An Atheist Cult: Those Radicals From Freethought Blogs, Atheism Plus, Etc.

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An Atheist Cult: Those Radicals From Freethought Blogs, Atheism Plus, Etc.

A useful recap/refresher/lowdown, for those unfamiliar with recent nontroversies in the 'non-sectarian activist community' as Al Stefanelli calls it. Unfortunately, Al's video is accurate. Want something serious to rationally respond to? This is it:

 


 

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Seems like a great video. Of

Seems like a great video. Of course, having stayed away from the issue, I can't tell how accurate his take is, but it sounds like its dead on target.

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Wonderist wrote: Want

Wonderist wrote:

 Want something serious to rationally respond to? This is it:

 

 

Some guy likes one site and dislikes another. 

So what ? 


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Not sure what to make of it.

Not sure what to make of it. If there is no right way to "be an atheist" then why is he himself saying "should do it this way" which is what he said about editing and deleting. I think you CAN have editing, merely for typos, and deleting posts depends as well. It seems to be a bit of "all or nothing" itself.

I have been online for 11 years now and internal beefs will happen in any group of any label. I actually see this as important to view as a species so that more and more we can see ourselves as individuals not bound by labels.

It sounds to me he is doing a bit of "my way is the right way" himself. AND the other thing I hate myself that humans always do, that he did in this video is say "you make atheists look bad"(meaning those people he criticized in this video)

That is bullshit to me, it is bullshit when theists do it, and atheists are no different. Sharing a label does not mean we make each other look bad. If we are individuals which I think is a better way of looking at ANY HUMAN, then you judge the individual, not try to passively aggressively get them to conform to your ideas by saying "You make us look bad".

 

If I say or do something stupid, then I only make myself look bad.

 

 

 

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In hindsight, his lack of

In hindsight, his lack of explicit linkage makes the vid come off as mere assertions. He does reference the Slymepit in the video (has a link on his channel), and you can witness the beginnings of the current shitstorm in a teacup beginning around here: http://www.slymepit.com/phpbb/viewtopic.php?f=31&t=73&start=35700#p37644

If you fast-forward through that, you'll eventually get to the situation which is described pretty well here: http://i.imgur.com/vMwH2.jpg

But if you want a more coherent introduction to the piles and piles of pointless and harmful drama-mongering, you can read the comments on Facebook here: http://www.facebook.com/Evid3nc3/posts/235593226574530

Al Stefanelli's ranting was triggered by this somewhat related incident documented/described here: http://reapstruth.blogspot.ca/2012/12/greg-laden-acting-out-in-public.html

There's a shitload more, but I don't want to overwhelm you. These are the freshest links I can think of right now to get you up to speed.

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This is why I avoided the

This is why I avoided the atheist movement since I became atheists. It's also the reason I avoided religious groups when I was religious.

 

 

When people get together thinking they have all the answers, shit like this is pretty much inevitable.

 

 

 

 

 

 


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 I reposted the video on g+

 I reposted the video on g+ and facebook with this comment...

 

Al Stefanelli on some problems that festered in the atheism community in 2012. I think in 2013 we should all resolve to escalate our logic and reason. Atheists are not immune to imperfect lines of thought. As more people leave religion and our numbers swell we are more likely to have bad logicians in the lot. Let's escalate our thinking game this year. That's my resolution for 2013... in fact it's my resolution for life.

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Sapient wrote: I reposted

Sapient wrote:

 I reposted the video on g+ and facebook with this comment...

 

Al Stefanelli on some problems that festered in the atheism community in 2012. I think in 2013 we should all resolve to escalate our logic and reason. Atheists are not immune to imperfect lines of thought. As more people leave religion and our numbers swell we are more likely to have bad logicians in the lot. Let's escalate our thinking game this year. That's my resolution for 2013... in fact it's my resolution for life.

Interesting, your post is at 6:04 AM on 25th Dec but I'm EST and it's 5:16 AM here.

On another note: I just shrugged my shoulders on his views, but I agree some atheists make other atheists look bad because people tend to group one bad apple together with the rest. Unfortunately atheists do this with theists also.

 


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 Must be a DST issue, I

 Must be a DST issue, I posted it at 5:04 am.

 

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Appreciate your help,

Appreciate your help, Sapient, thanks!

Personally, I don't see it as an 'atheist' issue, so much as an 'activist' issue. I agree with Brian37 that other people's actions don't make me or any other atheists 'look bad'; we are all responsible for our own actions. However, as atheist activists who sometimes join in groups to get things done (even if that's just 'getting the message out'), we also need to be conscious of group dynamics, and I think that's where this issue comes into play.

It's not about the 'image' of atheism, IMO. Not at all. It's about the practical effects that these kinds of in-group/out-group social bullying tactics have on *people* like you and me. Why are so many folks afraid to even get involved in the discussions on these topics? For fear of getting dragged into these harmful vortexes of drama, reputation smearing, etc. etc. This is something that has *directly* affected everyone who's been a member of RRS for more than a couple years; the RRS was targeted by very similar tactics, just by a different set of individuals. (I also think it's fair to say that *some* members of the RRS at *some* points engaged in in-group/out-group dynamics as well, so I don't want to come off as being one-sided or reactionary/defensive about this stuff. If I had known better, and had been more secure in my personal views back then, I hope I would have spoken out against all forms of this drama, from both sides. Hindsight is 20/20 and all that.)

For me, it is solely about wanting to make positive change in this world. In order to do that, I need the support of like-minded people, but people who won't engage in this destructive bullshit. *Most* freethinkers/rationalist/atheists/skeptics/whatever/whatever don't want to get involved in this bullshit either. The problem is -- just like religion and irrationality in general -- it doesn't go away if you ignore it or avoid it. You have to get down and dirty in the midst of it. Just like with religion, you have to respond to the irrationality. Or it just continues to fester and grow. ElevatorGate happened. Most people were like WTF?!? Then a few months later, the same dynamics were still in play, and the problem festered, and we got the TAM sexism/harassment kerfuffle. Then another pointless controversy, and another. And on it goes. It seems like they are endless now.

If you're bored because the theists are basically dwindled down to the dregs, *this* is the next major task of skepticism: Skepticism of ourselves, our own 'movement' (for lack of a better word), our peers, our leaders even. *This* is the big challenge: Rooting out the irrationality in our own midst. Including in our own brains. (I call it self-skepticism.)

Theism is on the run. But dogma remains: Some forms of feminism, some forms of political ideologies, racism, sexism, etc. But ultimately, we need to be very fucking careful with this, because the obvious danger is that we become cult-like ourselves. I stuck with RRS for so long because I really felt it was the best place I could find that would scrutinize everyone equally (more or less; nobody's perfect). I posted this here because I still think that you guys are really good at tackling shit and debunking the hell out of it, and you won't let personal attacks get you all discombobulated. We *handle* trolls on a regular basis. You should *see* some of the stuff I've faced up against on FB (usually in private groups, though). The RRS still has its core mission, and I really think you guys are up to it. I imagine many of you feel somewhat burnt-out, like I did for a bit. You need a challenge to make life interesting. This is it. Seriously. Think about it. Who is the most challenging person to face, a dumbass theist, or someone like Cpt_Pineapple who knows all your tricks but still believes weird shit anyway Eye-wink ?

Sapient, you want a long-view project that will keep you motivated on Atheism United? This is fucking it, man. This is the ultimate irrationality to respond to, and it's the ultimate problem to solve if we want to have anything close to atheists working/talking together cordially, i.e. 'united', even if we happen to have differences of opinion on various topics.

Same with you, Cpt. You think there are problems in the skeptic community? Well, you're fucking right. Now go out and start tackling them. I'll be your ally in that project; I'm already working on it. It's actually kinda fun.

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Cpt_pineapple wrote:This is

Cpt_pineapple wrote:

This is why I avoided the atheist movement since I became atheists. It's also the reason I avoided religious groups when I was religious.When people get together thinking they have all the answers, shit like this is pretty much inevitable.

Forming groups as always inevitible because our species evolved to do that, it creates safety in numbers and therefore more oportunity to produce offspring. That is not going to change.

Now why shouldn't atheists have a movement? If we don't pool our thoughts and ideas then that allows the superstitious a monopoly on public discorse.

Having said that, NO GROUP deserves a monopoly on public discourse or debate. And seeing division in a group allows outsiders to see them as individuals instead of a collective. I think it isn a matter of getting rid of groups, but a priorty shift to get more humans to see other humans as individuals. Competing ideas is HOW you show that contrast so division to some extent is needed.

 

 

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Here is a quick and very

Here is a quick and very helpful way to get involved right now. People from Freethought Blogs are downvoting *every* dissenting comment, no matter how mild, on the video's comments page: http://www.youtube.com/all_comments?v=fTpHj3HvVC4

Not only can you help by upvoting comments (which is fast, takes almost no time), but you can *also* help by spreading the word far and wide, and invoking the Streisand effect to turn this attempt at censorship into a nice embarrassing back-fire on the social-media bullies.

[Edit: It appears Al has fixed the problem by disabling voting and spam flagging. Carry on. Eye-wink ]

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Brian37 wrote:Having said

Brian37 wrote:

Having said that, NO GROUP deserves a monopoly on public discourse or debate. And seeing division in a group allows outsiders to see them as individuals instead of a collective. I think it isn a matter of getting rid of groups, but a priorty shift to get more humans to see other humans as individuals. Competing ideas is HOW you show that contrast so division to some extent is needed.

I definitely agree with you Brian37. I would call it diversity, rather than division, though. It's like a tree that has a sturdy trunk that everyone can agree on (science, atheism, etc.), and then many different branches which spread out, and branch further, to gather all the light available. We can have diversity and unity at the same time. That's how evolution works, for example. But then there are destructive divisions like the ones going on, where people try to tear each other down, instead of building each other up, or at least leaving each other alone.

[Edit: Think of the original motto of the USA: E pluribus unum. Through many, one. A modern version might be: Unity through diversity.]

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Wonderist wrote:Sapient, you

Wonderist wrote:

Sapient, you want a long-view project that will keep you motivated on Atheism United? This is fucking it, man. This is the ultimate irrationality to respond to, and it's the ultimate problem to solve if we want to have anything close to atheists working/talking together cordially, i.e. 'united', even if we happen to have differences of opinion on various topics.

I'll root on, encourage, and promote all those involved in such an effort.  I will not head up such an effort myself.  I tried for at least a year, the problem only got abundantly worse.  I have a reasonable expectation that this irrationality among atheists will continue and in fact get worse.  My "unity" on Atheism United requires no actual participation from any other atheist which is the biggest reason why my effort can be a success.

 

 

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Sapient wrote:Wonderist

Sapient wrote:

Wonderist wrote:

Sapient, you want a long-view project that will keep you motivated on Atheism United? This is fucking it, man. This is the ultimate irrationality to respond to, and it's the ultimate problem to solve if we want to have anything close to atheists working/talking together cordially, i.e. 'united', even if we happen to have differences of opinion on various topics.

I'll root on, encourage, and promote all those involved in such an effort.  I will not head up such an effort myself.  I tried for at least a year, the problem only got abundantly worse.  I have a reasonable expectation that this irrationality among atheists will continue and in fact get worse.  My "unity" on Atheism United requires no actual participation from any other atheist which is the biggest reason why my effort can be a success.

Understood and appreciated. Smiling

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Sorry Wonderist, but I don't

Sorry Wonderist, but I don't think I can take much more of the "skeptic community". I just got off a fight with Hamby and apparently I don't understand social sciences because I didn't think you can pull stuff out of your ass. But apparently you can. Funny that.

Anyway, today isn't the day to prevent group think in the skeptic community, the correct day was day 1. They should have set up safeguards against "us vs them" from day 1. They should have done that to freethought blogs from day 1.  But they didn't.

 

They have nobody to blame for this irrationality but themselves.

 

Only they can change it. Only they can place in the safegaurds.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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Cpt_pineapple wrote:Sorry

Cpt_pineapple wrote:

Sorry Wonderist, but I don't think I can take much more of the "skeptic community". I just got off a fight with Hamby and apparently I don't understand social sciences because I didn't think you can pull stuff out of your ass. But apparently you can. Funny that.

Anyway, today isn't the day to prevent group think in the skeptic community, the correct day was day 1. They should have set up safeguards against "us vs them" from day 1. They should have done that to freethought blogs from day 1.  But they didn't.

 

They have nobody to blame for this irrationality but themselves.

 

Only they can change it. Only they can place in the safegaurds.

  

Humanity in general needs to understand evolution. Groups will ALWAYS form, especially in our species. You are not going to avoid that. But what you can do(meaning we as a species), is have the priority shift away from differences and make our common ground the goal.

Our species seems to do less harm to each other as individuals or as groups when we focus on common needs. However, we are still stuck in label tribalism more than we look beyond it.

Our constant sidetrack is that we tend to say "us vs them" and make "individualism vs the collective". But the third option is that both "The individual and the collective" work and both can do harm.

 

 

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A general overview

of what animalism causes. I didn't watch and listen to the entire video--but---don't have to.


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Old Seer wrote:of what

Old Seer wrote:

of what animalism causes. I didn't watch and listen to the entire video--but---don't have to.

 

What exactly is "animalism"?


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Cpt_pineapple wrote:They

Cpt_pineapple wrote:

They have nobody to blame for this irrationality but themselves.

 

Only they can change it. Only they can place in the safegaurds.

I recently posted this on FB:

Me on FB wrote:

There is one 'common ground' that we all share undeniably: the Earth itself. We cannot build a better world for ourselves if we forget what our truest, deepest foundations are -- if we continue to try to dominate the 'other' as if 'they' are not 'us'. We are all humans. We all live on our Pale Blue Dot, the only home we've ever known. World peace.

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Cpt_pineapple wrote:Old Seer

Cpt_pineapple wrote:

Old Seer wrote:

of what animalism causes. I didn't watch and listen to the entire video--but---don't have to.

 

What exactly is "animalism"?

You pointed to it in your previous post.

"Us verses them".

Competition, status seeking, degradation of others, Seeking the advantage and superiority, overpowering of others, inexceptance, personal exceptionalism, --that sort of thing.

I know--we evolved to compete etc, but everyone overlooks the fact that evolution provided us with the other also.  Evolution is not a one way deal.   Smiling

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Old Seer wrote:Cpt_pineapple

Old Seer wrote:

Cpt_pineapple wrote:

Old Seer wrote:

of what animalism causes. I didn't watch and listen to the entire video--but---don't have to.

What exactly is "animalism"?

You pointed to it in your previous post.

"Us verses them".

Competition, status seeking, degradation of others, Seeking the advantage and superiority, overpowering of others, inexceptance, personal exceptionalism, --that sort of thing.

I know--we evolved to compete etc, but everyone overlooks the fact that evolution provided us with the other also.  Evolution is not a one way deal.   Smiling

 

Actually, the idea of competition in evolution is misconstrued. 

We compete for resources, but that does not mean overpowering or superiority or status seeking.  It only means that there are limited resources in our environments, and sometimes, some of the particular organisms in that ecological niche go a little hungrier than some others. 

True, if you are a predator, you live by killing other organisms.  Even if you are a bacteria predating on other bacteria.  But it also means if you are a herbivore, you are trying to get to the most succulent grass/seeds/leaves.  If you are a plant, you are reaching for sunlight or searching for shade. 

"Survival of the fittest" means having grandchildren.  And it doesn't mean that you are stronger, bigger, better than any other organism, only that you are able to raise offspring who are able to raise offspring.

"Us vs them" is the sociological concept of "in-group" and "out-group".  Organisms with a social structure - even ants - recognize their in-group and have specific behaviors in relation to the out-groups.  If you are not a social organism, you do not have an in-group - you only have "those who are not me."  And you get what a biologist described to me as a frog's brain.  Smaller than me - try to eat it.  Larger than me - run.  Same size as me - try to mate with it.

Humans have a large enough brain that we can learn how to respond to out-groups and we can change our definition of out-group as required.  And we do.  We can adjust our in-group to include previous members of an out-group if the occasion seems to warrant such a change.  Or, we can exclude certain people who used to be in our in-group.

The difference between humans and other animals is we are capable of self-reflection and conscious analysis of our feelings and responses.  Otherwise, we are just as animal as any other.  After all, we are neither vegetable or mineral.

 

-- I feel so much better since I stopped trying to believe.

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Thunderf00t chimes in again.

Thunderf00t chimes in again. Very relevant video, IMO. Seems PZ is going off the deep end.



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Thank you CJ.

cj wrote:

Old Seer wrote:

Cpt_pineapple wrote:

Old Seer wrote:

of what animalism causes. I didn't watch and listen to the entire video--but---don't have to.

What exactly is "animalism"?

You pointed to it in your previous post.

"Us verses them".

Competition, status seeking, degradation of others, Seeking the advantage and superiority, overpowering of others, inexceptance, personal exceptionalism, --that sort of thing.

I know--we evolved to compete etc, but everyone overlooks the fact that evolution provided us with the other also.  Evolution is not a one way deal.   Smiling

 

Actually, the idea of competition in evolution is misconstrued. 

We compete for resources, but that does not mean overpowering or superiority or status seeking.  It only means that there are limited resources in our environments, and sometimes, some of the particular organisms in that ecological niche go a little hungrier than some others. 

True, if you are a predator, you live by killing other organisms.  Even if you are a bacteria predating on other bacteria.  But it also means if you are a herbivore, you are trying to get to the most succulent grass/seeds/leaves.  If you are a plant, you are reaching for sunlight or searching for shade. 

"Survival of the fittest" means having grandchildren.  And it doesn't mean that you are stronger, bigger, better than any other organism, only that you are able to raise offspring who are able to raise offspring.

"Us vs them" is the sociological concept of "in-group" and "out-group".  Organisms with a social structure - even ants - recognize their in-group and have specific behaviors in relation to the out-groups.  If you are not a social organism, you do not have an in-group - you only have "those who are not me."  And you get what a biologist described to me as a frog's brain.  Smaller than me - try to eat it.  Larger than me - run.  Same size as me - try to mate with it.

Humans have a large enough brain that we can learn how to respond to out-groups and we can change our definition of out-group as required.  And we do.  We can adjust our in-group to include previous members of an out-group if the occasion seems to warrant such a change.  Or, we can exclude certain people who used to be in our in-group.

The difference between humans and other animals is we are capable of self-reflection and conscious analysis of our feelings and responses.  Otherwise, we are just as animal as any other.  After all, we are neither vegetable or mineral.

 

I don't know if I should respond to you post but I think I can stay on the subject matter.

I had to go over my post #17 to see if I was the culprit that caused the thread to be taken off subject. I would say some what but not entirely. I think I stayed within the intent of the OP-if it was meant to criticize those in the video.

 

As I see it you have a more mild understanding of evolution or what I refer to the animal mind or what I understand is the main run of thought when it comes to evolution.

Ok --look at the pic post # 19-there we have a more brash look of evolution or as it puts it-- IE-the domination factor.

The OP seems normal doings to me. It seems  out of every group there will come those that are extreme.

I understand you post.

 

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Wonderist wrote:Thunderf00t

Wonderist wrote:

Thunderf00t chimes in again. Very relevant video, IMO. Seems PZ is going off the deep end.


WOW. Extremism is not cool.

Why not hit up a comicon instead of an atheism convention. They are way funner and not near as many rules lol. 

Again, extremism is not healthy for anyone or any group. 

OMG! Here is an example of an extremist.... oops I mean activist.

 

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2012/dec/05/sea-shepherd-paul-watson


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Wonderist wrote:Thunderf00t

Wonderist wrote:

Thunderf00t chimes in again. Very relevant video, IMO. Seems PZ is going off the deep end.


 

And here's the reaction : http://www.michaelnugent.com/2013/01/03/thunderf00t’s-inflammatory-video-of-misleading-personal-attacks-on-atheist-feminists-is-not-helpful/

 

Having watched the video and read the response, I'm not inclined to waste any more time on this. 


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Wonderist wrote:Thunderf00t

Wonderist wrote:

Thunderf00t chimes in again. Very relevant video, IMO. Seems PZ is going off the deep end.


I couldn't watch the video all the way through but from what I gather is that there are some people in this world who are fucking nuts.