An Interesting Take on New Atheism

The latest issue of Free Inquiry magazine turned up in the mail this week. Lots of interesting material, as always. One article that caught my eye was “Building on a Religious Background,” by C. L. Hanson. Hanson grew up as a Mormon, but is now an atheist. She currently lives in Switzerland and has a blog.

Hanson writes:

One of the most important lessons I’ve learned is that a single claim can seem either obviously crazy or perfectly reasonable, depending on how you have been exposed to it. Consider the Mormon belief that God was once a human and that humans can become gods. As a teenager, it was an epiphany for me to encounter Christians who scorned and ridiculed this belief — not because they considered it a deadly heresy but because they regarded it as obviously absurd. Meanwhile, these same Christians believed in an omnipotent three-in-one god with no beginning who loves his human children and promises them an eternity of unchanging subservience (best-case scenario) or an eternity of torture. I’d been exposed (at least tangentially) to mainstream Christian beliefs my whole life, so their theology didn’t really shock me. But I was shocked by their crazy belief that Mormon theology was somehow objectively more crazy than their own theology.


Interesting stuff. Later on we come to this:

I want to make it clear that although I’m interested in engaging thoughtful believers in constructive, civil dialogue, I’m not denouncing other approaches. No matter how nice and well-meaning I may be, “apostates” are viewed wit suspicion in Mormonism as in many other religions. That’s why I don’t want to disparage the outspoken “new atheists” who are highly critical of religion. They’re the ones who open up the midle ground where “nice,” tactful atheism can occur — by moving the poles of the debate. You are misunderstanding the dynamics of the debate if you think that angry atheists harm the position of the bridge-building atheists. In fact it’s quite the opposite. The only reason religious people see you as nice atheist — as opposed to seeing you as a servant of Satan who deserves no place in the discussion — is because there’s someone else out there who’s less “nice” providing contrast. If any atheists advocate crime or violence or taking away religious people’s civil rights, then I’ll denounce them for it. But if they’re offending people by challenging the wrongheaded notion that religion has a monopoly on morals and ethics, I’ll thank them for forcing those points onto the table of discussion.

This sits well with what I have argued in several previous posts. We need both warriors and diplomats, as the saying goes. The endless hand-wringing about how the New Atheists are scaring away the moderates is unwarranted.

Hanson’s essay does not seem to be available online. So go make a trip to your local Barnes and Noble and pick up a copy. Better yet, subscribe to the magazine!

Comments

  1. #1 Coturnix
    October 9, 2011

    Yes. This. I have been harping on this for years – both groups are necessary. Neither quiet nor loud atheist can be effective without the existence and work of the other group. The loud ones move the Overton Window, so the gentle ones can work in the trenches, affecting one person at a time. The loud ones cannot change the culture without the gentle ones working in the trenches, affecting one person at a time.

  2. #2 Kel
    October 9, 2011

    The only reason religious people see you as nice atheist — as opposed to seeing you as a servant of Satan who deserves no place in the discussion — is because there’s someone else out there who’s less “nice” providing contrast.

    i.e. the Overton Window

  3. #3 Nick (Matzke)
    October 9, 2011

    The Overton Window is overrated:

    http://scienceblogs.com/tfk/2011/08/on_the_overton_window.php

    IMHO it is highly debatable whether or not the New Atheist movement has done good for atheists, or just reinforced the cranky “village atheist” stereotype in the culture at large.

    Atheist movements are larger and more organized now, it is true, but it is also true that the criticism of the new version of atheism is also much higher. The Gnus seem to have lost most of opinion-making crowd — academics, editorialists, etc., even though most of that crowd is not particularly religious themselves.

  4. #4 Kel
    October 9, 2011

    Atheist movements are larger and more organized now, it is true, but it is also true that the criticism of the new version of atheism is also much higher. The Gnus seem to have lost most of opinion-making crowd — academics, editorialists, etc., even though most of that crowd is not particularly religious themselves.

    Lost it? It’s not like they ever had it to begin with.

  5. #5 386sx
    October 9, 2011

    IMHO it is highly debatable whether or not the New Atheist movement has done good for atheists, or just reinforced the cranky “village atheist” stereotype in the culture at large.

    I don’t think it takes much to be a cranky village atheist stereotype. All one really has to do is question religion and point out its silly points. If we look back in history, all the famous atheists are cranky village atheists. I don’t think that’s the stereotype anyway. I think the real atheist stereotype is the “evil boogie monster that wants to send everyone to hell” stereotype.

  6. #6 Deepak Shetty
    October 9, 2011

    @Nick
    IMHO it is highly debatable whether or not the New Atheist movement has done good for atheists, or just reinforced the cranky “village atheist” stereotype in the culture at large.
    Is it highly debatable? I thought you have already drawn your conclusions?

  7. #7 Collin
    October 9, 2011

    This brings to mind something I read a moderate theist pointing out in a debate with a new atheist. New atheists accept evolution and don’t believe in God. Fundamentalists believe in God and don’t accept evolution. So together they are reinforcing the canard that evolution is ungodly.

    From an atheist viewpoint, Crommunist also has a good article about the fallacy of priding oneself on “downward comparisons”.

    I don’t see how either of the “two types” of atheist is doing any good in promoting science. When fundamentalists insist on denying scientific facts, despite overwhelming evidence, and despite protests from both their opponents and their moderate fans, there is no reason to be nice about it. However, attacking it as a religious tenet is merely providing the fundamentalists with an excuse to call science a competing faith.

    The point atheists seem to miss is that science trumps religion. When science disproves something, people who are mentally healthy (using “healthy” in the normative sense, to avoid the Platonic implication of “rational”) accept the science and adjust their beliefs accordingly. The act of denying science is crazy by itself. Linking it with the religion that usually inspires it neither adds to nor detracts from that diagnosis.

    When atheists attack the religious element of denialism, they give the impression that the scientific case is so weak that anti-religion is their best point of argument. If I didn’t already know how effective science is at finding the truth, I would be moved to fundamentalism in repulsion from such arguments. I’d even go so far as to say my entire non-dogmatic approach to my adult life rests on not having known about the new version of atheism during my adolescence.

  8. #8 ismek
    October 9, 2011

    This. I have been harping on this for years both groups are necessary, hi bay ismek…
    This brings to mind something I read a moderate theist pointing out in a debate with a new atheist. New atheists accept evolution and don’t believe in God. Fundamentalists believe in God and don’t accept evolution. So together they are reinforcing the canard that evolution is ungodly.

  9. #9 James Sweet
    October 9, 2011

    < - stand up and claps

    I have no problem with someone taking a nice bridge-building approach to religion. What I have a problem with is somebody throwing other atheists under the bus because they take a different approach.

    And predictably, we see some of the same old under-the-bus-throwers showing up in the comments. Screw you guys. Go do it your way, yourself, and fuck off about the rest of us, kthxbai

  10. #10 James Sweet
    October 9, 2011

    (My first comment had a formatting problem, it should have started with a sentence praising Hanson profusely.)

    The Gnus seem to have lost most of opinion-making crowd — academics, editorialists, etc., even though most of that crowd is not particularly religious themselves.

    Reading comprehension FAIL, which seems to be the norm for the bus-throwers like Nick Matzke.

    What Hanson (and the rest of us) are saying is that the presence of the gnus allows the “nice” atheists to get the opinion-making crowd on their side. Don’t you get it? Without us for comparison, you are the nasty atheist!

    Remember when Stephen Hawking was coming out with his new book on M-theory, and he made the comment that there was no need for a Creator, that physics had answered that question? The Times of London had a story on it gushing about Hawking and his wonderful rational wisdom — and comparing it to that nasty old fellow Dawkins.

    Now let’s think about this. A leading scientist, promoting a book on cosmological theory, makes a (many would say unnecessary) comment about how his book explains away God. And the major newspaper in the UK applauds him for saying so. Do you really think that’s what would have happened in a pre-gnu world? Fat chance.

  11. #11 Kel
    October 9, 2011

    So together they are reinforcing the canard that evolution is ungodly.

    So, what is to your mind the reconciliation between the two? Because it might be that atheists and/or fundamentalists have good reason for thinking there is a problem with reconciliation. The former Bishop of Oxford, for example, would argue for evolution but nonetheless found problems with the amount of suffering the process causes and reconciling that with the notion of good God. Other theologians argue for evolution being more teleological than the science would suggest – or God intervening in subtle ways in order to alleviate the problems of contingency in our existence.

    In other words, there are reasons to be concerned about how easy a reconciliation is. That there are many attempts to reconcile the two, of which there are widely varying accounts of reconciliation, should be enough to show that there are reasons to be concerned about how easy it is to reconcile.

  12. #12 Tony P
    October 9, 2011

    And recall too that in the books of the Pentateuch in the Christian religions, their God doesn’t get mad at them per se for eating from the Tree of Knowledge, no, their God was more concerned that they eat from the Tree of Life, else they, and I’m paraphrasing here, “become like us!”

    So prior to the alleged sin of Adam and Eve, humanity could ascend to the status of a God.

    Interesting isn’t it? Because we’ve got a fairly firm grasp on the knowledge side now, and because that knowledge is being used to push lifespans out to longer extents.

    Ha ha ha ha ha ha!

  13. #13 Lenoxus
    October 9, 2011

    Regarding Mormon theology, I’ve felt for years that it made a bit more sense than mainstream Christian ideas. I think dualism in general (a trait of neaely all religions) is somewhat incoherent, but the Christian trinity is absolute nonsense. The Mormon approach recalls some of the early “heresies” intended to render the trinity into something logical.

    Joseph Smith may have once suggested there were people on the moon, but at least he recognized that the moon and stars aren’t just pretty lights but actual worlds unto themselves. Meanwhile, way back when Revelation was written, one could describe the stars “falling to Earth” without people wondering what made them shrink so drastically during the trip. Of course, Smith had the benefit of living in his time.

    In any case, C. L. Hanson is absolutely right that a belief’s absurdity usually isn’t inherent but a matter of one’s background and environment. (Except of course when the ideas can actually be tested, so any first impressions of nonsense are irrelevant.)

  14. #14 386sx
    October 9, 2011

    So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.

    I never quite got the flaming sword bit. It’s one of the most awkward passages. What does it mean? Flaming sword which turned every way. Nobody else knows what it means either because different translations say wildly different things. Nobody knows what the hell it means. Lol.

  15. #15 Lenoxus
    October 9, 2011

    I never quite got the flaming sword bit. It’s one of the most awkward passages. What does it mean? Flaming sword which turned every way.

    I believe they show up as hazards in some of the old Nintendo games.

  16. #16 NyThor
    October 9, 2011

    Atheists are doomed if they try to convince the religious to change their beliefs/opinions because religion does not follow the standards of argument and proof espoused by science. Instead, atheists should simply try to ensure that their views are represented in the public sphere…seems to me that this is exactly what Dawkins and the others are doing.

  17. #17 tomh
    October 10, 2011

    NyThor wrote:
    atheists should simply try to ensure that their views are represented in the public sphere…seems to me that this is exactly what Dawkins and the others are doing.

    It is impossible for atheists to have their views represented in America, because US laws are riddled with exemptions and privileges for religion. There is almost no area that religion doesn’t enjoy exemptions from laws and regulations that apply to everyone else. From zoning (land use)laws, copyrights, child abuse laws, civil rights laws, to income and property taxes, not to mention exemptions from most IRS reporting requirements, religions benefit from exemptions. Since 1996 religious organizations are also eligible for an increasing stream of grants and contracts from state and federal governments under the Faith Based Initiative. This is just the tip of the iceberg, and the privileges are growing almost daily since it is political suicide for a politician to vote against a religious exemption to any law.

    These organizations still rely on public services — police and fire protection, street lights and storm drains, highway and bridge maintenance, national defense, etc., but their exemptions shift the burden onto other citizens. In the face of all this, just how should atheists “ensure that their views are represented in the public sphere”?

  18. #18 Deepak Shetty
    October 10, 2011

    @Collin
    New atheists accept evolution and don’t believe in God. Fundamentalists believe in God and don’t accept evolution. So together they are reinforcing the canard that evolution is ungodly.
    Sigh. Im going to assume that “reinforcing the canard” is a bad thing (incidentally do “old” atheists reject evolution or do they believe in God?). Let’s also assume you cant reason with fundamentalists.
    So what do you suggest the new Atheists do when asked if they a) accept evolution and b)believe in God.
    Or if Richard Dawkins personally felt that he was a more fulfilled atheist once he understood evolution , should he keep that to himself?

  19. #19 Ender
    October 10, 2011

    “The only reason religious people see you as nice atheist — as opposed to seeing you as a servant of Satan who deserves no place in the discussion — is because there’s someone else out there who’s less “nice” providing contrast.”

    Really the only thing to say is [Citation needed].

  20. #20 Wow
    October 10, 2011

    Why is a citation needed? Do you have an alternative explanation or reason, Ender?

  21. #21 Matti K.
    October 10, 2011

    “The only reason religious people see you as nice atheist — as opposed to seeing you as a servant of Satan who deserves no place in the discussion — is because there’s someone else out there who’s less “nice” providing contrast.”

    De-ja-vu:

    http://scienceblogs.com/framing-science/2008/08/two_images_of_atheism_hate_ver.php

  22. #22 Knightly
    October 10, 2011

    This would be a lot easier to believe if the bridge-building atheists ever got any sort of coverage in any context, ever, with the exception of when they look like militant atheists.

    As it stands, the militant ones make me look intolerant, arrogant and disrespectful. I know exactly where they can stick their moving goalpost.

    The fact of the matter is that this isn’t some two-sided game here. We don’t “win” when we have more people on our side. We don’t need to “convert” anyone. Your beliefs have no impact on my beliefs (until you start trying to pass legislation to force your beliefs to become my beliefs).

  23. #23 Wow
    October 10, 2011

    “Your beliefs have no impact on my beliefs (until you start trying to pass legislation to force your beliefs to become my beliefs).”

    Unfortunately, it does.

    The tax breaks on religion mean that you, the atheist, have to make up the shortfall and get nothing in return.

  24. #24 tomh
    October 10, 2011

    Knightly wrote:
    This would be a lot easier to believe if the bridge-building atheists ever got any sort of coverage in any context, ever, with the exception of when they look like militant atheists.

    Have your bridge-building atheists ever done anything except lay down and let religionists walk all over them? Have they ever even tried to remove a single one of the thousands of privileges that religion enjoys in American culture and laws? And what the heck is a “militant” atheist, anyway. I haven’t seen any taking up arms.

    As it stands, the militant ones make me look intolerant, arrogant and disrespectful.

    How do they do that? I’ve seen atheists write books and blogs, some of them disrespectful to religion. Why would someone associate you with those writings?

  25. #25 Wow
    October 11, 2011

    “And what the heck is a “militant” atheist, anyway. I haven’t seen any taking up arms.”

    You WILL see however a lot of people spouting Xtian phrases while tooling up.

  26. #26 Knightly
    October 11, 2011

    Well, tomh, some of us bridge-building atheists have done some things. Medical charities, for instance. The Red Cross is a secular organization (the “cross” part of it is a reference to the neutrality of Switzerland, not to Christianity). The thing is, when we do something nice we don’t really emphasize the whole “atheism” aspect of it. You don’t see the, Habitat for Humanity: We Don’t Like Seafood chapter. That’s because bridge-building atheists don’t always self-identify first and foremost by their lack of religion. They self-identify first and foremost as people who want to help people, and that transcends religion.

    Furthermore, we tend to not really care what privileges religions enjoy in our society. Or at least I don’t. Each time we drop a bomb on someone I’ve never met in a country I’ve never seen for a reason that’s never been clearly explained to me, that’s $30,000-$80,000 in taxpayer dollars (depending on how fancy the bomb is). I don’t think that’s less offensive than churches going tax-exempt, so I’d really rather focus my energy on that. I also have a number of friends who participate in their church as part of a community and support group. It’s an institution that does more than give people a place to worship, even though I’m not particularly thrilled there is a religious aspect to it at all.

    A militant atheist is someone who thinks its his business what other people believe. A militant atheist is one who cannot abide by someone else’s belief. A militant atheist is someone who protests Christmas and becomes the ONLY image the public ever sees of atheism: as a literal Grinch.

  27. #27 Ender
    October 11, 2011

    @Wow: “Why is a citation needed? Do you have an alternative explanation or reason, Ender?”

    That’s not how citations work Wow. He made the proposition, if he wants us to believe it he can provide the evidence.

  28. #28 Wow
    October 11, 2011

    “That’s not how citations work Wow”

    I never said that they worked that way. But if someone were to say here “The Sky is Blue” and you were to go “Citation Needed”, THAT isn’t how citations work.

    So, what do YOU think is going on?

    NOTE: I have NOT asked for any citation. Hence, as I said at the beginning, I’ve never said citations work that way. Asking you what YOU think is going on is not saying citation needed.

    It’s asking WHY is a citation needed.

  29. #29 Ender
    October 11, 2011

    “How do they do that? I’ve seen atheists write books and blogs, some of them disrespectful to religion. Why would someone associate you with those writings?”

    For the same reason people associate the bad behaviour of the WBC with mainstream Christians, the foolishness of some prominent Postmodernists with all postmodern ideas, the subset of A with the totality of A, the subset of B with the totality of B.

    It’s what people do. They don’t have time to fully research every group or interest group in the world, nor do they really care, they take what appears to be a representative enough sample, dabble it around with a few of the beliefs of their peers and people they respect, trump most of this with their personal experience and then make a judgement.

    If their personal experience is that all Trotskyists are aggressive ideologues with a penchant for ad hominems they probably won’t assume you’re definitely like that just because you’re a Trotskyist but it will colour their preconceptions.

  30. #30 Ender
    October 11, 2011

    “So, what do YOU think is going on?”

    What you want my half-baked theory of how “humans in general” react to a specific style of communication and two specific set of critics, in the current sociological and political situation in the midst of a recession?

    What am I going to base that on? Anecdata?

    The criticism of his position is that it is not based on any evidence, it’s pure self-aggregandising fantasy.

    I am not proposing another theory that describes ‘theists’ reactions to Gnu and moderate atheists, or saying that his idea is wrong, there is nothing I am positively asserting therefore there is nothing I can provide a citation in favour of. I am simply saying: Where is the evidence?

    “It’s asking WHY is a citation needed”

    Sorry. You’re asking why a citation is needed? Because he has made a falsifiable truth claim. If he wants us to believe that his position is rational and evidenced then he needs to provide a citation.

    It’s the only reason anyone ever asks for a citation. He has said something is the case and failed to provide evidence that it is the case.

    I don’t see how you could possibly be confused here.

  31. #31 Ender
    October 11, 2011

    Wow, I missed an entire paragraph of yours.

    “NOTE: I have NOT asked for any citation. Hence, as I said at the beginning, I’ve never said citations work that way. Asking you what YOU think is going on is not saying citation needed.

    My mistake. I assumed your request for my interpretation was a request for the evidence that supports my interpretation.

    What I think is going on: There are thousands of factors affecting billions of people across the world, these factors change on a day to day basis and we have no ability to develop totalising theories like “People are more favourable to moderate Atheism because they are glad it is not Gnu Atheism” without reams of evidence.

    Sometimes people react as he described.
    Sometimes they act the opposite (liking moderate Atheism before the Gnus and being put off once they encounter the Gnus)
    Other times they don’t change their opinion at all.

    All of these reactions can be swamped by bigger reactions to other factors, and the change attributable to Gnu atheism is almost impossible to isolate.

    I have no opinion as to whether the overall number of people ‘scared into liking moderates by Gnus’ is greater or less than the number ‘scared away from liking moderates by Gnus’, but I do know that I am not in either of their number so any theory, like his, that says “This is how you reacted and this is why” is definitely false, and any theory that says “This is how you (plural) generally are” needs evidence.

  32. #32 Wow
    October 11, 2011

    “My mistake. I assumed your request for my interpretation was a request for the evidence that supports my interpretation.”

    No, I asked solely what YOU thought was going on.

    “What I think is going on: There are thousands of factors affecting billions of people across the world,…without reams of evidence.”

    No, that’s wafflegabble. A non sequitor.

    That’s you saying “I don’t agree”.

    Nothing more.

    “I have no opinion as to whether the overall number of people ‘scared into liking moderates by Gnus’ is greater or less than the number ‘scared away from liking moderates by Gnus’”

    Then why not get one?

    Or remain without one, therefore requiring no citation.

    The question was asked so that you’d have a chance explaining why a citation was needed.

    However, you’ve just wasted time.

    It’s why a citation isn’t needed. You just demanded one because you’re a timewaster.

  33. #33 Wow
    October 11, 2011

    “What you want my half-baked theory”

    You’ve had no problem before giving out your even-less-than-half-baked opinions-stated-as-theory before.

    “The criticism of his position is that it is not based on any evidence, it’s pure self-aggregandising fantasy.”

    And how do you know it’s “pure self-aggregandising fantasy” when you state that there’s no evidence?

    Are your un-evidenced claims pure self-aggrandisment?

  34. #34 H.H.
    October 11, 2011

    The New Atheists have without a doubt had a positive impact. They force religious apologists to go on the defensive. All their whinging about the rudeness and stridency of the New Atheists is proof that they are losing the debate and they know it. You can’t go into the comment section of any mainstream news article that even tangentially mentions religious without seeing religious faith being questioned and scorned. That’s progress! Religion is losing its privileged social status as an unquestionable authority, and without it cannot hope to wield the influence to which it had grown accustomed. Now the apologists are forced to try to make a persuasive case for religion on the basis of facts and evidence, which won’t go very well for them.

    At their best, the Accommodationists function like store greeters: welcoming newcomers, answering questions, and generally trying to be friendly and helpful. But it’s the New Atheists who get people interested in checking out the store to begin with.

  35. #35 Dan L.
    October 11, 2011

    A militant atheist is someone who thinks its his business what other people believe. A militant atheist is one who cannot abide by someone else’s belief. A militant atheist is someone who protests Christmas and becomes the ONLY image the public ever sees of atheism: as a literal Grinch.

    I could count the number of atheists I’ve ever heard of literally protesting Christmas on one bloody stump.

    You want me to take your diatribe perspective seriously then please explain to me: why don’t I ever hear the phrase “militant Christian”? Especially when there actually is such a thing?

    Besides that, you’re clearly trying to argue us from the position that no one should enjoy any privileges over anyone else on the basis of religion to the position that such privileges are hunky dory. If you’re so freaking tolerant of what other people believe why are you trying to convince us of anything in the first place?

  36. #36 Kel
    October 11, 2011

    In other words, a militant atheist is one who thinks that religion should be held to the same level of discourse that we have in every other area of life. We discuss politics, despite huge disagreements. Arguments over politics are touching on beliefs that are often personal, and the goal of discussion on politics is to have the possibility of changing another’s mind – and that can go both ways. Why should religion be exempt from the discourse that we have in other areas, especially when it has an impact on our society?

    People use religion to try to ban abortion, to limit civil rights, to outlaw and destroy what they find offensive, to justify the poor treatment of others. Religion has an effect on society – so why is it too much to ask to be able to talk about those effects?

  37. #37 Cubist
    October 12, 2011

    When a Christian is described as “militant”, it’s because they’ve firebombed an abortion clinic, or done something equally violent.
    When a Muslim is described as “militant”, it’s because they’ve done something in the general neighborhood of strapping on a nitroglycerine-laden corset and detonating it in a crowded marketplace.
    When an atheist is described as “militant”, it’s because they’ve written a book, or otherwise spoken up about how damn-fool silly religion is.
    Any questions?

  38. #38 Ender
    October 13, 2011

    @Cubist

    1) “When a Christian is described as “militant”, it’s because they’ve firebombed an abortion clinic, or done something equally violent.”

    Not true: http://www.advicenators.com/qview.php?q=363157
    http://www.bibleheadquarters.org/kevin/MilitantChristianity.htm
    http://www.armyofgod.com/POCPaulRossEvansMilitantChristian.html
    http://www.facebook.com/topic.php?uid=121313617885918&topic=159

    2) Muslims referred to as ‘militant’ generally are violent. That’s because we are referring to them from the position of the victims of terror attacks from a Muslim ‘other’. I suspect that if you search in Arabic/Other languages you will find ‘militant’ or equivalent applied to those who do not advocate violence.

    3) “When an atheist is described as “militant”, it’s because they’ve written a book, or otherwise spoken up about how damn-fool silly religion is.”

    That’s not the only time: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Militant_atheism

    “Any questions?”

    Yes. Will you change your opinion now that you have been shown that Christians are also referred to militant when they are not violence and the following links that define at least one meaning of ‘militant’ as “to be a passionate or aggressive proponent of something often social reform” :

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Militant
    http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/militant (No. 1)
    http://east.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/militant (No. 2)
    http://www.thefreedictionary.com/militant (No. 1)

    Will this new evidence change your opinion or will you just rationalise it away?

  39. #39 Ender
    October 13, 2011

    Ender: “What I think is going on: There are thousands of factors affecting billions of people across the world,…without reams of evidence.”

    Wow: No, that’s wafflegabble. A non sequitor.”

    Are you thick? Do you have problems processing concepts? Is your intelligence truly so pathetic that you can’t understand a simple statement of fact about the world being very complicated and hard to predict? The necessity for evidence when analysing complex systems?

    That’s embarrassing.

    p.s. it’s sequitur

    Ender: “I have no opinion as to whether the overall number of people ‘scared into liking moderates by Gnus’ is greater or less than the number ‘scared away from liking moderates by Gnus’”

    Then why not get one?

    Because I’m a rational person who does not form opinions when there is no evidence. Only cretinous idiots such as yourself form opinions and pathetically try to defend them when there is no evidence.

    Have you no intellectual honesty? Have you no pride? Does your rank ignorance and your promotion of ideas that may be true as actually true not shame you and your entire family?

    Or remain without one, therefore requiring no citation.

    I… what? Hello? I have remained without an opinion because he’s failed to provide a citation. I will always need a citation and some evidence before I believe an assertion because unlike you I have a brain, care what’s true and what isn’t, and require evidence before I make a decision.

    The question was asked so that you’d have a chance explaining why a citation was needed. However, you’ve just wasted time. It’s why a citation isn’t needed. You just demanded one because you’re a timewaster.

    Look, if you’re incapable of understanding why a proposition needs to be evidenced, if your education is truly that limited, your understanding of logic, truth and the rules of evidence so incredibly unbelievably flawed that you think it’s fine to promote things as true without evidence then yes, this is a waste of my time, because there’s no way to educate you.

    As it is, at least a few bystanders will be having a laugh at your pathetic arguments.

    “You’ve had no problem before giving out your even-less-than-half-baked opinions-stated-as-theory before.”

    Bollocks. Go on, quote anything I’ve stated as theory.
    Can’t because you’re chatting bollocks? Not surprising.

    “And how do you know it’s “pure self-aggregandising fantasy” when you state that there’s no evidence?”

    Because that’s part of the definition of “pure self-aggregandising fantasy” – unevidenced claims that you promote because they massage your ego.

    “Are your un-evidenced claims pure self-aggrandisment?”

    Which claim? That his claim has no evidential support? The evidence for that is on this page where he provides no evidential support.

    So no, it’s neither un-evidenced, nor self-aggrandisement as it does not flatter my ego.

  40. #40 Wow
    October 24, 2011

    Ender: “That’s not the only time: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Militant_atheism

    Whose contents contain nothing but links to:

    1) Government suppression of religion (all religions suppress other religions)

    2) New Atheism (which isn’t militant)

    3) a group calling themselves Militant Atheists

    Sorry, a big fat fail there.

    And your links aren’t available to me, but given the paucity of the information in your wiki link, I doubt there’s any “shown that Christians are also referred to militant when they are not violence (sic)” in them.

    Also look up the meaning of “phraseology”. A Top Hat isn’t a hat that sits on top.

    Ender: “Are you thick? Do you have problems processing concepts?”

    Nope. I’m pointing out that you’re a moronic idiot producing blafflegab. Something you don’t like being shown in print.

    “p.s. it’s sequitur”

    It is sequitor (in fact the spellchecker underlines the sequitur for me).

    Ender: “Because I’m a rational person who does not form opinions when there is no evidence”

    If you have no opinion, then shut up.

    “I have remained without an opinion because he’s failed to provide a citation.”

    And a citation isn’t needed. You have stated many theories of yours without citation. I am of the opinion you’re an annoyin god bothering moronic troll. This doesn’t require citation.

    “Look, if you’re incapable of understanding why a proposition needs to be evidenced”

    A proposition DOES NOT HAVE TO BE evidenced.

    A theory has been given to you and you’ve just decided that it’s going to be wrong until you have been given a “citation”. Yet you have no competing explanation. In fact, no evidence (or citation) that the theory given to you is wrong.

    “So no, it’s neither un-evidenced, nor self-aggrandisement as it does not flatter my ego.”

    Since you’ve not given evidence, it is by definition un-evidenced.

    Your inability to think yet your annoying repetitive whining shows that you’re pretending to be a rationalist when you’re not because you believe that makes you a “better person”.

    Self-aggrandizement and ego flattering.

    Moron.

  41. #41 Janet
    November 2, 2011

    Fantastic post I very much enjoyed it, keep up the good work.