Author Topic: What's the best way to push theism into the minority?  (Read 10384 times)

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Online bertatberts

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Re: What's the best way to push theism into the minority?
« Reply #29 on: September 20, 2011, 09:02:54 AM »
Quote from: The Wannabe
what is the best way to argue for atheism.
You can't argue for atheism, but you can argue against theism, atheism is merely the default position. The best way in IMHO, is to outlaw indoctrination/inculcation. And to not allow those two things to go under the guise of education, there should be no faith schools, and if people want to worship they should do it in their own homes. We should not have things rubbed in our faces, we have religious BS written on currency, we have churches on every street corner, we have people shouting at us from street corners, we have religious BS posted through our doors, this is all wrong.
But from small Acorns mighty Oaks do grow, so we should start by trying to stop the indoctrination/inculcation of children, we need to somehow get it reclassified as abuse.
We should try to get it added to the universal declaration of human rights http://www.un.org/en/documents/udhr/ because at the moment the religious are breaking several of the rights of their children.
We theists have no evidence for our beliefs. So no amount of rational evidence will dissuade us from those beliefs. - JCisall

It would be pretty piss poor brainwashing, if the victims knew they were brainwashed, wouldn't it? - Screwtape. 04/12/12

Offline The Wannabe

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Re: What's the best way to push theism into the minority?
« Reply #30 on: September 20, 2011, 05:40:59 PM »
IWhat do you believe is the best way to argue for the merits of the agnostic/atheistic philosophy, besides the sometimes demeaning presuppositional arguments?

This has nothing to do with the title of the thread.  If you want to marginalize religion socially and politically, then you are not going to do it by arguing with people.  You need a plan to change society.  It is difficult and will cost billions of dollars, but it can be done. 



My bold.  This has everything to with the thread title.  Some theist like to claim that if you're an atheist you live an empty, bankrupt life devoid of values or purpose.   I agree that "coming out" is one of the best ways counteract this, and there are several organizations in America that have already done this.  But, If we "the atheist" do not make an effort to argue for our ideology and values on a personal level, then theist will happily speak for us.  The intellectual celebrities of the new atheist movement have already laid a solid groundwork , now it's up to us and others to be vocal, active proponents of this movement. 

Changing society may be difficult, but I believe it's happening.  As you so graciously pointed out, the gay and feminist rights movements have already made tremendous progress in this area.  If we can successfully challenge the devout to thoroughly re-examine their own beliefs, if we can encourage young people to think critically and come to their own conclusions on religion, then we may see this change happen in our lifetime.
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Offline curiousgirl

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Re: What's the best way to push theism into the minority?
« Reply #31 on: September 20, 2011, 06:30:42 PM »
To answer your question, because it is the simplest, most direct and primitive solution.  How do you fix a problem with ants in your kitchen?  Get rid of the ants.  How about if you have mice?  Get rid of the mice.  What about butthole religious people who want to base your government on a 2000 year old anthology of hebrew myths?  Get rid of them.  It is not a real solution or a practical solution (mainly because we don't have the political power to make it happen) or a moral solution (maybe debatable).  But it is often the first thing that pops into our 250,000 year old monkey brains. 

If someone sees genocide as a viable solution for dealing with "butthole religious people," how are they any different than the terrorists who crashed airplanes into the World Trade Center on 9/11, or the Nazis that advocated the Final Solution? "Butthole religious people" are people too, no matter how bothersome they are. If you were to advocate murdering them, how would you be any better than the religious fanatics who murder abortion doctors? We're not apes fighting over territory. We homo sapiens have higher reasoning ability, and that has lead us to figure out solutions other than murdering a perceived enemy. I personally agreed with the solution that Jetson proposed: go after the more moderate theists to deconvert them, and then the fanatics have less supporters.

Quote
History is full of this.  The hebrews wanted the canaanites gone.  The germans wanted the jews gone.  The bosnians, serbs and croats all wanted... someone[1] gone.  The israelis want the palestinians gone.  It is the way of talking monkeys.
 1. each other?  I was never clear on what their deal was, just that they were all kind of buttholes.

Therefore, we should learn from our history as human beings, and figure out a way to deal with one another that does not involve genocide. Or are we just going to be a species with amnesia that makes the same mistakes over and over again?
"Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence."-Carl Sagan

Offline screwtape

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Re: What's the best way to push theism into the minority?
« Reply #32 on: September 20, 2011, 09:01:45 PM »
This has everything to with the thread title.

Nope.  Arguing usually does very little other than aggravate both parties and entrench them both deeper in their respective positions.  And even if occasionally it does some good, the numbers are not on our side.

Let me give you a different example.  Have you ever seen two people argue politics?   Have you ever, in your life seen anyone say, "shit, you're right. From now on, I'm voting for your guys!"  Don't answer.  Chances are, you haven't.  Because that almost never happens.  Religion is exactly like politics in that way.

Some theist like to claim that if you're an atheist you live an empty, bankrupt life devoid of values or purpose.

You are not going to argue them out of that.  You have a chance at demonstrating it, however.

The intellectual celebrities of the new atheist movement have already laid a solid groundwork , now it's up to us and others to be vocal, active proponents of this movement. 

You are crazy if you think they have done much more than get the low hanging fruit.

... the gay and feminist rights movements have already made tremendous progress in this area.

But not by arguing.

If we can successfully challenge the devout to thoroughly re-examine their own beliefs,

We can't.  You have to find other tools. 


edit spelling, goddammit.
« Last Edit: September 20, 2011, 09:27:56 PM by screwtape »
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Re: What's the best way to push theism into the minority?
« Reply #33 on: September 20, 2011, 09:14:58 PM »
I think modern secular society already does this for us, with america being an obvious exception.  I do secretly wonder if its our lack of taxes on religious organized religion as opposed to other secular democracies, but frankly I don't know of other examples.  However, I would add that its zealous authoritarianism to expect to eradicate what are in effect cultural beliefs without causing harm and promoting human suffering to the people who hold them.  It should be our job to oppose ignorance, religious or not, rather than a circumspect dogma that makes us as guilty of what various historical religious groups have been guilty of in the past.
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Offline screwtape

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Re: What's the best way to push theism into the minority?
« Reply #34 on: September 20, 2011, 09:26:58 PM »
If someone sees genocide as a viable solution for dealing with "butthole religious people," how are they any different than the terrorists who crashed airplanes into the World Trade Center on 9/11, or the Nazis that advocated the Final Solution?

They aren't.  Who said they were?  And remember, terrorists and Nazis are not monsters.  They are people.  Just like you.  Only, with a slightly different outlook.

"Butthole religious people" are people too,

That's debatable.

If you were to advocate murdering them, how would you be any better than the religious fanatics who murder abortion doctors?

Other than the sheer fact of being me (which is really enough to make be better than just about everyone), I wouldn't be.   So, I would be better in any event, whatever I advocate or don't.  But if we are talking about anyone else, then you are right, they wouldn't be.

We're not apes fighting over territory.

We most certainly are.  Maybe even worse.

We homo sapiens have higher reasoning ability,

OMG.  I don't know if I should laugh or cry.  Are you old enough to drive?  Have you ever watched people, with their higher reasoning ability attempt to merge two lanes of traffic into one?  Half of the people think the object is to never, ever, under any circumstance, allow anyone to merge in front of them.  They would just as soon set your car on fire and murder your entire family as let you in.  Higher reasoning on display.

We are just smart enough to be dangerous.  We as a species ride on the shoulders of our most civilized and brilliant individuals.  Those who are not them - which is about 99.9% of us - would eat our own children if that .1% was not there to prevent it.

go after the more moderate theists to deconvert them, and then the fanatics have less supporters.

Are you sure jetson didn't say, "go after the moderates and eat them"?  Because I am pretty sure that's what he meant.

Or are we just going to be a species with amnesia that makes the same mistakes over and over again?

This^.


Look, kiddo, you asked why murder would even come to mind.  I explained why I think it comes to mind.  The short answer: we cannot entirely control our thoughts and we are not nearly as evolved as we think.  That does not mean I advocate killing anyone as a solution.  I don't.  But I understand the impulse.   I think the thought crosses a lot of people's minds.  I also think almost all of them instantly reject it.

Do not confuse me understanding my darker impulses with embracing them.  As you can see from this post, I am a cynic and I have a rather dim and pessimistic view of people.  Don't take that personally, though.  I think you're a peach.  Just don't be angry at me until I deserve it.  Okay?

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Offline curiousgirl

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Re: What's the best way to push theism into the minority?
« Reply #35 on: September 20, 2011, 09:38:00 PM »
Thanks for the patronizing reply, Screwtape. Way to write off everything I have said in a condescending and immature manner, "kiddo". Rather than reply seriously, you are sarcastic and you are basically saying, "nuh-uh".
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Offline The Wannabe

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Re: What's the best way to push theism into the minority?
« Reply #36 on: September 20, 2011, 09:39:26 PM »

Nope.  Arguing usually does very little other than agravate both parties and entrench them both deeper in their respective positions.  And even if occasionally it does some good, the numbers are not on our side.

Let me give you a different example.  Have you ever seen two people argue politics?   Have you ever, in your life seen anyone say, "shit, you're right. From now on, I'm voting for your guys!"  Don't answer.  Chances are, you haven't.  Because that almost never happens.  Religion is exactly like politics in that way. 

What is the point of this site?  To persuade those sitting on the proverbial fence.  How does this site do that?  Through the use of logical argument.

You are not going to argue them out of that.  You have a chance at demonstrating it, however.

Users on this site successfully argued me out of my theistic beliefs.


You are crazy if you think they have done much more than get the low hanging fruit.

Maybe getting the low hanging fruit is all that has been accomplished as of now, but at least it's a start.  Their are countless blogs, vlogs and reviews on the internet that all tell a story of de-conversion from theism, and most, if not all, of these de-conversions were the result of arguments presented by atheist that appealed to these formerly religious individuals.


But not by arguing.

If you don't want to call it arguing for their rights, fine.  How would you best describe their actions?


We can't.  You have to find other tools.

Can you expound on that a tad bit more?  Do you mean other tools besides argument?  If so, what are these other tools?
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Offline The Wannabe

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Re: What's the best way to push theism into the minority?
« Reply #37 on: September 20, 2011, 09:44:50 PM »
Thanks for the patronizing reply, Screwtape. Way to write off everything I have said in a condescending and immature manner, "kiddo". Rather than reply seriously, you are sarcastic and you are basically saying, "nuh-uh".

Haha, it is getting somewhat tiresome.  It's bad enough that he seems to like arguing purely for the sake of arguing, but he has inclination to be somewhat condescending in his posts.  Keep up the good work, Screwtape.  You're definitely living up to your namesake.  &) 
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Offline screwtape

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Re: What's the best way to push theism into the minority?
« Reply #38 on: September 20, 2011, 10:19:03 PM »
Thanks for the patronizing reply, Screwtape. Way to write off everything I have said in a condescending and immature manner, "kiddo". Rather than reply seriously, you are sarcastic and you are basically saying, "nuh-uh".

?  To be honest, I thought it was a fairly friendly reply.  Let's see...

They aren't.  Who said they were?  And remember, terrorists and Nazis are not monsters.  They are people.  Just like you.  Only, with a slightly different outlook.

A completely earnest answer to what appeared to be your accusations that I was no better than a terrorist Nazi.  In other words, you missed my point when I explained to you why murder may come across someone's mind. 

That's debatable.

a pointless one liner to match your pointless one liner.  What did you want me to say?  "duh, I know religious people are people."  I mean, does that really need to be stated between adults? Of friggin course they're people.  "people" is one half of the words in the phrase "religious people".

Other than the sheer fact of being me (which is really enough to make be better than just about everyone), I wouldn't be.   So, I would be better in any event, whatever I advocate or don't.  But if we are talking about anyone else, then you are right, they wouldn't be.

a little whimsy to warm up to my point which was, I agree with you and you misunderstood my precious post.  You don't like whimsy? 

We most certainly are.  Maybe even worse.

no sarcasm.  no condescention.  This was a straight forward and honest opinion that I hold.  And technically, we are apesWiki.   

OMG.  I don't know if I should laugh or cry.  Are you old enough to drive?  Have you ever watched people, with their higher reasoning ability attempt to merge two lanes of traffic into one?  Half of the people think the object is to never, ever, under any circumstance, allow anyone to merge in front of them.  They would just as soon set your car on fire and murder your entire family as let you in.  Higher reasoning on display.

We are just smart enough to be dangerous.  We as a species ride on the shoulders of our most civilized and brilliant individuals.  Those who are not them - which is about 99.9% of us - would eat our own children if that .1% was not there to prevent it.

Your statement about "higher reasoning" struck me as extremely naive and silly.  I am sorry if you found my reply condescending.  But I do find traffic to be an indicator that we as a species are not so awesome as we think.  There is not a word in those two paragraphs that I don't mean, except the condescending parts.

Are you sure jetson didn't say, "go after the moderates and eat them"?  Because I am pretty sure that's what he meant.

tongue in cheek. 

This^.

I honestly believe we are "a species with amnesia that makes the same mistakes over and over again."  Got a problem with that?  What do you want?  Examples of how awful we continue to be to each other?  links to wiki pages for ethnic cleansing?  links to news sites for stories of people killing each other for the pettiest things?  It seems self evident to me.

Look, kiddo, you asked why murder would even come to mind.  I explained why I think it comes to mind.  The short answer: we cannot entirely control our thoughts and we are not nearly as evolved as we think.  That does not mean I advocate killing anyone as a solution.  I don't.  But I understand the impulse.   I think the thought crosses a lot of people's minds.  I also think almost all of them instantly reject it.

Do not confuse me understanding my darker impulses with embracing them.  As you can see from this post, I am a cynic and I have a rather dim and pessimistic view of people.  Don't take that personally, though.  I think you're a peach.  Just don't be angry at me until I deserve it.  Okay?

No sarcasm.  No condescention.  No dismissiveness.  I thought I was clarifying the post you were responding to in a very straightforward way.  I called you kiddo because I thought you were like 13.  Your wide-eyed indignant responses had that youthful luster to it.   I did not mean it to hurt your feelings. 

So, to summarize, it appeared to me that you completely missed the point of my original post here. I was trying to correct that.  You completely missed that point also.  Are we now on the same page?


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Offline screwtape

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Re: What's the best way to push theism into the minority?
« Reply #39 on: September 20, 2011, 10:37:00 PM »
What is the point of this site?

Discussion.  The guy who wrote wwgha - Marshall Brain - originally wrote it because he thought it would change minds.  It did.  A couple, here and there.  but not on the scale he hoped.  He was disappointed to learn that people are not usually persuaded by logic, facts or reason out of religion.  He would have abandoned this forum a long time ago, but it costs him little and other people do the work.

So, while many of us in the forum would like to change minds, it does not actually work that way very often.  I've been wasting time here for 5 years. Counting you, there are less than 20 people who have been positively identified as having been "deconverted".  And if I am not mistaken, you pretty much asked to be.  You showed up ready to lose god.  That right there is about 99% of the battle.  If you are there, the rest is inevitable.

To persuade those How does this site do that?  Through the use of logical argument.

that is how this site fails to do it.  Just like prayers, if you are going to count the positive instances, you have to count the negatives.  If you do that, it overwhelmingly fails. 

Maybe getting the low hanging fruit is all that has been accomplished as of now, but at least it's a start. 

I'm not so optimistic about it. 

Their are countless blogs, vlogs and reviews on the internet that all tell a story of de-conversion from theism,

That is not evidence.  That is anecdotal.  If we were talking about amputees who regenerated limbs, it would not be acceptable.  So, there is no reason to accept it now either.

and most, if not all, of these de-conversions were the result of arguments presented by atheist that appealed to these formerly religious individuals.

Even granting that those are not just anecdotes, you need the data to back up the claim. Statistics.  And if you want to be rigorous about it, have a psych grad design a questionnaire to get to the real reasons why they deconverted.  There is a lot more to it than you might think.


If you don't want to call it arguing for their rights, fine.  How would you best describe their actions?

Fighting.  Demonstrating.  Working.  Lobbying.  Sacrificing.  I do not think there is any one word.  My initial post in this thread gave some examples.

Can you expound on that a tad bit more?  Do you mean other tools besides argument?  If so, what are these other tools?

Yes, other tools besides argument.  No, I am not going to expound any more.  I've been over this argument about a dozen times.  It wearies me.  Check my post history.  It's in there somewhere.


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Offline curiousgirl

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Re: What's the best way to push theism into the minority?
« Reply #40 on: September 20, 2011, 10:42:02 PM »
Your statement about "higher reasoning" struck me as extremely naive and silly.  I am sorry if you found my reply condescending.  But I do find traffic to be an indicator that we as a species are not so awesome as we think.  There is not a word in those two paragraphs that I don't mean, except the condescending parts.

That is what I currently have a problem with (my bolding). You provided traffic as part of your argument, I will provide scientific evidence as part of mine (my bolding below):

http://anthro.palomar.edu/primate/prim_8.htm

Quote
The modern human brain is 3 times larger in volume than those of the great apes.  More importantly, the human brain to body size ratio is significantly larger, and it has a much bigger cerebral cortex with a higher concentration of neurons.  Evolving a larger brain comes at a steep energy cost.  The human brain uses about 25% of the energy derived from the nutrients that we consume and 20% of the oxygen.  Recent research has suggested that our intelligence advantage may be due to evolutionary changes in the HAR1F regulator gene beginning about 6 million years ago in our pre-human ancestors but not in those of chimpanzees or other apes.  This gene is involved in the production of brain tissue between the 7th and 19th week after conception.  It is not surprising that there are some striking differences between the great apes and humans in mental abilities.  People have much more complex forms of verbal communication than any other primate species.  We are the only animal to create and use symbols as a means of communication.  We also have more varied and complex social organizations.  The most distinctive feature of humans is our mental ability to create new ideas and complex technologies.  This has proven invaluable in the competition for survival.

Or is that not enough to convince you that homo sapiens have higher reasoning skills?
"Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence."-Carl Sagan

Offline screwtape

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Re: What's the best way to push theism into the minority?
« Reply #41 on: September 20, 2011, 10:54:17 PM »
curiousgirl,

Does that mean you agree we are apes?  We really aren't on the same page here, I am afraid.

The context of your original statement:
We homo sapiens have higher reasoning ability, and that has lead us to figure out solutions other than murdering a perceived enemy.

The quote you provided does not invalidate my point.  Our skills are overrated. We may have them, but few are motivated enough to use them.  If not killing enemies is any indication, we are doing poorly.   

Rather than rage at me some more, perhaps you could, in your own words, explain what you think I am trying to say? 

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Offline Add Homonym

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Re: What's the best way to push theism into the minority?
« Reply #42 on: September 20, 2011, 11:21:56 PM »
Our skills are overrated. We may have them, but few are motivated enough to use them.

Kerry Pickler, using higher reasoning to deduce that Budapest is probably the capital of France, if in fact France is a country. Note she says something quite profound at 1min :10.


Listening to the common folk has some interesting implications for writing information-based websites. I live with someone who trained as an engineer, and instantly understands everything I say, no matter how bizarre. It's hard for me to understand that some people don't even know what "altruism" means.


Humans, in general, don't waste any opportunity to be unfathomably stupid - Dr Cynical.

Offline curiousgirl

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Re: What's the best way to push theism into the minority?
« Reply #43 on: September 20, 2011, 11:46:27 PM »

Screwtape, this is what I said:

Quote
We're not apes fighting over territory. We homo sapiens have higher reasoning ability, and that has lead us to figure out solutions other than murdering a perceived enemy.

Above was my earlier statement. Let me clarify: there is a difference between other apes such as gorillas and ourselves (homo sapiens). So, if you prefer, I can say we are not gorillas, or orangutans or chimpanzees fighting over territory. Or I could say we are not some of the less intelligent apes fighting over territory.  I thought you would get the point that we are more evolved. The higher reasoning excerpt I provided earlier states this:

Quote
It is not surprising that there are some striking differences between the great apes and humans in mental abilities.

I was only differentiating between the two in my earlier post. I'm sorry that I was not clear about that.

BTW, I don't think you need to think of my posts as "raging," although I do like to debate and challenge others. I was only irritated by your earlier condescension, but I think you cleared that up.

As far as what you are saying, it is crystal clear:

Quote
The quote you provided does not invalidate my point.  Our skills are overrated. We may have them, but few are motivated enough to use them.  If not killing enemies is any indication, we are doing poorly.

I was arguing that we had the skills, and "that has lead us to figure out solutions other than murdering a perceived enemy." Yes, homo sapiens commit murder, but it is generally viewed as shocking and taboo, whereas it is not as significant to other animals who do not possess the same reasoning skills. We can use our higher reasoning skills for diplomacy and rationality rather than simply killing enemies. If motivation is a problem, can't we come up with some way to motivate others to find another option besides violence? BTW, I know I am very idealistic, thus the "youthful luster" of my posts. I just jumped off the Jesus bandwagon, so I haven't had enough time to become cynical yet.  ;D
"Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence."-Carl Sagan

Offline Xero-Kill

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Re: What's the best way to push theism into the minority?
« Reply #44 on: September 21, 2011, 02:03:53 AM »
@Curious

I would have to agree with Screwtape. If you need a better example than merging with traffic I would offer the current wars being waged in Iraq and Afghanistan as examples of highly evolved apes fighting over territory.[1] We have a sense of self, nothing more. That sense of self leads us to believe that we are above it all, but 99.9% of what we are is just as animal and primitive as any poop flinging chimp.[2]
 1. Or any war...ever.
 2. See also; a truck stop bathroom for examples of highly evolved apes flinging poop.
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Offline curiousgirl

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Re: What's the best way to push theism into the minority?
« Reply #45 on: September 21, 2011, 10:19:39 AM »
Xero, I think war is definitely a part of the darker side of humanity. My point is that we certainly can figure out (using our higher reasoning skills) actions that are part of a brighter side, if you will, of humanity. Diplomacy, rationality, charity and compassion are some of the behaviors that we have already figured out. My question in my last post was, "If motivation is a problem, can't we come up with some way to motivate others to find another option besides violence?"
"Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence."-Carl Sagan

Offline curiousgirl

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Re: What's the best way to push theism into the minority?
« Reply #46 on: September 21, 2011, 10:56:28 AM »
Quote
We're not apes fighting over territory.

For the record, I would like to retract this statement. I was trying to illustrate that homo sapiens are somewhat different from other apes because of our higher reasoning ability. I understand that the above statement was a piss poor way of doing so. My apologies, guys.

I think the other quote from the link I provided illustrated my point better:

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It is not surprising that there are some striking differences between the great apes and humans in mental abilities.

Anyway, back to my last post. Could we discuss this:

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My point is that we certainly can figure out (using our higher reasoning skills) actions that are part of a brighter side, if you will, of humanity. Diplomacy, rationality, charity and compassion are some of the behaviors that we have already figured out. My question in my last post was, "If motivation is a problem, can't we come up with some way to motivate others to find another option besides violence?"
"Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence."-Carl Sagan

Offline The Wannabe

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Re: What's the best way to push theism into the minority?
« Reply #47 on: September 21, 2011, 06:12:45 PM »


Discussion.  The guy who wrote wwgha - Marshall Brain - originally wrote it because he thought it would change minds.  It did.  A couple, here and there.  but not on the scale he hoped.  He was disappointed to learn that people are not usually persuaded by logic, facts or reason out of religion.  He would have abandoned this forum a long time ago, but it costs him little and other people do the work.

So, while many of us in the forum would like to change minds, it does not actually work that way very often.  I've been wasting time here for 5 years. Counting you, there are less than 20 people who have been positively identified as having been "deconverted".  And if I am not mistaken, you pretty much asked to be.  You showed up ready to lose god.  That right there is about 99% of the battle.  If you are there, the rest is inevitable.

Wow, to hear that so few have been convinced by the arguments on this site is genuinely surprising to me.   

And yes, i came here as a skeptic in regards to Christianity.  I was looking for a good reason to hold onto my faith, but found known here or else where.  I guess you could say i showed up acknowledging that losing "gad" was indeed an option.

that is how this site fails to do it.  Just like prayers, if you are going to count the positive instances, you have to count the negatives.  If you do that, it overwhelmingly fails. 

I'm sure there are more deconverts out their who are not vocal about their decision, but i also can understand that these individuals are greatly outnumbered by those who ignorantly cling to their beliefs.  I'm hoping this will change in time.

Maybe getting the low hanging fruit is all that has been accomplished as of now, but at least it's a start. 

I'm not so optimistic about it. 

Would you say you're pessimistic in regards to humanities future?  I know their have been several set backs and backslides, but do we not have some positive momentum that can, and has lead to improvement in society?



That is not evidence.  That is anecdotal.  If we were talking about amputees who regenerated limbs, it would not be acceptable.  So, there is no reason to accept it now either.

I will not argue with you on that.  I need to research the topic more thoroughly.

Even granting that those are not just anecdotes, you need the data to back up the claim. Statistics.  And if you want to be rigorous about it, have a psych grad design a questionnaire to get to the real reasons why they deconverted.  There is a lot more to it than you might think.

Again, i won't argue with you on this.  I'm sure that their are a multitude of reasons why someone would wish to deconvert, and not all of them are necessarily logical.


Fighting.  Demonstrating.  Working.  Lobbying.  Sacrificing.  I do not think there is any one word.  My initial post in this thread gave some examples.

Then my question to you is:  If secular atheist fought, demonstrated, worked, lobbied, and sacrificed for their ideology, do you believe that society could potentially improve?

"I would believe only in a God that knows how to Dance."  -Friedrich Nietzsche

Offline The Wannabe

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Re: What's the best way to push theism into the minority?
« Reply #48 on: September 21, 2011, 06:16:56 PM »
Our skills are overrated. We may have them, but few are motivated enough to use them.

Kerry Pickler, using higher reasoning to deduce that Budapest is probably the capital of France, if in fact France is a country. Note she says something quite profound at 1min :10.


Listening to the common folk has some interesting implications for writing information-based websites. I live with someone who trained as an engineer, and instantly understands everything I say, no matter how bizarre. It's hard for me to understand that some people don't even know what "altruism" means.

I'm sorry, but that video's gotta be scripted. 
"I would believe only in a God that knows how to Dance."  -Friedrich Nietzsche

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Re: What's the best way to push theism into the minority?
« Reply #49 on: September 21, 2011, 06:27:45 PM »
Wannabe - When I stumbled across this site, I was practically mesmerized by the question, "Why won't God heal amputees?"  It struck me as the single most devastating argument against the existence of Bible God, and it really still does.  I mean, there is simply no escaping the FACT that theists claim with absolute certainty that God intervenes in the physiological matter of humans, and repairs stuff.  Yet, no amputees.  Why not?  Not powerful enough?  Hates amputees?  Teaching them a lesson?  Give me a fucking break!  God is imaginary, and this website slam dunks it.

It does amaze me though how clear it is to me, for example.  Which makes me really wonder how a modern human can be so deluded, and convinced that God is real.

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Re: What's the best way to push theism into the minority?
« Reply #50 on: September 21, 2011, 07:17:49 PM »
Xero, I think war is definitely a part of the darker side of humanity. My point is that we certainly can figure out (using our higher reasoning skills) actions that are part of a brighter side, if you will, of humanity. Diplomacy, rationality, charity and compassion are some of the behaviors that we have already figured out. My question in my last post was, "If motivation is a problem, can't we come up with some way to motivate others to find another option besides violence?"

The problem is a tendency to deify any intellectual solutions. So, what you do is deify compassion, and kill anyone who won't agree with you.

Humans, in general, don't waste any opportunity to be unfathomably stupid - Dr Cynical.

Offline YY

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Re: What's the best way to push theism into the minority?
« Reply #51 on: September 21, 2011, 07:23:01 PM »
I see a lot of "what if god/satan existed" threads on this forum.  While i'm all up for presupposing the theist arguments to show them how truly ridiculous their beliefs are, is this the only way to prod the faithful into seeing the godless light?  I mean, why not try to come at the problem from a different angle.  What do you believe is the best way to argue for the merits of the agnostic/atheistic philosophy, besides the sometimes demeaning presuppositional arguments?

I think your main problem is that atheists believe that all or most theists have a very rigid view of their religion and that if you can poke a crack into the veil of belief, you will pop the balloon and they will see the atheist light.

No matter what sane and logical argument you make, most theists are theists because it's their core belief. There are some that you might "convert", or should I say "revert", but most others are pretty much gonna keep on believing what they already have been believing their entire life.

It would be like you trying to convince a straight person to be gay. He either is or he isn't.

Offline YY

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Re: What's the best way to push theism into the minority?
« Reply #52 on: September 21, 2011, 07:27:25 PM »
"Evidence based" is the only way. Theism is more than Christianity; it's new age, superstition, politics, (and many more).

Agreed.  The sad thing is, theist will for the most part always turtle shell into their relative experiences of this being called "Gad" instead of open mindfully weighing the actual facts and evidence.  Being completely stonewalled by a believer's "personal experiences" is beyond frustrating.

Or maybe there is something you don't understand about their "personal experiences"? Wouldn't it make sense that their personal experience outweighs the evidence you present?

Offline curiousgirl

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Re: What's the best way to push theism into the minority?
« Reply #53 on: September 21, 2011, 07:28:59 PM »
Or maybe there is something you don't understand about their "personal experiences"? Wouldn't it make sense that their personal experience outweighs the evidence you present?

Personal experience is highly subjective. So no, it would not outweigh evidence, because evidence is objective.
"Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence."-Carl Sagan

Offline The Wannabe

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Re: What's the best way to push theism into the minority?
« Reply #54 on: September 21, 2011, 07:32:30 PM »
Or maybe there is something you don't understand about their "personal experiences"? Wouldn't it make sense that their personal experience outweighs the evidence you present?

Personal experience is highly subjective. So no, it would not outweigh evidence, because evidence is objective.

What she said.  Empirical evidence should always outweigh subjective, personal experience.
"I would believe only in a God that knows how to Dance."  -Friedrich Nietzsche

Offline YY

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Re: What's the best way to push theism into the minority?
« Reply #55 on: September 21, 2011, 07:35:14 PM »
. . . we should start by trying to stop the indoctrination/inculcation of children, we need to somehow get it reclassified as abuse.

This is still America isn't it?

Why not coexist rather than get extreme? You sound like the guy who took "One Nation Under God" out of the pledge. Let's all do it YOUR way right?

Offline YY

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Re: What's the best way to push theism into the minority?
« Reply #56 on: September 21, 2011, 07:41:14 PM »
Changing society may be difficult, but I believe it's happening.  As you so graciously pointed out, the gay and feminist rights movements have already made tremendous progress in this area.  If we can successfully challenge the devout to thoroughly re-examine their own beliefs, if we can encourage young people to think critically and come to their own conclusions on religion, then we may see this change happen in our lifetime.

You're assuming that theists don't already have this information and re-examine their own beliefs. I'm sure most theists make the conscious choice once they reach around 15 - 30 years of age.

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Re: What's the best way to push theism into the minority?
« Reply #57 on: September 21, 2011, 07:44:18 PM »
Wannabe - When I stumbled across this site, I was practically mesmerized by the question, "Why won't God heal amputees?"  It struck me as the single most devastating argument against the existence of Bible God, and it really still does.  I mean, there is simply no escaping the FACT that theists claim with absolute certainty that God intervenes in the physiological matter of humans, and repairs stuff.  Yet, no amputees.  Why not?  Not powerful enough?  Hates amputees?  Teaching them a lesson?  Give me a fucking break!  God is imaginary, and this website slam dunks it.

It does amaze me though how clear it is to me, for example.  Which makes me really wonder how a modern human can be so deluded, and convinced that God is real.

Precisely!  And I can't see how a truly rational, introspective, open minded person could not come to the same conclusion.  But maybe that's the problem, maybe we expect to much from our fellow evolved primates, i.e. mankind.  I think even the most devout Darwinian evolutionist sometimes forgets that we're nothing more then semi-intelligent monkeys, the thought is a humbling one.
"I would believe only in a God that knows how to Dance."  -Friedrich Nietzsche