And the funniest blog post of the year award goes to...

Sapient
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And the funniest blog post of the year award goes to...

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MattShizzle
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Too funny. I'm tempted to

Too funny. I'm tempted to make a video showing them how well their praying worked on Friday (or Saturday. I'm off then.)

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Vessel
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I think its sad, and

I think its sad, and discouraging, that so many commentors felt the need to disparage this woman on her blog. She is only doing what she thinks is right. There is no reason and no excuse for leaving her rude comments the way many people have. It is immature and accomplishes nothing but to give atheists an even worse reputation. This woman is not the problem. It is religion and the religious way of thinking that is the problem and people need to be educated, not disparaged, if anyone ever hopes to see change.

“Philosophers have argued for centuries about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin, but materialists have always known it depends on whether they are jitterbugging or dancing cheek to cheek" -- Tom Robbins


Sapient
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Vessel, while I agree to

Vessel, while I agree to some extent, I'd just like to pose some quotes from the ridicule side of the fence, keep in mind I do understand what you're saying and agree (a little).

 "Ridicule is the only weapon which can be used against unintelligible propositions. Ideas must be distinct before reason can act upon them; and no man ever had a distinct idea of the trinity. It is the mere Abracadabra of the mountebanks calling themselves the priests of Jesus." -- Thomas Jefferson

What is the most likely way that American society, if not the rest of the world, will eventually abandon irrational faith?

SAM HARRIS ANSWERS: I think this is a war of ideas that has to be fought on a hundred fronts at once. There’s not one piece that is going to trump all others.

But I think we should not underestimate the power of embarrassment. The book Freakonomics briefly discusses the way the Ku Klux Klan lost its subscribers, and the example is instructive. A man named Stetson Kennedy, almost single-handedly it seems, eroded the prestige of the Ku Klux Klan in the 1940s by joining them and then leaking all of their secret passwords and goofy lingo to the people who were writing “The Adventures of Superman” radio show. Week after week, there were episodes of Superman fighting the Klan, and the real Klan’s mumbo jumbo was put out all over the airwaves for people to laugh at. Kids were playing Superman vs. the Klan on their front lawns. The Klan was humiliated by this, and was made to look foolish; and we went from a world in which the Klan was a legitimate organization with tens of millions of members—many of whom were senators, and even one president—to a world in which there are now something like 5,000 Klansmen. It’s basically a defunct organization.

So public embarrassment is one principle. Once you lift the taboo around criticizing faith and demand that people start talking sense, then the capacity for making religious certitude look stupid will be exploited, and we’ll start laughing at people who believe the things that the Tom DeLays, the Pat Robertsons of the world believe.  We’ll laugh at them in a way that will be synonymous with excluding them from our halls of power.

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Vessel
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Sapient: Yes, I can see a

Sapient:

Yes, I can see a point made there. The problem, I think, with that tactic when dealing with religion is that the religious are the overwhelming majority. With this being true it is pretty much impossible to put them in a position that makes them admit foolishness. Even if they temporarilly feel foolish inwardly, it is much easier for them to withdraw further into their support group of foolishness than to admit their foolishness. Their support network is too wide reaching. Their ridiculous belief is the ridiculous belief of their neighbor.

That aside, in truth, my distaste for this tactic is probably more a matter of it being inherently unsettling to me to make people feel foolish. And possibly unfairly, I don't apply this equally to all people. I would have no problem with people leaving these comments for Tom Delay or Pat Robertson, just for people like this housewife. Double standard? Maybe. But I think the fact that they hold positions of power, or are at least widely heard voices, makes a difference. Go figure.  

“Philosophers have argued for centuries about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin, but materialists have always known it depends on whether they are jitterbugging or dancing cheek to cheek" -- Tom Robbins


Sapient
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Vessel wrote: Even if they

Vessel wrote:

Even if they temporarilly feel foolish inwardly, it is much easier for them to withdraw further into their support group of foolishness than to admit their foolishness. Their support network is too wide reaching. .

I don't think you're gonna see blogs from people that we steer away from religion.  Those will be rare.  Instead you'll see the support network type blogs.  People who become more moderate or abandon superstition altogether are not nearly as likely to make posts on the internet about it.  It's just not human nature to write diatribes of how they were fooled for so long. 

I think we're affecting people, I just don't think you're gonna get as much evidence for abandonmnet of religion as you will reinforced self delusions.

 

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Vessel
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No, that was not my point.

No, that was not my point. By 'admit' I did not mean post on the internet. 'Admit' was to say admit to themselves. It seems it might easily cause some to be made to feel foolish and drive them further into the welcoming arms of their support group where they need not feel foolish. But anyway, I see the point you are making, I'm just not sure the result is necessarily the desired one.

And, yes, I believe you are affecting people. Rational arguments and scientific facts are highly persuasive tools. 

“Philosophers have argued for centuries about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin, but materialists have always known it depends on whether they are jitterbugging or dancing cheek to cheek" -- Tom Robbins


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Aaron Kinney had organized

Aaron Kinney had organized a prayer offensive to Satan and it worked extremely fast:

http://killtheafterlife.blogspot.com/2007/01/prayer-challenge.html

 

The prayer offensive for the Blasphemy Challenge has been wiped from existence: http://living-in-grace.blogspot.com/2007/01/all-parents-urgent-need-for-prayer.html

 

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zarathustra
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So can we get this

So can we get this simultaneous prayer effort to represent a test for god's existence? What will they say if the Challenge maybe, just maybe, doesn't disappear on Friday?

There are no theists on operating tables.

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I feel like the solution is

I feel like the solution is in the middle.  No tactic is going to be proper all the time ... I tend to use humorous points with moderates and more tactful appeals to the more devout people.  (I even tried the Sam Harris line about the President chosing common-sense judges that know our rights come from Zues the other day and killed.)

I tried to date this conservative Petacostal about a year back and I brought her to the local Natural History museum and our discussion was rather fruitful (granted she had an open-mind enough to come at all).  I would set up questions or propositions ... "how old do you think the earth is?" ... "You said that the Bible says 'God created man', but what is a human, exactly?  If you dress up Homo erectus, he'd look pretty man-ish ..."  It was actually kind of fun ...

The point is, these people have a persecution complex the size of Montana - it is fundamental to the psychology of modern evangelicals.  That needs to be taken into consideration when discursing with them.

I'm off myspace.com so you can only find me here: http://geoffreymgolia.blogspot.com