addressalign-toparrow-leftarrow-rightbackbellblockcalendarcameraccwcheckchevron-downchevron-leftchevron-rightchevron-small-downchevron-small-leftchevron-small-rightchevron-small-upchevron-upcircle-with-checkcircle-with-crosscircle-with-pluscontroller-playcrossdots-three-verticaleditemptyheartexporteye-with-lineeyefacebookfolderfullheartglobegmailgooglegroupshelp-with-circleimageimagesinstagramFill 1light-bulblinklocation-pinm-swarmSearchmailmessagesminusmoremuplabelShape 3 + Rectangle 1ShapeoutlookpersonJoin Group on CardStartprice-ribbonprintShapeShapeShapeShapeImported LayersImported LayersImported Layersshieldstartickettrashtriangle-downtriangle-uptwitteruserwarningyahoo
Ben Forbes G.
Epicurean306
Orlando, FL
Post #: 351
According to Plato's account in the Ἀπολογία Σωκράτους, Socrates faced (allegedly politically motivated) charges and was unjustly executed (instead of accepting exile) for “corrupting the young” and “impiety” (he was, paradoxically, accused by Meletus both of atheism and of “impiously”/heretically believing in θεοί or δαίμων “foreign” to Athens — but was only “guilty” of the latter, since Socrates was a freethinker who dared to question the abilities of the flawed/reproachable “gods” of the Greek pantheon and instead imagined a more just deity). Regardless, our knowledge has advanced exponentially in the last couple millennia since classical Athens, including our knowledge of human nature and the nearly certain probability of mortality... and our morality has advanced as well: far beyond the status quo that Socrates faced (particularly in more enlightened human societies where victimless “crimes” such as blasphemy or impiety are no longer illegal). The Socratic method is a deservedly admirable (reductio ad absurdum) heuristic, and can even be devastatingly turned against many of the views espoused by Plato/Socrates themselves... and the opinions of Socrates are neither authoritative nor infallible.

Speaking to the specific quote attributed to Socrates, there is no good reason or evidence to consider death a “great good” — and I doubt most theists even sincerely buy that bullshit (if they're being sincerely honest with themselves, or when actually facing the devastating death of a loved-one)... If they really did believe all the things they wishfully claim about “afterlife” — then they would behave more like in the following video and feel less like the natural (mortal) human reactions to loss and grief.

Indeed, while death comes as a “release” from suffering for some, there are many others for whom “life is suffering” is a much harsher and drawn-out excruciatingly painful truth than the merely bittersweet “changes wrought by time” of a relatively happy mortal lifespan, and still others who unjustly die “before their time” — or live a full lifespan with impunity when they deserve death). In the eloquent words of Sam Harris: “Because he refuses to cloak the reality of the world’s suffering in a cloying fantasy of eternal life, the atheist feels in his bones just how precious life is — and, indeed, how unfortunate it is that millions of human beings suffer the most harrowing abridgments of their happiness for no good reason at all.”
“injustice and disobedience to a better, whether God or man, is evil and dishonorable, and I will never fear or avoid a possible good rather than a certain evil.”
This part of the quote is also extremely problematic... since one’s “better” (whether “god” or man) has to actually BE “better” to deserve allegiance — or in order for disobeying such an “authority” to be “evil and dishonorable” — and obeying an inferior or vile “authority” (such as Yahweh or Jesus) is definitely a “certain evil” rather than a “possible good”...cool

Atheists have by far a more realistically probable philosophy of death compared to the transparent and unsubstantiated wishful thinking of believers — and much theology deplorably exploits fear of death to great effect.

Regardless: reliable ontology is not about what anyone would prefer to believe or wish to be the case; truth is not measured in mass-appeal. I reject the idea that materialism (no matter how ignorantly denigrated as “mechanistic”) should lead to disappointment or nihilism. I’m sorry if some people find it hard to accept where the evidence and the empirical trajectory of intellectual history point — but that’s not a problem I have or feel much sympathy for. Some atheists are (foolishly, I think) willing to concede the ground of (falsely) “comforting thoughts about death” to religion, or even to “wish” that some imaginary afterlife could be plausible; I can’t agree with that attitude, though. As Bertrand Russell so eloquently put it: “I should scorn to shiver with terror at the thought of annihilation. Happiness is nonetheless true happiness because it must come to an end, nor do thought and love lose their value because they are not everlasting. Many a man has borne himself proudly on the scaffold; surely the same pride should teach us to think truly about man’s place in the world. Even if the open windows of science at first make us shiver after the cosy indoor warmth of traditional humanizing myths, in the end the fresh air brings vigour, and the great spaces have a splendour of their own.”

Realizing the almost certain truth about human mortality and eschewing baselessly imagined teleology is like a superior atheistic version of the Serenity Prayer: letting go of mistakenly thinking that “everything happens for a reason” can help people have more courage to change things that they can for the better, more serenity to accept things that they can’t change, and more wisdom to know the difference!smile
Rami K.
Rammy
Orlando, FL
Post #: 594
While appreciated, your superior atheistic version of Reinhold Niebuhr's serenity prayer is vanity. Prayer is an invocation or act that seeks to activate a rapport with a deity, an object of worship, or a spiritual entity through deliberate communication. Once God is removed, that which is left for psyche to fill the gap is physicalism­, or in laymen's terms, "the land and all of that which may be produced out of it."

I think of my wife's wheelchair, not the manual which fits through Austin's narrow door, but the latest and greatest which the bus drivers praise. It comes from two places, three really (perhaps more essentially), the physical universe and mankind. Before it was, however someone or some team had to implement it in prototype and then create a whole structure with which to produce the item in quantity. My description glosses over a tremendous amount of trial, effort, engineering, and knowledge of mechanical history however the same remains true. Let us take the induction motor as a component of the whole. Without these we would have no movement or action. So the question becomes not how does it work, but what is the story of how the thought of such an invention came to be. My wife keeps things far simpler than I, "God invented it." This hearkens to the question, "who wrote War and Peace: Dostoevsky or his pen?" The answer is simpler: Dostoevsky and his pen upon the paper. As some have their muses, so the Lord has the Almighty's need to love on his final creation fulfilled by those willing to participate in the act of co-creation. This gets into questions like is math invented or discovered? I think math is invented as needed, however I'll leave it to others to come up with why this is so.
Ben Forbes G.
Epicurean306
Orlando, FL
Post #: 357
Belief in prayer (or “divine inspiration”) is manifestly stupid and unwarranted — humankind doesn't need it anymore, and should grow up and eschew it; far too often, it constitutes and encourages an unhealthy and unrealistic disempowering form of excessive external locus of control — which is precisely the point that the superior atheistic version of the Serenity Prayer addresses so saliently. “Prayer” that allegedly “does anything” (“intercessory/petitionary”) has been thoroughly disproved by science and is indistinguishable from chance — and all other types of prayer merely amount to talking to oneself, wishful-thinking/hoping instead of planning/acting, talking to an unhealthy conception/construction of one's superego (often in ways that are unhealthily/unnecessarily guilty or shameful), or giving misplaced credit where credit is NOT due in what amounts to a form of unfalsifiable and petitio principii mental-masturbation. Moreover, the all too human psychological/cognitive errors based on which belief in prayer functions (e.g. confirmation bias, selective perception, apophenia, post hoc ergo propter hoc, etc.) are well understood. The unequivocal truth is that prayer has been shown by numerous methodologically sound scientific studies to be totally ineffectual: so far, without any exception I’m aware of, whenever studies of prayer are done carefully — following good scientific protocols that screen out the placebo effect, standard statistical fluctuations, conscious or unconscious interference from the experimenters, flat-out fraud, spontaneous remissions that sometimes happen with some sorts of conditions even without any intervention, etc. — the reality is that spurious claims about faith-healing or the alleged “power” of prayer consistently fall apart like a house of cards in a hurricane. Indeed, while there is some vague and inconclusive evidence from some studies of some sorts of conditions that optimism, supportive community goodwill, or a positive attitude (whether religious or secular makes no difference) may have some small positive health effects in some circumstances (and it's easy to understand why), “prayer” has exactly zero effect on people who don’t know they’re being prayed for, period. It is also suspiciously all too convenient that all historical and current preposterous claims of faith-“healings” center only around the sorts of conditions regarding which humans can easily be temporarily mistaken or tricked. Similarly, claiming that the only prayers that are “answered” are those that are in line with the inscrutable “will of God” means that, since no one can know what the will of God is (except when believers find it convenient to authoritatively pronounce it), this gives them tacit license to try to explain-away and rationalize any and all failed prayers and stupidly indulge in and ignore the effects of their cognitive biases.

More specifically as regards evidence: the American Heart Journal has published the “best” (as in the largest and methodologically most sound) study so far that I know of examining the possible effects of intercessory prayer, and it has shown — as any sensibly skeptical person would have guessed before spending $2.4 million and a decade to actually do the study — that prayer totally fails to make any difference whatsoever… The study was conducted by a team led by Harvard Medical School cardiologist Herbert Benson, a person sympathetic to the idea that prayer might have healing effects, and funded in large part by the Templeton Foundation, an organization devoted to the scientific improvement of our understanding of spirituality (whatever that latter phrase may mean). Benson’s group studied 1,802 patients undergoing coronary bypass, divided into three groups: patients who were prayed for (by three different types of congregations) and knew it, people who were prayed for but did not know whether that was the case, and a group who was not prayed for. The results: 59% of the patients in the first group were affected by post-operative complications, as opposed to 51% of the second group; moreover, 18% of people prayed for suffered serious complications — versus 13% of the non-prayed for group. Suffice it to say that such differences were not statistically significant — and, at any rate, they would go against the hypothesis that prayer has any power: i.e. they showed that, if anything, being prayed for (or knowing you are being prayed for) makes things slightly worse!

Naturally, as we might expect in a universe where prayer is ineffectual either way, other studies (conducted on smaller samples and for shorter time periods) have found conflicting results — and there are always credulous theists who love to make miraculous mountains out of completely natural aberrational molehills. However, even those few cases of studies that even allegedly “tried” to use scientifically sound methods which “found” ANY statistically significant result whatsoever detected only a tiny/rare “effect of prayer” (so, sorry, but apparently any “god” that might exist and allegedly grants some prayers obviously ain’t that powerful), and even such tiny effects usually disappear completely once researchers properly take into account other variables that were more likely explanations (for example, in one study on the potential effect of prayer on recovery from hip surgery, researchers forgot to correct for the age of the women involved!).
Ben Forbes G.
Epicurean306
Orlando, FL
Post #: 358
Regardless, the theology of prayer is risibly preposterous even if we assume there is a God who might grant some prayers... To “whom” / what sort of diety exactly “should” prayers be addressed, in what form, and how can anyone reliably know? Why doesn’t an omniscient God already know who needs/deserves help without being asked/begged — i.e. regardless of prayer? To which religious groups (if any) are some selected intercessory prayers supposedly granted? Moreover, if prayers are allegedly granted to believers in various mutually contradictory, incompatible, and opposed faiths: why? If the measurable effects of prayers are either null, tiny, seemingly capriciously inconsistent, or sometimes even malevolent (i.e. the devout suffer/die unjustly in the same proportion as heretics or apostates) — aren’t we justified in concluding that either there is no good/loving god, or at least that any God that does exist must be aloofly unconcerned with humankind or downright evil? (Invoking the Devil can try to dodge this problem, but ultimately merely serves to limit God’s alleged power and/or goodness regardless of what answers are given to POE-related questions… and depending on Satan’s purported origin story.)

Furthermore, as someone with an active imagination since childhood who plays Dungeons and Dragons and loves epic fantasy and mythology, I find it easy to imagine many possible versions of what a universe in which prayer was truly powerful and divine intervention was actually real might be like — but we definitely do not live in such a universe, and whether or not we do is not a matter of subjective opinion or personal preference — it IS a testable question, it has been thoroughly tested, and more than adequate results are in: we live in a universe where prayer is completely impotent and pointless and any god(s) that might hypothetically exist obviously don’t love or care for humankind (or else are not listening, aloof/unaware, or powerless to help us).

In summary, one should not mistakenly believe that fantastical intercession from an imaginary divine protector in return for petition/supplication (no matter how fervently sincere) can ever offer any degree of control or influence over a situation that is beyond the natural limits of one’s own human control or influence. The erroneous idea that there is any evidence suggesting that divine intervention might be possible which could justify wishfully clinging to faith in “prayer” has been thoroughly debunked by science. Ergo, as Robert Green Ingersoll so eloquently put it: “The hands that help are holier than the lips that pray.” And there is no evidence that any god is really those hands' inspirational muse...

Humble realism ≠ “vanity” — and it's sanctimonious anthropocentric arrogance to imagine that any cosmic creator of this universe (if there were such a deity) would especially listen to any human's pathetic internal mental babblings or that we are some sort of specially teleologically intended “final creation” instead of merely evolved primates — indeed, it's quite risible that anyone who believes in such sanctimoniously anthropocentric and arrogant wishful thinking has the effrontery to so blithely and ironically call MY philosophy “vanity”... Furthermore, an omnipresent/omniscient deity with the powers and attributes monotheists traditionally ascribe to Him wouldn't need to listen and could read our minds — and indeed is often assumed by believers to judge us as “guilty” of various “thought-crimes”!

Freethinkers and humanists refuse to be “humbled” by quaint, servile, and self-effacing appeals to any presumed celestially dictatorial authority that is imagined to be inscrutable (“God works in mysterious ways”) and remains hidden — but would demonstrably not deserve worship IF such a deity actually existed (as the problem of evil proves).

Wheelchairs and ALL of our other pragmatic inventions are a testament to human ingenuity — and had no divine inspiration even if some inventors have naïvely imagined that they did (all that is required for such designs are observation, experiment, building on learning regarding past achievements, and other empirical factors or learned realities; “divinely inspired” Platonic forms are not necessary or realistic). For better or for worse (and I think it's for the better, especially if more people would realize it), there's currently no good reason to doubt that humankind is on its own in regards to determining its existential fate (to the extent that there might be any sense in which agency could be real rather than illusory).cool
Rami K.
Rammy
Orlando, FL
Post #: 595
I appreciate your stab at humbleness. Your reality I cannot agree with. I am with you generally with regard to Robert Green Ingersoll's quote, as you could imagine I am a practitioner of the rational approach described the Wikipedia article on prayer. As you have not, among all your complaints, managed to stick to the topic of the thread but rather exemplified the character of the person described in Renee's article, I am signing off from this thread to put my energies towards those who love me.
Ben Forbes G.
Epicurean306
Orlando, FL
Post #: 359
“I appreciate your ‘stab’ at humbleness.”
confusedMeaning what, exactly? That you concede my points about the unwarranted and egregious arrogance of the ridiculously anthropocentric and Semiticentric Christian position? Or do you have anything substantive to offer disputing them? Frankly, even though I think “humility” is an overrated “virtue” — too often speciously touted (but disempoweringly twisted) by theists who prefer their “flocks” meek and unquestioning in their subservient piety and tend to promote dogmatic scriptures & insular communities which encourage this — there is no question which of our philosophies is truly by far the more ontologically and epistemically “humble” AND the more realistic yet reasonably openminded (including when it comes to admitting what it doesn’t or currently can’t possibly know, but having the skepticism to doubt implausible ideas unless/until they can be proven likely); the inherently supercilious sanctimony of any theistic religion is monumental. True humility in one’s perspective is about much more than mere intentions or attitude. That said, I don’t have an ounce of “humility” (or any need of it) when it comes to criticizing ideas that refute themselves as they deserve by simply applying logic to their own definitions (reductio ad absurdum) OR refuting ideas that have been conclusively disproved by sound science that has almost certainly isolated and tested the variable in question.

As for reality…
As Philip K. Dick so eloquently put it: “Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away.”
There is not “my reality” and “your reality” when it comes to empirical questions of mind-independent ontology; there is just reality, and we have every reason to believe that we almost certainly share the same one (after all, I don’t think you’re a solipsist, are you?); furthermore, since our conceptions of reality are irreconcilably incompatible, we can’t possibly both be right about it (though we could both be wrong about some aspects of it, but the salient difference is that I have ample reasons superior in both quantity and quality to surmise that the odds overwhelmingly favor my understanding as far more probable than yours, and some aspects of your weltänschauung may even be demonstrably 100% impossible, depending on its precise particulars: which you sometimes tend to be quite reticently vague and evasive about admitting). Reality doesn’t care what you prefer to “agree with” or what you wish were the case, and the only thing that should matter when it comes to properly rigorous philosophy is what you can substantively demonstrate to actually be maximally plausible using sound reasons, verifiable evidence, and unimpeachable logic — not whatever you’re desperate to maintain dogmatic faith in regardless of (or despite) wherever the best arguments and evidence point.

Moving on, I suppose it’s creditable that you apparently seem to almost entirely concede (or ignore?) the futility of almost all types of prayer and that you concur with Ingersoll’s quote… but I do find it hilarious that you seem to see no problem unequivocally disagreeing with your own allegedly “inspired” scriptures (as well as the overwhelming majority of monotheists who actually naïvely believe in the power of prayer) regarding such a theologically significant point — since Christian scriptures make probably the most grandiose and ridiculous claims about prayer I know of anywhere (and if these claims are false, as they obviously and demonstrably are, then why ignore them but selectively accept various other equally preposterous supernatural metaphysics that are fantasized in the bible?). Your exceptionally limited and unorthodox conception of (suspiciously one-sided) prayer may be unfalsifiable (and should thus be summarily dismissed), but it’s not any more plausible than naïvely believing that some prayers are capriciously, selectively, and weakly “answered” — worse: even your minimalist concept of “prayer” without “answer” has no positive evidence to support it… You claim:
“the ultimate goal of prayer is to help train a person to focus on divinity through philosophy and intellectual contemplation... but [this] never became the most popular understanding of prayer among the laity in any of... [the Abrahamic] faiths.”
This form of prayer sounds a lot like a more pretentious form of meditation… To the extent that it is, I suppose it might have some of meditation’s benefits, though it would unfortunately be far from ideal due to having more irrational baggage and being less effective and potentially more harmful due to excessive and unhealthy forms of imaginary divine external locus of control or judgmental superego. Regardless, the above quote defining your preferred conception of prayer is a petitio principii fallacy: since you unjustifiably assume there exists a deity (rather than merely an imagined god-concept) that you can “focus on” through philosophy/contemplation. Furthermore, you apparently claim to commune with a deity through “philosophy and intellectual contemplation” but can’t even clearly/adequately define (let alone justify) many of this deity’s basic attributes (or perhaps won’t define them and instead prefer an “inscrutable” God, because unambiguous definitions might embarrassingly open up your purported deity to logical disproof or evidence-based refutations of your faith-based beliefs). In summary, for all these reasons and many more, there is no “rational approach” to prayer — which is a sort of belief and practice that all available evidence reveals to be inherently and irredeemably irrational. If you claim to agree with Ingersoll’s quote and eschew most asinine types of prayer then you should unleash those criticisms on your own “holy” books from which these concepts of prayer derive, as they deserve…devilish
Ben Forbes G.
Epicurean306
Orlando, FL
Post #: 360
In general Rami, in your latest reply, I see some whiny and thin-skinned ad hominem hyperbole and specious pseudopsychoanalysis — but not much substantive content that even pertains to the digressions on this thread, let alone “supports” your arguments. I appreciate your “stab” at articulating one strictly limited type of prayer that isn’t utterly ridiculous and patently false, but even that is a total failure — and repeatedly scolding me for “digressing” is completely ridiculous
(when in fact you are equally if not more responsible for any “digressions” from the intended topic or “irrelevant” tangents on this thread).
Fallacies and errors should always be corrected when opportunity arises (in any freethinking and open forum) whether those who commit them like it or not — and even if that sometimes requires some digression (and you frankly can’t get away with any false pretense charging that I’ve instigated most of the irrelevant digressions on this thread since you can hardly expect a critically-thinking philosopher not to respond to the sorts of egregiously erroneous and misconceived sloppy points you’ve raised); moreover, my criticisms of Chris Hedges on this thread are warranted, well supported, and relevant (especially vis-à-vis his misprioritized and mistaken ideas about conflicts between the West and radical Islam) — while your criticisms of atheism on this thread are exceptionally spurious and repeatedly fallacious — AND, regardless, the fact is that I HAVE substantively addressed the intended topic of the thread (alleged “inverted totalitarianism”) at considerably more length than any other member of Plato’s Cave so far has (and even the “off-topic” content I’ve posted has been in direct response to mistaken ideas you’ve posted on this thread).

Who appointed you the “pertinence police” just because you started the thread?tongue Substantive responses to points you raised (whether “off-topic” or not) are no less legitimate than your own irrelevantly pious digressions to which they have replied.

Online threads sometimes go in unexpected directions that they were not originally intended to, but I can hardly be said to be spamming or derailing this one as opposed to simply bothering to correct your incorrect or fallacious points as they arise. If you ceased making such points and stayed focused on the intended topic yourself, then perhaps at some point I would find the time to expand on my general critical responses and go through the Naomi Wolfe video point by point.wink However, if perhaps you imagine your religion-related digressions to be for some reason more relevant than mine then feel free to try to make that case — but I don’t think it can sensibly be argued that declining religious faith might have anything to do with alleged American “inverted totalitarianism” or some of the excesses and immoralities of American empire that Hedges and Wolfe point to, since reckless Neoconservative unilateralist hawkish nationbuilding / crusading imperialism is a policy very much wed to the Evangelical fundamentalist religious-Right).sad

Regardless, the fact is that nothing is stopping either you OR any other members of the group from contributing to this thread regarding either the initial topic or any ensuing digressions.biggrin You’re imagining a “problem” where none exists Rami.

On a broader note: philosophical debates, done right, are not just mutual mental-masturbation or a relativist ecumenical interfaith circle-jerk where everyone’s subjective opinions are illogically considered part of a “beautiful tapestry of faiths” and should all be automatically “respected” without being expected to adduce reasons and evidence to prove themselves (almost all decent PEOPLE deserve some degree of automatic respect, yourself includedsmile — but ideas cannot necessarily claim the same)…devilish Ideas should have to earn respect; should be relentlessly tested and forced to win or lose; should be adopted, revised, syncretized, or abandoned; should be rhetorically destroyed by overwhelmingly superior reasoning and evidence if possible, etc. — and rigorous philosophical discourse involves a sometimes adversarial or even polemical (though of course ideally personally cordial and professional) process of critical dialogue that can sometimes be iconoclastic... As Ursula K. Le Guin put it in her 1974 book, The Dispossessed: An Ambiguous Utopia:
“The idea is like grass. It craves light, likes crowds, thrives on crossbreeding, grows better for being stepped on.”
Ideas that cannot survive criticism vindicated in this way deserve to be abandoned to die. Philosophy is not a love-fest or an interfaith “Kumbaya” setting aside of divisive differences; if your ideas can’t stand the heat of a crucible of skeptical criticism, then they won’t thrive in any rigorous and cutting-edge philosophical setting moving forward into a hopefully more enlightened and progressive future. As Daniel Dennett has so eloquently put it:
“I listen to all these complaints about rudeness and intemperateness, and the opinion that I come to is that there is no polite way of asking somebody: have you considered the possibility that your entire life has been devoted to a delusion? But that’s a good question to ask. Of course we should ask that question and of course it’s going to offend people. Tough.” devilish
ὁ δὲ ἀνεξέταστος βίος οὐ βιωτὸς ἀνθρώπῳ

Concurrently, as Dan Barker explains in a passage from his book, Losing Faith in Faith, that shows his usual keen insight:
“When some people hear criticism of their religious views, it makes them angry and they project that anger back on the messenger. They assume that the feelings they experience when they read the criticism are the same feelings the skeptic had when it was written.”
coolIn this case, that assumption (like so many you advocate, Rami) is unwarranted. For the record (regarding your pseudopsychoanalytic accusations), let’s get something straight: I’m in no way engaged in “desperate” measures or “losing my grip” in this debate (as your irrelevant citation of “Reverend” Renee’s article spuriously implies) — nor do even the most strident criticisms of ideas or beliefs you may mistakenly cherish as central to your identity actually constitute ad hominem (let alone “abusive”) behavior (and to imply that is the case is some seriously whiny hyperbole). Moreover, if you mislike what you perceive as the tone or intent of my criticisms of your beliefs, then you would do well to examine the hypocrisy of that attitude (and ­check back to some of the absurd and mistaken straw-man “implications” of atheism that you’ve alleged earlier on this very thread: in deplorable agreement with Chris Hedges, and citing Rod Liddle’s ridiculously sloppy and erroneous documentary)…
Ben Forbes G.
Epicurean306
Orlando, FL
Post #: 361
Criticism ≠ “intolerance” — let alone abuse.cool Atheists see religion as just another hypothesis about how the world works (and a pathetically mistaken one, at that). We decline to treat it with more respect than any other opinions, theories, or philosophies. We decline to treat its writings with more respect than any other books, or its leaders with more respect than any other political or community figures. We realize that these sorts of special treatment unfairly armor religion against legitimate criticism. Besides, we don’t see any good reason for special treatment given how primitive religion is... But religion has unfortunately long been treated with special deference and put on a sanctimonious pedestal, getting an unjustifiable free ride in the marketplace of ideas. And many believers are accustomed to this... so accustomed (even unconsciously) that eminently warranted questions and criticism often SEEM to them like the grossest disrespect. “People are so used to whispering around religion that an everyday voice sounds like a shout.” The next time you imagine that atheists are being unusually disrespectful or “abusive” — read the conversations and debates in political or economic forums (or, for that matter, in discussions of art, sports, or celebrity gossip) — and then check your privilege. You see, you don’t get to get away with hypocritically pretending that it’s okay to freely and stridently advocate political revolution against the current status quo of allegedly “inverted totalitarian” American empire, advocate radical alternatives to fiat money, spout whatever preposterously indefensible metaphysics you please in response to any secular topic and imagine they are somehow pertinent solutions, etc. — but then indignantly cry “abuse” when someone dares to criticize your religious beliefs after you bring them up in the first place... It’s not my fault if your theology inextricably permeates and taints multifarious unrelated aspects of your philosophy — and I make no apologies for declining to privilege religion; for sound and thoroughly justifiable reasons, I deny its fallacious pretensions to deserve any special-pleading, I deny it “default” respect or unwarranted deferential social consent, and I decline to treat it any differently from how I would critically evaluate any other sort of philosophical idea I see no good reason or evidence to agree with... For example, if you think I’m more harsh regarding religion than I am in response to Libertarian laissez-faire economics or radical anarchism, you would be mistaken.biggrin
Ben Forbes G.
Epicurean306
Orlando, FL
Post #: 362
Anyway, not that any of your risible complaints regarding your insupportable straw-man imaginings vis-à-vis my “character” actually have any merit or prove anything, but let’s examine these unwarranted and ridiculous accusations of “abusive” character specifically anyway: point by point…
  • #1: increasing the abuse — My response is that you should stop the hyperbolic whining: the reality is that criticism ≠ “abuse” (and demonstrably asinine religious beliefs are not immune from warranted criticisms); check your privilege and stop with the persecution complex; nobody is “abusing” you by pointing out fallacies and flaws in your arguments and beliefs: grow a spine or a thicker skin and actually try to substantively defend or justify your views and try to admit and correct them if and when they are in error — or, better yet, try to discover and advocate better arguments and beliefs (philosophy is an excellent tool for that).smile
  • #2: escalating the argument — My response is that this is actually a warranted tactic in debating many issues (e.g. to problematize the larger implications of an opponent’s views, as long as the metaphorical “escalation” is evidence-based and can be justified as a relevant reply to a point or tenet that an opponent raised), but “escalation” can be a fallacious emotional appeal in some cases (such as deludedly alleging humanistic atheism to be a slippery-slope to oppressive totalitarian-socialism, which is fearmongering against a straw-man). Admittedly, “escalation” is often unhealthy when people heatedly argue in their personal relationships, but that is not relevant or in any way analogous in this case; furthermore, it should be noted that one’s dubious perception of emotion in the tone of an online debate is hardly evidence of even the mildest ad hominem or personal insult, and doesn’t even come close to “abusive” behavior. Concurrently, it’s particularly ironic and self-defeating that you would make this accusation, since citing the sloppy and blithely fallacious Rod Liddle documentary in response to much more warranted, accurate, and pertinent criticisms of Chris Hedges is probably the clearest example of “escalation” on this thread — and it arguably initiated all ensuing alleged metaphorical “escalation” and counterescalation onto digressing topics that followed... but you don’t see me whining about that or crying foul; feel free to bring it on if you please, I say — or not, if you prefer; it’s no matter to me either way.biggrin
  • #3: putting you on the defensive — My response is that I criticized Hedges with legitimate criticisms (which you have yet to substantively rebut), then you criticized atheism with fallacious criticisms (if anything, putting me “on the defensive” temporarily, albeit with pathetically mistaken and easily refuted specious arguments), then I followed your digressions in order to refute them: exposing flaws in your own criticisms and turning them against you. Debates generally often have this sort of back and forth quality to them, unless philosophers just happen to agree on an issue; even in the most cordial dialogues, views should be advocated, defended, and subjected to criticism (often by someone playing “Devil’s Advocate” if opposing critical views don’t happen to be well represented).devilish Anyway, I fail to see why you think you have any cause for complaint. Nobody is inhibiting you from going on full-throttle “philosophical offense” on any open thread you please with no time limits, so quit complaining...cool
  • #4: prolonging the discussion ad nauseum My response to this especially ridiculous charge is that there is no audience-captivity or issues of “dominating conversation-time” in an open online forum/thread that could be “abused” in any way analogously to how this could play out when it comes to in-person discussions (if lacking effective moderation), let alone “analogously” to actually abusive interpersonal relationships wherein one person in an argument could be belligerently denied getting a word in edgewise... It should also be noted that it often requires a longer and more detailed analysis in order to adequately expose, critique, and refute erroneous or fallacious arguments compared to the length it requires merely to spout them.tongue Moreover, just because you created a thread — and thus are presumably interested in substantive philosophical dialogue regarding the intended topic (and perhaps tangentially related issues, especially if you initiate such digressions) — this does not mean that you are being forced to even read, let alone attempt to rebut or reply to, anyone’s responses on this thread…winkbiggrin
  • #5: disowning you — My response to this is incredulity… and I can’t imagine how or why anyone might imagine that “disowning” could be in any way relevant to my character as demonstrated on this thread or in general (but perhaps your tenuous analogy was only intended to extend to the first few points in the article)… That said, too many conservative religious groups DO practice shunning, excommunication, disfellowshipping, etc. — but these are religious tactics not typically practiced by diverse and open philosophical groups. Moreover, if you want to sign “off from this thread to put… [your] energies towards those who love” you, nobody is stopping you or twisting your arm and forcing you to respond to criticisms. There is really no need to complain or make a dramatic exit.cool
P.S.
For a special bonus “escalation” (since I’m assumedly such a hypercritical meanie with all the “negative energy” of my complaintswink) — I will conclude by demonstrating the reality that the only truly abusive character on this thread is Yahweh…devilish You implied up to five ridiculous reasons why you quite speciously find the “character” of my “complaints” (which are actually substantive and well-supported criticisms) tantamount to “abuse” — well then, so be it: I’ll be happy to actually “escalate” the debate and up the ante by giving you FIFTY deplorably abusive characteristics and behaviors — ALL of which God as described in the Bible is unequivocally guilty of and/OR theistic followers unnecessarily suffer; naturally, most moderate or “progressive” believers (such as yourself) who are not fundamentalists ignorantly advocating scriptural “inerrancy” will choose to ignore, downplay, make excuses for, or pathetically try to deny many of these fifty characteristics…biggrin but the generally escalated point still stands vis-à-vis the inherently ugly and abusive nature of too many inexcusable orthodox scriptural dogmas!tongue

Rami K.
Rammy
Orlando, FL
Post #: 617
Ben you've painted some pictures in this thread, specifically page 3 herein, where I instinctively think you've missed the mark. Given your penchant for science fiction and fantasy, perhaps the perspective of Dominican brother Humbert Kilanowski will carry some thoughtful meaning.
Powered by mvnForum

People in this
Meetup are also in:

Sign up

Meetup members, Log in

By clicking "Sign up" or "Sign up using Facebook", you confirm that you accept our Terms of Service & Privacy Policy