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antifeminism antifeminist women misogyny PUA rape rape culture rhymes with roosh twitter

Among the Sea Lions: A Case Study in Twitter Futility

Actually if Internet sea lions were this cute I wouldn't mind them
If Internet sea lions were this cute I wouldn’t really mind them

So a horse-loving, feminist-hating Roosh V fan popped into my Twitter mentions today, defending Roosh against accusations of rape by noting that he’s never actually been charged or convicted of rape. Which is true, though not actually proof of his innocence any more than OJ’s acquittal in criminal court is proof that he didn’t murder his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend.

mina

When Phil pointed out that his belief that Roosh is a rapist seems to be supported by Roosh’s own words, Ms. Smith declared that Roosh’s own words didn’t count, because they appeared in a post of mine. And that’s when, for better or worse, I entered into the discussion myself.

mina1

And then I asked the questions I ask everyone who accuses me of taking quotes out of context: Have you read the original quotes in context, and if so, could you tell me how I misrepresented them?

mina2

I don’t think anyone I have ever asked these questions to has given me a satisfactory answer. Most slink off at this point, their bluff called.

But others continue to bluff and bluster onward, doing their best to avoid answering the questions — either because they have read the quotes in their original context, and know full well that I didn’t misrepresent them, or because they haven’t read the quotes in the original and don’t want to admit it.

Still, I don’t think I’ve ever run across a bluffer quite as brazen or as persistent as Ms. Smith, who somehow managed, over the course of several hours of on-and-off “debate,” to avoid saying whether or not she actually read any of the books she claimed I was misrepresenting. Or even the post of mine she was ostensibly critiquing.

As the hours went by, her attempts to wriggle out of answering these rather basic yes or no questions took on a kind of Dadaesque grandeur. Read on, if you have the patience for it.

mina3 mina4 mina5 mina6 mina7

mina8

mina9

mina10 mina11 mina12 mina13 mina14 mina15mina16mina17 mina18minalastfinalfinal

Seeing the name “Mina” so often in my mentions made me think of the Bollywood classic “Eena Meena Deeka,” which is certainly more entertaining than Mina Smith’s “arguments” above.

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Robert
Robert
6 years ago

Reminds me of a parody final exam question I saw back in university.
“Complete two of the following:
a) Discuss analysis.
b) Analyze discussion.
c) Describe ‘in terms of’ in terms of ‘in terms of.”

Mina needs a (new) hobby.

Pandapool -- The Species that Endangers YOU (aka Banana Jackie Cake, for those who still want to call me "Banana", "Jackie" or whatever)
Pandapool -- The Species that Endangers YOU (aka Banana Jackie Cake, for those who still want to call me "Banana", "Jackie" or whatever)
6 years ago

The thing is is that people who believe in god(s) cite the world as proof that god(s) exist because many religions say that god(s) created the world/universe. At least that’s what happens to me everytime I ask for proof. :/

Alan Robertshaw
Alan Robertshaw
6 years ago

@ Robert

“Prove this chair exists”

“What chair?”

Flint
Flint
6 years ago

I just visited her twitter. It turns out she’s one of those conspiracy theorists who think that the feminazis are trying to control words in order to demonize and/or destroy heterosexual relationships. As a result she feels that she not obligated to answer questions unless she feels you’ve ingested more redpills than your average hippie has ingested LSD.

kirbywarp
kirbywarp
6 years ago

@Pandapool:

But look at the trees! Look at how leafy and beautiful they are! You might think the earth could have evolved by random chance via a tornado through a junkyard full of watches, which has a probability of exactly 2.307*10^-eleventybajillion, but some of us don’t have that much faith! Where would the junkyard even come from? Junk implies a junker, you know.

Checkmate, atheists!

Flint
Flint
6 years ago

BTW, I recommend reading the book “Rules For Radicals” by Saul Alinksky, as the tactics she used was pulled straight from his book. For example:

“Whenever possible, go outside the expertise of the enemy.”
“Make the enemy live up to its own book of rules.”
“Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon.”

Kimstu
Kimstu
6 years ago

@Scarlettathena: “Let’s say there are people who believe in unicorns and others who don’t. The only ones who have burden of proof are those who claim unicorns exist.”

They do not automatically have any “burden of proof” to demonstrate the existence of unicorns to you in a manner that satisfies your own chosen criteria of empirical proof. You are not entitled to impose on them your belief (an axiomatic, unprovable belief) that there can’t possibly be any sort of reality that’s undetectable by reason and empirical evidence.

Now, if the unicornists want YOU to believe in unicorns, then yes, they need to be able to show you evidence for unicorns that meets your criteria. Otherwise, nope, they don’t. Your belief that it’s impossible for anything to be real unless it can be scientifically demonstrated in a manner that would convince a reasonable skeptic is not objectively any more true than the unicornists’ belief that unicorns are real in some sort of unexplained supernatural way that transcends empirical demonstration.

All your repeated insistence that claims about the supernatural “should at the very least be detectable [in an empirical way]” and “convince a (reasonable) skeptic that there’s something rather than nothing” and “show [in an empirical way] that … [alleged supernatural entity] works in a way [rationally] incompatible with chance or [scientifically] known mechanisms”, etc. etc., is just you failing to spot the circularity in your argument.

(And I repeat: I’m not trying to argue against atheist beliefs or convince anyone not to be an atheist. As an atheist myself, I also subscribe to the belief that ultimate reality is (probably) entirely comprehensible via rational and empirical means, and that there (probably) doesn’t exist any form of truth which is manifested through any kind of mystic revelation rather than evidence and reason. But neither you nor I nor any other atheist can possibly PROVE that that belief is true, and so we can’t logically demand that non-atheists must accept it as part of their own epistemic framework.)

Kimstu
Kimstu
6 years ago

@freemage: Sure, if we’re talking enactment of public policy, it makes perfect sense to establish non-supernatural ground rules for policy motivation. But some atheists, like @Scarlettathena, seem to be insisting on a much more draconian imposition of rationalist-materialist epistemological standards across the board.

Catalpa
Catalpa
6 years ago

“Seeing isn’t believing. It’s where belief ends, because it isn’t needed any more.” I think that’s a quote from Terry Pratchett’s Small Gods, but it may be from a friend different Discworld novel.

Faith by its definition is void of proof. A deity that asks for faith would not provide proof.

For those who think that’s an awfully convenient happenstance, you’re right, it is. A nonexistent deity would also fail to provide proof, being nonexistent.

IMO, what people have faith in is their business. It’s when they attempt to force or influence other people’s lives because of their faith that it isn’t okay.

Catalpa
Catalpa
6 years ago

*from a different Discworld novel.

Not sure where ‘ friend ‘ came from. I blame autocorrect.

Alan Robertshaw
Alan Robertshaw
6 years ago

“Who is this God person anyway?”

kirbywarp
kirbywarp
6 years ago

@Kimstu:

I think you were confusing scarlettathena and me with that one…

And I’m not sure I get what you’re saying. I agree that just walking up to a religious person and demanding they justify their beliefs to you, apropos of nothing, isn’t kosher. “Live and let live” would be the principle here; as long as their beliefs weren’t bothering you, then they don’t have to justify them to you.

That has nothing to do with epistemology.

You seem to be going beyond that by saying that expecting someone who believes in the supernatural to provide evidence of the existence of the supernatural that doesn’t rely on the existence of the supernatural as an axiom… is circular? I don’t follow. Or are you saying that “the non-existence of the supernatural” is the axiom I’m demanding such a person must accept? If so, then of course not, otherwise how could they ever convince me otherwise if they must accept the negation of their argument?

Your belief that it’s impossible for anything to be real unless it can be scientifically demonstrated in a manner that would convince a reasonable skeptic is not objectively any more true than the unicornists’ belief that unicorns are real in some sort of unexplained supernatural way that transcends empirical demonstration.

Let’s follow this line and talk about what’s actually real rather than what’s convincing. I agree that something can exist even if there is no way to scientifically detect or approach it. There are many things on planets orbiting stars in far off galaxies that we will never detect and yet still exist.

But that doesn’t get you very far. Existence of a god or other supernatural being must mean more than that; otherwise again, why bother talking about it? How could you even know about it in order to believe it? You don’t need a rationalist/materialist framework to have this mindset. This is just fundamental philosophy of knowledge.

… and that there (probably) doesn’t exist any form of truth which is manifested through any kind of mystic revelation rather than evidence and reason. But neither you nor I nor any other atheist can possibly PROVE that that belief is true, and so we can’t logically demand that non-atheists must accept it as part of their own epistemic framework.)

The default position towards a claim has to be one of skepticism, no matter what the claim is. There is no other alternative; accepting every claim you hear if you can’t refute it doesn’t work. That’ts much more fundamental than a person’s epistemic framework; that’s a fundamental concept of epistemology itself. No atheist can PROVE that there is no such thing as mystic revelation, but when it comes down to deciding which claim needs the “proof” and which claim doesn’t, it’s the positive claim every time.

Again, going up to a person and demanding they justify themselves to you is rude. But when you’re talking about “burden of proof,” there is a “side” that does have to shoulder this burden, and it’s the one claiming that supernatural things exist.

Broken Butterfly
Broken Butterfly
6 years ago

I’m probably going to regret saying anything, but the way you guys are kinda talking about religion is making me uncomfortable (assuming I haven’t misread everything again)…

If we keep in mind the real golden rule (“Your right to punch ends where the tip of my nose begins”) and exclude all the people who don’t follow it (IE, the people who use their beliefs, regardless of what they are, to hurt others)… what’s the big deal if I believe in a deity who’s made everything? Is there some reason that CAN’T be true? I mean, who’s to say God didn’t create everything in a more primal way, then gave us all the ability to change and evolve so he could watch us, thus letting us live in our own way? Science exists, evolution exists, but why is it so strange to think that there was a deity’s hand in bringing origins about and letting intelligent people figure things out for themselves (or even giving some people who pray a small push to inspire their own creativity)?

I’ve gotten ridicule and hate, both online and off, about that, and I don’t really understand why it’s MY job to prove something that someone either isn’t going to believe no matter what I say or who’s going to just ridicule me more for it and point and laugh. It’s made me honestly side-eye most people who start talking about this sort of thing, because… really, I don’t see the point to why we need to prove ourselves? Why do we, who live on faith, suddenly need to define it to people who don’t?

I could be just reading everything wrong, and if so, I’m really sorry and please bap me for doing so, but the discussion’s kind of reminded me of a lot of flak I got and it makes a usually entertaining comment section uncomfortable for me. So since you guys are usually pretty nice to people, I thought, well, might as well take a dive and hope I don’t make everyone hate me or mess something up?

kirbywarp
kirbywarp
6 years ago

Tossing away the concept of “burden of proof” is like tossing away “logic…” All you can do afterwards is give up on the conversation, but you don’t have to attack the fundamentals of knowledge in order to do that.

kirbywarp
kirbywarp
6 years ago

@Broken Butterfly:

No, no, that’s understandable. I’ve seen it myself where people take something like what I was talking about burden of proof and take it way far to the realm of “therefore it’s stupid to believe in god and you’re terrible for doing it.”

That’s not my position at all… If you don’t want to try to argue for your beliefs, I’m not going to sit here and say you have to anyways. I’m only talking about rules regarding people who do want to argue for their beliefs. I’ll try to be more careful about my wording if this conversation continues…

Pandapool -- The Species that Endangers YOU (aka Banana Jackie Cake, for those who still want to call me "Banana", "Jackie" or whatever)
Pandapool -- The Species that Endangers YOU (aka Banana Jackie Cake, for those who still want to call me "Banana", "Jackie" or whatever)
6 years ago

I know another argument tatic is to quote this bible verse I think which involves something about only needing faith to prove god or some shit? What a failsafe to totally avoid having to prove god exists. Whoever translated that should get a medal.

A.A. Wils
6 years ago

Wow, David. You have infinitely more patience than I do.

Broken Butterfly
Broken Butterfly
6 years ago

@kirbywarp
Oh! That… makes a lot more sense, sorry. I guess I misunderstood. ^^;

@pandapool
I don’t think I remember that verse, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it was there. I feel like a lot of the Bible is God’s word corrupted by human hands, though? If that makes sense.

kirbywarp
kirbywarp
6 years ago

@Pandapool:

My favorite is “The fool in his heart hath said that there is no God.” Why provide evidence to try to convince someone when you can claim that that evidence already exists, whatever it may be, and the other person is just denying it in bad faith?

reymohammed
reymohammed
6 years ago

Damn! Thank you! It’s almost four decades since I’ve seen this kind of Bollywood pure curried corn! (Though I did have a recording of the live-actor Jungle Book, clearly Bollywood’s revenge on Kipling).

kirbywarp
kirbywarp
6 years ago

@Broken Butterfly:

Don’t even worry about it. This is almost kind of a new position for me to take… I used to be the more hardlined stereotypical atheist, thinking all religion was awful and on and on. I wouldn’t be shocked if I still had remnants of that floating around…

@pandapool
I don’t think I remember that verse, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it was there. I feel like a lot of the Bible is God’s word corrupted by human hands, though? If that makes sense.

Given that the Bible has been translated and retranslated, and that there are demonstrable passages that were translated in a certain way to fit the orthodoxy of the time, this wouldn’t be surprising at all. Even if the bible were divinely inspired, there’s plenty of evidence of human motivation as well.

Pandapool -- The Species that Endangers YOU (aka Banana Jackie Cake, for those who still want to call me "Banana", "Jackie" or whatever)
Pandapool -- The Species that Endangers YOU (aka Banana Jackie Cake, for those who still want to call me "Banana", "Jackie" or whatever)
6 years ago

Of course, what I say is from my own experience which come from having to deal with really, really religious folks that sneer at you if you aren’t the right denomination let alone atheist. And, honestly, I’ve never brought up my aethism out of context, only when people start talking religion at me which I explain that I know nothing about because I’m an aethist…which is why I just hmm and nod my head whenever that shit happens now.

It gets tiring having to deal with intolerant religious people. It’s a stupid circular argument that you just walk away Mad and bitter from and, in my case, hating fucking religion even more so than ever.

Oh, sure, if there is a god or gods, I like their work – Earth, water, stars, raspberries, dragons – but their fanbases are shit.

tal
tal
6 years ago

As long as I’m not being required to act like I believe in unicorns (avoid certain parts of the forest or certain fruits for example) you’re welcome to believe in all the unicorns you believe in. If you’re requiring me to act in a certain way because of your belief in unicorns, then we’re going to need to talk about proof.

Pandapool -- The Species that Endangers YOU (aka Banana Jackie Cake, for those who still want to call me "Banana", "Jackie" or whatever)
Pandapool -- The Species that Endangers YOU (aka Banana Jackie Cake, for those who still want to call me "Banana", "Jackie" or whatever)
6 years ago

I feel like a lot of the Bible is God’s word corrupted by human hands, though? If that makes sense.

According to pretty much every Rabbi ever, the bible as a fucking shit ton of wrongly translated shit in it. On top of that, it’s edited by people with adgendas who use the thesaurus to totally change the meaning of passages without “changing” the meanings of the passages. On top of that, there’s also several versions of the bible. On top of THAT, people like to pick and choose what they want to heed to, which is why there’s a billion sects of Jesus followers out there.

So, I mean, the hell?

Broken Butterfly
Broken Butterfly
6 years ago

@Pandapool
Much like Homestuck and Sonic, it’s the fanboys that ruin all the good things.

Serious answer: I’m so very sorry that you had to deal with that. I hate people who are that way, because it’s so completely OPPOSITE to how they should be acting overall that it just makes me shake my head. The foundation of a good religion, I believe, is love and respect, no matter what the other person is or believes, but so many people seem to just… discard that.

@kirbywarp
Okay! <3 Yeah, I can honestly understand why some people would think all religions are awful, with how the vocal idiots are, but (ironically), Not All Religions/Religious People, y'know?

And yeah, there really is. It's why even though I consider myself Christian, I don't follow a lot of the laws/things in the Bible; it just smacks too much of "human meddling" to me.

EJ (The Other One)
EJ (The Other One)
6 years ago

@Broken Butterfly:

As you point out, it is not my place to tell you what to believe and what not to believe. If we all make sure that our actions don’t hurt anyone else, then we can all get along. Since you read this site, the chances are that we both agree on a lot of basic social principles: whether we see those principles as supported by faith or by reason is really up to the individual.

Like Kirby I tend to take quite a hardline position on matters of secularism, but in my opinion arguments over whether or not a deity exists are minor and trivial, compared to more important matters like gay rights, women’s rights and children’s rights. These are not things I feel I can compromise on; however I have no interest in making anyone feel under attack for something as abstract and personal as whether they think a deity exists or not.

That said, a certain number of atheists disagree with me on this, and take great pleasure in being assholes to religious people in this way (as you’ve come across, for which I’m very sorry.) I’m very much opposed to this, mostly because I’m against assholery in general, but also because it undermines the credibility of the cause when it comes to the more important issues.

Sadly a lot of that latter group also seem uninterested in actually solving the problems. When it comes to shouting “child molester” at Catholic priests, they’re utterly behind it; when it comes to campaigning for a better schooling system in general, they lag behind. The movement would be better off without them; if nothing else they wouldn’t make people like yourself feel hated.

Scarlettathena
6 years ago

@Kimstu
I think you misunderstood my point. I am not demanding that anybody justify their beliefs to me. We are talking about people’s beliefs and, in a discussion, who has a burden of proof to demonstrate their position. I actually don’t go around demanding my religious friends demonstrate to me why they believe what they believe.

This discussion refers to people who expect others to adopt their beliefs. There are people who demand I accept their version of a god and want me to organize my life around their system of beliefs. This is not hypothetical. There are people in the US, in my personal life and in politics, that say “I think this is the right thing to do based on what I believe about my god, so we should make law X and not law Y.”

Now, I happen to be an atheist. I’m not saying there is no god. There might very well be some god that is completely undetectable and who doesn’t intervene, or maybe intervenes in a cunning, undetectable way. The thing is, I see no evidence for that, so I reject this position. However, I don’t make any claims, so I have nothing to demonstrate. In logic, the burden of proof rests on the person making the positive claim. Someone who says there is a god and wants me to accept their belief and organize my life around this bears the burden of proof.

This is just he way logic works.

Here’s a thought experiment: there’s a purple dragon that lives in my garage. It disappears every time you open the garage door. Can you prove I don’t?
If I make such a claim, you would be right not to believe me and demand I provide you some evidence.

EJ (The Other One)
EJ (The Other One)
6 years ago

Wow, reading that back, I wrote that really badly. Ernest Hemingway I am not.

catgirl
catgirl
6 years ago

Believing in something so strongly is hard. It requires a lot of trust.
A lot of people really bash religious individuals without realizing that religious groups are a lot like any organization run by humans. Some do a lot of good, some do a lot of bad, and some are a little inbetween.

Broken Butterfly
Broken Butterfly
6 years ago

@EJ
No, I think you did okay! And I can say that yes, we definitely agree on things. It’s one of the reasons I kind of have issues with the Bible and other Christians.

To tackle one subject as an example… do I believe that homosexuality is wrong/a sin? Fuck no, it’s just how people are, and love is love no matter the details of the people involved (assuming it’s consensual/both sides understand it/the obvious things). Do I believe that God once decreed that homosexuality itself is a sin? Well, no. I can’t believe in a God who’s that cruel. Do I believe that maybe at some point in our ancient history he might have told others to focus more on heterosexuality/breeding? Yes, I could kind of see that, in the way of “humans at that point were a very small number and we NEEDED to breed to stay alive”; it doesn’t make it any more RIGHT, persay, but it was for survival and I could sort of understand it. But in that case, we don’t NEED survival anymore — humans are plentiful, maybe a bit too plentiful, so there’s absolutely no reason something like that should be in our society today. If we had an apocalpyse and most humans died, then maybe it could come back as “okay we need to have children, so as long as you’re doing that, who cares what else you do” or something akin to that, but point is…

No, I don’t think homosexuality is a sin, nor do I think God ever made it one. If he did speak out against it, it was meant for survival and “make sure your race lives” instead of the RAWR RAWR NEVER BE HOMOSEXUAL crap people spout, because survival is rarely fair or pretty. But in the end, regardless of whether someone believes the same way as me or not, there’s no justification for hatred of it; people are people and I do believe that God made people at least to start, so… why would he condemn something HE put into people, that they have at birth, as a sin? It’s not a disease, it’s not a sickness, and if people try to say it is because OH THEY CAN’T HAVE CHILDREN then that would technically make me a sin too, since I hate pregnancy and dislike taking care of children, thus I plan to never, ever have one (which isn’t too hard, since I’m also physically uninterested in ever having sex, too).

…wow that turned wordy, I’m really sorry, but! Yeah, I don’t believe that all ANYONE is like the vocal, rude people, and I have met some atheists who were absolutely beautiful people (one time I asked one if it would be okay if I prayed for them, wanting to respect what they wanted, and they giggled at me and smiled and said they’d like that).

And yeah… it is a shame that people who claim to hold high moral ground (in any way) don’t actually care about solving problems, or actively go out of their way to muddy them (and boy, do I have a story about THAT from just a couple days ago).

EJ (The Other One)
EJ (The Other One)
6 years ago

@Scarlettathena:

The belief that atheism should only mean a disbelief in deities rather than any wider set of beliefs is often referred to as “dictionary atheism”, and is in somewhat of disfavour among the more progressive parts of that movement because it tends to be a talking point used by the bigots. I know you didn’t mean it like that, but be aware.

For example, one might point out that homophobia in western society comes almost entirely from the Abrahamic faiths, and that if one rejects said faiths and all their teachings then one is left with no basis from which to justify homophobia; meaning that atheism is inherently a pro-gay position. However, this distresses homophobic atheists, and so they will tend to fall back upon a “dictionary atheist” position in order to insist that movement atheism should not be pro-gay. This probably reached its sad heights with Justin Vacula’s notorious statement, “Just because I don’t believe in a god doesn’t mean I don’t believe women exist to serve men.” (Vacula, it should be pointed out, lost most of his credibility during the incident in which he said that.)

As such, while I’m certainly not going to insist that we have a party line, the concept that atheism stands for more than merely rejecting the existence of a deity can be a useful one for talking people around to a socially progressive position.

kirbywarp
kirbywarp
6 years ago

And yeah… it is a shame that people who claim to hold high moral ground (in any way) don’t actually care about solving problems, or actively go out of their way to muddy them …

The true people who are playing identity politics. It’s like in the discussion about “male feminist” and how the men who are obsessed with keeping that label tend not to live up to it much. Or the biblical idea about how people who pray in public in order to be seen probably care more about being seen as faithful rather than actually doing good works.

Maybe there’s an aspect of defensiveness… “I’m X, so I couldn’t possibly be doing anything wrong with regards to X, I’m X dammit!”

… (and boy, do I have a story about THAT from just a couple days ago).

Oh? Do tell!

EJ (The Other One)
EJ (The Other One)
6 years ago

@Broken Butterfly:
You deserve many hugs, because you’re a nice person.

You aren’t responsible for the actions of your co-religionists, and I doubt anyone here is going to attack you for happening to believe in the same deity as some assholes any more than they’ll attack you for happening to live in the same country as some assholes. (Which is to say that there are idiots on the web who will, but they’re idiots and their opinions matter as little as the chirping of birds.)

There’s an atheist leader called Daniel Dennett who said that when a religious person says “I’ll pray for you” then what that actually means is “I care about you”, and the right answer is “thank you.” It’s a way of showing love, and it’s appreciated by everyone who recognises it as that.

While we’re talking, if there’s anything else you’d like to ask a hardline atheist, I’m sure Kirby, Pandapool and myself (not to mention the other board members) will be happy to give you a friendly answer.

ColeYote
ColeYote
6 years ago

Is there a word for an argument that’s obsessed with semantics at the expense of actually making any points? Because… now would be a great time for that word. Hang on, I’m gonna go and spend hours looking into this on Rationalwiki.

kirbywarp
kirbywarp
6 years ago

In terms of beliefs and religion/lack-thereof, it’s funny. Take something like evolution; I used to be almost angry at people who claimed that God could have created life through evolution, and therefore evolution doesn’t disprove God. To me it felt like a rationalization of something indefensible, a way to ignore evidence.

These days… I don’t think I really care. The world is what is it, no matter what scientific or theological discoveries we make; and no matter what strange or bizarre things we come up with, the world will never change. Quantum mechanics has always been true. I care much more about just describing the way the world is and figuring out how it works, and much less about knowing what the final model of the universe will be.

Now if someone tells me that evolution must be false because the world was created 6000 years ago and all of humanity descended from two spontaneously created individuals… That’s where I have the problem. 🙂

EJ (The Other One)
EJ (The Other One)
6 years ago

@Coleyote:
The word you’re looking for is “sophistry.”

ColeYote
ColeYote
6 years ago

Argumentum ad dictionarium, there it is.

kirbywarp
kirbywarp
6 years ago

There’s an atheist leader called Daniel Dennett who said that when a religious person says “I’ll pray for you” then what that actually means is “I care about you”, and the right answer is “thank you.” It’s a way of showing love, and it’s appreciated by everyone who recognises it as that.

I love Dan Dennett. This makes me happy, because it seems like way too many atheists end up being huge assholes. I’m fine as long as he merely stays a prepper. 🙂

(yeah… he thinks that the internet is going to break down some time soon and that people should start gathering supplies and talking to their neighbors about what to do when it happens… Heard him talk about it at a talk I went to with him and Dawkins… My jaw literally dropped, especially since I have a bit of technical background)

kirbywarp
kirbywarp
6 years ago

way too many *famous atheists end up being huge assholes

EJ (The Other One)
EJ (The Other One)
6 years ago

@Kirby:
I went through the same progression. I think initially a lot of it was me breaking away from my religious background and realising that it was perfectly reasonable for me to be insulted as hell at the bullshit that people had expected me to lap up. Then, when I went into science at university, it was an anger at being patronisingly told that the thing I had chosen to spend my life doing was meaningless.

I’m not sure I’m less angry now, but the anger is more channelled. I’ve learned to be more patient about it and not just seethe every time some priest says some patronising bullshit to me.

EJ (The Other One)
EJ (The Other One)
6 years ago

He’s a doomsday prepper? Ah well. You can’t have everything. Just as long as Ophelia Benson and Greta Christina stay perfect, I’m happy. 🙂

I do love Dennett. Even if philosophers dislike him as a quisling, I find him immensely charming and very thoughtful. Grade-A intelligence is common among such people but having it twinned with empathy in the same way as he has is sadly rarer than I’d like.

kirbywarp
kirbywarp
6 years ago

@EJ:

Just as long as Ophelia Benson and Greta Christina stay perfect, I’m happy. 🙂

… You… err… have you read freethoughtblogs in the past few weeks? I can’t say for sure that one side was completely right or wrong, but Benson kinda dug a hole for herself in a couple ways…

weirwoodtreehugger
6 years ago

It’s kind of a chicken egg thing when discussing Abrahamic religions and homophobia and misogyny. Yes, there are a lot of atheists who are homophobic and/or misogynistic. They use poorly thought biotruth arguments rather than religious texts and traditions to justify it. However, they grew up in a culture heavily influenced by these religions. Many atheists, especially the most vocal were socialized into these religions. So it’s a bit disingenuous to claim atheists couldn’t have been influenced by Abrahamic religions on some level. I do think it’s fair to say that a lot of the homophobia and misogyny in our current culture in the west is because of the influence of these religions.

However, you go back far enough and have to ask how misogyny and homophobia became a part of these religions in the first place. There was likely bigotry in the cultures these religions were formed in. I don’t think sexism and homophobia were exactly invented by them. So, how much less homophobia and misogyny would exist in a completely non theist society a few generations after religion died out? I don’t know. There probably would be less simply because a justification for it is removed. Would bigotry disappear? I wish. But almost certainly no.

freemage
6 years ago

Broken Butterfly:

There tend to be three sorts of atheists you’ll encounter, broadly speaking:

Those who were largely raised in a secular household. In a nation that’s about 80% Christian, this is uncommon, but it’s starting to happen more frequently as the various sorts of “Nones” (a category that includes atheists, agnostics, and “I want to sleep in on Sunday”, amongst others) grow in number. These folks are usually pretty chill, unless they grew up as the heathens in a heavily conservative community (see below).

Those who were raised in a fairly liberal religious household. Liberal theists, in general… well, sound like you. 🙂 Most atheists from this sort of background just kind of drifted away from their church of origin, then realized they weren’t missing anything. And most of us (yes, I’m from this camp) tend to remember the core moral teachings (the ones about love, respect, fairness) and find them to pass muster even without a god-figure judging our conduct. We are also usually pretty okay with people of faith–after all, we knew a lot of them growing up, and know them to be good people. We may be a bit more prone than the secular-origin folks to snark at a conservative theist who is pushing a bigoted agenda, but there’s usually a bit of willingness to at least talk to them with respect. (The hard-core types tend to be annoyed by our ability to quote chapter and verse right back at them, though.)

Then there’s those who were raised either in strict religious households, or in regions that were deeply religious (primarily the Deep South and rural West, in the U.S., but there’s exceptions both ways). This is the type of atheist most likely to have a chip on their shoulder–they’ve usually had to deal with a fair amount of shit from believers (including ostracism by family members and friends when they come out as atheists), and it’s colored their view of the very concept of faith, understandably. They’ll also be the ones with the most distrust of the religious in general–it can be hard to accept the idea that even a liberal theist won’t ‘turn’ on you at some inopportune moment with an appeal for conversion. And they’ll tend to have the highest sensitivity to casual religiosity (things like “Thank God I didn’t die in that plane crash!” can come across like, “I’m more important to God than the 249 passengers who DID die,” especially if you’re disinclined to charitable interpretations.)

All of the above, obviously, are generalizations. But I just urge you to keep in mind that if someone comes out swinging, it’s very likely because they’ve had to fight for so long just to be allowed to not believe that they’re inclined to lash out first and ask questions later. There’s no excuse for abusive behavior, of course, but if they just seem touchy about the subject, it’s probably kinder, if nothing else, to just smile and let it pass.

EJ (The Other One)
EJ (The Other One)
6 years ago

@Kirby:
…no, I haven’t. What’s happened? Do I want to know?

@WWTH:
It’s Zoroastrianism that’s to blame, obviously.

marinerachel
marinerachel
6 years ago

Benson said some shit widely percieved as transphobic, was corrected and responded very badly to the attempt at educating her, leaving freethoughtblogs. I think. A lot happened. I’m only a spectator.

Broken Butterfly
Broken Butterfly
6 years ago

I’m back! Sorry, I was hungry, so I went to make beer-brined and BBQ porkchops.

@kirbywarp
Pretty much. Confession time: I never realized what an issue that was because I’ve never had anyone like that around me. I’m terrified of social situations and humans in general, regardless of gender, so most of my socialization is safely behind the internet curtain. Reading all this stuff here has kind of made me even more scared, but I’ve learned a lot too (like how using “crazy” to describe a person is a bad thing; never would’ve even thought about that without you guys, and I DO have depression).

As for the story… it’s not that interesting and I’m admittedly not entirely sure if it relates, but it is infuriating to me and sure feels like it does. Basically, for months now, I’ve been trying to get Social Security Income because I can’t hold a job (not just mentally; physically I’m incredibly sickly in heat/overheat within minutes, I can barely hear, and even WITH my glasses I can’t even read moderate-sized text a couple of feet away from me), and not only have they been dragging their feet on it, someone somewhere either misunderstood something because they didn’t care enough to actually read, or they actively lied. ’cause see, someone told the SSI people I was getting treatment for these issues… ignoring the fact that I told them that I had no possible way of getting said treatment. I live with my grandmother and our bills are incredibly high, especially after so much was sunk into my grandfather’s illness before he passed and the fact that my father lost his job and has only ever managed to find part-time work, so it’s… yeah. I felt kinda patronized even in the exams they sent me to, though I had chalked it up to paranoia at first (because I’m a woman/unattractive/overweight), but…

I was really fucking pissed at that, especially since we’re barely hanging on at this point. The only reason I have internet is because we bundled that with our phone, and it’s cheaper with both in the package than it would be to have only one of the two. Small miracles, I guess?

To touch on the God/Evolution thing… honestly, I’ve always believed that God proved Science, rather than science disproving God or God disproving science. I mean, come on. If there is a deity that’s created all of us, who the hell WOULDN’T put in all this awesome science stuff for us to figure out/so they can watch us figure it out? That sounds like FUN!

Do I think we descended from Adam and Eve? Well, yeah, I do, but doesn’t that just prove evolution even more? I mean, we all had a common ancestor, right? Who’s to say we didn’t evolve AFTER them? Hell, who’s to say Adam and Eve were “human” in the way we are today? I don’t really think they were; humanity is way too different for us to have been the same as them, so clearly they were just our common ancestor.

@EJ
I always love hugs! Hugs are nice. And yeah, you guys here always seemed like really wonderful, loving people, which is why I’ve managed to make myself post at all (even if I was too nervous to even check the one or two other threads I commented in, much less reply).

And yeah, that’s pretty much it. I think I described it to someone as basically this: “When a religious person asks if they can pray for you, it doesn’t matter whether or not you believe what they do. Because, really, what is praying? Praying is appealing to a higher power, a divine, omnipresent Creator for something, and they’re asking if they can do that solely to help YOU. Regardless of what you believe, isn’t that a sign that they care a lot for you?”

As for questions… I dunno! I can’t think of anything off-hand, but if you want to tell me anything about it I’d love to hear. I like learning about other people’s beliefs or lack of or whatever it’s actually called oops so I can be as respectful as possible. I hate accidentally insulting someone.

@freemage
I actually love it when people snark at or tear into guys using religion for hatred or bigotry. I’d do it myself but I don’t have the courage or mental fortitude for that, so I’d just end up making things worse. In general, my belief is “Are you pushing hatred? Get the fuck out of my religion, because that’s not what this is about.” It’s actually why I don’t really go to church anymore; since I live in the deep south, basically every Christian church is… well, you can guess, I hope.

I was actually raised in a strict religious household, and I will concede that when I was younger I held those awful beliefs (I still have some racism from my grandfather in me, though I fight it every chance I get). It’s just that as I grew up, I made friends with homosexuals, I almost had a relationship with a trans man (did I say that right?), and other types of exposure, and it just occurred to me…

This is wrong. These things they’re preaching, all of this is wrong. I don’t want to worship a God who damns and hates good people. I just can’t believe in that sort of God at all.

And that’s where my religious leanings of today is from, because research tells me so much of the Bible has just been corrupted as it’s passed hands, so I prefer to believe in the living, loving faith than the hellfire and brimstone one.

Still, that’s really interesting! I didn’t know any of that. I’ll have to keep it in mind and try to talk to anyone who seems like that. Within reason, of course — like you said, there’s no excuse for abusive behavior, but if they just seem defensive, I’ll actually try to show them that I’m perfectly fine with what they believe, as long as they respect me too. 🙂

kirbywarp
kirbywarp
6 years ago

@EJ:

You probably want to know, but it won’t be very pretty. At a high level, basically there have been some trans folks that have been a bit put off by Ophelia’s outputs on gender for a while. Then, Ophelia posted about the pride parade that didn’t allow drag shows, made a really odd and offensive comment, at which point someone asked her if “trans women were women. Yes or no?”

She got snippy at being demanded to answer a yes or no question, especially about a topic that she feels isn’t generally straightforward, and it exploded into this firey inferno of passive aggression, straight out aggression, demanding evidence, getting indignant when that evidence was from comments and associations with groups on other websites, other bloggers jumping in, and a whole lot of uncharitable interpretations and defensiveness.

It… was a mess. One of those situations where even though I am more on one side than the other, I just look at the fallout and shake my head in despair.

EJ (The Other One)
EJ (The Other One)
6 years ago

Oh no. Sadly I can picture that happening all too easily: Benson is a great person in many ways but has a stiff neck and a bad habit of doubling down. I hope it gets resolved, even if it takes some time.

msexceptiontotherule
msexceptiontotherule
6 years ago

I have to deal with a cousin who is a missionary at most family holiday celebrations, who, despite the fact that I give some variation of the same answer to his main question – still asks.
“So, where is your relationship with God these days MsExceptiontotherule?”

“My relationship with God is personal and private matter, and I would thank you to not ask me such personal questions in the future.”

I admit, I would be the worst believing-in-god person ever if the basis for determining how much one believes is decided by how much one goes about trying to convert others or the amount of effort put into convincing them to start believing in god, specifically the one I believe in. I am not harming anyone by having faith, and if I turn out to be wrong about what happens when we die, that we die, are buried or cremated and that’s it nothing else – well, that will suck but then having faith up until that point still isn’t harming anyone. If I’m right I might just get the chance to ask god all the questions I have ever wanted to ask should I get the opportunity to do so, and to experience whatever awaits once my physical body has died. I think that such matters are for each individual to decide for themselves what they find meaning in and what they wish to believe happens after death.