, they leave you alone".

I'd love to hang out with a group that hangs out at a bar and have more people along the lines of Bob Spence, Sapient and Hitchens and Dawkins. I found just a bunch of laymen who only hold the label atheist because they don't like how theists behave and have a far too politically correct "cant we all just get along" attitude.

There is a shitload of education that goes into being an atheist and I don't like the ones who act like weekend worshipers like theists,

 

 

I grew up in the sticks between Atlanta and Alabama (less than 20 miles from the state line), and now pretty much just stick to work and home. The little interaction I allow myself is with friends and family that are convinced everything is a phase.

 

I'm not exactly a laymen like the guys you described, but I have a lot of reading to do none-the-less. I've not conversed with other Atheists much outside of internet forums. When I do, it is rarely the focus of our discussions.

 

I am going to look into going to some of these gatherings when my son is older, and my wife is working more.