Eight Examples of How I Agree with Religious Fundamentalists

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For years I’ve been advocating for “big-tent” atheism, which includes agnostics, humanists, secular humanists, freethinkers, and more. It’s a tent where people can choose activities according to their circumstances and comfort levels, a tent where they can follow their passion while respecting and supporting those with a different emphasis. Fortunately, I think the secular movement has mostly stopped arguing about labels and has begun to cooperate on important issues we can all support.
 

However, we still have our differences. An article in the Guardian, based on a study at the University of Tennessee, described the six types of atheists as: activist (vocal about issues), anti-theist (assertive and outspoken), intellectual (philosophical and scientific), non-theist (apathetic), ritual (enjoy culture and ceremony), and seeker (open to different views). I criticize this categorization here, and am disappointed that the largest category of all was not even mentioned: closeted atheists, the ones most likely to change our culture by finally coming out.

A thoughtful piece in the Huffington Post by Roy Speckhardt, the Executive Director of the American Humanist Association, is entitled “An End to Arrogant Atheism.” Roy has no problem with most forms of atheism, but thinks arrogant atheism hinders our ability to build alliances. While I agree with Roy’s point that arrogance and humorless ridicule can be counter-productive in reaching out to others, I considered it worth pointing out that the fundamentalist worldview is far more arrogant than any atheist worldview.

Fundamentalist worldview: I know God created the entire universe just for the benefit of humans. He watches me constantly and cares about everything I say and do. I know how He wants me and everyone else to behave and believe. He is perfect and just, which is why we face an eternity of either bliss or torture, depending on whether or not we believe in Him.

Atheist worldview: We’re the product of millions of years of evolution. Most species are extinct, as humans will eventually be. I hope to make a positive difference because it’s the right thing to do, not because of future rewards or punishments in an afterlife. When I don’t know something, I say, “I don’t know.”
 

Written By: Herb Silverman
continue to source article at patheos.com

106 COMMENTS

  1. While I agree with Roy’s point that arrogance and humorless ridicule can be counter-productive in reaching out to others, I considered it worth pointing out that the fundamentalist worldview is far more arrogant than any atheist worldview.

    While correlation does not mean causation, as a life long atheist, I haven’t seen so much support for atheism and so many people turning to atheism or coming out as atheists as I have in the last five or so years. There have always been books on atheism, there have always been discussions about atheism, there have always been people like myself with no issue letting people know they are atheists.

    What I had never seen from anyone, in the past, (other than from myself) is the arrogant (I prefer confident) and humourless ridicule. It worked like a charm on other students and even teachers. Religion isn’t funny, it is downright horrible. Its arrogance is deserving of ridicule and I say this confidently. I would argue that it is specifically because of the confidence, serious ridicule that people who were afraid are no longer and those who were believers have considered another option.

    I say ridicule the ridiculous; do it with humour or seriously, do it with arrogance or selflessly… just do it.

    • In reply to #1 by aquilacane:

      I say ridicule the ridiculous; do it with humour or seriously, do it with arrogance or selflessly… just do it.

      I couldn’t agree more. All religions are ridiculous, and it doesn’t take an arrogant person to recognise that and say it. I think it’s almost an obligation to point it out to those who don’t realise it yet!

      If someone believes in gods or even one god, that is their choice and hopefully they have looked at the evidence and have decided that the god (or gods) of their choice really exists and is worthy of their belief and dedication and will really and truly keep them from all harm and at the end of their life give them a place alongside he/she/it/them then so be it, but to actually belong to a religion and go through all the nonsense; the praying, singing of silly songs, bowing down, kneeling, the worship, the giving of money, and adopting the rituals, well, then that deserves ridicule, well and truly.

      • Just remember, there is a big difference between kneeling down and bending over…. (thanks, Frank Zappa).

        In reply to #3 by ArloNo:

        In reply to #1 by aquilacane:

        I say ridicule the ridiculous; do it with humour or seriously, do it with arrogance or selflessly… just do it.

        I couldn’t agree more. All religions are ridiculous, and it doesn’t take an arrogant person to recognise that and say it. I think it’s almost an obligation…

    • In reply to #1 by aquilacane:

      While I agree with Roy’s point that arrogance and humorless ridicule can be counter-productive in reaching out to others, I considered it worth pointing out that the fundamentalist worldview is far more arrogant than any atheist worldview.

      While correlation does not mean causation, as a life long a…

      I agree; mainly because mocking the absurd is good fun.

      S G

    • In reply to #1 by aquilacane:

      While I agree with Roy’s point that arrogance and humorless ridicule can be counter-productive in reaching out to others, I considered it worth pointing out that the fundamentalist worldview is far more arrogant than any atheist worldview.

      “Ridicule is the only weapon which can be used against unintelligible propositions. Ideas must be distinct before reason can act upon them; and no man ever had a distinct idea of the trinity. It is the mere Abracadabra of the mountebanks calling themselves the priests of Jesus.” -Thomas Jefferson

      • In reply to #22 by Matt G:

        In reply to #1 by aquilacane:

        While I agree with Roy’s point that arrogance and humorless ridicule can be counter-productive in reaching out to others, I considered it worth pointing out that the fundamentalist worldview is far more arrogant than any atheist worldview.

        “Ridicule is the only weapon…

        Well if we want to quote mine a Christian might reply with this one:

        “I am a real Christian, that is to say, a disciple of the doctrines of Jesus,” Thomas Jefferson letter to C. Thompson

        If we want to seriously talk about Jefferson as an intellectual he was a zealous advocate for free speech and the open exchange of idea, which requires you treat people with respect when you disagree with them. His life long friendship (even though they were fierce political rivals at times) with John Adams (who was one of the founders who wasn’t a deist but was a traditional Christian) is an example.

        So yes Jefferson could be caustic at times but I have no doubt he would have the same contempt that I do for the Dawkiban on this site who advocate defacing bibles and responding to theists with derision rather than reason.

        • In reply to #24 by Red Dog:

          the same contempt that I do for the Dawkiban on this site who advocate defacing bibles and responding to theists with derision rather than reason.

          It’s an aesthetic judgement. Some protests against the offensive arrogance of the religious are ham-fisted, crass and inappropriate. Some derision is apt and inspired. It would be aberrant to declare that crazy religious assertions should be treated with respect on every occasion.

    • In reply to #1 by aquilacane:

      While I agree with Roy’s point that arrogance and humorless ridicule can be counter-productive in reaching out to others, I considered it worth pointing out that the fundamentalist worldview is far more arrogant than any atheist worldview.

      While correlation does not mean causation, as a life long a…

      Thanks for putting I’m words what I’ve thought for a while, but never really stated.

    • In reply to #1 by aquilacane:

      I say ridicule the ridiculous; do it with humour or seriously, do it with arrogance or selflessly… just do it.

      As with almost everyone else I agree. I’m a big tent atheist, unlike Herb, including the cheeky. If you hold mock-able beliefs that you present publicly you have lost your rights to silence or inferred agreement.

      No one has the right to not having their delicate feelings hurt and those that say it’s counter productive are wrong and severely lacking in imagination. Whether it’s Richards cuttingly honest scientifically backed statements or a quick Hitch slap there are many way to skin a cat. I would not characterise either as arrogant atheists but they have been described as exactly that, so what? If every atheist that was called arrogant stopped talking there would be no one left to say boo.

      It’s funny that while “non-arrogant-atheist” (NAAs) always want to say that “arrogant-atheists” (AAs) should stop and desist immediately AAs never ask the same of NAAs. Thinking you have the only solution sounds arrogant to me.

  2. I think I now believe in telepathy!
    aquilacane, have you been reading my mind?
    The manner of talking to religious/new age/homeopathy etc believers, very much depends on the person you are talking to. Just as it is impossible to describe a typical atheist, it is equally impossible to describe a typical believer. Choose your tactics based on the individual before you…and have fun doing it.

  3. A) I have a problem with anyone accusing anyone of arrogance unless they can substantiate the the person they are accusing is in fact wrong. Can you say, accuse someone who confidently asserts the Earth is roughly spherical as arrogant? What is the gently ridicule those who believe it to be flat? Now when those claiming knowledge they can not possibly have that those who publicly call them on it can prove it then they have a point until then it is not (to my mind) arrogance simply speaking against a taboo.

    B) There may be times when you bite your tongue say in a workplace to your Christian boss, or to family members etc. This is fine but in public when religion controls an enormous amount of public policy that impacts on real lives they have no right to try to cry foul. There will be the likes of Christopher Hitchens (I hope) who will continue to aggressively criticise until their influence is redressed.

    • In reply to #5 by Reckless Monkey:

      A) I have a problem with anyone accusing anyone of arrogance unless they can substantiate the the person they are accusing is in fact wrong. Can you say, accuse someone who confidently asserts the Earth is roughly spherical as arrogant? What is the gently ridicule those who believe it to be flat?…

      There are occasions when some climate change denier, or creationist contradicting scientific laws or theories, persistently accuses the scientists presenting sound evidence, as “arrogant”.

      My usual put-down response is:-

      “From the viewpoint of profound ignorance, all knowledge is arrogant!”

      @Huff-po link – I read a recent quote from famed evolutionary biologist and past Humanist of the Year awardee, Richard Dawkins, which, upon reflection, showed that even he can fall prey to this tendency. He stated that “religion is an organized license to be acceptably stupid.”

      Dawkins did something similar when he stated that the combined number of Nobel Prizes won by Muslims was less than that won by a single English university, implying that the notoriously nonreligious achievements of academia are superior to those of adherents of an entire religion. Yet again, Dawkins has a valid point — that the anti-science mentality of many religions has limited its adherents from learning about science and working in the scientific field, but by saying it in such a way, he is less likely to inspire mainstream religious people to care about science, and more likely to offend and antagonize them.

      What’s often holding us back is “arrogant atheism,” which is seen when atheists speak as if their view is infallible, and act as if their unwavering non-belief makes them superior to those who do believe.

      Science IS superior to dogma, and honesty which may not be liked, is morally superior to fudge and palatable lies. “Infallible” is just a strawman.
      Lying and flattery CAN gain more short-term supporters, but it is a political compromising of principles and integrity.

  4. “Six types of atheists..” horsepuckey. The ‘divide and conquer’ strategy. How many types of Christians? No news article would touch this, because there are hundreds of thousands, and that would look like (horrors!) an attack on an established ideology.

    Simply can’t have that.

  5. From the website of Answers in Genesis: “Believing in a relatively “young Earth” (i.e., only a few thousands of years old) is a consequence of accepting the authority of the Word of God as an infallible revelation from our omniscient Creator.”

    I imagine most atheists can agree on this one.

    • In reply to #8 by Stuart Coyle:

      I thought that there were 12 types of atheist: Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, etc.

      ….and millions of types of monotheist/polytheist/deist. Each little customised god-in-the-brain, an individual variety, even if there is some nomenclature and classification.

  6. In reply to #1 by aquilacane:

    While I agree with Roy’s point that arrogance and humorless ridicule can be counter-productive in reaching out to others, I considered it worth pointing out that the fundamentalist worldview is far more arrogant than any atheist worldview.

    …What I had never seen from anyone, in the past, (other than from myself) is the arrogant (I prefer confident) and humourless ridicule. It worked like a charm on other students and even teachers. Religion isn’t funny, it is downright horrible. Its arrogance is deserving of ridicule and I say this confidently. I would argue that it is specifically because of the confidence, serious ridicule that people who were afraid are no longer and those who were believers have considered another option.

    I say ridicule the ridiculous; do it with humour or seriously, do it with arrogance or selflessly… just do it.

    I think the point is that much of the ridicule is directed at followers of religion rather than towards the thing itself. All religion is worthy of ridicule because it’s all patently absurd, but when you attack its devotees rather than its tenets, when you call them sheeple and religiots and suggest they belong in an institution (if the endless repetition of insults like these could not be described as humorless then I don’t know what can) you’re engaging in the sort of behavior which more properly belongs in the schoolyard.

    • In reply to #10 by Katy Cordeth:
      >
      >

      when you call them sheeple and religiots and suggest they belong in an institution (if the endless repetition of insults like these could not be described as humorless then I don’t know what can)

      Where exactly are these ‘endless repetitions’? I smell a strawman.

      • In reply to #11 by TheGap:

        In reply to #10 by Katy Cordeth:

        when you call them sheeple and religiots and suggest they belong in an institution (if the endless repetition of insults like these could not be described as humorless then I don’t know what can)

        Where exactly are these ‘endless repetitions’? I smell a strawman.

        You’re right. You caught me. No one on RDnet has every used the term sheeple, religiot or suggested people of faith should be institutionalized. I was making it all up. Sorry. :-(

        • You’re right. You caught me. No one on RDnet has every used the term sheeple, religiot or suggested people of faith should be institutionalized. I was making it all up. Sorry. :-(

          Did you just use a strawman argument to counter an accusation of using a strawman argument. TheGap asked “Where exactly are these endless repetitions” and you translated that into “No one on RDnet has ever used the term sheeple, religiot…”. I’m sure you could have found many references in reply to TheGap but I expect it was your use of “endless repetition” rather than say “quite often” that prompted the response.

          In reply to #12 by Katy Cordeth:

          In reply to #11 by TheGap:

          In reply to #10 by Katy Cordeth:

          when you call them sheeple and religiots and suggest they belong in an institution (if the endless repetition of insults like these could not be described as humorless then I don’t know what can)

          Where exactly are these ‘endless repetiti…

          • In reply to #18 by Marktony:

            Did you just use a strawman argument to counter an accusation of using a strawman argument…

            No

          • In reply to #18 by Marktony:

            TheGap asked “Where exactly are these endless repetitions”

            Do you know I find I keep repeating terms like, “fallacious argument”, “circular reasoning”, “irrational claim”, “unevidenced assumptions”, “uncritical acceptance”, “chanting sheeple flock”, “vacuous assertions”, “comically incompetent nonsense”, “deluded preconceptions”, “scientifically illiterate claims”, “obfuscating language”, and “theosophical whimsy”!

            I wonder why anyone would describe those “brilliantly presented” fundamentalist and Biblical Literalist comments, in these terms ??? ???

    • In reply to #10 by Katy Cordeth:

      In reply to #1 by aquilacane:

      While I agree with Roy’s point that arrogance and humorless ridicule can be counter-productive in reaching out to others, I considered it worth pointing out that the fundamentalist worldview is far more arrogant than any atheist worldview.

      …What I had never seen fro…

      I agree with the point about not having a go at the believer; they’ve got enough of a problem as it is.

      On the occasions when a Priest, who was a total stranger, told me he that felt sorry for me because I didn’t have any faith and believed in nothing, it was water off a ducks back.

      I suppose I could have listed the things the things that I do have faith in, and pointed out that my faith is based firmly in reality and experience, whereas his is blind and delusional faith which has no basis at all, but it wouldn’t have made a “blind” bit of difference.

      What did irritate me though was his sheer impudence, and I missed a trick in not taking him up on that; I don’t expect he got many of his flock talking back, so it would have been satisfying in that regard.

      But getting back to the point I want to make, I’m always disappointed and faintly surprised when subscribers to this forum employ the argumentum ad hominem; it only serves to alienate people and make them dig in their heals.

      If the choice is made to address a religious individual on a personal basis then do so Socratically; simply ask them to explain why they believe what they do; and I think it goes without saying, that no matter how tempting it is, it shouldn’t be done in a mocking tone.

      I personally avoid the subject like the plague if I know someone is religious, because I get annoyed, but if they allude to it to make some point or other in the discussion, then I step up to the plate; or, as is the case with one member of my family, quietly leave the room and do some washing up.

    • In reply to #10 by Katy Cordeth:

      In reply to #1 by aquilacane:

      when you call them sheeple and religiots and suggest they belong in an institution….

      I have always wished to direct peoples’ ire here first and foremost to those who promote religion and exploit its parasitising capacity for economic, political or social reward. Necessarily this includes all shamans and clerics in the world and most politicians in the theocracies and quasi theocracies on three continents.

      But, I am not for over-reading harms either, when discussion falls to the general religious public, many of whom may be promoters and advocates. On my side of the empathy bell curve I wince at those in my philosophical camp on the hyper-pro-social side, who wince at assumed offence third parties may take. Stand up comedians have long ridiculed all and sundry, and I have been grateful for their identification of my (society’s) unthinking and fatuous behaviours.

      I have no problem in face, to face, discussions calling others sheeple. (I do it to many non religious people also.) Its a very clear statement of a behaviour. It is not a statement about worth and in any decent intellectual exchange I don’t find people take offence at it. Believing someone should be locked up for mental health reasons is different. That is a comment about worth and like all such statements not to be countenanced. (Quite the converse, I believe society should become not only more tolerant of others but more tolerant of all of us with mental health issues.)

      Calling someone a religiot, being an idiot with respect to some issue because your religion has become an intellectual incapacity is not about mental health. I have no reason not to identify people as foolish and point to why I think they are so. As a general term outside of identifying specific areas of folly (education or child welfare, say) it is a fatuous insult. But used specifically about non-thinking due to specific dogma I happily use it about and to religious others. The form though is always- you are behaving like sheeple or like religiots over X.

      My plea is to not work on the basis of Toxic Werdz (used by atheists) and impute motives from them but to expect to need to dig deeper. Misunderstanding of intentions is common in discussions between opponents but subsequent resolution can be quite a bonding experience.

      • In reply to #20 by phil rimmer:

        In reply to #10 by Katy Cordeth:

        …I have no problem in face, to face, discussions calling others sheeple. (I do it to many non religious people also.) Its a very clear statement of a behaviour. It is not a statement about worth and in any decent intellectual exchange I don’t find people take offence at it.

        I have to say, Phil, if someone called me a sheeple – what’s the singular of sheeple, is it just sheep? Baaaa-nal – I thnk I might be offended.

        I don’t believe for a second you would call someone a sheep[le] without first determining if by doing so you’d be hurting their feelings.

        Believing someone should be locked up for mental health reasons is different. That is a comment about worth and like all such statements not to be countenanced. (Quite the converse, I believe society should become not only more tolerant of others but more tolerant of all of us with mental health issues.)

        I don’t think those who say followers of religion belong in the loony bin are necessarily being literal.

        Although the sentiment that religious belief is evidence of mental disease or defect is not entirely alien to this site.

        I just think by the time you resort to insults you’ve lost the argument. If I said another member of this site was an idiot, a mindless follower of atheist doctrine with no actual will of his own, my comment would be removed. Not because the moderators are concerned that someone’s feelings might be hurt, but because ad hominems are not conducive to intelligent, productive debate.

      • In reply to #20 by phil rimmer:

        I have no problem in face, to face, discussions calling others sheeple. (I do it to many non religious people also.) Its a very clear statement of a behaviour.

        Don’t some love to play the offended card when the cap fits and the descriptions spell it out so clearly!

        sheeple – Definition

        n. People who unquestioningly accept as true whatever their political leaders say or who adopt popular opinion as their own without scrutiny. – Blend of sheep and people. (Wiktionary)

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sheeple

        Sheeple (a portmanteau of “sheep” and “people”) is a term that highlights the herd behavior of people by likening them to sheep, a herd animal. The term is used to describe those who voluntarily acquiesce to a suggestion without critical analysis or research.

        Fundamentalist pastors preaching with their flocks of followers uncritically lapping it up.

        • In reply to #37 by Alan4discussion:

          Hey Alan. I noticed that you liked TheGap’s comment #11:

          Me: “When you call them sheeple and religiots and suggest they belong in an institution (if the endless repetition of insults like these could not be described as humorless then I don’t know what can)”

          The Gap: “Where exactly are these ‘endless repetitions’? I smell a strawman.”

          I’m not cognisant of the status of your long or short term memory, but you do know that you regularly use the terms sheeple and religiot, don’t you?

          • In reply to #45 by Katy Cordeth:

            Hey Alan. I noticed that you liked TheGap’s comment #11:

            Me: “When you call them sheeple and religiots and suggest they belong in an institution (if the endless repetition of insults like these could not be described as humorless then I don’t know what can)”

            You really need to work on distinguishing accurate descriptions from insults. “Dawkiban” is an insult to Richard and to posters, There is nothing funny about uncritical sheeple, taking or supporting, damaging decisions which affect other people. There is nothing wrong or insulting with pointing out the accurate description of their thinking processes or flawed basis of claims, in an analysis.

            The Gap: “Where exactly are these ‘endless repetitions’? I smell a strawman.”

            Strawman insult claim! – well spotted! Even if it was later confusingly denied.

            I’m not cognisant of the status of your long or short term memory, but you do know that you regularly use the terms sheeple and religiot, don’t you?

            Speaking of memory, perhaps you would quote where I have EVER used the term “religiot”, as I do not recall doing so! I have already provided TWO dictionary definitions of “sheeple”, which are accurate descriptions of those who parrot uncritically accepted statements, having failed to check evidence properly (or at all). Other dictionaries will provide more, if you are still unclear.

            religiots and suggest they belong in an institution

            I also provided a linked a dictionary definition of “delusion” here: http://www.richarddawkins.net/newsarticles/2014/1/15/texas-textbooks-a-case-study-for-creationism-s-staying-power#comment-box-40, for anyone who is uncertain of its meaning.

            It is probably worth defining tone-trolling while I’m sorting out definitions of words.

            As a debating technique, it can theoretically be employed honestly (in response to emotional appeal), but it’s not a very good argument because it focuses on style over substance. Rather than addressing the central claims of an argument, it focuses on superficial, “shrill” features of said argument, which inherently isn’t that logical. Tone trolling in practice is almost always dishonest and therefore kind of creates an “appearance of impropriety” situation.

          • In reply to #49 by Alan4discussion:

            In reply to #45 by Katy Cordeth:

            Hey Alan. I noticed that you liked TheGap’s comment #11:

            Me: “When you call them sheeple and religiots and suggest they belong in an institution (if the endless repetition of insults like these could not be described as humorless then I don’t know what can)”

            You r…

            Bedtime for me now I’m afraid, Al. You’ll have to wait until tomorrow for me to completely demolish your post. Watch this space! (That exclamation mark was a gift from me to you.)

          • In reply to #50 by Katy Cordeth:

            In reply to #49 by Alan4discussion:

            Bedtime for me now I’m afraid, Al. You’ll have to wait until tomorrow for me to completely demolish your post. Watch this space!

            Dream on!

          • In reply to #52 by Alan4discussion:

            In reply to #50 by Katy Cordeth:

            In reply to #49 by Alan4discussion:

            Bedtime for me now I’m afraid, Al. You’ll have to wait until tomorrow for me to completely demolish your post. Watch this space!

            Dream on!

            Thank you. Sweet dreams to you too.

          • You love each other really!!!

            In reply to #52 by Alan4discussion:

            In reply to #50 by Katy Cordeth:

            In reply to #49 by Alan4discussion:

            Bedtime for me now I’m afraid, Al. You’ll have to wait until tomorrow for me to completely demolish your post. Watch this space!

            Dream on!

          • In reply to #49 by Alan4discussion:

            Hello Alan. I’m sorry if I kept you waiting. I’m not really sure how to go about this now. I posted a comment yesterday, twice actually, and it was removed. I’m not one to complain or even question that when it happens, preferring to take it in my stride. But I did promise to demol… er, reply to your post and a promise is a promise. I’ll try to work around what got my one removed.

            In reply to #45 by Katy Cordeth:

            Hey Alan. I noticed that you liked TheGap’s comment #11:

            Me: “When you call them sheeple and religiots and suggest they belong in an institution (if the endless repetition of insults like these could not be described as humorless then I don’t know what can)”

            You really need to work on distinguishing accurate descriptions from insults. “[redacted]” is an insult to Richard and to posters…

            Wow, you can dish it out but you can’t take it. Can’t you see the double standard here? “This phrase hurts my feelings and isn’t fair but it’s fine for me to use a similar insult.” [There was a lot more here but I've taken it out.]

            …There is nothing funny about uncritical sheeple taking or supporting damaging decisions which affect other people. There is nothing wrong or insulting with pointing out the accurate description of their thinking processes or flawed basis of claims, in an analysis.

            If you used the sheeple epithet only on those whose religion compels them to take or support damaging decisions, that would be one thing. But you don’t: you employ it as a blanket term to describe all religious people. So this argument doesn’t stand up.

            The Gap: “Where exactly are these ‘endless repetitions’? I smell a strawman.”

            Strawman insult claim! – well spotted! Even if it was later confusingly denied.

            I don’t follow. The Gap’s claim was a strawman argument which I spotted – good for me by the way, I must’ve been reading my own posts

            Oh wait, you mean it was well spotted by The Gap; I understand now. My claim that the sheeple thing is endlessly repeated was a straw man of my own creation, is that what you mean? That’s the problem with the passive tense – “… it was later confusingly denied” – it sometimes leaves you wondering who is responsible for what. With regard to my assertion, in your own subsequent comment #60, you use the word sheeple no fewer than four times; does that not count as repetition?

            Please read the comment I just linked to, Alan, because I really don’t think you understand what a strawman argument is. Providing a hyperlink to a Wikipedia article about something doesn’t mean you’ve comprehended or even read it. I for one know exactly how the Large Hadron Collider works, and here is the proof.

            I’m not cognisant of the status of your long or short term memory, but you do know that you regularly use the terms sheeple and religiot, don’t you?

            Speaking of memory, perhaps you would quote where I have EVER used the term “religiot”, as I do not recall doing so!

            Well, I’m not prepared to trawl through the thousands upon thousands of comments you’ve posted here just so I prove you wrong about the religiot thing. Suffice it to say though, I’m fairly certain you have used it, and on a number of occasions. Prove me wrong, Alan. Prove me wrong. n.b. I am not just doing this so Alan spends his day engaged in the sisyphean task of going through all his own posts.

            I have already provided TWO dictionary definitions of “sheeple”, which are accurate descriptions of those who parrot uncritically accepted statements, having failed to check evidence properly (or at all). Other dictionaries will provide more, if you are still unclear.

            About those two dictionaries you sourced in #37: “sheeple – Definition and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sheeple

            First of all, you know that Wikipedia isn’t a dictionary, don’t you? And Wordnik’s defintion was lifted from Wiktionary. So that’s one definition you’ve provided, from two different sources in your Argument from Authority. You could have had the Urban Dictionary’s definition or Dictionary.com’s. Since when did a word’s being recognized by dictionary compilers make its use acceptable? The C-word can be found in most dictionaries; it’s still vulgar and not to be used in polite society.

            By the way, you might want to take note of the following from your Wiki link:

            “Due to shrill and excessive use as an easy term of derision for those not sharing one’s political priorities, ‘sheeple’ has acquired somewhat ironic overtones.”

            Very true, Wiki, very true. We all know which of God’s creatures is most known not just for the tendency to follow blindly but for its repetitive vocalizations, don’t we.

            It isn’t the dictionary definition that concerns me so much; I’m perfectly willing to accept that sheeple is an accurate description of those who slavishly and unthinkingly follow a particular system of ethics or philosophy, be it religious in nature or… other. It’s more to do with notions of style. Look, there are people who enjoy catchphrase comedy and those who don’t. Just because something is funny at one time doesn’t mean it will be for ever. The satirist Jon Stewart took issue with MSNBC and Rachel Maddow for their overuse of the pejorative ‘teabagger’ to describe members of the Tea Party movement. It was amusing once but through excessive repetition soon became tiresome.

            It’s reductive too, this use of childish insults: you call them libtard and they come back with Republoid; you call them sheeple and… well, I don’t know what the current insult for atheists is. Gaytheist? Schoolyard, or should that be barnyard, insults are inimical to intelligent debate.

            [Removed by moderator to bring within Terms of Use]

            It is probably worth defining tone-trolling while I’m sorting out definitions of words.

            As a debating technique, it can theoretically be employed honestly (in response to emotional appeal), but it’s not a very good argument because it focuses on style over substance. Rather than addressing the central claims of an argument, it focuses on superficial, “shrill” features of said argument, which inherently isn’t that logical. Tone trolling in practice is almost always dishonest and therefore kind of creates an “appearance of impropriety” situation.

            You’ve humbled me with that, Alan; you’ve humbled me. I was going to mention how referring to Ken Ham repeatedly as ‘Hammy’ was as asinine as the constant use of sheeple or religiot; that to pick on one of the few things the man has no control over, his surname, in an attempt to belittle him when there are so many other things you could choose detracts from serious criticism and gives succor to the man himself and his supporters as they can say, “Look at atheists, all they know how to do is namecall!”. But you’ve stopped me in my tracks with that link so I won’t say it.

          • In reply to #91 by Katy Cordeth:

            In reply to #49 by Alan4discussion:

            Hello Alan. I’m sorry if I kept you waiting. I’m not really sure how to go about this now. I posted a comment yesterday, twice actually, and it was removed.

            Perhaps you should reflect on that.

            The Gap: “Where exactly are these ‘endless repetitions’? I smell a strawman.”

            Strawman insult claim! – well spotted! Even if it was later confusingly denied.

            If you used the “sheeple epithet” only on those whose religion compels them to take or support damaging decisions, that would be one thing. But you don’t: you employ it as a blanket term to describe all religious people. So this argument doesn’t stand up.

            Ah! another strawman by extension – from the specific to a wider generalisation!

            Wow, you can dish it out but you can’t take it. Can’t you see the double standard here? “This phrase hurts my feelings and isn’t fair but it’s fine for me to use a similar insult.”

            You again – despite the earlier explanations , continue to miss the point about those who play the “offended card” to tone-troll when they are cornered by an accurate description.

            The substance of the argument is about if the description is accurate, regardless of if it is liked, NOT if someone decides to play the offended card in place of a reasoned response or acceptance of the criticism, in order to side-track the argument away from the substantial issues.

            With regard to my assertion, in your own subsequent comment #60, you use the word sheeple no fewer than four times; does that not count as repetition?

            I use the term “irrational nonsense” in posts many more times. That does not make it a gratuitous insult when it is applied to fallacious, unevidenced illogical posts, any more than when “sheeple” is used as an accurate description of a flock of uncritical followers – be it of preachers, or of Faux News.

            First of all, you know that Wikipedia isn’t a dictionary, don’t you? And Wordnik’s defintion was lifted from Wiktionary. So that’s one definition you’ve provided, from two different sources in your Argument from Authority.

            Wikipedia is of course an encyclopaedia which is one step up on a dictionary in giving detail.

            Are you seriously claiming that quoting a definition from a dictionary (Wiktionary.) is the fallacy of quoting false authority ??????? – (Quick – more straw, more straw!!)

            Speaking of memory, perhaps you would quote where I have EVER used the term “religiot”, as I do not recall doing so!

            Well, I’m not prepared to trawl through the thousands upon thousands of comments you’ve posted here just so I prove you wrong about the religiot thing. Suffice it to say though, I’m fairly certain you have used it, and on a number of occasions. Prove me wrong, Alan. Prove me wrong. n.b. I am not just doing this so Alan spends his day engaged in the sisyphean task of going through all his own posts.

            That would be like trying to refute thousands of god-claims , in response to fundamentalists unevidenced claims, for atheists to prove the gods are not there. It is the usual, “I have made something up so try to DISPROVE IT” – so common in fallacious thinking.

            When dealing with the persistently assertive, irrational, or dishonest :- satire, derision, and mockery of the comically incompetent – , (Not at all “humourless”) are the appropriate tools for bringing down dishonest posturing – by people like Hammy – to a level commensurate with their actual capabilities in the real world, – in contrast to their pompous hyped images of themselves they present to mislead the uneducated!

            http://www.atheistmemebase.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/048-I-cant-hear-you.png

            I have no respect whatever for dishonesty or for con-men.

            Hammy dishonestly presents himself as the peer of leading scientists or even superior to leading science teams, when in reality he is the peer of bronze-age readers of goats’ entrails. That is deserving of ridicule!

            Anyway, Thanks for the further examples of tone-trolling.

          • In reply to #91 by Katy Cordeth:

            In reply to #49 by Alan4discussion:

            I’m mighty relieved that I just dreamed you defended Dawkinban as merely a droll Pythonesque comment. The Taliban are now, of course, Godwin II.

            Toxic Werdz are a lousy way.to judge peoples intentions. Context is all.

  7. Herb: “Your homework assignment is to create more examples. (Sorry. I can’t seem to get rid of my math professor mentality.)”

    ”If God had not intended for us to eat animals, how come He made them out of meat?”

    —Sarah Palin, in ”Going Rogue”

    I agree with this; or did. In my younger days I was extremely grateful that the Good Lord in His wisdom had seen fit to place in Creation a plant which if combusted produced a smoke that when inhaled induced the most marvelous sensation of well-being.

    This plant must have been put here, as everything is, for our use and serves no other purpose. It certainly isn’t an independent species with its own evolutionary goals which involve passing on its genes to the next generation.

    The ol’ Mama Grizzly is clearly a lot cooler than she sometimes lets on.

  8. It’s all about the accuracy of the insult and the wit of the satire, sarcasm and humour. One of the things I enjoy about The God Delusion is the jokes. The famous litany of Yahweh’s little flaws of character is one that stands out.

  9. Great piece Herb! Witty and with good points, as usual.

    Obviously we’re proving “hate the sin and not the sinner” to be true in our discussion.

    Guilty as charged about calling people names from time to time on this forum — but in my defense, I feel like I can let off steam here to my fellow sheeple. I don’t figure many theists are reading this website so I don’t really worry about hurting their feelings here. In life, I don’t attack a person, I do attack their beliefs. Mainly in pseudo-science and alternative medicine mumbo-jumbo. I try to get them to think about why they “know that is true.” I’ve been doing this a long time and unfortunately, it seems to be a very human trait to accept what seems to make sense on the surface if someone with any authority at all tells you it is true or right.

    Anyway, very much enjoyed Herb’s essay.

  10. @OP -An article in the Guardian, based on a study at the University of Tennessee, described the six types of atheists as: -. . . . . . . . . . . and seeker (open to different views).

    That makes a total nonsense of all their other categories!

    described the six types of atheists as: activist (vocal about issues), anti-theist (assertive and outspoken), intellectual (philosophical and scientific),

    Do these people seriously think these 3 categories are not (open to different views) ? – Or do they wish to imply the more confident atheists don’t have uncritical minds like open buckets with no lids where theism can be poured in – with praise for wishy-washy “seekers” perhaps claimed to be looking for some religion they have not yet found? (The deluded frequently think that atheists just need help to “find” their god!)

  11. Who are the Dawkiban? Hands up, or point fingers. Are they so named because they frequent this site or because they invoke his name, or because they follow his style or approach, or because Dawkins’ name is a synonym for Atheist or a particular flavour of Atheism?

    Is it fair that they bear Dawkins’ name?

    What do any of us understand by this term? I don’t want to wrongly impute motive here…

    • Probably not Dawkins’ favourite word.

      In reply to #28 by phil rimmer:

      Who are the Dawkiban? Hands up, or point fingers. Are they so named because they frequent this site or because they invoke his name, or because they follow his style or approach, or because Dawkins’ name is a synonym for Atheist or a particular flavour of Atheism?

      Is it fair that they bear Dawkins’…

    • First remember seeing it used by Red Dog to refer to ‘fundamentalist atheists’. He did say that it was a bit unfair on Dawkins.

      In reply to #28 by phil rimmer:

      Who are the Dawkiban? Hands up, or point fingers. Are they so named because they frequent this site or because they invoke his name, or because they follow his style or approach, or because Dawkins’ name is a synonym for Atheist or a particular flavour of Atheism?

      Is it fair that they bear Dawkins’…

  12. Moderators’ message

    A reminder to stay on the topic of the OP, please.

    Also, please bear in mind that, as a user of this site, Richard Dawkins has the same right not to be subjected to name-calling that other users have too.

    Thank you.

    The mods

  13. I agree with Richard when I think he is correct.

    I disagree with him when I think he is incorrect.

    How does that make me any different than a religious person?

    Oh, that’s right, they NEVER acknowledge when their leaders stances are WRONG… See — pedophilia among priests and no convictions or even mass Catholic outcry — see the churches take on condoms — see moderate muslims with closed mouths instead of condemnation for murderous assholes — see Malala being condemned by Muslim women for wanting an education — see Westboro Baptist scum — see see see see see see see

    So, i am happy to support and agree with Richard; when he is correct IMO. If he goes off the deep end and begins to act in ways or say things that i am fundamentally in opposition to, I will speak up and walk out. Try doing that religious folks.

    • In reply to #38 by Moderator:

      Moderators’ message

      Hellooo … mods calling RD.net …

      Please keep comments ON TOPIC.

      Thank you!

      The mods

      But are we to understand that the issue of Arrogant Atheism is off limits?

      A thoughtful piece in the Huffington Post by Roy Speckhardt, the Executive Director of the American Humanist Association, is entitled “An End to Arrogant Atheism.”

      I truly do not understand how this is supposed to work. Help. Clearer guidance please.

      Phil

      • Hi Phil

        We’ve taken another look and agree that the comments about atheists’ use of language were not, after all, off topic. Apologies to those affected, and we have now restored their comments.

        The mods

        In reply to #39 by phil rimmer:

        In reply to #38 by Moderator:

        But are we to understand that the issue of Arrogant Atheism is off limits?

        A thoughtful piece in the Huffington Post by Roy Speckhardt, the Executive Director o…

  14. Perhaps the Dawkiban are the atheists who regard themselves as the “BRIGHTS.” Metaphorically, Dylan got it right when he sang “There are millions dying tonight due to the disease of conceit.”

  15. The “respectable” way of dealing with religious fundamentalists, without offending their precious feelings:

    “So Mr Ham, I understand you believe in a 6020 year old Earth and universe. Do you have any evidence for this view?”

    “The Book of Genesis.”

    “Moving on, I see you believe in a talking snake. Do you have any evidence for this view? “

    “The book of Genesis”

    “Mr. Ham, how do you reconcile the findings of modern science that the observable universe is some 13.82 billion years old, whilst according to Archbishop James Ussher the Earth and universe were created by God on the 23rd October 4004 bc ?”

    “Those scientists are controlled by Satan”.

    “Well thank you Mr Ham, for this most informative and open exchange of views”.

    Our “respectable” interviewer then catches the fast train to Templeton.

  16. Perhaps the Dawkiban are the atheists who regard atheists as the “BRIGHTS.” Metaphorically, Dylan got it right when he sang “There are millions dying tonight due to the disease of conceit.”

  17. @OP – 6. I agree with fundamentalists who do not believe in evolution. I do accept the overwhelming scientific evidence that species have evolved over time. Evolution is no more a belief than is gravity, with evidence for evolution stronger than for gravity.

    I presume he is talking about biological evolution. – In astrophysics, evolution IS gravity.

    @OP – Your homework assignment is to create more examples. (Sorry. I can’t seem to get rid of my math professor mentality.)

    Anyway I would suggest either a 6a. or a number 9. :-

    I agree with fundamentalists that the “theistic evolution” of the major Xtian churches is cognitive dissonance and a compromising irrational fudge.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BioLogos-Foundation

    The BioLogos Foundation has drawn criticism from both creationists and atheists. In response to a Time Magazine article about the foundation,[11] Ken Ham, a young-earth creationist, said “it is compromisers like Collins who cause people to doubt and disbelieve the Bible—causing them to walk away from the church.”[12] Ham discussed his opposition to The BioLogos Foundation in detail during his second annual “State of the Nation” address on February 17, 2009.[13] Jerry Coyne, a professor of biology at the University of Chicago and atheist, calls the foundation the “latest endeavor to forcibly marry science and faith” and “embarrassing in its single-minded fervor to prove that conservative Christianity and evolution are really good buddies.”[14]

    Supporters of the Biologos Foundation include Washington Post columnist Kathleen Parker, who claims the Foundation’s goal of “helping fundamentalists evolve can only be good for civilization,”

  18. In reply to #34 by phil rimmer:

    In reply to #29 by Katy Cordeth:

    Okay, now that things have settled down, I’ll have a stab at responding to your post.

    if someone called me a sheeple, I think I might be offended.

    Did you note the form? You buyers of Prada bags are behaving like sheeple.

    I’m not sure what form you’re referring to, or the relevance of any handbags I may or may not have.

    Yep those are mighty toxic werdz there, “defect” especially. You might choose to think me in the frame here having frequently noted that revelatory religious experience is most probably related to schizotypal episodes where access to semantic memories are impaired.

    I’m sorry for the toxic werdz, particularly “defect”. I can’t choose to think you in the frame because I don’t know what that meanz… er, means. Nor am I sure which of us is supposed to have frequently noted the connection between schizotypal episodes and memory. That unattached participle – sorry, when I’m confused I go to my own comfort zone – obfuscates my shizzle.

    The broad extent of mental conditions due to manufacturing tolerances and the varieties of initial brain commissioning processes means that most of us can lay claim to a degree of mental eccentricity on one behavioural axis or another. This mental diversity is actually a cornerstone of our great success as a species, but, unacknowledged, is now one of the greatest threats to societal stability. This mustn’t be swept under the carpet. The varieties of our cognitions should be central to our discussions, not made PC no-go areas. Aspie’s think like this. Hyper-pro social folk think like that. Schizotypal’s like a third thing. Everyone is the solipsist about how others think. What’s needed is for people to understand about the varieties of mental disposition, acknowledge their own right up front in conversations that may needfully be contingent on them, and finally enjoy their particular take on the universe.

    Okay man. You’ll get no argument from me. Schitzy sausage no-shows be damned!

    Mental issues, we’ve pretty much all gottem. Acknowledging them openly discussing them leaves only their hugely beneficial effects. “Institutionalise”, “defect” is solipsism gone mad. But don’t see offence where we desperately must learn not to take it.

    Duuude, that is like… like… a wicked awesome philosophy. Far outtt.

    • In reply to #48 by Katy Cordeth:

      .

      if someone called me a sheeple, I think I might be offended.

      Did you note the form? You buyers of Prada bags are behaving like sheeple.

      I’m not sure what form you’re referring to, or the relevance of any handbags I may or may not have.

      Handbags have no relevance personal or otherwise only that as a fashion item I can illustrate a usage of sheeple that you may find inoffensive. The “form” was the form of usage I illustrated in the previous post. You (not you but someone else!) aren’t a sheeple, but, in relation to fashion (say) you are like those sheeple who all buy the same thing. (Dammit, I hope you (you) don’t have a Prada bag.)

      Its me (not you) in the frame for being offensive as having frequently compared revelatory, religious experience to schizotypal experience. I (me) have been doing this for a while now (three years perhaps) after pointing my occasionally schizophrenic best mate and brilliant playwright at the Robert Sapolski lectures about the biological underpinnings of religiosity and him saying “Bingo”….erm…

      This gets me into trouble often by being seemingly arrogant or condescending or judgmental when I talk to religious folk who treasure the evidence of their own revelatory experience. But people (all of us) must come to understand the frailty of their (our) own grasp on reality due to the un-trustworthiness of neurons.

      The arrogance of honesty can be mitigated a bit if none escape it, especially oneself (I (me))…wibble…

      • The healed crazies hear voices at the right time. Thanks for the link, I’ll watch the rest tomorrow.

        In reply to #55 by phil rimmer:

        In reply to #48 by Katy Cordeth:

        .

        if someone called me a sheeple, I think I might be offended.

        Did you note the form? You buyers of Prada bags are behaving like sheeple.

        I’m not sure what form you’re referring to, or the relevance of any handbags I may or may not have.

        Handbags have no relevan…

        • In reply to #56 by Marktony:

          The healed crazies hear voices at the right time. Thanks for the link, I’ll watch the rest tomorrow.

          Oliver Sacks’ book “Hallucinations” is hugely pertinent also, in showing how wide-spread hallucinations are and how fantastical and florid they can be. The majority of the population will experience hallucinations (visual or auditory) at some point in their life. Mostly they will be the result of an input deficit of some sort, leading the brain to confabulate to fill the void and then try to make sense of it all. Those with sight deficits may experience the wonders of Charles Bonnet Syndrome, those with hearing deficits like me (deafened by my own 6kW amplifiers) get tinnitus, but also hear non existent phones ringing and voices, especially when we are expecting a call or a visit.

          • The idea that religious rituals could be a result of the sharing of OCD anxiety rituals seemed very plausible. That’s the first I had heard Martin Luther quite probably had OCD. And the temporal lobe epilepsy linked to a fascination with religion was … fascinating.

            In reply to #57 by phil rimmer:

            In reply to #56 by Marktony:

            The healed crazies hear voices at the right time. Thanks for the link, I’ll watch the rest tomorrow.

            Oliver Sacks’ book “Hallucinations” is hugely pertinent also, in showing how wide-spread hallucinations are and how fantastical and florid they can be. The majority of…

  19. In reply to number 7 by john.wb. Ken Ham claims he believes in a relatively “young Earth” because he accepts the authority of the Bible as the infallible revelation from God. What does Ham mean when he says this? What he insists on is not only that the bible must be taken literally but that it must be interpretated as to avoid any admission that it contains any kind of ERROR. The Bible is the holy of holies of Christian fundamentalism. But, if SIN is as profound and all-pervading as we are told, presumably it affects the Bible also? Not at all. The biblical writers were, indeed, sinners, justified sinners, but this did not at all affect what they wrote. As writers of scripture, as distinct from their personal position, they were quite free from distortion of sin. The moment they took pen in hand, sin fled out of the window, and what they wrote was a perfect expression of the will of God, in no way distorted by human sin. Ham teaches six day creation knowing full well that an error free Bible is a theological misnomer.

  20. One of the key features of allegations of arrogance by the ignorant, is the sheeple mentality which follows the perceived views of the herd. It is therefore determined not by reasoned argument or evidenced knowledge, but by the perceived percentage of servile sheeple followers in a particular community. This is inflated by bullying dissenters into the closet or simply by lying about numbers.

    That is probably why the fundamentalist views are progressively ridiculed, as the educated proportion of a population increases to a level where bullying is resisted or forcibly rebuked.

    The deluded will continue to recklessly encourage sheeple cannon fodder, to provoke disputes, and then play the martyr as part of their meme propagation campaigns, but with progressively less success – as in this case:- http://www.richarddawkins.net/news-articles/2013/11/27/gay-snub-cornish-b-b-owners-lose-supreme-court-appeal#

    I explained sheeple thinking in more detail on this discussion. http://www.richarddawkins.net/foundation-articles/2014/1/16/why-bill-nye-shouldn-t-debate-ken-ham#comment-box-674

  21. While I agree with Roy’s point that arrogance and humorless ridicule can be counter-productive in reaching out to others, I considered it worth pointing out that the fundamentalist worldview is far more arrogant than any atheist worldview.

    Any point of view that attempts to justify something that is not only inherently unprovable as if it is more valid then what we can establish as being true is the definition of arrogance. To not only have a system of unprovable beliefs and faith in those beliefs but claim to know as a matter of certainty in a somehow superior fashion to every other culture that makes a differing faith claim is more arrogant than the most arrogant person that simply says there is no reason to assume the existence of something we cannot in any way prove.

    This only reinforces the contradictory nature of the ‘humble’ nature of those that claim faith as being superior to non faith. When you’re convinced you have the answers before anyone asks a question about something no one knows and stick by those answers even when you are proven wrong, you don’t get to claim everyone else is arrogant simply because you bow down to something you think exists.

    It is the worst kind of arrogance, an ignorant arrogance that insulates itself against scorn, ridicule and fact.

  22. In reply to NUMBER 62 by ALAN4DISCUSSION. Alan seems to think that Fred Phelps, the pastor heading the Westboro Baptist Church is mad.
    Phelps is a 5 point Calvinist. His ideas on homosexuality are not based solely on the Old Testament. In the New Testament St Paul is adament that gays should be put to death (Romans 1:18-32). As a Calvinist, Phelps is certain that his faith in Christ was given to him by God (Ephesians 2:8). A Calvinist does not believe men can choose Jesus. Everyone outside the Christian faith has been predestined not to believe, and will end up living for eternity in Hell (Calvins doctrine of Double Predestination). The beliefs of Phelps are chilling, but are they any more mad than any religious person who believe they will spend eternity with Jesus? Phelps is not mad, he is a man of faith, incredible faith. And this is a terrible thing to be. Faith is a species of evil.

    • In reply to #67 by Bob Springsteen:

      In reply to NUMBER 62 by ALAN4DISCUSSION. Alan seems to think that Fred Phelps, the pastor heading the Westboro Baptist Church is mad.

      Perhaps if you you look at the paragraph on “Family Life on the link @62. It does not seem to describe a sane Father in a family, but rather as his sons say, a violent man setting up the Westboro Baptist Church as an organization for his father to “vent his rage and anger.”

      The second link @62 leads to a discussion of a man described as having psychological problems claiming to be a prophet.

      I would say the reports indicate both have serious psychological problems.

      • In reply to #68 by Alan4discussion:

        In reply to #67 by Bob Springsteen:

        In reply to NUMBER 62 by ALAN4DISCUSSION. Alan seems to think that Fred Phelps, the pastor heading the Westboro Baptist Church is mad.

        I would say the reports indicate both have serious psychological problems.

        Your amateur diagnosis is unhelpful I think, especially after Bob Springsteen explained it to you. Mentally ill people are not more dangerous to others at all. Depending on their upbringing, some can be dangerous of course, and many can be hazardous to themselves.

        Scapegoating the mentally ill for such conspicuously religious behaviour as Phelps serves to reinforce this inappropriate stereotype.

        • In reply to #72 by Len Walsh:

          In reply to #68 by Alan4discussion:

          I would say the reports indicate both have serious psychological problems.

          Your amateur diagnosis is unhelpful I think,

          It’s quite a few years since I studied psychology.

          especially after Bob Springsteen explained it to you. Mentally ill people are not more dangerous to others at all.

          Scapegoating the mentally ill for such conspicuously religious behaviour as Phelps serves to reinforce this inappropriate stereotype.

          You seem to have it backwards! I said they were religious fanatics because they were mentally ill, not that ALL mentally ill people are religious fanatics.

          Depending on their upbringing, some can be dangerous of course, and many can be hazardous to themselves.

          Which is what I pointed out and linked @62.

          Bob Springsteen -71 -
          In reply to NUMBER 68 by Alan4discussion. If you regard Fred Phelps as mad because he claims to be a prophet, then you must consider that almost half of the American population is insane.

          If you actually read my second link @62, to the man claiming to be a prophet, you will see it refers to a British man having psychological problems in Pakistan, who has nothing to do with Fred Phelps.

  23. In reply to NUMBER 68 by Alan4discussion. If you regard Fred Phelps as mad because he claims to be a prophet, then you must consider that almost half of the American population is insane. Opnion Polls reveal that 45% of Americans are convinced that Jesus will return to Earth at sometime in the next 50 years. Billy Graham has spent his entire life preaching the imminent return of Christ. Don’t his predictions make him a prophet? The Islamic theocrats who rule Iran are preparing for the return of the 12th Iman. According to Islamic theology, this cannot happen until Israel has been wiped off the map. I repeat, people of faith are not mad, they are dangerous!!

    • In reply to #71 by Bob Springsteen:

      The Islamic theocrats who rule Iran are preparing for the return of the 12th Iman. According to Islamic theology, this cannot happen until Israel has been wiped off the map.

      Where do you get your knowledge of ‘Islamic theology’? The expectations of the arrival of a Twelfth Imam are a doctrine of the Twelver Sect within the minority Shia denomination, so not ‘Islamic theology’. I don’t know what the Grand Ayatollah of Iran and his gang are praying for, but the ‘wiping off the map’ is, in actual fact, being done by Israel and not to Israel. Israel has wiped Arab Palestine off the map and any nuclear destruction might be done by Israel, with its 200 nuclear weapons, and not by Iran, which has none at all.

  24. Who are the Dawkiban?

    This is a ham-fisted insult that totally misses the target and is so lame that it should be booed off stage.

    It’s satire, a legitimate form of criticism. ‘The Dawkiban’ makes fun not of Richard Dawkins but of those who slavishly follow him. Has no one here seen Life of Brian? Brian Cohen, the titular hero of the film, is perfectly innocent; it’s the fruitcakes he attracts who are the object of the Python boys’ mockery.

    RDFRS staff deemed it necessary to preface this Question of the Week with the words “Besides Richard,” before going on to ask who our atheist role models were, because if they hadn’t there would have been five hundred comments saying how awesome Richard was.

    I think the Dawkiban is an excellent description of those who are just as aggressive toward religion as Richard yet lack his wit and gentleness of touch with these things – not always in evidence, but that’s Twitter for you – and fail to understand that most of the time it’s the institutions which should be on the receiving end of atheists’ contempt, not the rank and file church, mosque and synagogue attendees, the majority of whom are just as good or as rotten, as dumb or as smart as non-believers.

    I hope the term catches on, if only as a reminder that atheists can be just as dogmatic, intolerant and, frankly, scary as any ululating religious fanatic; I don’t think there’s much doubt that there are some who gravitate to this site just to give free rein to their rage, and bring what should be an intellectual movement after all into disrepute. cf.

    It’s funny that while “non-arrogant-atheist” (NAAs) always want to say that “arrogant-atheists” (AAs) should stop and desist immediately AAs never ask the same of NAAs. Thinking you have the only solution sounds arrogant to me.

    I have been rebuked many times on this site, had the dread word accommodationist spit at me on more than one occasion, and been called an in-house Islamist cheerleader for the crime of not being as unthinkingly critical of religious people as some of you AA types would prefer, so this assertion just isn’t true.

    Part of the problem, not just here but in the world at large, is that there seems to be an inverse correlation between the level of arrogance someone shows and their justification for behaving in such a manner. What I mean is, the overwhelmingly arrogant are often entirely unjustified in their arrogance and, I suspect, are either consciously or subconsciously using it to mask their own insecurity. Who can look at him, him or him without thinking “Frightened little boys”?

    The originator of the Dawkiban thing is the smartest guy on the site (apologies to Zeugy and Phil, but he is), yet displays not a bit of arrogance; that should tell you something. Arrogance is the diocese of the dumb, the isle of the insecure. How else do you explain them?

    • In reply to #73 by Katy Cordeth:

      RDFRS staff deemed it necessary to preface this Question of the Week with the words “Besides Richard,” before going on to ask who our atheist role models were, because if they hadn’t there would have been five hundred comments saying how awesome Richard was.

      … yeah. well… shut up.

      He IS awesome and I’m not taking down any posters.

  25. Katy Cordeth commented on “RDFRS: Eight Examples of How I Agree with Religious Fundamentalists”:

    Who are the Dawkiban?

    This is a ham-fisted insult that totally misses the target and is so lame that it should be booed off stage.

    It’s satire, a legitimate form of criticism. ‘The Dawkiban’ makes fun not of Richard Dawkins but of those who slavishly follow him. Has no one here seen Life of Brian? Brian Cohen, the titular hero of the film, is perfectly innocent; it’s the fruitcakes he attracts who become the object of the Python boys’ mockery.

    RDFRS staff deemed it necessary to preface this Question of the Week with the words “Besides Richard,” before going on to ask who our atheist role models were, because if they hadn’t there would have been five hundred comments saying how awesome Richard was.

    I think the Dawkiban is an excellent description of those who are just as aggressive toward religion as Richard yet lack his wit and gentleness of touch with these things – not always in evidence, but that’s Twitter for you – and fail to understand that most of the time it’s the institutions which should be on the receiving end of atheists’ contempt, not the rank and file church, mosque and synagogue attendees, the majority of whom are just as good or as rotten, as dumb or as smart as non-believers.

    I hope the term catches on, if only as a reminder that atheists can be just as dogmatic, intolerant and, frankly, scary as any ululating religious fanatic; I don’t think there’s much doubt that there are some who gravitate to this site just to give free rein to their rage, and bring what should be an intellectual movement after all into disrepute. cf.

    It’s funny that while “non-arrogant-atheist” (NAAs) always want to say that “arrogant-atheists” (AAs) should stop and desist immediately AAs never ask the same of NAAs. Thinking you have the only solution sounds arrogant to me.

    I have been rebuked many times on this site, had the dread word accommodationist spit at me on more than one occasion, and been called an in-house Islamist cheerleader for the crime of not being as unthinkingly critical of religious people as some of you AA types would prefer, so this assertion just isn’t true.

    Part of the problem is that there seems to be an inverse correlation between the arrogance someone shows and their justification for behaving in such a manner. What I mean is, the overwhelmingly arrogant are often entirely unjustified in their arrogance and, I suspect, are either consciously or subconsciously using it to mask their own insecurity. Who can look at him, him or him without thinking “Frightened little boys”?

    The originator of the Dawkiban thing is the smartest guy on the site (apologies to Zeugy and Phil, but he is), yet displays not a bit of arrogance; that should tell you something. Arrogance is the diocese of the dumb, the isle of the insecure. How else do you explain [them](data:image/jpeg;base64,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)?

    • In reply to #75 by Katy Cordeth:

      I hope the term (Dawkiban) catches on, if only as a reminder that atheists can be just as dogmatic, intolerant and, frankly, scary as any ululating religious fanatic; I don’t think there’s much doubt that there are some who gravitate to this site just to give free rein to their rage, and bring what should be an intellectual movement after all into disrepute.

      The Taliban are not known for ululation but for suicide bombing and stoning to death –not activities which take place on this site. Atheism has no creed or code of morals so, although those without religious belief are capable of every kindness and every atrocity, this does not derive from atheism.

  26. Okay, that wasn’t a glitch. My comment has been removed for the second time. I didn’t think it contravened any site rules. Is all mention of the Awkibanday verboten now, or was there another reason for its removal?

  27. In reply to number 80 by aldous. The Koran teaches that the Jews are the descendents of “Apes and Pigs.” The Ayatollah of Iran believes all Jews should be killed. The theocrats of Iran hate the Jews in the same way the Nazis hated the Jews. In 2006, President Ahmadinejad reported back to the Ayatollah after delivering a message to the twelfth Imam. The message was to update the Imam on Iran’s progress toward developing a nuclear bomb. The so-called 12th Imam has been supernaturally living down a well since the year 873! If Iran obtains a nuclear weapon, they will kill more Jews in two minutes than the Nazis killed in ten years.

    • In reply to #81 by Bob Springsteen:

      This is a science site where we usually quote sources of information, so their accuracy can be evaluated.
      Do you have links to your sources?
      It helps to separate reliable sources such as scientific papers, historical documents, and witness testimony, from stuff like opinions of Fox News.

    • In reply to #81 by Bob Springsteen:

      In reply to number 80 by aldous. The Koran teaches that the Jews are the descendents of “Apes and Pigs.” The Ayatollah of Iran believes all Jews should be killed. The theocrats of Iran hate the Jews in the same way the Nazis hated the Jews. In 2006, President Ahmadinejad reported back to the Ay…

      I’ve read the Koran. I never made it all the way to the end, it was just too repetitious but I slodged through most of it and I’m pretty sure I would have noticed something about Jews being descended from apes and pigs. Also, what I do remember was that in the Koran they mention various old and new testament prophets as well as Jesus and Mary and it was all favorable so that hardly seems consistent with what you are saying.

    • In reply to #81 by Bob Springsteen:

      In reply to number 80 by aldous. The Koran teaches that the Jews are the descendents of “Apes and Pigs.” The Ayatollah of Iran believes all Jews should be killed. The theocrats of Iran hate the Jews in the same way the Nazis hated the Jews. In 2006, President Ahmadinejad reported back to the Ay…

      You know there are Jews in Iran, right? Now, since you’re the expert: why haven’t the Iranian regime exterminated the Persian Jews? I mean surely that would be the first place to start.

  28. In reply to NUMBER 82 by Alan4discussion; NUMBER 83 by Red Dog; NUMBER 84 by Septic Skeptic. In three instances (Surah 2, 5, and 7) the Koran tells of Muhammad turning Jews into PIGS and APES. For instance Surah 5:60: “The Jews who incurred the curse of Allah ….He transformed into APES and SWINE.” The story of President Ahmadinejad giving information to a 7th century Imam about progress being made by Iran in its quest for a Nuclear Bomb is found in GOD IS NOT GREAT by CHRISTOPHER HITCHENS (Page 278). In a May 2012 speech to a defence gathering in Tehran, Iran’s Military Chief of Staff declared “The Iranian Nation is standing for its cause and that is the full annihilation of Israel.” Perhaps you should all read the Koran?

  29. In reply to NUMBER 83 by Red Dog. There are over 100 verses in the Koran that teach Muslims to despise infidels. For Example: Prophet, make war on the unbelievers and the hypocrites and deal rigorously with them. Hell shall be their home: an evil fate (Koran 9;73). Believers make war on the infidels who dwell around you. Deal firmly with them. God is with the righteous (Koran 9:123). Anyone who thinks Islam is a religion of peace should probably consult a psychiatrist. Read the Koran and you will see a link between Muslim faith and Muslim violence.

    • In reply to #86 by Bob Springsteen:

      Anyone who thinks Islam is a religion of peace should probably consult a psychiatrist.

      Everybody knows that Christianity is the Religion of Peace. It ‘turns the other cheek’. The facts are against it, it’s true. All these empires and colonies and the annihilation of other people, the wars and the destruction of one another, and the ultimate expression of Christian anti-Semitism in the Holocaust.

  30. in reply to NUMBER 87 by aldous. Even an atheist like Richard Dawkins describes himself as a ‘cultural Christian’. The Govenments in the so-called Christian countries have a plethora of leaders who would be described as ‘cultural Christians’. There are NO ‘cultural Muslims’ in the theocracy of Iran. There leaders live their lives by every word of the Koran. Why should they fear dying in a nuclear war? Their minds are intoxicated by thoughts of a future life in Paradise.

    • In reply to #88 by Bob Springsteen:

      There leaders live their lives by every word of the Koran. Why should they fear dying in a nuclear war? Their minds are intoxicated by thoughts of a future life in Paradise.

      Do you even know the names of the members of Iran’s Guardian Council, let alone every detail of their personal lives and the depths of their innermost thoughts? Perhaps, your information is not of a factual nature but originates from American populist media and internet propaganda. Perhaps you could explain why you agree with the religious fundamentalists, as you appear to, about defending Judeo-Christian values by launching a military strike on Iran — even nuclear annihilation, as you seem to suggest.

      • In reply to #92 by aldous:

        In reply to #88 by Bob Springsteen:

        There leaders live their lives by every word of the Koran. Why should they fear dying in a nuclear war? Their minds are intoxicated by thoughts of a future life in Paradise.

        Do you even know the names of the members of Iran’s Guardian Council, let alone every de…

        I’d like to add that Iran, unlike the US, has never invaded another country. It just happened that the ayatollahs became the leading party after the revolution against the shah. Not that I like the ayatollahs, but the shah had become a puppet after the coup d’état, when the only democratic government the middle east has ever seen, was overthrown by the UK and the US. Really, history teaches us to trust the ayatollahs better than some countries that are called democracies.

  31. In reply to #88 by Bob Springsteen:

    in reply to NUMBER 87 by aldous.

    Even an atheist like Richard Dawkins describes himself as a ‘cultural Christian’. The Govenments in the so-called Christian countries have a plethora of leaders who would be described as ‘cultural Christians’. There are NO ‘cultural Muslims’ in the theocracy of Iran. There leaders live their lives by every word of the Koran. Why should they fear dying in a nuclear war? Their minds are intoxicated by thoughts of a future life in Paradise.

    And you know this, how? What makes you think it isn’t personal power that Iran’s leaders worship? They may profess to be deeply religious but so do most of the leaders in Christian countries who you say could best be described as ‘cultural Christians’.

    George W Bush didn’t become born again until it was time to begin grooming him for the White House and his coke-snorting, hard-partying days had to be seen as being behind him. If the apparatchiks of the Roman Catholic Church really, genuinely believed that Hell was a possibility, don’t you think they’d show more concern for the little children Jesus suffers to go unto him, rather than spending so much effort allowing the abuse endemic in their hierarchy to continue for so long?

    There’s no reason to believe the clerics who run Iran are more religious than Western leaders. Religious faith is for the proles; those higher-ups in whatever power structure you care to name can’t afford to be religious or even principled. The only thing that matters is consolidating that power and keeping the teeming masses from revolting.

  32. In reply to #93 by Alan4discussion:

    In reply to #91 by Katy Cordeth:

    Hello Alan. I’m sorry if I kept you waiting. I’m not really sure how to go about this now. I posted a comment yesterday, twice actually, and it was removed.

    Perhaps you should reflect on that.

    Oh, I have. It was very nearly my final comment. What drew me back was you, as a matter of fact. I didn’t like the idea that you would think I wasn’t able to live up to my claim that I would demolish your post and so quit the site. How ’bout that?

    The Gap: “Where exactly are these ‘endless repetitions’? I smell a strawman.”

    Strawman insult claim! – well spotted! Even if it was later confusingly denied.

    If you used the “sheeple epithet” only on those whose religion compels them to take or support damaging decisions, that would be one thing. But you don’t: you employ it as a blanket term to describe all religious people. So this argument doesn’t stand up.

    Ah! another strawman by extension – from the specific to a wider generalisation!

    Another straw man? Where was the first?

    You really don’t know what the term means, do you? I was sort of half-joking before, but you really, truly don’t. I’ll be damned.

    The one I’m supposed to have constructed was when I mentioned the overuse of the term sheeple. If that is a straw man, would somebody kindly explain how [someone more in the know than my friend here, obviously]. Do you think it refers to any statement you are unable to refute? I’m at a loss.

    Wow, you can dish it out but you can’t take it. Can’t you see the double standard here? “This phrase hurts my feelings and isn’t fair but it’s fine for me to use a similar insult.”

    You again – despite the earlier explanations , continue to miss the point about those who play the “offended card” to tone-troll when they are cornered by an accurate description.

    It’s my belief that [redacted] is a fairly accurate description. If this belief is founded, then, despite the ‘earlier explanations’, which always seem to consist of hyperlinks to Wikipedia articles you’ve read but haven’t understood, my point stands.

    The substance of the argument is about if the description is accurate, regardless of if it is liked, NOT if someone decides to play the offended card in place of a reasoned response or acceptance of the criticism, in order to side-track the argument away from the substantial issues.

    No, the substance of your argument, if it can be so called, concerns the accuracy of the description. You don’t get to determine the parameters of the discussion; the substance of which is the conflict between the aggressive, arrogant form of atheism and the more inclusive, and dare I say, mature type.

    With regard to my assertion, in your own subsequent comment #60, you use the word sheeple no fewer than four times; does that not count as repetition?

    I use the term “irrational nonsense” in posts many more times. That does not make it a gratuitous insult when it is applied to fallacious, unevidenced illogical posts, any more than when “sheeple” is used as an accurate description of a flock of uncritical followers – be it of preachers, or of Faux News.

    Can you not see the difference between the use of the terms irrational nonsense and sheeple, Alan?

    I’ll give you three minutes thirty two seconds to think about it while I listen to this. You don’t need to click on the link; it’s for me, not you.

    I’m back. Cool song. Did you get it yet? That’s right: irrational nonsense refers to the idea, whereas sheeple is about the person who holds the idea. The former is justified, the latter an ad hominem. It doesn’t matter how accurate you believe it to be, it’s still attacking the person rather than what they think.

    First of all, you know that Wikipedia isn’t a dictionary, don’t you? And Wordnik’s definition was lifted from Wiktionary. So that’s one definition you’ve provided, from two different sources in your Argument from Authority.

    Wikipedia is of course an encyclopaedia which is one step up on a dictionary in giving detail.

    Are you seriously claiming that quoting a definition from a dictionary (Wiktionary.) is the fallacy of quoting false authority ??????? – (Quick – more straw, more straw!!)

    Well, some would question the validity of Wikipedia as an authoritative source; but not I. I see you’ve ignored my point about the Wiki and Wordnik definitions of sheeple being one and the same, but that’s par for the course in your comments, Al: you ignore the substantive points and focus instead on the irrelevancies. Add a bunch of ??????s, bazoooiiinngs and !!!!!!!!!!s and, who knows, maybe you even manage to convince yourself that you’ve won the argument.

    Quoting a dictionary definition, particularly if you haven’t understood it, is itself the very definition of an argument from authority. From your own link:

    This fallacy is committed when the person in question is not a legitimate authority on the subject…

    In your case you were using the argument from authority to justify your use of a playground epithet: two dictionary definitions of sheeple legitimizes it; shows it to be a term lexicographers are happy to use. It’s the equivalent of a child running to one its parents, shouting, “Daddy Daddy, Thomas says this isn’t a real word, but it is, isn’t it?”

    Speaking of memory, perhaps you would quote where I have EVER used the term “religiot”, as I do not recall doing so!

    Well, I’m not prepared to trawl through the thousands upon thousands of comments you’ve posted here just so I prove you wrong about the religiot thing. Suffice it to say though, I’m fairly certain you have used it, and on a number of occasions. Prove me wrong, Alan. Prove me wrong. n.b. I am not just doing this so Alan spends his day engaged in the sisyphean task of going through all his own posts.

    That would be like trying to refute thousands of god-claims , in response to fundamentalists unevidenced claims, for atheists to prove the gods are not there. It is the usual, “I have made something up so try to DISPROVE IT” – so common in fallacious thinking.

    It was a joke, Alan. I was insisting you used the term religiot so you’d spend your day going through your own posts looking for it not to be there. Except not really because I acknowledged this when I said “n.b. I am not doing this so…” Humor 101. I do find it a little telling that in your analogy – see, I didn’t say straw man; some of us can tell the difference – you brought up God. I’m still waitin’ on your definition of egotist. See, that was another joke.

    When dealing with the persistently assertive, irrational, or dishonest :- satire, derision, and mockery, are the appropriate tools for bringing down dishonest posturing – by people like Hammy – to a level commensurate with their actual capabilities in the real world, – in contrast to their pompous hyped images of themselves they present to mislead the uneducated!

    The best satire tends to be subtle. That was why I mentioned Mr Stewart. Endless repetitions of unfunny insults do not count as such, and can even produce the opposite result to the one intended, as I already explained. It’s weird: everyone thinks they have a good sense of humor; not everyone does. If you’re not sure, prob’ly best to stay away from the whole area. That’s my advice anyway.

    I have no respect whatever for dishonesty or for con-men.

    Hammy dishonestly presents himself as the peer of leading scientists or even superior to leading science teams, when in reality he is the peer of bronze-age readers of goats’ entrails. That is deserving of ridicule!

    Well, if name calling is the only thing you have at your disposal, I guess you can’t be blamed all that much. An army’s foot soldiers are every bit as important as its generals. Perhaps even more so! Carry on, Private.

    Anyway, Thanks for the further examples of tone-trolling.

    You’re welcome. Thanks for bringing me back to the site.

    (Quick – more straw, more straw!!)

    Can someone get Al his feedbag please. I think he’s hungry. :)

    • In reply to #95 by Katy Cordeth:

      : irrational nonsense refers to the idea, whereas sheeple is about the person who holds the idea. The former is justified, the latter an ad hominem. It doesn’t matter how accurate you believe it to be, it’s still attacking the person rather than what they think.

      An ‘ad hominem’, as a logical fallacy, is contending that an argument is false because of the inadequacies of the person who is making the point. For example, ‘You are an idiot, therefore your argument is idiotic’. That does not necessarily follow because the argument might happen to be perfectly reasonable.

      You are confusing ad hominem with the use of pejorative or derisory terms. It’s true that the persistent use of ‘ad hominem’, by those who don’t know what it means, has caused it to be degraded. This is a normal enough in language use. However, if ‘ad hominem’ is used in this degraded sense, what’s the complaint about jeering at those who deserve it?

    • In reply to #95 by Katy Cordeth:

      I have mentioned Psychological projection, in earlier discussions, so its not really worth going over all your contradictions, strawmen, misunderstandings and fallacies again.

      Are you seriously claiming that quoting a definition from a dictionary (Wiktionary.) is the fallacy of quoting false authority ??????? – (Quick – more straw, more straw!!)

      Well, some would question the validity of Wikipedia as an authoritative source; but not I. I see you’ve ignored my point about the Wiki and Wordnik definitions of sheeple being one and the same, but that’s par for the course in your comments, Al: you ignore the substantive points and focus instead on the irrelevancies.

      GAAzzzzoinggg!!!! I said you could check other dictionaries to confirm the definition if you wished. I picked those because they were simple and clear.

      The dictionary definition is claimed to be irrelevant to your claim of a fallacious appeal to false authority by way using a dictionary definition?????

      The Ad-hom double-talk on Wiki sums up the nature of tone trolling nicely. Substanceless superficiality personified!!!

      • In reply to #98 by Alan4discussion:

        In reply to #95 by Katy Cordeth:

        I have mentioned Psychological projection, in earlier discussions, so its not really worth going over all your contradictions, strawmen, misunderstandings and fallacies again.

        Yeah, I mentioned the Large Hadron Collider too; that don’t mean I understood it.

        Are you seriously claiming that quoting a definition from a dictionary (Wiktionary.) is the fallacy of quoting false authority ??????? – (Quick – more straw, more straw!!)

        Well, some would question the validity of Wikipedia as an authoritative source; but not I. I see you’ve ignored my point about the Wiki and Wordnik definitions of sheeple being one and the same, but that’s par for the course in your comments, Al: you ignore the substantive points and focus instead on the irrelevancies.

        GAAzzzzoinggg!!!! I said you could check other dictionaries to confirm the definition if you wished. I picked those because they were simple and clear.

        And repetitive; don’t forget repetitive. They were the same definition of the sheeple word and you failed to notice it. Why not just own up when you’ve been caught out, instead of doubling down? What little respect I might have had is disappearing fast.

        The dictionary definition is claimed to be irrelevant to your claim of a fallacious appeal to false authority ?????

        I think what I said made sense: you justify your use of childish insults by mentioning they’re recognized by the authority of a dictionary.

        The Ad-hom double-talk on Wiki sums up the nature of tone trolling nicely.

        Double talk? You know, if you don’t understand something I’ve said, you’re more than welcome to ask for elucidation. I don’t bite, and I’m perfectly happy to explain things.

        Substanceless superficiality personified!!!

        I guess we all have our own idea of what represents substance. For some of us it’s intelligent, thoughtful debate; for others it’s:

        WHOOP WHOOP, GAZOOOOING, !!!!!!!!, SchPDOINkel ??????? Fnarr, Fnarr. Ahammana ahammana ahammana. Wurple.

        I have to say, Alan4Discussion, that I’m… I’m a little embarrassed for you right now.

        • In reply to #100 by Katy Cordeth:

          In reply to #98 by Alan4discussion:

          I have mentioned Psychological projection, in earlier discussions, so its not really worth going over all your contradictions, strawmen, misunderstandings and fallacies again.

          Yeah, I mentioned the Large Hadron Collider too; that don’t mean I understood it.

          I know, .. and like false analogies, psychological projection, strawmen and other fallacies, you think nobody else (not even dictionary authors) understands them either, so you can make it up as you go along, churning out erroneous contradictions, unsupported assertions, and strawman shifting meanings.

          Well, some would question the validity of Wikipedia as an authoritative source; but not I.

          The Ad-hom double-talk on Wiki sums up the nature of tone trolling nicely.

          Double talk? You know, if you don’t understand something I’ve said, you’re more than welcome to ask for elucidation. I don’t bite, and I’m perfectly happy to explain things.

          The problem is that I did understand it – including all the double-talk doubt-mongering, errors, irony, posing, and fallacies.

          WHOOP WHOOP, GAZOOOOING, !!!!!!!!, SchPDOINkel ??????? Fnarr, Fnarr. Ahammana ahammana ahammana. Wurple.

          Yep – the full stack-yard of straw!

    • In reply to #95 by Katy Cordeth:

      No, the substance of your argument, if it can be so called, concerns the accuracy of the description.

      Definitions again Katy?

      It is the accuracy of Alan’s description that you are redefining and then attacking as endless, humourless and repetitive insults. Which is a strawman fallacy.

      You don’t get to determine the parameters of the discussion;…

      Nor do you.

      …the substance of which is the conflict between the aggressive, arrogant form of atheism and the more inclusive,…

      No, that is the substance of the OP.

      The substance of the arguement going on between you and Alan can be reduced to you calling his, and mine for that matter, usage of the terms sheeple and religiot, as endless, repetitive, humourless insults. Even if you can show some examples of the misuse of the terms as not accurate, it is still hardly endless, repetitive (whatever that implies in this case), and dare I say, humourless, you have thus built a strawman.

      If you make a strawman arguement, then get called out as misrepresenting the other persons position, after which you then decide that the definitions used by the other persons in their defence are rubbish because they are not the definitions you understand, so must be wrong, you are being irrational.

      …and dare I say, mature type.

      Ah, yes, some grown-up Atheists to keep all the impetuous children in our ranks in check.

    • In reply to #95 by Katy Cordeth:

      Can you not see the difference between the use of the terms irrational nonsense and sheeple, Alan?

      WTF? Alan was using the term irrational nonsense as an example of something he says that no one would call repetitive against your charge that sheeple four times is repetitive. Not as synonym with each other.

      But anyway….

      Did you get it yet? That’s right: irrational nonsense refers to the idea, whereas sheeple is about the person who holds the idea. The former is justified, the latter an ad hominem.

      Did you get it yet? Sheeple is a term that refers to human beings in general, or considered collectively, that believe in irrational nonsense because they blithely follow those of rum influence, because they apparently are unable to think for themselves.

      It doesn’t matter how accurate you believe it to be, it’s still attacking the person rather than what they think.

      Oh but it does matter Katty.

      “Ad hominem reasoning is not always fallacious, for example, when it relates to the credibility of statements of fact.”

    • In reply to #95 by Katy Cordeth:

      I see you’ve ignored my point about the Wiki and Wordnik definitions of sheeple being one and the same, but that’s par for the course in your comments, Al: you ignore the substantive points and focus instead on the irrelevancies.

      Pot, meet Kettle….and be careful what colour you chose to call it. }80)~

      Add a bunch of ??????s, bazoooiiinngs and !!!!!!!!!!s and, who knows, maybe you even manage to convince yourself that you’ve won the argument.

      Duhhhh!!!!!!!!!!

      Quoting a dictionary definition, particularly if you haven’t understood it, is the very definition of an argument from authority.

      No it isn’t Katy. appeal to authority is correctly applied when quoting a dictionary definition. Dictionaries are the de facto authority when debating the definitions of words. Without that authority and a consensus, language would be fucked.

      “Argumentum ad verecundiam or appeal to authority, when correctly applied, can be a valid and sometimes essential part of an argument that requests judgement or input from a qualified or expert source. The operation of the common law would be impossible without it, for example.”

      Be careful of the Courtiers Reply.

      This fallacy is committed when the person in question is not a legitimate authority on the subject…

      But the fallacy is not committed when the academy in question is THEE authority. I know you like words to mean whatever the people saying them wants them to mean, although not with Alan apparently, but that is not how it works. Although I quite like the idea of being a Bugatti Veyron owner who is the master of the universe.

      In your case you were using the argument from authority to justify your use of a playground epithet: two dictionary definitions of sheeple legitimizes it; shows it to be a term lexicographers are happy to use.

      And what exactly is it you are doing by contradicting the argument? Why is it you get to decide what the word sheeple means? Your evidence based assertions are based on what? Ah, yes, the right to define words as you please. You sound exactly like the Catholics over on SN because their definition of nothing is the one and only definition because their philosophers says so…end of.

      It’s the equivalent of a child running to one its parents, shouting, “Daddy Daddy, Thomas says this isn’t a real word, but it is, isn’t it?”

      How so? Please explain your analogy.

    • In reply to #95 by Katy Cordeth:

      The best satire tends to be subtle.

      What about good satire? What about mediocre satire? What about bad satire? What about the worst satire? What is your point? Is it that Alan is not the best at satire?

      Endless repetitions of unfunny insults do not count as such, and can even produce the opposite result to the one intended, as I already explained.

      Well, I find Frankie Boyle, Billy Connelly, Tim Minchin, Jimmy Carr, Sacha Baron Cohen, etc., hilarious, but I know lots that don’t to the point of seeing their humour as insulting.

      It’s weird: everyone thinks they have a good sense of humor; not everyone does. If you’re not sure, prob’ly best to stay away from the whole area. That’s my advice anyway.

      Shit advice Katy….one man’s rubbish is another man treasure. A persons sense of humour is one of the most subjective traits they have,. You don’t get to decide what someone else will find funny….only yourself.

  33. In reply to NUMBER 90 by Katy Cordeth and NUMBER 92 by aldous. I am in total agreement with Sam Harris when he says: “What will we do if an Islamist regime, which grows dewy-eyed at the mere mention of paradise, ever acquires long-range nuclear weaponry?…….. In such a situation, the only thing likely to ensure our survival may be a nuclear first strike of our own (The End of Faith, Page 129). Western liberals have been slow to understand the dangers of an Iranian bomb. The reason for this is simple: they don’t know what it is like to REALLY believe in God.

    • In reply to #96 by Bob Springsteen:

      In reply to NUMBER 90 by Katy Cordeth and NUMBER 92 by aldous.

      I am in total agreement with Sam Harris when he says: “What will we do if an Islamist regime, which grows dewy-eyed at the mere mention of paradise, ever acquires long-range nuclear weaponry?…….. In such a situation, the only thing likely to ensure our survival may be a nuclear first strike of our own (The End of Faith, Page 129)…

      I’m not sure but I think Sam Harris may have backtracked on this in the face of criticism for its, what’s the word, evilness.

    • In reply to #96 by Bob Springsteen:

      In reply to NUMBER 90 by Katy Cordeth and NUMBER 92 by aldous. I am in total agreement with Sam Harris when he says: “What will we do if an Islamist regime, which grows dewy-eyed at the mere mention of paradise, ever acquires long-range nuclear weaponry?…….. In such a situation, the only thi…

      Let’s consider Iran and nuclear technology using reason and critical thinking rather than through the lens that Iran are just evil Muslims.

      To begin Iran claims they are only developing nuclear power not weapons. Now I can anticipate your response: surely you don’t take Iran’s word for it?

      And I don’t take Iran’s word for it. I don’t take ANY nation’s (including my own) word for just about anything. Nations lie all the time. So that is why we have international frameworks in place. In this case the framework is part of the United Nations and it’s controlled by the International Atomic Energy Association (IAEA). They have a process that all non nuclear nations are supposed to follow when they develop nuclear power to monitor what they do and make sure they really are developing nuclear power not nuclear weapons.

      Simply by following that process (although not perfectly more on that later) Iran is far better than many US allies. Consider Israel: they have never followed the IAEA process. To the best of my knowledge they still officially claim that they don’t have nuclear weapons but anyone who knows the middle east, regardless of politics, this would include Harris, will tell you that Israel has at least 100 nuclear weapons as well as the appropriate technology to deliver them anywhere in the middle east.

      By any rational analysis, i.e., if we were treating each nation according to International Law and guidelines, all the sanctions that were on Iran for not perfectly following the IAEA process would be on Israel.

      Indeed, even the actual internal assessment by US intelligence says that Iran is probably telling the truth: US Believes Iran not on verge of nuclear weapons

      Now lets consider the issue of Iran’s compliance to the IAEA. It hasn’t been perfect and the IAEA doesn’t always get everything it wants. Of course compared to a state like Israel that completely ignores the IAEA Iran has been much better.

      Consider why Iran might not want to give full access to the IAEA. The fact is that the US dominates these kinds of inspections and assessments. A while back there was a similar process in place to dismantle Iraq’s WMDs after the first gulf war. It is also now well known, it’s been documented in several books about the second Iraq war, that the US used intelligence it gathered (illegally) from UN weapons inspections to target key facilities in Iraq’s infrastructure. Given this it seems quite rational that Iran won’t simply throw open the doors to their nuclear facilities for unlimited IAEA access until they get some assurances from the US.

      The hypocrisy of US intellectuals and politicians threatening a nuclear strike on Iran because Iran can’t be trusted with nuclear weapons is left as an exercise for the reader.

  34. In reply to #95 by Katy Cordeth:

    If that is a straw man, would somebody kindly explain how… [someone more in the know than my friend here, obviously] Do you think it refers to any statement you are unable to refute? I’m at a loss.

    Let me try. I think it is the use of the term “endless repetition of insults like these” when referring to the words “sheeple” and “religiots”.

    Person A has position X.

    Alan (person ‘A’) uses the word sheeple as, those “Human beings in general, or considered collectively, that are too easily influenced or led and would rather follow than make an independent decision.”, and religiot as, “A person with collection of practices, based on beliefs and teachings that are highly valued or sacred which causes them to acts in a self-defeating, significantly counterproductive, idiotic, absurd, incongruous, way inviting ridicule.” (position ‘X’)

    Person B presents position Y (which is a distorted version of X).

    Katy (person ‘B’) states Alan (person ‘A’) is not using the terms sheeple and religiot correctly (position ‘Y’) according to her definitions (distorted version of X).

    Person B attacks position Y.

    Katy (person ‘B’) attacks Alan’s (person ‘A’) use of the words sheeple and religiot as that of the endless repetition of insults that could be described as humorless, by definition (distorted version of ‘X’). Which is also Katy’s (person ‘B’) personal subjective opinion.

    Therefore X is false/incorrect/flawed.

    It is wrong to use the words sheeple and religiot because by definition (distorted version of ‘X’), they are humourless insults that have been used endlessly and repetitively on this site.

    A PORTMANTEAU is a word used to describe a linguistic blend, namely “a word formed by blending sounds from two or more distinct words and combining their meanings.

    Sheeple = Sheep + People

    Sheep = A person who is too easily influenced or led; a docile and vulnerable person who would rather follow than make an independent decision.

    People = Human beings in general or considered collectively.

    Sheeple = Human beings in general, or considered collectively, that are too easily influenced or led and would rather follow than make an independent decision.

    Example…..

    Fundamental Christian: “I believe that the Bible is the inerrant words of the one true God and that the first two human beings complete with souls were called Adam and Eve who lived in a magic garden where they conversed with a talking serpent which was the Devil incarnate because the Pastor tells me so.”

    Ignorant Amos: “You are a feckin’ Sheeple!.”

    Religiot = Rligious + Idiot

    Religious = A collection of practices, based on beliefs and teachings that are highly valued or sacred; Any practice that someone or some group is seriously devoted to.

    Idiot = Someone who acts in a self-defeating or significantly counter-productive way. Someone that acts in an idiotic way, absurd: incongruous; inviting ridicule.

    Religiot = A person with collection of practices, based on beliefs and teachings that are highly valued or sacred which causes them to acts in a self-defeating, significantly counterproductive, idiotic, absurd, incongruous, way inviting ridicule.

    Example…..

    Fundamental Christian: “I believe that the Bible is the inerrant words of the one true God and that the first two human beings complete with souls were called Adam and Eve who lived in a magic garden where they conversed with a talking serpent which was the Devil incarnate.”

    Ignorant Amos: “You are a feckin’ Relgiot!.”

  35. Moderators’ message

    We have removed a number of posts that had descended into a personal spat and were not contributing thoughtfully or civilly to the discussion.

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