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nv
 
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nv
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10 November 2008 19:52
 
Keep The Reason - 10 November 2008 01:27 PM

My theory—that rational discourse can lead to productive change, isn’t a theory.  It’s a tried and true method that gets proven over and over. I can’t help that it often works, and when it works, it does so in a palpable way. [bf by UZ)

First, when I referred to your “theory,” I wasn’t referring to your hypothesis about effective argument style. By “theory,” I meant your general approach and thinking style. And your use of “proven” tells me that you, like most people, approach psychology in ways that are similar to what is accepted in law, social sciences and history. I certainly don’t fault you for that. It’s just that I see psychology as being in the throes of radical change today due to amazing advances in neurological technique and technology. Suddenly, psychological principles are able to (though still rarely do) actually step up to the plate of science practice. I don’t want to go too far into this right now, but if I’m making no sense, please ask me to explain a bit. At any rate, science proves nothing, as you already no doubt know.

Keep The Reason - 10 November 2008 01:27 PM

Consider the recent McCain / Obama campaign.  A huge part of Obama’s success in overcoming his youth, his lack of a track record, his color (and all the bias that goes into that particular non-issue), is specifically due to the fact that he remained reasonable and didn’t stoop to the tactics of his opponents.

You’re using criteria of social science/law/history here. They’re fine if stricter criteria are unavailable, but they’re terribly flimsy, as they rely on multiple undefined and unidentified variables.

Keep The Reason - 10 November 2008 01:27 PM

. . . We do not have proof yet that Obama’s presidency will be any better, . . .

Again with the proof.

Keep The Reason - 10 November 2008 01:27 PM

And so I ask again:  How did most of us do that?  Did we do it by being verbally assaulted and called names and told we’re idiots by those we decided to team up with?

Again, I do not attempt to deconvert anyone here, and it doesn’t seem as though anyone who understands a bit about psychology does. No, as I’ve already explained to you a few days ago, this forum, though certainly not literature in the traditional sense, holds plenty of potential for illuminating readers about certain ways of seeing, explaining and understanding the world.

Keep The Reason - 10 November 2008 01:27 PM

. . . Seriously, is that how you threw off the shackles of religion?  If so, let’s discuss implementing this far easier method.

If you really want to find out about this, read my 8-chapter manuscript consisting of various fictional dialogues, linked in my forum profile. It’s long, though, and I don’t recommend you read it, since you’re not religious. But read away if you wish. Keep in mind that it’s a work of fiction, so you’ll need to piece things together and try to figure out what is based on my actual life (probably 90% of it is) and what got invented out of whole cloth. Also keep in mind that escaping the shackles of religion is simply not a story that can be told from beginning to end in linear fashion. A person’s life is complex. Many factors guided my deconversion over the course of several decades. Emotion and anger from others helped me tremendously, and I regret that my nonreligious friends back when I was in college were unwilling to argue with me about my faith. Religion was seen as highly respectable and untouchable, and they were also probably nowhere near as atheistic as I am today anyway. But strong emotion is perhaps nature’s most effective teacher, and I wish more friends had confronted me early on. I certainly wouldn’t have welcomed every confrontation at the time, but I’m confident that they would have assisted me tremendously in overcoming the craziness if their words had been sufficiently course. Friends can be angry with each other, and damage is mostly done when anger is ignored and substituted with politeness. That’s only my opinion, by the way.

My above-mentioned manuscript opens with a shrink giving guidance to a teenager. Some of the things the shrink says would have assisted me more than I can tell you, and he says them with compassion and understanding. Yes, that’s how one method of therapy works, and it can work very effectively. Just keep in mind that no one in their right mind argues with religionists on the samharris forum hoping or expecting to change the views of their opponents. Exchanges here are not all therapeutic. But I think back to when I was 17 years old, and I can’t begin to tell you how much I’d have benefited way back in 1972 by having access to the arguments that get played out here, piss/vinegar and all.

Keep The Reason - 10 November 2008 01:27 PM

Let me know if we can move on to other things?  Or, if we all want to go around on this again we can.

Sounds fine, KTR. I admire much of what you write, and I consider you to be an amazing writer and a bright and dedicated person. Please please please don’t forget that sensible folks do not argue with anonymous religionists hoping to change their minds. That is not what this forum has been about.

[ Edited: 10 November 2008 20:41 by nv]
 
 
Traces Elk
 
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11 November 2008 06:06
 
M is for Malapert - 10 November 2008 11:56 PM
unknown zone - 10 November 2008 11:35 AM
Salt Creek - 10 November 2008 10:34 AM

M is a one-time believer, in case you haven’t been paying attention, KTR, and has, on occasion offered anecdotes of that experience.

KTR, have you stopped to consider that many people who write here were once religious? Yes, we were infected with that brand of psychosis, yet we made it to the other side.

Hmmm, I’ll have to check back on what I’ve written.  “Anecdotes, there’ve been a few…” (I miss frankr; he inspired most of them.)

However, I don’t want anyone to get the wrong impression.  I was never a believer in adulthood, and once I got exposed to religion in parochial school, I doubted everything the nuns said….

Sorry to go on and on, but it’s interesting to think about this and try to unearth where my atheism came from.  For sure, though, I don’t want anyone thinking that I was a believer like any adult here.  It was just some vague childish notion, no more serious than believing in fairies or ghosts or Santa Claus.  Gone by the time my brain matured (or mostly matured; before I left high school for sure.)

So I can’t claim to know anything about the compartmentalization that’s necessary for a theist who’s grown up, or the infection with psychosis, or whatever goes on with adult believers, or how they get out of it either.

(I may have told an anecdote about dramatically confessing to a priest that I was “losing my faith” in high school, but that’s all it was—pure melodrama, acting to needle the poor old chap.)

It was a blunder on my part to oversimplify my understanding of M’s history, since I recognized that she was never a believer as an adult, or even as a child, except for the Santas and monsters under the bed that all children deal with.

M’s experience appears more along the line of the European one, a pro-forma exposure in school and Sunday school. My point is that since the American paradigm is “freedom of religion” and not “freedom from religion”, almost everybody notes that atheism is actually on the menu, and then the marketing campaign begins.

It’s an experience I could never have had, raised by two atheist parents, trying to figure out at what young age it became clear to me that one or both of my parents were sponsoring specific nonsense about specific religious doctrine. The rest of my extended family - my parents’ siblings and cousins and their children were religious Jews. We tried to keep our distance from them. My recollection of them, since I haven’t seen any of them for decades, is one of relentless tribalism.

If anything good can come out of my blunder, it is to contemplate the reasons that some kids figure out on their own that religion is bullshit. Any takers?

[ Edited: 11 November 2008 07:12 by Traces Elk]
 
 
Keep The Reason
 
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11 November 2008 07:41
 
unknown zone - 11 November 2008 12:52 AM

It’s just that I see psychology as being in the throes of radical change today due to amazing advances in neurological technique and technology. Suddenly, psychological principles are able to (though still rarely do) actually step up to the plate of science practice. I don’t want to go too far into this right now, but if I’m making no sense, please ask me to explain a bit. At any rate, science proves nothing, as you already no doubt know.

Thanks for the info on psychology and the strides being made.  I did not know that, and I appreciate the head’s up (uh… pun?).  Now I have something new to look into, and maybe you can start a thread about it to explain it on its own.

You’re using criteria of social science/law/history here. They’re fine if stricter criteria are unavailable, but they’re terribly flimsy, as they rely on multiple undefined and unidentified variables.

Ok—again, understood.  But as an illustration of what kind of approach I’m talking about, it serves the purpose and it’s not propelled by some dark ulterior motive. 

Again, I do not attempt to deconvert anyone here, and it doesn’t seem as though anyone who understands a bit about psychology does. No, as I’ve already explained to you a few days ago, this forum, though certainly not literature in the traditional sense, holds plenty of potential for illuminating readers about certain ways of seeing, explaining and understanding the world.

I hold the view that people are de-converted here, although it’s not exclusively “here” that does it.  It helps, it’s an iron in the fire, but it’s not the entire solution.  I can only offer anecdotal evidence for this—people I’ve talked to and people who admit it, but I know of no studies that would support it.  I recognize the challenge to a position of reason and empirical evidence this presents, but we can make educated guesses.  Again, the Obama campaign brought up the question, “Will the Bradley effect happen here?” (people saying they would vote for the black guy, but then voting for the white guy because they didn’t want to publicly announce their bigotry).  Or, would a reverse Bradley effect happen?  It was impossible to tell, but we could look to previous events and make some speculative comments on it.

I do the same thing here, with the added factor that I’ve never heard of anyone being insulted into changing their views.

If you really want to find out about this, read my 8-chapter manuscript consisting of various fictional dialogues, linked in my forum profile.

I will.

Also keep in mind that escaping the shackles of religion is simply not a story that can be told from beginning to end in linear fashion. A person’s life is complex. Many factors guided my deconversion over the course of several decades. Emotion and anger from others helped me tremendously, and I regret that my nonreligious friends back when I was in college were unwilling to argue with me about my faith.

Religion was seen as highly respectable and untouchable, and they were also probably nowhere near as atheistic as I am today anyway. But strong emotion is perhaps nature’s most effective teacher, and I wish more friends had confronted me early on. I certainly wouldn’t have welcomed every confrontation at the time, but I’m confident that they would have assisted me tremendously in overcoming the craziness if their words had been sufficiently course. Friends can be angry with each other, and damage is mostly done when anger is ignored and substituted with politeness. That’s only my opinion, by the way.

Is this quite the same thing as I’m discussing?  Did non-religious people berate you, call you stupid, call you a moron and an idiot for being a believer?  Anger and emotion can be a motivator, and I’ve never denied it—anger at injustice motivated the civil rights and gay movements.  But I’m not talking about mere anger.  I’m talking about verbal abuse out of the gate because it’s “fun”.

Just keep in mind that no one in their right mind argues with religionists on the samharris forum hoping or expecting to change the views of their opponents. Exchanges here are not all therapeutic. But I think back to when I was 17 years old, and I can’t begin to tell you how much I’d have benefited way back in 1972 by having access to the arguments that get played out here, piss/vinegar and all.

Well now, you’ve just contradicted yourself.  You’ve just cited yourself as someone who would have benefited from the discussion on here.  So why would I not be in my right mind to think that there aren’t other individuals like you, who would benefit from the discussion being played out here?

I agree with you—you would have benefited.  So think of the other “yous” out there who come here and read today.  And now you know why I oppose things like self-inflated arrogance, superiority, and outright verbal abuse as in any way representative of what people of reason do.

 
 
Dennis Campbell
 
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11 November 2008 07:56
 

It has been noted that in therapy, which does not involve the therapist calling the patient a “fuckwitt,” etc., that sometimes issues discussed will result in some changes for the patient months down the road.  People seem to have to process conflicting ideas or views over a period of time, in order perhaps to integrate those ideas on a more gradual basis. Insulting someone with whose views we might disagree is more a function of the needs and desires of the insulter than of any value to the person(s) insulted. 

Dennis

 
 
eudemonia
 
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11 November 2008 08:14
 

Good point indeed Dennis. Of course if someone is trapped in fuckwittery today, it does not mean that through enlightenment he cannot become and ex-fuckwit at some point in the future. Look at myself for instance. This is what we all hope for.

Thus insultees and insulters are relevant to present tense and applicable. However, everything is subject to update and change. Beautiful thing about the human mind.

 
 
Traces Elk
 
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11 November 2008 08:32
 
Keep The Reason - 11 November 2008 12:41 PM

Well now, you’ve just contradicted yourself.  You’ve just cited yourself as someone who would have benefited from the discussion on here.  So why would I not be in my right mind to think that there aren’t other individuals like you, who would benefit from the discussion being played out here?

You’re mainly interested in poking holes in any and all positions that differ even microscopically from the panacea you’ve ‘proven’ to yourself, but to no one else, and show no inclination toward providing scientific evidence in favor of.

Let me tell a little anecdote of something that happened to me on my trip to Peru. I was forced to take a red-eye down to Houston to connect to my Lima flight. During the wee hours of the morning, as exhaustion and boredom were just about to overcome me, I noticed the passenger in the seat in front of me was watching a film on her laptop. I soon figured out that it was Ben Stein’s propaganda piece “Expelled”, and even without access to the soundtrack, I found it interesting.

Later, after de-planing, I located this passenger in the concourse as we rolled our bags through the deserted terminal at 5:30 AM. I stopped her and told her that I couldn’t help noticing the film she had been watching, and that I knew a bit about it and was curious about her reaction. All this without assuming which side of the issue she was on.

It turned out that she was concerned about the “fact” that “Intelligent Design” has been “kept out of the classroom” by the scientific establishment and by the courts. I was forthcoming in explaining which side of the issue I represented, and, after noting that the court had indeed ruled on this issue emphatically in the Dover, PA decision, I switched to explaining specifically how I determined that “Intelligent Design” cannot be a plausible explanation for anything. Mainly I focused on Dawkins’ argument that anything complex enough to “design” something is necessarily itself the product of a sequence of evolutionary steps (in the general ontological sense).

I also asked her to try to explain to me how enlisting the aid of supposedly “scientific” explanations is really of any benefit to promoting religious faith, insofar as it seems rather a failure of nerve.

It was all very civil and strange, there in the surreal stillness of a deserted airport concourse at dawn. A fifteen-minute conversation with someone whose thinking had just been channeled in a particular direction by a blatant propaganda film at the extreme nonsense end of the activities promoting religion.

I grow impatient with people when, after rational arguments against some bit of theistic nonsense or other are studiously ignored, the theistic or religious argument is simply rebooted. There was no time for this conversation to reach that point, but I saw no glimmer of recognition that a simple argument expressed in twenty-five words or less was at all meaningful.

But there it is - in twenty-five words or less - for the actual science part, and similar parsimony for the strictly rational argument against trying to find a “scientific proof of God” as a bootstrapping of faith.

Generally, theists who show up online have already realized that the simple arguments are straightforward and dismissive of religion, and have typically fashioned elaborate and idiosyncratic diatribes that you have to invest time and effort in before you can even argue against them. My position is that my time is my own, and formulating equally-elaborate arguments against their specifics is a waste of my effort. When no opportunity to discuss scientific reasons why religion is nothing more than a security blanket, I recognize that there is disingenuousness to begin with in the theist’s position, and do not expect such people are any less cynical than I am.

KTR, if you like writing dissertations extolling the virtues of reason, it’s fine with me. I don’t care much for being told how to handle my own discourse with people. The arguments against the content of religious belief are simple. What has nothing to do with rationality whatsoever is deciding whether or not to coddle people’s emotional dependence on their religious nonsense. There is another religion running rampant in some sectors: The secular religion of coddling people’s self-esteem before any other evaluation is ever made. Pretending that someone’s flimsy theological arguments are competent for the sake of promoting a fantasy of “civil discourse and rationality” is not something I am up to doing.

I’m not even abusive of god-botherers because their arguments are cynical. I’m abusive because their arguments are blatantly incompetent. Pretending to be as incompetent as they are, in order to lay out a three-page dissertation of one’s self-proclaimed gems of rationality is also pretty cynical and self-serving. Justifying it with unsubtantiated claims about its effectiveness is just gilding that lily.

[ Edited: 11 November 2008 08:39 by Traces Elk]
 
 
nv
 
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11 November 2008 08:44
 
Keep The Reason - 11 November 2008 12:41 PM

. . .
Well now, you’ve just contradicted yourself.  You’ve just cited yourself as someone who would have benefited from the discussion on here.  So why would I not be in my right mind to think that there aren’t other individuals like you, who would benefit from the discussion being played out here?

I agree with you—you would have benefited.  So think of the other “yous” out there who come here and read today.  And now you know why I oppose things like self-inflated arrogance, superiority, and outright verbal abuse as in any way representative of what people of reason do.

But what is it that brings in more customers—er, readers? Of course it’s the indie-lack-chewal level of the discourse. But I’d be willing to bet that the occasional colorful language that can be found keeps readers here.

I doubt if I’d have posted much if anything back in 1972 if a forum such as this were around. I’d probably have been one of those lurkers I referred to who benefit simply by reading all the arguments.

Also, keep in mind that a 17-year-old who is actively seeking answers to life’s big questions is exactly the sort of person who a stranger can argue successfully with.

 
 
nv
 
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11 November 2008 09:08
 
Keep The Reason - 11 November 2008 12:41 PM

. . .
. . . But as an illustration of what kind of approach I’m talking about, it serves the purpose and it’s not propelled by some dark ulterior motive.

I hope you haven’t been under the impression that anyone here sees you as operating under dark motives, KTR. You’re obviously a sincere person.

Keep The Reason - 11 November 2008 12:41 PM

I will [read the book.]

Okay, but don’t read the book for my sake. The main reason I wrote it was to communicate possible ways the world has come to be as it is without magical creatures running around in the clouds, for extended-family members of mine to read if they chose to, in the hope that it might assist them in raising up their kids to be free of superstitious nonsense. (Unlike me, my siblings are crazy about procreating. The book was my gift to them, for what it’s worth. The work was also extremely therapeutic for me, as it took me years to complete.)

 
 
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11 November 2008 10:19
 

This is thread hijacking, right? I promise to rent Bill’s movie on DVD.
We’ve moved on here, but I’m always late.

If anything good can come out of my blunder, it is to contemplate the reasons that some kids figure out on their own that religion is bullshit. Any takers?

Access to info about science and history is decisive. They are especially deadly in combination. I caught the ancient history bug early on and there was a point somewhere where I discovered that history swallows the bible. Even a detailed look at Jewish history swallows the bible that people like Hagee wave around. It takes a lot of input to get there but we should be encouraging the effort better at school. A good starting point is the series of Penguin historical atlases that cover man’s early migrations through to the French Revolution with maps that have ever-changing borders and names. They give a view of history that is like a helicopter ride over a Katrina-like disaster area that stretches to the horizon in both directions. Jehovah, Christianity, and everything that ever went with them, is just too small a piece of the landscape. The Bible is what it has always been- an endlessly evolving historical artifact. One of many.
It only takes a casual grasp of science to get a child’s skeptical motors started. NASA exposed how all of mankind is swallowed by the universe. For me, Jehovah was swallowed right along with us. If we’re suppose to be so sure that this bible scheme is hard tack reality all over this big universe then how come Kirk and Spock aren’t spreading the gospel to Rigel 4?

I think one also needs to have a few living human examples of religion-free life around to keep the demonizing at bay. I had an endless supply.

It was info, living examples and dumb luck for me. My family’s religion was complex but clearly silly and practiced with a stoic devotion that was indistinguishable from apathy. My family’s pastor was a brimstone breathing intimidating and condescending creep that I hated since I was four. I may have, long ago, boasted of a great struggle between me and Yahweh but no, it was easy compared to what many others went through and are going through. I wish them luck, dumb or otherwise.

Lutherans raise their kids to believe that religion is one’s private relationship with God, which must be kept private in silence and isolation and approached with dignity and humility. And never spoken about. This is the same way they raise their kids to use the bathroom. No one in there but you and God, and He’s counting the squares.

 
 
Dennis Campbell
 
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11 November 2008 10:41
 

Had a Lutheran friend once, a fellow school psychologist some 30 years ago, who was sailing with me across Lake Michigan on my 23-ft Morgan Sloop.  One time, as we were conning the vessel in the wee hours between midnight and dawn, just watching the compass and sails, as well the night, we got to talking.  He finally opined that as a Wisconsin Synod Lutheran, only he and his fellow Synod members would go to heaven, the entire remaining human population on earth were condemned to Hell.  That’s always been with me as an example of quiet fanaticism in an otherwise intelligent and educated adult.  He appeared to have no appreciation for the significance of what he was saying, or could care less.  He, after, all, was to be among the saved. 

A movie such as started this thread would not have been possible then; even if it had, it would’ve had little if any impact on this man.  Maybe on his kids, but not on him.  I do think civil if blunt and clear discourse can have some influence on some people, particularly the younger and/or undecided or questioning adults. 

Thought crossed my mind after the above example, is that it isn’t atheists who’re all that threatening to theists, it’s other theists who are true believers in some other authoritarian theism who seek, sometimes, to kill them.  Little more dangerous than competing dictatorships.  “Non-believers,” in any theism, are at most annoying to theists, it’s the billions of believers on other religions that are the threat to any theist. 

Dennis


Dennis

[ Edited: 11 November 2008 11:01 by Dennis Campbell]
 
 
Keep The Reason
 
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11 November 2008 11:07
 
Salt Creek - 11 November 2008 01:32 PM
Keep The Reason - 11 November 2008 12:41 PM

Well now, you’ve just contradicted yourself.  You’ve just cited yourself as someone who would have benefited from the discussion on here.  So why would I not be in my right mind to think that there aren’t other individuals like you, who would benefit from the discussion being played out here?

You’re mainly interested in poking holes in any and all positions that differ even microscopically from the panacea you’ve ‘proven’ to yourself, but to no one else, and show no inclination toward providing scientific evidence in favor of.

Let me tell a little anecdote of something that happened to me on my trip to Peru. I was forced to take a red-eye down to Houston to connect to my Lima flight. During the wee hours of the morning, as exhaustion and boredom were just about to overcome me, I noticed the passenger in the seat in front of me was watching a film on her laptop. I soon figured out that it was Ben Stein’s propaganda piece “Expelled”, and even without access to the soundtrack, I found it interesting.

Later, after de-planing, I located this passenger in the concourse as we rolled our bags through the deserted terminal at 5:30 AM. I stopped her and told her that I couldn’t help noticing the film she had been watching, and that I knew a bit about it and was curious about her reaction. All this without assuming which side of the issue she was on.

It turned out that she was concerned about the “fact” that “Intelligent Design” has been “kept out of the classroom” by the scientific establishment and by the courts. I was forthcoming in explaining which side of the issue I represented, and, after noting that the court had indeed ruled on this issue emphatically in the Dover, PA decision, I switched to explaining specifically how I determined that “Intelligent Design” cannot be a plausible explanation for anything. Mainly I focused on Dawkins’ argument that anything complex enough to “design” something is necessarily itself the product of a sequence of evolutionary steps (in the general ontological sense).

I also asked her to try to explain to me how enlisting the aid of supposedly “scientific” explanations is really of any benefit to promoting religious faith, insofar as it seems rather a failure of nerve.

It was all very civil and strange, there in the surreal stillness of a deserted airport concourse at dawn. A fifteen-minute conversation with someone whose thinking had just been channeled in a particular direction by a blatant propaganda film at the extreme nonsense end of the activities promoting religion.

I grow impatient with people when, after rational arguments against some bit of theistic nonsense or other are studiously ignored, the theistic or religious argument is simply rebooted. There was no time for this conversation to reach that point, but I saw no glimmer of recognition that a simple argument expressed in twenty-five words or less was at all meaningful.

But there it is - in twenty-five words or less - for the actual science part, and similar parsimony for the strictly rational argument against trying to find a “scientific proof of God” as a bootstrapping of faith.

Generally, theists who show up online have already realized that the simple arguments are straightforward and dismissive of religion, and have typically fashioned elaborate and idiosyncratic diatribes that you have to invest time and effort in before you can even argue against them. My position is that my time is my own, and formulating equally-elaborate arguments against their specifics is a waste of my effort. When no opportunity to discuss scientific reasons why religion is nothing more than a security blanket, I recognize that there is disingenuousness to begin with in the theist’s position, and do not expect such people are any less cynical than I am.

KTR, if you like writing dissertations extolling the virtues of reason, it’s fine with me. I don’t care much for being told how to handle my own discourse with people. The arguments against the content of religious belief are simple. What has nothing to do with rationality whatsoever is deciding whether or not to coddle people’s emotional dependence on their religious nonsense. There is another religion running rampant in some sectors: The secular religion of coddling people’s self-esteem before any other evaluation is ever made. Pretending that someone’s flimsy theological arguments are competent for the sake of promoting a fantasy of “civil discourse and rationality” is not something I am up to doing.

I’m not even abusive of god-botherers because their arguments are cynical. I’m abusive because their arguments are blatantly incompetent. Pretending to be as incompetent as they are, in order to lay out a three-page dissertation of one’s self-proclaimed gems of rationality is also pretty cynical and self-serving. Justifying it with unsubtantiated claims about its effectiveness is just gilding that lily.

Thanks for this perspective.  There is 99.8% of this I’m in toal agreement with, and you already know what I object to, so I won’t repeat it.

 
 
Keep The Reason
 
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11 November 2008 11:12
 
unknown zone - 11 November 2008 01:44 PM

But what is it that brings in more customers—er, readers? Of course it’s the indie-lack-chewal level of the discourse. But I’d be willing to bet that the occasional colorful language that can be found keeps readers here.

Maybe.  It’s a good point.

I doubt if I’d have posted much if anything back in 1972 if a forum such as this were around. I’d probably have been one of those lurkers I referred to who benefit simply by reading all the arguments.

And here’s where we unfortunately have a problem, because no one can show supporting evidence that the lurkers are even here reading, let alone having their minds changed or broadened.  So I’ve got to speculate based on anecdote on whether or not it’s happening.

If it’s not happening, then well, I’ve wasted my time—and it’s my time to waste.  If change is happening, then that change is its own reward.  I’m willing to pay the cost of the former in expectation of te latter being in play.

And no one is required to read my posts and reply to them, so if I’m pissing off some people by championing respectful and rational discourse and vocally opposing abusiveness, well, that’s okay too.  In such cases, if it matters, there’s an ignore button anyone is free to use.

Also, keep in mind that a 17-year-old who is actively seeking answers to life’s big questions is exactly the sort of person who a stranger can argue successfully with.

Absolutely.  I imagine 17 year olds come here.

[ Edited: 11 November 2008 11:30 by Keep The Reason]
 
 
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11 November 2008 11:17
 
unknown zone - 11 November 2008 02:08 PM

I hope you haven’t been under the impression that anyone here sees you as operating under dark motives, KTR. You’re obviously a sincere person.

Well, that’s nice to hear (or read), and no I didn’t actively think I was perceived as having some dark ulterior motives.

Okay, but don’t read the book for my sake. The main reason I wrote it was to communicate possible ways the world has come to be as it is without magical creatures running around in the clouds, for extended-family members of mine to read if they chose to, in the hope that it might assist them in raising up their kids to be free of superstitious nonsense. (Unlike me, my siblings are crazy about procreating. The book was my gift to them, for what it’s worth. The work was also extremely therapeutic for me, as it took me years to complete.)

It sounds interesting, which is why I’m going to read it.

 
 
Keep The Reason
 
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Keep The Reason
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11 November 2008 11:25
 
McCreason - 11 November 2008 01:14 PM

Good point indeed Dennis. Of course if someone is trapped in fuckwittery today, it does not mean that through enlightenment he cannot become and ex-fuckwit at some point in the future. Look at myself for instance. This is what we all hope for.

But what is wrong with working towards it rather than just hoping for it?  And if there’s nothing wrong with working towards it, then… suddenly one is confronted with approach.  What methods work to greater success, and which ones don’t?  None are perfect, but some promote consistency, and others promote… oneself.  Dennis said it well:  The insulters tell us more about themselves than anything else.

 
 
Dennis Campbell
 
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Dennis Campbell
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11 November 2008 11:37
 

KTR,

Maybe, not sure you’re saying this about yourself, but I might disagree with you in the sense I’ve no sense of “mission” to try and somehow “fix” or “therapize,” or otherwise correct other adult’s long-held theistic beliefs.  I’ve also got no great need to illustrate my “intellectual superiority” by calling believers idiots, etc., because with obvious exceptions, they’re not idiots, not delusional, nor are they in any useful way “crazy.”  Someone asks, then I’m willing to at least express my non-believer status, but I’m not especially inclined to go further unless that person is explicitly interested in doing so, and maybe not then.

Dennis

 
 
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