Harvard humanist conference?

FGL
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Harvard humanist conference?

Greetings

 

Just wondering if anyone here attended, and if so, what they thought?

 

 


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What did you think of it

What did you think of it FGL?

 

- Brian Sapient


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FGL
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Sapient; thanks for

Sapient; thanks for asking!

 

I personally thought it was outstanding, but I am likely biased by the fact that I got to participate solely because I created a cheesey myspace group.

 

Some were critical of it on the james randi board, and I posted a counter opinion. Here's what I said, if anyone's interested:

 

*** post 1:

 

First, independent of the content / speakers / dinner caste system, I sincerely think Greg Epstein is outstanding.

He had 500 attendees as a first-time conference. He successfully mixed Nobel prize winners with people who’s claim to fame was starting a group on Myspace. He was forced to change venues more than once (How big was Tam 1? How many more big egos needed to be dealt with here!).

I think the conference went off nearly flawlessly (independent of the content). That's the best compliment I can give to the guy who ran the show.

The speakers ranged from incredibly boring and incomprehensible to engrossing and brilliant (most conferences are like this, though the extremes here were likely sharper).

Salman kicked major ass. He is a gentleman and a scholar. Hearing him tell a few Islam jokes was worth the trip alone. He was kind enough to shake my hand in the bathroom (I hope I got him post-wash), and then later pose for a picture even though he was in a hurry to leave. That said, reading from a book for 20 minutes sucks no matter what the book or who's doing the reading. Also, the church at Harvard Yard impressed the hell out of me. It’s an amazing piece of architecture. What’s wrong with building a headquarters like this to advance humanist thought?

The morning session was mostly boring with the exception of one outstanding speaker (the "do you understand" guy), though he went too long.

The panel thingies seemed hit and miss to me. I think we needed more focused questions or issues, and that the topics were too broad. But, the diversity of participants on the panels speaks volumes about Greg’s efforts to unite the entire community. I think he did an outstanding job of making it seem like the little people matter. I buy the above-posted explanation for the splitting of the people at dinner. I noticed tears and intense emotion in Greg’s eyes when he was hugging Tom Ferrick. The whole conference was built around uniting the young unknown skeptics with the grey haired eminent ones. It just cannot be the case that the split at dinner was designed.

The night speakers were moderately entertaining. However, too many of them each speaking too long made it annoying on balance. I thought Tom Ferrick’s talk was sincere, interesting and heart felt (the conference was also about honoring his 30 year career with Harvard, so I don’t think it was overkill).

I think Harvard is the wallet that says bad mother****er. To be aligned with this institution gives us the prominence that we need. If that requires tolerating speeches from rich white males, so be it. I thought the guy who gave 1 million was not at all snobbish (I think it’s a bold and interesting statement: humanism is the most worth charity in existence), and even if he was arrogant, I think his million earned him the right to 10 minutes of ass kissing. Money is a necessary evil for any cause.

In sum, for a first time deal, I give it 4 and ½ stars, and I hope my 15 minutes of fame here hasn’t biased my opinions, but I am definitely glad I attended this thing.

 

 

*** Post 2:

I think the theme of the conference-- new humanism-- is the idea that we should tolerate other people's beliefs. I think greg wanted to stir things up a bit / make things interesting within the skeptical community by offering an alternative to "in your face" atheism a la dawkins or harris.

In fact, there was a crisis when greg was "misquoted" in the new york times as calling dawkins and others "fundamentalist" / "militant" atheists.

This created a backlash among some skeptics who were offended by the term (I know one organization who boycotted the whole conference because of it).

It's why I stuck in the reference to being a p.r.i.c.k. atheist, which is I think the only comment I made that got anyone smiling.

FWIW, I tend to agree with the new humanism. I generally don't give a rats ass about what most other people believe unless it interferes with my rights.

If indeed our worldview is correct, it's apparent that just the logic of it is not enough to convince the vast majority of people that theism is irrational. So, I don't see the in your face approach as being all that productive in converting "joe six pack". I do think the in your face version is critical whenever people in power push religion on the masses (e.g., stem cell research or gay marriage).

So, I think there's a niche for the kinder and the rougher approaches to atheism. I personally would rather market skeptics as normal people who exist in large numbers, and then let the strength of our worldview be something that people stumble upon. It seems like the better strategy in most cases-- versus telling people they're stupid for their beliefs (like the school geek telling off the football jock; don't be surprised if you get punched!).

JMO!

 

 

 

 

 


darth_josh
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If I'm being too nitpickety

If I'm being too nitpickety then I apologize.

Quote:
What’s wrong with building a headquarters like this to advance humanist thought?

Do you want a list? Trading church for church is still going to church. I thought the goal was to unite not repulse.

Quote:
Salman kicked major ass. He is a gentleman and a scholar. Hearing him tell a few Islam jokes was worth the trip alone.

That doesn't fit in with 'tolerance' does it? Someone please clarify this for me. Otherwise, it just sounds like more humanist hypocrisy.

Quote:
In fact, there was a crisis when greg was "misquoted" in the new york times as calling dawkins and others "fundamentalist" / "militant" atheists.

MISQUOTED??? Whatever. I have no doubt in my mind that he said EXACTLY what the article meant and THAT is why he is an asshole. A lying, hypocritical asshole.

I have cursorily followed this story since publication in many forums and I've read the original story. Flemming and I agree:

http://www.slumdance.com/blogs/brian_flemming/archives/002576.html

http://www.slumdance.com/blogs/brian_flemming/archives/002582.html

http://www.slumdance.com/blogs/brian_flemming/archives/002584.html

Apparently, some people still see the value in humanism. $1,000,000 will give y'all a lot of time to feel even more elitist in your endeavors. Just think of how many get-togethers you can have to pat each other on the back for your 'humanism'. Will you promise to let us know when something good is done with the money.

I'll make sure 'Joe six pack' gets the memo.

Tell the 'chaplain' I said, "Have a nice day and kiss my ass."

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Weak-willed, easily

Weak-willed, easily offended people, please don't read.

[FLAME]

In fact, I would like to apologize yet again because I want to thank 'the new humanism' for giving itself the type of connotation that the word has been used to get away from.

"Not believing in god is okay, but an ATHEIST???!!!"

Pretty soon, with the type of hypocrisy that exists at the forefront of humanism that famous quote will change to:

"An atheist is okay, but a HUMANIST???!!!"

In my subjective observations, humanists:

Preach tolerance unless there are no members of a certain type nearby.

Preach human values yet do very little for humanity. This may be wrong, but it is MY observation.

Preach secular values yet call themselves 'chaplains' when they are put into an office.

Preach about and label groups of people based upon their ideas of 'militancy' or 'fundamentalism' while declaring that ALL are welcome and tolerated.

Throw gala parties and money around for each other to spend on each other for each other while knowing that the money could go for intersubjective humane causes.

Openly say that they don't believe in god and then invite religious people to join them in human activities while bowing their heads and allowing religious influences in the formation of a doctrine.

and this one is just the friggin' STRAW:

USING THE PEOPLE THEY LABEL AS 'EXTREMISTS' TO FURTHER THEIR OWN AGENDA OF EXCLUSION.

You laugh at 'Joe six pack', but I would much prefer his company to the likes of any of you.

You are not humanists. You are barely even human in my eyes. Each and every one of you that continues to allow NAY enable willingly the behavior of these people is suspect.

You have sullied the name of every person that has even once used your label for themselves. To think that at one point, I wanted to willfully accept the label of 'humanist'. That thought now disgusts me.

[/FLAME OFF]

 

Any atheists offended by this should understand that this is meant for these alleged 'leaders' of humanism and not the people duped by the label's definition.

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FGL
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DJ, thanks for yer

DJ, thanks for yer comments. I will reply later when I get some time, but I think you may have misinterpreted my intent, or maybe you dind't; I dunno.

 

 


FGL
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  Ok, got some time;) 1)

 

Ok, got some timeEye-wink

1) Interesting blog. I didn't realize the deal was that big. My reaction was sorta "cry me a river".

I don't know greg that well; my above posts were my reactions to my interactions with him. I still stand be em (jmo). I do know he was trying to stimulate some controversy by presenting an alternative to in your face atheism. Assuming now he indeed meant to call some "fundies," I still say, cry me a river.

 

2) I think churches do more than let believers be irriational together. They offer a brick and mortar sense of community. One key thing we lack-- imo-- is that sense of community, as heathens seem to be spread out in physical space far moreso than theists (can't walk a mile here without seeing many a church). I think there are many positive aspects to what churches do, and I think these positive aspects would exist even if the gods they worship do not.

 

3) I'm a small fish in this ocean. I was thrilled when I got the invite, and I was aware of the irony behind it all. That said, since people asked for my opinion, I offered it. One theme in my mind is that atheists need a better image. I don't think we do a good job marketing ourselves. We come across as bitter cynics without hope or happiness or a sense of humor. Once a theist labels you a cynic, it's easy to dismiss whatever you say (rightly or wrongly) by compartmentalizing the argument. These again are just my opinions; I claim to speak for no one but myself, and if people disagree, that's cool and the gang.

 

4) Following up on that, I really think atheists need to get better senses of humor. Laughter is good for humanity, and being able to joke about yourselves and others, I think, should be or is human nature (the point was made by rushdie that good humor is funny because it reveals some disturbing truth about reality; I think that's why he told the relatively tame jokes he did).

 

5) I think one can be tolerant of others beliefs even when you disagree with them and argue against them. Tolerance to me doesn't mean blind acceptance. It means, though, that others have the right to not share your world view (even if you think their world view is irrational).

 

If some people need an irrational security blanket to feel good, or get over the grief of a loved one dying, then I think they have the right to that blanket. This follows from my view that people should be free to do whatever they want; even things deemed stupid by others, as long as they don't infringe on anyone else's right to be free.

 

6) I accept that my comments re joe sick pack could come across as arrogant, elite, etc. One of the better speakers at the conference made reference to this idea, and I agree with him. Let me explain-- if it still seems elite, so be it:

 

I've learned that a large segment of the population (both theist and non, though I suspect proportionately fewer heathens are in this category) do not use reason / logic / scientific rules of evidence as the basis for deciding what they believe.

 

Debating these people is an utter waste of time. It's like playing soccer without a ball. If one doesn't accept that logic should be the arbiter of arguments, then there's no reason debating.

 

As a side note, I suspect that IQ (or relative lack thereof) largely influences whether you will become the logic-type guy, or joe six pack. In fact, I am currently collecting lots of data exploring the relationship between IQ and race, and my next study is gonna look at IQ and religious belief (can an IQ test ID joe six pack?). So, I guess I am an elitist racist heathen sexist. I am a smoker too.

 

But the joe six pack reference to me represents the idea that you can't get blood from a turnip. Rational arguments won't work if people don't use reason to decide what they believe in. Fortunately, policy makers and people in power seem more amenable, on balance, to using reason, and so I think we can make our biggest gains by focusing short term on people other than joe 6p.

 

If anyone's still reading, or if DJ thinks I didn't address his points, feel free to reply.

 

q. what do you get when you cross an atheist with a JW?

a. someone who knocks on your door for no reason.

 

Now that's funny!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

darth_josh wrote:

If I'm being too nitpickety then I apologize.

Quote:
What’s wrong with building a headquarters like this to advance humanist thought?

Do you want a list? Trading church for church is still going to church. I thought the goal was to unite not repulse.

Quote:
Salman kicked major ass. He is a gentleman and a scholar. Hearing him tell a few Islam jokes was worth the trip alone.

That doesn't fit in with 'tolerance' does it? Someone please clarify this for me. Otherwise, it just sounds like more humanist hypocrisy.

Quote:
In fact, there was a crisis when greg was "misquoted" in the new york times as calling dawkins and others "fundamentalist" / "militant" atheists.

MISQUOTED??? Whatever. I have no doubt in my mind that he said EXACTLY what the article meant and THAT is why he is an asshole. A lying, hypocritical asshole.

I have cursorily followed this story since publication in many forums and I've read the original story. Flemming and I agree:

http://www.slumdance.com/blogs/brian_flemming/archives/002576.html

http://www.slumdance.com/blogs/brian_flemming/archives/002582.html

http://www.slumdance.com/blogs/brian_flemming/archives/002584.html

Apparently, some people still see the value in humanism. $1,000,000 will give y'all a lot of time to feel even more elitist in your endeavors. Just think of how many get-togethers you can have to pat each other on the back for your 'humanism'. Will you promise to let us know when something good is done with the money.

I'll make sure 'Joe six pack' gets the memo.

Tell the 'chaplain' I said, "Have a nice day and kiss my ass."


FGL
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One more point. I think

One more point. I think it's arrogant for x to demand how y should spend his money.

 

What gives you the right to tell some rich white male what he should do with his million dollars?

 

If he wants to buy a jaguar, spend the money on booze and hookers, donate it to godhatesfags or build a humanist church, I'd say that's his call.

 

Sure maybe the money's better spent feeding starving kids (or by buying budding young scholars some books, or a house!) but I submit the guy giving the money has the right to decide how it should be used.

 

When you get your million to contribute, I'm guessing you might place restrictions on how you'd like to see the money used...I think you have that right.

 

 

 

 


darth_josh
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FGL wrote: One more point.

FGL wrote:

One more point. I think it's arrogant for x to demand how y should spend his money.

 

What gives you the right to tell some rich white male what he should do with his million dollars?

 

If he wants to buy a jaguar, spend the money on booze and hookers, donate it to godhatesfags or build a humanist church, I'd say that's his call.

 

Sure maybe the money's better spent feeding starving kids (or by buying budding young scholars some books, or a house!) but I submit the guy giving the money has the right to decide how it should be used.

 

When you get your million to contribute, I'm guessing you might place restrictions on how you'd like to see the money used...I think you have that right.

  

Absolutely, I think that it was more of an indictment against the Harvard Humanists because in my opinion, the philanthropist was DUPED into thinking that the money would go toward more admirable goals than building or buying a church.

 

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darth_josh
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FGL wrote:   Ok, got some

FGL wrote:

 

Ok, got some timeEye-wink

1) Interesting blog. I didn't realize the deal was that big. My reaction was sorta "cry me a river".

I don't know greg that well; my above posts were my reactions to my interactions with him. I still stand be em (jmo). I do know he was trying to stimulate some controversy by presenting an alternative to in your face atheism. Assuming now he indeed meant to call some "fundies," I still say, cry me a river.

Sooo, would you concur that type of behaviour is antithetic to tolerance?

Quote:

2) I think churches do more than let believers be irriational together. They offer a brick and mortar sense of community. One key thing we lack-- imo-- is that sense of community, as heathens seem to be spread out in physical space far moreso than theists (can't walk a mile here without seeing many a church). I think there are many positive aspects to what churches do, and I think these positive aspects would exist even if the gods they worship do not.

You missed the point. Many atheists simply do not like the idea of a 'church' under any guise even one dedicated to the humanist concepts.

Quote:

3) I'm a small fish in this ocean. I was thrilled when I got the invite, and I was aware of the irony behind it all. That said, since people asked for my opinion, I offered it. One theme in my mind is that atheists need a better image. I don't think we do a good job marketing ourselves. We come across as bitter cynics without hope or happiness or a sense of humor. Once a theist labels you a cynic, it's easy to dismiss whatever you say (rightly or wrongly) by compartmentalizing the argument. These again are just my opinions; I claim to speak for no one but myself, and if people disagree, that's cool and the gang.

I know this more than you can imagine. That is why I completely disagree with this 'new humanism'. It is merely an attempt to capitalize on the bad connotations associated with the word 'atheism'.

My re-worded quote with regard to thanking 'humanism' for giving 'atheism' a better name was humorous to me.

Quote:

4) Following up on that, I really think atheists need to get better senses of humor. Laughter is good for humanity, and being able to joke about yourselves and others, I think, should be or is human nature (the point was made by rushdie that good humor is funny because it reveals some disturbing truth about reality; I think that's why he told the relatively tame jokes he did).

Ummm. Here:

Razorcade and Darth's great big thread of funny remarks.

Certainly, the most hated person in all of islam who has been a victim of islamic hatred for decades has the right to make fun of those people. So do we. However, that does not address the issue of 'tolerance' per Epstein. He, and others of his ilk, declared that the blasphemy challenge was too harsh. However, if you watch more than a couple of the videos then you will see some of the funniest atheist comedy EVER.

Oh but that was too extremist, in your face, kind of stuff.

wtf?

Badmouthing the badmouthers is hypocritical. Now, badmouthing the badmouthing of badmouthers is up to the badmouthers defending their badmouthing. There's humor in there if you can find it. I typed it and had to look twice.

Quote:

5) I think one can be tolerant of others beliefs even when you disagree with them and argue against them. Tolerance to me doesn't mean blind acceptance. It means, though, that others have the right to not share your world view (even if you think their world view is irrational).

huh? Sooo, stand up against theism, but don't???

Quote:

If some people need an irrational security blanket to feel good, or get over the grief of a loved one dying, then I think they have the right to that blanket. This follows from my view that people should be free to do whatever they want; even things deemed stupid by others, as long as they don't infringe on anyone else's right to be free.

Obviously, those are not the people targeted first for discussion. Have we crashed any funerals yet?

So far, the blinders seem to be worn by people that haven't been affected by irrational beliefs.

You might need to clarify:

Quote:
even things deemed stupid by others, as long as they don't infringe on anyone else's right to be free.

because there are many things on Earth that aren't considered by others to be stupid nor infringe upon freedoms yet they are harmful to society.

Abstinence education. Faith healing. Racism. There are more.

Quote:

6) I accept that my comments re joe sick pack could come across as arrogant, elite, etc. One of the better speakers at the conference made reference to this idea, and I agree with him. Let me explain-- if it still seems elite, so be it:

 

I've learned that a large segment of the population (both theist and non, though I suspect proportionately fewer heathens are in this category) do not use reason / logic / scientific rules of evidence as the basis for deciding what they believe.

 

Debating these people is an utter waste of time. It's like playing soccer without a ball. If one doesn't accept that logic should be the arbiter of arguments, then there's no reason debating.

So we should just allow their ignorance to persist then? I mean why try if their minds have already been made up for them by the only source of information that some of them have ever had. right?

Let's just give up on the poor, ignorant rednecks because they're never gonna get it right.

Has it ever ONCE entered your mind that the reason that these 'type' of people that you seem to be describing have never been offered any other option???

Quote:

As a side note, I suspect that IQ (or relative lack thereof) largely influences whether you will become the logic-type guy, or joe six pack. In fact, I am currently collecting lots of data exploring the relationship between IQ and race, and my next study is gonna look at IQ and religious belief (can an IQ test ID joe six pack?). So, I guess I am an elitist racist heathen sexist. I am a smoker too.

I smoke as well. It doesn't mean that I have a greater chance at being an atheist or not. Because someone is middle-easter does not mean they're a stupid terrorist. If I eat a banana it doesn't mean that I hate oranges.

I fail to comprehend how stereotyping people even remotely resembles humanist values.

Quote:

But the joe six pack reference to me represents the idea that you can't get blood from a turnip. Rational arguments won't work if people don't use reason to decide what they believe in. Fortunately, policy makers and people in power seem more amenable, on balance, to using reason, and so I think we can make our biggest gains by focusing short term on people other than joe 6p.

How do you know whether or not they will ever use reason? You want to test their IQ and sort them out that way.

This is the same 'schpiel' that I have heard from other atheist groups in the past.

Let's throw this into your hypothesis:

Stupid breeds more quickly. Do you want a population of people more likely to question the existence of a deity? Or do you wish to continue to be an elitist minority? I posit that the majority of births in the US are to people that have never been told that it is ok to question the existence of the christian god AND that these same people have multiple births.

How many of them were given the invitation to attend the HAHVAHD Humanist conference to hear the concepts put forth by the speakers?

Quote:

If anyone's still reading, or if DJ thinks I didn't address his points, feel free to reply.

I would be negligent if I failed to speak out against irrational precepts such as 'the new humanism' and its elitist 'chaplains of freethought'. - signed An atheist 'fundamentalist (a person who fundamentally does not believe in god)

Quote:

q. what do you get when you cross an atheist with a JW?

a. someone who knocks on your door for no reason.

Now that's funny!

q. How many humanists does it take to change a lightbulb?

a. Why change it? Can't you tolerate it being burnt out?

In conclusion,

Pretty much the response that I had expected. Except for the joke. Seemed rather crass and discriminatory for a humanist to make fun of JW's after hearing fellow ideologues speak against those that do it on a regular basis.

Thanks for taking the time to read and respond to my rant.

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Darth, a person like

Darth, a person like youself demands another label other than "atheist."  I'll also suggest "anti-theist."  Why?  Because to me, it seems plainly obvious you hate anything that looks/feels/sounds/acts/walks/talks like a theist, and, I'd wager, more specifically, a Christian.  This is the most irrational rant I've ever seen from you.

 

 It seems you want it to be true that humanists are appeasing, lilly livered, badmouthing, hypocritical almost-theists, so much that you're willing to be irrational to do so, because to believe otherwise would be too hard for you.

 For them to be on "your side" would just feel too unbearable for you so that you just gotta lump them on the "other side" with all your other enemies.

You're not ready to be tolerant of theists.  You're too hurt.  You havn't gotten your revenge yet, and untili then, anyone that stands up for theists is your enemy.

But know this:  you very well can be an atheist without being anti-theistic.  See them not just as theists, but as human beings.

 I respect you, Darth, which is why I tell you this.

 Peace.

 

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No, Tomcat. I am an

No, Tomcat. I am an atheist. If you choose to label me anti-theistic then no problem.

I don't hate theists for the millionth time. I hate theism. We are humans, but beliefs cloud that distinction.

1,000,001th time Hate theism, like theists even if they hate me.

Just like preachers preach: hate the sin, love the sinner. 

 

Tomcat,

If you can honestly say that my rant did not have a hint of rational thought behind it supported by the actions of your fellow ideologues then I will relent the equation of 'new humanism' to 'religious mimicry' and leave it alone for a while. At least until the next time that the position of atheist activism is denigrated by the apathetic.

I know your thoughts concerning the most recent efforts to bring atheism to the forefront of social thought.

I really really want to believe that those who espouse the 'new humanism' are doing so for rational reasons. However, their actions have not matched their words with regard to any other ideology.

Strong emotions elicit strong words and, believe me or not, I had to edit these posts extensively.

The offer is there. Tell me that I am 100% wrong. Tell me that I'm 50% wrong, but in my opinion if I am 50% right then there is need for more discussion.

Incidentally, I am less closed-minded because I at least accept the FACT that there are atheists that don't fall in line with all of the human values that you and I do. The only difference is application.

Has anyone seen DrFear?  

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Addendum:

Addendum:

The atheistvolunteers.org thing is awesome. My question is: If the label's connotation was going to be such a problem then why not have humanistvolunteers.org?

For me, the sick sad sorry part is that I'm the one that helped firefly with his 'spiritual humanist' label conversion. I'm wishing now that he'd kept the christian label.

[SARCASTIC  RESPONSE]Oh wait. I forgot. I hate theists. Why would I have good conversations with firefly for hours? Why would I respectfully discuss social issues with ministers?[/SARCASTIC RESPONSE]

Yeah. We've got some issues here, but I'm fairly confident that we'll be able to reach some sort of understanding. Either that or.... shit I don't know.

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darth_josh wrote: No,

darth_josh wrote:

No, Tomcat. I am an atheist.

Never said you weren't.

Quote:
If you can honestly say that my rant did not have a hint of rational thought behind it

Never said this either.

Quote:
Strong emotions elicit strong words and, believe me or not, I had to edit these posts extensively.

I feel ya.  I'm glad you feel things so strongly.  I'm glad to be surrounded by those who are passionate about finding out the truth.

Quote:
but in my opinion if I am 50% right then there is need for more discussion.

The worst thing we could do is give up and stop discussing.  I"m glad you are willing to continue.

Quote:
Has anyone seen DrFear?

Unfortunately, yes...   

The Enlightenment wounded the beast, but the killing blow has yet to land...


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Tomcat wrote: Darth, a

Tomcat wrote:

Darth, a person like youself demands another label other than "atheist." I'll also suggest "anti-theist." Why? Because to me, it seems plainly obvious you hate anything that looks/feels/sounds/acts/walks/talks like a theist, and, I'd wager, more specifically, a Christian. This is the most irrational rant I've ever seen from you.

I want to comment on the label of anti-theist (sorry if this gets us too off topic, but it seems to be an issue at this point in the thread). It seems that this may just be a difference in how we define things, and it may be beneficial to discuss our differences with that label. I define anti-theist as "One opposed to belief in the existence of a God." I think that is quoted from the Oxford English Dictionary, but I am not sure.


It is because of my love for my fellow humans, that I oppose the fettering of human minds by unprovable claims in absurd things. So I love theists and atheists, but I am opposed to holding absurd ideas as true, because when there is an absence of rational thought, people tend to do stupid things and hurt themselves and others (directly and indirectly, such as supporting unjust laws and voting for people who claim to have a certain belief while not being fit for the position).


So I accept the anti-theist label providing that the label is understood as a stance against a certain belief and not against individuals who hold that belief. But yes, like Darth, I do hate the absurdity that people use to fetter their minds and the minds of others. I think it is an act of compassion to take the time to address these absurd beliefs while not attacking the individual.

 

"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. ..." -- Thomas Jefferson


Tomcat
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darth_josh wrote: The

darth_josh wrote:

The atheistvolunteers.org thing is awesome. My question is: If the label's connotation was going to be such a problem then why not have humanistvolunteers.org?

I LOVE the name atheistvolunteers.org!  It's the blood drive video's approach I don't like. 

Quote:
For me, the sick sad sorry part is that I'm the one that helped firefly with his 'spiritual humanist' label conversion. I'm wishing now that he'd kept the christian label.

I'm glad you mentioned this.  I was unaware

Quote:
[SARCASTIC RESPONSE]Oh wait. I forgot. I hate theists. Why would I have good conversations with firefly for hours? Why would I respectfully discuss social issues with ministers?[/SARCASTIC RESPONSE]

[SARCASTIC RESPONSE]Wait, you talked with him FOR HOURS? QUICK, before it's too late! Report to the RRS Decontamination Shower IMMEDIATELY.  You have NO IDEA what kind of Mind Viruses you could have been exposed to![/SARCASTIC RESPONSE]

Yes, we do have our disagreements, but I too believe that we can work towards mutual understanding through continued dialogue.

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Mr. XC wrote: So I accept

Mr. XC wrote:

So I accept the anti-theist label providing that the label is understood as a stance against a certain belief and not against individuals who hold that belief. But yes, like Darth, I do hate the absurdity that people use to fetter their minds and the minds of others. I think it is an act of compassion to take the time to address these absurd beliefs while not attacking the individual. 

 Thanks for your excellent post, Mr. XC

How to correctly label, then, the difference between a word that means "a stance against a certain belief" and "a stance against the individuals who hold that belief"??   I'm having a hard time finding a more appropriate label than "anti-theist" as "anti" means against and "theist" means those who hold the belief of theism.  Perhaps "anti-theism" fits the "stance against a certain belief," and "anti-theist" fits the "stance against the individuals"/discompassion towards humans who hold a belief in god.

The Enlightenment wounded the beast, but the killing blow has yet to land...


darth_josh
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Tomcat wrote: [SARCASTIC

Tomcat wrote:
[SARCASTIC RESPONSE]Wait, you talked with him FOR HOURS? QUICK, before it's too late! Report to the RRS Decontamination Shower IMMEDIATELY. You have NO IDEA what kind of Mind Viruses you could have been exposed to![/SARCASTIC RESPONSE]

ROTFLMAO. It's okay. I've been vaccinated for life from every known strain of theism. You could say that I've developed an immunity, but it still hurts to see the sick suffer.

The mind virus analogy with regard to theism stands as one of the most elegant metaphors that I have ever analyzed subjectively for truth.

As with all diseases, there are alternate pathogens that mimic the symptoms of others. Quite often, the RRS has faced accusations of being a 'cult' and each time reasoned arguments are made to refute those accusations. We(sitemembers) do not fit the criteria for 'cult-like' behaviour outlined in several studies in those threads.

However, I have not heard arguments from humanists to refute any accusations of this 'ilk'. In fact, the website www.humanism.org on page 5 of the intro:

humanism.org wrote:
As humanists, we refute every false distinction between personal and social world.

We believe that is impossible to realize a deep transformation of the society without putting under discussion on a personal level the values that sustains it. In the same way it is impossible to realize a personal change without concretely acting to the favor of others.

For these reasons the Humanist Movement is not only working on the social level, but at the same time put particular emphasis on personal and interpersonal issues. It realizes moments of communication in which everyone gets in contact with the best of him/her self and strengthens it, toward a personal coherence that will allow one to act in the world according to one's aspirations. This happens principally in the weekly meetings.

If ever Oh ever there were a universal statement for 'how to hide the fact that we are religious in nature' then this would be it in my opinion. It reads like a diagram on how to write a mission statement for a hippie cult. For fuck's sake, this looks like something right off of Dharma and Greg. In fact, it would make for a funny episode.

I have yet to make my '5 craziest religions' video for a youtube response because I'm still analyzing humanism.

I suppose that rather than anti-theist or anti-theism, my 'harsh' label should be 'anti-religion'.

 

Tomcat wrote:
Mr. XC wrote:

So I accept the anti-theist label providing that the label is understood as a stance against a certain belief and not against individuals who hold that belief. But yes, like Darth, I do hate the absurdity that people use to fetter their minds and the minds of others. I think it is an act of compassion to take the time to address these absurd beliefs while not attacking the individual.

Thanks for your excellent post, Mr. XC

How to correctly label, then, the difference between a word that means "a stance against a certain belief" and "a stance against the individuals who hold that belief"?? I'm having a hard time finding a more appropriate label than "anti-theist" as "anti" means against and "theist" means those who hold the belief of theism. Perhaps "anti-theism" fits the "stance against a certain belief," and "anti-theist" fits the "stance against the individuals"/discompassion towards humans who hold a belief in god.

Yeah. I'm just anti-religion.

It's the beliefs at their roots that cause the people to behave the way that they do. The people communicating those beliefs with an 'emphasis on personal and interpersonal issues' that fuck it up. I realize that. However, if the beliefs themselves can be shown unjustifiable or lacking an evidential basis then the combating the irrational beliefs is the best way to bring about change while still allowing people their freedom to 'realize a deep transformation of the society' BY 'putting under discussion on a personal level the values that sustain it.'

In other words, destroy their religion and let them transform society into the world that best represents the progressive nature of humanity. Stop trying to make them 'fit their religion' into a niche where they can hide it from analysis. Tolerating the beliefs is what leads to forced false contrition whenever we discover something that contradicts one of these beliefs held by the majority.

There is the reason for 'shock and awe activism'. Put the snake on the religion table and everyone ante up to see who gets bitten. Do you want to be one of the betters or the snake?

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What the blogosphere has to

What the blogosphere has to say with regard to the conference:

http://uncrediblehallq.blogspot.com/2007/04/harvard-humanism-conference.html

Chris Hallquist wrote:
I guess the benediction thing wasn't horrible, I was willing to take a "when in Rome" type attitude, but it does seem to be a symptom of trying to copy religious institutions without being careful to always think "is this something we ought to be copying?"

 

Harvard University Gazette

http://www.news.harvard.edu/gazette/2007/04.26/09-humanist.html

Harvard Gazette wrote:
Among the imperatives offered: Create more humanist chaplains (though there was some dissent over the religiosity of the name). Study the power of the media, and use it to educate the public. Have an issue (global warming?). Take women more seriously. Learn how to raise money. Join forces, and get past dissention.

 

humanist studies by Matt Cherry

Matt Cherry wrote:
Not surprisingly at conference celebrating a humanist "chaplaincy", the events included a noticeable strand of "religious humanism." Religious humanists don't believe in a god but they are comfortable with a more "congregational" style and structure for their meetings. Epstein is ordained as a secular humanistic Rabbi and there were some inspirational presentations, and even a benediction, from other humanist rabbis. These moments of humanist reverence did not appeal to everyone however, and some of the blogs by conference-goers have picked up on that.

However, Matt also went on to say:

Matt Cherry wrote:
As a humanist I consider myself completely non-religious. But I believe that differences of style should not prevent all humanists and freethinkers -- ranging from religious humanists to confrontational atheists -- from working together on the substantive agenda that we all share. If that’s all we learn from this "New Humanism" conference, then it will have been a lesson of huge value.

So there is a good glittering generality with regard to the 'substantive agenda that we all share', but don't really have.

 

 

Since I'd get in trouble for reposting any of what was written on iidb, I'll just post the link to one attendees thread:

http://www.iidb.org/vbb/showthread.php?p=4387999#post4387999

 

Hemant's recap #1:

http://friendlyatheist.com/2007/04/23/the-new-humanism-conference-recap/

 

Rebecca's(one of my all-time favorite atheist females. I would bear her children.)

http://skepchick.org/blog/?p=516

skepchick memoirs wrote:
Wine really helped me understand the use of humanism, while previously I was unsure that it was anything more than a dolled up, neutered term for atheist.

And this which echoes my own indictments pre- and post- conference.

skepchick memoirs wrote:
The only conference lowlight I’ll mention is one that may apply overall to the humanist movement, though I’m not sure: it was a disturbing trend of kowtowing to religion. As an example, there was a teleconference with a Southern Baptist convention, during which time Greg, the Humanist Chaplain of Harvard, referred to the planet Earth as “the Creation.” This was repeated in the conference pamphlet. The Creation? This came mere hours after one speaker criticized the way some people redefine “god” to mean “love” or “nature” — why use that language? It’s useless, and worse yet confusing. In addition, a number of the talks were sermons. I mean, they were really, really sermons just without the god. The syntax, the tone, and some of the message (such as pleas for money) made many in the audience noticeably uncomfortable. I sincerely hope that this was merely a one-time unintended effect, but I fear that it might be indicative of a more widespread trait in humanism.

 

Apparently, the new humanism has still failed to address the concerns of the anti-religious. So, we are at an impasse.

Yet again, I must choose to remain outside of the 'group' much as the same way that I left christendom long ago. Am I better for it? I don't know. I do know that I am comfortable with non-religious atheists here at www.rationalresponders.com and will continue to speak out against religions which I view as harmful.

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This sounds very much like

This sounds very much like the arguments we were having in the London Brights meeting

 

Point is atheism is not a belief system

If you rip away someone religious views you need to replace it with something else

 

In other words atheism need to be pro something as to anti religion. If not humanism then something else

 

You don't rip away a heroin addicts drugs without giving him an alternative?

 

Jon


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mrjonno wrote: You don't

mrjonno wrote:
You don't rip away a heroin addicts drugs without giving him an alternative?

Interesting analogy. I was part of a group of friends that did just that with someone in 1993. It worked. Dude has been heroin free since. A chair, a tarp, some rope, and three days time AND a choice on his part to follow the treatment and get better. Methadone is fucking with natural selection(that may seem harsh, but I stand by my opinion on this matter.)

I think it would be a fine analogy except for the fact that I do not view religion as a drug. It is a communicable disease. Thus the analogy would read: "you don't cure a diseased person's disease without giving him another one?" and it falls to pieces.

This cry that religion is humanity's crutch or opiate offers no excuse for its superfluous nature. We have already proven sufficiently, in my opinion, that one does not need religion to be ethical(in fact, often the converse is true). We have already shown that religion actually does more harm than good in uber-religious societies.

This 'new humanism' has taken on the aspect of a mutated virus that is trying to infect those who have become immune to the other strains of mind viruses.

Thus my questioning analogy of:

If AIDS cured cancer then would you be for AIDS?

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Sorry Darth, I don't mean

Sorry Darth, I don't mean to leave you hanging in the middle of this debate.  I havn't been on the computer much lately.

 

Quote:
Apparently, the new humanism has still failed to address the concerns of the anti-religious.

Little is known and little has been seen on the "new humanism."  I would wager that you are a results-based person.  So am I.  You have not seen results from the new humanists to make yourself feel less concerned.  I sympathize, but I would also like to say that there has been little time for results to come to fruition from the new humanism.  You and the rest of the community have yet to see the results it would take for the new humanism to be considered viable, and I don't blame you.

 I will say, new humanists are in the midst of working to provide these results.  Until then, we stand at the "impasse."

The Enlightenment wounded the beast, but the killing blow has yet to land...


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Tomcat wrote:

Tomcat wrote:

Sorry Darth, I don't mean to leave you hanging in the middle of this debate. I havn't been on the computer much lately.

No problem, Tomcat. I know those hard weeks too well. I'll still be here.

Quote:
Quote:
Apparently, the new humanism has still failed to address the concerns of the anti-religious.

Little is known and little has been seen on the "new humanism." I would wager that you are a results-based person. So am I. You have not seen results from the new humanists to make yourself feel less concerned. I sympathize, but I would also like to say that there has been little time for results to come to fruition from the new humanism. You and the rest of the community have yet to see the results it would take for the new humanism to be considered viable, and I don't blame you.

I will say, new humanists are in the midst of working to provide these results. Until then, we stand at the "impasse."

I can't tell you how much I would like to see something, anything that will change my mind with regard to the people allegedly at the forefront of the new humanism. Judging from responses to me... I'm not in the majority concerning my 'issues'. lol. Either that or we have all sides scared of posting to us.

I'm not just looking for that 'one thing' in this exclusive medium either. I'm looking at the blogs and publications. Contrary to the way I've presented my thoughts, I am maintaining an open mind in the hope that I've missed something redemptive. (lol. religious word.)

I hope they hurry up or at least give us a teaser of what is to come.

 

[Edit: Damned quote tags] 

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*BUMP* For my second day of

*BUMP*

For my second day of Festivus' airing of the grievances, I give you this thread and direct you to the website of 'the new humanism'

Of course, it hasn't been updated since September. However, I'm sure they are putting the money earned from the conference and donations toward promoting Chaplain Epstein's agenda of radio broadcasts etc.

Perhaps looking in on JUST the HAHVAHD 'troupe':

harvardhumanism

Well, at least they have a December entry. Cool. Let's see what it says:

tis-the-season-to-be-secular

I'll pause for a moment to allow you to read the words of Dan.

"... Christmas and almost all other religious holidays are about other people, not about God." - Dan Robinson, Harvard Secular Society officer.

Certainly, from an objective standpoint, the gift-giving, well-wishing, happy-cum-giddy feelings associated with this 'season' are about that for (I would gamble) a majority of our population.

However, I am constantly amazed at the number of 'jesus is the reason for the season' signs that replace the politicking on the pickets of public grounds. I am astounded that we still refer to some ideologues of that bastard faith catholicism as 'christmas and easter christians'. Schools across the country teach the children songs about this 'holiday' all while subtly moving them toward that end of the spectrum that 'harvard humanists' and 'fundamental atheists' are supposed to be fighting so hard to rid ourselves with a concerted effort.

If there is NOT a Glittering Generalities Deconstruction 101 class then I submit my application to your allegedly prestigious university for consideration for the chair.

Smartest idiots on the planet.

Happy Ass Retarded Village of Assholes, Rejects, and Dilletantes

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Speaking to the idea that

Speaking to the idea that Humanists are all talk about good works and no action, what are you smoking? Organized, philosophical Humanism started with the Ethical Culture Movement. Humanism and Secular Humanism came out of it, but they represent the same philosophy, which is why the international umbrella organization is called the International Humanist and Ethical Union. Felix Adler founded Ethical Culture. Anyone who doubts the commitment of humanists to "deeds, not creeds" should check out the list of social reforms Adler worked for in his lifetime: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Felix_Adler_%28Society_for_Ethical_Culture%29

 

The American Humanist Association was founded with the explicit mission to push social reforms. People like Corliss Lamont were civil rights activists. The AHA is situated in Washington DC and has been active for decades fighting politically for sexual equality, other civil liberties, good science education.

 

The Secular Coalition for America was started by Humanists and many of its member organizations are Humanist ones. It has a lobbyist - Lori Lipman Brown - who was part of a *gasp* a member of a Unitarian church.

 

In my local community, the Ethical Humanist Society of Philadelphia runs a summer daycamp for poor inner city kids, among other social service work. The Humanist Association here has a relationship with a secular charity which deals with foster and adoptive children. We discuss books and films on issues of social concern in order to foster awareness and inspire action on the part of individuals. How's that for putting words into action. Anyone who thinks Humanists don't take action to fullfill their values is too lazy to bother researching the reality.

 

Sorry if you can't deal with the subtlety and diversity among Humanists and you feel the need to lump us all together so that you can make us out to be hypocrites. But atheism by itself is nothing more than a negative statement. Any idiot can be an atheist. It takes devotion to hard critical thinking to be a rationalist. And it takes both that and deep concern for the needs of all people to be a Humanist.

 

Only if we understand can we care. Only if we care will we help. Only if we help shall they be saved.