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Rejoice, Sectarians! Even Atheism experiences Schisms.


Off-Topic Discussions

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Shadow Lodge

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Irontruth wrote:
Cool, I am familiar with the event of Elevatorgate. I briefly skimmed the article and found it to be fairly accurate. It was also the most concise article on the first page of google hits. Now, please explain to me how accurate information that shows up on the first page of google hits shouldn't be used?

Because without your working familiarity with elevatorgate (whatever that is) the other poster has no means of discerning conservapedias notorious lies from the truth. A conservapedia article would mean as little or less than some random poster saying that wombats cause glass to crack when they sing. Asking for a different source is entirely reasonable.


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Irontruth wrote:
Seriously, "because it's on conservapedia" is a b#%*@$+@ answer and you know it. That's the equivalent of Aretas coming...

Actually sources do matter, and in your counterexample I think it IS fair game, depending on the topic where the Daily Kos is being cited.


Go make a thread to talk about conservapedia if that's what you want to talk about. Seriously. I understand, it's not the best source, but all of you who are posting anti-conservapedia stuff, I want you to please consider my posting history, what you've read me write and link before. Do you really think this is a conversation we need to be having?

If so, start another thread and we can talk about it.

Shadow Lodge

No.


I'm not likely to trust a Fox News story about liberal shenanigans, nor am I likely to trust most stuff from MSNBC about conservatives. They each show too much of a vested interest in making the other side look as bad as possible.

Conservapedia and Daily Kos just seem like internet versions of the same thing.

But the main artile just reinforces something I already felt, that people can be jerks (and other worse epithets) regardless of what religion (or lack therof) they have.


I wonder how many schisms has occurred due to a difference in (a lack of) beliefs versus just wanting to get away from the jerks?

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32

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All of them.


You get a golden apple.

Qadira

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules Subscriber
BigNorseWolf wrote:
Aubrey the Malformed wrote:
Dawkins isn't a very nice person, that's not really in dispute.
I'd like to know why you think that. I don't know the guy.

Someone who used to work for me was tutored at Oxford by his (Dawkins') ex-wife, so I heard some stories.

Qadira

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules Subscriber
Urizen wrote:
Aubrey the Malformed wrote:
Dawkins isn't a very nice person, that's not really in dispute. I'm not sure, however, whether being an atheist, muslim or Moonie while being harrassed in a lift has any bearing on the experience, being a woman is surely the key thing. Any more than his not-very-niceness is relevant to his atheisim, or anyone else's. Atheism is what what you don't believe, it doesn't tell you about anything else, and it certainly doesn't come with a series of pre-packaged views on anything else (plenty of far-Left and far-Right atheist, for example). Which makes this atheism+ fairly redundant - the atheisim bit is irrelevant to the broader agenda, however worthy.

It's similar to thousands sectarian groups and sub-groups are essentially irrelevant. So are a lot of reddit /r subgroups, for that matter.

It seems to be in the nature for people to want to be able to fashion a community as an offshoot of the general one that seems more suitable to their preferences.

Some individuals have this impression that atheists fall under one general heading and there's one main message that unites all of them.

What I'm saying is that atheists as rambunctious and quarrelsome and divisive just fine amongst themselves.

Nothing new under the sun.

I'm aware that some of you may find A+ redundant. But then again, males have the advantage of not being on the receiving end of misogyny. A female may have a different perspective on this matter.

Atheism and the + don't really have much to do with one another, is more my point. I agree with both, but I just don't see lumping atheism and the other stuff together as forming necessarily a naturally coherent philosophy. You can believe in being nice and respecting women and practice just about any religion out there, and you can be an atheist and oppress and murder millions. I personally consider the conflation to be a bit silly, like being nice to people emerges from atheism when its got lots of other possible reasons and contra-examples. I agree the woman has probably been mistreated by both the guy in the lift and Dawkins. But Dawkins goes to the point that you can be an atheist and not especially nice. Somehow lumping some feminism in with your atheism doesn't make it a philosophy in and of itself, it just means you are a feminist who doesn't belive in God. Which is perfectly respectable but hardly worth of its own designation. Nor does it follow that every male atheist out there is a fanny-fiddling pervert out to grope what he can, or that you can justify such by appealing to atheism and that the + needs to react against that. They are fundamentally unrelated. That cuts both both ways with Dawkins as well as her.


Urizen wrote:

Behold the potential third wave of atheism in the modern era under the nom de guerre of Atheism+. Misogyny by the old guard is one of the primary factors resulting in the seeds of this movement that has erupted within the blogosphere within the past two weeks.

So, I went back and read these articles. I tried looking for what Rebecca Watson originally said but I wasn't having an easy time finding it and gave up.

Anyone want to help out a lecherous old troll?

Cheliax

Jean-Paul Sartre, Intrnet Troll wrote:
Urizen wrote:

Behold the potential third wave of atheism in the modern era under the nom de guerre of Atheism+. Misogyny by the old guard is one of the primary factors resulting in the seeds of this movement that has erupted within the blogosphere within the past two weeks.

So, I went back and read these articles. I tried looking for what Rebecca Watson originally said but I wasn't having an easy time finding it and gave up.

Anyone want to help out a lecherous old troll?

Here is the video. She talks about it at around 4:40.

And another link about the incident not culled from Conservapedia. If you follow the links there, it will bring you to the original post by PZ Meyers, and the post confirming that it was THE Richard Dawkins, but commenting seems to have been disabled.

Andoran

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Tales Subscriber

It's barely worth commenting in these (kinds of) threads anymore; it's sure to be locked soon enough anyway.


I don't think the Rebecca Watson/Richard Dawkins incident is necessarily all that important in the grand scheme of things. Rather that a lot of the surrounding comments and vitriol are indicative of the level of sexism that still exists within atheist groups and society in general. So I can understand a desire to split from some of the established groups and forge an identity that is both atheist and feminist.


Trotskyism is sectarian, yes. And thus, it should come as no surprise that atheists who have adopted the leftist buzzwords of the day, like social justice and economic justice, would be as well.

Qadira

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules Subscriber
Irontruth wrote:
I don't think the Rebecca Watson/Richard Dawkins incident is necessarily all that important in the grand scheme of things. Rather that a lot of the surrounding comments and vitriol are indicative of the level of sexism that still exists within atheist groups and society in general. So I can understand a desire to split from some of the established groups and forge an identity that is both atheist and feminist.

I get slightly irritated by this stuff - "atheist groups". I know they exist - the Humanist Society, for one - but atheist groups where atheists sit around discussing how great it is not to believe in God and telling people who belive in God how stupid they are are probably about 1% of the atheists out there. I don't belive in God but I don't believe in that agenda either - I honestly don't care what other people believe providing they leave me alone, and personally consider what I do believe in to be rather more important than what I don't. In the UK, hardly anyone goes to church and probably a very significant proportion are atheists to the extent they don't even bother to think about this stuff - which is probably the way to go. Dawkins (and others, no doubt, in their atheist groups) is the Osama bin Laden of atheism - he is not remotely representative and gives the whole thing a bad name.


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Irontruth wrote:
I don't think the Rebecca Watson/Richard Dawkins incident is necessarily all that important in the grand scheme of things. Rather that a lot of the surrounding comments and vitriol are indicative of the level of sexism that still exists within atheist groups and society in general. So I can understand a desire to split from some of the established groups and forge an identity that is both atheist and feminist.

I spend most of my shift today furtively reading articles about "elevatorgate" on my iPhone but couldn't find any examples of sexist remarks aimed at this woman. I don't consider "the guy just talked to you, I think you're overreacting" to be misogynistic in tone.

I'm about 1000% behind Dawkins on this one. Especially the trollish tone.


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Aubrey the Malformed wrote:
telling people who belive in God how stupid they are are

This is a very important part of my atheism. Casually pointing out the insanity in faith or belief in every day life when it crops up. I've just never needed a group to organized around it.

I think likening Dawkins to Osama Bin Laden is like 2 shades away from godwinning and bad form. Dawkins is a very smart dude who I have a lot of respect for and who makes me giggle. Guy can be a bit of an arrogant prick, but only in the "but I'm not wrong" way.

Cheliax

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meatrace wrote:
Irontruth wrote:
I don't think the Rebecca Watson/Richard Dawkins incident is necessarily all that important in the grand scheme of things. Rather that a lot of the surrounding comments and vitriol are indicative of the level of sexism that still exists within atheist groups and society in general. So I can understand a desire to split from some of the established groups and forge an identity that is both atheist and feminist.

I spend most of my shift today furtively reading articles about "elevatorgate" on my iPhone but couldn't find any examples of sexist remarks aimed at this woman. I don't consider "the guy just talked to you, I think you're overreacting" to be misogynistic in tone.

I'm about 1000% behind Dawkins on this one. Especially the trollish tone.

I agree with Dawkins essentially (The guy was tone deaf, certainly, but hardly misogynistic and saying so doesn't make you misogynistic) but two things bother me:

1) Comparing it to Muslim women. Yes, what happens to them is horrible, but that kind of equivocation is a logical fallacy. Dawkins should know better.

2) Does he really have nothing better to do than participate in a flame war on the internet?


Lol that's why it's so awesome. Flame wars are for everyone.
But I don't think he was equivocating, rather calling out her equivocation. Not only did nothing untoward happen to her, but then she said it was an example of misogynistic behavior...putting her experience of standing in an elevator awkwardly for maybe 30 seconds on the same level of those utter atrocities.

Qadira

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules Subscriber
meatrace wrote:
Aubrey the Malformed wrote:
telling people who belive in God how stupid they are are

This is a very important part of my atheism. Casually pointing out the insanity in faith or belief in every day life when it crops up. I've just never needed a group to organized around it.

I think likening Dawkins to Osama Bin Laden is like 2 shades away from godwinning and bad form. Dawkins is a very smart dude who I have a lot of respect for and who makes me giggle. Guy can be a bit of an arrogant prick, but only in the "but I'm not wrong" way.

Not really - Dawkins doesn't blow people up but he's about as doctrinaire. All he's really peddling is his opinion - the existence or otherwise of God is unprovable either way, and while you (or I) may consider the notion silly that's just our opinions too. Ramming your opinions, unsupported by evidence, down people's throats is both rude and intellectually bogus. And boring, frankly - I studied philosophy at university and got over all this stuff twenty years ago in favour of more fruitful stuff like playing D&D. There's no convincing argument either way.

If someone believes in something I think is stupid, but it has no impact on me, I don't feel the need to rub their noses in it. Nor do 99% of people who don't believe in God - they've got better things to do, like go shopping. I appreciate this is maybe a bigger deal in the US, where religion is much more prevalent, but for a European this isn't much of a big deal. Atheism in the UK isn't about rebelling against the prevailing culture, it's about not being bothered to get up early on a Sunday, along with about 75%+ of the rest of the population. I also appreciate this is also a bigger issue for Dawkins too, since he's a public figure and has probably been attacked by fanatics on the other side on the issue. But it's still just his opinion, and looking as fanatical as the other side doesn't help his cause much.


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Aubrey the Malformed wrote:


Not really - Dawkins doesn't blow people up but he's about as doctrinaire. All he's really peddling is his opinion - the existence or otherwise of God is unprovable either way, and while you (or I) may consider the notion silly that's just our opinions too. Ramming your opinions, unsupported by evidence, down people's throats is both rude and intellectually bogus.

There's a lot here that is problematic.

No, sorry, you don't get to compare people to OBL and have it slide. It's uncool at best and at worst deleterious to the conversation. It's no different than calling someone Hitler in this context.
Yes, he's all about peddling his opinion. His crazy opinion that humans and other apes had a common ancestor. Saying that his opinions are, like, just opinions man is lame and below us. Are all opinions equal now? Is the opinion that the moon is made of cheese on par with the opinions of actual astrophysicists on the subject? Methinks not.
Unsupported by evidence? You must be joking. Of course there is no proof that god exists or not. That doesn't mean there isn't evidence. Are you just not familiar with his work and pulling stuff out of your butt? Or are you just being disingenuous to try to put me in my place? I'm trying to figure out where you're coming from.

Yes, atheism is no more or less than the lack of belief in a god (or gods). That I am. I'm also, as often happens, anti-religion.

Qadira

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Any opinion which cannot be conclusively proved false is metaphysics - read Popper. Religion (and by implication, atheism) are precisely in that category. What makes belief or non-belief in God "better" is down to personal taste. In my view, belief in God is a redundant way of explaining the world which is now better explained through impersonal physical forces - but that's not based on "evidence", it based on my view of history, human psychology and personal preference. I don't like the idea of God, and am probably rationalising. I can't prove it either way. The notion that some metaphysical ideas are more equal than others is silly because weight of evidence on either side is meaningless if it can't pull off the killer blow of proof. Like I say, I realised this a while back and moved on to more fruitful things. Plus I don't feel the need to bait people over their ideas to make myself feel superior.

As for OBL and Dawkins - yes, Hitler gave fascism a bad name too. My point, which you don't seem to grasp, is that OBL was not remotely a mainstream muslim yet he is (was) probably the most famous one on the planet. Dawkins probably represents atheism, inasmuch as it is an actual "movement" (which I doubt), as much as OBL did muslims - i.e. not much.


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It is a question of advantage of interpretation (sorry if this term is not what it's called in english). The religious outnumber the atheists severely, and so they have this advantage. Thus, someone spouting completely insane religious gibberish will be judged as devout and "rather fundamentalist", while an atheist reasonably calling him out on it without excusing himself first and qualifying his criticism with things like "of course it's important that everyone has the right to their own religious beliefs", will be called "completely fanatical", "an a!%~$#%", and all sorts of slurs.

Yes. Dawkins is frequently harsh. It is still as nothing when compared to the reek that comes from even mainstream religious public figures.


Aubrey the Malformed wrote:
meatrace wrote:
Aubrey the Malformed wrote:
telling people who belive in God how stupid they are are

This is a very important part of my atheism. Casually pointing out the insanity in faith or belief in every day life when it crops up. I've just never needed a group to organized around it.

I think likening Dawkins to Osama Bin Laden is like 2 shades away from godwinning and bad form. Dawkins is a very smart dude who I have a lot of respect for and who makes me giggle. Guy can be a bit of an arrogant prick, but only in the "but I'm not wrong" way.

Not really - Dawkins doesn't blow people up but he's about as doctrinaire. All he's really peddling is his opinion - the existence or otherwise of God is unprovable either way, and while you (or I) may consider the notion silly that's just our opinions too. Ramming your opinions, unsupported by evidence, down people's throats is both rude and intellectually bogus. And boring, frankly - I studied philosophy at university and got over all this stuff twenty years ago in favour of more fruitful stuff like playing D&D. There's no convincing argument either way.

If someone believes in something I think is stupid, but it has no impact on me, I don't feel the need to rub their noses in it. Nor do 99% of people who don't believe in God - they've got better things to do, like go shopping. I appreciate this is maybe a bigger deal in the US, where religion is much more prevalent, but for a European this isn't much of a big deal. Atheism in the UK isn't about rebelling against the prevailing culture, it's about not being bothered to get up early on a Sunday, along with about 75%+ of the rest of the population. I also appreciate this is also a bigger issue for Dawkins too, since he's a public figure and has probably been attacked by fanatics on the other side on the issue. But it's still just his opinion, and looking as fanatical as the other side doesn't help his cause much.

If you have a box and you do not know what is in it, it is entirely reasonable to say you think there might be something inside. (agnostic)

You might believe there is nothing in it till proven otherwise. (atheist)

You might belive there is a fluffy rat in it that transforms into a monster when fed after midnight and eats your eldest son if you piss it off. (random religion)

I'd call a person that does the latter an idiot, I suppose it 'could' be true but I would be an idiot for believing it to be true to the point of defending that particular believe like it is absolute truth.

It is what I believe and if someone confronts me with religion I am likely to point it out to him how dumb it is, since it is my opinion.

Qadira

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Sissyl wrote:

It is a question of advantage of interpretation (sorry if this term is not what it's called in english). The religious outnumber the atheists severely, and so they have this advantage. Thus, someone spouting completely insane religious gibberish will be judged as devout and "rather fundamentalist", while an atheist reasonably calling him out on it without excusing himself first and qualifying his criticism with things like "of course it's important that everyone has the right to their own religious beliefs", will be called "completely fanatical", "an a+&&&@#", and all sorts of slurs.

Yes. Dawkins is frequently harsh. It is still as nothing when compared to the reek that comes from even mainstream religious public figures.

The test isn't really whether they are religious, the test is whether people use their metaphysical beliefs as an excuse to oppress people. This isn't an exclusively religious thing either - Soviet ideology had a strong metaphysical slant too despite being atheistic in nature, for example. Basically, a#~+#%~%s will be a+@!@%#+s irrespective, they are simply attracted to organisations and structures such as these to accumulate power and then abuse it.

Qadira

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules Subscriber
AnnoyingOrange wrote:

If you have a box and you do not know what is in it, it is entirely reasonable to say you think there might be something inside. (agnostic)

You might believe there is nothing in it till proven otherwise. (atheist)

You might belive there is a fluffy rat in it that transforms into a monster when fed after midnight and eats your eldest son if you piss it off. (random religion)

I'd call a person that does the latter an idiot, I suppose it 'could' be true but I would be an idiot for believing it to be true to the point of defending that particular believe like it is absolute truth.

It is what I believe and if someone confronts me with religion I am likely to point it out to him how dumb it is, since it is my opinion.

Well, that would be your privilege, though arguably you could just open the box. And if you don't, or can't, then any of the views could be correct. Which one you choose will depend on what you want. I'm afraid it doesn't change the argument at all. There are plenty of cults around which probably don't amount to much more than that.


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Aubrey the Malformed wrote:
Dawkins probably represents atheism, inasmuch as it is an actual "movement" (which I doubt), as much as OBL did muslims - i.e. not much.

Dawkins doesn't represent anyone, so I get what you're saying here. I don't think it's appropriate to hold him up as some sort of atheist pope (as egregious an oxymoron as that is) and I think that a lot of what he says about religion is uninformed. That said, his main purpose AS a 'spokesperson' for atheism is to educate, elucidate, and debunk myths about the evolution vs. creationism 'debate'. In this I find him to be an important ally because on that topic he's very well informed and articulate.

You speak of Dawkins as if there's something in particular that you just personally revile about the man but won't come out and say it. I'm genuinely burning with curiosity. Because for as much ire as he gathers from those who refuse to see reason on the evolution issue, I find it baffling that atheists or even just members of the scientific community are willing to sort of throw him under the bus in an effort to race for the common ground with fundamentalists.


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Aubrey the Malformed wrote:
Well, that would be your privilege, though arguably you could just open the box. And if you don't, or can't, then any of the views could be correct. Which one you choose will depend on what you want. I'm afraid it doesn't change the argument at all. There are plenty of cults around which probably don't amount to much more than that.

The point is that those 3 points of view aren't equally valid IF we all concede that what's in the box is unknowable. That third POV, the one that easily 80% of the earth's population takes, is farcical and the rest of us shouldn't have to pretend it's on equal footing to the others.

And when the fluffy bunny (or whatever AO said) starts talking to your friend and telling him to mutilate genitals or that he can't have cheese on his burger or that he hates gay people...that's when we call the guy with the butterfly net and show him the room where he can hug himself all day long.

Qadira

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules Subscriber
meatrace wrote:
You speak of Dawkins as if there's something in particular that you just personally revile about the man but won't come out and say it. I'm genuinely burning with curiosity. Because for as much ire as he gathers from those who refuse to see reason on the evolution issue, I find it baffling that atheists or even just members of the scientific community are willing to sort of throw him under the bus in an effort to race for the common ground with fundamentalists.

Well, like I say, I've heard some stories about what they guy is actually like. The fact that I agree with his views on religion and science doesn't make me want to hug the guy.

I'll give you the anecdote I know. This comes second-hand, and I accept will not necessarily be entirely unbiased given the source: someone who worked with/for me a little while back was tutored at Oxford by Dawkins' ex-wife (so take it as it may). I'm also maybe slightly hazy on the details, since it was a few years ago I heard this. But...

Stephen Jay Gould and Dawkins had quite a disagreement over the mechanisms of evolution: Dawkins saw things operating at the level of genes, whereas Gould saw things more at the level of the organism. (I used to read SJG and frankly have a soft spot for him, and while I don't know much about him personally he had an impact on my intellectual development and was a much more entertaining writer than Dawkins.) Anyway, Gould suggests that he and Dawkins have a public debate in Oxford while he's in the UK, but Dawkins refuses (possibly he realised that he's a God-awful public speaker and lecturer, if anyone has ever seen his Royal Society lectures can attest - you've never seen so many bored-looking kids in your life - and maybe feared Gould would wipe the floor with him; and I say that while probably agreeing with Dawkins on the subject in hand). So Gould comes to Oxford and gives a lecture anyway. And Dawkins shows up, sits in the front row, and shows his disrespect by marking papers all the way through instead of listening. So he managed to be both cowardly and rude at the same time.

And that's why I find it a little difficult seeing him as anything other than an egotist jumping about in the public sphere and banging on about his own obsessions. I understand there are other examples of his poor behaviour too. Now, I don't take away from the man a lot of the good stuff around the Selfish Gene and all that stuff re evolution. But he's kind of veered into this atheism stuff and become a bit of a caricature of himself. If there are members of the atheistic or scientific community who want to throw him under a bus, it's probably because they've met him.

Qadira

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meatrace wrote:
Aubrey the Malformed wrote:
Well, that would be your privilege, though arguably you could just open the box. And if you don't, or can't, then any of the views could be correct. Which one you choose will depend on what you want. I'm afraid it doesn't change the argument at all. There are plenty of cults around which probably don't amount to much more than that.

The point is that those 3 points of view aren't equally valid IF we all concede that what's in the box is unknowable. That third POV, the one that easily 80% of the earth's population takes, is farcical and the rest of us shouldn't have to pretend it's on equal footing to the others.

And when the fluffy bunny (or whatever AO said) starts talking to your friend and telling him to mutilate genitals or that he can't have cheese on his burger or that he hates gay people...that's when we call the guy with the butterfly net and show him the room where he can hug himself all day long.

There are millions of people who would disagree. On what basis is point 3 farcical, other than you believe it to be so? You judgement is value-loaded and not evidence based, and on that basis unscientific. You believe it because you want to believe it, which doesn't really differentiate you very much from those who hold to 3. The fact that I agree with you doesn't really have any bearing.

And I honestly don't think it matters very much. The important thing is that all knowlege is contingent - you could be wrong about, well, everything. So getting doctrinaire, shouting down people who you disagree with, trying to put over your point of view as being "correct" - it's all nonsense. If people aren't doing anything that impinges on you, leave them to their beliefs / delusions / whatever. There's plenty of worse stuff going on in the world without getting steamed up about religion.


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So all knowledge is of equal value, and you can't tell someone their view is wrong, because everyone has their own view of the world which must absolutely be respected in all cases?

Sorry.

This is why we have the scientific method. It's not perfect, but everything else is (far) worse. At its most basic, it provides us with at least a way to find out if certain beliefs are FALSE, through testing them. Yes, of course everything we know could be wrong, we could all be brains in jars with electric stimulation providing sensory input, but this doesn't help us, and we shouldn't hock our view of the world because of it.

There are beliefs that are wrong. They may be dangerous or harmless, but they are wrong. Some people hold these beliefs, so these people are wrong in their beliefs. Simple as that, though lots of people find this hard to grasp.

As to being doctrinary: I have yet to meet an atheist of any stripe who does this as badly as religious people. I'll be sure to tell you if I do. The religious people, secure in their numbers, though, always claim that atheists are so abrasive. They claim that religious people don't affect others in the least - which is patently untrue. There are uncountable pushes for new laws, censorship, moralism and so on that have been initiated by the religious. Their basis is always the same: You have to respect their religion and their religious feelings. THIS is how their beliefs affect everyone else.

Qadira

Irontruth wrote:
EntrerisShadow wrote:
Irontruth wrote:
A Man In Black wrote:
Irontruth wrote:
Sexism is still an issue within the atheist community. Look at how something that shouldn't have been an issue exploded just last year...
For the love of all that's good and reasonable, do not link Conservapedia. It is the worst.
If there's a factual error in the facts of the incident, feel free to point them out. I'm not a fan of the site either, but they had an relatively accurate and concise summary of the incident. So if your only problem is the domain name, stfu.

I don't think that's a good reason for someone to stfu. I don't know about Elevatorgate, so I can't tell you the factual errors in the story. But I can tell you a site like Conservapedia (which I do know still includes several debunked or wholly made-up statistics on its main atheism page) has no credibility. Knowing that, I didn't bother to read the article. You might as well make an argument about the Trevor Martin case by linking to the Klan's website for all the interest Conservapedia has in telling the truth about a prominent atheist.

As far as the atheist+ movement is concerned, I'm not surprised, but I don't think it's going to gain a whole lot of steam. Like somebody already said, it's pretty much like herding cats in the first place, and I think the majority of us will see it as a No True Scotsman fallacy (That's just speculation on my part, of course) and have no problem identifying ourselves as atheists whether or not some sexist jerks call themselves the same.

Cool, I am familiar with the event of Elevatorgate. I briefly skimmed the article and found it to be fairly accurate. It was also the most concise article on the first page of google hits. Now, please explain to me how accurate information that shows up on the first page of google hits shouldn't be used?

Seriously, "because it's on conservapedia" is a b@@&$!+! answer and you know it. That's the equivalent of Aretas coming...

But that is part of the game of controling the conversation. I compare it to a talk about global religions and one guy saying only the bible is a reliable source....


Sissyl wrote:
Trotskyism is sectarian, yes. And thus, it should come as no surprise that atheists who have adopted the leftist buzzwords of the day, like social justice and economic justice, would be as well.

Bump

"But here's a link that I posted before."

1890 to 2012: Plus ca change...

Qadira

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Sissyl wrote:

So all knowledge is of equal value, and you can't tell someone their view is wrong, because everyone has their own view of the world which must absolutely be respected in all cases?

Sorry.

This is why we have the scientific method. It's not perfect, but everything else is (far) worse. At its most basic, it provides us with at least a way to find out if certain beliefs are FALSE, through testing them. Yes, of course everything we know could be wrong, we could all be brains in jars with electric stimulation providing sensory input, but this doesn't help us, and we shouldn't hock our view of the world because of it.

There are beliefs that are wrong. They may be dangerous or harmless, but they are wrong. Some people hold these beliefs, so these people are wrong in their beliefs. Simple as that, though lots of people find this hard to grasp.

As to being doctrinary: I have yet to meet an atheist of any stripe who does this as badly as religious people. I'll be sure to tell you if I do. The religious people, secure in their numbers, though, always claim that atheists are so abrasive. They claim that religious people don't affect others in the least - which is patently untrue. There are uncountable pushes for new laws, censorship, moralism and so on that have been initiated by the religious. Their basis is always the same: You have to respect their religion and their religious feelings. THIS is how their beliefs affect everyone else.

Except that scientific method doesn't work on all things - that's the point about metaphysics. If you could prove religion wrong through scientific method we wouldn't be having this debate. Some things are falsifiable, and can therefore be proved wrong - scientific method works fine on them. Some things aren't, and therefore leave you with a problem because it actually isn't really that easy to differentiate convincingly between different metaphysical beliefs when there isn't any way of proving any of them wrong. Scientific method gets you precisely nowhere in that instance. So you saying that people's beliefs are wrong because... well, because you say so, is just as oppressive as any religious nutjob. Not all beliefs are equal, but the ones which are falsifiable should be subjected to that test and those which are not are probably best left to those who enjoy arguing round in circles that can never be squared.

As for respecting people's views - sorry, again, if it has no bearing on your life, frankly it doesn't matter what they believe. It's not respect so much as indifference. If it does, then you deal with it in the appropriate way - if someone's whipping up hatred and so on, deal with it as a criminal matter, invade their country or whatever. This is getting very much into thought police territory - it really doesn't matter what anyone believes, what they actually do is the important thing. Freedom of belief is a fairly fundamental right.

As for religious v non-religious - I've yet to meet anyone in the UK who really cares a lot either way, certainly enough to start banging on about it. And the religious are almost certainly the minority here by a long way. Not all countries are in this happy position, but even then I don't believe that people's beliefs really have that much input compared to their cultures and personalities. Religion is not inherently evil - one of the things I find quite silly is in fact how "flexible" it seems to be, bending with the zeitgeist despite supposedly representing eternal truths. But people, on the other hand, can be very nasty.


Aubrey the Malformed wrote:
meatrace wrote:
Aubrey the Malformed wrote:
Well, that would be your privilege, though arguably you could just open the box. And if you don't, or can't, then any of the views could be correct. Which one you choose will depend on what you want. I'm afraid it doesn't change the argument at all. There are plenty of cults around which probably don't amount to much more than that.

The point is that those 3 points of view aren't equally valid IF we all concede that what's in the box is unknowable. That third POV, the one that easily 80% of the earth's population takes, is farcical and the rest of us shouldn't have to pretend it's on equal footing to the others.

And when the fluffy bunny (or whatever AO said) starts talking to your friend and telling him to mutilate genitals or that he can't have cheese on his burger or that he hates gay people...that's when we call the guy with the butterfly net and show him the room where he can hug himself all day long.

There are millions of people who would disagree. On what basis is point 3 farcical, other than you believe it to be so? You judgement is value-loaded and not evidence based, and on that basis unscientific. You believe it because you want to believe it, which doesn't really differentiate you very much from those who hold to 3. The fact that I agree with you doesn't really have any bearing.

And I honestly don't think it matters very much. The important thing is that all knowlege is contingent - you could be wrong about, well, everything. So getting doctrinaire, shouting down people who you disagree with, trying to put over your point of view as being "correct" - it's all nonsense. If people aren't doing anything that impinges on you, leave them to their beliefs / delusions / whatever. There's plenty of worse stuff going on in the world without getting steamed up about religion.

Point 3 is farcical because he's claiming that what's in the box:

Quote:
a fluffy rat in it that transforms into a monster when fed after midnight and eats your eldest son if you piss it off.

is something that we've got no reason to think exists and even less reason to think would be in this box. Even if I open the box and see a fluffy rat I'm not going to give any credence (or any thought really) to the "turns into a monster if fed after midnight" part.

Strictly speaking, it's possible, but the chance is so small it's not worth considering.

All knowledge is contingent. It's possible everything we think we know is wrong. We could just be brains in a vat somewhere being fed a convincing simulation and they could change all the rules tomorrow. Just throwing up your hands and saying one opinion is as good as another since we can never know anything absolutely for sure is not useful.

And people try to use religion to interfere with my life everyday. I don't object to people's private faith, I object to the deference it's shown in the public sphere. If you live in the UK, things may be different. You may not realize just how crazy things are on the other side of the pond.

Shadow Lodge

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Aubrey the Malformed wrote:
I don't belive in God but I don't believe in that agenda either - I honestly don't care what other people believe providing they leave me alone, and personally consider what I do believe in to be rather more important than what I don't. In the UK, hardly anyone goes to church

And this is why, for you, there's nothing to fight over. Its a completely academic matter because your society isn't being influenced by Christianity much.

In america? A few state constitutions prevent atheists from holding public office. A man that sits on the congressional science committee thinks that God puts in a magic shield that keeps women that were raped from getting pregnant so its ok to force them to have the baby. They toss atheists in jail in with ministers for forced conversion attempts, and offer prisoners early release for going to religious studies. Admiting you're an atheist effectively bars you from public office. Our schoolchildren start every day by standing up and saying that god is sovereign over our nation.

It is NOT a matter of "just live and let live" here. A scarily large and organized segment of Christianity is trying to use the government as is own personal conversion machine. Sitting by and just lettinig them do that is not the most mature option.

Quote:
Dawkins (and others, no doubt, in their atheist groups) is the Osama bin Laden of atheism - he is not remotely representative and gives the whole thing a bad name.

Really? Dawkins goes around killing people in the name of atheism? Dangles creationists into the a pit at the zoo filled with hungry chimpanzees ?

There is an enormous difference between KILLING people, and writing a book which gives a much needed lambasting to a sacred cow. Someone is not a bad person just because they're arguing. Thats passive aggressive schoolyard bunk. Just getting along with people is not a measure of morality or maturity.

Quote:
Any opinion which cannot be conclusively proved false is metaphysics - read Popper.

Hey meatrace... welcome to the darkside :)

*burns popper in effigy*

If people were running around believing in last thursdayism, you would call them crazy. If people were making policy based on last thursdayism you would argue against it.

Popper had some funny ideas, among them that you can't prove evolution because its not repeatable, and the idea that science doesn't actually prove anything. Both are functionally unworkable and not how things are actually done.

Qadira

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thejeff wrote:
Aubrey the Malformed wrote:
meatrace wrote:
Aubrey the Malformed wrote:
Well, that would be your privilege, though arguably you could just open the box. And if you don't, or can't, then any of the views could be correct. Which one you choose will depend on what you want. I'm afraid it doesn't change the argument at all. There are plenty of cults around which probably don't amount to much more than that.

The point is that those 3 points of view aren't equally valid IF we all concede that what's in the box is unknowable. That third POV, the one that easily 80% of the earth's population takes, is farcical and the rest of us shouldn't have to pretend it's on equal footing to the others.

And when the fluffy bunny (or whatever AO said) starts talking to your friend and telling him to mutilate genitals or that he can't have cheese on his burger or that he hates gay people...that's when we call the guy with the butterfly net and show him the room where he can hug himself all day long.

There are millions of people who would disagree. On what basis is point 3 farcical, other than you believe it to be so? You judgement is value-loaded and not evidence based, and on that basis unscientific. You believe it because you want to believe it, which doesn't really differentiate you very much from those who hold to 3. The fact that I agree with you doesn't really have any bearing.

And I honestly don't think it matters very much. The important thing is that all knowlege is contingent - you could be wrong about, well, everything. So getting doctrinaire, shouting down people who you disagree with, trying to put over your point of view as being "correct" - it's all nonsense. If people aren't doing anything that impinges on you, leave them to their beliefs / delusions / whatever. There's plenty of worse stuff going on in the world without getting steamed up about religion.

Point 3 is farcical because he's claiming that what's in the box:

Quote:
a fluffy rat in it that
...

The fluffy rat sounds stupid because it's intended to sound stupid. Plus, in reality, his proposal was actually falsifiable until I changed it for him. And it doesn't do what religions are supposed to do - explain the way the world is. So it arguably lacks the psychological reasons for anyone wanting to believe it. But from a philosopical point of view, there's nothing really that much more stupid about it than lots of stuff that actual religions come up with (some guy is dead, then a few days later he isn't dead - yeah, right). The fact is, millions of people choose to believe it. And it's not even a particularly historical phenomenon - Reverend Moon has only just died, and he started his own religion, you've got L. Ron and Scientology, and so on. People believe this stuff because it works for them. You and I might not chose to believe it. But unless you can point me to the scientific evidence that says "These beliefs are false" that doesn't take us anywhere much. The stuff that is falsifiable can be differentiated, but the stuff that can't... Well, I've been through all that already. There is no genuine way of seriously differentiating them. You can maybe use a usefulness criterion but... Useful for what? To whom? That boils down to preferences too. Does it describe the world better? Well, without falsifiability, you'll never know - it's just opinion again.

The way to deal with it is to accept what you are willing to believe, and then not worry about it too much.

As for the UK. Well, we had the 7/7 bombing. Clearly there was a religious stream to that. But in the end, it isn't criminal to be a muslim or even to be sympathetic to Islamic fundamentalism if you aren't hurting anyone. If you are, you should feel the full weight of the law. Inasmuch that hanging round with fundamentalists maybe makes you more likely to hurt people, then its also fair game to have people like that monitored for the safety of broader society. But its actions which hurt, maim and kill, not beliefs.

But for broader British society, very public religiosity is regarded with deep suspicion. Politicians don't do it, and for that I'm very grateful. I find the very overt religiosity of the US, while I understand its historical roots, odd.

Qadira

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BigNorseWolf wrote:
Popper had some funny ideas, among them that you can't prove evolution because its not repeatable, and the idea that science doesn't actually prove anything. Both are functionally unworkable and not how things are actually done.

He didn't believe that. You are garbling the falsifiability criterion and his views on the fitness of theories. Plus he thought that the theory of evolution was metaphysical because it was not falsifiable, not because it wasn't repeatable.

Shadow Lodge

Aubrey the Malformed wrote:
BigNorseWolf wrote:
Popper had some funny ideas, among them that you can't prove evolution because its not repeatable, and the idea that science doesn't actually prove anything. Both are functionally unworkable and not how things are actually done.
He didn't believe that. You are garbling the falsifiability criterion and his views on the fitness of theories. Plus he thought that the theory of evolution was metaphysical because it was not falsifiable, not because it wasn't repeatable.

And why isn't it falsifiable? Because its not repeatable. Any other standard would easily allow for irreducible complexity or a lack of poodles in the precambrian as sufficient evidence.


Aubrey the Malformed wrote:
BigNorseWolf wrote:
Popper had some funny ideas, among them that you can't prove evolution because its not repeatable, and the idea that science doesn't actually prove anything. Both are functionally unworkable and not how things are actually done.
He didn't believe that. You are garbling the falsifiability criterion and his views on the fitness of theories. Plus he thought that the theory of evolution was metaphysical because it was not falsifiable, not because it wasn't repeatable.

Save that, you know evolution is falsifiable.

A Precambrian Rabbit would do the job nicely for instance ;)


Aubrey the Malformed wrote:
BigNorseWolf wrote:
Popper had some funny ideas, among them that you can't prove evolution because its not repeatable, and the idea that science doesn't actually prove anything. Both are functionally unworkable and not how things are actually done.
He didn't believe that. You are garbling the falsifiability criterion and his views on the fitness of theories. Plus he thought that the theory of evolution was metaphysical because it was not falsifiable, not because it wasn't repeatable.

Save that, you know, evolution is falsifiable.

A Precambrian Rabbit would do the job nicely for instance ;)


meatrace wrote:
Irontruth wrote:
I don't think the Rebecca Watson/Richard Dawkins incident is necessarily all that important in the grand scheme of things. Rather that a lot of the surrounding comments and vitriol are indicative of the level of sexism that still exists within atheist groups and society in general. So I can understand a desire to split from some of the established groups and forge an identity that is both atheist and feminist.

I spend most of my shift today furtively reading articles about "elevatorgate" on my iPhone but couldn't find any examples of sexist remarks aimed at this woman. I don't consider "the guy just talked to you, I think you're overreacting" to be misogynistic in tone.

I'm about 1000% behind Dawkins on this one. Especially the trollish tone.

Cool. Maybe I just see it differently because my mother was attacked in an elevator.

There were many, many, many comments on Watson's posts about how if they saw her in an elevator, they would rape her. Not sure if those comments survive today, if it were my website I'd probably delete them because I wouldn't want that trash there.

Considering that 1 in 6 women have been victims of sexual assault in America, I think telling them that any fear they might feel is unjustified is misogynistic as well. His comments that they should stop complaining about being afraid of rape because women in muslim countries have their genitals mutilated is also misogynistic.


Aubrey: Scientific method gets you as far as: There is no REASON to believe what they believe. I am not talking about their personal god-buzz experience here, but their belief that there are patterns of behaviour in their book that are so central that everyone MUST follow them. Read Leviticus for the low down. There is a lot of head-chopping, stoning, impurity and brutality there, not to mention utter obsessive focus on people's sex lives and their habits of sacrifice. Then move on to the common interpretations of Paul's letters. Yes, it's metaphysics, but their beliefs are not about metaphysics when they tell us that such and such percentage of money earned should go to the church, that people who do such and so are to be stoned. These are direct, invasive and detailed ways to bother the lives of nonbelievers, and these people do. I am all for freedom of religion, everyone can believe and think whatever they believe and think, I don't care if they think ice cream is humans, but once their beliefs result in laws that prevent me from living my life according to what I believe is right, their right to have their religion respected go out the window as far as I am concerned. Censorship, education, abortion rights... it's getting pretty pervasive.

And how do you resist it in a reasonable manner? You tell people what the bad sides of organised religion are. You face down apologetics and show them and others that not everyone believes what they believe, and with good reason. You point out the utterly insane drek that the holy books contain. Somewhere along the way, you discover something terrible: The theists who you argue with know little to nothing of the holy book they motivate their intrusive policies with. When they want something, it's "It says so here, here and here", when you point these things out to them, they go "Everyone can take bible quotes out of context, it's not really meaningful". And of course, along the way, they call you intolerant, abrasive and an a&~++&%.

Qadira

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Sissyl wrote:

Aubrey: Scientific method gets you as far as: There is no REASON to believe what they believe. I am not talking about their personal god-buzz experience here, but their belief that there are patterns of behaviour in their book that are so central that everyone MUST follow them. Read Leviticus for the low down. There is a lot of head-chopping, stoning, impurity and brutality there, not to mention utter obsessive focus on people's sex lives and their habits of sacrifice. Then move on to the common interpretations of Paul's letters. Yes, it's metaphysics, but their beliefs are not about metaphysics when they tell us that such and such percentage of money earned should go to the church, that people who do such and so are to be stoned. These are direct, invasive and detailed ways to bother the lives of nonbelievers, and these people do. I am all for freedom of religion, everyone can believe and think whatever they believe and think, I don't care if they think ice cream is humans, but once their beliefs result in laws that prevent me from living my life according to what I believe is right, their right to have their religion respected go out the window as far as I am concerned. Censorship, education, abortion rights... it's getting pretty pervasive.

And how do you resist it in a reasonable manner? You tell people what the bad sides of organised religion are. You face down apologetics and show them and others that not everyone believes what they believe, and with good reason. You point out the utterly insane drek that the holy books contain. Somewhere along the way, you discover something terrible: The theists who you argue with know little to nothing of the holy book they motivate their intrusive policies with. When they want something, it's "It says so here, here and here", when you point these things out to them, they go "Everyone can take bible quotes out of context, it's not really meaningful". And of course, along the way, they call you intolerant, abrasive and an a@#!$*#.

Then don't believe it. However, your approach has nothing to do with scientific method at all, but instead to do with societal norms changing over the last three thousand years. Which is kind-of bloody obvious, but still not proof that God doesn't exist. And maybe you are intolerant and abrasive. There's no religious monopoly on that.

Qadira

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules Subscriber
Zombieneighbours wrote:
Aubrey the Malformed wrote:
BigNorseWolf wrote:
Popper had some funny ideas, among them that you can't prove evolution because its not repeatable, and the idea that science doesn't actually prove anything. Both are functionally unworkable and not how things are actually done.
He didn't believe that. You are garbling the falsifiability criterion and his views on the fitness of theories. Plus he thought that the theory of evolution was metaphysical because it was not falsifiable, not because it wasn't repeatable.

Save that, you know, evolution is falsifiable.

A Precambrian Rabbit would do the job nicely for instance ;)

I didn't say he was right, at least on natural selection. Although until recently no one had actually seen species formation, so natural selection and evolution actually was unverifiable. A rock is just a rock - it only proves there was something that looked like a rabbit that maybe existed a long time ago (millions or thousands of years, depending on your preference) and even then....? One of the problems with some of this creationist thought is that it seems that God is going out of his way to deceive us, which doesn't seem the action of a loving deity, but there you go.

Qadira

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules Subscriber
BigNorseWolf wrote:
And why isn't it falsifiable? Because its not repeatable. Any other standard would easily allow for irreducible complexity or a lack of poodles in the precambrian as sufficient evidence.

No, the criterion is falsifiability. Natural selection has repeated itself over and over, and still is. Belief in the existence of God is not falsifiable but what exactly are you repeating or not repeating in order to determine that? The nature of the idea is what makes it falsifiable or not.


Aubrey the Malformed wrote:
Sissyl wrote:

Aubrey: Scientific method gets you as far as: There is no REASON to believe what they believe.

And how do you resist it in a reasonable manner? You tell people what the bad sides of organised religion are. You face down apologetics and show them and others that not everyone believes what they believe, and with good reason. You point out the utterly insane drek that the holy books contain. Somewhere along the way, you discover something terrible: The theists who you argue with know little to nothing of the holy book they motivate their intrusive policies with. When they want something, it's "It says so here, here and here", when you point these things out to them, they go "Everyone can take bible quotes out of context, it's not really meaningful". And of course, along the way, they call you intolerant, abrasive and an a@#!$*#.
Then don't believe it. However, your approach has nothing to do with scientific method at all, but instead to do with societal norms changing over the last three thousand years. Which is kind-of bloody obvious, but still not proof that God doesn't exist. And maybe you are intolerant and abrasive - I certainly think you are.

So how do you resist the bad sides of organized religion? How do you respond to the ranting and attacks if you have to start every interaction with "Well, you might be right. God may actually want me to burn in hell."

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber
meatrace wrote:

I'm not even sure what this Atheism+ is about. One article says it's a reaction against the atheism of Dawkins and I'm like...in what way?

Atheism PLUS being actively socially and politically liberal? Working towards things like womens rights, fighting for social justice, all sounds great. But...I guess I haven't met atheists who fall into any other category. I guess, like, distinguishing yourself from Ayn Rand is helpful.

I'm also just not a 'movement' guy.

I've seen schisms like this before. What essentially this is is a schism of the internal politics of the atheist movement. Much like during the days the early progressive movements that were run by men tended to releagate women to "fetch the coffee please" roles. What you're seeing here is the result of similar tensions in a more modern context.

The Atheism Plus essentially is reacting to the sexism and prejudices of the mainline Atheist movement which is predominantly aging white males. I consider this overaall a good form of tension as such things do need to be aired out.


Atheist Feminists: Oh, it was okay when Hitch was all for razing Fallujah to the ground, but did you see all these unsolicited sexual propositions? Split!

Although, to be fair, the rape comments are a game changer.

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