Atheism United Vision Sounding Board

Sapient
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Atheism United Vision Sounding Board

I really want to hear your views on the vision that Atheism United is working with.  I want to read everything.  Anyone can comment on this thread, if you are an anonymous user your post will get added by the moderation team of RRS.  Tell me what other vision statements you think 80% of atheists would agree with.  

http://www.atheismunited.com/wiki/Our_Vision

 

Vision Statement

To stoke the flame that is reason as society leaves religion in our past.

 

Market Atheism

To educate the people of the world on atheism

To show the good atheists do for the sake of doing good.

To establish tolerance in our nations for atheism and atheists.

To serve as a lighthouse to those atheists who are alone or who remain hidden for fear of persecution.


Improve the world

To unite in doing good together.

To protect the rights of atheists and anyone who is being oppressed

To make changes in government policy and goals

To help all societies move toward global secularization

To champion goals that serve the people such as making healthcare and a full education affordable or free for all.

To elect critical thinkers and people of reason to positions of service in our nations.

To champion the ideas of truth, knowledge and freedom.

To fight to protect our environment as we strive to make this planet better for future generations.


Protect and promote secular government

To repeal laws which impose religious ideals

To return America to its Constitutional roots, without a government supported religious belief.

To end the special privileges and exemptions that governments afford to religious institutions, including exemption from taxation.

To give atheists a world in which they don't give their tax dollars to religious leaders.

To protect all people from the dangers of religion including arguing against all war that is predicated at least partially on religious conflict.

To protect all people from religious intrusion.


Check out the watered down version of our vision_.5, we're considering more mass appeal by removing scary parts.


Modifications

November 16th, 2011

As stated our vision is open to revision, I have removed the following vision points on November 16th:

  • To assist the National Atheist Party by allowing ourselves to be counted and show that atheists are a voting block. Removed because reference to NAP alienated International members. Secondary reason: minor disagreement among atheists at to it should be supported.
  • To elect an openly atheist President, as an important symbolic milestone of a shift in the perceptions and biases of the populace. Removed for now, but this will be voted on in a poll in 2012. This is coming across as redundant to some people and misleading to some people. The reference to electing "critical thinkers and people of reason to positions of service in our nations" is much more universal and will be agreed upon by a larger group of atheists.
  • To expose the truth about all religious establishments. Removed because it's redundant with "combat religious propaganda and brainwashing" and seems confrontational.

Brian (talk)

 

Dissent to our position on healthcare from a Libertarian friend of the site is located here. About 85% of atheists agreed with "free" health care when polled.

- Brian Sapient


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Beyond Saving
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Lance A. Sievert wrote:To

Lance A. Sievert wrote:

To champion goals that serve the people such as making healthcare and a full education affordable or free for all.

I don't see what this has to do with atheism. It might be popular among the substantial portion of atheists who are left wing, but alienates a fairly substantial portion of libertarian and anarchist atheists. I don't know if we account for 20% of the total atheist population or not. But delving into non-religious political issues when the main goal is to promote atheism strikes me as counterproductive. 

 

Lance A. Sievert wrote:

To fight to protect our environment as we strive to make this planet better for future generations.

Again, while this might be a worthy goal, but why not say "to fight childhood obesity" or "to fight to build better bridges" or any of a million political issues? What does it have to do with promoting atheism? Nothing. I don't see a reason to get bogged down in political issues that are irrelevant to the primary goal because every time you get involved in one, the primary goal of supporting/promoting atheism will be lost in the resulting political argument. Especially when your talking issues like environmentalism and healthcare which are currently a political hot buttons.  

I just usually go with my own taste. If I like something, and it happens to be against the law, well, then I might have a problem.- Hunter S. Thompson


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Beyond Saving wrote:Lance A.

Beyond Saving wrote:

Lance A. Sievert wrote:

To champion goals that serve the people such as making healthcare and a full education affordable or free for all.

I don't see what this has to do with atheism. It might be popular among the substantial portion of atheists who are left wing, but alienates a fairly substantial portion of libertarian and anarchist atheists. I don't know if we account for 20% of the total atheist population or not. But delving into non-religious political issues when the main goal is to promote atheism strikes me as counterproductive.

The largest group on facebook was the scene of our first poll on this issue.  It asked about free healthcare, not affordable.  It received about 87% approval for free healthcare.  I wasn't satisfied with that so I added the word "affordable" because who could ever argue that, right?  Eye-wink

- Brian Sapient


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 Let me ask a separate

 Let me ask a separate question to add to the conversation, sort of to add to what Beyond Saving wrote...

This was proposed in a brainstorm session...

What do you think of the idea of RRS adopting this vision statement, and expanding on it to make it more activist oriented?  Then removing the vision statement idea from atheismunited and focusing solely on trying to serve as a representative site for all of atheism, without such a specific vision.  The revised motto of AU could be something about how we are hoping to educate the world while uniting atheists.  

Removing the vision would remove issues of contention and allow the site to focus on:

- Unity, the list of links and the new wiki site.

- The upcoming AU "project" (which would benefit from universal site support)

- Our bloggers.

 

Thoughts?  

- Brian Sapient


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Beyond Saving wrote:Again,

Beyond Saving wrote:

Again, while this might be a worthy goal, but why not say "to fight childhood obesity" or "to fight to build better bridges" or any of a million political issues? What does it have to do with promoting atheism? Nothing. I don't see a reason to get bogged down in political issues that are irrelevant to the primary goal because every time you get involved in one, the primary goal of supporting/promoting atheism will be lost in the resulting political argument. Especially when your talking issues like environmentalism and healthcare which are currently a political hot buttons.  

Why not go all the way and promote the goal of making everyone a filthy rich billionaire that lives a life of luxury and never has to work. I mean who could be against that?

Get with it BS, you're in the minority. Free healthcare and free education to study whatever you please, it's like asking 7 year olds if they want free ice cream.

Personally, I'd like to see the development of ecstasy machines be made part of the 'atheist agenda'.

http://www.forbes.com/asap/2001/1203/070_print.html

The pursuit of a constant state of ecstasy. Who could be against it?

 

“Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful.” Seneca


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Like BeyondSaving, my issue

Like BeyondSaving, my issue is that most of these have nothing to do with atheism. It's not that I don't want to attain the goals, rather that they don't have anything to do with atheism. Even the "Poll" on facebook doesn't mean anything. 100% of atheists eat soup with a spoon, that doesn't mean that eating soup with a spoon is an atheist issue.

 

Of course it also matters what AtheismUnited is united for? Atheism? Politics? Soup parties? Atheism, politics AND soup?

 

I suppose those visions are fine if you're also united for politics.

 

Having goals and visions is all fine and dandy, but what matters is the means used to achieve them.

 


 

 

 


 

 

 


Sapient
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 I had this interesting

 I had this interesting exchange with a humanist author when I asked her what she thought of the vision.  She did give me permission to quote these, below is some of what she had to say. I wanted to add it to the conversation...

 

FIRST EMAIL

First, I'm mostly concerned with promoting Humanism as a philosophy. I'm not an active part of the Atheist movement, though I do generally support it's agenda being an atheist myself. It's just that I happen to think the values of Humanism are more important than promoting atheism for the sake of atheism.

That being said - I like the vision a lot. I think as far as an agenda for an atheist group, it's actually something I could embrace. I think the focus of it is good. And yeah - if we could promote the idea that we want critical thinkers representing us and that's a good thing, much better than electing folks who hear voices in their head telling them to do things anyway.

I have no quarrels with the marketing atheism agenda and agree that needs to be done. I also have no problems with the protect and promote secular government agenda. And support all of those statements as well.

Which leaves the Improve the world section. There are only two statements I would take out - not because I don't agree with them, I do. But because they go beyond atheism into the realm of Humanism. And I'm of the opinion if you are going to be promoting Humanist values, which I would applaud, you should do it explicitly. One of the problems the organized atheist movement is having is that most atheists, like most Humans are humanistic and they are often surprised to find atheists who don't agree with their core values. But saying explicitly you are an atheist group that endorses Humanist values, that would take away the problem because, it would make it clear that atheists who don't also embrace Humanist values need to look elsewhere so that they don't take your group off message and off course because they don't agree with the Humanist stuff. And I say this as someone whose most critical audiences who hate what I say the most are the atheists groups. Christian groups love hearing about Humanism. Atheist groups, not so much.

Anyway- the two statements I would take out are: To champion goals that serve the people such as making healthcare and a full education affordable or free for all. and To fight to protect our environment as we strive to make this planet better for future generations.

Again - I agree with them but if you are mobilizing an atheist movement for political power, you may need to stick to things atheists can agree on and that are more focused on helping us create a secular government regardless of the policy. I know that even Humanists don't agree on the health care thing, though we all agree on the environment. End of the day, these two seemed off topic from the rest of the vision.

 

SECOND EMAIL

Yes, I agree with 100% of the list it is just that some of the list is Humanistic and not atheistic. And again, if it is pulling to the Humanist side of Atheism, why not be explicit in that. Generally, I don't have a problem with the word Atheist, I have a problem with Atheists who aren't also Humanists. But basically that means I have problems with people who aren't Humanistic in nature regardless of belief or lack of belief. This is why some Humanists, myself included, accuse some atheists of being as bad as evangelicals. It isn't the atheism, it is the lack of respect for the right to believe differently that offends.

On the other hand, I also understand the need for promotion of reason and skepticism and acceptance for lack of belief otherwise known as atheism. What I liked about your statement is that it isn't about the angry side of the atheist movement. It isn't about converting believers to atheism. It is about getting respect for atheism and encouraging politics towards a more rational reason based approach to governance. That I can get on board with and that is the atheist movement I have always wanted to see, but unfortunately, it always seems to get hijacked by the angry sorts who aren't interested in the Humanistic potential of the atheist movement because they simply aren't Humanistic. That is why I would advocate, if you intend for this to be a Humanistic approach to the promotion of atheism, that you say so explicitly and stick to that. Because there doesn't seem to be a place in the atheist movement for Humanistic atheists. Just being honest.

I think the other reason to be explicit is because there is an assumption when you blend a Humanistic mission with an atheist mission without making the it clear which is the atheistic and which is the humanistic, you end up confusing the terms and then people don't know what atheism is really about nor what Humanism is really about. Best to make that explicit imho.

 

 

If you want to learn more about humanism, see these pages:

Regarding a statement of Humanist principles - here is the Amsterdam Declaration - it's pretty thorough - http://iheu.org/adamdecl.htm

Humanism and it's aspirations is consider the current statement about what Humanists believe and value: http://www.americanhumanist.org/who_we_are/about_humanism/Humanist_Manifesto_III

- Brian Sapient


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I doubt you'll find many

I doubt you'll find many atheists who'll have a problem with the list of goals, but why not just get behind, or become a branch of Sam Harris' Project Reason?

http://www.project-reason.org/about/

 

 

Project Reason is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit foundation devoted to spreading scientific knowledge and secular values in society. Drawing on the talents of the most prominent and creative thinkers across a wide range of disciplines, Project Reason seeks to encourage critical thinking and wise public policy through a variety of interrelated projects. The foundation will convene conferences, produce films, sponsor scientific studies and opinion polls, publish original research, award grants to other charitable organizations, and offer material support to religious dissidents and public intellectuals — all with the purpose of eroding the influence of dogmatism, superstition, and bigotry in our world.

While the foundation is devoted to fostering critical thinking generally, we believe that religious ideas require a special focus. Both science and the arts are built upon cultures of vigorous self-criticism; religious discourse is not. As a result, religious dogmatism still reigns unchallenged in almost every society on earth—dividing humanity from itself, inflaming conflict, preventing wise public policy, and diverting scarce resources. One of the primary goals of Project Reason is to change this increasingly unhealthy status quo.

 

 

 

I keep asking myself " Are they just playin' stupid, or are they just plain stupid?..."

"To explain the unknown by the known is a logical procedure; to explain the known by the unknown is a form of theological lunacy" : David Brooks

" Only on the subject of God can smart people still imagine that they reap the fruits of human intelligence even as they plow them under." : Sam Harris


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Sapient wrote:  Let me ask

Sapient wrote:

 Let me ask a separate question to add to the conversation, sort of to add to what Beyond Saving wrote...

This was proposed in a brainstorm session...

What do you think of the idea of RRS adopting this vision statement, and expanding on it to make it more activist oriented?  Then removing the vision statement idea from atheismunited and focusing solely on trying to serve as a representative site for all of atheism, without such a specific vision.  The revised motto of AU could be something about how we are hoping to educate the world while uniting atheists.  

Removing the vision would remove issues of contention and allow the site to focus on:

- Unity, the list of links and the new wiki site.

- The upcoming AU "project" (which would benefit from universal site support)

- Our bloggers.

 

Thoughts?  

I think this proposal is looking at it as an either-or proposition when it does not have to be.

A tree has many leaves. Some leaves stem from the same twig, some from others. Some twigs stem from the same branch, some from others. Etc. Etc. But all the branches stem from the same trunk.

The solution is not to say, "We must either be a leaf or a trunk." The solution is to say, "Let's be the whole frigging tree!"

Here's what I wrote from the FB:


Unity through diversity. The key is not to specifically *avoid* being confrontational (dislike the word 'militant'; how can you be a militant non-violent activist? makes no sense to me), but simply to *allow* (but not require) being confrontational.

Some will be confrontational, some not. More power to *each* variety of atheist!

There is a danger in trying to appeal to the 'lowest common denominator', in that you can water yourself down and compromise to the point of ineffectiveness. We won't get anywhere that way.

Let's stand for what we stand for, whatever we find that out to be (we all seem to be more-or-less in agreement with the pro-education vision, which I think is a great thing we have in common). Those who want to unite and join our *specific* goals are of course welcome to unite. Those who have somewhat different goals are *also* welcome to unite. We will support them, if they will support us, in our collective *common* goals, whatever those might be. We don't all have to agree on everything. In fact, we never will. So let's accept it, and turn that into a *strength*.

Unity through diversity. That's what open source does, that's what science does, that's what democracies do, that's what evolution does. Let's do that too. It is a strength, not a weakness.

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Sapient wrote: I had this

Sapient wrote:

 I had this interesting exchange with a humanist author when I asked her what she thought of the vision.  She did give me permission to quote these, below is some of what she had to say. I wanted to add it to the conversation...

 

FIRST EMAIL

First, I'm mostly concerned with promoting Humanism as a philosophy. I'm not an active part of the Atheist movement, though I do generally support it's agenda being an atheist myself. It's just that I happen to think the values of Humanism are more important than promoting atheism for the sake of atheism.

That being said - I like the vision a lot. I think as far as an agenda for an atheist group, it's actually something I could embrace. I think the focus of it is good. And yeah - if we could promote the idea that we want critical thinkers representing us and that's a good thing, much better than electing folks who hear voices in their head telling them to do things anyway.

I have no quarrels with the marketing atheism agenda and agree that needs to be done. I also have no problems with the protect and promote secular government agenda. And support all of those statements as well.

Which leaves the Improve the world section. There are only two statements I would take out - not because I don't agree with them, I do. But because they go beyond atheism into the realm of Humanism. And I'm of the opinion if you are going to be promoting Humanist values, which I would applaud, you should do it explicitly.

But they are not just Humanist values. And that's exactly the issue.

I am not a Humanist. There are core values of Humanism I don't agree with, although I do agree with 95% of them. It's just that the 5% I disagree with are deal-breakers for me. I cannot join them on their 'twig' so to speak, though I happen to be sitting on the same 'branch' as they are.

And yet I would happily collaborate with Humanists toward free education and protecting the environment. What is to stop us from doing that?

Only one thing. This Humanist author says we can't. Because I'm an atheist who's not a Humanist, and this author is telling me, "I have a problem with Atheists who aren't also Humanists."

Well tough shit. I guess you've got a problem with me then. What kind of attitude is that?!

We're on the same branch, but ohhh no, not quite exactly on the same twig, so sorry, no collaboration with you. It's leaf or trunk, I say! Full on Humanist, or almost completely undefined atheist!

Sorry. That is just too simplistic. We can work together. IF you give up the idea of purity and perfection. Screw that. Let's focus on health and good enough! Let's allow for diversity, and STILL collaborate, even if we disagree on relatively-minor things.

In my opinion, Brian, the vision is really the only thing this new project has going for it. It is not perfect. And that's.... okay. It's good enough. It's actually pretty fucking good if you take the time to look at it, think about it, don't reflexively dismiss it, don't try to pigeon-hole it. This Humanist author even fucking agreed with basically the whole fucking thing. If she would stop for a second and think: "Wait a second! We agree on everything here. Does it really fucking matter if some of them don't want to call themselves Humanists? Fuck no, it doesn't! Holy FSM, we can actually fucking unite as atheists!"

If we let go of too many things in the vision, too early on, we will end up just being another atheist friendly website. That's not what I signed up for.

I signed up to change the fucking world, man. That's the vision. That's something we can unite for.

 

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FWIW

FWIW

 

 
both wrote:
To show the good atheists do for the sake of doing good.
What about the bad atheists? Smiling  The sentence has never flowed for me. I guess because I hear "do good for" goodness sake rather than "do for". That reads better.

To show atheists do good for goodness sake 

or even

To demonstrate atheists are caring and moral.

I am uncomfortable with "good atheists" versus just "atheists". Not sure why, but the it reminds me of the no true scotsman fallacy.

 

 

both wrote:
To repeal laws which impose religious ideals
To prevent and repeal laws….

 

 

 

both wrote:
To return America to its Constitutional roots, without a government supported religious belief.
To return America to its Constitutional roots, without government supported religious beliefs.  

 

Religion Kills !!!

Numbers 31:17-18 - Now kill all the boys. And kill every woman who has slept with a man, but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man.

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ex-minister wrote:To

ex-minister wrote:

 

To demonstrate atheists are caring and moral.

I like that.
 

 

 

Quote:
Quote:
To repeal laws which impose religious ideals
To prevent and repeal laws….
 I like that too.

 

 

 

Quote:
Quote:
To return America to its Constitutional roots, without a government supported religious belief.
To return America to its Constitutional roots, without government supported religious beliefs.  

Doh!

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adding to the dialog....

In response to some of Beyond Saving's excellent questions, I would like to add this thought to explain why and how some of the points in the vision statement are atheist related.  A population that is well educated and healthy is a population this is going to be more accepting of atheists and atheism based upon that education and good health.  Ever notice that the checks paid to most colleges and universities have a religious name like St. Something or another as well as the hospitals, by promoting free education and healthcare we will improve the lives of atheist and all peoples while simultaneously undermining the monopoly that religion seems to have on both education and health care.  This is why I feel that these goals need to be part of our vision statement.  

The line that reads Doing good.... is about combating the current stigma attached to the word atheism or atheist, by demonstrating that atheists can and are a force for good as many religions and theologies claim we will be working to show that the negative prejudices associated with atheists and atheism are false as well as to improve the image the public has on atheists and atheism.  We as atheists can change this image and replace it with are more accurate image, that atheists are just normal people who have do have morals and who can and will work as a force of good if given the opportunity.  Overcoming this stigma is one of the major hurdles we as atheist continue to  face. ( Beyond Saving?)

I like the ideas for rewording for clarity that ex-minister suggested...  let's keep that dialog going...

Thank you all so much for your input...

  Your thoughts? 
 


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Lance A. Sievert wrote:In

Lance A. Sievert wrote:

In response to some of Beyond Saving's excellent questions, I would like to add this thought to explain why and how some of the points in the vision statement are atheist related.  A population that is well educated and healthy is a population this is going to be more accepting of atheists and atheism based upon that education and good health.  Ever notice that the checks paid to most colleges and universities have a religious name like St. Something or another as well as the hospitals, by promoting free education and healthcare we will improve the lives of atheist and all peoples while simultaneously undermining the monopoly that religion seems to have on both education and health care.  This is why I feel that these goals need to be part of our vision statement.  

The line that reads Doing good.... is about combating the current stigma attached to the word atheism or atheist, by demonstrating that atheists can and are a force for good as many religions and theologies claim we will be working to show that the negative prejudices associated with atheists and atheism are false as well as to improve the image the public has on atheists and atheism.  We as atheists can change this image and replace it with are more accurate image, that atheists are just normal people who have do have morals and who can and will work as a force of good if given the opportunity.  Overcoming this stigma is one of the major hurdles we as atheist continue to  face. ( Beyond Saving?)

I like the ideas for rewording for clarity that ex-minister suggested...  let's keep that dialog going...

Thank you all so much for your input...

  Your thoughts? 
 

 

Except nothing is free, it is simply a question of who pays for it and how. If your talking about using government as a tool to take money from people to pay for other people's education or healthcare- then imo churches hold a higher moral ground than you on that particular issue. I don't see a government monopoly on education or healthcare as something better than a churches monopoly. 

 

Now on the other hand, if the goal was to set up a fundraising network that could raise money for secular/atheist charities like maybe an "Atheist United Hospital", a private school, set up more secular food shelves and shelters- then you have something I would be more than happy to support wholeheartedly. Which would also go a long way towards promoting the "doing good" aspect. 

 

The way it is worded now it comes across that you are seeking the former. 

I just usually go with my own taste. If I like something, and it happens to be against the law, well, then I might have a problem.- Hunter S. Thompson


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 Why not accept the word

 Why not accept the word "affordable" there Beyond Saving?  

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Lance A. Sievert wrote: 

Lance A. Sievert wrote:

  Your thoughts? 
 

 

 

I think most of those goals are good, but what are your intended means to achieve them?

 

 

 

 

 


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Lance A. Sievert wrote:A

Lance A. Sievert wrote:

A population that is well educated and healthy is a population this is going to be more accepting of atheists and atheism based upon that education and good health. 

 

Everyone is agreed, the problem is how to get there. The way it's stated makes it seem like only higher taxes and wealth redistribution is the way to go. Science and reason(not political rhetoric) must be applied to the problem because the current methods of funding healthcare and education are massive failures.

 

Lance A. Sievert wrote:

Ever notice that the checks paid to most colleges and universities have a religious name like St. Something or another as well as the hospitals, by promoting free education and healthcare we will improve the lives of atheist and all peoples while simultaneously undermining the monopoly that religion seems to have on both education and health care.  This is why I feel that these goals need to be part of our vision statement.  

But this religious charity is largely voluntary, except for the tax deduction that we want to get rid of religious donations. So why not just emphasize voluntary giving instead of making it seem like 'charity' is mandated by the government.

Lance A. Sievert wrote:

The line that reads Doing good.... is about combating the current stigma attached to the word atheism or atheist, by demonstrating that atheists can and are a force for good as many religions and theologies claim we will be working to show that the negative prejudices associated with atheists and atheism are false as well as to improve the image the public has on atheists and atheism.   

Instead of saying 'good' why not say 'socially beneficial acts'. We don't believe in a bible or god to decide what is good and evil. We can only judge something by it's social benefit or harm. We judge things only by their impact in the material world.

 

“Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful.” Seneca


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I'm fully on board with

I'm fully on board with uniting atheists, but I think the major issue here is that there's already a lot of conflict and lingering problems with the overall structure of this project.  We have people that believe the outlying factors of the project have nothing to do with free-thought, their interpretations of what "good" and "rational" are and achieving the goals laid forth by the project leaders.  This is where we have to walk a fine line with everyone because, sure, we're all non-believers, but a cohesive base for all atheists seems to be putting up more red flags than ever before.  Maybe it's just me and I'm just rambling, I don't know; I'm just confused by all this and want more clarity and for all the wrinkles to be "ironed out" so to speak.

"When the majority believes in what is false, the truth becomes a quest." - Me


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Marketting atheism is

Marketting atheism is perfectly fine, but I also feel we should show a drive to base ourselves on a strong scientific footing. There are plenty of atheists who believe in some terribly daft things. I don't think we should be above that criticism of their behaviour. There are plenty of anti-science and luddite stances out there without religion. A great example is Camille Marino who shot to infamy last year when she encouraged people to attack biologists due to animal experimentation. I also recently corrected people who believed in conspiracy theories on the facebook page. Atheism and Skepticism and Science go hand in hand.

You can wail on religion all day, it's certainly very easy. But is it readable? Do you think people will come in day in and day out to read me whinging about Hindu Nationalists? And bullshit such as road hoarding using religious institutions? What we should do is point out that we have other passions above and beyond atheism. That we aren't all the same. That we come from different gamuts of life. We aren't JUST atheists and agnostics (I don't feel we should leave them out. It's a valid stance) but human beings. The actual atheism bit will stand up just fine without us flogging it outright. That we can smack religion down on one day and discuss our favourite pokemon on the next. Most of our blogs aren't solely about religion. I routinely take on anti-vaccination, alt. med, animal liberation and political silliness. I routinely do medical posts trying to explain topics to the public. That should be part of our idea. That we aren't just about religion, we are about superstition.

Oh and remove the whole "America to it's constitutional roots" malarky. Not all atheists are American and honestly America's Constitutional roots involve some pretty nasty stuff. The entire point is the constitution is a living document. And it's something that should be built on. It's not the bible (heh!), and placing an undue emphasis on "America" doesn't help.

Remember some of the more interesting atheists to come out of the woodwork were people like Maryam Namazie who aren't American. And I certainly am not either!


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I'm kind of with Beyond

I'm kind of with Beyond Saving on this... When establishing a mission statement, one must be wary of the perceptions of those who read it. We don't want to turn off people whose politics might otherwise dissuede them from reading further....Perhaps a larger umbrella whereby sociological interests can be inferred...like "Life, Liberty the persuit of happiness and a peaceful society"... beacuse it can be argued that without health, one cannot truly pursue hapiness...


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Lance A. Sievert wrote:To

Lance A. Sievert wrote:
To champion goals that serve the people such as making healthcare and a full education affordable or free for all.

I think there's simply too many libertarian atheists to make this kind of statement about healthcare and education viable.

Science and skepticism are points that we can add to this vision. I'm not sure about statements that are further removed from these and more political.

Quote:
To return America to its Constitutional roots, without a government supported religious belief.

Since we are uniting all atheists, I'm skeptical about the emphasis on America too. As we're already making it clear that we support complete separation of church and state, etc., the latter half is kind of redundant. 

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


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 It would make sense to

 It would make sense to remove reference to the Constitution for International appeal.

 

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Sapient wrote: Why not

Sapient wrote:

 Why not accept the word "affordable" there Beyond Saving?  

 

Because that would be like asking you to accept becoming "a little religious". My problem isn't with the specific amounts universal or subsidized healthcare would cost. It is a core philosophical disagreement. I believe it is harmful to society long term for us to accept that it is the governments role to take legally acquired property from one individual for the purposes of providing it to another.

 

The inevitable result is that politicians use their power to take and redistribute in order to further their own personal power. I think the governments power to tax and spend should be strictly limited to those functions that are absolutely necessary to maintain order within our borders. And everyone should be concerned when the government expands its powers and restricts an individuals liberty. Despite what many seem to believe, politicians are not benevolent. They are greedy, arrogant, self-absorbed, power hungry people. They don't give a shit about providing you healthcare, they simply want power.

 

The goal to provide affordable healthcare to everyone is a good one. What I vehemently disagree with is the method. Using government will not lead to a better healthcare system. Creating charities that use the power of peaceful persuasion is far superior to using government force. It might be more difficult and require more effort to persuade your fellow citizens instead of using the government to confiscate, but it can be done and our country would be a little bit better place to live.    

I just usually go with my own taste. If I like something, and it happens to be against the law, well, then I might have a problem.- Hunter S. Thompson


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The govt already collects

The govt already collects and distributes wealth. Currently in favour of the rich, but that's another topic.

It is the only proven way for society to function and advance. Instead of attempting the impossible, eliminating govt, focus on the achievable; decentralisation of power into an educated population. One person, or even a hundred, should not be able to dictate policy to millions in a democracy. On that we agree. But that doesn't mean the institution of govt is flawed in concept.

The flaws found today can largely be linked to the centralisation of power in a very few. It is exceptionally dangerous, and to be perfectly honest, I'm rather surprised it's done as well as it has for as long as it has.

Both the right to vote and the right to run for election should be earned through experience and scholastic success. If, for example, someone suggests that they don't believe in evolution, they should be disqualified from the process unless they can prove their assertion through science and peer review.

Proud Canadian, Enlightened Atheist, Gaming God.


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Healthcare

I completely and utterly disagree. The problem with charity is that it never is enough. You cannot run the best healthcare possible on a charitable basis and healthcare is best applied universally. It actually becomes cheaper (government still needs to run emergency services and ambulances unless you want a situation where rival ambulances simply refuse to cater to regions or provide inferior services) for the government to run a socialised medical system rather than a purely capitalist one. And the biggest charitable organisations on earth that provide healthcare include religion. Guess how easy it is to get an abortion in a catholic hospital? All you are doing is trying to save money by trading in quality for the assumption that if you ignore it, it will go away. Put it this way...

You couldn't afford the skills of a doctor. The 99% cannot. Doctors are insanely skilled workers who demand high salaries for a reason. High skill, high stress and high risk. All this would do is force hospitals to take on inferior staff. It's the equivalent of saving money by hiring a midwife rather than an obstetrician (the mortality rates for obstetricians is mindblowingly low. Most midwife themed hospitals operate under an obstetrician who responds to emergencies. Without one the midwife mortality rate skyrockets courtesy of difficult births)

I want you to name a charity that can separate 3700 dollars a year per person in the entire USA (it's the rough cost of universal healthcare if the USA adopts a French Model). It sound expensive... Until you realise that the USA currently spends 7500 dollars a year because people are poor and use ER services to treat conditions for free rather than forking out money for treatment early on. I mean can you name a single charity that people would be willing to donate 7500 dollars a year per person to?

With a charity, you run things at the bare minimum. I leave cancer patients to die in India... It's simply not worth saving them... Not when the money can go to saving thousands of kids from starvation. In charity, the money goes to those who can be saved the easiest. Your choice is one cancer patient or a thousand children get ORS... The math is simple. The choice is horrid. Healthcare should not be about such mathematics. Not when we have money.

The entire joke is that socialised medicine works so cheaply because of collective bargaining and prevention. A mammogram is around $40 a year but an early breast cancer detection can be treated for a couple of thousand dollars. Someone dying of breast cancer would utilise hundreds of thousands of dollars. Likewise a simple infection costs around a 150 dollars to treat (including physician time). Self treating and having it go wrong then showing up may require thousands of dollars. All this adds up to a fair amount of money that charity simply cannot match. You would SAVE Money. The best medical system in the world is French. Great life expectancy, great infant mortality. Indicates quality of technology and availability. And it's half the cost of yours.

It's a completely idiotic world view if we simply didn't challenge our own bad notions and it would be completely disenginuous if we didn't offer a platform for atheists, even libertarian ones. Libertarian atheists are just one of the platforms under which we see atheism and should have a voice. We shouldn't be an organisation that pulls punches from it's own crazy views though and honestly if push comes to shove we should allow both viewpoints on the site.

I know atheist anti-vacciners, should we tolerate anti-vaccination stances to keep them happy? I know Camille Marino, should we suggest a complete cessation of biology and medicine to keep her crazy happy? Walter Bond is a pro-life atheist, should we ban abortions to keep him happy? Likewise, if there are enough atheist libertarians, let them defend their view. But we shouldn't pull our punches just because we will hurt their feelings.

You see we don't have to produce a united front when it comes down to things. We aren't mormons, we don't vote in lock step. You can have an atheist libertarian viewpoint but you should be prepared to defend it just as I am willing to defend my atheist secular socialism/centrist economic and social viewpoint.

(edited - for clarity)


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Avicenna wrote:I completely

Avicenna wrote:

I completely and utterly disagree. The problem with charity is that it never is enough.

Same can be said for welfare. There is just too many poor, low wage families for either charity or welfare to handle.

Avicenna wrote:

You couldn't afford the skills of a doctor. The 99% cannot.

So with socialized medicine, the 1% richest just go overseas and the best doctors go with them. We're left with highly inferior service.

Avicenna wrote:

I want you to name a charity that can separate 3700 dollars a year per person in the entire USA (it's the rough cost of universal healthcare if the USA adopts a French Model).

Instead of all charity, why don't you start a non-profit co-op to provide healthcare however you please with whatever rules you want. Just leave me alone to die in the streets if I please. Some people would rather die than be a slave to what others think is best for them.


 

Avicenna wrote:

Healthcare should not be about such mathematics. Not when we have money.

Really, have you looked at the national debt clock lately? $15 trillion and counting and a large part of this due to the blank check we gave the medical industry with  Medicare/Medicaid. And I don't see where France and Europe is doing any better.

 

Avicenna wrote:

The entire joke is that socialised medicine works so cheaply because of collective bargaining and prevention. A mammogram is around $40 a year but an early breast cancer detection can be treated for a couple of thousand dollars. Someone dying of breast cancer would utilise hundreds of thousands of dollars. Likewise a simple infection costs around a 150 dollars to treat (including physician time). Self treating and having it go wrong then showing up may require thousands of dollars. All this adds up to a fair amount of money that charity simply cannot match. You would SAVE Money. The best medical system in the world is French. Great life expectancy, great infant mortality. Indicates quality of technology and availability. And it's half the cost of yours.

Insurance companies and co-ops have the same incentives and they do.

Isn't the real problem that too many people can't afford to buy their own insurance? That the education system has failed all these uninsured people(another wonderfully run government program). The real agenda with socialized medicine is wealth redistribution. The real problems are an education system that takes in tons of money and fails to produce people that can support themselves and buy their own insurance. That there is also a lack of family planning leading to too much competition for too few jobs and a lot of parents that can not provide healthcare for their children.

With any welfare system, you are rewarding failure and creating a moral hazard with worse consequences for the future. You reward the failed educators and people that fail to get job training. You reward people that fail to do responsible family planning. Isn't this true?

Socialized medicine is just a scam to get free benefits and never address the real causes of poverty.

 

“Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful.” Seneca


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Perhaps I'm Mistaken.... and

Perhaps I'm Mistaken.... and please correct me Brian if I am....

 

But this thread isn't about arguing the merits of socialized health care, it's about the AU mission statement, and whether or not socio/political issues should be included therein ...

 

But this is what we do.... allow ourselves to become distracted,,,, it's a casual effect of not being easily led sheep, like our theist counterparts... but potentially, this dynamic can be a severe detriment towards progress.

 

So I'll just say, that I've already thrown in my 2 cents.... so whatever *is* decided upon, I'm in.


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 Avicenna wrote:It's a

 

Avicenna wrote:

It's a completely idiotic world view if we simply didn't challenge our own bad notions and it would be completely disenginuous if we didn't offer a platform for atheists, even libertarian ones. Libertarian atheists are just one of the platforms under which we see atheism and should have a voice. We shouldn't be an organisation that pulls punches from it's own crazy views though and honestly if push comes to shove we should allow both viewpoints on the site. 

 

I know atheist anti-vacciners, should we tolerate anti-vaccination stances to keep them happy? I know Camille Marino, should we suggest a complete cessation of biology and medicine to keep her crazy happy? Walter Bond is a pro-life atheist, should we ban abortions to keep him happy? Likewise, if there are enough atheist libertarians, let them defend their view. But we shouldn't pull our punches just because we will hurt their feelings. 

 

You see we don't have to produce a united front when it comes down to things. We aren't mormons, we don't vote in lock step. You can have an atheist libertarian viewpoint but you should be prepared to defend it just as I am willing to defend my atheist secular socialism/centrist economic and social viewpoint.

 

I agree, and one of the reasons I support this site even though I know a majority of the people here, including Sapient, have radically different political views than me is that I have found most of the debates are honest. Several times my position has been pushed hard by people who are intelligent and that forces me to think about my own beliefs more. And while my regular debating opponents will probably never change their mind, I hope that my discussions here have proven interesting for the lurkers out there and maybe got a few of them to look at things from a different angle.

 

I just don't see a point to putting political positions in a vision statement when you are not trying to build a primarily political organization. The great thing about RRS is we have libertarians, anarchists, communists, marxists, conservatives, liberals, democrats and undecideds. While the mods and Sapient all have their own views, they have done an excellent job of providing a forum for free speech and debate even when participating in it themselves. Having a forum where we can have mostly honest intellectual debates holds great value to me. 

 

What I don't want to see is AU become an organization that focuses on political issues simply because they are popular. I don't expect to agree with everything the organization does, but I also see there is plenty of work to be done to address the injustices done to atheists in other countries and educating the general public in developed/developing countries about atheism. 

 

Anyway, I responded to the rest of your post in a new thread http://www.rationalresponders.com/forum/30621 if you are interested in debating healthcare systems.

 

I just usually go with my own taste. If I like something, and it happens to be against the law, well, then I might have a problem.- Hunter S. Thompson


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Sorry to say but after a

Sorry to say but after a really bad day with Lance I have decided to part ways with him on the atheismunited.com project.  I still have the exact same plans as before.  I will continue on atheismunited.com exactly as planned.  

I'm very upset about these developments, but I am used to it.  In the past when drama like this has happened to me, I have felt the need to spend a lot of time on it defending my actions.  I have always been told not to focus on that, just focus on the mission, and I will try my best to do that. 

 

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Sapient wrote:Sorry to say

Sapient wrote:

Sorry to say but after a really bad day with Lance I have decided to part ways with him on the atheismunited.com project.  I still have the exact same plans as before.  I will continue on atheismunited.com exactly as planned.  

I'm very upset about these developments, but I am used to it.  In the past when drama like this has happened to me, I have felt the need to spend a lot of time on it defending my actions.  I have always been told not to focus on that, just focus on the mission, and I will try my best to do that. 

 

 

No worries.... do what you gotta do, .... we're not going anywhere.


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 What Rich said.

 What Rich said.

Religion Kills !!!

Numbers 31:17-18 - Now kill all the boys. And kill every woman who has slept with a man, but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man.

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Sapient wrote:Sorry to say

Sapient wrote:

Sorry to say but after a really bad day with Lance I have decided to part ways with him on the atheismunited.com project.  I still have the exact same plans as before.  I will continue on atheismunited.com exactly as planned.  

I'm very upset about these developments, but I am used to it.  In the past when drama like this has happened to me, I have felt the need to spend a lot of time on it defending my actions.  I have always been told not to focus on that, just focus on the mission, and I will try my best to do that. 

 

 

 

......Kinda ironic don't you think?