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Are the “new atheists” intolerant fundamentalists?
Posted: 13 December 2009 01:21 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]  
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MrRon - 12 December 2009 04:03 PM

I am currently in an ongoing debate with a theist friend. It is very frustrating. I have found that facts are irrelevant. Logic is what the thinker thinks it is. The desire to have an afterlife is overwhelmingly strong. Consensus is not to be refuted (the fact that 85% of Americans have a God belief). I am at my wits end. But I realize that it’s not my logic that is failing to make an impact, it’s that my logic is getting detoured before it ever has a chance to factor into her thinking. “God 12.2 With Service Pack 3, Including the I.D. Add-on” is truly efficient.


There are two key problems here. First, the whole God 12.2 schtick you illustrate so well isn’t the basic OS, but an OS for one memory partition. Other OSs, most better to at least some significant degree, are used per user choice for the rest of the system. Second (and I expect this is what you meant to say), logic is not what the thinker thinks it is, of course, but rather what most “thinkers” perceive as logic is just the way they think. Those who have studied and developed an understanding of logic, and who have the humility to accept it know better than to believe everything they think. Unfortunately that describes very few people in my experience.

So I think the best approach (or the most pragmatic approach anyway) is to point out these conflicted OSs working on the different memory partitions, and to explain why the good one is good and why the God 12.2 is fucked (or why they’re both fucked, though in that case it’s generally pointless). You wouldn’t accept that explanation from your mechanic ... etc. If the believer in question understands science very well at all it’s fairly simple ... Why wouldn’t that fly in pier reviewed science? Well, that’s why it’s not valid reasoning (and why you should know better). At least it’s easy to explain, initially, but of course God 12.2 is a highly unstable environment, so it tends to crash the whole system when it runs into conflicts, such as when a virus protection package treats it as the malicious software it is.

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Posted: 13 December 2009 02:41 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]  
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The problem is that the God software that runs in the mind of the believer doesn’t advertise itself as such, but rather it masquerades as REASON! The believer is wholly convinced that they are reasonable and it is the atheist that is unreasonable. 

So what are we to do? When a great many fairly intelligent adults can read and still reject the best refutations of religion by such authors as Dawkins, Hitchens, Harris, Dennett, etc., we’re basically screwed. When large numbers of people to this day believe in a 6,000 year old Earth and reject evolution, despite the overwhelming evidence, it’s game over. I’m not sure how we can possibly turn it up a notch. Throwing even MORE reason into the mix is like thinking that you have a better chance of arriving at your destination without running out of gas by driving faster. Atheists are that driver, and we need to somehow remedy that kind of thinking. That being said, I am always searching for a new argument that might be persuasive (silly me).

The theism\atheism battle may simply come down to a battle of attrition, rather than a battle of winning converts through debate. Either generations of atheists will eventually surpass theists in sheer numbers, or the 85%-15% theist to atheist ratio will persist. The 15% minority will never expediently “persuade” the 85%. But our efforts will most likely paint atheists as “intolerant fundamentalists” in the minds of some believers.

Ron

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Posted: 14 December 2009 02:02 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]  
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MrRon - 13 December 2009 07:41 PM

The problem is that the God software that runs in the mind of the believer doesn’t advertise itself as such, but rather it masquerades as REASON! The believer is wholly convinced that they are reasonable and it is the atheist that is unreasonable.  Ron

There is one way to get through to women—it happens quite often if my NT prof. friend is to be believed. Women often do not have a real understanding of how patriarchal religious institutions are- nor do they comprehend how this has disenfranchised them. Once they begin to understand, they begin questioning and searching for answers (this was part of my own journey). Sadly, the intellectual left will often pacify them with talk about things can change, that god did not intend for women to be subordinate, etc. Soon their wounds are “healed” and they move away from the questions that could shake a leaf or two away from the branch.

I do think it’s worth while having the conversations—but asking the hard questions that stick around is the best tactic. There may not be converts but perhaps chipping away at the arrogance…??

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Posted: 23 December 2009 01:28 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]  
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The good news is that the “New Atheist” authors—Harris, Dawkins, Dennett, Hitchens, and the less famous ones like Victor Stenger and Dan Barker—have convinced hundreds of believers to see the light of reason and renounce their faith. I am one of their “converts.”.
I suggest that the New Atheism is under attack because it is an effective weapon against blind faith.
I recently saw the DVDs from the 2007 AAI convention. Dan Dennett claimed we had the real fundamentalists (Christians) on the run. Sam Harris suggested atheists needed to eschew the A-word and “fly under the radar” of our opponents in order to cooperate in solving our social, economic, and political problems. Prof. Dawkins wore his Out Campaign red A pin on his lapel.
I would like to know which tactic—confrontation or cooperation—Sam Harris now advocates.
Starfire

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Starfire
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Posted: 24 December 2009 03:00 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]  
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Starfire - 23 December 2009 06:28 PM

The good news is that the “New Atheist” authors—Harris, Dawkins, Dennett, Hitchens, and the less famous ones like Victor Stenger and Dan Barker—have convinced hundreds of believers to see the light of reason and renounce their faith. I am one of their “converts.”.
I suggest that the New Atheism is under attack because it is an effective weapon against blind faith.
I recently saw the DVDs from the 2007 AAI convention. Dan Dennett claimed we had the real fundamentalists (Christians) on the run. Sam Harris suggested atheists needed to eschew the A-word and “fly under the radar” of our opponents in order to cooperate in solving our social, economic, and political problems. Prof. Dawkins wore his Out Campaign red A pin on his lapel.
I would like to know which tactic—confrontation or cooperation—Sam Harris now advocates.
Starfire

Starfire,

It’s always great to see the triumph of human intellect! You are to be commended for your intellectual integrity and your honest appraisal of your (former) religious beliefs. You are proof that there is hope.

Ron

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Posted: 17 January 2010 09:02 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 21 ]  
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Pulling from another thread “have you ever “converted” anyone” I would add that I am a convert. Having left my fundamentalist faith behind, I was still hanging onto a new agey concept of god and was afraid of looking very critically at my my beliefs (and the fear I felt of what life would be like if there was no god). After reading “God is not Great”, I gave the arguments some real thought and realized that it was really just fear that kept me wrapped up in a belief in a deity. (I might add that some people are ruled by fear in religion—others get a lot of power (men mostly)and self-justification (i.e. forgiveness) via their faith. Add having warm feelings about yourself is a powerful weapon!) So if the new atheists are “intolerant fundamentalists”  then I am grateful for their intolerance because I had too many preconceived notions of what/who atheists were and just that fear would have kept me from giving heavy consideration to the arguments against religion.

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Posted: 26 January 2010 07:26 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 22 ]  
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I think the sense of helplessness that many of the atheists here are espousing is due simply to this issue of reason and faith.  Rational folks, such as yourselves, should reasonably come to the conclusion that one body (a minority) who claims to be the “owners (and givers) of reason” will be stuck in the mud, wheels turning while trying to explain to the irrational majority that they are, indeed, without reason.  Another problem that you must attack head-on, is that even if you go to sleep at night with the satisfaction that you have somehow added reason to this world and perhaps eliminated some irrationality in the process, a large majority of other self-proclaimed rationalists are much better satisfied, and more concerned frankly, with simply feeling smarter than everyone else.  It’s this universal smugness of the intellectual elite, so often found in the writings of the “New Atheists” and on this forum, that will forever piss off those fundamentalists and be the proverbial thorn in your side.  Of course, you could simply say that you don’t care whether you piss off fundies or not, but then you’re right back where you started.  You either live with the fact that calling someone a blockhead will always come off as an offense, or you find another, better way to interact.  This martyred language that some of you have adopted concerning your atheism and fight for rationality seems hypocritical and somewhat disingenuous considering your cerebral prowess. 

Secondly, you’ve got yourself a false dichotomy.  You are forever ascribing rationality to yourself without considering the reality that many rational, intelligent, critically thinking folks are Christians (though perhaps not fundamentalists).  You have already settled the argument without giving the other side their turn in debate.  The supposed “truth” that rationality and the Christian religion are mutually exclusive is a claim that you must effectively argue, yet you act as if this is presupposed.

And I ran out of time…more on this later

[ Edited: 26 January 2010 07:49 PM by clayforHim648]
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Posted: 27 January 2010 05:08 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 23 ]  
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clayforHim648 - 27 January 2010 12:26 AM

Rational folks, such as yourselves, should reasonably come to the conclusion that one body (a minority) who claims to be the “owners (and givers) of reason” will be stuck in the mud, wheels turning while trying to explain to the irrational majority that they are, indeed, without reason.


You may as well have just written:
I haven’t much of a clue as to what reason and logic and epistemology and such are all about, so I resent them, and I resent those who respect them, because they’re always getting in the way of my cherished delusions.

You could just side-step the whole shindig if you didn’t feel such ideological pressure to evangelize, or internal pressure due to the inability to pull off a sufficient degree of faith (intellectual dishonesty) to ignore the whole reason problem, as those who really can pull off faith do.

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“We say, ‘Love your brother…’ We don’t say it really, but… Well we don’t literally say it. We don’t really, literally mean it. No, we don’t believe it either, but… But that message should be clear.”—David St. Hubbins

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Posted: 28 January 2010 04:14 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 24 ]  
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clayforHim648 - 27 January 2010 12:26 AM

The supposed “truth” that rationality and the Christian religion are mutually exclusive is a claim that you must effectively argue, yet you act as if this is presupposed.

It’s been done. By Harris, Hitchens, et al. And it’s not just the Christian religion, it’s ALL faith-based religions that are at odds with rationality. Aren’t beliefs based on nothing but faith irrational? If not, then what WOULD constitute a belief that would be considered irrational?

Ron

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Posted: 28 January 2010 04:38 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 25 ]  
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clayforHim648 - 27 January 2010 12:26 AM

The supposed “truth” that rationality and the Christian religion are mutually exclusive is a claim that you must effectively argue, yet you act as if this is presupposed.


It’s not terribly hard to see when your mind’s not numbed by the kool-aid.

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Posted: 25 February 2010 10:28 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 26 ]  
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Let me throw some incoherent remarks into this discussion. First, I think we are too smart for our own good and that makes us stupid. The effective secularization of Turkey started with Ataturk’s decrees banning beards and muslim head covers (making it difficult to pray in public) and continued with a series of military coups between 1960 - 1982. Yet, that wasn’t sitting well with liberal Europe. The result is what we are witnessing today. Democratically elected Islamic government getting ready to kill the secular bastions of Turkey: the army, academia, judges and journalists.
Those who believe that you can win by peaceful methods are only kidding themselves.
On the other hand I have nothing against people believing in God, god, gods, spirits etc. if those people keep their beliefs to themselves. Well that’s a big if ... but I think most of people are and would be like that if they were left without their leaders. Religion and religious leaders - that’s the explosive mix. For an American Christian the religious leader is not necessarily the priest or a pastor. It can as well be the Fox Channel like it is the case with my in law.
Now when when it comes to the rank of atheists. My heroes are not Richard Dawkins or even Sam Harris. The stand up comedian Pat Condell can express better in his 5 minute clip what Sam Harris can hardly pack on 20 pages. Not to mention that Pat Condell makes me laugh while others bore me.
Pat Condell got it right. It is not discussing how to debate religion but do it. He goes not for the abstract but for the specific crimes of religion and fights back defending his dignity and his rights. As opposed to Sam Harris still in search for his program Pat Condell has the program (even if it is only his personal program) and is consistent in following it. Pat Condell probably would not satisfy some of the hard core atheists from this forum. In one of his clips he says: I am 50 years old, I am open. Please enlighten me. But please don’t give me bullshit.
I don’t have a strategy for America. I think that at this stage America is doomed. On the economic ground. On religious ground. Even science is an endangered species in this country. No, the biggest threat to American science is not religion. It is the corporate pseudo science which can be described as an open market where you can buy any scientific opinion you want for the right price.
However, if I could think about the best strategy it would be this. Play the diversity card. There is nothing more funny than pinning one religion against the other. The other day I was visiting New York and bumped into the sect of Black Jews (sorry, I don’t remember the name of the group). I was fascinated with their claims that blacks are the real Jews chosen by God. I would die to see them debating the Orthodox Jews. Or insulting. The big advantage of diversity is that you can pacify all of them in the name of fair play and equal rights etc. They will never recognize the equal rights of atheists but with some smart political leadership we can force them to accept even that.
In my debate with religion I like to hold my blows looking for the right moment. I will not laugh at Catholics when the bus with a load of nuns crashes killing all of them but I will remind them about the incident next time they claim that such and such atheist died being punished by God. I will not argue with the Jews until the moment comes when a Jewish scholar starts pronouncing how superior the monotheistic religion is compared to pagan beliefs and “gods that have to be fed by people”. My reply would be to praise the gods of Greeks as more compatible with human nature and professing preference to feed gods with grain and wine rather than blood of the soldiers.
Well, my belief in religious pluralism has been dealt a heavy blow with the recent rise of Islamic fanatics. I am a tolerant person. I wouldn’t do anything to insult the Amish person. I truly respect how they reconcile their religion with the world around them. But when I hear the relative of the fanatic responsible for the massacre of American soldiers telling the journalists that his nephew truly loved America ... well I have only one interpretation for this. Those people are so conditioned to lie to infidels they don’t even realize how transparent their idiotic lies are. Those people should be told that in our secular society they will be given the same amount of tolerance they show to others, or like Pat Condell said: zero. What we shouldn’t tolerate are the statement by the Islamic community that the reaction of our government to apply special scrutiny for visitors from certain countries is unconstitutional and will do much harm.

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Posted: 04 February 2011 12:24 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 27 ]  
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You forget that those who practice Abrahamic religions are extremely intolerant against anyone who does not accept the mindset that have Jews, Christians and Muslims.
It’s absurd to be so hypocritical as to forget the history of mankind, and “rewrite” again. The intolerant of history are Abraham against those who do not accept the idea that everything required for a single god.

“The equal toleration of all religions ... is the Same as atheism. ... - Pope Pius VII, 1808.

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Posted: 07 August 2011 12:41 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 28 ]  
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Well, in some methods, the more advanced in years I get, and the more I see, the more negative I come to be about convincing folks. Every little item I see influences me increasingly that folks are determined by sentiment instead of consistency. It’s HARD to influence folks. Harris, Dawkins, et al. are right. Unstable plans don’t merit regard or attention. They ought to be exposed for what they are. It is route past time that we relinquished superstition and gripped explanation.

Anyhow the planet persistently resists sensibility and is what it is.

I’m not under any condition beyond any doubt what to do regarding this. I don’t support Harris and Dawkins and the rest collapsing and gripping the theists. Anyhow moreover, I know that when one makes strong, pulverizing, sensible contentions in opposition to superstition and religion, theists get preventive and shut their psyches. This indicates that notwithstanding the obvious intelligence of the “late nonbelievers” they are making as a considerable number of foes as proselytes—and unreasonably, are all the more estranging some common humanists who differ from their tactics. I wish love damnation I knew a route around this situation, but I don’t. Individuals, being the silly, passionate animals that they are, put themselves passionately in their avowals. When this happens, they will utilize each justification and avocation and cannily tricky tactic in the book to stick to their professions. No place finishes this connect something greater than in religion.

I wish I did have a result. All I do know is that we have an extended, hard street ahead befo

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Posted: 07 August 2011 07:13 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 29 ]  
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You’re one of those bots aren’t you, Kinoree? What does it feel like to be a bot? Does it feel like something a human might remotely be able to comprehend?

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Posted: 07 August 2011 08:52 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 30 ]  
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I am unsure about this one. Usually, you can find the same paragraphs somewhere on the first page of the thread. This appears to be original typing but the links says no. I sent a warning.

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Delude responsibly.

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