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Adrian
KingHell
Group Organizer
London, GB
Post #: 728
Just FYI folks: I often post commentary and links on my Facebook page. From time to time I post links to videos of all sorts. Yesterday I posted the link to one of Peter Boghossian's lectures on youtube with like this:
-------------------------------
"Faith: pretending to know things you don't know" Dr Peter Boghossian.

This guy is really doing some ground breaking work on critical thinking and this video will interest anyone who likes reason, although it's people who don't like it that should really watch it.

http://www.youtube.co...­
----------------------------
What was great was that some of my friends, who aren't anything to do with LAAG, and I'm now presuming are atheists too, shared the link on their timelines. This is brilliant for two reasons: firstly that it's getting the word out there, but also that I have some new people to approach to join LAAG. It's a war of attrition and this is certainly a good way to play it if you do post on Facebook yourself.
Georgi L.
Guffaw
London, GB
Post #: 1,855
I liked the quote the other night about the left being "faith enablers"

Read this last night about the recent stop offending people storm in a tea cup. Rather good.

http://www.skepticink...­
Very good, thanks Daniel.
Roger
user 33309642
London, GB
Post #: 319
"this is certainly a good way to play it if you do post on Facebook yourself. "

Whenever I post anything "serious" on F/B my friends mostly studiously ignore it. I get quite a few pics of their lunches in return, though. smile
Adrian
KingHell
Group Organizer
London, GB
Post #: 729
Whenever I post anything "serious" on F/B my friends mostly studiously ignore it. I get quite a few pics of their lunches in return, though. smile
If you get a smart phone then it's quite common to get pictures of people's lunchboxes! Anyway that's what the 'kids' are doing these days.
Georgi L.
Guffaw
London, GB
Post #: 1,858
I'm going to try and focus the conversation back to PB's method (and away from lunchboxes shockbiggrinwink), here's my summation of yesterday's experiment with trying out the PB method:

About 20 or so of us met at the pre-event, where I did an overview presentation of the PB method for those of us that were at the PB meetup ( and to introduce the idea to those who weren't). We then briefly discussed it, and also did role plays etc. Joanne and Jim slipping back into their former religious selves, and others of us trying out PB intervention language etc. This was useful to help us get used to avoiding the potentially entrenching/combative words like 'you', can't etc.

At SC, most of those that had been at the pre-meet seemed to be finding it useful where they tried it, albeit hard not to slip back. Varying levels of comfort with the method, but generally a positive reaction afterwards at the de-brief with a general feeling we should do it again and/or in a different setting. Some very positive reactions and certainly no negative ones. Including Jim saying that it had changed his whole persona when talking to religious people, from formerly very combatitive , to the opposite. He particularly found it an... um ...'revelation', but several others were also pleasantly surprised at how natural it can feel once you start employing it. Me included.

Issues:some of our group had either not been at the pre-meet to revise PB, or had not seen it at all, hence were unaware of the group's collective 'gameplan' and this often meant that they inadvertently came in with a more combative style, which pretty much negated the PB intervention.

It was hard to be able to talk quietly without someone from our own group (well meaning) but unaware butting in ;-).

And of course, us being cats and all, there was the odd individual who was seemingly more concerned with being contrary, and thereby interrupted and disrupted others who were trying to have PB interventions in unhelpful ways e.g. by agreeing with the religious person.

Leaflets were distracting (since PB's method is to NOT talk about facts, politics, god or religion) and therefore I felt with PB method should probably be avoided ...or we need to design new ones - not sure what would work but ideas welcome.

In conclusion I would say that the method is DEFINITELY one that personifies the group's remit, approach and core values. However if we are to do Speakers' Corner again as a group (and spend resources on it - it is a fairly expensive day in terms of both resources, time and funds), it needs to have a more structured approach, as well as a commitment from members to be at the pre-meet. Then we could all know the gameplan and refine it e.g have a word that is known to all that indicates to other members e.g. please do not interrupt just now but stay around for support). Or tapping someone twice on the back being another signal for something i.e. IMO it needed a more team approach, especially at the LAAG stand itself.

People standing around drinking doesn't look all that good either if we're trying to project a calm constructive approach (especially if it's beercans ;-)), but of course it is also a social and community event for us to enjoy each others' company - perhaps we can do this slightly away from the stand (Picnic is ideal but obviously not possible to pick the right day which will have ideal conditions for that, especially as we go into Autumn).

Any thoughts are welcome here, and organisers will take that into consideration in order to formulate LAAG's plan for further activism, whether at SC or elsewhere. My thought is that we should try and do this at a quieter place - hopefully we can get some religious groups to come to us, perhaps at conway hall.
Georgi L.
Guffaw
London, GB
Post #: 1,865
Here is Victor Stenger's perspective on faith:

Q: My own view of religion is that faith is the primary problem, but that religion is the institution in society which primarily upholds the dogma of faith as being a worthwhile and/or necessary mind set. What are your thoughts on the relation of faith and religion itself?
A : Yes, religion is based on faith and that's why it is not worthwhile despite the false comfort it provides to people who want to live forever. The social life and other amenities such as music, art, and even ritual rites of passage found in churches can all be provided outside a supernatural context. In Scandinavia, where hardly anyone goes to church on Sunday anymore, they still get married and buried in church.

Faith is foolish because it leads people to irrational decisions that pose great dangers to the survival of humanity, such as opposing birth control and thinking that global warming is no problem because God would never let it harm us.
Roger
user 33309642
London, GB
Post #: 328
"Faith is foolish" - that's a great slogan!
Andy S.
user 8457357
London, GB
Post #: 192
I think there are two issues in approach - one is the softly-spoken/bold question and the other is the PB discussion method/all other methods question. I think I achieved the former but I think the latter is quite rarified and makes the participants more interviewer and interviewee rather than an equal discussion/debate context.

It was interesting that PB gave his example in the lecture of starting a conversation with a religious person on a plane - a location where they will not be ready for an argument, which is a different context from SC.

But I do think the PB approach is very useful in really kindling some excellent conversations at SC or anywhere else for that matter. I suppose the trouble is that while you following the PB approach may want to keep discussions of god, theology, politics etc off the table, it can come across as evasive if you are ducking or ignoring questions and comments from the other party (especially where in the past you may have happily talked about them)

I agree that at SC itself, members had different approaches but (and I'm not totally kidding when I say this) you could even say that a mix of styles might almost be like a good cop/bad cop kind of approach. That said however, I think it stands to reason that people are more likely to open up to questioning and consider points deeply if they are delivered in a more friendly and light-hearted manner (not that I have anything against the more fervent approaches which I will always defend as having a valid purpose)

I agree that the beer could be a barrier towards interaction or portray us in a negative light but I especially agree with the leaflets - the first discussion I had was with a Muslim apologist who had picked up a leaflet we had implying that religious people needed medical help or resemble people with drug addictions. Again while these obviously have a strong ring of truth about them, they are not good as an icebreaker!

But overall I thought it was a very useful and enjoyable exercise and I would welcome the group doing this as maybe a monthly formal thing. Obviously any of us if we choose to can go to SC and take part but I think there are a lot of benefits of an organised meet-up especially if we can hone our approach and preparation.
Georgi L.
Guffaw
London, GB
Post #: 1,872

But overall I thought it was a very useful and enjoyable exercise and I would welcome the group doing this as maybe a monthly formal thing. Obviously any of us if we choose to can go to SC and take part but I think there are a lot of benefits of an organised meet-up especially if we can hone our approach and preparation.
Hi Andy,

Thanks for feedback, I think we both had the same thoughts.

As you say, if we're to do this, it needs preparation and a group approach - which is always difficult "herding cats" and all that. We'd need to have a pre-meet as we did this time as there will always be some new people who want to come along, and others will need a refresher too. Perhaps just an hour beforehand would do it, and I think we'd have to say only those who've been at the pre-meet can act 'officially' at the LAAG stand.

What do you think?

If we can get a religious group to come to us at say, Conway hall, that'd be better still. That's what we're trying to arrange in preference as SC is just too noisy and makes people want to bait the religious and have some entertainment, LOL. Too much temptation! (Hence our new theme for socials ...the & not so deadly naughty things and the 10 namby pamby things for sheep)
Georgi L.
Guffaw
London, GB
Post #: 1,878
Oh and just to add, I've taken the SC group event off the calendar for now, as I think we do need to regroup and rethink this. Having our own Stand there was good, but a Stand without leaflets will be somewhat pointless. Leaflets do encourage people to come over, and also could be an ice-breaker. But we need to design/write/print some new leaflets that are suitable for PB method. Any volunteers? So we could resurrect the SC group meetup if people want it ... needs a bit of work first.

In the meantime, as a possibly much better alternative, Robin is working on trying to sort out something with the Christian group. We'll let you know...
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