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  •  There are more than two types (10+ / 0-)

    you are making an artificially polarized distinction, and thus playing into the hands of those who would paint any atheist who speaks up about their beliefs as part of your "second category".

    You also fail to distinguish between theism and religion, and between anti-theism and anti-clericalism. They are by no means the same thing. Most of our founders were anti-clerical, but not atheists, let alone anti-theists.

    And many atheists who consider organized religion harmful to society, have much less of an issue with God belief itself.

    And, final point - many of us who speak out against religion and who also think that believing in supernatural phenomena is a drag on progress in medicine, in dealing with the effects of climate change, in science and science education in general, nontheless strongly and consistently defend individual rights to practice beliefs AND religion without undue restrictions by society.

    As for your crosses bit, the overwhelming majority of atheist I know and know of, who object to religious symbols, object to them being placed on government buildings and on public land - not on private property, even if visible from the street. Objecting to ever seeing a cross anywhere is ridiculous, and I am hard-pressed to find any evidence of that. Sounds more like a red herring to me.

    One day posterity will remember, this strange era, these strange times, when ordinary common honesty was called courage. -- Yevgeny Yevtushenko

    by RandomActsOfReason on Sun Nov 29, 2009 at 11:43:06 PM PST

    [ Parent ]

    •  no, really. (0+ / 0-)

      I'm telling you, I routinely argue with atheists who oppose crosses on private land, who consider them a visual assault on passers-by.  
       
      And in that argument, I am not the one playing into the hands of those who would caricature atheists.  Clearly if anyone is responsible for the stereotype of the angry anti-believer, it's the people who embody it.
         
      Although I secretly think those people aren't true atheists.  They're just reacting angrily to the religion of their upbringing, a reaction that often includes a phase of vocal atheism before they settle down and become pagans.

      •  I think you could be confusing (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        capelza, RandomActsOfReason

        their expression of dislike for seeing the symbols, with a desire to have them banned.  One does not necessarily lead to the other.

        •  Nope. (0+ / 0-)

          I do know people who simply react negatively to religious symbols, having some kind of hang-up about them; but I also encounter people who explicitly say they should be forbidden, even if on private property.

          Any group of people has its fools, atheists included.

      •  Hm. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        RandomActsOfReason

        I'm telling you, I routinely argue with atheists who oppose crosses on private land, who consider them a visual assault on passers-by.

        Then I suggest you cite-and-link for us an actual reviewable example of these atheists you "routinely argue with" who think that crosses erected on private land by private parties should be banned.

        I'll add my voice as a person who spends all kinds of time among multifarious atheists and who has never, ever heard anyone suggest anything of the kind. I suspect you're either (brutally) misinterpreting or fabricating matters to support a very common prejudice you hold.

        Find us something these atheists have written or said or done, publicly. Outside of your recollection. Otherwise, they seem a whole lot like your "girlfriend in Canada" who conveniently is never around when we'd like to meet her.

        •  Why all the astonished disbelief? (0+ / 0-)

          Our people can be dumbass fanatics too?  Impossible!  That conversation must be recorded, published, cited and peer-reviewed!  There's no way we can be 10% idiots just like every other group on Earth.
                   
          But every ideology has its morons, even the ideology you think is rational.  And no, I'm not making this all up as some sort of nonsensical prejudice against my own self.
               
          In fact, atheism has a curious and unique relationship with idiocy.  On the one hand, atheism tends to attract intelligent and rational people.  On the other hand, it is also a popular phase for young adults rejecting their religious upbringing, and/or finding their ideological bearings.  

          In that respect, atheism is very much analogous to a college town:  it has permanent residents---which include a disproportionate number of scientsts and scholars---and then a shitload of kids who pass through over the course of a few years, on their way somewhere else.  This is why atheists seem to have a weird, bimodal distribution of personalities:  steady nonbelievers who don't talk much, and excitable vocal types who occasionally express half-baked opinions.  
           

          •  Why? (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            RandomActsOfReason

            Our people can be dumbass fanatics too?

            Excuse me?

            As I said, I spend an enormous amount of time among a large and diverse number of atheists. On occasion I have heard the odd atheist say stupid things. I have heard some atheists say inaccurate things about religion. I have heard a few atheists say insulting and unfair things about religious believers. Earlier this year I was in a dust-up on this very blog with an atheist commenter who argued that theists should be barred from voting in elections, because theism is a mental illness. ("To my mind any one espousing a belief in an irrational god should not have the legal right to vote any more than any other insane person does.")* I need no lecture from you about facing "dumbass fanatics."

            But, as I (again) said, I have never met an atheist who has argued that private religious displays on private land should be banned. And yet you claim you "routinely argue with" such people--an assertion that has all the hallmarks of fabricated nonsense. Especially when combined with your broader point, which serves only to tar atheists generally with mud from your phantom Canadian girlfriend.

            Put up or shut up. The question is not whether atheists can say stupid things. The question is whether it's common ("routine") for atheists to argue that particular stupid thing.

            You've made an extremely dubious assertion that bears a striking resemblance to majority bigotry. You've provided no evidence for the assertion. There's just no apparent reason to believe you.


            * See how easy it is to back up an assertion with a citation to evidence?

            •  asdf (0+ / 0-)

              But, as I (again) said, I have never met an atheist who has argued that private religious displays on private land should be banned. And yet you claim you "routinely argue with" such people--an assertion that has all the hallmarks of fabricated nonsense.

              By the same token, I have never met an atheist who said that religious people should be banned from voting---that one is completely new to me---and yet I don't stidently demand documented evidence that you actually had that conversation.  If you couldn't provide it (if you had this conversation in a coffee shop instead of online,) I wouldn't call you a liar.
                 
              Even if you heard the same sentiment from multiple people, I'd have no reason to doubt you.  It's something I never experienced, but nevertheless believable.  Thus I am confused by your doubt, your angry tone, and your suggestion that I am lying because my real-world conversations are not indexed by Google.
                 

              * See how easy it is to back up an assertion with a citation to evidence?

              Yeah, when you argue with someone on the Internet.  
                   
              Applying this same standard to people's real-world conversations is asinine.  And to declare something nonexistent unless there is a hypertext link to it, well, that just borders on solipsism.

              •  It is your constant reference to "most atheists" (0+ / 0-)

                That is troubling, along with your insistence that there are only "two kinds" - the wise ones who are silent, and the obnoxious, irrational ones who speak out.

                Were you simply to confine your comments to personal anecdote, and not claim that this mythical group of atheists that none of us seem every to have encountered comprises "most" atheists; and, were you to stop stereotyping atheists with those two extreme caricaturizations, I doubt either Reiux or I would have had any comment at all about your comments.

                This is a fairly consistent thing with you - you insist that any atheist who speaks out about their convictions is of a particular extreme type that you describe in the most pejorative terms imaginable, and you also tend to assert that the most irrational and dogmatic extremists are the norm.

                One day posterity will remember, this strange era, these strange times, when ordinary common honesty was called courage. -- Yevgeny Yevtushenko

                by RandomActsOfReason on Tue Dec 01, 2009 at 04:27:21 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  My constant reference that I never used once? (0+ / 0-)

                  As far as I can tell, the phrase "most atheists" only occurs in your posts.  
                   
                  I have not made a single reference to "most atheists," and certainly not constant references.  Either you are quoting someone else by accident, or deliberately attributing a fabricated quote to me.

                  I think you are reading far too much that isn't there.  For example, I spoke of two types of atheists, but never said that there were only two types.  

                  Were you simply to confine your comments to personal anecdote, and not claim that this mythical group of atheists that none of us seem every to have encountered comprises "most" atheists; and, were you to stop stereotyping atheists with those two extreme caricaturizations, I doubt either Reiux or I would have had any comment at all about your comments.

                  So, ... if I didn't say this thing I never said ... then you wouldn't be saying this stuff.  And yet here we are having this conversation.

                  Also, not to nitpick, but the word is "caricature."  "Caricaturization" doesn't even make sensitudeness.

                  This is a fairly consistent thing with you - you insist that any atheist who speaks out about their convictions is of a particular extreme type that you describe in the most pejorative terms imaginable, and you also tend to assert that the most irrational and dogmatic extremists are the norm.

                  My posts are the most pejorative terms imaginable?  Imaginable by whom?

                  Seriously, are we reading alternate versions of this thread?

                  •  Do you actually read your own comments? (0+ / 0-)

                    I spoke of two types of atheists, but never said that there were only two types.  

                    What about here:

                    I'm an atheist of the non-believer variety---I don't believe in the supernatural.  

                    This as opposed to the anti-believer variety, those who actively rail against believers, confront them, insult them, and consider their very existence some sort of personal attack.

                    Or here:

                    atheists seem to have a weird, bimodal distribution of personalities:  steady nonbelievers who don't talk much, and excitable vocal types who occasionally express half-baked opinions.  

                    Or here:

                    atheism is very much analogous to a college town:  it has permanent residents---which include a disproportionate number of scientsts and scholars---and then a shitload of kids who pass through over the course of a few years, on their way somewhere else.

                    Or here?

                    In fact, atheism has a curious and unique relationship with idiocy.  On the one hand, atheism tends to attract intelligent and rational people.  On the other hand, it is also a popular phase for young adults rejecting their religious upbringing, and/or finding their ideological bearings.

                    I'm hard-pressed to find you making a NON-binary argument, one that doesn't reduce the complexity of opinions into two simplistic polar caricatures.

                    One day posterity will remember, this strange era, these strange times, when ordinary common honesty was called courage. -- Yevgeny Yevtushenko

                    by RandomActsOfReason on Tue Dec 01, 2009 at 06:10:22 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  I think you misread all of these. (0+ / 0-)

                      In none of those quotes to I say atheists are exclusive to these two categories.  I said that these two groups do exist, which is true.  
                       
                      Perhaps you can highlight the specific sentence where I said that there are only these two groups.

                      I am, however, happy that you are now quoting things I actually said.

                      •  "Bimodal", "on the one hand... on the other hand" (0+ / 0-)

                        come on.

                        I misread them?

                        Read what you wrote.

                        Perhaps you were imprecise and consistently left a mistaken impression?

                        I'm not the only one who read it that way.

                        And I note that you still have not responded substantively to any of my substantive rebuttals of your assertions.

                        One day posterity will remember, this strange era, these strange times, when ordinary common honesty was called courage. -- Yevgeny Yevtushenko

                        by RandomActsOfReason on Tue Dec 01, 2009 at 07:10:59 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  I'm reading what I wrote... (0+ / 0-)

                          come on.

                          This argument, while compelling in a Peter Griffin sort of way, doesn't really make up for something that isn't there.

                          I'm not the only one who read it that way.

                          But, how would you know?  If you misread my comments, how do you know you haven't misread theirs?

                          And I note that you still have not responded substantively to any of my substantive rebuttals of your assertions.

                          That's because those assertions were falsely attributed to me, by you.  Seriously, what the Hell?

                •  ur doing it wrong. (0+ / 0-)

                  claim that this mythical group of atheists that none of us seem every to have encountered comprises "most" atheists;

                  he made no such claim. he did say that about 10% of atheists are nuts. unless somehow math has redefined 'most' to mean 'about 10%', you're pissing on a shoddy strawman.

                  reading comprehension has a sad.

                  anyone born after the McDLT has no business stomping around acting punk rock

                  by chopper on Tue Dec 01, 2009 at 05:25:22 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

              •  Ech. (0+ / 0-)

                I don't st[r]idently demand documented evidence that you actually had that conversation.

                Meh. I never realized that my practice of substantiating severe accusations I make against people made me so special. Pulling libels of broad categories of people out of one's ass must be so much more fun.


                Even if you heard the same sentiment from multiple people, I'd have no reason to doubt you.

                How about that atheists are by several measures the most despised minority in the United States?* Or that our perspectives on religion and society are constantly misunderstood and misconstrued, often maliciously, by people who don't give a shit what happens to us?*

                How shocking it is that a member of a hated minority is skeptical of Canadian-girlfriend-flavored attacks on broad swaths of said minority?

                (* I could link you to evidence underlying these assertions--but apparently that would be gauche.)


                Yeah, when you argue with someone on the Internet.

                Oh, yeah, "the Internet." It's not like that's the repository for vast quantities of publicly reviewable atheist expression and advocacy stretching back decades or anything.

                You claim that the ban-crosses argument is "routine," but that it's too much of a burden on you to find someone on--of all places--"the Internet" making that argument?

                Shit, my counter-contention is that it's a tiny handful (far less than your after-the-fact "10%" ass-covering) of random crackpots who have ever made such an argument, and that you're disingenuously blowing that vastly out of proportion to slime atheists broadly. Even so, I'm confident that I could find one or two of them spouting off to that effect on that spooky "Internet" thing. How lazy are you?

            •  this is funny (0+ / 0-)

              so, you've seen atheists say stupid things, you've argued with atheists who have stated that believers should be considered mentally ill and not allowed to vote, yet someone else having argued with atheists who wish to ban religious symbols on private land, that's just unpossible.

              i'm sure lucky i have a stenographer midget tied to my back who records all of my conversations just in case some guy on the internet demands proof that the cabbie who nearly ran me over yesterday called me a 'kike'. i've got the whole transcript right here.

              anyone born after the McDLT has no business stomping around acting punk rock

              by chopper on Tue Dec 01, 2009 at 05:32:07 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Ignoring your hostility, (0+ / 0-)

                no one has argued that atheists who wish to ban religious symbols on private land don't exist. The argument has been with two things Caj has asserted:

                1. that atheists who make this argument are anything but the rare exception, and
                1. the strong and consistent implication that atheists who speak out about atheism and atheist rights equal the obnoxious, irrational group of haters he consistently highlights as representative of the "speak out" atheist. Related to this, he or she seems to argue that the only good atheist is a silent, accommodationist atheist.

                Now, you can, and, based on your track record will, continue to ignore the substance of the argument and resort instead to childish ad hominems, but that is your problem, not mine. Continue in that vein and folks will tend to add you to the list of people no one wants to discuss anything with.

                One day posterity will remember, this strange era, these strange times, when ordinary common honesty was called courage. -- Yevgeny Yevtushenko

                by RandomActsOfReason on Tue Dec 01, 2009 at 06:05:59 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  yeah. (0+ / 0-)

                  i see at least you're backing away from this 'most atheists' thing you were accusing him of saying, which he never said at all. that's nice.

                  The argument has been with two things Caj has asserted:

                  that atheists who make this argument are anything but the rare exception

                  10% is pretty exceptional to me. i mean, 10% of all people are at least nuts. i'll gladly admit that 10% of jews are batshit insane, in this country i consider that to be a win for the culture.

                  and the strong and consistent implication that atheists who speak out about atheism and atheist rights equal the obnoxious, irrational group of haters he consistently highlights as representative of the "speak out" atheist.

                  not really, at all. he said that the excitable talkative ones occasionally espouse some half-baked ideas. this should not be a surprise to anyone. i'd go so far as to say that this is true of any philosophy or religion.

                  Related to this, he or she seems to argue that the only good atheist is a silent, accommodationist atheist.

                  it 'seems' that you should reread his posts.

                  anyone born after the McDLT has no business stomping around acting punk rock

                  by chopper on Tue Dec 01, 2009 at 06:21:28 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  I said 10% because (0+ / 0-)

                    We keep seeing polls where even the craziest option is picked by at least 10% of the responses.  

                    Admittedly, this could just mean that 10% of people like to wind up the pollster.

                  •  I posted a whole list of binary quotes by Caj (0+ / 0-)

                    one after another, posed clearly as if there are only two options. I don't need to copy and paste them over and over, read the thread.

                    One day posterity will remember, this strange era, these strange times, when ordinary common honesty was called courage. -- Yevgeny Yevtushenko

                    by RandomActsOfReason on Tue Dec 01, 2009 at 07:08:24 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  asdf (0+ / 0-)

                      they're 'binary' because you read them that way (you should look up what a bimodal distribution actually implies). if caj were a conservative and said 'i'm a christian conservative, not one of those libertarians' it'd be silly to accuse him of asserting that those are the only types of conservatives out there.

                      there's a lot of 'seems' and 'as if'-s in your posts. maybe instead of assuming so much, you should have just asked him instead. you wouldn't end up looking so daft.

                      anyone born after the McDLT has no business stomping around acting punk rock

                      by chopper on Wed Dec 02, 2009 at 05:24:18 AM PST

                      [ Parent ]

              •  No. (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                RandomActsOfReason

                that's just unpossible.

                Since you have utterly ignored what I actually asserted, I'll copy it for you again:

                I have never met an atheist who has argued that private religious displays on private land should be banned. And yet you claim you "routinely argue with" such people--an assertion that has all the hallmarks of fabricated nonsense. Especially when combined with your broader point, which serves only to tar atheists generally with mud from your phantom Canadian girlfriend.

                It is not "unpossible" that Caj has run into a random crank arguing that crosses should be banned. It is, however, severely dubious to assert, as Caj did, that his/her run-ins with such people are "routine"--that is, that such idiocy is common among atheists. It is not, and the case (s)he was making in that assertion is a bullshit slander of millions of innocent people--the after-the-fact "10%" ass-covering notwithstanding.


                i'm sure lucky i have a stenographer midget tied to my back....

                If you aren't capable of finding citable evidence that anti-Semites use the word "kike" (even "routinely"), it's hard to see why you should be taken seriously, either.

          •  Again with the simplistic binary stereotypes (0+ / 0-)

            atheists seem to have a weird, bimodal distribution of personalities:  steady nonbelievers who don't talk much, and excitable vocal types who occasionally express half-baked opinions.  

            Because it is impossible for an atheist to have a nuanced position that is neither silent nor half-baked.

            I note that, at least, you seem to be backing down from the "most atheists are" fundamentalist extremists bullshit you were peddling just a couple comments ago.

            Ah, but you do it one better with this crap:

            In fact, atheism has a curious and unique relationship with idiocy.  On the one hand, atheism tends to attract intelligent and rational people.  On the other hand, it is also a popular phase for young adults rejecting their religious upbringing, and/or finding their ideological bearings.

            "Atheism" is merely a term for not believing in gods. There is no "curious and unique relationship with idiocy" any more than any other belief group. As ARIS 2008 notes, there isn't even any particular demographic or geographic distinction any more, as Nones, and atheists, are found in every segment of American society.

            As for it being a "popular phase" that young people supposedly go through, the evidence refutes you there as well. Just check out ARIS 2008's sub-report on "Nones".

            For someone who claims to be one, you have a very prejudiced, pejorative, stereotyped view of atheists. And your view is outdated by at least 20 years.

            One day posterity will remember, this strange era, these strange times, when ordinary common honesty was called courage. -- Yevgeny Yevtushenko

            by RandomActsOfReason on Tue Dec 01, 2009 at 04:24:03 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  uh (0+ / 0-)

              Because it is impossible for an atheist to have a nuanced position that is neither silent nor half-baked.

              yeah, i think the fact that he speaks of people who only occasionally bust out a half-baked idea, or who don't talk much (but are obviously not 'silent') kinda makes that clear.

              I note that, at least, you seem to be backing down from the "most atheists are" fundamentalist extremists bullshit you were peddling just a couple comments ago.

              yeah, i'm sorry to break this to you, but he never said that.

              seriously guys, lay off the sauce. the knee-jerk defensive 'misread everything' shtick doesn't look good on you.

              anyone born after the McDLT has no business stomping around acting punk rock

              by chopper on Tue Dec 01, 2009 at 05:38:27 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  asdf (0+ / 0-)

                seriously guys, lay off the sauce. the knee-jerk defensive 'misread everything' shtick doesn't look good on you.

                The irony is that this shtick embodies the very stereotype these folks are trying to combat.  These responses are strident, combative, and convey a grossly inflated sense of persecution (for example, my remarks on atheists apparently comprise "the most pejorative terms imaginable.")

                •  As opposed to "lay off the sauce" (0+ / 0-)

                  and all the ad hominem, sexting-induced infantile insults of the commenter you are supporting.

                  Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too? -- Douglas Adams

                  by RandomActsOfReason on Wed Dec 02, 2009 at 04:54:55 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

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