A Reply to a Troll

Rook_Hawkins's picture

 

What I am not, apparently, is a historian.  There is no truth behind this jocularity, but there is a serious accusation that needs to be addressed.  In a recent thread, posted by somebody who exhibits a severe naivety to logical discourse, I have been called out, as it were.  In any case, this is a response, although concise as it may be, to the presupposition of this little nimrod (used in the Biblical sense, of course) for everything abrasive.
 

Three headers, or points, are situated throughout the post.  They are so called “What is Research?”, “What is a Historian?”, and “What is peer review?”.  In all three of these categories, the author has listed examples of the criteria that need to be met in order to be sufficiently considered an expert.  In my examination of the three topics, I have not found a single criterion that would somehow invalidate my position as a Historian.    

Under his “Research” category, he lists the need to be proficient at “several semitic languages, Koine Greek, and Latin. (sic!)”  I don’t know many scholars who hold so many proficiency certificates in all of those languages.  With the exception of Bart Ehrman, who is a textual critic (so his job is to specifically deal with all these languages), I can not think of many scholars who would fit this criteria.  Perhaps he meant that the historian needs to be proficient in some of these languages?  In any case, I am proficient in translating Koine Greek and Coptic.  I defer to other experts, as do many historians, in languages outside of their focus.  I would also agree with his conclusion that a broad understanding of archaeological methodologies is required, and anybody who has taken my online course can verify that I have always made sure they understood its importance.  Any cursory reading of the articles I write will validate this further. 

This person, who continues to show his ignorance, asks “What is a Historian?” By which he quotes from wikipedia (there are other, more valid sources for information and definitions; an Oxford Dictionary would hold more weight here), that an expert historian should have a “thorough and broad understanding” of a period some 1200 years, spanning the composition of Homer’s epics to fall of the Roman Empire.  I would agree, and again I do not see how this would invalidate my position.  Not only do I have a library of information throughout the course of these generations, but I also am more than knowledgeable about new scholarship on about 600 years of this span.  Specifically, my focus starts from the conquest of the ancient Near East by Alexander the Great and ends at the Council of Nicea in 325.  

Finally, he gets the definition of peer review right, and then says that I cannot be in the process of this.  This is a claim, like the others he makes, that he does not back up but rather he presupposes they are incorrect.  A scan of the forum topics on the RRS message boards will reveal the thread in which Thomas L. Thompson, a leading scholar of the Old Testament and editor of a peer reviewed journal, admits that he is indeed peer reviewing my book in light of similar criticisms I have received from others with the same amount of ignorance displayed by the author of this new thread. 

Since no real criticism has been brought up against me, I see no reason to disagree with at least a majority of what this original poster defines as an expert.  I also see no reason why this author feels that these criteria do not reflect me in any accurate fashion—that is, unless he is so completely ignorant of any work I have posted or any research I have done.  But this original poster has shown ignorance to a multitude of other positions concerning the RRS and topics that the RRS deals with.  Being it is slowly becoming apparent that these tactics are the original posters modus operandi, I don’t expect many people to take him seriously.  At least, the people who matter will not take him seriously.
 

A post on the message boards alerted me to this topic, and some friends had informed me through private messaging that they thought I should reply.  Under the circumstances, I really didn’t have to as no claim was supported for me to have to defend myself against.  In any event, I decided to reply out of concern that my e-mail and private message boxes would be flooded with supporters who would be asking me to just that.    

Atheist Books, purchases on Amazon support the Rational Response Squad server, which houses Celebrity Atheists. Books by Rook Hawkins (Thomas Verenna)

On so called "credentials"

It surprises me how people think that going to college automatically gives you a useful amount of creditability.  The act of passing a test via memorization is a very unimpressive accomplishment in my field of work (software development.)  Since I am in a senior level position, I work with my boss to sort though resumes.  Anyone who lists programming as a hobby goes to the top of the list, even if they lack any kind of college education.

Far too often, I have witnessed the effects of what happens when you hire someone based on credentials alone.  Programming requires a high degree of logic, creativity, and problem solving.  Unfortunately, colleges and certifications tend to only help with that logic part.  Programmers who do not have the creativity and problem solving skills tend to write programs that are buggy, difficult to maintain, and difficult to expand upon without ripping out sections of code.  And as an annoying side effect, to get any complex coding done they tend to take up the time of more senior programmers.

For these reasons and many others, we find that experience is far more valuable.  When we see a resume from someone who says that they also program as a hobby, we know that they did not just memorize a bunch of syntax and programming patterns and are much more likely to have experience  to write good code that they have not seen in a text book before.

I suspect that being a historian has some similarities.  There are many insights that you gain when you have to figure things out for yourself.  Having read your work, I know that you are past the point of needing college education.  Your peer review validates this.  Your book will be a much more valuable credential than what any college has to offer.

It is a shame that this troll (Ishmael) is now polluting richarddawkins.net with their ignorance, but it seems that the regulars there are very capable of recognizing this troll's bullshit.  I think it is funny that the troll posted links to their other forum for "net drama" and warned that the posters there (including himself) are not as dignified.  I am reminded of this quote when visiting that site:

Quote:
"Great minds discuss ideas. Average minds discuss events. Small minds discuss people."
--Eleanor Roosevelt


Although for the "net drama" folks, "small minds" is quite an understatement.  I agree with your tact (and Brian Sapient's words) regarding these trolls.  Let them play in their place of retardation.  We have more important things to do than address the "small minds," and continuing to address those who are serious about discussing ideas is advantageous (although not greater than our primary goals at the RRS).
 

"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

  Everyone is a Historian,

  Everyone is a Historian, unless retarded. Lots of retards out there.

Following as a parrot is one thing, tearing it apart is another. Rook is tearing it up.  

How to define words

Yes.  It seems that now a few intelligent posters forgot that we use dictionaries to define words.

"A writer, student, or scholar of history." 1
"One who writes or compiles a chronological record of events; a chronicler." 1

(emphasis mine)


1 "historian." The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition. Houghton Mifflin Company, 2004. Answers.com 08 Mar. 2008. http://www.answers.com/topic/historian

"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

Mr. XC wrote:I suspect that

Mr. XC wrote:
I suspect that being a historian has some similarities. There are many insights that you gain when you have to figure things out for yourself.

In this assumption you would be incorrect. Though amateur historians do contribute to the overall base of knowledge that is the field of History, these amateurs do not portray themselves as "historians" and "experts". You will find very few, or no, post-graduate students of history that bestow upon themselves the title of "historian" or assume the title of "expert". This is horribly pompous even among working professionals. Among amateurs it would be considered narcissistic and readily dismissed.

I am willing to review Hawkins' book on publication and will of course submit links or copies to any subsequently published article. I am willing to keep an open mind as to his scholarship. But he should also be aware that making negative comments about education, and even placing himself above the need for education, should draw criticism. He is not immune to the same process that traditionally creates historical scholars. He is not a special case.

As I wrote at RDnet, if he desires to be a scholar of history, then he needs to enroll in a university immediately. This is the process of authentication required of everyone in the field. It is not optional.

HisWillness's picture

 I can see Greek and Hebrew

 I can see Greek and Hebrew (maybe Aramaic), but why Latin? Studying the Vulgate wouldn't really push you in any specific direction unless you were concerned with early translation. Maybe to understand the context? Sounds like blowing smoke anyway.

Saint Will: no gyration without funkstification.
fabulae! nil satis firmi video quam ob rem accipere hunc mi expediat metum. - Terence

Rook_Hawkins's picture

Rathpig, while I respect

Rathpig, while I respect your criticisms, I have never (nor would I) ever claim I am above the level of traditional education.  I do plan on attending.  Perhaps after I publish my book, when I have more time.  I still find the position of many of the people over at RnR to be more pompous than mine, even elitist.  Thanks for your comments though, whether founded or not.  Stick around a while.

Atheist Books, purchases on Amazon support the Rational Response Squad server, which houses Celebrity Atheists. Books by Rook Hawkins (Thomas Verenna)

My pre-membership comment

Mr. XC wrote:
I suspect that being a historian has some similarities. There are many insights that you gain when you have to figure things out for yourself.

In this assumption you would be incorrect. Though amateur historians do contribute to the overall base of knowledge that is the field of History, these amateurs do not portray themselves as "historians" and "experts". You will find very few, or no, post-graduate students of history that bestow upon themselves the title of "historian" or assume the title of "expert". This is horribly pompous even among working professionals. Among amateurs it would be considered narcissistic and readily dismissed.

I am willing to review Hawkins' book on publication and will of course submit links or copies to any subsequently published article. I am willing to keep an open mind as to his scholarship. But he should also be aware that making negative comments about education, and even placing himself above the need for education, should draw criticism. He is not immune to the same process that traditionally creates historical scholars. He is not a special case.

As I wrote at RDnet, if he desires to be a scholar of history, then he needs to enroll in a university immediately. This is the process of authentication required of everyone in the field. It is not optional.

(I see that now I have joined the site I can post without preview.)

Rook_Hawkins's picture

What are you talking

[Edit: I see that you have discovered why your comments were not showing]

Did you see my initial response to you?

Atheist Books, purchases on Amazon support the Rational Response Squad server, which houses Celebrity Atheists. Books by Rook Hawkins (Thomas Verenna)

Rook_Hawkins wrote:Did you

Rook_Hawkins wrote:
Did you see my initial response to you?

I am glad you have seen that school is your next probable step. Obtaining an actual formal education is not something that is optional for your chosen field, so this is a necessary endeavor. In fact once you have finished your current project you may find this is an excellent way to solicit scholarships. History is actually in a growth cycle at the moment because so many professors and researchers are retiring.

One more piece of constructive criticism that may give you a bit more credibility in general. Back away from the term "historian" and "expert". Humility goes a long way in any academic field. The more you make yourself a target the more people will shoot at you. You loose nothing in letting your work alone speak for you. If people want to call you a historian this is admirable, but choosing the title for yourself is pretentious.

As I have said, I have nothing against you personally. We are actually on the same philosophical side in most areas. It is because of this that I am taking the time to speak in a reasoned manner. I am by nature an iconoclast, so when someone pointed me in this direction the obvious desire to laugh at the seeming ridiculousness of so much of your organization. I originally called Poe's Law, but I guess that is another topic entirely at this point.

Good Luck, Rook. I look forward to reading your book.

Rook_Hawkins's picture

You are correct.  Although

You are correct.  Although just to clear things up, my "Historian" title was adopted more or less from it being consistently bestowed on me by others.  I've never attempted to hide the fact that I have no college credentials, but I have stressed the importance of merit, which I feel is more valuable then credentials, although I understand their importance. 

A funny thing happened to me after my lecture at FSGP, during the period I was flooded with questions, I was approached by some people who were in fact professors emeritus who thought I was a professor, and addressed me as "Dr. Hawkins."  Of course I corrected them, but it was a very thrilling feeling.  After nine years of research it felt like I had accomplished a very important step, however artificial it may have been. 

I hope you hang around and feel out the site more.  The people here are generally awesome. 

Atheist Books, purchases on Amazon support the Rational Response Squad server, which houses Celebrity Atheists. Books by Rook Hawkins (Thomas Verenna)

   Fuck all rules, "I AM

   Fuck all silly rules, "I AM GOD" some did say !  FUCK You that would deny me .... and they did ....    Assholes ......   

Cpt_pineapple's picture

I feel credentials play less

I feel credentials play less a role in the social sciences than the physical sciences.

 

For example, I don't need an English degree to write a book, or poetry etc... I don't need a political science degree to decide who to vote for.

 

Historical information is readily available through numerous books, that are relativly easy for the layman to understand and could very well accelerate their knowledge in the subjects.

 

One of my friends studies history as a hobby, so when he took it in university, he pretty much aced all the classes. So you probably could get a university equivalent education in history by doing your own research. however, that doesn't really teach you how to write history essays etc...

 

So credentials, while important, aren't really nessecary.

 

Cpt_pineapple wrote:I feel

Cpt_pineapple wrote:

I feel credentials play less a role in the social sciences than the physical sciences.

.........

So credentials, while important, aren't really nessecary.

 

Since you clearly stated this as an opinion, you are of course entitled to such a view.

Credentials are not necessary for someone to be a "student of history", it is when this amateur student takes upon themselves the titles of "historian" and "expert" that they must be called upon for their hubris. Anyone can be a student with or without formal education. No one should assume a professional title without following the process of the profession. This is no less important in the social sciences than any other field. Formal education exists to provide standards of conduct and quality of research in all academic fields. Simply reading the secondary literature of the genre does not make you a professional in the field. Writing of book on a related subject merely makes you a  productive  amateur.

I appears Mr. Hawkins became caught up in self-promotion and simply failed to realize that others in his chosen field might take umbrage at his arrogance. Since this has been pointed out, hopefully he will modify his claims in the future until he has earned the credentials that warrant the label.

 

Rathpig wrote:Credentials

Rathpig wrote:

Credentials are not necessary for someone to be a "student of history", it is when this amateur student takes upon themselves the titles of "historian" and "expert" that they must be called upon for their hubris.

Actually I was the one who started labeling him an expert in history, and I'm sticking to that.

 

Dictionary.com Unabridged (v 1.1) - Cite This Source - Share This ex·pert      /n., v. ˈɛkspɜrt; adj. ˈɛkspɜrt, ɪkˈspɜrt/ Pronunciation Key - Show Spelled Pronunciation[n., v. ek-spurt; adj. ek-spurt, ik-spurt] Pronunciation Key - Show IPA Pronunciation –noun

1.a person who has special skill or knowledge in some particular field; specialist; authority: a language expert.
2.Military.
a.the highest rating in rifle marksmanship, above that of marksman and sharpshooter.
b.a person who has achieved such a rating.
–adjective
3.possessing special skill or knowledge; trained by practice; skillful or skilled (often fol. by in or at): an expert driver; to be expert at driving a car.
4.pertaining to, coming from, or characteristic of an expert: expert work; expert advice.
–verb (used with object)
5.to act as an expert for.

 

Please donate to one of these highly rated charities to help impede the GOP attack on America 2017-2019.

Support our activism efforts by making your Amazon purchases via this link.

Cpt_pineapple's picture

Rathpig wrote:Cpt_pineapple

Rathpig wrote:

Cpt_pineapple wrote:

I feel credentials play less a role in the social sciences than the physical sciences.

.........

So credentials, while important, aren't really nessecary.

 

Since you clearly stated this as an opinion, you are of course entitled to such a view.

Credentials are not necessary for someone to be a "student of history", it is when this amateur student takes upon themselves the titles of "historian" and "expert" that they must be called upon for their hubris. Anyone can be a student with or without formal education. No one should assume a professional title without following the process of the profession. This is no less important in the social sciences than any other field. Formal education exists to provide standards of conduct and quality of research in all academic fields. Simply reading the secondary literature of the genre does not make you a professional in the field. Writing of book on a related subject merely makes you a  productive  amateur.

I appears Mr. Hawkins became caught up in self-promotion and simply failed to realize that others in his chosen field might take umbrage at his arrogance. Since this has been pointed out, hopefully he will modify his claims in the future until he has earned the credentials that warrant the label.

 

 

To have a knowledge of history doesn't require a degree.

 

To be called an 'expert' however I feel does.

 

I mean there's a difference between reading history books, and writing history papers for example.

 

The university educated have an edge in this regard since they do submit papers in their classes and if they make a mistake, there's a prof to correct them.

 

My point was it's easier for the un-educated to expand their knowledge is history or another social science than it is the physical science.

Sapient wrote: Actually I

Sapient wrote:
Actually I was the one who started labeling him an expert in history, and i'm sticking to that.

And what exactly are your credentials for labeling someone an expert?

It is fine to have the support of your friends, and if Mr. Hawkins wishes to claim that he is the most expert historian among his group of friends this is acceptable. He has however presented himself as both a historian and an expert outside of this limited group. It is therefore incumbent upon those who do work in the profession of History, or are serious student thereof, to question his use of these titles. He simply can't respond, "Because Brian { removed } says so." His friend Brian does not make this determination.

By your own provided definition Mr. Hawkins in not an "expert" in any field of History. He retains no "special skill or knowledge", is not a specialist or an authority, and by his own admission is not "trained by practice" as the term applies to this field.

I am merely asking that the same rules apply across the board to all people who wish to make such claims in public. I have been critical of the various evangelicals who wish to ingratiate themselves with undeserved titles, and I am being likewise fair in requiring the same behavior from Mr. Hawkins.

 

{ Edited to remove personal information.  Please do not post personal information about people.  - Edited by Mr. Atheist }

Cpt_pineapple wrote: To

Cpt_pineapple wrote:
 

To have a knowledge of history doesn't require a degree.

 

This is very true, and I think it is to the detriment of our society that more people do not have knowledge of the topic.

 

Cpt_pineapple wrote:
To be called an 'expert' however I feel does.

Most people with advanced degrees in any field would be hesitant to call themselves "experts". The more knowledge one obtains, the more likely one is to know their limitations.

 

Cpt_pineapple wrote:

My point was it's easier for the un-educated to expand their knowledge is history or another social science than it is the physical science.

I wouldn't disagree with this statement. The Humanities should be designed for easy access to all interested parties. My hope, especially since my field is interpretive history, would that everyone becomes an amateur history student. I actively work to promote this concept. This is also why it is so necessary that those who are neither professional historians or "experts" be asked to not use these titles. People should have some assurance that anyone who so desires is not presenting themselves as a professional. This is true of any field.

Rathpig wrote:Sapient wrote:

Rathpig wrote:

Sapient wrote:
Actually I was the one who started labeling him an expert in history, and i'm sticking to that.

And what exactly are your credentials for labeling someone an expert?

I graduated from Common Sense University with a Masters in Expertology.

 

Please donate to one of these highly rated charities to help impede the GOP attack on America 2017-2019.

Support our activism efforts by making your Amazon purchases via this link.

Sapient wrote:I graduated

Sapient wrote:

I graduated from Common Sense University with a Masters in Expertology.

 

 

Cool, can I get a double espresso, an Italian cream soda, and half a Reuben panini?

Hambydammit's picture

Quote:Cool, can I get a

Quote:
Cool, can I get a double espresso, an Italian cream soda, and half a Reuben panini?

Yep.  I knew you were going to cross the line into pretentious twatwaffle.  I was just waiting.  You know what?  I have two degrees, and as far as my areas of expertise go, about 1/50th of my knowledge comes from, or is even related, to my degrees. 

Look, if Rook writes a book, and it gets peer reviewed, and passes muster, then Rook counts as an expert.  Are you really going to stay in your little ivory tower when any Tom, Dick or Harry with good hair and enough knowledge to say the right talking points in the right order gets to be an expert on the news?

Everyone has tried very hard to explain this to you.  Rook does not, and has never (to my knowledge) attempted to portray himself as anything other than an autodidact with a great deal of knowledge on a particular part of history.   Because one usage of the word expert applies to him, many people refer to him as an expert.  Even so, you're not happy with that are you?  You want us all to use your definition because it's the one that makes Rook look like a young upstart whippersnapper.

Rook is our resident expert* on Biblical history.  Done.**

 

 

 

* For the purposes of this statement, the word 'expert' means: "A person with a high degree of skill in or knowledge of a certain subject.," as quoted from the American Heritage Dictionary.  The use of the word 'expert' in this context is not intended to imply, insinuate, or in any other way confer information regarding Rook's credentials from or with any institute of higher learning.  Any such inference is the responsibility of the twatwaffle making said inference, and bunched panties are expressly not the responsibility of the Rational Response Squad or any of its members or affiliates.

 ** This is almost the most useless and stupid thread in the history of the Rational Response Squad's existence.   In the time that Rook had to waste dealing with this stupid objection, he could probably have learned at least five more things about Biblical history, and he would be a little bit more of an expert.

 

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

http://hambydammit.wordpress.com/
Books about atheism

Ironically, I am holding

Ironically, I am holding Hawkins and RRS to the same standards that I hold the various religious pretenders. I understand that this is a closed-group with certain self-supporting ideas that bolster the rather tight monkey-sphere. Because this closed-group claims to speak for atheist issues, the legitimacy of the groups claims become important to me personally as both an atheist and a student of history. Were this merely an internet club created for it's own enjoyment then I would have no concern with it's deportment. RRS has placed themselves in the public arena of ideas. it should be no surprise that members of that public will voice legitimate criticisms. This is the nature of free thought. People will question both sides of the argument.

 

For any group claiming to represent atheism, an anti-education stand is unbelievable. I do not feel that Hawkins himself is quite a vehement about this as his supporters seem. My reply to { Removed } was given in kind to his smart-ass boast. He of course had the opportunity to say nothing.

 

As I have stated, Hawkins is not an "expert", nor should he claim expertise in any field of history. This is hubris. If he wishes to claim the title "Expert: like the posers on Fox News" this is a poor representation of his talents. If anything this organization is doing him a horrible disservice as a scholar by supporting this charade. Having a small us-versus-them team to cheer for is admirable, but one may need to examine what it is that is being cheered. Anti-education sentiment makes RRS no more relevant to the larger ideological conversation than the numerous evangelical parents who "home school" because of the same dislike for organized academics.

Those of us who happen to be both atheists and students of history have a responsibility to at least voice our concerns.

 

 

(Also, Hambydammit, if you hold two degrees and only 1/50th of your academic knowledge is from this effort, you should perhaps request a refund. My universities and professors have been much more inspirational.)

 

{ Edited to remove personal information. - Edited by Mr. Atheist }

Hambydammit's picture

Quote:(Also, Hambydammit, if

Quote:
(Also, Hambydammit, if you hold two degrees and only 1/50th of your academic knowledge is from this effort, you should perhaps request a refund. My universities and professors have been much more inspirational.)

Gee, and I thought sure you were going to say how awesome it is that I've continued to learn since leaving school.  I thought certainly you'd be impressed that after learning one discipline, I went on to amass a great deal of knowledge in others.  I'm crushed.

Quote:
Ironically, I am holding Hawkins and RRS to the same standards that I hold the various religious pretenders.

Ironically, you don't seem to recognize that Rook, regardless of his qualifications, is different in kind from religious pretenders.  There are only two kinds of religious teachers:  the pretenders and the delusional.  Rook is neither, for he has actual knowledge of empirical facts.

Quote:
I understand that this is a closed-group with certain self-supporting ideas that bolster the rather tight monkey-sphere.

My monkey would kick the shit out of your monkey.

Quote:
Because this closed-group claims to speak for atheist issues, the legitimacy of the groups claims become important to me personally as both an atheist and a student of history.

Dude, I made an official disclaimer.  I am a core member.  What else do you want?

Would you like us to do a really big banner on the front page?  "Rook does not have a college degree.  With this in mind, feel free to treat his writing as you would any other writing -- skeptically."  People will do that anyway.  If any of your fellow professors have their panties in a bunch, get their names together, and we'll do a thread just for them.  We'll entitle it:  "Rook knows a lot about history, but he doesn't claim to be a professor."  We'll put little individual copies of a form letter addressed personally to every professor, explaining in great detail that Rook doesn't have, nor does he claim to have, a degree.

From now on, would you like us to say, "Rook is our resident person who knows a whole lot about history"?

Seriously, I'm not just busting your balls here.  You tell me what word you want Rook to use.  He knows as much or more about his subject than most people with Masters degrees.

Quote:
This is the nature of free thought. People will question both sides of the argument.

Yeah.  People have repeatedly questioned Rook's credentials, and the answer has always been open and honest.  He's getting his book peer reviewed.  He is meticulously citing all of his work.  He's following all the proper protocols. 

Would you like him to stop writing?  He doesn't have the money to go to school.  Are you going to pay his way so that he can write his book with the proper credentials to suit your discriminating taste?

Quote:
For any group claiming to represent atheism, an anti-education stand is unbelievable. I do not feel that Hawkins himself is quite a vehement about this as his supporters seem. My reply to { Removed } was given in kind to his smart-ass boast. He of course had the opportunity to say nothing.

{ Edited to remove personal information. - Edited by Mr. Atheist }

For an atheist and a student of history to so blatantly misrepresent what our stand actually is is unbelievable.  If you've read any of our authors section, you know we are all about the scientific accuracy.

You know what?  I think I know what you're up to, but I'm going to let you get to it in your own time.  Frankly, I don't often get into this stupid IIDB/RD/RNR bullshit.  I'm too busy trying to do things that are actually productive.

If you're not doing what I suspect, I'm really damn curious how such a smart person as yourself could actually equate these statements:

"Higher education is not the only way to attain scholarly knowledge."

"We are against higher education."

I guess it's because I don't have a degree in history.

 

 

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

http://hambydammit.wordpress.com/
Books about atheism

I am merely holding a

I am merely holding a self-proclaimed atheist spokesperson and the subsequent group to the same standard I hold religious spokespeople. I have no other agenda.

As to Hawkins, I have encouraged him to complete his current project. I have also encouraged him to immediately drop use of the terms "historian" and "expert". These terms do nothing to help his position with academia and can only harm his position with critics. I would also encourage RRS in general and Hawkins specifically to learn more about the process of "peer review". I have yet to see the term used correctly. I will of course stand corrected if Hawkins has placed his manuscript for open review. I would be interested in the PDF and will provide my CV and faculty adviser contact to his publisher. What I have read, is that he has a few acquaintances commenting on his progress. This isn't "peer review".

As to the "can't afford school" canard. This is easy to say, but falls hollow on the many of us who have somehow found the means to accomplish our goals. If he is truly needs specific, then his opportunity to attend university is guaranteed. What those who offer this excuse do not seem to realize is that one can't be both a "self-taught expert" and have problems with tuition. In the Humanities this is especially true since departments are always looking for the next bright star. Universities should be begging him to attend if the hype is accurate. Perhaps the truth of the situation is somewhat embellished?

You may want to examine your own attitude in this affair. No one is above criticism. The atheist "community" should be criticizing self-proclaimed atheist "experts" much more harshly than we criticize the religious adherents for the very reasons that you cite. We, as an ideological group, do not suffer from a delusion that must be supported at all cost. We have the opportunity to scrutinize our self-proclaimed spokespeople because the basis of our ideology is not at stake. We should be better than the religious pretenders.

 

 

Hambydammit's picture

You didn't answer my

You didn't answer my question.  I was asking it seriously.  Please fill in the blanks with one or two words that convey his level of knowledge and don't sound stupid or forced:

 

Rook Hawkins is a(n) __________________ in the field of biblical history.

Rook is a(n) _________________.  (Please provide a word(s) that indicates that Rook pursues the study of biblical history as an autodidact and is engaged in active research and writing.)

 

I am taking your criticism seriously, but it sounds like you're just bitching and not offering a reasonable alternative.

Quote:
As to the "can't afford school" canard. This is easy to say, but falls hollow on the many of us who have somehow found the means to accomplish our goals.

You'll have to talk to Rook about this.  I can't answer for him, but I can say that I know him personally, and that I know that many of the really expensive books he's read were donated.  Personally, I don't know how he prioritizes the publishing of this book and obtaining a degree, nor do I know if he plans to use his research as a way to make himself attractive to a university.

Quote:
You may want to examine your own attitude in this affair. No one is above criticism.

There's criticism, and there's bitching.  So far, you've just bitched and acted superior.  Do you have a suggestion for my fill-in-the-blank?  Would you like to offer your services to try to get Rook a financial ride at a good school?  Would you like to help gather an acceptable panel of experts* to help with the peer review process?

With that being said, I'm officially done with this.  As it turns out, though I do not have any degrees in sociobiology, psychology, or anthropology, they are subjects of intense interest to me, and I'm busy becoming an autodidact in the fields.  You see, I think that it's important to bring science down from the towers and make it accessible and readily available to everyone.  By reading many different authors and several related subjects, I'm becoming very adept at incorporating parts of all of these fields into a coherent model of what it means to be human.  There have been other authors who have done this, you know.  Howard Bloom, author of The Lucifer Principle, is neither an evolutionary scientist nor an anthropologist nor a sociobiologist.  After receiving his undergraduate degree in English Literature, he turned down offers from many graduate schools, opting instead to pursue research on his own.  Nevertheless, the 1997 edition of his book includes rave reviews by scientists with PhDs in quite a few fields in which Mr. Bloom does not have degrees.  Mr. Bloom is regularly described as an expert, despite not having degrees in many of the fields he researches.

In any case, your objection has been noted, and your well-considered alternative descriptions would be greatly appreciated.  Have a nice day.

 

 

 

 

* In this context, the word expert is used to denote a specific level of formal training in a specific field, accompanied by the explicit acknowledgment of the recognized scholarly community within that field.  It does not include autodidacts or academians with unrelated fields of expertise.

 

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

http://hambydammit.wordpress.com/
Books about atheism

Rook_Hawkins's picture

I must correct you on a

I must correct you on a misinformed point.  You claim to have not seen "peer review" used correctly.  I've stated several times throughout this message board that I have been (and will continue to) submitting my manuscript for Peer Review to the Copenhagen International Seminar.  Thomas L. Thompson is the editor of the monograph, and it was originally he, not I, who requested this after hearing several of my perspectives on my book while he was on my radio program.  If you don't believe me, as I've addressed elsewhere, you are more than welcome to e-mail him.  He is currently reviewing the manuscript and has been sending me revisions based on style and focus.  He has become my friend in the process of our conversations, after he had extended this incredible opportunity to me, not beforehand (if you would try to claim this is because he felt obligated due to friendship). 

His open letter can be found upon review of the first post in our Frank Walton thread.  Please take the time to research a claim before making the assumptions you have been making throughout this thread.  You can locate this by using the google search function on the left hand side of the page.  It is much appreciated.

Atheist Books, purchases on Amazon support the Rational Response Squad server, which houses Celebrity Atheists. Books by Rook Hawkins (Thomas Verenna)

Rook Hawkins is a informal

Rook Hawkins is a informal student and a historical hobbyist. That is not an elitist view. Those are simply the facts. This may change with time, but as I've said previously the self-taught require twice the work for half the recognition. Those are the facts of life. He can accomplish great things from this position, and after he has accomplished those things then he may be worthy of more lofty titles. Taking the titles onto yourself for potential accomplishments in the future is back ways around.

Furthermore, a common mistake when discussing those who seem to place extraordinary value in the no-university approach is to point to specific individuals who either did not obtain an education yet excelled or excelled outside their educated field. This is admirable, but let's not forget that we are looking back on specific accomplishments after the dues were paid. This can't be extrapolated forward in a completely unrelated case just because it sounds like a good argument. Again this is looking at the situation back ways around because it suits a self-image. This is far from rational.

As to the charge of "bitching", once again this overlooks the fair dealing that should be given for everyone in a similar situation. Is it "bitching" to question the legitimacy of Kent Hovind's contrived degree from Patriot University? Is it "bitching" to question the validity of a Biology degree from Liberty? Those who aspire to the speak for atheists as a group, and that is the purpose of RRS, need to undergo the same or greater scrutiny than that afforded any theistic group.

 

For the larger issues here, we are all self-taught to a very great extent. One of the most important aspects of a successful university student is that they must be able to learn independently. I have nothing but respect for those who are self-motivated. We all must be to accomplish our goals. But this self motivation doesn't bestow professional titles. Self-teaching does not make one an expert in a field until one has actually proven themselves not only valuable to that field but uniquely valuable.

 

Rook_Hawkins's picture

I would like to add to this

I would like to add to this conversation that enemies and detractors come freely.  I just ask that they spell my name correctly.

Atheist Books, purchases on Amazon support the Rational Response Squad server, which houses Celebrity Atheists. Books by Rook Hawkins (Thomas Verenna)

Rook_Hawkins wrote:I must

Rook_Hawkins wrote:
I must correct you on a misinformed point.  You claim to have not seen "peer review" used correctly.  I've stated several times throughout this message board that I have been (and will continue to) submitting my manuscript for Peer Review to the Copenhagen International Seminar. 

 

And again I must reiterate that this is not how the "peer review" process works. It can be part of a larger process. But an editor submitting a client's work to his own university's seminar is not how historical works, especially those claiming to be pivotal in the field, are normally "peer reviewed". Especially if this is being done piecemeal from an intended larger manuscript. This is obviously an honor for someone in your position. I don't want to distract from that aspect. But it is not part of an actual "peer review" process where several scholars in a specific field from several universities would review the work independently. Ideally these would be people unknown personally to you.

You really have no need to bolster your claims over and above simply stating that you are working on a book. You have unnecessarily opened yourself for external criticism. I should not have to be here telling you this. Less assuming titles and less making scholarly claims would serve you much better in this situation. Let your work speak for itself.

When it nears completion offer the manuscript to multiple university departments in your specialty. In the meantime you should focus on publishing segments of the work in actual peer journals. In fact you have somewhat overstepped yourself in trying to publish an actual book without working up from previously published monographs. It is actually much easier to work from previously reviewed independent segments of a larger whole.

You would also be wise to seek a reviewer heretofore unknown to you with published work in your specific field.

All this is "peer review".

 

 

Rook_Hawkins wrote:I would

Rook_Hawkins wrote:

I would like to add to this conversation that enemies and detractors come freely.  I just ask that they spell my name correctly.

I hope that I am neither an enemy or a detractor. I am actually taking time with this because of at least a passing concern. It was funny at first, and much of your organization remains hilariously funny to me; however I hope my words haven't been overly antagonistic.

I also hope that I haven't misspelled your name. If so it was not intentional.

 

(And if you are paraphrasing the older quotation then touche.)

 

 

 

My conversation with a soon to be college graduate

On this past Saturday, I had a chance to talk to a younger friend who is graduating from a college in the USA this summer.  Her degrees are in political science and history.  I did not tell her about this conversation, so that there would not be a bias in her reply.  I simply asked what she thought about calling people historians who do not hold a degree in history.  She said that there are many amateur historians who specialize in various subjects who do not hold degrees.  The difference between historians with a degree and historians without is loosely the difference between a Historian with a capital H and a historian with a lowercase H.  I take it that she is basically saying that the word historian can be used to describe what someone does and can also be used as a title.  I interpret that her comments mean that it is OK for Rook to be described as a historian based on his knowledge and what he does, but not use it as a scholarly title (or whatever she means by historian with a capital H).
 
Rathpig, I appreciate your attempt at keeping the RRS honest at avoiding scholarly titles that are not earned, but nowhere have I seen Rook using "historian" as a scholarly title.  Since this is not the case, and our language allows for the word historian to describe someone who does not hold a degree, then your objections do not apply to Rook unless you can find an example where scholarly usage is stated or strongly implied.  As English is a spoken language, the meaning of the word "historian" as a description of what he does seems perfectly acceptable by its common usage today.  Also, I would like to include the following quote as not being an authority on the matter, but simply adding another opinion to the mix for the purpose of demonstrating that this is not just what RRS supporters think and is an example of how others use the word historian in our spoken language:

Quote:
A historian is an individual who studies history and who writes on history.[1] The person may be an authority (or expert[2]) over history,[1] but this is not a requirement. Most generally, historians are the writers, compilers and narrators of history.[3]
 
1. "historian". Wordnet.princeton.edu.
  http://wordnet.princeton.edu/perl/webwn?s=historian
2. expert: "A person with a high degree of skill in or knowledge of a certain subject." The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition Copyright © 2007, 2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Updated in 2007. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
3. Whitney, W. D. (1889). The Century dictionary; an encyclopedic lexicon of the English language. New York: The Century Co. Page 2842http://books.google.com/books?id=wrACAAAAIAAJ  http://books.google.com/books?id=wrACAAAAIAAJ&printsec=frontcover#PPA2842,M1
 
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Historian". http://www.answers.com/topic/historian retrieved 3/9/2007.

I think that perhaps your investment in your education and/or involvement in scholarly activities has added some bias that is hindering your ability to use the word historian as a word and is also causing you to use the word exclusively as a scholarly title.

"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

  School teaches how to be

  School teaches how to be a parrot for the most part , fuck that  ....

Mr. XC wrote: ....but

Mr. XC wrote:
....but nowhere have I seen Rook using "historian" as a scholarly title.

 

One of the first things that was pointed out to me was the presence of a "Rational Response Squad Academy" where Mr. Hawkins was teaching History courses. The header for this "academy" reads:

Quote:
Students experience college level course for free via webcam room from experts and professors in various fields.

 

I would say this is a rather lofty posing for someone with a high-school education.

 

As to anecdotes and stretching dictionary definitions, this raises several strange impressions about just how deeply the membership here is invested in illusions and appearances as opposed to actual truth. Suffice it to say, any recent undergraduate using the title historian, with or without capitalization, is laughable. The term is rarely used by post graduates. In the field of History, "historian" is not a common self-title. Among amateurs it should be strongly discouraged for the same reason that any professional title is inappropriate among amateurs. History isn't somehow different because anyone can write a history paper from secondary sources. "Historian" and "historian" are just as much specific professional titles as "Geologist" or "biologist". I doubt anyone at RRS would condone high-school educated theists using the latter two titles in intelligent design debates.

Rook Hawkins is indeed presenting himself as a professional historian with the authority to teach "college level" courses. That reeks strongly of the exact same behavior for which evangelicals are rightly criticized. It should therefore be soundly criticized by the larger concerned group of secular humanists. So here I am.

 

 

I AM GOD AS YOU wrote:

I AM GOD AS YOU wrote:

  School teaches how to be a parrot for the most part , fuck that  ....

 

And which university would this be directed toward?

Reality is the direct opposite of this anti-education mantra. (Which, again ironically, I have heard verbatim from evangelicals.)

 

Urhm...

Ok, I'm being hit from about 50 directions right now so I may be on major information overload and be getting confused on wtf is going on here.  I'm in three different chats and just got about 50 pages of shit to read along with numerous links to various websites all at once.  So this is my official disclaimer just so everyone knows.

But what, really, is the problem here?

I see person a) You need to be more humble.

Person b) fuck off and die.

WTF is going on?  I may be seriously missing something here but I don't see Rathpig being unreasonable or mean to anyone.  Let's all calm down and talk like reasonable adults.

Can we do that?

I'm seriously confused.

First off, has anyone spoken negatively about formal education?  I would really like to see the exact quote.  I hope that none of us said such a thing.  Personally I would be completely shocked by it happening here.

"I am an atheist, thank God." -Oriana Fallaci

Just an FYI - there have

Just an FYI - there have been a couple instances of personal information in the form of names being used in this thread.  I have edited them out.  Please do not post personal information about people in a public forum.  Use their online user name.  Any further posts made that include someone else's personal information will result in a time out.

Now please resume your discussion.  Thanks!

pauljohntheskeptic's picture

Go have a few beers together...

I have watched with interest as several parties argue in a public forum over details and semantics. You all need to take this discussion to a private venue, as it is analogous to soldiers fighting among one another, as they are about to go into battle. Go meet and have a few beers together or use a telephone. As someone with both degrees and many more years of experience than either of you I see merit in both positions. However it seems you both are forgetting exactly who it is that is the opposition. Continued public nit picking of each other will cause damage to the cause of freeing oppressed theists from their own deluded beliefs. Every person that can be influenced to use their mind instead of their feelings is a victory. I have read comments from both sides and it is apparent you both desire to see more people as rational thinking individuals and not sheep following the beliefs of ancient mythologies. Keep this in mind if you continue to shoot at each other with you perceptions of what is good for the cause of Atheism.

____________________________________________________________
"I guess it's time to ask if you live under high voltage power transmission lines which have been shown to cause stimulation of the fantasy centers of the brain due to electromagnetic waves?" - Me

"God is omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent, - it says so right here on the label. If you have a mind capable of believing all three of these divine attributes simultaneously, I have a wonderful bargain for you. No checks please. Cash and in small bills." - Robert A Heinlein.

Rook_Hawkins's picture

Rathpig wrote:Mr. XC wrote:

Rathpig wrote:

Mr. XC wrote:
....but nowhere have I seen Rook using "historian" as a scholarly title.

 

One of the first things that was pointed out to me was the presence of a "Rational Response Squad Academy" where Mr. Hawkins was teaching History courses. The header for this "academy" reads:

Quote:
Students experience college level course for free via webcam room from experts and professors in various fields.

 

I would say this is a rather lofty posing for someone with a high-school education.

 

As to anecdotes and stretching dictionary definitions, this raises several strange impressions about just how deeply the membership here is invested in illusions and appearances as opposed to actual truth. Suffice it to say, any recent undergraduate using the title historian, with or without capitalization, is laughable. The term is rarely used by post graduates. In the field of History, "historian" is not a common self-title. Among amateurs it should be strongly discouraged for the same reason that any professional title is inappropriate among amateurs. History isn't somehow different because anyone can write a history paper from secondary sources. "Historian" and "historian" are just as much specific professional titles as "Geologist" or "biologist". I doubt anyone at RRS would condone high-school educated theists using the latter two titles in intelligent design debates.

Rook Hawkins is indeed presenting himself as a professional historian with the authority to teach "college level" courses. That reeks strongly of the exact same behavior for which evangelicals are rightly criticized. It should therefore be soundly criticized by the larger concerned group of secular humanists. So here I am.

I appreciate your concern, but this is an inaccurate description.  I never claimed my course was college level.  I only teach one course, or taught, as I've had to put it off to work on my book.  Mike, AKA Yellow#5 from our show holds two degrees and is a biological engineer, who was planning on teaching a college level course.  We had also planned on Richard Carrier, upon his return visit, would also do a live college course or lecture.  We have other candidates to teach as well, all holding degrees. 

I strictly state, and have stated (if you listen to some of our shows instead of laughing at them ignorantly) that I do not accept the title "scholar" - that I am a historian.  My friends and colleagues would label me as such, I would prefer to wait until I was accredited.  I will state this for everyone now: I am not a scholar, nor do I claim to be credentialed.  I am a historian in the sense that I write on, and study history, as a full time job.  I get paid to research my area of focus.

I feel you are misusing or misquoting material here to make your point.  I feel that you have misrepresented me and my position.  I will accept your apologies if you offer them.

 

 

Atheist Books, purchases on Amazon support the Rational Response Squad server, which houses Celebrity Atheists. Books by Rook Hawkins (Thomas Verenna)

Rook_Hawkins wrote:I feel

Rook_Hawkins wrote:

I feel you are misusing or misquoting material here to make your point.  I feel that you have misrepresented me and my position.  I will accept your apologies if you offer them.

This will be forthcoming when you apolgize to the profession of History for the misrepresentation on your part. Whether you feel people would understand the nuance or not and regardless of what you have "planned" for the future, Rook Hawkins has courses listed under the heading of "Rational Response Squad Academy" where "Students experience college level courses for free via webcam room from experts and Professors in various fields". You have falsely presented yourself as a "Bible and ancient texts expert" as well as a "historian".

You may "feel" that I am misusing or misquoting material, but you will notice that these quotes are taken verbatim from the website of your organization.  Your presentation clearly shows that you assume titles and accolades beyond your education or your demonstrated ability. For evidence of this one has to look no further than your own website header:

www.rookhawkins.com

 

Now once you are published to critical acclaim, and have undergone an actual peer review process, this situation may change. At this point you are assuming titles which you have not earned. being otherwise unemployed and "doing history" does not make you a professional historian. It makes you a dedicated amateur.

I have tried to present my concerns in a pointed but less than harsh manner. Frankly, it appears that you and members of your website would rather roleplay self-congratulations and faux-esteem than actually rationalize the situation. An evangelical amateur in your exact same situation would be deserving of harsh ridicule for the exact reasons I have outlined. You are pretending to play a role for which you have not achieved the title. This criticism will not magically disappear once I become bored with the exchange and move on. It is a valid criticism that will haunt you if you finally publish a book. I guarantee that the critics will use your past illusions of grandeur to pick apart your work. You may as well start the damage control by assuming humility early. Nothing is gained by placing yourself in the target range.

I don't care if you ignore my advice. I don't have my ego invested in this either way. I am simply a fellow atheist and history student with concerns for both areas in the public discourse. You are entitled to remain obstinate on this point, but rest assured the criticism will not end when I stop posting.

 

  

I agree with Rathpig that

I agree with Rathpig that the presentation can appear as deceitful in that it appears to be claiming a higher level of standard than perhaps is intended.

I agree with Rook that being employed into historical research does justify the title of Historian and the term "expert" in no way is a description of certification.  You could interpret that, but I don't think that it is always implied and I can give many examples of "experts" that are in no way educated in that specific field.

As for the topic of the university, perhaps it can give the wrong impression but if the course description itself qualifies it then I don't see the problem.  There are many universities that offer courses by professionals but not accredited experts.  They just aren't formally recognized courses.

I appreciate both sides.  At this point perhaps it would be best if Rook simply says: "I have heard and understand the complaint and will take it under advisement to see if it is potentially a common misconception."

That sounds reasonable, no?

 

Rook_Hawkins's picture

I have said just that.  But

I have said just that.  But it appears he will not be happy until I strip myself of what it is I am.  I will now cow tow to a detractor simply because he disagrees with a usage of a word.  This has become a useless conversation of nothing more than opinions being shifted around as facts, and false accusations from him as to liken me with a religious fundamentalist is distasteful and dishonest.  There is nothing further to say, really.  He has prejudged this message board by his own admission and he has prejudged my intentions.  I was hoping he would be more of a critical thinker in that regard.  I was foolish in thinking that apparently.

Atheist Books, purchases on Amazon support the Rational Response Squad server, which houses Celebrity Atheists. Books by Rook Hawkins (Thomas Verenna)

Rook_Hawkins wrote: I was

Rook_Hawkins wrote:
  I was hoping he would be more of a critical thinker in that regard.

 

Oh but to the contrary sir, it was this very critical thinking that lead me to investigate and question this situation. Unlike many others, I didn't say, "yea team - go atheists!", and allow you a different standard than what I would apply to others. I am questioning you in the exact manner that I would question anyone. You have not been singled out for special criticism. Of course you wouldn't find my conclusions satisfactory because it strikes at the heart of the illusion that RRS has tried to create.

No one cares to have their illusions questioned, but often it is necessary to create a better overall humanity. Personally, I prefer to associate with people who are honest with their views. If my constructive criticism has bothered you this much then you may wish to grow a much thicker skin before wading into an actual process of peer review. I have merely questioned your online persona. I have yet to delve into actual criticism of your work. If your best response is to question my critical thinking skills, I feel for you in a competitive environment.

I entered here in good faith, and I have maintained civility. I did snipe a bit at Mr. "Sapient", but it was well within kind get as kind given.

Honestly, it isn't that big of a deal for me. As I said previously, this isn't going away. I am not the first one to question the inflated titles of the RRS group, and I will not be the last. Most people will not be as friendly as I have been. I merely entered into the conversation as a kindred spirit. A kindred spirit that would never call himself a "historian", even though he is deeply involved in the discipline, and knows that he is not an "expert" because of being exposed to those that are truly experts in the field. Humility goes much further than hollow self-promotion. Quality work and humility make self-promotion unnecessary.

 

Rook_Hawkins's picture

Rathpig wrote:Rook_Hawkins

Rathpig wrote:

Rook_Hawkins wrote:
  I was hoping he would be more of a critical thinker in that regard.

 

Oh but to the contrary sir, it was this very critical thinking that lead me to investigate and question this situation.

I get that, I really do.  But I think now you've moved beyond questioning into accusing.  That has made this conversation difficult to stomach.  For example, you have placed everyone on this message board (the #1 atheist website in the world, mind you) into a set of perspectives you have developed without researching the intentions of this site.  You have claimed I promote myself as a professional credible historian, I do not.  You have strung a web of so-called evidences to promote this perspective of yours, but your arguments are not helpful nor are they convincing beyond the parameters only you have set.  They fail when applied to real life situations, such as the fact that I actually do live my life like an amateur historian.  I do not take a break and go work in an office cubical on tax documents 40 hours a week...I spend all of my time on research and work, studying history.  This so-called "hobby" of mine, as you put it, is more than a part time gig.

Your accusations are weightless.

Quote:
Unlike many others, I didn't say, "yea team - go atheists!", and allow you a different standard than what I would apply to others.

Another false conclusion.  People are coming to my defense because they have weighed my knowledge to well known PhD's, and have heard me debate or discuss information on my show against these credentialed individuals.  They are not assuming some "all is one" epistemological perspective about atheism, and we would challenge them if they did.  They are well aware of your false accusations from the time they've taken to read my work, and to listen to me speak, and have gotten to know me.  Perhaps that trait was lost in your years in academia?  You know...when experience was worth merit?

Quote:
I am questioning you in the exact manner that I would question anyone.

No you're not.  You are comparing to, falsely I might add, with an ignorance to intent, and also with an ignorance of my knowledge.  I am arguing from a scientific perspective (which if you read my works you would know), as opposed to crack pot and often anti-scientific perspectives launched by theists.  Your inability to separate these two perspectives, and initiate questioning based on these diverse perspectives situates you as a poor thinker.  Don't like that?  Prove me wrong, and consider your position a bit more carefully.

Quote:
You have not been singled out for special criticism.

To the contrary, by your inability to separate intent, you have ignored the value of my position, instead comparing it to those with an entirely different intent.  An analogy of what you have done here can be likened to gun advocates and their detractors.

Person 1 might say that all people with guns are evil because they hold a weapon that can potentially kill.  But Person 2 may be carrying a weapon to protect his family, and would only use it to offer a nonlethal blow to an attacker. 

In a syllogism, your logic works this way:

1.) Person A has called himself X

2.) Person A is substandard

3.) Person A did not receive accredited degrees to call himself X

4.) Therefore all people who call themselves X without accredited degrees are substandard.

 

This sort of rash generalization weakens your argument because not everyone who calls themselves X is trying to be fraudulent, and certainly not everyone without degrees are substandard.  This is logically incoherent.

Quote:
Of course you wouldn't find my conclusions satisfactory because it strikes at the heart of the illusion that RRS has tried to create.

Um, what illusion is that?  We're very transparent here.  See what I mean about gross assumptions based on 0 evidence?  This is also what I mean about poor critical thinking skills.  Browse the website a bit more before accusing us of something like this, which may be construed by some as libel.

Quote:
No one cares to have their illusions questioned, but often it is necessary to create a better overall humanity. Personally, I prefer to associate with people who are honest with their views. If my constructive criticism has bothered you this much then you may wish to grow a much thicker skin before wading into an actual process of peer review. I have merely questioned your online persona. I have yet to delve into actual criticism of your work. If your best response is to question my critical thinking skills, I feel for you in a competitive environment.

Projecting much?

Quote:
I entered here in good faith, and I have maintained civility. I did snipe a bit at Mr. "Sapient", but it was well within kind get as kind given.

Perhaps he felt your criticism was a snipe at his best friend?  Your ignorance of intent is stunning.  I fear academia has stunted your ability to perceive the obvious.

Quote:
Honestly, it isn't that big of a deal for me. As I said previously, this isn't going away. I am not the first one to question the inflated titles of the RRS group, and I will not be the last.

What other inflated titles?  You sound like an idiot now.  Back up your claims.

Quote:
Most people will not be as friendly as I have been.

Just because you've stated your ignorance politely does not make you worthy of civility.  It just makes you ignorant and polite.  Nothing more.

Quote:
I merely entered into the conversation as a kindred spirit. A kindred spirit that would never call himself a "historian", even though he is deeply involved in the discipline, and knows that he is not an "expert" because of being exposed to those that are truly experts in the field.

What expert has exposed me?  By what criteria do you judge a "true expert?"

Quote:
Humility goes much further than hollow self-promotion. Quality work and humility make self-promotion unnecessary.

Agreed.  I have expressed mine.  Now show yours.

 

Atheist Books, purchases on Amazon support the Rational Response Squad server, which houses Celebrity Atheists. Books by Rook Hawkins (Thomas Verenna)

Rathpig, I have sent you

Rathpig, I have sent you both a pm here on the forums and an email to the email address you signed up with.  Would you mind responding to me please?

"I am an atheist, thank God." -Oriana Fallaci

Stupidity and Testosterone

 

I am almost 100% in agreement with Rathpig and am a little miffed at the rude responses written by some of the RRS members.

This thread was started by Rook after he read a post on a message board. Somebody, a “Troll”, apparently had the nerve to question his qualifications! Rook has indeed stated on many occasions that he is a “Bible and Ancient Texts Expert”. I have no doubt that he knows a lot about these things and I am really quite fond of him. I have high hopes for him and the work of the RRS. Is he being dishonest or trying to masquerade as something he is not? No, I don’t think he is.

But there are a few statements in this thread that, well, I just can’t NOT comment about them.  

Rook’s comment: “A scan of the forum topics on the RRS message boards will reveal the thread in which Thomas L. Thompson, a leading scholar of the Old Testament and editor of a peer reviewed journal, admits that he is indeed peer reviewing my book in light of similar criticisms I have received from others with the same amount of ignorance displayed by the author of this new thread.” 

First of all, Rook, you must be aware that your book, if published, will NOT be a peer reviewed book. Do you understand this? Thompson may be reviewing your book for a particular publisher, such as the Sheffield Academic Press, but this in no way can be considered a peer review. I realize that this is a highly regarded publisher, but that doesn’t change the fact. The peer review process is as Rathpig mentioned so I won’t bother repeating it. If you were submitting a manuscript to a scholarly journal to be peer reviewed, and Thomas Thompson was given your manuscript for review, he would be in serious trouble for discussing it with you.

Secondly, why would you not address the questions in an honest and thoughtful manner instead of insulting a person who questions your qualifications? This is normal in academia and every aspect of life, degree or no degree. Why did you label this person a “Troll”? Not everybody knows who you are. My hope is that you DO become famous…not INFAMOUS.

Next, I want to address other comments, specifically:

“It surprises me how people think that going to college automatically gives you a useful amount of creditability…Anyone who lists programming as a hobby goes to the top of the list, even if they lack any kind of college education.”

“Everyone is a Historian, unless retarded. Lots of retards out there.”

“Assholes…”

“I feel credentials play less a role in the social sciences than the physical sciences…So credentials, while important, aren't really nessecary [sic].”

“My point was it's easier for the un-educated to expand their knowledge is history or another social science than it is the physical science.” [sic] (too many to list)

“Yep.  I knew you were going to cross the line into pretentious twatwaffle…Look, if Rook writes a book, and it gets peer reviewed, and passes muster, then Rook counts as an expert…Rook is neither, for he has actual knowledge of empirical facts…He knows as much or more about his subject than most people with Masters degrees…If you've read any of our authors section, you know we are all about the scientific accuracy….”

“The difference between historians with a degree and historians without is loosely the difference between a Historian with a capital H and a historian with a lowercase H.”

“School teaches how to be a parrot for the most part , fuck that”

I’m assuming that Brian was kidding, so I left his out. As for the rest of them…have you people lost your minds? I thought we were supposed to be RATIONAL???   

I am almost done…I want to ask Rook…who pays you to study?    

Two more things…one re the “scientist” badges. The RRS needs to raise the bar. In my opinion, only those with a B.S. or higher should be awarded such a badge. I have noticed members with scientist badges who are NOT scientists. Why are we lowering the bar when we should be raising it?

Finally, I am 100 % in agreement with Hamby on this comment:  “This is almost the most useless and stupid thread in the history of the Rational Response Squad's existence.”

 

It is stupid because it makes us look like a bunch of idiots.

 

a) The titles can give a

a) The titles can give a deceitful perception despite their potential accuracy.  I do believe, however, that due to the ability to misinterpret it and view it as misrepresentation it would likely be more advisable to avoid using them just to avoid potential confusion.

b) I agree the scientist badges appear to be a bit of more a blatant misrepresentation of title as, from what I can tell, they are given to clearly not qualified people.

c) this thread is way over the topic considering the rather semantic detail it is about.

d) i r teh winz

Rook,I have no desire to

Rook,

I have no desire to play long-winded dueling quotations, so allow me to make a few counterpoints and then it is probably better that we move beyond your invective and hurt feelings. I understand why you react to criticism in this manner. One day perhaps you will understand why I have taken the time to voice my opinion. You will notice that I never said you, "sound like an idiot". I never questioned your critical thinking skills. I haven't said you were "ignorant". I merely spoke in a frank and concerned manner.  You used these terms because you know these constant questions stem from a valid basis. You know that it isn't just Rathpig being a prick, and we are both well aware that it isn't just Rathpig. You reacted immaturely because RRS has created a certain illusion that depends on people not questioning the principle players in too deeply a manner. You have built your treehouse, and you have your club.

In practical terms, don't think that because you assume the metaphysical basis of your belief is correct that this makes you any different from someone who is based only in superstition. You, and also your organization, rail against those who believe superstition, yet you continue to make so many of the same systematic mistakes that are made by your opponents. The world is not an us-versus-them dichotomy where you are justified in your self-labeling because your position is correct and equally justified in your invective because you are correct. In reality you are doing nothing different from the innumerable theistic adherents with their insular organizations and self-bestowed grandeur. You are talking the talk. And you are just talking the talk.

I mean you no ill will. In fact I am convinced that you may look back on this, once your egoistic reaction subsides, and actually understand. If you actually publish a book into the market, I am sure you will recognize many points that I have made as valid. Competition and harsh criticism only make for a better quality product. This is something that is now obviously lacking from your discourse. When you attempt to step into the academic arena this will come in great quantity. I only hope it doesn't discourage you.

 

Quote:WTF is going on?  I

Quote:

WTF is going on?  I may be seriously missing something here but I don't see Rathpig being unreasonable or mean to anyone.  Let's all calm down and talk like reasonable adults.

I don't think he's been mean.  In fact, rathpig has been downright reasonable at times while on this site.

For a somewhat different perpective of rathpig, he had this to say on Richard Dawkin's website:

Quote:
 A week ago, my knowledge of RRS was tangential at best. Once the details, and claims, of this organization become known to me, I thought the least I could do is make my negative opinion known on the internet.

RRS in it's current form is an overall negative for the atheist "community". It is necessary to create as much distance from them as possible so any future record is clear. Under more mature guidance they may reform themselves and actually contribute. As it stands at this moment, anyone affiliated with the group is suspect. One is known by their claimed associates.

Apparently there are a # of persons from Rants n Raves who joined Dawkin's site for the sole purpose of starting a thread so that they could berate Rook. 

RnR is also a secular website where persons have started numerous mean-spirited threads critical of the RRS. 

In those threads you can find all manner of half-truths, un-truths, personal attacks and profanity laced, "What's your point", tirades about members of RRS from persons whose intellectual capacity in the words of rathpig is...."suspect". 

Just to read one page alone, you can observe RnR forum members become angry at one another, referring to fellow members/posters as "dumbfuck", "douche", "cunt" and this phrase:  "I hope you pull the fucking trigger you sack of cat shit".  (My apologies to the moderators for the profanity).  Perhaps this is what rathpig meant by "mature guidance".

So while rathpig remains critical of this site and it's "associates", he hasn't expressed the slightest qualms about the honesty or affiliation of persons in his own back yard and trust me in my description, I was being kind. 

-  So, you don't think Rook should use either "h"... You made your point.  Move on.

A short trip through the RnR Forums gave me a whole new and altogether deeper appreciation for the website letting me post right now.

Keep up the hard work, Rook.  

And to all those "associated" with RRS, especially the Core members.. Glad to be a part.

"In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act."
George Orwell

To correct the insinuation

To correct the insinuation of the last post, let me say that I post on many internet forums. My join date at RDnet was in October, so this somewhat predates the current situation. I do post at Rants n Raves. It is a democratically-run site with few restrictions. The specific quotes listed are not attributed to me, but if you search long enough you may find all manner of Rathpig-specific dialog to pull from context. That may be more relevant to the thread than random words chosen for shock value. The nature of democracy is a beautiful experiment if the participants are strong enough. RnR is only for the strong willed. Pretenders don't last long. Notice that I am not "claiming" RnR as my associates. RnR is a place. It is not an organization.

I assume what "AmericanIdle" is attempting to do is change the specific direction of this thread through trying to discredit the messenger.

If that is the best tactic that can be offered, please understand that it does not dismiss the content of my message. I am not going to assume that "AmericanIdle" speaks in an official capacity for RRS.

Quote:I assume what

Quote:

I assume what "AmericanIdle" is attempting to do is change the specific direction of this thread through trying to discredit the messenger.

I thought the direction you were taking this thread was holding person's to their own words.

You made comments about a website (this one) that by your own words, you weren't even aware of a week ago.  You suggested that person's "keep their distance" from them and that anyone associated w/ them is "suspect".  

Either this was an educated opinion on your part, based on thorough research, or you spoke before this "education" and you really didn't know what you were talking about.  You didn't seem to need any "formal" education for this particular opinion.  Isn't this our orginal direction ?

Quote:
If that is the best tactic that can be offered, please understand that it does not dismiss the content of my message.

There was no claim that it did.

I appreciate your civility toward posters in this thread.  That you would be called upon to explain your lack of civility and disparaging comments elsewhere isn't exactly unreasonable is it ? 

Quote:
The specific quotes listed are not attributed to me, but if you search long enough you may find all manner of Rathpig-specific dialog to pull from context. That may be more relevant to the thread than random words chosen for shock value.

Search for "Rational Responders" on RnR, and those "random words" can be seen on a page as part of the 1st couple of threads that pop up.  Didn't exactly have to look too far did I ? 

Despite the dishonesty and the distasteful exchange I experienced, it is certainly possible there are both intelligent and honest persons at that particular website.  Perhaps even persons I could be friends with.

I suppose broad generalizations and disparaging comments about a site that I don't know all that much about will only make me look like a judgmental ass in the end and why waste precious hours of life on something that petty ?

Quote:
I am not going to assume that "AmericanIdle" speaks in an official capacity for RRS.

He doesn't .  Best Wishes.

 

     

"In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act."
George Orwell

Just to clarify, I am not

Just to clarify, I am not retracting anything. Many of the issues I raise at both RDnet and RnR should be of concern to the larger community who happen to be atheists. Those issues are a slight derail of this specific thread, but what is being discussed here is a part of that larger concern. This is especially truth for atheists in the U.S. where the situation of counterproductive organizations can do much more harm.

I am willing to discuss this in an appropriate, preferably neutral, venue.