“I just don’t believe this anymore”: Why I abandoned my faith

May 4, 2015

Credit: Wikimedia

By Valerie Tarico

Americans are leaving their religions at a faster rate than ever before, and that means more are looking for help with the transition. People who are casually religious may walk away and not look back. But for others religion is at the very heart of their identity, worldview and community, and having a safe place to process doubts can be a metaphorical godsend.

“Reclaimers,” people who are actively working to rebuild their lives after a period of religious immersion, may struggle with harmful ideas and emotions from the beliefs they once held or the behavior of fellow believers. Alternately, they may find that leaving is lonely and disorienting. Marlene Winell, a human development consultant who assists people leaving their religion, coined the term Religious Trauma Syndrome to describe a pattern she saw in some clients, in particular those leaving closed, authoritarian, fear-based communities. But even doubters who don’t experience this level of distress may find themselves feeling confused, afraid, self-doubting or overwhelmed.

Since 2009, a small nonprofit called Recovering From Religion, has worked to serve this population by establishing peer support groups, organizing “Recovering Your Sexuality” classes, and providing a matchmaking service for clients seeking therapists who are committed to a secular approach. In March, Recovering From Religion launched a hotline, 1-84-I-DoubtIt, staffed by a cadre of volunteers trained in listening and crisis triage techniques. From years of daily emails and calls to their office, the staff knew there was an unmet need. Even so, they were caught off guard by the response—over 1,000 calls in the first six weeks.

In this interview, Sarah Morehead, executive director of Recovering From Religion, talks about why her work is a personal passion and about the recovery hotline itself.

Valerie Tarico: Your commitment to supporting people in religious transitions comes from your own transition, which started with you as a life-long member of the Southern Baptist Convention and ended with you as an atheist.

Sarah Morehead: Yes. It was a long journey. Twelve years ago, I separated from my Promise Keeper husband. He had been violent toward me, but when he turned that on our kids, it was over for me. I found myself strapped financially, and in desperation I went to the benevolence committee at my church and asked for $600 to help pay the bills. This was a huge, successful mega-church, and the benevolence committee was their mechanism for helping members in need. The committee—all men—said they needed to pray about my request, and that regardless I needed to go to counseling about how to be a more godly wife so that I could lead my husband back to Christ through my submissiveness. They said this even though they knew he was physically abusive. Then, after praying, they let me know that Jesus wasn’t keen on them giving me the money.

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108 comments on ““I just don’t believe this anymore”: Why I abandoned my faith

  • I would think disgust with the people running the churches, especially the TV evangelists would cause you to run long before any concerns about the existence of deities. It is obvious they are running cons. So why would you believe a word they say?



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  • Roedy,

    I’ve often wondered the same thing. Why is it that when I watch those TV evangelists I feel a red-alert creepiness feeling and others watch them and think that they are paragons of morality and virtue? I imagine those smarmy charlatans finishing their sermons, and sitting around in their offices later counting up their money and laughing like hell at the deluded sheep that hand it over oh so easily. And then there’s the outrageous display of sexual purity. It’s so sickening. I mean, seriously Roedy, between you and me, I think we have our bases covered if we ever wanted to talk about what these brazen hypocrites are doing late at night in their free time. Every time one of these guys is exposed as a liar in that department I celebrate.



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  • I admire all of the volunteers who work to provide support for those who are confused or abused by their religious communities. This service will be the “It gets better” for atheists.



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  • 5
    aroundtown says:

    There’s a lot out there that mocks religion and hates on religion. There’s a place for that, but for people who are gently feeling out where they are, they need a place that lets them have one foot in and out.

    I often times see this built in reverence and deference to religion and it boggles the mind. This snarky spooky book, created by man, demanding adherence and offering horrendous punishments, and it still holds sway even for those who have scraped it off. I’m thinking religion has similarities to Stockholm syndrome in some ways, the repressed still giving respect to that which beat them down.

    I wore the cloak of delusion so I know full well how hard it can be to reject, but hanging around on the fringes only prolongs the pain in my experience. I don’t know, maybe that’s part of the journey to sanity but it is still hard to witness in others. I hope we can find a way to accelerate the process without harming the patient.



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  • As a former catholic, I can only say that we were taught that the sacraments and blessings and the like were god acting THROUGH the priest by virtue of his having received a previous sacrament of ordination. The implication is that the priest’s character or transgressions didn’t in any way affect the validity of the sacrament he was administering as long as he followed a valid formula because ultimately, god was the one forgiving, turning bread into human flesh, etc. It’s kind of like the distinction between a politician and the office they hold. They may lie and cheat or do whatever in their personal lives, but that has no bearing on the validity or legality of the acts they perform in the capacity of their office. For example, Rod Blagojevich plotted to sell a congressional appointment while acting in his capacity as governor, nevertheless, his appointment of Ron Burris had to be accepted because it was an official act he was performing as governor. When you’re told from the time you’re born that god is real, the church represents something real, and its agents are to be treated with respect in spite of their personal failings because you need something only they can provide, you tend to go along with it.

    Personally, before I outgrew religion two years ago I had no problem compartmentalizing priest from criminal. An ordained pedophile could absolve me of my sins or consecrate bread and wine. The most virtuous layperson in the world could not. I had been told in church and in school that I NEEDED, that humanity NEEDED the church and the sacraments which only ordained men could provide. So for me it was the non-existence of deities that made me leave religion because shiftless people running an organization that sells its existence as inevitable is not limited to churches.



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  • I’m interested in hearing about people separating from the other religions also. Scientology, for example, uses strong-arm tactics. The Amish communities have the occasional young person who wants to get out. These people feel trapped, for various reasons. I’m certainly no mental health professional, but I think that nagging fear of hell is completely unreasonable yet inevitable. It’s much different than giving up anything else. The label of “agnostic” applies here — they can’t accept existing religions, yet cling to one aspect of one religion and discover that Pascal’s Wager also applies. For myself, I had the catholic religion force-fed to me until the day I left home after high school. I never believed any of it, and I was certainly never catholic. Yet I felt the most exhilarating sensation when I finally decided I’d no longer hide my disbelief. The people being helped by the groups mentioned in the article should be reassured that this sense of liberation is nearly orgasmic!



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  • I don’t see it as deference to religion, but rather to people. It’s something they hold sacred, so they often take it personally if it’s mocked. That’s a sure way to lose them. They’re taught that their religion is central to their identity, and they’re oftentimes simply not ready to hear it mocked and derided. We should just be glad that they’re “gently feeling their way out.” The fringes are a good first step. We should be a source of information and support. Once they are ready to meet us where we are, let the mocking commence! Until then, let the only mocking they hear be from their pastors and church family who lovingly remind them how they’re going to regret thinking for themselves once they’re dead and in a world of hurt for all eternity.



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  • Mark
    May 5, 2015 at 3:17 pm

    The label of “agnostic” applies here — they can’t accept existing religions, yet cling to one aspect of one religion and discover that Pascal’s Wager also applies.

    Those who think in terms of Pascal’s (50 -50 – god – no-god) wager, are only “agnostic” in regard to an assumed “default” god or religion.

    Anyone who is genuinely “agnostic about gods”, must realise that with thousands of gods and versions of gods worshipped, the chances of picking the “right one” are minuscule – even assuming that such things as gods exist!



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  • 10
    Naturalistic Worldview says:

    I see it as a variation of Pascal’s wager. Sure, there are thousands of gods and versions that are worshiped, but if you stick with your default religion, you still have a chance of worshiping the right one — assuming of course that he/she/it exists and demands worship. Whereas if you abandon belief in a deity completely, you have zero chance of worshiping the right one. Truly, the mindfu¢k that is religion.



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  • Naturalistic Worldview
    May 5, 2015 at 3:46 pm

    I see it as a variation of Pascal’s wager. Sure, there are thousands of gods and versions that are worshiped, but if you stick with your default religion, you still have a chance of worshipping the right one.

    True, but you have a vastly greater chance of worshipping the “wrong one”! – and as far as brownie points in an afterlife goes, many of them are (according to their books and followers), very mean, nasty, and easily affronted characters, of the “Thou shalt have no other gods before me ilk”, with negative scoring for disrespect and wrong affiliations!



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  • 12
    Naturalistic Worldview says:

    That is a great perspective. Disbelieving in gods does not technically violate “having other gods before ol’ jealous-and-genocidal.” I’ll explain that to my mother-in-law the inevitable next time that she tries to show me the error of my ways. Thanks!



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  • 13
    ad nauseam says:

    The people being helped by the groups mentioned in the article should be reassured that this sense of liberation is nearly orgasmic!

    uh…



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  • 14
    ad nauseam says:

    From a strictly practical point of view…

    If you want to get people to agree with you, it’s probably best not to insult them (my humble opinion of course based on experience). Just doesn’t seem very reasonable to me. Also I would think the more mature, logical person wouldn’t stoop to insults…they are superfluous. Logic and evidence seems to work the best, everything else is essentially rhetoric and propaganda.



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  • But reason won’t get people out of positions that it didn’t put them into in the first place. Most often they simply are not going to agree with you, dependent on their intelligence and the earliness of the implantation of the dogma and the strengths of its subsequent reinforcements.

    Ridicule is just about the only tool available to outsiders of a closed community to possibly mitigate the ongoing indocrinations of the next generation. Knowing your parents are disrespected for their views by the outside many, might allow a scintilla of doubt to be created, before programming is complete.

    Disrespect is a civilised and civilising tool available within the essential requirement of toleration.



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  • 16
    ad nauseam says:

    Ridicule is just about the only tool available to outsiders of a closed community to possibly mitigate the ongoing indocrinations of the next generation. Knowing your parents are disrespected for their views by the outside many, might allow a scintilla of doubt to be created, before programming is complete.

    Or, ridicule will cause them to hold to their beliefs even more out of spite and/or their loyalty to their family, especially if their parents are a better example of civility.

    Disrespect is a civilised and civilising tool available within the essential requirement of toleration.

    Disrespect doesn’t necessarily mean ridicule. You can speak out against religion (which the religious will take as disrespect) but still be civil and polite about it. Ridicule on the other hand, seems to be in opposition to politeness.

    I really don’t care if you ridicule anyone though, it just seems to me that tact, patience and evidence alone is more effective than ridicule.

    On a side note: be aware that some people don’t take ridicule very well (Charlie Hebdo). I don’t care about the morality of it for either side, I’m just saying there are consequences to ridicule.



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  • Disrespect doesn’t necessarily mean ridicule.

    No but the whole spectrum is legitimately available depending on the moral imperative you feel. It is about the burning anger at the hypocrisy, the blindness, the immorality, the disregard for others in their care. Don’t for a minute think that ridicule here is about a bit of fun at someone’s expense. Have at it, with my help in those instances, but recognise even in the vulgar jokes an anger and bitterness at the effects of such folly is the more usual.

    We have already excluded reason so this

    it just seems to me that tact, patience and evidence alone is more effective than ridicule.

    falls outside my area of commentary. It is the sheer fucking shock at the effrontery of a Catholic Bishop in the midst of the sex abuse scandal writing about his worry that all this fuss will reduce the RCC’s ability to access young children for their “spiritual work” that feeds the need. Ridicule of the highest order is called for such that even Catholic children (I’ll let it pass) might notice and think twice about discussing their impure thoughts in the confessional with an overly solicitous priest.

    I don’t care about the morality of it for either side,

    Why in the sweet name of Hitchens not?

    ridicule will cause them to hold to their beliefs even more out of spite

    When younger their parental loyalty is unbounded and wired in (unless the relationship is actively abusive.) The moment of doubt occurs after puberty when the second wave of neural wiring occurs in the process of individuation. Loyalty is reconsidered.

    Me, I write all the time about the importance of NOT being an identifiable group of atheist others with consistent views and behaviours, after all we share only one simple attribute. It is essential that atheists behave according to their own personal feelings. Children should see the varieties out their and not some fearsome bloc.

    All atheists and non atheists who paint us as one, do each of us down.



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  • Ewan
    May 6, 2015 at 12:42 pm

    Though having referred to the Lord in that way, you’ve probably blown it on the name-in-vain T&C.

    Yep! The Lord Huitzilopochtli and his priests are not noted for love or kindness, and needed lots of sacrifice from followers and from heretics worshipping other foreign gods!



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  • 20
    Sharlee says:

    I think we are taught from a very young age that we are sheep and that we are followers and frankly that sheep are dumb and when they try to go their own way, they get eaten by wolves. There are only a few leaders and we are really taught not to question that. Yes, now that I am out of religion, I see it clearly. But while in the midst of trying to serve God and his kingdom the best I could, I was blind.



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  • 21
    Naturalistic Worldview says:

    Though having referred to the Lord in that way, you’ve probably blown it on the name-in-vain T&C.

    No, technically I haven’t because I haven’t said any name, just an epithet. I dabbled in orthodox judaism, and they LOVE epithets to avoid pronouncing their fabled tetragrammaton. To think that in prior days I would have felt the need to confess this and get a hand waved in front of me to assure me that all is OK! That’s what years of brainwashing will to do a person, I guess. Of course, if you had told me it was brainwashing back then, I would have accused you of being hateful and not “touched” by the spirit. At times I’m embarrassed how thoroughly blinded I was.



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  • 22
    ad nauseam says:

    Why in the sweet name of Hitchens not?

    Because morality doesn’t mean anything. Good and evil. The labels themselves tell me nothing important.

    It is about the burning anger at the hypocrisy, the blindness, the immorality, the disregard for others in their care. Don’t for a minute think that ridicule here is about a bit of fun at someone’s expense. Have at it, with my help in those instances, but recognise even in the vulgar jokes an anger and bitterness at the effects of such folly is the more usual.

    But why get upset and bitter about it? Why let your emotions get the best of you? And if you are going to be bitter, why limit yourself to just the religious? What about people that buy products from China or other countries with virtual slave labor? That is pretty much everyone in the west. I mean, human suffering is common, and religion is just one perpetrator.

    When younger their parental loyalty is unbounded and wired in (unless the relationship is actively abusive.) The moment of doubt occurs after puberty when the second wave of neural wiring occurs in the process of individuation. Loyalty is reconsidered.

    Wouldn’t it be more effective to be more loving (whatever that means) than the religions of love? More accepting and understanding (again, make of those words as you will)? The religious ridicule atheists, are you sure you want to do the same? If these kids are already having their brains rewired at those ages, I think more tactics of indoctrination (which all kids are indoctrinated by someone) would be effective besides just ridicule.

    And I’ll say this again: you never know the psyche of who you are ridiculing and whether they will lash out (both religious and non)….just saying…

    By the way: are we going to start saying OH MY HITCH now?….could be interesting….



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  • 23
    ad nauseam says:

    after all we share only one simple attribute.

    I just thought I’d acknowledge the wisdom of this statement though. This concept seems to elude most people, atheist and theist alike and it is beginning to become…annoying…because it is so obvious (or should be).



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  • Why signal passion, anger?

    Well I want to know about other people’s passions. I want to know how important a thing is to them. I want to hear the passion in UKIPs speech or ISIS’s speech, or the coldness.

    Value is barely discernible after politeness. Less so to a child or adolescent who won’t be following any argument whatsoever. One may have a mere moment to connect.

    Nor are we all the same. Some folk get worked up, some don’t. We cannot corral people into a single mode of behaviour any more than we can make right leaning folks’ morals turn into left leaning folks’ morals.

    The world is rendered safer by us all teaching our kids not to take offence as a first response rather than teaching not to give offense as a essential strategy.

    I rarely take offense. Bitterness is a feeble debilitating reaction. Anger though can get things done.

    Reserved for immoral religious folk? Not in the least. The sheer immorality of some of UKIP of antvaxers climate change deniers and the harms these will visit upon others keeps all standup comedians in ridiculing business.

    Is ridicule what I do? Not often.

    Do I think all ridicule is justified or appropriate? Often not.

    Should we stop doing it? Never. It is all part of the mix. Some religious communities live in a secluded daze of moral selfsatisfaction. A little righteous anger might wake them up. Atheists? Angry about our morality? But they don’t have a moral life do they?

    “Hitch” is just for fun.

    I do though think we have a duty to make moral judgements at every available turn. Our collective negotiation of these things will be incomplete else.



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  • 25
    ad nauseam says:

    Value is barely discernible after politeness. Less so to a child or adolescent who won’t be following any argument whatsoever. One may have a mere moment to connect.

    So it is really not about the logic then? It’s more about how convincing you make the rhetoric sound and hope the kiddos join the right side? That is fine with me, I don’t really care much, but lets admit that’s what it is then. Sounds like indoctrination to me…but then again, anyone who gives any “moral truths” to children are indoctrinating them (in my humble opinion). Again, doesn’t really bother me because it’s so common and unavoidable.

    Some religious communities live in a secluded daze of moral selfsatisfaction. A little righteous anger might wake them up.

    Not sure what you mean by righteous anger. Righteous anger doesn’t really tell me anything…except that you think you’re in the right to be angry. Which…you know…most people think they are the ones in the right…

    Atheists? Angry about our morality? But they don’t have a moral life do they?

    Well, it depends on what you mean by morality. Christians will say of course not (no God…no good). Atheists will say they can be (most people think they are good anyway). And me…well, like I said…moral statements don’t tell me a lot of useful information.



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  • ad nauseam
    May 6, 2015 at 9:56 am

    I really don’t care if you ridicule anyone though, it just seems to me that tact, patience and evidence alone is more effective than ridicule.

    There is no “One size which fits everything”!

    As Phil points out, we are unlikely to reason people out of ideas which they did not reason their way into.

    Ridicule is best reserved for dogmatic minorities who are not open to reason.

    When a ranting street preacher was threatening hell fire on a heckler who was trying to reason with him, my witty send-ups that had him fuming, and half his audience laughing at him, had far more effect – particularly on the audience he was trying to impress!

    Ridicule is one of the best tools for undermining fundamentalist missionary activity.
    You won’t convert the religinut, but you will reduce the spread and impact on an audience who then laugh at them rather than worry about their threats of an imaginary hell!



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  • 27
    ad nauseam says:

    Ridicule is best reserved for dogmatic minorities who are not open to reason.

    …wait a minute. So, it’s more about having fun at the expense of others? Isn’t the ridicule then ultimately a useless and completely selfish task?

    Ridicule is one of the best tools for undermining fundamentalist missionary activity.

    I thought logic and evidence would be…or something like that…

    You won’t convert the religinut, but you will reduce the spread and impact on an audience who then laugh at them rather than worry about their threats of an imaginary hell!

    What exactly is the religinut not converting to?…Maybe deconvert is a better word…

    But, I think I’m getting it…if people won’t take the time to listen to logic (most people) you should ridicule your competitors (the religinuts) in hopes to gain some converts (to what?…atheism?). And along the way have some fun at other people’s expense (who according to you guys, were most likely indoctrinated as a child and really can’t be convinced their wrong so it’s really not their fault).

    In essence you are creating a large but uncritical and uneducated secular/agnostic/atheist (whatever…) majority who didn’t really reason their way into their atheism anyway (ridicule was effective…but not really logical), while making fun of people who are really lifelong victims of organized religion…

    I would think they should be pitied and not ridiculed… but whatever…



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  • So it is really not about the logic then?

    Not in the moment no. It is entirely about offering new evidence. There are people who are truly outraged at this? The belief or action in question is not universally held in high esteem as with your parents?

    Little uninoculated Jimmy thinks his mother loves him more than other mums love their children, but that comedian has just joked that another anti vax mum like his is stealing health from others like a thief. The laughter says people think he’s right. The outrage is a fact.

    The seed of doubt planted based on this new evidence.

    except that you think you’re in the right to be angry.

    Again its a new fact. Not just a polite disagreement but outrage at the harm’s wrought to innocent others. Notice this and if you are the harmed overhearing it remember this. If you never feel harmed then, no harm done…

    moral statements don’t tell me a lot of useful information.

    Its not about you. Its about the quality of moral negotiation society can have, valuing perceived harms and valuing perceived boons. Pity you can’t be bothered.

    I would think they should be pitied

    Fnck (value statement) such condescension. Parasitised or not they deserve being treated as free, sentient actors.



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  • 29
    ad nauseam says:

    Not in the moment no. It is entirely about offering new evidence…..but that comedian has just joked that another anti vax mum like his is stealing health from others like a thief. The laughter says people think he’s right. The outrage is a fact….

    The seed of doubt planted based on this new evidence.

    It looks to me like you are trying to combine ridicule with evidence or something. The fact on opinion exists is not evidence for or against anything we are talking about. The only evidence is…well…evidence from history, logic, and inconsistencies in a religion (or philosophy).

    Its not about you. Its about the quality of moral negotiation society
    can have, valuing perceived harms and valuing perceived boons.

    So…utilitarianism. Pleasure (or at least the lack of pain) for the most people is the measure of morality for you. Okay…that is useful information. Not your statements of righteous anger or immoral religion, but what your motives are for saying those things. That’s what I’m interested in. There is no logical link between good/evil and pleasure/pain but most people don’t get that. There is a link however between all of your statements and the fact that you believe there is a link between good/evil and pleasure/pain. It’s probably more than this, but you’re not giving me much to go on…

    Fnck such condescension. Parasitised or not they deserve being treated as sentient free actors.

    Well then, you are saying they cannot be helped, and instead of feeling sorry for them and their inability to change…you would rather ridicule them. That would make me condescending but it would seem you would be cruel (if you think that sort of thing is cruel, which…you know…depends on your definition of cruel).

    Oh, and what does a person really deserve anyway?

    In order to justify this, you say you are just treating them like anyone else who is capable of rational thought and whats more is you are just trying to help the children anyway…ridicule first and hope to actually educate later.

    You would do the children a disservice by getting them to think they have come to the side of rationalism when in fact they used no rational thought at all (they were just afraid of being ridiculed). You have “converted” no one by reason, just by fear.

    Using fear to gain converts…what does that remind me of…



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  • It looks to me like you are trying to combine ridicule with evidence or something. The fact on opinion exists is not evidence for or against anything we are talking about.

    Or something…

    The fact conveyed to the child say is that the world of opinions and feelings is bigger than you imagined. Thats a good enough start for me. It is a seed of doubt that things are not so cut and dried as you had been told. We can do this as often as you like. Me stating it. You strawmanning it…

    So…utilitarianism. Pleasure (or at least the lack of pain) for the most people is the measure of morality for you.

    Actually no. I think it far more interesting than that, but in terms of understanding what each of us wants, needs or would like to see the open conversation becomes essential grist for each of our disparate moral mills.

    This would be a good conversation to have.

    Well then, you are saying they cannot be helped, and instead of feeling sorry for them and their inability to change…you would rather ridicule them.

    No. I actually want them to step up to the plate of behaving more like free agents. They may stay ghastly right wing bigots (say) but freer will always have more potential for autonomous evidenced change.

    You have “converted” no one by reason, just by fear.

    Using fear to gain converts…what does that remind me of…

    Utterly disgraceful strawmanning.



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  • 31
    ad nauseam says:

    The fact conveyed to the child say is that the world of opinions and feelings is bigger than you imagined. Thats a good enough start for me. It is a seed of doubt that things are not so cut and dried as you had been told. We can do this as often as you like. Me stating it. You strawmanning it…

    First off, I’m not strawmanning anything. The fact that alternative opinions exist may put a “seed of doubt” in the minds of a kid, but it is not evidence for whether or not something is true or false. Sure it’s a fact, but it is not useful evidence for determining truth.

    Also, if the goal is to plant a seed of doubt by demonstrating there are many other opinions, wouldn’t a poll suffice? Why does ridicule have to be the method in which you present the evidence?

    Actually no. I think it far more interesting than that,

    I know, I even said there is probably more to your position than just the goodness of pleasure (or well-being I suppose). Still, how is it not related to a kind of utilitarianism? Negotiating in order that all parties involved get the best possible outcome (whatever that means).

    They may stay ghastly right wing bigots (say) but freer will always have more potential for autonomous evidenced change.

    Why ridicule them though if they aren’t changing? It seems it is more about letting off steam for the one ridiculing than helping the one being ridiculed. How can ridicule be benevolent? Providing the evidence is benevolent, but why use ridicule, how does that aid the giving of evidence?

    Utterly disgraceful strawmanning.

    I’m not strawmanning, I am however trying to discern what the point of ridicule even is. I do not accept your assertion that it is to show the kiddos their are other points of view, because just showing the data does that. Ridicule is a way you can present the evidence, but why choose to use it?

    Earlier you said:

    Knowing your parents are disrespected for their views by the outside many, might allow a scintilla of doubt to be created, before programming is complete.

    but this isn’t accurate, the doubt is caused by knowledge. Ridicule is the method, but why this method? I’m just taking what you said in that: “knowing your parents are disrespected for their views by the outside many” probably means that you view ridicule as a way to pressure people. A tactic of swaying opinion, and one I think isn’t necessary. It may work for some (because they are afraid of being disrespected like their parents are) but this tactic may cause more damage in other ways. Also, why would you want to use anything other than evidence and reason? They may be on your side, but they only would be because they want to be accepted by society unlike their parents. Wouldn’t you rather have them believe what they believe because of logic and evidence instead of peer pressure? That sounds more like religious tactics to me.

    Finally, I really don’t care if you decide to ridicule people, because it doesn’t really impact me for the most part. However, (like I said before) don’t be surprised if religious people (or anyone for that matter) decide they’ve had enough ridicule and decide to shoot some people.

    Charlie hebdo can publish whatever they want, but they should have known better than to ridicule the muslims.

    Or if you burn the Koran and publicize it, don’t be surprised if in other countries muslims kill innocent people in outrage.

    I believe in cause and effect, the morality of the causes and effects are unimportant to me. All I’m saying is don’t be surprised if you push someone over the edge through ridicule.



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  • One reason to mock and ridicule is to help get over the fear of being struck by lightning.

    🙂

    In the same vein it helps reduce reverence for the thing being mocked.



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  • ad nauseam
    May 8, 2015 at 6:59 pm

    Ridicule is best reserved for dogmatic minorities who are not open to reason.

    …wait a minute. So, it’s more about having fun at the expense of others? Isn’t the ridicule then ultimately a useless and completely selfish task?

    Absolutely not! It’s about rescuing the people the irrationalists are trying to recruit to their fundamentalism.

    Ridicule is one of the best tools for undermining fundamentalist missionary activity.

    I thought logic and evidence would be…or something like that…

    Logic and evidence only work, when indoctrinated people see through the ridiculous claims made by the indoctrinators and start to look outside their mental boxes for a wider understanding of the world.
    (God-did-it-by-magic is the universal answer from the unthinking, unenquiring, ignorant, closed minds)

    You won’t convert the religinut, but you will reduce the spread and impact on an audience who then laugh at them rather than worry about their threats of an imaginary hell!

    What exactly is the religinut not converting to?…Maybe deconvert is a better word…

    It is primarily the large number of the victims of the religinuts, who need deconversion to rational evidence based enquiry, in place of fallacious circular dogmatic thinking.

    But, I think I’m getting it…if people won’t take the time to listen to logic (most people) you should ridicule your competitors (the religinuts) in hopes to gain some converts (to what?…atheism?).

    Ridiculing the dishonest and ridiculous, destroys their credibility with the people they are posing to and trying to con, as pseudo-experts. Science routinely debunks false and dishonest claims.

    And along the way have some fun at other people’s expense (who according to you guys, were most likely indoctrinated as a child and really can’t be convinced their wrong so it’s really not their fault).

    Those who are simply indoctrinated but are prepared to engage in civil debate can be argued with. It is the ignorant dogmatic posers who need to be ridiculed when they go around challenging and denigrating competent reputable people.
    Like infectious diseases, delusional mental conditions need to be quarantined.

    In essence you are creating a large but uncritical and uneducated secular/agnostic/atheist (whatever…) majority

    Nope! out of the closed minds of the indoctrinated, we are initially creating agnostics, who will seek honest information and competent education which explains the workings of the real world.
    Atheism is simply a consequence of understanding the psychology of religious thinking and acquiring an understanding of the workings of the universe.

    who didn’t really reason their way into their atheism anyway (ridicule was effective…but not really logical),

    Nope! Ridicule only casts doubts and opens minds to seeking new more reliable information. The evidence and reason follow as the closed minds open up and seek genuine knowledge, and then learn how to use scientific methodology to discover the basis of reality.

    while making fun of people who are really lifelong victims of organized religion…

    Unfortunately, there are some religious leaders like Ham, who are too far gone, and too badly addicted to delusional stupidity, so writing them off and limiting the damage they cause to others, is the best option. They love to play the victim when their attempts to dominate the thinking of others are thwarted by evidence and reason.

    I would think they should be pitied and not ridiculed… but whatever…

    They could be pitied – AFTER their damage to other people, and their attempts to pass on their mental disabilities to the next generation have been remedied.



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  • You cannot begin to replace an accepted “truth” until you are given cause to question it.

    ridicule

    Its virtue is causing a moment of doubt, that might blossom into genuine enquiry.

    just showing data does that

    Nonsense. Why should data be interesting to someone content with what they have?

    Hebdo

    Satyrical cartoonists everywhere thank you for making them look over their shoulder one more time, by your failure to support the idea of free speech.

    Satire is dead in your hands (unless you want to delineate how it is to be tolerated thus and so, but not so?)

    evidence and reason

    These are exactly the tools for building better societies. But the world of humans is full of wired-in from childhood (often intractible) values, predispositions and concerns. We need to know, each of us, about the others’ values and moral judgements, perhaps especialy when disinclined to.

    I’m not going round this loop again. Doubt is a good start for all of us.



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  • ad nauseam
    May 9, 2015 at 12:31 pm

    The fact that alternative opinions exist may put a “seed of doubt” in the minds of a kid, but it is not evidence for whether or not something is true or false. Sure it’s a fact, but it is not useful evidence for determining truth.

    Seeds of doubt are only the first very useful step in unlocking closed minds, and starting them on the path to evidence-based thinking and truth.
    All opinions are not equal!

    Also, if the goal is to plant a seed of doubt by demonstrating there are many other opinions, wouldn’t a poll suffice?

    That would be asking them to understand the working of a poll, and to trust the pollsters to have done an honest job.
    Polls are in any case useless for determining facts or scientific evidence.
    To understand how stuff works, expert opinions on science based on peer-reviewed evidence, with clear explanations are needed.

    Why does ridicule have to be the method in which you present the evidence?

    Ridicule clears the ridiculous garbage, and dishonest claims out of the way, and demolishes the dishonest façade, put up by posing pseudo experts claiming to be authorities on the subjects of which they are profoundly ignorant.

    There can then be an honest, rational, evidence based discussion, seeking competently investigated information, on which to base informed opinions.



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  • 37
    ad nauseam says:

    You boys seem to be missing the point that ridicule does not actually plant any doubt. Knowledge does.

    I agree that the information that there are others who believe differently can plant doubt, and definitely evidence does as well, but ridicule doesn’t do anything. Ridicule may reveal the fact that not everyone believes the same thing to a child, but telling them that fact will do that as well.

    Ridiculing the dishonest and ridiculous, destroys their credibility with the people they are posing to and trying to con, as pseudo-experts. Science routinely debunks false and dishonest claims.

    Ridicule also doesn’t destroy anyone’s credibility, data that contradicts what they say does. Actually, the idea that there are more who disagree with the religious, plays right into what their holy books say. They are supposed to be a persecuted chosen few, and ridicule just confirms this for them.

    A few reasons I can see why one would ridicule another are:

    1) It’s out of frustration

    2) Malicious intent to have fun at another’s expense

    3) To pressure others to do something

    Nonsense. Why should data be interesting to someone content with what they have?

    Yeah, but if they won’t listen to reason, why would you rather pressure them into submission?

    You said I am using fear as a tool for change, leading to some veiled sinister outcome….I’ll stick with ridicule, thanks.

    I never said it was sinister, just fear. Using fear is neither good or bad, but don’t pretend ridiculing is not about pressuring people into one camp or the other because they are afraid of being ridiculed.

    Besides, what would be more effective:

    A) Presenting the facts in a calm, polite way to a religious person while being ridiculed and degraded yourself by that religious person’s pastor/parents. Or…

    B) Presenting the facts by ridiculing and degrading a religious person and/or their loved ones.

    I would think that the fact that you are being more understanding, calm, and caring would resonate more with the doubting religious person while they are watching their own people become frustrated and hateful towards evidence and evidence alone.

    Don’t give them anything to hate except the evidence, because they can always make an emotional argument like: see how hateful those atheists are ridiculing everyone, how can they be right?

    Again, do what you want, but it’s been my experience that tact and respect work better. I think you guys are just trying to find an excuse to let off some steam at some people you don’t like.



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  • ad nauseam
    May 9, 2015 at 2:10 pm

    You boys seem to be missing the point that ridicule does not actually plant any doubt. Knowledge does.

    I’m afraid this simply illustrates your lack of multitasking and false-dichotomous thinking.

    I agree that the information that there are others who believe differently can plant doubt, and definitely evidence does as well,

    All opinions are not equal!
    Ridicule exposes those which are without an evidenced foundation.

    but ridicule doesn’t do anything.

    That is simply a nonsensical assertion!

    Ridicule may reveal the fact that not everyone believes the same thing to a child, but telling them that fact will do that as well.

    No it doesn’t! To replace nonsense with understanding, it is first necessary to analyse the nature of the falsehood and demolish its fraudulent foundations. Investigations into the real answers can then begin.

    Ridiculing the dishonest and ridiculous, destroys their credibility with the people they are posing to and trying to con, as pseudo-experts. Science routinely debunks false and dishonest claims.

    Ridicule also doesn’t destroy anyone’s credibility, data that contradicts what they say does.

    Once again you present a false dichotomy.
    The reliable data is used to ridicule ridiculous claims.
    If you stick around until some “failed science at school-boy level, YEC pseudo-science-expert” turns up, confidently full of “know-it-all-ignorance”, you can watch one or more of the scientists here take their lame claims apart within a few minutes.

    Actually, the idea that there are more who disagree with the religious, plays right into what their holy books say.

    They are indeed coached into learning to play the victim when irrational beliefs are challenged and debunked.
    Hence the proliferation of demands for undeserved respect for ridiculous religious views, simply because someone has decided to stick a religious badge on their lame ideas, rather than trying to defend the indefensible.

    They are supposed to be a persecuted chosen few, and ridicule just confirms this for them.

    That is one of the indoctrinated memes which keep closed minds in their little theistic boxes, shut off from evidence which may cause them to doubt their leaders.

    To the religiously deluded, “evidence”, is something which you make up as you go along, to support your preconceived misconceptions, and “logic” is a heap of shuffled words leading to the notion you first thought of! – Hence – is as variable as the individuals making it up.
    It is very different to an educated understanding of scientific evidence.



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  • ad nauseam
    May 9, 2015 at 2:10 pm

    Don’t give them anything to hate except the evidence, because they can always make an emotional argument like: see how hateful those atheists are ridiculing everyone, how can they be right?

    You really don’t seem to get the point, that SCIENTISTS don’t RIDICULE EVERYONE.

    We ridicule pompous incompetent leaders who cause damage to others and society, by making false claims either about things which are well known, which they have failed to study or understand, or which are unknown to them and everyone else!

    Again, do what you want, but it’s been my experience that tact and respect work better.

    Tact and respect work better with people who are open to evidence and new ideas.
    Tact and respect are two-way processes.
    When some deluded pig-ignorant, know-it-all-incompetent like Ham, runs public campaigns, lying about the detailed work of the world’s leading scientists, and organising the deception of children seeking scientific education, the reputable scientists are going to call him out, expose him, and ridicule his pathetic claims!
    When some silly little deluded muppet thinks he knows better than the combined expertise of the world’s 21st century scientists, and repeatedly publicly, incompetently challenges and disputes their work at every opportunity, he IS going to mocked and firmly stepped on, by experts in those subject areas!

    I think you guys are just trying to find an excuse to let off some steam at some people you don’t like.

    YEAH! – A bit like judges who send armed robbers to jail! – Just some “excuse to let off some steam at some people they don’t like”. – Nothing to do with the disreputable activities of these people who are deserving of sanction for their disreputable activities !!!!!! (Allegedly)



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  • I think you guys are just trying to find an excuse to let off some steam at some people you don’t like.

    How dare you impute my motivations thus as an argument against my earnest efforts? How is this any better than ridicule in general (as distinct from my particular intended application of strong moral disapproval)?

    I never said it was sinister, just fear.

    I described

    Using fear to gain converts…what does that remind me of…

    as sinister.

    If you can read my mind so well why can’t you grasp my intended process? I am not trying to gain converts or scare or threaten or cajole. I want ridicule of the morally unacceptable, the hypocritical. The young unengaged may notice that the world is not universally on dad and mom’s side like they might have imagined or that mom and dad can do no wrong. (Per my anti-vaxxer illustration). Gosh, these people find my folks belief on x or y outrageous or immoral, laughable even Hmmm?

    Yeah, but if they won’t listen to reason, why would you rather pressure them into submission?

    Argh! I’m not! They’re kids. The useful audience are kids, teens, less commited young adults. The ridicule is nominally about some of their community, perhaps their own folks, but they are the ones who may get something from it They are not utterly fixed yet, but yet nor have they any reason to be interested. Its a moment of doubt that may or may not be built on. In their parents defence they may start a process of seeking to understand both sides of this falling out. Its a reason to become more actively interested. I’ll gladly take that over the more usual sleepwalk into faith.



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  • 41
    ad nauseam says:

    I’m afraid this simply illustrates your lack of multitasking and false-dichotomous thinking.

    I don’t think you understand what a false dichotomy is and I never asserted any kind of dichotomy. Ridicule and presenting evidence are not opposites, I said before you may use ridicule to present evidence with a negative twist. You may also present evidence in a neutral and positive fashion (and really any combination of the three). No dichotomy whatsoever.

    The act of ridiculing may make someone realize there is someone who disagrees with their beliefs (and may make them investigate their beliefs) but that does not mean the ridicule was necessary or even important. The act of telling someone you disagree with them will do the same thing. Both situations show there are other opinions out there and the person may realize they have to look at what they believe again, but one scenario may have more negative consequences.

    To replace nonsense with understanding, it is first necessary to analyse the nature of the falsehood and demolish its fraudulent foundations. Investigations into the real answers can then begin.

    Demolishing fraudulent foundations doesn’t mean using ridicule. Presenting facts and evidence does that just fine. You can ridicule them while you do that, but the evidence is what swayed them, not ridicule (unless they changed out of the fear of being ridiculed).

    Once again you present a false dichotomy. The reliable data is used to ridicule ridiculous claims.

    And once again, not a false dichotomy.

    You can just present the reliable data and arguments in a civil/neutral way. Ridicule has the connotation of mocking, scoffing, scorn, etc. Ridicule is not just about presenting evidence, it’s about how you are presenting it.

    That is one of the indoctrinated memes which keep closed minds in their little theistic boxes, shut off from evidence which may cause them to doubt their leaders.

    So, why would you reinforce it by ridiculing (persecuting) them?

    I admitted above that you could still gain people to your side even though you ridiculed them while presenting evidence, but I just don’t get how people can be so shocked when you force them deeper into religion or when someone retaliates. If you go into a pub and decide to ridicule a man’s wife by calling her a fat cow, don’t be surprised when he punches you in the face (even if she is a fat cow).



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  • 42
    ad nauseam says:

    You really don’t seem to get the point, that SCIENTISTS don’t RIDICULE EVERYONE.

    So what? I get that.

    We ridicule pompous incompetent leaders who cause damage to others and
    society, by making false claims either about things which are well
    known, which they have failed to study or understand, or which are
    unknown to them and everyone else!

    Just show the kids the numbers and the facts. If they won’t convinced by that, they won’t be convinced by ridicule either. Ridicule is superfluous to evidence. The threat of ridicule may cause them to join your side, but that doesn’t mean you convinced them of anything.

    Tact and respect work better with people who are open to evidence and new ideas.

    Tact and respect can make someone open up to evidence and new ideas. Ridicule can make them refuse to listen to you.

    When some silly little deluded muppet thinks he knows better than the combined expertise of the world’s 21st century scientists, and repeatedly publicly, incompetently challenges and disputes their work at every opportunity, he IS going to mocked and firmly stepped on, by experts in those subject areas!

    Yeah, he is, but we’re not just talking about Ken Ham are we? Dawkins said we should mock and ridicule religious people. Not just the leaders and creationists “scientists” (which seems to be in line with your comments).

    YEAH! – A bit like judges who send armed robbers to jail! – Just some “excuse to let off some steam at some people they don’t like”. – Nothing to do with the disreputable activities of these people who are deserving of sanction for their disreputable activities !!!!!! (Allegedly)

    Ok, great, but don’t pretend it’s about helping the religious kids or adults. Providing the evidence and taking the time to do so may be about helping them, but ridicule isn’t.



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  • 43
    ad nauseam says:

    That first one was for Alan, this one’s in response to you Phil:

    How dare you impute my motivations thus as an argument against my earnest efforts? How is this any better than ridicule in general (as distinct from my particular intended application of strong moral disapproval)?

    I don’t know about better or worse, all I said is that what it seems like (and I did so without ridiculing or mocking you).

    If you can read my mind so well why can’t you grasp my intended process? I am not trying to gain converts or scare or threaten or cajole. I want ridicule of the morally unacceptable, the hypocritical. The young unengaged may notice that the world is not universally on dad and mom’s side like they might have imagined or that mom and dad can do no wrong. (Per my anti-vaxxer illustration). Gosh, these people find my folks belief on x or y outrageous or immoral, laughable even Hmmm?

    Not sure how you got that idea…reading minds and all. And trying to sway the minds of children through pressure is not sinister (whether it’s religious or irreligious) unless you think it is. I don’t, it’s just what people do.

    You may not be trying to scare anyone, but most people don’t like to be ridiculed and that fear of being mocked and scorned may be what causes them to leave religion, but they won’t be any more enlightened.

    Like I said, some may have that reaction, but a lot have been taught to accept mocking:

    “Blessed are you when people hate you, when they exclude you and insult you and reject your name as evil, because of the Son of Man. Luke 6:22”

    What if you didn’t ridicule them, but just gave the evidence and/or showed more “love” (or something) than their parents were showing towards you.

    Argh! I’m not! They’re kids. The useful audience are kids, teens, less commited young adults. The ridicule is nominally about some of their community, perhaps their own folks, but they are the ones who may get something from it

    I understand that, but family bonds are not just a religious thing. Attacking their family may cause them to hate you more. How about you give them a reason to love you more than their own family…just a thought.

    And again the ridicule didn’t do anything that expressing your alternative opinion and evidence wouldn’t do. You can say their opinions are illogical, and don’t make sense, or are unfounded without ridiculing and mocking them.



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  • ad nauseam
    May 9, 2015 at 3:42 pm

    I’m afraid this simply illustrates your lack of multitasking and false-dichotomous thinking.

    I don’t think you understand what a false dichotomy is and I never asserted any kind of dichotomy.

    Really????

    I admitted above that you could still gain people to your side

    The false dichotomy is in thinking that science and fundamentalist religions are “two sides”!

    As I have pointed out at length, fundamentalist religious views are diverse and contradict each other. The notion that atheism and fundamentalist religion are two sides of one argument, is a simplistic false dichotomy which has no evidenced basis.

    .A false dichotomy or false dilemma occurs when an argument presents two options and ignores, either purposefully or out of ignorance, other alternatives.
    http://www.philosophy-index.com/logic/fallacies/false-dilemma.php

    . . . . .

    That is one of the indoctrinated memes which keep closed minds in their little theistic boxes, shut off from evidence which may cause them to doubt their leaders.

    So, why would you reinforce it by ridiculing (persecuting) them?

    I thought the comment above, (and earlier ones), made it perfectly clear that the ridiculing is NOT of the individual engaged in personal discussion, but of the false information they have been given by deluded or disreputable leaders.

    If you go into a pub and decide to ridicule a man’s wife by calling her a fat cow, don’t be surprised when he punches you in the face (even if she is a fat cow).

    You really don’t get it, that this is about evaluating information, debunking disreputable sources, ridiculing ridiculous claims, seeking the truth, and not about making gratuitous personal insults about the company involved in a civil discussion!



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  • And again the ridicule didn’t do anything that expressing your alternative opinion and evidence wouldn’t do.

    No. They have no need of a new explanation. There isn’t a problem in their lives. You have to clap your hands sharply together. Make a noise. Look over here. Here’s a problem for you.



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  • ad nauseam
    May 9, 2015 at 3:42 pm

    Demolishing fraudulent foundations doesn’t mean using ridicule. Presenting facts and evidence does that just fine.

    You really do like those false dichotomies!!!

    You can ridicule them while you do that, but the evidence is what swayed them, not ridicule

    The evidence is used as part of the ridicule! The two work together to illustrate the ludicrous nature of a much repeated spurious claim.

    (unless they changed out of the fear of being ridiculed).

    You are finally getting it!

    When a disreputable politician, preacher, quack, or charlatan is addressing an AUDIENCE, and they are exposed and ridiculed; while they may not care about honesty, evidence, or reasoning, they may well eventually become embarrassed at being repeatedly, mocked and ridiculed, in front of the audiences from which they are seeking acclamation!

    Such people usually walk away from an audience which mocks them, but they learn nothing, press the “reset-button”, and carry on as before with the next audience! – Unless the ridicule wears them down and undermines their false confidence!

    The over-confidence of the profoundly ignorant, is a well known psychological effect, but can be eroded as a little real knowledge is gained!
    http://code.tutsplus.com/articles/do-you-suffer-from-the-dunning-kruger-effect–net-22227



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  • all I said is that what it seems like

    No its not ridicule, not that I would mind if it was. Nor did I actually mind what it was. (It is always better to not take offence as a first strategy for a safer world.)

    I had hoped you would notice the congruence between ridiculing someone for their hypocrisy or moral failure and any other kind of smear on the bona fides of another. You could have made the more reasonable assertion, “You boys perhaps don’t realise or even intend it, but X”. But no, for you, it was dishonest intentions all round.

    To repeat, I don’t mind. I’m disappointed you didn’t see it as of the same form.



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  • 48
    ad nauseam says:

    As I have pointed out at length, fundamentalist religious views are diverse and contradict each other. The notion that atheism and fundamentalist religion are two sides of one argument, is a simplistic false dichotomy which has no evidenced basis.

    Yeah, great…but I never said those were the two sides (or the only two sides for that matter). In fact, I’ve been more general in that I refer to the religious and the nonreligious (which would be a dichotomy). Either you are religious or you are not religious. A and not A. But that really doesn’t have anything substantial to do with the argument.

    I thought the comment above, (and earlier ones), made it perfectly clear that the ridiculing is NOT of the individual engaged in personal discussion, but of the false information they have been given by deluded or disreputable leaders.

    But we aren’t just talking about the leaders, we are talking about the average religious parents as well. Most of the discussion has been about whether ridiculing and mocking the parents and their beliefs is necessary or effective. I don’t think it is necessary, but it can be effective in pressuring kids out of fear of being ridiculed to leave their religion.

    That’s fine with me (it doesn’t bother me either way really) , but call it what it is.

    You really don’t get it, that this is about evaluating information,

    I agree

    debunking disreputable sources,

    Yep

    ridiculing ridiculous claims,

    I don’t agree

    seeking the truth, and not about making gratuitous personal insults
    about the company involved in a civil discussion!

    Sure, but what do you mean by civil discussion? If you mean whoever involved sits down and looks at the evidence and they try and come to the most likely conclusion and if they disagree they decide that’s just what it has to be then ok.

    But if the religious person comes up with some answers (that are due to indoctrination) that are possible (but not plausible) and then the other person proceeds to mock the answer and whoever (including their loved ones) would hold that position (which it seems is what Dawkins implies when talks about ridiculing the religious) then you run the risk of undoing everything up to that point.

    You really don’t get it,

    No, I do. But you are missing the fact that ridicule can have larger (sometimes international) consequences. Take the muslims for example:

    You can mock their religion in the name of “saving the poor children” but if the ridicule goes too far, you can have muslims killing their non-muslim neighbors in other countries in protest. They are guilty of murder I suppose, but who could have stopped it from occuring in the first place?



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  • DK Effect is the clincher, Alan.

    There is no problem in the lives of DK victims otherwise. Placid existences confirm the rightness of there world view and the irrelevance of all that chatter from the godless.



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  • ad nauseam
    May 9, 2015 at 3:58 pm

    *You really don’t seem to get the point, that SCIENTISTS don’t RIDICULE EVERYONE.

    So what? I get that.

    We ridicule pompous incompetent leaders who cause damage to others and society, by making false claims either about things which are well known, which they have failed to study or understand, or which are unknown to them and everyone else!

    Just show the kids the numbers and the facts. If they won’t convinced by that, they won’t be convinced by ridicule either.

    You clearly have no idea how to use ridicule effectively!
    Kids love to laugh at stupid pompous adults who have no idea what they are on about!

    Ridicule is superfluous to evidence.

    So you keep asserting!

    The threat of ridicule may cause them to join your side,

    Oh dear! Back to the false dichotomy of “two imaginary sides” and fictitious “controversies”!

    but that doesn’t mean you convinced them of anything.

    Actually it means we have encouraged them to laugh at, and reject, fake pseudo-experts, reject false bad ideas, and think about inquiring into, and researching the evidence on the subjects with a clear mind.



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  • 52
    ad nauseam says:

    You really do like those false dichotomies!!!

    You really do like pretending there are dichotomies in the first place. You don’t demolish an illogical foundation by mocking it, you do it by showing it is illogical. You can mock it, but mocking it doesn’t do anything. Again, ridicule is superfluous.

    The evidence is used as part of the ridicule! The two work together to illustrate the ludicrous nature of a much repeated spurious claim.

    Sure, but the two don’t work together at illustrating anything. Only evidence and logic illustrate whether it is ludicrous in nature, ridicule is completely superfluous. It’s only useful for the three things (and there may be more) that I posted above.

    You are finally getting it!

    If you had read the entire exchange with Phil you would know I “had it” for much longer than you think. And the whole thing about the preacher and audience doesn’t really change anything.

    Why is the audience mocking the preacher? I’d say it’s because they do have more information not because being ridiculed or observing ridicule convinced them of anything.

    Being mocked can’t convince someone of anything, evidence does. So why not skip the ridicule (and any negative consequences that could occur) and just provide the evidence?



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  • 53
    ad nauseam says:

    Well, if you mean the courage to say something they think they morally should in spite of consequences then:

    not the westerners who get make all the bold statements and burn the korans while others suffer. That is called being careless. The Charlie Hebdo guys at least died for their actions that time (whether it was moral or not, I can’t say).



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  • 54
    ad nauseam says:

    You clearly have no idea how to use ridicule effectively!
    Kids love to laugh at stupid pompous adults who have no idea what they are on about!

    Clearly you don’t read my posts. Ridicule is effective not to convince anyone of anything, but to pressure people into either keeping their mouth shut or saying they agree with you (whether they do or not).

    So you keep asserting!

    And it is, even you said evidence is used with ridiculing showing the two are different in your mind. If evidence and logic is what convinces people of something then ridicule is unnecessary.

    Oh dear! Back to the false dichotomy of “two imaginary sides” and fictitious “controversies”!

    …I think you really need to read what I post. I never used the word controversy, and never claimed there were only two sides or that if one is proven wrong the other must be accepted. I’m not sure how I can make this any more clear to you…

    Actually it means we have encouraged them to laugh at, and reject, fake pseudo-experts, reject false bad ideas, and think about inquiring into, and researching the evidence on the subjects with a clear mind.

    You have encourage them to laugh at them through ridicule and peer pressure…but you haven’t gotten them to reject anything except by evidence and logic.

    The point is: if you have gotten them to reject an idea because they liked taking part in the mocking for the fun of it, they are just as uninformed as the people promoting the illogical ideas. If they have rejected it because of good arguments, then the ridicule didn’t do anything really. Maybe the observation that someone had a different opinion (the fact) than their parents while ridiculing them made them begin to question their beliefs, but the ridicule was pretty much useless.

    It wasn’t the ridicule, it was the knowledge gained that there are other options.



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  • not the westerners who get make all the bold statements and burn the korans while others suffer. That is called being careless. The Charlie Hebdo guys at least died for their actions that time (whether it was moral or not, I can’t say).

    As you know I won’t defend all or even most acts of ridicule, least of all from the ridiculous.

    Hebdo’s cartoon of “Mohammed returned” on his knees, an Islamist terrorist behind with a knife to his throat. He says, “I’m the Prophet, fool.” The Terrorist says, “Shut your mouth, Infidel.”

    Hebdo may have been harsh and scatological, but they always sought out a higher moral ground.



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  • 56
    ad nauseam says:

    Intentions really don’t concern me too much. You may have honest intentions (and I think you do want to help the kids) but it doesn’t change how people respond to ridicule (whether its hating the one ridiculing, questioning their beliefs, lashing out etc.).

    Fear is involved with ridicule, but that isn’t necessarily evidence of dishonest intentions (and the fact that fear may be involved is not necessarily intended either by the one ridiculing). I think it’s just a byproduct of ridicule and mocking.

    I’m just looking at this from the perspective that if you want to undermine religion, maybe it would be better to out-do the religious people at being “religious”.

    What I mean is, the religious will ridicule those they don’t agree with, so why not be different. That doesn’t mean not trying to disprove religion, but being more loving and accepting (which the religious say they have a monopoly on).

    Now, I’m not really a loving and accepting kinda person (and I really don’t care too much about undermining religion), but if they believe that being “persecuted” is evidence for their faith, might as well not give them anything to work with.



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  • ad nauseam
    May 9, 2015 at 5:28 pm

    You clearly have no idea how to use ridicule effectively! Kids love to laugh at stupid pompous adults who have no idea what they are on about!

    Clearly you don’t read my posts. Ridicule is effective not to convince anyone of anything, but to pressure people into either keeping their mouth shut or saying they agree with you (whether they do or not).

    You continue to to conflate the effects on individual users of information, and mockery and debunking of disreputable sources of information.
    As I have previously pointed out this leads them to reject ridiculous claims, rather than paying the lip service you speculate on, or staying silent.
    You are simply assuming and asserting, that the combined effect of evidence and mockery, leaves the end-user unconvinced, when in fact it destroys the credibility of the disreputable information source. .

    And it is, even you said evidence is used with ridiculing showing the two are different in your mind.

    The two are different! One is evidence and information, the other is a debating technique for taking down posturing arguments from false authority.

    If evidence and logic is what convinces people of something then ridicule is unnecessary.

    Vast numbers of people have no capability to recognise evidence, or to follow logical thinking.

    Those retarded by anti-science indoctrination, are usually schooled in fallacious thought processes, and are slow, or totally inhibited from reaching the formal operational developmental stage of mental development.

    http://psychology.about.com/od/piagetstheory/p/formaloperation.htm
    The formal operational stage begins at approximately age twelve to and lasts into adulthood. During this time, people develop the ability to think about abstract concepts. Skills such as logical thought, deductive reasoning, and systematic planning also emerge during this stage.

    Logic:

    Piaget believed that deductive logic becomes important during the formal operational stage. Deductive logic requires the ability to use a general principle to determine a specific outcome. This type of thinking involves hypothetical situations and is often required in science and mathematics

    The point is: if you have gotten them to reject an idea because they liked taking part in the mocking for the fun of it, they are just as uninformed as the people promoting the illogical ideas. If they have rejected it because of good arguments, then the ridicule didn’t do anything really.

    I’ll run a scientific test on that advice, next time I am arguing with a Flat-Earthist Moon-landing denier in front of an audience!

    Meanwhile, I see no requirement for the exclusive use of logic, (particularly with those unschooled in it, and incapable of following it), to bring about the rejection of false information or bad ideas.



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  • 58
    ad nauseam says:

    Yeah, but everyone thinks they are seeking the higher moral ground. I really try to view events not from a moral perspective but from a motivation and sequential perspective.

    Presenting the facts about the violence in the middle east, and some well organized propaganda (pictures, video), can rally people to whatever cause the Charlie Hebdo people were for (or scare people away…but at least you get to see what people are really like then). But, knowing that muslims think it is blasphemous to draw Mohammed, might make me reconsider how I am drawing people to my side (if safety is a priority).

    For some safety is a priority, and some it’s not. And I don’t really have an opinion on whether Charlie Hebdo is right or not (or what happened to them), but I’m not surprised about what happened.

    The terrorists wouldn’t mind if we showed in detail what they were doing (they are proud of it), and I think the people would rally on their own without any political commentary. It’s kind of the evidence alone thing again I guess.

    Really, I just think people did to consider how ridicule will effect others (namely the ones not even involved in the debate) if they also say they care about human life. And for the record, it looks like you do consider the larger implications based on your comments.



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  • I’m just looking at this from the perspective that if you want to undermine religion

    Which has never been my agenda. I don’t care what people believe in. I care about moral behaviours. I want them to consider the morality of their actions before they check out the scriptural integrity of them. After that they can cognitively dissonance to their tuneless hearts content. (And just to be clear teaching children objective scientific untruths counts as an immoral action; hypocrisy a moral issue, too.

    if they believe that being “persecuted” is evidence for their faith, might as well not give them anything to work with.

    Yet again they are a lost cause. If they can be shamed or cowed into less egregious moral behaviour as Alan promotes, just great. Let them feel their less savory behaviours of child neglect and indoctrination will be subject to closer scrutiny and not just by an approving God.

    No, for me it is about kids to young adults not fully engaged yet and getting them to notice a moral outrage and start a more diligent moral existence.



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  • ad nauseam
    May 9, 2015 at 5:51 pm

    Fear is involved with ridicule, but that isn’t necessarily evidence of dishonest intentions (and the fact that fear may be involved is not necessarily intended either by the one ridiculing). I think it’s just a byproduct of ridicule and mocking.

    I have no problem with charlatans fearing the effects of me exposing their deceptions, or having their potential victims mock them!
    I don’t do pandering to rogues!

    I’m just looking at this from the perspective that if you want to undermine religion, maybe it would be better to out-do the religious people at being “religious”.

    You really are inexperienced in dealing with these types of people aren’t you!
    One size does not fit all situations!

    What I mean is, the religious will ridicule those they don’t agree with, so why not be different.

    They regularly try it on on this site, but are usually too incompetent and poorly informed to make much impression.
    When some rank amateur tries to mock a subject specialist, it is usually an own -foot-shooting exercise, and a comedy show!
    There is no reason to be different for difference sake!

    That doesn’t mean not trying to disprove religion,

    The concept of a “negative proof”, is a fallacy! http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Negative_proof
    The onus of proof is on those making their god-claims. for their thousands of gods.

    but being more loving and accepting (which the religious say they have a monopoly on).

    Accepting of what! Daft ideas???

    I am a sociable and caring sort of person, but I am an honest scientist, and don’t pander to delusions or charlatans!
    I also tend to be a leader, rather than a sheepish follower.



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  • Yeah, but everyone thinks they are seeking the higher moral ground.

    No. Many think they have reached it in cleaving to their particular church doctrine. Oh they’ll punish themselves over some little detail, a bad thought here, an unkind word their but they are sure they are bound for paradise, unlike those gays, Jews or Mohammadens.

    Free Speech is an essential ingredient to a collective and maximal mutual understanding of each on this pale blue dot of a planet. ISIS think the US hugely immoral and in quite specific ways. A few things on their list ring bells for me. Speaking honestly about our distastes, rather than bottling them up and smiling grimly until the bottle bursts may make everyday life a little harder work, but thats the way to have moral conversations. Not ask for calm and niceness, but ask for honesty of feeling.

    I’ve said here before I will judge a society (a civilisation) the greater the more free speech it can stand. It comes at a cost. Free speech is not mandated by God or scripture. It is far more important than that. Well….. I’d settle for the Pope and Islamists to consider it in those terms, at least. I know you care less for this, but, honestly, simply, I care less for your vision of the world than mine.



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  • ad nauseam
    May 9, 2015 at 5:05 pm

    Why is the audience mocking the preacher? I’d say it’s because they do have more information

    They do have more information (once they are given reputable sources), but are mocking the preacher because he is exposed as posturing as being an informed source of information when he is an ignoramus!

    not because being ridiculed or observing ridicule convinced them of anything.

    Wrong! It may not be convincing the preacher, but the audience are getting the message that he is a fake – just fine!

    Being mocked can’t convince someone of anything, evidence does.

    Wrong again! It convinces them (eventually) that they are making fools of themselves, and that they are no match for debaters who properly research their information.

    So why not skip the ridicule (and any negative consequences that could occur)

    .. and any positive consequences?? – such as charlatans being exposed, losing their followings, and children avoiding having their heads filled with disinformation???

    and just provide the evidence?

    In the age of the internet, the evidence is usually already there. It is motivating people to look at it, understand its relevance, and recognise competent honest sources, which is the issue.



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  • 63
    aroundtown says:

    Trying to explain rational reasoned discourse vs religious belief is a tough proposition. For me, it’s similar to being in a hospital room full of flu sufferers, you begin to think you might have a fever and a simple cough can become alarming. I sometimes have to distance myself from the discussion for my own health.

    Religious debaters can be like attorneys, they try to find wedge arguments to avoid the dismantling of their religious arguments/beliefs, should you provide proofs to the contrary they only get louder. I understand why this happens, what else can they provide to protect religious notion, the only tool they have is ever increasing noise to prop up the delusion. But one thing is certain, they will never be able to provide any proof to support their argument. They will always want you to take it on faith, or warm fuzzy feelings.

    Trying to point out that religious belief/faith only exists in the mind is difficult, but I will always feel the afflicted have to play a part in their liberation, they have to own it, because they don’t seem to appreciate what is freely given. Many here at RDFRS can weather the constant religious bombardment and continue to engage them with a helpful disposition, so, in my mind, if the religious want to be thankful for anything, they should appreciate that benefit, but I don’t think they will. Constant blather about blessings, but they miss the real one right in front of them. It’s hard to wake up from something you’ve been conditioned to believe from an early age and I understand it as well as anyone, I was one of them.

    Our ability to reach the heights of our abilities through education has a conflicting condition unfortunately, the religious utilize that same advanced mind to support a belief in an imagined god and their ability to wax rhapsodic of the finer points of that delusion can be spectacularly apparent, even in the face of pointed facts to the contrary.



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  • 64
    aroundtown says:

    Your clarity is refreshing Phil, poignant insight to the point of the matter. Might be lost on some but I will take it as a gift and put it in my pocket.



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  • 65
    aroundtown says:

    Just to be clear Alan, I was trying to add agreement to your propositions. Unfortunately, somewhat convoluted on my part as usual.



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  • 66
    ad nauseam says:

    Phil,

    I care less for your vision of the world than mine.

    Most people don’t care for my view of the world, because it completely rejects the concept of morality.
    It’s not moral relativism, it is moral abolitionism. Morality is a tool used to gain and keep power. That’s why I don’t trust the “new” atheists or the religious.

    Lying to children is not immoral. It is just something people do. I’m more interested in what they are trying to accomplish and how it effects my interests than whether what they are doing is moral.

    Alan,

    You are simply assuming and asserting, that the combined effect of evidence and mockery, leaves the end-user unconvinced, when in fact it destroys the credibility of the disreputable information source. .

    No, I’m saying it can in some cases cause a person to not listen to you out of spite, and it can in other cases bring out the violent tendencies in other people.

    The two are different! One is evidence and information, the other is a debating technique for taking down posturing arguments from false authority.

    Yeah, and I said that it was a tactic earlier. I just think it is not the best tactic and can come back to bite you.

    Hypothetically speaking: if you ridicule something, with no evidence to back up anything you say, the ridicule may sway people’s opinions, but not because you convinced them of anything. The evidence is the deciding factor to really convince someone of something. If the evidence is the meat, then the ridicule is the wrapping, and can be discarded. The only reasons I think this is because in my experience if something thinks (whether it’s true or not) you respect them (or their family, traditions) they are more willing to hear what you have to say and we know mocking can bring out violence in people.

    The concept of a “negative proof”, is a fallacy!

    Yes it is, I misspoke to say disprove religion. What I meant was debating and providing evidence against religion. Of course I realize you can’t prove a negative. The fact that you took the time to comment on that minor mistake (which really has very little to due with the substance of the argument) tells me you have nothing of substance to say on the main parts of my comments.

    I have no problem with charlatans fearing the effects of me exposing their deceptions, or having their potential victims mock them!

    You caught the negative proof thing but not the main parts of my arguments. Are you not paying attention to anything I have said…there is really no point in discussing anything if you are going to misrepresent what I post.

    Accepting of what! Daft ideas???

    No, but accepting and being respectful of people in spite of their daft ideas. Again, you must not be reading what I am writing.

    I also tend to be a leader, rather than a sheepish follower.

    If you believe in morality, you are a follower.



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  • Morality is a tool used to gain and keep power.

    If you believe in morality, you are a follower.

    !!!

    We have internal feelings and external actions and there is something that joins one to the other. We could call it fishpaste if that would make you happier. But it is a uniquely personal set of processes, viceral, aesthetic, heuristic, cultural finessing, reasoning and vetoing. They are variously innate, inculcated, learned, fabricated and achieved. I feel your view of morals is poverty stricken and risks leaving you out of the collective debate of who authors our fishpastes and why we should care.



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  • ad nauseam
    May 9, 2015 at 9:25 pm

    Most people don’t care for my view of the world, because it completely rejects the concept of morality.

    That is your problem! – Abdication of responsibility to others in a community.

    It’s not moral relativism, it is moral abolitionism. Morality is a tool used to gain and keep power.

    It certainly is, and ensuring that altruistic views and balances of different vested interests are adopted in codes of conduct, is the basis of equitable societies, where people respect each other.

    That’s why I don’t trust the “new” atheists or the religious.

    It seems that you claim your don’t trust any social structure or moral codes, but them start pontification on the consequences of actions.

    Lying to children is not immoral. It is just something people do.

    It is something which undermines trust and social relationships.

    I’m more interested in what they are trying to accomplish and how it effects my interests than whether what they are doing is moral.

    So your “morality” is selfish personal interests?

    Alan, – You are simply assuming and asserting, that the combined effect of evidence and mockery, leaves the end-user unconvinced, when in fact it destroys the credibility of the disreputable information source. .

    No, I’m saying it can in some cases cause a person to not listen to you out of spite, and it can in other cases bring out the violent tendencies in other people.

    That may well be so IN SOME CIRCUMSTANCES! Appeasement is no solution.

    The two are different! One is evidence and information, the other is a debating technique for taking down posturing arguments from false authority.

    Yeah, and I said that it was a tactic earlier. I just think it is not the best tactic and can come back to bite you.

    Again – no analysis – just an asserted opinion.

    Hypothetically speaking: if you ridicule something, with no evidence to back up anything you say, the ridicule may sway people’s opinions, but not because you convinced them of anything.

    Strawman!
    I have repeatedly said that ridicule needs to used in conjunction with other methods.

    The evidence is the deciding factor to really convince someone of something.

    There is no single deciding factor!

    If the evidence is the meat, then the ridicule is the wrapping, and can be discarded.

    So you persistently assert! (Repeated assertions are not evidence -perhaps your avatar describes your debating technique!

    The only reasons I think this is because in my experience if something thinks (whether it’s true or not) you respect them (or their family, traditions) they are more willing to hear what you have to say and we know mocking can bring out violence in people.

    So – more conflating sources and end-users and more appeasement! – Religinuts might be violent or abusive, – so surrender and give them all they demand without resistance!!

    The concept of a “negative proof”, is a fallacy!

    Yes it is, I misspoke to say disprove religion. What I meant was debating and providing evidence against religion. Of course I realize you can’t prove a negative. The fact that you took the time to comment on that minor mistake (which really has very little to due with the substance of the argument)
    Yes – like most scientists and rational people I correct fallacies and mistakes in attempts at reasoning.

    I have no problem with charlatans fearing the effects of me exposing their deceptions, or having their potential victims mock them!

    tells me you have nothing of substance to say on the main parts of my comments.

    Perhaps you are not reading my answers and bypass all the explanations of your false dichotomies, single issue perceptions, and confusions over “morality”!

    You caught the negative proof thing but not the main parts of my arguments. Are you not paying attention to anything I have said…there is really no point in discussing anything if you are going to misrepresent what I post.

    That is ridiculous!!!! I was absolutely precise in my response to the fallacy of claiming negative proof, and have given a long list of detailed analyses! Denials and evasions, are not “reasoning”!

    Accepting of what! Daft ideas???

    No, but accepting and being respectful of people in spite of their daft ideas.

    Ah! A moral claim????? Albeit one which I made earlier about separating respect for people in discussion from the ridiculous arguments being refuted and the disreputable sources of false information.

    Again, you must not be reading what I am writing.

    Perhaps I should acquaint you with psychological projection? http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Psychological_projection

    I also tend to be a leader, rather than a sheepish follower.

    If you believe in morality, you are a follower.

    That is a non-sequiteur!
    Leaders with moral scruples set and campaign for standards, codes of conduct, and laws.
    It is the unthinking sheeples who wait to be uncritically spoon-fed supposed “morality” by preachers.



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  • ad nauseam
    May 9, 2015 at 9:25 pm

    Most people don’t care for my view of the world, because it completely rejects the concept of morality.
    It’s not moral relativism, it is moral abolitionism. Morality is a tool used to gain and keep power. That’s why I don’t trust the “new” atheists or the religious.

    Lying to children is not immoral.

    Why would anyone trust a single word that is said by a person known to hold that view? – Let alone accept criticism of their own actions to take to task those engaging in “immoral conduct” such as lying to children to disable their education, or exposing and humiliating charlatans selling fake cancer-cures??????



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  • 72
    ad nauseam says:

    All that you’ve described has to do with power, self-preservation, and well-being. People cooperate as long as it is beneficial to them or if they have convinced themselves cooperating is better than not.

    Nothing to do with good and evil.

    And my views really don’t exclude me from the collective debate. All I try and do is assess what the motivation behind actions are and what someone can do to achieve their objectives while also trying to determine why they choose the method they do.

    If you can determine what the objectives of a group of people are (the majority of the people) you can better decide who should author the rules and codes of conduct. If a country wants power, warfare is a completely valid method to achieve that objective. If the country also wants to humiliate the other nations they invade, rape is a completely valid method (as well as other tactics). Now, the nation needs to accept the consequences of their actions (especially if they are unsuccessful) and really shouldn’t be surprised if the nations they raped, rape their people back.

    But, it has nothing to do with good and evil.



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  • 73
    ad nauseam says:

    You don’t have to accept anything I say, but to think for a moment that you can trust a person who says they believe in some kind of moral code more than one who does not is naive.

    There is equally no reason for me to trust you.



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  • 74
    ad nauseam says:

    Fine, average, boring. Really just the typically westerner’s childhood. No molestation, no real bullying, no mental abuse.

    My views come from reading, observation, and reasoning through the statements people make.



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  • 75
    ad nauseam says:

    It seems that you claim your don’t trust any social structure or moral codes, but them start pontification on the consequences of actions.

    Consequences and morals are completely different.

    That may well be so IN SOME CIRCUMSTANCES! Appeasement is no solution.

    Yes, but if you decide not to ridicule someone it doesn’t mean you are appeasing them. Appeasement would be accepting or giving into their demands. I never said to do that.

    Again – no analysis – just an asserted opinion.

    I’ve given an analysis on why I think this with examples throughout your’s and Phil’s exchange.

    Strawman!
    I have repeatedly said that ridicule needs to used in conjunction with other methods.

    And, it is not a strawman. It was an example to show how ridicule does not actually convince someone (logically) of anything. I never said it was your view.

    So – more conflating sources and end-users and more appeasement! – Religinuts might be violent or abusive, – so surrender and give them all they demand without resistance!!

    No, it has nothing to do with appeasement.

    So you persistently assert! (Repeated assertions are not evidence -perhaps your avatar describes your debating technique!

    Yeah, kind of like your repeated assertions that ridicule should be used as a tactic. But you refuse to acknowledge that ridicule and mocking can harm other’s not involved with the debate. That’s one reason why I think ridicule should be avoided. Check the 200 deaths globally part.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jyllands-Posten_Muhammad_cartoons_controversy

    If you don’t care about the possible global implications of ridiculing anyone then that’s fine with me, but admit it.

    There is no single deciding factor!

    How could you make someone change their position other than using evidence, logic, and the presentation of facts without leaving them uninformed and uneducated as if you had used an emotional argument or ridicule?

    They may be effective tactics but it is not really consistent with the whole message of logic, reason and evidence is it?

    Perhaps you are not reading my answers and bypass all the explanations of your false dichotomies, single issue perceptions, and confusions over “morality”!

    I explained to you why they are not false dichotomies numerous times and anyone who knows what dichotomies are would see it. Furthermore, I’m looking at this from far more angles and I’m not confused over morality of any kind.

    That is ridiculous!!!! I was absolutely precise in my response to the fallacy of claiming negative proof, and have given a long list of detailed analyses! Denials and evasions, are not “reasoning”!

    I know you were precise and I admitted I should have worded it differently. Furthermore, it was a completely separate post with Phil and has nothing to do with any of my arguments.

    My point was that you have focused intensely on one mistake of mine, yet continue to misrepresent the core points of my arguments and continue to say I am presenting false dichotomies (among other things) when I have shown there were no dichotomies to begin with.

    Ah! A moral claim????? Albeit one which I made earlier about separating respect for people in discussion from the ridiculous arguments being refuted and the disreputable sources of false information

    No, not at all. Acceptance and respect are behaviors but whether they are moral or not depends on if you believe in morality. I never said it was the right thing to do at any point in the entire discussion.

    Perhaps I should acquaint you with psychological projection?

    This has nothing to do with anything I said. I never claimed everybody knows this or that. All I have said is, based on some observations and evidence, I think ridicule (while it can be a useful tactic) doesn’t really convince anyone of anything and just for the sake of argument even if it did convince people and was logical it still is risky and can cause harm to others not involved in the debate. (the wikipedia link).

    You can use tactics, you can use ridicule, but don’t talking about helping the “innocent” (religious children) while not even acknowledging the fact that other “innocent” people have been negatively affected by ridicule. (what innocent means is up for the debate though)

    That is a non-sequiteur!
    Leaders with moral scruples set and campaign for standards, codes of conduct, and laws.
    It is the unthinking sheeples who wait to be uncritically spoon-fed supposed “morality” by preachers.

    Where did you get your moral beliefs? It seems to me you are following the pop-science and new atheist herd pretty closely.



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  • So what is that thing you have between feelings and actions? What is it called? I presume not all feelings get acted upon (ridicule?), unless you were born without an anterior cingulate cortex, that is. What is that set of heuristics called you use to make unconscious decisions about the better path?



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  • If you can determine what the objectives of a group of people are (the majority of the people) you can better decide who should author the rules and codes of conduct.

    What kind of state is this going to be possible in?

    Is there some ideology or creed promoted by any other that is in anyway like yours that you are drawn to?

    One last personal one, if I may (and I quite understand a refusal)…. How old are you?



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  • 78
    ad nauseam says:

    So what is that thing you have between feelings and actions?…What is that set of heuristics called you use to make unconscious decisions about the better path?

    It’s not really about finding the best solution (or better path) for me personally, I’m just trying to find a solution that satisfies the objective but also weighing the consequences of the decision you decide to make.

    With regards to our whole conversation, it just seems to me that if one wants to undermine religion (and I realize this is not necessarily your objective) and get young people to leave their faith, I think overall there are more effective and less risky methods than ridicule.

    My behavior is probably based on my priorities and objectives as well. I suppose they were formed by experiences, knowledge and my own biology (but it doesn’t matter too much how I got them). You can call that my moral code if you really want to, but why confuse the issue. I have things I like and dislike and I have desires but I’m not going to pretend they are good. They just are.

    Is it immoral for a starving lion to kill a zebra? Or is it moral for a wolf to submit to the alpha male? To me, questions about human morality are just as meaningless.

    What kind of state is this going to be possible in?

    I’d say most every state (or community, individual etc.) does this. A communist group of people have certain objectives and will put people in leadership who have the same goal. You get people you agree with to decide what is “moral”. As an observer, I’m not going to get caught up in the romanticism of morality but I’ll study how people behave, what is most effective, and the consequences of actions.

    Is there some ideology or creed promoted by any other that is in anyway like yours that you are drawn to?

    No not really, I may like some on paper because I think it will benefit me and help me satisfy my objectives, but it seems to me that eventually everything becomes corrupt so I’m not really deeply attached to any ideology.

    One last personal one, if I may (and I quite understand a refusal)…. How old are you?

    Well, my age demographic would be 18-27, but that’s all I want to say.

    What is your age?



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  • 79
    ad nauseam says:

    And really, if anyone is strawmanning it’s you.

    I have pointed out numerous times when you have changed or added to what I said in both our’s and Phil and I’s discussion.



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  • ad nauseam
    May 10, 2015 at 11:34 am

    But you refuse to acknowledge that ridicule and mocking can harm other’s not involved with the debate. That’s one reason why I think ridicule should be avoided.

    You are back to absolutist black and white false dichotomies, despite your denials.

    I have consistently said that ridicule should be used in combination with other methods of persuasion, and nowhere have I said it is applicable in all circumstances.
    As with all social interactions and interventions, the scientific approach, is to evaluate the situation, and attempt to predict and anticipate possible outcomes.

    and continue to say I am presenting false dichotomies (among other things) when I have shown there were no dichotomies to begin with.

    Not all all! You have denied the false dichotomies are false dichotomies, but denial does not cancel their existence or change their substance.

    Acceptance and respect are behaviors but whether they are moral or not depends on if you believe in morality.

    The failure to define the terms of a moral code, has nothing to do with “believing in morality”.
    You make arguments in favour of particular viewpoints, but avoid stating a position.
    This simply does not work in the real world of practical decision making about objectives,

    I never said it was the right thing to do at any point in the entire discussion.

    So do you have any point to make apart from your counter-factual claim, that ridicule is not effective in achieving some desired results?

    ▬ ▬ ▬ ▬

    Again, you must not be reading what I am writing.

    Perhaps I should acquaint you with psychological projection?

    This has nothing to do with anything I said. I never claimed everybody knows this or that.

    I see you cherry-pick irrelevant parts of definitions to misread and evade issues!
    Perhaps a quote from the link will refresh your memory about the projection re. “reading what is written”!

    Projection is the psychological phenomenon where someone denies some aspect of their behavior or attitudes and assumes instead that others are doing or thinking so.

    ▬ ▬ ▬ ▬

    I also tend to be a leader, rather than a sheepish follower.

    If you believe in morality, you are a follower.

    .That is a non-sequiteur!
    Leaders with moral scruples set and campaign for standards, codes of conduct, and laws.
    It is the unthinking sheeples who wait to be uncritically spoon-fed supposed “morality” by preachers
    .

    Where did you get your moral beliefs?

    Where I got my moral views which I have built up over the years, has nothing to do with if I am a leader or a follower!
    I did not get them from following any one source.

    It seems to me you are following the pop-science and new atheist herd pretty closely.

    So having totally missed the point about participating in drafting codes or conduct, regulations, and laws, and side-tracked the issue, you re-assert your silly made-up claim about “following”, despite a clear explanation of how to lead on such issues.

    As I pointed out earlier, repetitive assertion, is not evidence or reasoning.



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  • ad nauseam
    May 10, 2015 at 2:38 pm

    And really, if anyone is strawmanning it’s you.

    Strawman Fallacy – Description:- Substituting a person’s actual position or argument with a distorted, exaggerated, or misrepresented version of the position of the argument.

    I have pointed out numerous times when you have changed or added to what I said in both our’s and Phil and I’s discussion.

    Really????? Can you accurately quote examples??? –
    or is this just another unsupported assertion?



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  • ad nauseam
    May 10, 2015 at 10:52 am

    My views come from reading, observation, and reasoning through the statements people make.

    Perhaps some books on social cohesion and co-operation, would be more educational than the brain-fumblings of anarchists you seem to have gathered!



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  • 83
    ad nauseam says:

    Perhaps some books on social cohesion and co-operation, would be more educational than the brain-fumblings of anarchists you seem to have gathered!

    You assume too much Alan



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  • I’m 60 near enough. Kids at school and university.

    I imagined you were young having a philosophy of your own still with some bumps in it.

    It does, though, leave me entirely flummoxed as to its working. Every system of morality is easily reframed as self serving, every do-gooding act a personal satisfaction. We just evolved to get a kick out of helping those nearest or those like those nearest. I cannot see any novelty to your position except an unwillingness to show your moral working. You describe processes of balancing “concerns” that look for all the world like a version of utilitarianism with the graft on that harms or boons to others are never explicitly identified that way but only as how those make you feel.

    Fair enough, but in doing so you are of no interest in the debate, because I have no knowledge of how things make you feel. You haven’t produced an heuristic with a rate of exchange for external-harms-relieved to internal feel-goods. You are inexplicably (literally) against ridicule but not concerned with the moral lives of young folk. You cringe at the slight felt by the minority of muslims and not those who treasure free speech and satire and its great prophylactic, pressure relieving effect in the community through the likes of Gilray and Hogarth. Fair enough again, but without a rate of exchange in how you value the various harms, we have no discussion on these issues.

    Morality is personal. No one can give or impose morals on you and they still be your morals. Those folk are indeed the parasites and manipulators, but they can’t steal the term. It is not tainted by them. Morality is your personal three way tariff (innate and contrived) linking your feelings to your actions whether those feelings be of harms and boons to others (utilitarianism) or of how useful, lovable or scary these folk are to you or whatever. It notices how the circumstances of others makes you feel and then how you act as a result of that. How do we fairly manage all this? Discussing our tariffs. Whats important and whats not. Free speech is entirely to allow people a part of this discussion. Anyone trying to take that away is the bully moraliser, seeking, however smiley faced, to impose her values upon you. Just want to sit on the side line, then do. Want to just toss in that you are unhappy with ridicule? OK. But you can’t have the discussion and not have the discussion. I’m 60 and I still have a lot to do and I have uniquely learned nothing from this exchange.

    (No limits on free speech at all? Yes, but that is another long discussion.)



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  • 85
    ad nauseam says:

    You are back to absolutist black and white false dichotomies, despite your denials.

    It is now clear to anyone who does understand false dichotomies that you don’t.

    As with all social interactions and interventions, the scientific approach, is to evaluate the situation, and attempt to predict and anticipate possible outcomes.

    And I do.

    Not all all! You have denied the false dichotomies are false dichotomies, but denial does not cancel their existence or change their substance.

    You can assert they are false dichotomies as much as you want if it really makes you feel better. But, beware that each time you do you are strawmanning.

    Really????? Can you accurately quote examples??? –
    or is this just another unsupported assertion?

    I could go through all the “false dichotomies” you manufactured by changing what I said, but I can’t convince someone who doesn’t understand them in the first place.

    So, here is something else:

    You said: You are simply assuming and asserting, that the combined effect of evidence and mockery, leaves the end-user unconvinced, when in fact it destroys the credibility of the disreputable information source.

    Which is not what I said at any point. I’m not assuming or asserting that mockery combined with evidence doesn’t convince a person, but only that mockery can turn them off from listening and also may lead to violence. The mockery may pressure them to start searching but finding the evidence convinces them.

    Also you said: That may well be so IN SOME CIRCUMSTANCES! Appeasement is no solution.

    And I never said to appease the religious people. I never said to stop debating them. I never said to give into what they say.

    Perhaps a quote from the link will refresh your memory about the projection re. “reading what is written”!

    So, because I said I don’t think you are reading what I am writing, that automatically means it’s because I am not reading what you are writing and I’m projecting it onto you (like an adulterous spouse thinking the other spouse is adulterous)…

    I don’t think you understand the limits of psychological projection either…

    Where I got my moral views which I have built up over the years, has nothing to do with if I am a leader or a follower!
    I did not get them from following any one source.

    It really doesn’t matter where or how many places you got them, everything you have said has been predictable and is completely in line with a large portion of the “secular” community. You are part of the herd.

    As I pointed out earlier, repetitive assertion, is not evidence or reasoning.

    Yep, which is why you can say that ridicule convinces people and I’m presenting false dichotomies as much as you want but it’s never going to change the fact that you are just asserting them without providing any convincing reason to believe it.

    I will state this one more time:

    http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Essay:Appeal_to_ridicule

    Reductio ad ridiculum is a FALLACY. Evidence changes people’s minds. My position is you might as well leave out the fallacies especially since ridicule can cause violence.

    If you want to continue using the fallacy, that’s fine. Just be aware you are using fallacious reasoning.

    That is it. I don’t think I can make it any more clear.



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  • Evidence changes people’s minds

    So what?

    Its behaviours that need to be changed and can be changed. The anti-vax mum taking her unvaccinated kid into nursery with pregnant women present. Shame. FGM inflicters, underage marriage inflicters, RCC Bishops hand wringing over the access to children. Shame on the lot of them. Ridiculed and shamed. Folk often too stupid to understand their own hurtful folly, brought up short by shame.

    I’m sorry. I forgot. Its morality stuff.



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  • 87
    ad nauseam says:

    The biggest difference is that I don’t call what I like or what gives me pleasure/satisfaction morally good. I’m not unhappy with ridicule, however I think if you want to use it you need to be aware of a couple of things:

    http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Essay:Appeal_to_ridicule

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jyllands-Posten_Muhammad_cartoons_controversy

    I suppose I am just taking the statements of “secularists” (or skeptics, atheists, there are so many that say the same things) as a whole (or the loudest ones). A lot say they are for reason and preserving human life yet they use fallacies and don’t seem to care about the human life effected by their ridicule.

    Fair enough, but in doing so you are of no interest in the debate, because I have no knowledge of how things make you feel.

    My feelings on issues don’t really matter. What I think would be interesting is if people stopped making moral absolutist statements like “religion is immoral”.

    You cringe at the slight felt by the minority of muslims

    Really its not about the muslims feeling bad, but that they tend to kill random people when provoked.

    But you can’t have the discussion and not have the discussion. I’m 60 and I still have a lot to do and I have uniquely learned nothing from this exchange.

    The discussion on morality is about what ought to be moral and how do we determine what ought is derived from (among other things). I don’t think ought comes from is, but instead ought comes from if. If your objective is A then in order to achieve A you ought to do B, C, D… All options may achieve the goal but they may have different natural consequences. If you view human behavior not as good and evil but just a function of “subjective objectives” and how they attempt to achieve them you avoid a lot of unnecessary roadblocks. I would think that would be an important aspect in the discussion, but we may not agree on this.

    And I didn’t learn anything I didn’t already read and observe either.



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  • 88
    ad nauseam says:

    Behavior of a few doesn’t matter if you have changed the minds of everyone else through evidence.

    The morality thing, yeah let me put it this way:

    Pedophilia may be considered a virtue someday. It all depends on biology and social conditioning/badgering. If anything, that is what morality is.



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  • ad nauseam
    May 10, 2015 at 5:24 pm

    You really should have studied my comment on projection and reading what is written!

    It is now clear to anyone who does understand false dichotomies that you don’t.

    Ha! Ha! Ha! – I’ll leave the final judgement on that to other readers and the link I provided!

    Reductio ad ridiculum is a FALLACY. Evidence changes people’s minds.

    It is indeed a fallacy, but it is nothing to do with the position I stated about combining evidence and ridicule, so it is simply a (fallacious) strawman diversion.

    @ your link
    I don’t agree with X.

    Therefore, X is stupid and deserves my mockery and ridicule

    My position was:-

    “I can prove with evidence that this individual source (X), is a posturing ignoramus who is falsely posing as an expert and causing damage by misleading people with lies.”

    “X’s persistent contradiction of evidence and refusal to correct errors, in the light of evidence, clearly shows X IS stupid (deluded, or dishonest), and a danger to those who regard X as credible. THEREFORE X’s credibility should be ridiculed and destroyed in the interests of honesty, integrity, and the community.

    Where damaging actions are involved, I am of course more concerned with changing the behaviour of various individuals, rather than changing the mind of someone who looks like a lost cause!

    My position is you might as well leave out the fallacies

    I did mention psychological projection, and the Dunning-Kruger Effect, earlier, but your use of fallacies continues.

    especially since ridicule can cause violence.

    Ridicule can cause violence, so its use requires careful thought for it to be used effectively.
    However the readiness of some individuals to resort to violence is not a reason in itself to kowtow to their whimsical demands.

    That is why civilised countries have enforced laws restraining violent individuals.

    Also you said:

    That may well be so IN SOME CIRCUMSTANCES! Appeasement is no solution.

    And I never said to appease the religious people. I never said to stop debating them. I never said to give into what they say.

    You criticised the ridiculing of the ridiculous who don’t listen to evidence, and can’t or won’t follow reasoning! – That is appeasement – effectively counselling doing nothing!
    You are playing at the obfuscation of shuffling semantics!

    I don’t think you understand the limits of psychological projection either…

    You are entitled to persist with your mistaken assertions, but I, and other informed readers, are entitled to laugh at them!!

    It really doesn’t matter where or how many places you got them, everything you have said has been predictable and is completely in line with a large portion of the “secular” community. You are part of the herd.

    That’s the thing about scientific evidenced reasoning!

    The “herd” of astronomers have concluded that planets are spheroid, and the “herd” of mathematicians think 2 + 2 = 4 when working in base 10!!

    (If there are alien astronomers, it is likely that they also conclude that planets are spheroid – so must have copied that from Earth astronomers – at least in the view of someone who {arguing from personal incredulity} has so little idea of the research processes, that that is the only idea they can come up with!)



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  • phil rimmer
    May 10, 2015 at 6:16 pm

    I’m out. This is incoherent.

    I think I’ll join you elsewhere for a rational evidence based discussion of substance – and with a lot less words and a lot more substance!



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  • 92
    ad nauseam says:

    I’ll leave the final judgement on that to other readers and the link I provided!

    Few people will take the time to read this exchange. It will be lost in the archives.

    The only point of this whole exchange was entirely for my own benefit to see if what I thought would happen would actually occur.

    It did. You gave me nothing new and nothing interesting to further develop my own thoughts. You gave me the boring answers I expected to hear.

    You’ve made your points and most on this website will agree with you.

    Just don’t be surprised if you ridicule the wrong person someday.



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  • Oh, I think we can skip the ridicule here and cut straight to the chase…

    But new harmful directions can start slowly. Grant free speech and we can spot them sooner and, if we agree in our exchanges and open discussions, act earlier in our myriad ways. Culture creates many informal processes as well as formal.



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  • 99
    ad nauseam says:

    harmful

    Well, it depends (take pederasty in greece and japan), but this is just going to be the same conversation of morality again.



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  • Mostly it only goes in the good direction as we learn the myriad ways people can be, and are being, harmed. We often don’t know about this until they are granted a voice. But lets be pragmatic and think about ourselves for once…

    The rise of the fifth ape was greatly aided by the exploitation of children. We uniquely amongst apes possessed kids that were capable of being put to useful work for the longest period before they became sexually competitive. For most of mankinds history children were mostly neglected abused and put upon, once they could be put to work. Even 500 years ago they were drawn as miniature adults, and considered far less significant than an adult.

    In the eighteenth century a remarkable change started to happen, in England first and then across the continent of Europe. Childhood was invented. Toys started to be manufactured commercially. Books for the very first time were written just for children. Household spending on children shot up by 400%. The French visiting the homes of the middling classes were appalled at our indulgence of them. Accounts of family life are almost indistinguishable from modern. Education of a quite general sort (not training the lad to step into his father shoes and run the estate, farm, business) was provided and time set aside for play until after puberty.

    Were we mad? Frittering money like that? Well, no. Life became rather more a delight. The merits of childhood as opposed to servitude, created the most productive set of young adults ever. Bolder and with wider horizons. Problem solvers through play. The Industrial revolution started with these young adults and the double cost of not exploiting them early and investing heavily in their play and education paid off handsomely.

    Yes, yes, we know that children abused and exploited by adults (human kids are uniquely compliant) have cortisol damaged brains and often lead impoverished and less productive lives, but, meh…

    The point is we have learned that we get far better value out of them if we don’t exploit our children. They’ll keep us better in our dotage and may feel obliged to do so rather more. They may fix some of our screw-ups for us.

    Enlightened self interest, not icky moral drag.

    We learn this stuff and slowly, slowly, going mostly forward, the selfish and the utilitarian and the icky moralist hand-wringing about the suffering of others converge on the same scenario.



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  • 101
    ad nauseam says:

    That’s fine if you want to believe that. I think a lot of it is your interpretation of history but ok…

    Morality doesn’t get better or worse though. It is all horizontal changes.

    But I don’t expect you to agree with that either…



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  • Well I’ve scattered bread on the water hoping to tease a vestige of explanation from you but to no avail. If its not sorted out in your head yet fine. If you feel you have more you can say, fine, great. But stonewall again and I’ll finally get the message.



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  • 103
    ad nauseam says:

    I have given some explanations of my views, but there really is no point to discuss anything else. You said yourself that I’m of no interest in the debate on morality anyway.

    It is probably going to be the same conversation: You are going to assert this or that is moral/immoral, and I am going to say the moral and immoral are meaningless concepts and all that is important is assessing someone’s amoral objectives…and we won’t end up agreeing.

    If by stonewalling you mean not being convinced you are correct then I guess I’m stonewalling. I’m just trying to think beyond the constructs of the morality forced upon people in the west.



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  • But I have given an exceptionally free definition of morality as… a personal process that stands between our feelings and our actions. I detect a (reasonable) distate for the word with a suspicion that it is about strong-arming others into a set of behaviours. I intend none of this. But I do propose that my fishpaste that stands between etc. etc. is worthy of analysing for me and I think its worth asking others how they do it…why they favour this group over that. Can I learn?

    When young, idealism stood in the way of me clearly recognising a lot of the harms, boons, personal advantages and disadvantages and such like, tending, rather, to select what suited my ideal. But I also thought my fishpastes were up for grabs, that reason alone could mould them this way and that. Then I discovered (in myself) they were much more hardwired and seemed to align with people who were less anxious about life, and that that could lead me astray sometimes (when I needed to be anxious!), and that may fishpastes were more like my aesthetics in their fixedness.

    Most of my good friends have mental quirks, some serious and I have my moments. We are manufactured (by our genes) with a remarkably wide tolerance with a huge variety of differing modes of cognition and sets of aesthetics and fishpastes. I believe this is a huge strength for us in one sense, but working collectively to manage our conflicts needs some insights about others. Solepcism and disengagement is a disaster.



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  • ad nauseam
    May 12, 2015 at 10:20 am

    I have given some explanations of my views, but there really is no point to discuss anything else.

    This is a science site where we debate views backed by evidence and reasoning.

    Views which can be asserted without evidence, can be dismissed without evidence – (and without lots of repetition)!



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  • What causes religious people to be so easily offended?? They can make fun of or insult atheism ad infinitum, but I can never be offended. Let them burn Dawkins book The God Delusion all they want. That would only make me concerned about book burnings in general, NOT personally offended.



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