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Re: [atheists-501] january d3sj meeting

From: user 9.
Sent on: Tuesday, January 5, 2010 1:56 PM

That's right!

If you reply to this email everyone receives it!

Email is only for meetup announcements, so we are asking you to transfer the discussion on to the Message Board on the meetup website.

----- Original Message -----
Sent: Tuesday, January 05,[masked]:47 AM
Subject: Re: [atheists-501] january d3sj meeting

This is all very interesting, but could you possibly continue this debate in the meetup forums rather than emailing every member on the list?

From: Arjen Lentz <[address removed]>
To: [address removed]
Sent: Tue, 5 January,[masked]:39:14 AM
Subject: Re: [atheists-501] january d3sj meeting

Hi Jake, Geoffrey

----- "Jake Farr-Wharton" <[address removed]> wrote:
> This is very interesting. Throughout my debates with climate change
> deniers, I have gained some interesting insight, much of what they
> learn is delivered in the same way and by the same people who provide
> their weekly sermon on how great and loving God is. Ironically, they
> require no evidence to prove their god/s and yet in the midst of
> myriad evidence for climate change, they find themselves unable to
> 'believe'.

It's easily explained with a bit of understanding of social psychology.
The common term is cognitive dissonance, but the actual automatic behaviours at work here are "consistency", "social proof" and to a degree "authority". It's a powerful mix.
I'd be happy to talk about this at a meeting some time, if there's interest in that?

I think that understanding why people behave in a certain way is rather important, as that can provide an angle to change their minds (if that's the objective). Beating them over the head (verbally) tends to not do the trick as it completely misses the point of why they behave the way they do. In fact, in many cases the approach triggers or reinforces the behaviour.

And along the same lines, I find Geoffrey's post below a tad troubling. Calling people "morally repugnant pariahs" and such is unlikely to be helpful, convince anybody of anything, or attract openminded people interested in the topic. I tend to read past what many people regard as offensive, but I know very well that language like that just distracts and makes people disregard or just even not read such a post, and also dismiss anything else the same person/source has to say. Consequentially, this kind of post will also reflect on how the Bris Atheist meetup is perceived. Our combined behaviour and way of expressing ourselves is what defines our image, not one carefully crafted paragraph on the info page...


> From: geoffrey <[address removed]>
> To: [address removed]
> Sent: Tue, 5 January,[masked]:17:08 AM
> Subject: [atheists-501] january d3sj meeting
> Dr. Phil Machanick's December presentation (download available at
> conclusively demonstrated the robust evidence and
> science for
> anthropogenic global warming. There is more evidence for anthropogenic
> global warming than for tobacco causing lung cancer. Global warming
> deniers
> tend to be of two sorts. Most are ignorant ideologues with no
> knowledge or
> understanding of science. They are fools. Some however are deviously
> cunning
> and use selective bias and misrepresentation to mislead the general
> public.
> They are liars. Both sorts lack substance, are not amenable to logical
> persuasion and are rightly condemned, exposed and ostracised as the
> morally
> repugnant pariahs they are.
> D3SJ* meeting 13 January 2010:
> Microcredit, the alleviation of poverty and the provision of clean,
> renewable energy
> The miserable failure of the recent Copenhagen climate change
> conference
> (chockfull of pious declarations but which achieved no binding
> agreements)
> reinforces the view that we cannot depend on Big Government (as the
> proxy of
> Big Business) to address the problems we face. The basic underlying
> problem
> is the delusion of endless economic growth driven by endless fossil
> fuels,
> which ignores (and externalises) adverse environmental consequences
> and
> ignores looming energy constraints. A house of cards on the verge of
> collapse.
> This delusion is perpetrated by ideologically driven, morally bankrupt
> economists and bean counters who have no understanding of facts or
> evidence
> and who dispute well proven science. They capitalise on the ignorance
> and
> complacency of the general public and the venality and opportunism of
> politicians.
> And yet, here and there we see rays of hope in unexpected corners of
> the
> world. There are some economists who "get it" and who are important
> leaders
> in our quest for a sustainable future. If greatness is determined by
> how
> many poor people one has helped and given hope for the future, then
> the
> economist Muhammad Yunus must surely rate as one of the greatest human
> beings of all time. This soft spoken founder of the Grameen Bank of
> Bangladesh has literally lifted millions of people out of poverty with
> his
> microcredit initiatives. More recently he has employed engineers to
> deliver
> modest renewable energy projects to poor villagers which have
> dramatically
> transformed their lives for the better.
> We will be show a videoclip of his energy initiatives at our January
> meeting
> with perhaps another videoclip about the origins of microcredit, time
> permitting.
> Date & time: Wednesday 13 January 2010
> 5.30pm - biscuits, coffee/tea
> 6.00pm - presentations & discussion
> 7.00pm - meeting concludes - enthusiastic participants are encouraged
> to
> continue discussion over dinner at another venue
> Venue: Sullivan Nicolaides Pathology Boardrooms, 134 Whitmore St
> (Swann Rd
> end), Taringa. Go to reception (off upper car park) & signs will
> direct from
> there.
> Parking is available on site (upper car park- anywhere there is a
> space or
> lower car parks in the non reserved spaces).There's also plenty of
> nearby
> on-street parking (with no meters/time limit) at that time of day.
> Who should attend: Any intelligent person interested in the common
> good.
> Cost: FREE!
> * Doctors and Scientists for Sustainability and Social Justice:
> We invite participation from all members of the public who agree with
> the
> medical and scientific principles that we should use evidence, reason
> and
> fairness as the primary means to address the issues facing society
> please visit for more information

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