Question for RRS

pkremida
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Question for RRS

1.) Do any of you hold any PhDs in philosophy or some other academic qualification to make you *the* cure for theism? Or are you just regurgitating arguments? (I like the show...for the most part....just wondering)

2.) You will catch more flies with honey. "The Mind Disordoer Known as Theism"? Are you kidding me? Way to preach to the choir.

I'll agree that religion has done more harm than good, and should be discarded. But what about the people for which religion is a positive for them and those around them? If one's delusion is for good, then why try and shatter it? Who cares?


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pkremida wrote:1.) Do any of

pkremida wrote:
1.) Do any of you hold any PhDs in philosophy or some other academic qualification to make you *the* cure for theism? Or are you just regurgitating arguments? (I like the show...for the most part....just wondering)

Hi. I'm part of the team, and I have two masters degrees in clinical psychology. As soon as I finish up my dissertation, I'll have a doctorate to boot.

So, does this give me the credentials to be the 'cure' for theism? Well, a good deal of my training has to do with helping people to learn how to recognize irrational thoughts and how to dispel them. In fact, you could say that the heart of cognitive therapy itself is helping people recognize and dispute irrational beliefs. The co-founders of cognitive therapy, Albert Ellis and Aaron Beck would both say so - that's what they created the therapy for...

So, if you want to equate theism with an irrational belief - and I do, then I'd have to answer your question with a 'yes'.

That said, I must question the false dichotomy in your claim. Either one is a doctor, or they must reconcile themselves to just unconsciously regurgitating the works of others? I think there's a middle ground here, don't you? Intelligent people without doctoral degrees, who can understand arguments and use them appropriately. Even intelligent non-doctors who create new arguments.

In fact, that describes every doctoral candidate: for in order to become a doctor in the first place, you have to demonstrate novel thinking.

Plenty of people without doctorates have come up with good ideas.... Einstein overturned physics before he received his doctorate.... I think someone can tackle the irrationalism of theism without earning a doctorate first.

But it helps.

Quote:

2.) You will catch more flies with honey.

People say this all the time, but Rush Limbaugh pulls in millions of listeners, many of them liberals. PBS tends to be more scholarly and civil. No one watches. Well, a few do.

So I really have to question your claim here - yes, we should strive to be civil, but at the same time, its disengenuous for all of us to pretend that we don't like conflict.

In other words, I bet plenty of theists will react to comments such as the one you are about to mention:

Quote:

"The Mind Disordoer Known as Theism"? Are you kidding me? Way to preach to the choir.

Quote:
I'll agree that religion has done more harm than good, and should be discarded. But what about the people for which religion is a positive for them and those around them?

Freud had the same concerns and he expressed them in Future of an Illusion. What about those who held onto religion as a crutch?

Well, you can't take someone's crutch away without offering them something better.... either a better crutch, or a cure....

Quote:

If one's delusion is for good, then why try and shatter it? Who cares?

If you are interested, I can tell you more about how Freud answered this question. I think the main problem is that a comforting illusion stops people from maturing.....

Those who know the good, do the good. - Socrates

Books on atheism.


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I also hold a B.A. from a

I also hold a B.A. from a bible college with an emphasis in theology and bible and am currently working towards an M.A. in counseling and PhD in clinical psych. Qualification aside, the legitimacy of any posting is to be found in its cogency, not whether the person is educated.

As to the statement of considering those for whom religion is a blessing, I can only point to perspective and value. This brings up Pascal's wager, a ridiculous argument to be sure, but still used or assumed by many. In it is assumed the inherent nature of religion being good for humanity. While I would admit to the notion that there are many for whom religion has had no overt negative effects, the discussion of religious thought and in particular its legitimacy goes beyond whether one or any number of people "benefit" from it.

One of my values and one that I believe should be shared by anyone dedicated to humanity or more basically, knowing reality, is the desire to know regardless of where that desire takes me. There is a responsibility in thought that goes beyond what might be individually beneficial, to what it means to acknowledge existence as is. To live a lie, even if it seems neutral in effect, is still wrong because it's a lie. And lies breed more, because reality does not care whether any specie lives or dies and denying reality, which is the heart of absolutist religion, does nobody any good.

Every one of your relationships to man and to nature must be a definite expression of your real, individual life corresponding to the object of your will. -Erich Fromm


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pkremida wrote:1.) Do any of

pkremida wrote:
1.) Do any of you hold any PhDs in philosophy or some other academic qualification to make you *the* cure for theism?

One must hold a PhD in philosophy in order to qualify themselves for being able to cure someone's theism? I would think a PhD in Psychology would be much more appropriate anyway. I find many lay people who are great at debunking religion, and helping to rid someone of their irrational theistic beliefs, The Infidel Guy comes to mind. Jake from the atheist network comes to mind as well, and not to toot my own horn but I hear that the 35 deconversions I knowingly helped with, is a very large number. Neither Jake nor Reggie as far as I know, hold college degrees, and they are considered by many to be two of the best voices for atheism the internet has ever offered.

In terms of RRS qualifications, there are about 10 of us that I think are worth mentioning in this case. We clearly have a core (the top 5 listed), however there are quite a few people we are extremely close with and refer to on a day to day basis for a plethora of reasons. You don't always hear some of our most credentialed voices on every show. Many of the members that you don't always hear, get called on for back up work, moderation duties, online debates, suggestions, and for other specific issues. Some qualifications:

Brian Sapient: self taught past HS
Rook Hawkins: self taught past HS

Yellow 5: Bachelors in Chemical Engineering and Microbiology

Kelly: Currently in school Psychology Major, Philosophy Minor

Razorcade: Has a degree, I forget what field

Left of Larry: doesn't play as integral of a role as some of the other members listed, however his role expands daily. I forget his degree, but he might even have a doctorate already. (Larry, feel free to correct me)

Richard Carrier: B.A. History and Classic Civilizations, M.A. and M.Phil in Ancient History, has an ABD doctorate in Ancient History as well.

Chaoslord2004: Currently in school, Philosophy major

Todangst: LPC, Psy M. (both are Masters degrees in Psychology).

RickyRoma: 9 months into a 2 year PhD program (I forget the field), he's also a board moderator here, and ready for online debate as needed.

Proclaim: Degrees in Psychology and Philosophy

Of all the fields there are in social behavior, psychology is the most important in ridding someone of their theism. Theism is irrational. Albert Ellis one of the worlds most famous psychologists specializing in CBT and REBT calls it the most irrational of thoughts.

As for academic qualifications, again, degrees are really unimportant here. My credentials and credibility lie in my arguments. You are tinkering on asserting that without a degree we're not credible, which would be an inverted appeal to authority fallacy of sorts.

Quote:
Or are you just regurgitating arguments? (I like the show...for the most part....just wondering)

That's a false dichotomy. (and I didn't even need a college degree to figure that out. Eye-wink ) As if not having a PhD would mean that the only other option is to be regurgitating arguments. In reality, the irony is that just as many PhD's are likely "just regurgitating" arguments as non PhD's.

A great many of the arguments that RRS members make have been made before us, however some new ones have come out of our team as well. I myself have an argument/hypothesis that we will seek an answer to later with a scientific study. The argument is that "like a snowflake, no two gods are alike." To demonstrate this we will go to a series of Churches and survey as many people as possible from the same sect of Church and seek to find out if they all believe in the exact same version of god, upon answering a string of questions. I presume the answer will be that "no two gods are alike." I also know of quite a few situations in which myself, Rook or IG for example will contrive an argument only to find out someone has made the argument beforehand. This type of argument isn't a regurgitation, it's evidence of a critical thinker that has used logic similar to a past thinker.

The point is, one doesn't have to have a PhD to contrive their own arguments, we aren't "just regurgitating arguments."

Some of the most famous thinkers the world has ever known made their biggest discoveries or wrote their most important works before they ever got a degree. Considered to be the greatest philosopher of the 20th century Wittgenstein wrote his most famous work around 1920, the Tractatus. It wasn't until he went to Cambridge in 1929 to work there that he found he couldn't work there without a degree. Bertrand Russel helped in the process and Tractatus was submitted for Wittgensteins' doctoral thesis. The most important philosopher of the 20th century wrote original thoughts, and lectured on them for 10 years before he had a doctorate.

Oh, also...
Einstein wrote E=MC2 BEFORE he got his PhD.

Quote:
2.) You will catch more flies with honey. "The Mind Disordoer Known as Theism"? Are you kidding me?

No. As for flies with honey... I prefer to metaphorically bomb the shit out of the files, and I assure you, I'll catch more.

note: I have to insert "metaphorically" there, or some dumbass will think that I'm either planning or condoning violence, something you're likely never to see me do.

One last note... any theist that takes the time to talk to me who isn't a jerk to me, will find me to be a very gentle, kind, and loving person.

Quote:
Way to preach to the choir.

Are you presuming that no theists ever see our banner?

Quote:
I'll agree that religion has done more harm than good, and should be discarded. But what about the people for which religion is a positive for them and those around them? If one's delusion is for good, then why try and shatter it?

Let's assume for a moment that religious belief does no harm, and actually is a postive, I don't believe such a person exists by the way, but let's assume it. By believing in a god, that person is in effect condoning a system that does more harm then good to others. Theism is the worst irrational belief the world has ever known, it has caused more harm than any other single belief in the history of this planet. To be a theist, even if we assume it does nothing but positive things for one specific theist, is to show other theists that it's ok, one validates the beliefs of another.

Quote:
Who cares?

I do, many board members here do, other "Squad members" do, countless citizens of the world do... and you should too. Oh, you meant if theism actually does more positive than good for someone. Like I said, I don't think that person exists.

- Brian Sapient


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When answering your question

When answering your question in reference to RRS members I figured you were referring specifically to the radio show, and everything that goes into it. However it goes without saying (I'd hope) that this community attracts high level degreed individuals to discuss and debate religion. It's our hope to have a thriving community of religious debate as time passes, and other members who are well qualified to discuss these issues (not just degreed members) will play an extremely important role.

FWIW: "Mind disorder/disease known as theism" is made for shock value, however it's a statement we stand behind.

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pkremida
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I didn't mean to present the

I didn't mean to present the credential vs. regurgitating as a dichotomy. Just meant to present these two extremes and wonder where you fell.


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pkremida wrote:I didn't mean

pkremida wrote:
I didn't mean to present the credential vs. regurgitating as a dichotomy.

Well that's a relief.

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Just meant to present these two extremes and wonder where you fell.

I wouldn't even view them as extremes. If I was a PhD who could make "X" batch of arguments as a result of my studies, or I was a high school dropout that could make almost the exact same "x" arguments, are they really extreme differences? Again, the validity of an argument is not in the credentials the person has. A PhD is similarly capable of presenting a flawed argument as an educated non-PhD.

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I myself have a BS in

I myself have a BS in Psychology.


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pkremida wrote:1.) Do any of

pkremida wrote:
1.) Do any of you hold any PhDs in philosophy or some other academic qualification to make you *the* cure for theism? Or are you just regurgitating arguments? (I like the show...for the most part....just wondering)

Let me start to answer this question with another question. What qualifications does one need, to be an authority on the authenticity of God? It seems to me there are millions of people out there both educated and not (although, I would bet money that MOST are not) that will defend and consider themsleves authoritative on the idea that there is a God.

To answer your question though, I hold a BS in Biology, and am currently working on a MS in Molecular Biology researching Malaria. My area of exptertise lies within the realm of science (both molecular, as well as ecological) and evolution. However, I am somewhat versed in some philosophy and logic (not as an authoritative figure by far). The point, however, I think is that you do not need to have ANY degrees to understand rationality. I don't think we consider ourselves the "cure" for theism, we just help facilitate those that want to understand the fallacies associated with irrational mindsets (theism being the crux of the problem) and help deconvert or debate theists. That's all. I don't think you necessarily need a PhD in anything to be able to do that, just a sound mind. However, credentials give you credibility, no matter how rational one may be. But as they say.... You can graduate from Harvard law or medical school and still be a fool. As is often the case.

pkremida wrote:

2.) You will catch more flies with honey. "The Mind Disordoer Known as Theism"? Are you kidding me? Way to preach to the choir.

I'll agree that religion has done more harm than good, and should be discarded. But what about the people for which religion is a positive for them and those around them? If one's delusion is for good, then why try and shatter it? Who cares?

I think it is fairly safe to say that religion, as a whole, has had more of a negative impact on the world than positive. We are seeing it today with the violence, hatred and intolerance as we have in the past. I also see religion as a threat to our constitutional democracy. This is what got me involved in atheist activism in the first place. I was once an apatheist (yeah I like that term). I thought, hell, live and let live right? And to some extent I still believe that. However, after seeing what this country and it's xtian right politicians are doing, I decided I will not sit idly by while MY constitutional rights are going to be taken away. So...to that extent I AM ONE WHO CARES; about society, the regression of mental rationality and my future as a citizen of this world.

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I'll add myself to the list,

I'll add myself to the list, currently in school for Astrophysics.

We are all educated people here, but it is our reason that is most important.

"Character is higher than intellect... A great soul will be strong to live, as well as to think."
-Ralph Waldo Emerson


pkremida
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I really think I just came

I really think I just came across has hostile on the qualification front. You're right, if the invalid or the scholar make the same argument, neither is more valid than the other. I was really just curious on that front. When I read it I can understand why you would think that with phrases like "regurgitating old arguments".

I stick with my assertion that you will catch more flies with honey, though. I have converted many a theist to the light of reason as well. I do it with calm questions and a positive look at the atheist worldview. If I attack somebody's beliefs as a mind disorder, I'm not going to make much difference in the world. Do theists read your banner? Sure. But they just get mad at it.

I'm sure you are all good people in person, and you are doing what you believe is right (for the most part I agree that it is, I only have a problem with method). The internet is a great place to misinterpret tone, so please understand that while my language may not show it sometimes, my questions and comments do come from my heart in hopes of creating positive, creative, enlightening, and honest dialog.


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pkremida wrote:I really

pkremida wrote:
I really think I just came across has hostile on the qualification front. You're right, if the invalid or the scholar make the same argument, neither is more valid than the other.

Cool, glad you are not above telling someone else they're right. An admirable trait.

Quote:
I was really just curious on that front. When I read it I can understand why you would think that with phrases like "regurgitating old arguments".

Yes, and my bad for assuming too much. (this goes to the "tone" comment you make below)

Quote:
I stick with my assertion that you will catch more flies with honey, though. I have converted many a theist to the light of reason as well. I do it with calm questions and a positive look at the atheist worldview. If I attack some body's beliefs as a mind disorder, I'm not going to make much difference in the world. Do theists read your banner? Sure. But they just get mad at it.

On this note we are engaging in memetic warfare. We need people like you! We plant the vile bitter to swallow seed that not many will stomach, and you come in and clean the the crime scene. (how's that for a shitload of metaphors)

Seriously though, people ponder our outrageous wording, they might not accept it, but the "good cop" (you) who has a civil discussion with them, after we are done with them is likely to see more positive affect than had we not said a thing. Out of all of the people who have admitted to being deconverted to me in person, I can't recall many that I used wording like "mind disorder."

So, what am I saying? I guess I agree with you in many regards. However I think we play a necessary role. I've formulated this view over 7 years of online debate. I was the "nothing but pleasant" person for quite a long time. Over the years I've realized that this outlook on how to treat theism is just as important as the more flies with honey outlook. People need a jolt, a shake, a scary wake up call. They're playing with fire.

Recently I found Sam Harris say something that validated my viewpoint, it has become my favorite quote. I've posted it in quite a few places, so my apologies if you've seen it....

From an interview.

Quote:

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


A: 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.

This is a relatively new way to look at how we should treat theism, and I think that as time passes, this type of mentality will grow and thrive. Someone feel free to correct me if there has been a time in history where we have gone from the "you should respect every ones beliefs mentality" in society, to "ridiculing those with ridiculous yet commonly held beliefs." I think we are at the forefront of an entirely new mode of thought.

Quote:
I'm sure you are all good people in person, and you are doing what you believe is right (for the most part I agree that it is, I only have a problem with method). The internet is a great place to misinterpret tone, so please understand that while my language may not show it sometimes, my questions and comments do come from my heart in hopes of creating positive, creative, enlightening, and honest dialog.

That's good to know, thanks. All is good between us now. I too am much like you. Very kind hearted, I can be a dick, but only if someone deserves it. And I agree that the internet is a breeding ground for misinterpretation.

- Brian Sapient


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Question. I notice you have

Question. I notice you have threads about shows, so why not a show about threads? Make it a reocurring feature where a thread/discussion that tickled your interrest is tackled, posts are quoted, if posible contributig posters call in, or others. Blend board and radioshow even more.

Okay that was more of a showidea than a question. But not a bad one huh?

~Let us be reasonable~

You want to claim there's such a thing as "the supernatural"? Fine. I hereby declare you to be "paracorrect" in doing so. 


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Jutter wrote: Okay that was

Jutter wrote:

Okay that was more of a showidea than a question. But not a bad one huh?

Nope not a bad one at all I've juggled this around a bunch, and the only issue I have with it is that it doesn't make sense or may seem uninteresting to certain listeners who aren't interested in the board. I use to go on "The Beware of God" show and inform their audience about board happenings in a small segment, at the bare minimum, something like that could go on our show.

Anywho, good idea. I think we should go forward with this depsite my thoughts against it. The positive is maybe it'll entice people to get involved on the boards. Smiling

- Brian Sapient


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